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In the header to chapter 16 of Third Nephi, we read that “In the latter days the gospel will go to the Gentiles and then to the house of Israel.” As the discussion around the characteristics of the baptism of fire and of the Holy Ghost has touched on the rejection of the gospel identified in this chapter, I would like to share what I came to understand from these words spoken to the Nephites by Jesus Christ.

After reviewing the Sermon on the Mount, the Lord turned the discussion to the Gentile in the latter day. They were to be the recipients of the restoration of the gospel and will be responsible for the carriage of these truths to the remnant as described starting in verse four

And I command you that ye shall write these sayings after I am gone, that if it so be that my people at Jerusalem, they who have seen me and been with me in my ministry, do not ask the Father in my name, that they may receive a knowledge of you by the Holy Ghost, and also of the other tribes whom they know not of, that these sayings which ye shall write shall be kept and shall be manifested unto the Gentiles, that through the fulness of the Gentiles, the remnant of their seed, who shall be scattered forth upon the face of the earth because of their unbelief, may be brought in, or may be brought to a knowledge of me, their Redeemer.

And then will I gather them in from the four quarters of the earth; and then will I fulfil the covenant which the Father hath made unto all the people of the house of Israel.

These writings were indeed manifest unto the Gentiles through the Book of Mormon and then, through the Gentiles,  the remnant of the seed of those in Jerusalem is to come to a knowledge of the Savior. The Lord then goes on the praise the Gentiles and chastise the those of the house of Israel

And blessed are the Gentiles, because of their belief in me, in and of the Holy Ghost, which witnesses unto them of me and of the Father.

Behold, because of their belief in me, saith the Father, and because of the unbelief of you, O house of Israel, in the latter day shall the truth come unto the Gentiles, that the fulness of these things shall be made known unto them.

The Gentiles will be blessed to receive a testimony through the Holy Ghost. This witness is found most predominately among those connected to the restoration of the Gospel.

There are also those among the Gentiles who are unbelieving:

But wo, saith the Father, unto the unbelieving of the Gentiles—for notwithstanding they have come forth upon the face of this land, and have scattered my people who are of the house of Israel; and my people who are of the house of Israel have been cast out from among them, and have been trodden under feet by them;

The unbelieving were, as described here, involved in the scattering of the house of Israel. While there are many tangents to this conversation around the house of Israel, I would like to focus on the fact that the Lord here described two groups:

The Gentiles

The Unbelieving of the Gentiles

As we see, the Gentiles were given a witness of the gospel through the Holy Ghost, the unbelieving of the Gentiles, obviously did not accept the gospel. I would suggest that the Lord was purposeful in how he described these two groups as He now informs us of the destiny of the Gentiles, in verse 10:

And thus commandeth the Father that I should say unto you: At that day when the Gentiles shall sin against my gospel, and shall reject the fulness of my gospel, and shall be lifted up in the pride of their hearts above all nations, and above all the people of the whole earth, and shall be filled with all manner of lyings, and of deceits, and of mischiefs, and all manner of hypocrisy, and murders, and priestcrafts, and whoredoms, and of secret abominations; and if they shall do all those things, and shall reject the fulness of my gospel, behold, saith the Father, I will bring the fulness of my gospel from among them.

First, He did not specify the unbelieving of the Gentiles as the perpetrators, rather, He used the more general term that He applied to those who had received a witness through the Holy Ghost. It is the Gentiles collectively, I would suggest both the believing and the unbelieving that will commit these acts:

They will sin against my gospel

They will reject the fulness of my gospel

They will be lifted up in pride

They will be filled with all manner of evil acts

The Lord states that when, not if, the Gentiles do these things And reject the fulness of the gospel, He will remove the gospel from their midst.

What does it mean to reject the fulness of the gospel?

I have come to believe, based on my studies of the scriptures, that the fulness of the gospel is inherently linked to the baptism of fire and of the Holy Ghost which represents the entry point to the strait and narrow path to eternal life. I have recently referenced two definitions of the gospel found in the Doctrine and Covenants, first in Section 33, verses 11-13 and secondly in Section 39, verses 6. which clearly position the baptism of fire as core to the gospel that was restored to us.

As I see it, a plausible way for us to reject the fulness of the gospel is to reject the true meaning of the baptism of fire and of the Holy Ghost.

I also have concern about what it may mean to have the fulness of the gospel taken from us. Could that mean that the ordinance of the second baptism could not be found among us? I think we are seeing the day when this is true for the general population of the church.

In verse 13 we read,

But if the Gentiles will repent and return unto me, saith the Father, behold they shall be numbered among my people, O house of Israel.

Here is the call for those who will listen. We must repent and return in order to be numbered with the people of God. To repent, we must understand how we have sinned.  We must feel the remorse that comes from offending Him and seriously humble ourselves. One other veiled reference we should pay attention to is found in verse 15.

But if they will not turn unto me, and hearken unto my voice, I will suffer them, yea, I will suffer my people, O house of Israel, that they shall go through among them, and shall tread them down, and they shall be as salt that hath lost its savor, which is thenceforth good for nothing but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of my people, O house of Israel.

How this treading down will occur, I have not pursued. The aspect of this verse that is important for this discussion is the reference to ‘salt that hath lost its savor.’ Another reference to consider is found in D&C 101:39

When men are called unto mine everlasting gospel, and covenant with an everlasting covenant, they are accounted as the salt of the earth and the savor of men;

Salt that has lost its savor could be considered as a reference to those who have rejected the call of the gospel and have not covenanted with God as a result of the gospel message.

As a summary, we are the Gentiles who received the fulness of the gospel, among the gentiles are the ones who have received a testimony of the gospel by and through the Holy Ghost. It is crucial for us to clearly understand the true meaning of the fulness of the gospel of Jesus Christ and apply it in our lives.

As a final thought, we are told to ‘liken the scriptures’ unto ourselves. I would ask you to consider the following thoughts. The Book of  Mormon estimates that this verse cataloged the events around 43 B.C in Helaman 3:25-26.

And so great was the prosperity of the church, and so many the blessings which were poured out upon the people, that even the high priests and the teachers were themselves astonished beyond measure.

And it came to pass that the work of the Lord did prosper unto the baptizing and uniting to the church of God, many souls, yea, even tens of thousands.

Yet it was only approximately thirteen years later when this was recorded  Helaman 4:23-24.

And because of their iniquity the church had begun to dwindle; and they began to disbelieve in the spirit of prophecy and in the spirit of revelation; and the judgments of God did stare them in the face.

And they saw that they had become weak, like unto their brethren, the Lamanites, and that the Spirit of the Lord did no more preserve them; yea, it had withdrawn from them because the Spirit of the Lord doth not dwell in unholy temples—

How long does it take to move from astonishing growth to a having the spirit of the Lord withdrawn? If there is one central message to the dialogue of the Book of Mormon, it is that apostasy can occur in a short time. I believe it is fostered by an effort to become accepted of the world, to change the covenants to be more convenient, and by replacing the core principles of the gospel a set of items developed by man.

76 Responses to “Rejecting the Gospel”

  • JR:

    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 but ONE Holy Church of God to be found upon the earth. Any other belief about what constitutes “the Holy Church of God” requires ignoring or twisting the Savior’s word as spoken to Joseph Smith in the First Vision.

    “blessed are the Gentiles, because of their belief in me, in and of the Holy Ghost, which witnesses unto them of me and of the Father.”

    It is through the Baptism of Fire and the Holy Ghost that the Holy Ghost “witnesses” of Jesus Christ and the Father.

    “Behold, because of their belief in me, saith the Father, and because of the unbelief of you, O house of Israel, in the latter day shall the truth come unto the Gentiles, that the fulness of these things shall be made known unto them.”

    “in the latter day shall the truth come unto the Gentiles, that THE FULNESS of these things shall be made known UNTO THEM”

    Who is it then who will receive “the fulness of my Gospel”? Who then will have the opportunity to reject “the fulness of my Gospel” in the latter day except the Holy Church of God”? And WHO is “them” that those believing Gentiles are to take that “fulness” in the latter days? This clearly has reference to “the House of Israel”.

    To not understand these things is to be as was Nicodemus and, though a ruler in Jerusalem, he could not understand what the Savior meant when HE counseled Nicodemus that “all men must be born again in order to see the Kingdom of Heaven” and “to enter the Kingdom of Heaven”.
    JR

    • Spektator:

      Melissa,
      That is stunning to me, in a bad way. So the church told him to cease and desist from doing anything that would further this prophetic destiny of the

      …the Book of Mormon, which contains the truth and the word of God—
      Which is my word to the Gentile, that soon it may go to the Jew, of whom the Lamanites are a remnant, that they may believe the gospel, and look not for a Messiah to come who has already come. DC 19:26

      Just as the church abandoned the Indian program… of course, it is hard to tell who the real descendents of the Lamanites are…I am partial to the limited geography model espoused by Rod Meldrum.

  • JR:

    I do not know when or if the church will ever have a commission to take the Gospel to the Jews. That day may be near at hand, but “the first shall be last” suggests it is not very near. However, the words of the Savior to the descendants of Lehi following HIS appearance at the Bountiful Temple, are directed at the “Remnant of the House of Israel’ almost entirely. Those people appear to be the future descendants of the very people HE was speaking to. They are a different body from the Jews, who are mostly NOT descendants of the Jews living during the time of Jesus’ mortal ministry. 3 Nephi, at least the 16th thru the 26th chapters and the Title Page, suggest that the Book of Mormon is written for 3 groups: Lamanite, Jew and Gentile. Presuming there is an order to that list, there may be a lot of work left to do with the Lamanites before we start proselyting the Jews. While I am not sure precisely who the descendents of Lehi are today, I am pretty sure they are not found in Jerusalem.
    JR

  • JR:

    This very worthy topic seems to be stuck. Perhaps I can inject some life.
    Here is a set of blog posts from Denver Snuffer on Apostasy that I think are amazingly accurate.
    Have we rejected the Gospel as a church…the very definition of “apostasy”? What say ye?
    JR

    http://www.denversnuffer.blogspot.com/search/label/apostasy

  • Jack:

    Denver’s approach deosn’t work for me. He uses Lehi’s experience as the one and only example of what the modern church should be following. But then he fail’s to recognize that the rest of the Book of Mormon is about top tier ecclesiastical leaders trying to keep the people IN the established church — not lead them away to a promised land.

    • Seeking:

      Not necessarily true, Alma 13 is one of the most often overlooked and misunderstood chapters in the Book of Mormon. It makes it clear that the righteous High Priests of the Book of Mormon were endeavoring to “teach his commandments unto the children of men, that they also might enter into his rest–” (Alma 13:6). The Book of Mormon cycles through periods of ecclesiastical and general membership apostasy. And in that is a lesson for us.

      • Jack:

        Seeking,

        In that particular instance Alma was teaching the people of Ammonihah — an apostate people. His purpose was to help them remember that as others in the past had entered into the rest of the Lord by following the example of ancient high priests so they (the people of Ammonihah) could do the same by following him (Alma — the concurrent high priest). And we may do the very same today if we will.

  • Log:

    I think if one thinks the Church is in apostasy, one ought to also take Snuffer’s take on it – it is the only one we have. Granting the premise, we are in no worse position than the Jews – and, perhaps, in a better position, since the scriptures cannot be so easily effaced anymore, given the advent of the internet and printing press. The door is open to each of us to humble ourselves into the dust and be given power in the priesthood to perform the work of the Lord. But, then, that would also be true even if the Church is not in a general state of apostasy.

    So, in sum, suppose the Church is in a state of apostasy? What should we, the lay member, be doing?

    Suppose the Church is not in a state of apostasy? What should we, the lay member, be doing?

    And if the answer is the same in both cases, why trouble ourselves about the Church?

  • JR:

    The Savior was pretty clear on the consequences of apostasy in our day when HE said:
    “And thus commandeth the Father that I should say unto you: At that day when the Gentiles shall sin against my gospel, and shall reject the fulness of my gospel, and shall be lifted up in the pride of their hearts above all nations, and above all the people of the whole earth, and shall be filled with all manner of lyings, and of deceits, and of mischiefs, and all manner of hypocrisy, and murders, and priestcrafts, and whoredoms, and of secret abominations; and if they shall do all those things, and shall reject the fulness of my gospel, behold, saith the Father, I will bring the fulness of my gospel from among them.”

    In order to “bring the fulness from among them” these people had to have once HAD the fulness.

    In Jerusalem HE reserved HIS angriest criticisms for the Pharisees, calling them “a den of vipers” and “whited sepulchers full of dead mens’ bones” and HE bid the peope to”Do as they bid you, not as they do” because of their apostasy and hypocrisy.

    What of our day? Changed Temple ordinances, changed Sacrament ordinances, de-emphasis on receiving the Baptism of Fire or seeking the face of the Savior, counsel from church leaders to “leave the mysteries alone” (in contradiction to Joseph Smith’s counsel to the Saints to “search the mysteries”), emphasis on doctrines that contradict early leaders’ frequent statements to trust NO MAN with your salvation because leaders can go astray, church leadership that openly courts and fawns over the kings of babylon (in direct contradiction to early church counsel to distance ourselves from babylon)…

    And what of Moroni’s plea to us whom he saw in vision:
    “Have angels ceased to appear to the children of men? Or has He withheld the power of the Holy Ghost from them? Or will He, so long as time shall last, or the earth shall stand, or there shall be one man upon the face thereof to be saved?
    Behold, I say unto you Nay; for it is by faith that miracles are wrought; and it is by faith that angels appear and minister unto men; wherefore, if these things have ceased wo be unto the children of men, for it is because of unbelief, and all is vain.
    For no man can be saved , according to the words of Christ, save they shall have faith in His name; wherefore, if these things have ceased, then has faith ceased also; and awful is the state of man, for they are as though there had been no redemption made.” (Moroni 7:36-38)

    Where ARE the angels? Are they appearing to folks in your ward? Do you hear testimonies of visitations from angels in Fast & Testimony meetings?

    Yes, I believe it does make a big difference whether or not the church has gone into apostasy. It certainly makes a difference in what I want my children to understand about what they hear on Sunday! It make a difference in whether or not I will move along with “the herd” or seek to chart my own course while attempting to “do as they bid you, not as they do”.

    Perhaps this is not worth discussing. Perhaps people are just worn out. Seems there is little interest anyway. Perhap all really is well in Zion, since Zion is prospering, or at least appear to be prospering.
    JR

    • Spektator:

      I think it all comes down to our perception. JR, we have both commented on how we had read the scriptures for many years and didn’t perceive the words of warning. It is so difficult to comprehend something outside of our dimensional framework. Such is the challenge. In most cases, one must have their belief system shaken before we can realign our thoughts and begin to see outside of our former worldview. I would hope that all would consider that there are other options to the idea that the church will roll forth to fill the earth. The many messages of the cycle of apostasy are not easy to dismiss once one’s eyes have been opened.

  • Log:

    “Yes, I believe it does make a big difference whether or not the church has gone into apostasy. It certainly makes a difference in what I want my children to understand about what they hear on Sunday! It make a difference in whether or not I will move along with “the herd” or seek to chart my own course while attempting to “do as they bid you, not as they do”.”

    Hold up there. I have always given my children the straight dope. It mattereth not to me what they are taught on Sunday. My responsibility doesn’t change whether the Church be apostate or not.

    25 And again, inasmuch as parents have children in Zion, or in any of her stakes which are organized, that teach them not to understand the doctrine of repentance, faith in Christ the Son of the living God, and of baptism and the gift of the Holy Ghost by the laying on of the hands, when eight years old, the sin be upon the heads of the parents.

    26 For this shall be a law unto the inhabitants of Zion, or in any of her stakes which are organized.

    27 And their children shall be baptized for the remission of their sins when eight years old, and receive the laying on of the hands.

    28 And they shall also teach their children to pray, and to walk uprightly before the Lord.

    I have always taught my children they must pray with all their heart, minds, and mights to receive the Spirit and to take the Spirit for their guide and not rely upon the arm of flesh.

    Again, this doesn’t change, whether the Church be apostate or not.

    Whether things are well or not well in Zion, it does not alter my responsibilities – it does not change how we do business.

  • JR:

    Jack,
    Denver spends a great deal of time in his writings defending the church and the leaders. He points out that they are not perfect but he defends them and repeatedly counsels to pray for them and support them. I have read virtually everything he has written and never found anything where he counsels people to leave the church.
    However, Lehi was not the only BoM prophet to lead a people away into the wilderness. Alma led his group away from the apostasy in King Noah’s church.
    For the most part, the ecclesiastical leaders in the BoM are not so much trying to keep people in the church as they are trying to keep the Spirit in the church. Perhaps something to consider in our day as well.
    JR

  • JR:

    Log,
    I believe you. I also believe you have been Born of the Spirit.
    Does apostasy change what the majority of church members teach their children?
    I wonder.
    How many young children in your ward get up on F&T Sunday and bear testimony of “the church” and “the prophet” compared to the number who want to talk about Jesus?
    I believe what a wise person once said, “there is much less of a problem with believing too much than there is with believing too little”.
    I think that was the essence of what Moroni was getting at in his little talk of faith and seeing angels in Moroni 7.
    Thank you. No heat on this end, just trying to point out what I see as truth about the apostasy.
    I think it has had a big effect on church members as a group and has much to do with why there are approx. the same number of people entering the church today as there are leaving the church.
    JR

  • Log:

    Oh, please don’t misunderstand me. I hear that all the time. I also hear “follow the Brethren”. I listen to understand what understanding the speaker has. I am fortunate to have three whom I know to be saints in my ward. Also, when I bear witness, I don’t necessarily speak of Christ either – sometimes, I feel prompted to testify of Joseph. It does, in the end, come down to whatever one is prompted to do.

    Your quote sounds like this one from Joseph: “I never hear of a man being damned for believing too much; but they are damned for unbelief.”

    If a parent has not been born of God, they cannot pass that teaching on to their children because they don’t understand it; on the other hand, if a parent has been born of God, they know of a surety their responsibility towards their children. I am sad to say not all who have been born of God execute their teaching responsibility towards their children. As for me, it is my duty and my prayer that I may be to my children as Father would be in my place, for it is from me that my children form their initial conceptions of what God is like.

    Let me open the scriptures to you a little bit. You brought up Moroni 7. I would like you to consider the situation Mormon and Moroni faced. The gifts of the spirit were being withheld, and we read that the Holy Ghost fell upon none because of wickedness and unbelief (Mormon 1:14). So, what do you do when you are faced with a congregation of unconverted, self-righteous people? How do you preach repentance when you know – *know* – the instant you say the “R” word ears, eyes, and hearts shut up tight? With that scenario in mind, re-read Moroni 7.

    “For the most part, the ecclesiastical leaders in the BoM are not so much trying to keep people in the church as they are trying to keep the Spirit in the church.” Exactly correct.

    I don’t feel any heat from you at all, JR. No worries. I would like to convince you and Spektator that the only real good can come from preaching repentance to any individual we are able to influence. “And if it so be that you should labor all your days in crying repentance unto this people, and bring, save it be one soul unto me, how great shall be your joy with him in the kingdom of my Father!” We do no good in pointing out the flaws of the Brethren; in fact, by so doing, we alienate those who “follow the Brethren”, and thus jeopardize the souls of the very people we are trying to save. We only do good by doing good and by preaching the pure doctrine of Christ: “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.”

  • Log:

    And, anticipating an objection from Jack, when I speak of those who “follow the Brethren,” I mean those who accept nothing unless it comes from the mouth of a General Authority.

    These are they whom Joseph described in these terms: “President Joseph Smith read the 14th chapter of Ezekiel–said the Lord had declared by the Prophet, that the people should each one stand for himself, and depend on no man or men in that state of corruption of the Jewish church–that righteous persons could only deliver their own souls–applied it to the present state of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints–said if the people departed from the Lord, they must fall–that they were depending on the Prophet, hence were darkened in their minds, in consequence of neglecting the duties devolving upon themselves, envious towards the innocent, while they afflict the virtuous with their shafts of envy.”

  • EvenTheLeastSaint:

    Thanks Spek, JR and Log. This descussion has been a great read.

    JR asked: “Where ARE the angels?”

    Hmmm… I used to read a blog by that name. It was a great blog but apparently after receiving the BF&HG he quit posting. Just wondering if you would know anything about that? I kind of miss his posts.

  • Jack:

    JR,

    The Savior is talking about a *nation* not a church. He says the gentiles “shall be lifted up in the pride of their hearts above all nations.” Perhaps I’m misreading you but it almost sounds as if you believe it is the church that is “filled with all manner of lyings, and of deceits, and of mischiefs, and all manner of hypocrisy, and murders, and priestcrafts, and whoredoms, and of secret abominations.” Or do you mean to say that because the fulness of the gospel is taken from the gentiles because of their mischief that that is an obvious indicator that the church has gone into apostasy? If so, I don’t understand why that must be the case.

    Also, I don’t think you’re gonna hear too many people talking about sacred experiences over the pulpit. That’s not really the place for it unless, of course the spirit constrains that particular individual to share it. But even so, it is rare that we hear such things spoken of in a large group.

  • JR:

    Jack,
    This is a quote from 3 Nephi 16:10. Read it as you wish.

    You can infer that this refers to the Gentiles who will never read the BoM, who will never embrace the Gospel.

    It can also refer to a people in the latter days who read and initially accept the BoM and then go into apostasy and have the fulness of the Gospel withdrawn from them by the Father.

    However, vs 13 says this: “But if the Gentiles will repent AND RETURN UNTO ME, saith the Father, behold they shall be numbered among my people, O house of Israel.”

    Who do YOU think the Lord was referring to in verse 10 when HE spoke of the Gentiles that will reject the fulness of the Gospel in the latter days and have the fulness of the Gospel withdrawn FROM AMONG THEM?

    As to the latter issue, it is only in our day that spiritual experiences have become taboo to speak of. In the early days of the church such experiences were common and often spoken of in Sacrament meetings and written of in journals and books. Today we content ourselves with “testimonies” of the church and “the brethren” and travelogs and think we have been spiritually fed.

    Yesterday, I was in the Temple and following the endowment session, as I stood in the C Room pondering the Endowment, the thought came to me with stunning clarity…if we have not gone into apostasy, WHERE ARE THE ANGELS we are promised in the Endowment, WHERE ARE THE ANGELS that Moroni spoke of, “neither have angels ceased to minister unto the children of men. For behold, they are subject unto Him, to minister according to the word of His command, showing themselves unto them of strong faith and a firm mind in every form of godliness. (Moroni 7:29-30)

    Yes, I believe the church has gone into apostasy, has changed the ordinances and broken the everlasting covenant, just as Isaiah prophesied some 2500 years ago would happen in the last days, and has had the fulness of the Gospel withdrawn from among them by the Father just as the Savior foretold.

    JR

  • JR:

    Two other thoughts:
    A “nation” in ancient parlance, was not a body of people identified as a political entity under one flag as it is today, it referred to a group of related or religiously associated people.

    Also, the scripture say this group of Gentiles will “be lifted up in the pride of their hearts above all nations”. It does not say that they are a political entity, “a nation” as we think of a nation today. It is simply saying that they will be the most prideful people on the face of the whole earth.
    JR

  • JR:

    One last thought: IF the church has gone into apostasy, as I believe it has, then how important is it for the church to recognize that fact so they can “REPENT AND RETURN UNTO ME, SAITH THE FATHER”?

    Look at the next verses, 3 Nephi 16:14&15, for the consequences of NOT repenting and returning unto the Father: “And I will not suffer my people, who are of the house of Israel, to go through among them, and tread them down, saith the Father. But if they will not turn unto me, and hearken unto my voice, I will suffer them, yea, I will suffer my people, O house of Israel, that they shall go through among them, and shall tread them down, and they shall be as salt that hath lost its savor, (note: LOST, not “never had savor”) which is thenceforth good for nothing but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of my people, O house of Israel.”

    What does, “LOST its savor” mean to you?

    If an apostasy has occurred, how important would it be to recognize that fact and repent? Will anyone repent as long as they think, “all is well in Zion, yea, Zion prospereth, all is well”?

    I believe this topic is of vast importance to the church. If we need to repent, how will that ever happen as long as we continue to believe that we are the “chosen people of the Lord” and “the odds are you are going to be exalted”? Does that have anything to do with being “lifted up in the pride of their hearts above all nations”?
    JR

  • Log:

    JR,

    If we are not filled with light, love, and joy continually… we are the apostates.

  • Log:

    My salvation does not depend on whether or not my neighbor repents. It is self-righteousness that causes me to require someone else to change their course before I will change mine.

    If angels do not visit me, it is because I either do not have a strong faith, or a firm mind in every form of Godliness, or both. It is not because the GAs either now or in years past have erred from the faith: Joseph is a sufficient counterexample for that claim. It is because of my personal failure to honor my covenants, obey every prompting, and every word of command.

    The solution, of course, is for me to pray with all the energy of heart that I might be filled with charity, that I may be a son of God, and take upon me the name of Christ.

  • JR:

    Log,
    Yes, you have outlined the needed process of repentance that we all need to go through.
    My concern is not for people who recognize these things, but for people who believe they are “the chosen people” and “odds are you will be exalted” without repentance.
    JR

  • Log:

    JR,

    Will those kinds of people believe you more readily or less readily if you are entering into conversation with them with “the Church is in a state of apostasy” as an opening gambit?

    Oh gosh, leave the corporate Church alone. Teach the true doctrine of repentance to your family, your home teaching assignments, in your quorums, from the pulpit in sacrament as you are called to, but first apply it!

  • JR:

    Log,
    The title of this blog is “Rejecting the Gospel”.
    We were discussing whether or not the church, as a body, has rejected the Gospel, i.e., lost the fulness of the Gospel, as warned of by the Savior in 3 Nephi.
    If this discussion makes you uncomfortable and reflexively defensive of the church, perhaps you do not believe that an apostasy has occurred.
    If so, that is OK by me.
    I am withdrawing from this discussion because either we have drifted off topic or you have lost your objectivity for this discussion and because no one else seems interested.
    JR

  • Log:

    JR,

    What I believe about the Church and its status before God has not got a bearing on how I should conduct myself towards it. I would be remiss in my duties before God if I did not encourage my brethren in Christ to honor their covenants with exactness and to leave the Church alone. I have tried to explain why, as well.

    There is but one internet. This discussion is public. We are being watched by the members. If we sow doubt and discord by undermining the Church and its leaders, how are we serving the members who may not know the right way? Indeed, who is being served by proclaiming in a worldwide forum that the Church may be in a general state of apostasy? What good can possibly come of it?

    I neither advance, nor deny, any claim with respect to the status of the Church before God, save that which the Lord has spoken to me.

    But so as to not make you uncomfortable, I will withdraw.

  • Spektator:

    I wonder if the thing that we, Latter-Day Saints, have built is really what the church was meant. I wonder if we haven’t taken a very simple and stratforward gospel and turned it into a maze of rules and policies. If I were to read the desccription of the institution of the church when Christ was among the Nephites, how would it compare to what we have today?

    To Log’s point, shouldn’t we be preaching the defined gospel instead of the myriad of ways that we are to implement the gospel? For example, home teaching may be a great program but when we focus on the monthly numbers rather than bearing one anothers burdens, we have lost something.

    The whole purpose of the church, if D&C 10:67-68 is any indication, is wholly focused on bringing people to Christ, no more and no less. I have many times dwelled on these verses to try to understand just how simple our focus should be. For me, anything that detracts from that straitforward message is working against Christ.

  • Log:

    Sorry, there was one thing I thought of that might be relevant to this conversation, in the terms that I think of such things.

    Mosiah 26: 1 Now it came to pass that there were many of the rising generation that could not understand the words of king Benjamin, being little children at the time he spake unto his people; and they did not believe the tradition of their fathers.

    2 They did not believe what had been said concerning the resurrection of the dead, neither did they believe concerning the coming of Christ.

    3 And now because of their unbelief they could not understand the word of God; and their hearts were hardened.

    4 And they would not be baptized; neither would they join the church. And they were a separate people as to their faith, and remained so ever after, even in their carnal and sinful state; for they would not call upon the Lord their God.

    5 And now in the reign of Mosiah they were not half so numerous as the people of God; but because of the dissensions among the brethren they became more numerous.

    6 For it came to pass that they did deceive many with their flattering words, who were in the church, and did cause them to commit many sins; therefore it became expedient that those who committed sin, that were in the church, should be admonished by the church.

    Let me repeat the pertinent bit.

    “And they were a separate people as to their faith, and remained so ever after, even in their carnal and sinful state; for they would not call upon the Lord their God.”

  • Jack:

    Spektator,

    The gospel is simple but not simplistic just as life is simple but not simplistic. As an example — something rather mundane — the “work” involves making the Book of Mormon available to all. That’s a very straight-forward simple idea or precept. Now, let’s talk about how to get the job done. Well, in no time we’ve got a logistical nightmare on our hands. So it is with managing the affairs of the Kingdom — it is no small task. It requires our best efforts and resources to get the job done — and it all has to do with the primary objective of bringing people to Christ.

    • Spektator:

      The fulness of the gospel is contained in what the Lord gave as instruction to the Nephites. My point is that you don’t see a lot of programs and policies embedded in the teachings of those chapters in Third Nephi. Much of what the LDS Church in general considers as ‘the gospel’ is simply the idea of men mingled with scripture. For example, do you find any reference to redeeming the dead in Third Nephi? Is that part of the fulness of the gospel? There are many other examples of items we consider part of the gospel that aren’t in the ‘complete’ description offered by the Lord to the Nephites

      With respect to the affairs of the Kingdom, where does a $3 billion mall fit relative the the threefold mission of the church? Preaching the gospel of Macys? Redeeming the dead dollar? Perfecting my saintly ensemble at Lord & Taylor?

      • Log:

        Spektator,

        For my own edification, has the Lord given revelation to you that the leadership, in authorizing this work, has acted contrary to the will of the Lord?

  • Jack:

    “The many messages of the cycle of apostasy are not easy to dismiss once one’s eyes have been opened.”

    Yes, there’s a cycle of *pride* — but the real question is: How many times did the church completely disappear from the Nephite nation during its thousand year continuance?

    • Spektator:

      Alma was put in as one of King Noah’s high priests. He was the only one to get the message Abinadi had to offer. The description of the ‘reformulation’ of the church due to his efforts state that he received his authority from God, not from the corruption under King Noah. As I see it, God started over with Alma. And that started with the water baptism of Alma and Helam followed by the bestowal of the baptism of fire. I see this as a clear example of how God deals with apostasy.

      No, the ‘church’ didn’t completely disappear among the Nephites. Just as today, there were those who did indeed ‘repent and return’ to carry on the gospel. Apostasy is not the disappearance of the church, rather it is the perversion of the gospel upon which the church must be built.

  • JR:

    “has the Lord given revelation to you that the leadership, in authorizing this work, has acted contrary to the will of the Lord?”

    The Spirit beareth witness that indeed the church in our day is heading into apostasy.
    Read about the prophesied last days apostasy in Ezekiel, Isaiah, 2 Nephi 26-32, Mormon 8, 3 Nephi 16-22 for yourself. As you read and ponder those ancient scriptures, does the Spirit testify to you of the truth of those messages, as they apply to OUR day?

    Why did the Lord tell Joseph Smith that the end times calamities, as HE enumerated them so clearly, would first come upon “my house”?
    “And upon my house shall it begin, and from my house shall it go forth, saith the Lord” (D&C 112:25)
    HE gave the reason in the very next verse: “First among those among you, saith the Lord, who have professed to know my name and have not known me, and have blasphemed against me in the midst of my house, saith the Lord.” (D&C 112:26)

    Where would “the midst of my house” be located?

    I see nowhere in the scriptures where HE or HIS Prophets ever defended church leaders in wrongdoing. At every turn Christ and HIS true Prophets have sought to reclaim the misled, misinformed, ignorant and disoriented church members before HE unleashed the prophesied destructions.

    Consider the church in Jerusalem in the time of Christ’s mortal ministry. Did Christ destroy the church in the meridian of time, even with all their murderous evil doing? Not until after HE HIMSELF went to testify and HE sent Prophets to testify of their apostasy and the wrongdoing of the leaders and they killed a mighty Prophet and they killed HIM.

    HE criticized the leaders bitterly at times, calling them serpents, vipers, hypocrites, blindguides, etc., yet HE counseled the people to “do as they bid you, not as they do”. HE counseled the people to return to GOD. HE counseled the people to love GOD with all their heart, might, mind and strength and to love one another as themselves. HE made every effort to save as many of the people as would listen before HE destroyed the church and all of Jerusalem.

    Consider the church in the days of King Noah. Did the Lord destroy the church? HE sent Prophets to testify against church leaders and at length when they killed the Prophet (Abinadi) HE sent a new Prophet to warn the people to flee from the wrongdoing before destroying the evil church leaders.

    Consider the church in the time of Lehi. HE sent “many prophets” to testify to the people of their wickedness. The leaders attempted to have him killed. When HE had gathered as many as possible, the Lord led various groups away into the wilderness, then HE destroyed the church, the leaders, and the wicked.

    Today church leaders exhort righteousness and generosity from the pulpit while they spend church money on a billion dollar mall and the poor and homeless sit on the streets of Salt Lake City. Those same leaders counsel rich mormons entering the Temple to ignore the poor!!?? It is left to other groups, Salvation Army, etc. to provide for the poor indigents of Salt Lake City. Wo unto us!

    What did King Benjamin declare was one of the most important issue in retaining the Spirit for those of his people who had just received the Baptism of Fire and the Holy Ghost? Caring for the poor. Read it in Mosiah 4:16-30.

    Does the Spirit testify of an apostasy within the church in our time? Ask yourself that same question after you look at the prophecies and the evidence of their fulfillment.
    JR

  • Spektator:

    I agree with what JR stated. As I look at the situation, there is no bolder statement of where the church is off track than what stands just south of Temple Square.

    I have discussed this before but I do want to expand on the implications. In 3 Nephi, chapter 27 the Lord states:

    “10 And if it so be that the church is built upon my gospel then will the Father show forth his own works in it.
    11 But if it be not built upon my gospel, and is built upon the works of men, or upon the works of the devil, verily I say unto you they have joy in their works for a season, and by and by the end cometh, and they are hewn down and cast into the fire, from whence there is no return.”

    What are the works of men? In my opinion, an upscale mall is a very good example. The works of men represent those things we can construct and accomplish with our own hands and energy. What are the leaders of the church using sacred funds to build?

    What are the works of the Father? At the end of the pronouncement of the gospel in the same chapter, the Lord said:

    “21 Verily, verily, I say unto you, this is my gospel; and ye know the things that ye must do in my church; for the works which ye have seen me do that shall ye also do; for that which ye have seen me do even that shall ye do;”

    I would suggest that the Savior demonstrated the works of the Father. In chapter 26 of Third Nephi we find:

    “15 And it came to pass that after he had ascended into heaven—the second time that he showed himself unto them, and had gone unto the Father, after having healed all their sick, and their lame, and opened the eyes of their blind and unstopped the ears of the deaf, and even had done all manner of cures among them, and raised a man from the dead, and had shown forth his power unto them, and had ascended unto the Father—”

    Here are clear examples of the works of God – healing the sick and the lame, causing the blind to see and the deaf to hear, raising a man from the dead. The disciples picked from among the Nephites also demonstrated the works of God as described in Fourth Nephi.

    “5 And there were great and marvelous works wrought by the disciples of Jesus, insomuch that they did heal the sick, and raise the dead, and cause the lame to walk, and the blind to receive their sight, and the deaf to hear; and all manner of miracles did they work among the children of men; and in nothing did they work miracles save it were in the name of Jesus.”

    I state emphatically that if the church is built on the works of men and not on the works of God it is NOT His church. Yes, I have received, through dreams and interpretations, as well as the confirmation of the spirit that such is the case.

  • Log:

    I would appreciate a specific and simple answer: no man’s opinion is worth a straw. Has the Lord testified to you directly that in acting to build the mall the leadership has gone contrary to His will? If not, do you not fulfill the role of the accuser of the Brethren? If so, why are you also not in a position to either correct the Brethren, or alter the course of things?

    But more specifically, if you are not the miracle workers, the prophets, seers, and revelators, showing forth the works of Christ by the power and gifts of God, how are you better than the Brethren, from whom you say none of these things are forthcoming either?

    A good work may be accomplished by the strength of our hands if we are so directed by the Lord. Something as simple as giving to the poor, with charity in our hearts, is of God, whereas mighty miracles might be abominable before God.

  • Jack:

    The church didn’t use any tithing funds on the City Creek project. It was financed through the real estate arm of its company. Overall it was a good thing to do. The church will be able to better maintain the quality and character of Temple Square and vicinity as landlords. Moreover, in the (not so) long run that mall won’t cost the church a nickle. In fact, it will be quite a good financial investment, enabling the church to do more good as do the many other investments the church has made over the years.

  • JR:

    Sure, the leaders went out and got paper routes to raise the billion+ to build the mall. Come on Jack, all money in the hands of the church is either donations or derived from donations. Furthermore, that begs the real issue, which is if the church can afford a Bil+ why does it play so cheap with the poor on the very doorsteps of Temple Square?

    Log, I gave you my answer to your question in the first line of my response above. The Spirit beareth witness that the prophecies foretold in the Book of Mormon in the last days, which include an apostasy, are NOW happening among us.
    JR

  • Log:

    Yes, JR, I did read where you wrote that. But that’s not the question I am asking here.

    For example, were one to say that a war is justified to defend our nation, our way of life, and our religion, I will want to know precisely how D&C 98:33-38 is satisfied. If D&C 98:33-38 is not satisfied, I know said war is contrary to the will of the Lord, no matter who pushes for it, and no matter what grounds they present.

    That is why I ask if you, or Spektator, have actual knowledge that the leaders have gone contrary to the will of the Lord in the mall thing. From where I sit, and I am laying my cards on the table, I don’t see where the Church in engaging in the mall construction and so forth has gone contrary to the scriptures, and I am not hearing that anyone is claiming direct revelation that the Church has gone astray in this particular decision. So why is the mall such a bone of contention, if nobody has actual knowledge that the decision was contrary to the will of the Lord?

    • Spektator:

      Log,
      Let me ask you a similar question. I can point to the revelation given to Joseph Smith to build the Nauvoo House. Where is the revelation to build City Creek Center?

      I can tell you that when I first heard the plan to purchase and build the upscale mall right outside the temple square grounds, I asked, in prayer, where I should go in the scriptures to understand how I should perceive this effort. The first impression was to go to James 4:4 which speaks to ‘the friendship with the world being enmity with God.’ The second one was the verses in 3 Nephi 27 dealing with the works of God versus the works of man. I was then given the distinct impression that the Lord would look upon the City Creek Center with the same attitude as he did the moneychangers who plied their trade outside the temple in Jerusalem.

      I would ask you, Log, what scriptures were you led to when you asked for an understanding of the purpose of the mall project?

      • Log:

        I haven’t gotten an answer.

        I leave the Church and the leadership alone, as I mentioned elsewhere. The corporate Church is not my stewardship. Defending and sustaining the corporate Church according to my covenants is my concern.

        I do not honor my covenant by upholding wickedness. If I thought the leadership was in error in this thing, I would not mention the mall project at all. However, I don’t see that the leadership is in error in this thing.

        With respect to the scriptures you reference, the moneychangers which the Lord cast out were actually in the temple, not merely outside of it.

        If you continue on in James chapter 4, we see that he is reproving them who pursue the things of this world for lust; are you saying our leadership is aiming to be rich through this project, that they are pursuing personal aggrandizement through use of Church funds? He also calls such persons adulterers and adulteresses: is this your charge towards the leadership?

        We know the devil can quote scripture. And as you have been baptized by fire, you know you are a high value target for him, for you have directly experienced his assaults before.

      • Spektator:

        Log,
        As I am sure you are aware, the temple in Jerusalem looked nothing like the modern day LDS temple. My understanding is that the money changers were located in the court of the Gentiles. Christ had to pass through this area before he could enter the temple proper.

        I believe the reference to adulterers in the verses in James applies to those who claim to be ‘married’ to Christ yet seek out liaisons with the world, thus they are cheating on Christ. I would say that is an appropriate charge to be leveled at the leaders of the church.

        I would ask you to check out the words ‘lusts’ and ‘lusteth’ in Strongs Concordence. You will see that the use in James 4:5 doesn’t have the same hedonistic connotation that the earlier use of Lust has. It is more correctly translated as strong or earnest desire. That would be accurate in the case of the decision on the mall. It ws based on their own desires and not those of God.

        Do you believe that your covenants are equally valid with the corporate church as well as the spiritual church?

      • Log:

        Spek,

        The modern equivalent of the Court of the Gentiles is the temple lobby.

        “Do you believe that your covenants are equally valid with the corporate church as well as the spiritual church?”

        My covenants are with God, and neither the spiritual nor earthly Church. I covenanted before God, angels, and witnesses that I would sacrifice all that I have, even my own life if necessary, in sustaining and defending the Kingdom of God; I have also covenanted to consecrate all that I am and have, now and forever, to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I cannot displease Him by performing my covenants with literal exactness to the extent of my ability.

        Yes, I know the Church is not equivalent to the Kingdom of God, but since the Kingdom of God is a subset of the Church, and since I cannot tell who belongs to the Kingdom and who merely belongs to the Church, I treat everyone in the Church as though they belonged to the Kingdom of God. I do this because I wish to be clean from the blood and sins of this generation, and to be chosen, called up, and anointed a king and a priest, and be shown all that Joseph was shown.

      • Log:

        If it is God’s desire that I act outside of those parameters, He will tell me Himself.

  • Spektator:

    Jack,
    So you are saying that the ‘guality and character of Temple Square’ is enhanced by having a Nordstroms, a Porsche Design, and a Tiffany & Co. across the street? How so? How do advertisements containing pictures of women in backless gowns inspire our people to as to the sacred nature of the grounds of Temple Square?

    Did the Mormon faithful take up the chant “Lets go shopping’ as directed by their leaders? Are we to set our sights and desires on the things of the world?

    Would you mind showing me how the ‘mall won’t cost the church a nickel?’ Oh, wait… we are allowed to see how the sacred funds of the church and its real estate arm are spent. Nor are we allowed to understand the return on investment that was used to calculate this.

    You simply condensed the PR output of the church on the topic of City Creek Center and ignored the core issue of compromise that this ‘investment’ has forced upon members who thought they were to commit their time, talents, and energy to be building up of the Kingdom of God, only to find their leaders sold out to Mammon.

  • Jack:

    Spektator,

    I think you’re gonna have to show exactly how the brethren have disobeyed God on this issue. And you’re also gonna have to show exactly how they’ve abused the tithing funds of the church. So far as I am concerned they believe this is a good move for many reasons besides the few that you and I may be privy to.

    You have to be really careful about judging the living oracles by the written word. While I understand that what is written can serve as a threshold check against spurious revelation, it cannot always justify the immediate will of God in the present — except as to the precept that the Lord justifies his servants.

    Also, the church simply cannot control everything that happens in the world around it. But, as a business entity it can mitigate certain extreme influences. By upgrading the area generally there’s less likelihood of further denigration near Temple Square — less drug trafficking or prostitution or any number of illegal activities in such close proximity to the church’s headquaters.

    JR,

    Do you have some inside information as to what exactly the church has or has not done for the poor in downtown SLC? Because if you haven’t, how can you possibly know whether or not the church has failed in that regard? Also, with respect to the church’s finances, the church brings in a lot of money from its investments — money that goes way beyond the members contributions.

  • Jack:

    “I can point to the revelation given to Joseph Smith to build the Nauvoo House. Where is the revelation to build City Creek Center?”

    C’mon, dude. Can you point out the specific revelations that Brigham Young might have received for every city he established from Idaho to Southern California?

  • JR:

    If the Spirit tells me that Joseph Smith received the Book of Mormon exactly as he claimed he did, am I not able to bear testimony to that since I was not there when he received the plates from Moroni?
    If the scriptures tell me that Christ HIMSELF administers the Baptism of Fire and the Holy Ghost, should I not believe it because I did not see HIM with my mortal eyes?
    You ask what proof I can offer about the church heading into apostasy. I cannot prove anything to you about the church and its current standing between the Lord and mammon.
    If you want proof, I suggest you use your own noodle, come to a decision, then pray and ask for your own verification of whatever your decision on the matter of apostasy and the revelations regarding the latter day church is.
    You are free to believe whatever you wish on this or any other issue.
    I have no desire nor ability to convince anyone. I am only relating what the Spirit has told me.
    I suggest you get your own answers.
    JR

  • Spektator:

    Jack,
    You and I both know that it is impossible to ‘prove’ anything around how the church uses its money. I don’t accept this artificial designation that tithing is somehow different from other donations. All the wealth of the church can be traced back to donations from the members. The chursh stopped releasing details on its finances just before it began to give stipends to the general authorities more than 40 years ago.

    Should we not expect prophets, seers and revelators to prophesy, see the future and and reveal the hidden? You call them oracles, what are the characteristics of an oracle?

    If the leaders of the church are not bound by scripture, then they are no better than the Holy Roman Church. Martin Luther saw right through the practice of indulgences. One of the many doctrines of man that had invaded the church at the time.

    And, my point, Jack, is that the more it acts like a ‘business entity’ the further it moves away from the original purpose of the church, which was simply to teach and administer the ordinances of the gospel.

  • Jack:

    Spektator: “All the wealth of the church can be traced back to donations from the members.”

    Even if that were true I wouldn’t have a problem with how the brethren choose to allocate the church’s real estate funds.

    Re: Business Entity — What of the righteous Nephites who had to behave like an army at times? Or farmers? Or ship builders? Or any other number of “entities?” Did that make them less Christian?

    Re: “If the leaders of the church are not bound by scripture…” They are — generally. But in certain cases modern revelation will trump the older. But even so, I have yet to see exactly how the scriptures would bind the brethren from allocating money to upgrade downtown SLC.

  • Spektator:

    Jack,
    I see the material activities of the church as a symptom. It is a marker of a deeper illness. In Section 84 of the Doctrine and Covenants, we are told that the whole church is under condemnation. More than 130 years later, Ezra Taft Benson told us that this condemnation has not been lifted.

    We were also told that this condemnation will continue “until they repent and remember the new covenant, even the Book of Mormon and the former commandments which I have given them, not only to say, but to do according to that which I have written”

    I believe that the new covenant described here is the fulness of the gospel (see Doctrine and Covenants 66:2). I believe that we will remain under this condemnation until we are able to clearly teach what is contained in the Book of Mormon regarding the gospel of Jesus Christ including the true nature of being born again.

  • Log:

    I’ve taken my blog down.

    The Lord is in charge of the Church, guys. He calls men knowing full well who and what they are. It has always been the case that strait is the gate and narrow the way which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.

    The Lord is providing teachers adapted to the capacity of the people, who will teach things the people can accept. At this stage in the game, the Lord is trying to prolong the test so that all who will hear the truth, call upon His name, and be redeemed, can. The Lord desires that none should be dissuaded from well-doing, even if they cannot do good works from a pure heart filled with charity (and this inability comes through unbelief, for the which the Church is condemned (D&C 84, as Spektator mentioned)), for the end comes when the world is ripe in wickedness and open rebellion against the commandments of God (the sum of which is to have real charity and a faith that isn’t faked (1 Timothy 1:5), and the Book of Mormon is replete with explicit examples of how to gain both, since they necessarily go together, along with hope (Moroni 10:20)).

    So let us bear with the people. The day may come for a few that they will try with all their might to honor the covenants they have made in holy places and hew with all their might to the commandments, yield their hearts unto God (Helaman 3:35) and quit struggling against the Holy Ghost but receive it and thereby take upon them the name of Christ (Alma 34:38). In the meantime, the Brethren lead no man into wickedness, and that’s the point right now.

    The reason the Kingdom of God was rent from the Jews was because they had completely transfigured the law that it was unrecognizable, teaching for commandments the precepts of men through even well-meaning but mistaken attempts to ensure that the people would never break the least commandment of God. We are not yet there, even if there are precepts of men being taught at times. The Lord knows these things; the timing is His. And the scriptures have gone among all alike, and the truth is there, even if it is being transfigured with each well-meaning but incorrect interpretations, and the temple ordinances are still intact enough where an earnest seeker may yet see the Lord while in the flesh through diligent, whole-hearted and literal obedience to the covenants.

    I have seen students who were in classes far advanced from their actual level of understanding. You can immediately tell who they are because if you ask them to perform a specific task, they will respond in an inappropriate manner, answering a question instead that was not asked, and they diligently emulate their instructors, but they do so without understanding and commit many gross (and heartbreaking) errors. But because they have progressed to a class that they were in reality unprepared for, they take offense at the suggestion that they need to go back to a more basic class to learn the skills necessary to thrive where they are now, because, forsooth, they are in the advanced class, and that clearly means they know enough to be there – their ego gets bruised, you see, and they reject that teacher. It is the same with the Church. Even though many have not learned faith and repentance, they have gone through the temple where mysteries are taught they are unprepared to receive.

    So we get people like Denver Snuffer, who is not teaching repentance and faith directly (presuming he is what he says he is; he is consistent with what I would expect, so I accept that he may well be a prophet). You get Mormon who likewise quit teaching repentance and faith directly to a hardened and rebellious people (Moroni 7 is just that).

    In the meantime, remember that to publicly criticize the Brethren is to lead souls astray: whoever does not gather with the Lord, scattereth them who might otherwise be His sheep (Luke 11:23). The Church is the authorized administrator of the outward ordinances, and it is inconsistent to teach men that the leadership is in error, yet men should submit to their ordinances, without which men cannot be saved. I honestly don’t know a single person who would receive such a teaching.

    Cry mightily, brethren, that we may be filled with fire, light, charity, and that joy which is full of indescribable glory, that we may be ready when the call comes. You know the way, because you’ve traveled it before. I know you do, for you understand these things: you respond appropriately.

  • boo:

    LOG please ,please don’t take your blog down, or least put it back up briefly to let some of us make hard copies of several of your remarkably insightful comments. I found it very helpful as I considered and prayed about these issues and I have a number of bookmarks linking to your thoughts.Now of course they are useless. at a minimum give us a chance to ponder on some of these inspired thoughts further. Thanks

  • Log:

    Alma 33:19-20 Behold, [Christ] was spoken of by Moses; yea, and behold a type was raised up in the wilderness, that whosoever would look upon it might live. And many did look and live. But few understood the meaning of those things, and this because of the hardness of their hearts. But there were many who were so hardened that they would not look, therefore they perished. Now the reason they would not look is because they did not believe that it would heal them. O my brethren, if ye could be healed by merely casting about your eyes that ye might be healed, would ye not behold quickly, or would ye rather harden your hearts in unbelief, and be slothful, that ye would not cast about your eyes, that ye might perish?

    1 Nephi 17:41 And [God] did straiten [Israel] in the wilderness with his rod; for they hardened their hearts, even as ye have; and the Lord straitened them because of their iniquity. He sent fiery flying serpents among them; and after they were bitten he prepared a way that they might be healed; and the labor which they had to perform was to look; and because of the simpleness of the way, or the easiness of it, there were many who perished.

    Likewise, if you could be purified from all sin by fire and the Holy Ghost by merely praying with all your heart, might, mind, and strength to receive it, would you not pray swiftly, or would you likewise perish because of hardness of heart and unbelief?

    Mormon 9:21 Behold, I say unto you that whoso believeth in Christ, doubting nothing, whatsoever he shall ask the Father in the name of Christ it shall be granted him; and this promise is unto all, even unto the ends of the earth.

    I read Ether 12-15 this morning and mourned: had they but cast aside their sins and cried mightily unto the Lord, they would have been spared, but they rather relied upon men and the arm of flesh, and thus they perished.

    Likewise, the Nephites had the truth but because they would not repent and call upon the name of the Lord, they likewise perished, even when the offer was made to them explicitly (Mormon 3:2-3)!

    Even now, people do not believe the offer when it is made, that they are only required to pray mightily unto the Lord to receive salvation, and cannot discern it in the scriptures even when it is stated in plainness, because of the easiness of the way, or the simpleness of it!

    Here it is, in plainness.

    Alma 22:15 And it came to pass that after Aaron had expounded these things unto him, the king said: What shall I do that I may have this eternal life of which thou hast spoken? Yea, what shall I do that I may be born of God, having this wicked spirit rooted out of my breast, and receive his Spirit, that I may be filled with joy, that I may not be cast off at the last day? Behold, said he, I will give up all that I possess, yea, I will forsake my kingdom, that I may receive this great joy.

    16 But Aaron said unto him: If thou desirest this thing, if thou wilt bow down before God, yea, if thou wilt repent of all thy sins, and will bow down before God, and call on his name in faith, believing that ye shall receive, then shalt thou receive the hope which thou desirest.

    17 And it came to pass that when Aaron had said these words, the king did bow down before the Lord, upon his knees; yea, even he did prostrate himself upon the earth, and cried mightily, saying:

    18 O God, Aaron hath told me that there is a God; and if there is a God, and if thou art God, wilt thou make thyself known unto me, and I will give away all my sins to know thee, and that I may be raised from the dead, and be saved at the last day. And now when the king had said these words, he was struck as if he were dead.

    That is the orthodox teaching of the Book of Mormon; suppose we believe it and do likewise, for unless we do believe it and do it, we are condemned for unbelief as the Lord has said, and we shall be damned at the last day.

    D&C 84:54 And your minds in times past have been darkened because of unbelief, and because you have treated lightly the things you have received—

    55 Which vanity and unbelief have brought the whole church under condemnation.

    56 And this condemnation resteth upon the children of Zion, even all.

    57 And they shall remain under this condemnation until they repent and remember the new covenant, even the Book of Mormon and the former commandments which I have given them, not only to say, but to do according to that which I have written

    58 That they may bring forth fruit meet for their Father’s kingdom; otherwise there remaineth a scourge and judgment to be poured out upon the children of Zion.

    59 For shall the children of the kingdom pollute my holy land? Verily, I say unto you, Nay.

  • JR:

    Log,
    Thank you for your efforts. There is a sweet, familiar spirit in that which you have written. I cannot agree with all you have said, but I do agree with some of what you are driving at, including some of this statement:

    “The Church is the authorized administrator of the outward ordinances, and it is inconsistent to teach men that the leadership is in error, yet men should submit to their ordinances, without which men cannot be saved. I honestly don’t know a single person who would receive such a teaching.”

    First, why do you consider the saving ordinances (which I CERTAINLY DO AGREE the church is the sole custodian of) to be “their ordinances”? Are not the ordinances THE LORD’S ORDINANCES and not the special province or property of the church per se or its leaders?

    Yes, I too find it a true dilemma to see in the church today rampant apostasy and yet to consider that I must try to bring my family (I am the only LDS member in my extended family) into the waters of baptism as administered thru the church! This perplexes me greatly!

    However, I must take exception with this statement you made above:

    “In the meantime, the Brethren lead no man into wickedness, and that’s the point right now.”

    Brother Log, I truly believe that the “Brethren” ARE leading people into wickedness, and for me that IS THE POINT.

    Witness: Brigham Young University (First Presidency and Q12, Board of Directors of BYU) brought Dick Cheney, a gadianton thug of the first order and a murderer, to BYU to award him an Honorary Doctoral degree and to have church General Authorities fawn over him like royalty.

    Witness: Brigham Young University invited Zbigniew Brzyzinski (co-founder of the Trilateral Commission with David Rockefeller) to BYU to lecture the young and impressionable students on politics and integrity.

    Witness: Brigham Young University invited David Petreus (now discredited former CIA Director) to BYU to lecture the students on honor and integrity.

    Witness: The church (presumably at the direction of the GAs) issuing statements to church members to not donate to the needy outside Temple Square, leading Mormons to brush past needy beggars and even make deriding comments to the needy just outside the walls of Temple Square.

    Witness: This recent request from a group who proposes to gather “testimonies of the “Special Witnesses” to be shown in church Visitor Centers” (presumably church leaders are aware of this effort!:

    https://adobeformscentral.com/?f=iaiAffApRweHRM%2AzXVs5RA

    From: LDS Casting <AVDCasting@ldschurch.org>
    Date: Sat, Mar 23, 2013 at 8:43 PM
    We Need Your Help!
    Please submit your application no later than Monday, April 8, 2013. (Earlier is better!)
    PROJECT: Special Witnesses Kiosk

    Brother Log, I love the sweet spirit of your posts. Your are certaily valiant in your efforts.

    But, how do you propose we overlook these and many other glaring insults to the good name of Joseph Smith and to the SAVIOR’S Gospel of love?
    JR

  • JR:

    The link I included above is the form to fill out for those who wish to participate.

    Here is a more self-explanatory statement from the website which solicits “testimonies” of the “Special Witnesses”.

    “THANK YOU for your willingness to share your testimony about God’s Special Witnesses on the earth today! We look forward to viewing your application!

    Best regards,

    XXXX XXXXX
    Publishing Services Casting Producer
    LDS Motion Picture StudioAVDcasting@LDSchurch.org
    (801) 240-9300

    JR

  • Jack:

    JR,

    I think those examples say more about you than the church. I challenge you to follow, as closely as possible, the daily life of one of the living apostles for (say) three months and then report on whether you believe they are leading the church astray.

  • Log:

    JR,

    The first step – maybe, even, the ONLY step – is to cry mightily, casting off all our sins, as well as every unholy and impure practice, and to not cease from mighty prayer until the Lord answers us, calling day and night and midday and with every thought to pray. From thence, we can know precisely how to conduct ourselves towards the Church, the Brethren, and the gospel of the Lord.

    Faith, hope, charity, and an eye single to the glory of the Lord qualify a man to labor in the vineyard of the Lord; and without charity, a man cannot do anything. And you know the light, love, and joy that filled you once are to be in you always, so long as you are diligent unto prayer. That is the proper state from which to act, and to act while not in that state and thus to be without charity, or to do that which the Lord has not commanded you, is to miss the mark.

    That is my appeal – come unto Christ, and be perfected in him, and deny yourself of all ungodliness, and love God with all your might, mind, and strength, and thus become sanctified through the shedding of the blood of Christ unto the remission of your sins that you become holy, without spot, and filled with fire, light, glorious joy, and perfect love, having power to know and do the will of God in all things.

    This is how we remove the beam from our eye.

  • JR:

    Brother Jack,
    Obviously it would be impossible for anyone to follow a GA around for even one day, let alone 3 months. However, BY THEIR FRUITS YE SHALL KNOW THEM. The things I mentioned are but a very few of the most glaring of many items wherein leaders of the church seem consistently to say one thing but do another. This reminds me of the Meridian of Time when the Savior counseled the people to do as the leaders of the church said but not to do as they did. As for your apparent effort to offend me by stating that what I have written says more about me than the church as a means of defending what you perceive to be the truth, I bear you no ill will and time will tell who is speaking the truth.

    Brother Log,
    Yes, of course I understand that one approach to what is happening is to turn a blind eye toward the church and to personally choose to Come to Christ. Perhaps your counsel has merit and I DO choose to come unto Christ. However, I am not so far from the Spirit as you seem to suppose. The Spirit has testified powerfully to me of the truth of the many scriptures found in the BoM concerning our time which foretell a great apostasy. There is also merit in knowing the truth and speaking the truth with boldness. Much love to you my dear brother.
    JR

  • Log:

    JR,

    What I am saying is get your assignment from the Lord by first becoming holy through the Atonement and then asking what he wishes you to do. That way you cannot err, but anything short of that you can, and that would be bad.

    I am not blind to reality nor the scriptures; I make decisions within the bounds of the rules I have agreed to abide by.

    I don’t figure you are far from the Spirit. :)

  • Jack:

    JR,

    What I’m saying is that I doubt even Mother Teresa had a personal ministry that was larger than Thomas S. Monson’s. I doubt you could find anyone anywhere who has witnessed and performed more miracles than the apostles. I doubt you could find anyone anywhere who has more wisdom as to the things of the spirit — or more compassion toward their fellow beings, or more prophetic insight, or more good cheer in the face of adversity.

    Walk a mile in their moccasins before you judge them — especially in light of what the Book of Mormon says about fighting against the apostles of the Lamb.

    It seems like you’ve decided (according to your interpretation of the BoM) that there’s to be some great falling away in the latter-days — apart from the Great Apostasy. And you’ve allowed yourself no other way of viewing the fulfillment of that prophecy than by what you see today. Get past your angst and believe! The spirit is at work in the church today. The priesthood is operative. The Kingdom will prevail and it will come in no other way than through the means which the Lord has already provided.

    • Seeking:

      Jack,

      While I appreciate your optimism. While I believe that the Lord is “watching over” his condemned church for his own purposes. I would simply refer you to D&C 124:28-48. Is it scripture fulfilled or not?

      When I hear scriptures given to the early saints quoted out of context in General Conference as if they applied to anyone — anywhere — it is discouraging. The saints of the early 1830s are not us. We are not them. They actually had a commission from heaven.

      No one can tell me why the Lord has not appeared to his Prophet in hundreds of years…I know, I know, too sacred. Bolognia. At what point do we become what we preach against? A people with a commission that expired hundreds of years ago? (ie. The Catholic Church).

      The Book of Mormon is replete with cycles of apostasy. Prophets declaring the word of God and angels. What should we then expect? IMHO the church has abandoned the commission given to it in the D&C regarding the establishment of Zion/the New Jerusalem. Or rather, it was taken from us. Either way, little has been given in its place.

      Revelation is now the agreement of men and women in committee. No open visions. No reaffirmation of the revelations in the D&C (many of which have been abandoned).

      I for one cant help but feel that WE (myself included) are in need of repentance and reconciliation with the God of Israel.

      I will stand by the church because at one point God did see fit to part the heavens and reveal the words of eternal life to those who are my ancestors. I believe it to be the last place that the God of Israel has condescended to touch the earth. I love the Book of Mormon, I love the Doctrine and Covenants. I yearn to see the fulfillment of their prophecies and promises. There is nothing that compares.

      That being said, WE ARE UNDER CONDEMNATION — at worst we have been “rejected as a church with [our] dead.” Would we argue that such strong language doesn’t come paired with some dire consequences?

      I was told in conference today that today IS a day of miracles — just look, don’t you see all the new missionaries?! That was the evidence given… Wilford Woodruff indeed baptized hundreds in days — today, the average among missionaries is 4-5 per year at best.

      14.7 million members of record, how many active? (30%, 40%, 50%)? On a planet of 6-7 billion? — Again IMHO, this is not the fulfillment of Daniel’s prophecy.

      What to say? We are driving to the dance in a car, that is for sure. But to continue to call it a Rolls Royce when it is really just a beat up Chevy….come on.

      I appreciate all the commentary on the Doctrine of Christ — I can’t help but feel that it is a teaching that has been relegated to the Primary.

      • Jack:

        As I’ve said before, I think you (and others here) are reading too much into the scriptures. Now I’m not saying that we don’t need to improve — we do. But generally the church is moving forward. And it is doing so under the direction of inspired leadership. Elder Holland (in conference) bore his testimony stating that it was by virtue of the “more sure word of prophecy” that he had this knowledge. That’s quite a declaration — one that we don’t hear very often. And I’m sure that all the apostles could say the same thing if they felt moved upon to do so.

    • Seeking:

      Well….if what you are looking for is to be a part of a “moving forward” — then you my friend are in the right place!

      • Seeking:

        I meant a CHURCH “moving forward”…

      • Log:

        You know, watching this exchange calls to mind two things.

        1. You can lead a horse to water, but you cannot make him drink.
        2. The water we are commanded to bring the horses to is the water of repentance, and nothing else. Anything beyond that is the Lord’s to provide to the horses.

      • Jack:

        Seeking,

        What I’m “looking for” is whatever is right for me to do (and failing half the time, of course). Now if that means defending the church–I’ll do it (and love it–that’s an easy one for me to do).

        Log,

        I try to drink from that water every day. ;)

  • Log:

    By the by, JR, please don’t get the impression that I am censuring you. I am trying to encourage you to take the path that I have chosen.

  • JR:

    Thank you Brother Log.
    My path is the one described in 2 Nephi 31:10-2 Nephi 32:6 (the Doctrine of Christ).
    I believe you have chosen the same path based on what you have written over the past couple of months.
    Speaking with the tongue of angels is promised to those who receive the Baptism of Fire and the Holy Ghost (2 Nephi 31:13).
    One who speaks with the tongue of angels speaks the words of Christ and the words of Christ will tell you all things what ye should do. (2 Nephi 32:3,5).
    We must press forward with a steadfastness in Christ, with unshaken faith in Him, relying wholly on the merits of Him who is mighty to save; pressing forward, feasting upon the words of Christ, and endure to the end, and “thus saith the Father: Ye shall have eternal life.” (2 Nep. 31:20).
    This is the path I pursue. I seek to follow Christ, and Christ alone, for any other can be in error but He alone is mighty to save.
    JR

  • Log:

    An article of interest to them who frequent this kind of blog: http://www.mormoninterpreter.com/the-sod-of-yhwh-and-the-endowment/

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