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THERE was a man of the Pharisees, named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews:

The same came to Jesus by night, and said unto him, Rabbi, we know that thou art a teacher come from God: for no man can do these miracles that thou doest, except God be with him.

Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.

Nicodemus saith unto him, How can a man be born when he is old?  can he enter the second time into his mother’s womb, and be born?

Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. (John 3:1-5)

I remember very little about my water baptism when I was eight years old. The ward we recently moved into, at the time, was located in a small farming and ranching community with members scattered across a wide area. In my recollection, the ward had a monthly baptismal ceremony for all the BIC, born in the covenant, candidates to be presented for the ordinance. There was a preparation class for all the seven-year-olds in which I recall my teacher warning me that I needed to know all the Articles of Faith because I had to have an interview with the bishop. He would ask me to recite an Article of Faith at random, so I needed to be prepared. I apparently passed the interview.

My father was not active when I was growing up, so the duty of performing the ordinance fell to someone I did not know since we did not have any family in the area. I don’t have any specific recollection of the event other than being embarrassed getting dressed in the locker room following the ordinance.

The next day, I was confirmed a member of the church. Again, I remember little of the event other than I had many ‘heavy’ hands placed on my head. The duty of voice for the confirmation fell to a stranger.

I surmise that my baptism would have meant much more to me had I been a ‘real’ convert. Someone who had to make a serious choice on the matter, rather than simply reaching some specific age. The event, my being born of water, followed by my confirmation was sufficient to classify me as a member in full fellowship.

My baptism of the Spirit is a different matter. I have, in a past post, recited my recollection of the event. In that post, I told of the circumstances that led to the event. I talked of the marvelous feeling and ‘cleansing’ I received when I was nineteen years old.

It still stands today as the most significant event of my six decades in mortality. As I reflected on this event in light of the recent activity on this blog on the topic, my mind went back to that time and a portion of that same peace returned. At the time, I did not understand what had happened to me. I transitioned, in a matter of seconds, from being enveloped in despair and gloom, carrying a heavy burden to an incredible feeling of joy, peace, and lightness.

In my case, I had never been instructed as to the meaning of the second birth. I simply assumed that I had received an incredible answer to a prayer. My life, however, had changed. I had not been contemplating a mission before the event. Several days after the experience, I returned home to my ward and asked to begin the process to serve a mission. After a couple weeks, I no longer felt I was walking on air and the peace and joy subsided, but I was changed. I was a different person. I just didn’t know why.

And ye shall offer for a sacrifice unto me a broken heart and a contrite spirit.  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)

It was not until many years later that I came to understand what had happened to me. This scripture from Third Nephi, spoke to me, There were others who were similarly blessed with this baptism and did not understand what had happened. They had to be instructed as to what had happened to them. In my case, the scriptures were the medium. This learning didn’t happen until many years later.

As I write this today, there are fundamental nuggets of knowledge that my experience instilled in my world view. The first was an unshakable knowledge of the existence of a Supreme Being. What happened to me that night, so many years ago, could not have been generated by my distressed mind. I knew that what I experienced had come from God. I had, and have to this day, no doubt in His existence. The spiritual world had invaded my physical world and left an indelible mark on my soul. I could no more disregard my experience as I could deny my own existence.

I also came away from my experience with a new perspective on the character of this spiritual world. I had never before, nor since, experienced such an overwhelming infusion of love and acceptance. So much of our physical world demonstrates conditional love. I will love you if you do these things. The church presents a similar message. You are not acceptable unless you do the checklist.

My takeaway, however, was just the opposite. I felt, through the experience, and many days after, an unconditional love beyond anything in this material world. While I have fallen short, at times, I have never lost that feeling. As my miserable self was accepted through that event, so does God accept us for who we are. We are the ones who wish to distance ourselves from Him.

I also learned that we can hear a spiritual voice, just as we can hear a physical voice. Since that time, I have had the incredible experience of ‘hearing’ the voice of the spirit direct me on several other occasions. Again, I don’t know how my physical mind could have manufactured this.

So, why do I bring these things to this blog? It is not to boast or attempt to set myself apart. I do this, as prompted by the Spirit, to give others hope in things spiritual. I wish I had someone, when I was truly seeking, help me understand what is available from God and where one can go for guidance in the scriptures.

This second birth is offered to all who come with a ‘broken heart and a contrite spirit’ to Christ. It can be for anyone, as it was for myself, the pinnacle of a life experience.

What think ye?

220 Responses to “The Fruits of Being Born Again”

  • JR:

    Spek,
    My experience was quite similar to yours. I was baptized at 18 and experienced the BFHG when I was 21. For much of that 3 yr period I was completely inactive and at 21 I was still quite naive and ignorant about the church and the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
    It was many years after my experience with the LORD that I finally came to understand what happened that day. My life was never the same from that day on.
    I testify that one does not have to perfect him/her self, does not have to be an accomplished gospel scholar, does not even have to have a bright and shining testimony of the Gospel or hold an “important” church calling in order to receive the BFHG.
    I learned that “This second birth is offered to all who come with a ‘broken heart and a contrite spirit’ to Christ.” I learned that it is a matter of having a pure heart, honestly seeking the truth, and persisting until God answers.
    I too learned that HE LIVES! A thing I never truly believed until HE touched me and I felt HIS LOVE.
    Thank you Brother Spek for your intense longing to help others find HIM. That is one of the marks of one who has truly experienced the BFHG.
    JR

  • Log:

    The other Comforter spoken of is a subject of great interest, and perhaps understood by few of this generation. After a person has faith in Christ, repents of his sins, and is baptized for the remission of his sins and receives the Holy Ghost, (by the laying on of hands), which is the first Comforter, then let him continue to humble himself before God, hungering and thirsting after righteousness, and living by every word of God, and the Lord will soon say unto him, Son, thou shalt be exalted.

    When the Lord has thoroughly proved him, and finds that the man is determined to serve Him at all hazards, then the man will find his calling and his election made sure, then it will be his privilege to receive the other Comforter, which the Lord hath promised the Saints, as is recorded in the testimony of St. John, in the 14th chapter, from the 12th to the 27th verses.

    Note the 16, 17, 18, 21, 23 verses:

    “16. And I will pray the Father, and He shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you forever;

    “17. Even the Spirit of Truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him; but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you.

    “18. I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you.* *

    “21. He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him.

    “23. DIf a man love me, he will keep my word: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him.”

    Now what is this other Comforter? It is no more nor less than the Lord Jesus Christ Himself; and this is the sum and substance of the whole matter; that when any man obtains this last Comforter, he will have the personage of Jesus Christ to attend him, or appear unto him from time to time, and even He will manifest the Father unto him, and they will take up their abode with him, and the visions of the heavens will be opened unto him, and the Lord will teach him face to face, and he may have a perfect knowledge of the mysteries of the Kingdom of God; and this is the state and place the ancient Saints arrived at when they had such glorious visions–Isaiah, Ezekiel, John upon the Isle of Patmos, St. Paul in the three heavens, and all the Saints who held communion with the general assembly and Church of the Firstborn.

  • Log:

    So… the silence is deafening.

    The way to be born again is to repent of all one’s sins and restore the harm one has done if possible, confess one’s sins unto God, and cry mightily to receive the Spirit, believing one shall receive, and continue in this prayer until one does receive.

    This process can only be done if one fully trusts in Christ, because it entails forsaking the world entirely, at the very least in one’s heart. If one does not fully trust in Christ, one will not pursue this process. If one does these things before authoritative baptism, one will receive of the spirit of Christ unto the remission of one’s sins, and enter into a covenant, the substance of which is to obey him and keep his commandments, the first of which is to be baptized, after which we shall be baptized by fire; if one follows this process after authoritative baptism, one shall receive the remission of sins, enter into the covenant, and then be baptized by fire, and be filled as if by fire and indescribably glorious joy and light and perfect love. Thus we are saved through the Atonement of Christ by grace through faith and not of works, and, if we are true and faithful in all things, retaining the remission of our sins by always remembering our Savior and doing his works among the children of men, remaining diligent unto prayer, the day will come when we are chosen and called up.

    Repenting and calling upon the name of the Lord is really the only thing we’re asked to do – everything else comes after we have done this, and comes by his direct instruction through the Spirit which he anoints us with. And if we fail to do this, having been instructed, we are damned in the telestial kingdom, and shall find ourselves in hell when we die.

  • Log:

    … meaning those who will not depart from their iniquities, and repent of all their sins, and call upon the name of the Lord, and are therefore not cleansed by water and by fire, shall go to hell.

    That’s what’s at stake.

    The fruit of being born again is charity – the pure love of Christ – and hope – the firm expectation that the Lord’s promises shall all be fulfilled.

  • Spektator:

    Log,
    I am sure each of our experiences are different. I cannot definitively say that I had repented of all my sins when I petitioned the Lord for help. I can only say I had a ‘broken heart and a contrite spirit’ as I noted in the post. Some of us will have a similar experience to that of Enos. Others may be more like an Alma experience. Others may be more in line with the experience of the 300 Lamanites who had to coached as to what was happening. In other words, I believe that no single model fits in all cases.

    By the way, what is your interpretation of “hell?”

    If one does not receive the baptism of fire as described in the scriptures, they are cast into hell? I fear that included 99 out of every 100 members based on my limited experience.

  • Log:

    Making the petition itself brings about repentance – that is, your heart is turned as you make this heartfelt, sincere, and all-encompassing prayer in faith (Helaman 5:41-42, Alma 22:16-18).

    That is, of course, what it means to “come unto Christ with a broken heart and contrite spirit.”

    And the end result is always the same.

    3 Nephi 9:20
    20 And ye shall offer for a sacrifice unto me a broken heart and a contrite spirit. 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.

    God is no respecter of persons. What He does unto one, he does unto all on the same conditions. Even as the Holy Ghost entered into the hearts of the Lamanites and they were filled as if by fire and that joy which is indescribable and full of glory (Helaman 5:44-45), so also is every true follower of Jesus Christ who repents and cries mightily unto Him having a faith that isn’t faked. And we all have to be taught to recognize what has happened. It’s utterly outside of our experience, even our very imagination, until we receive – we have not got words for it until we are taught; that is what is meant by “knew it not”.

    The model I teach is that contained in the scriptures. In all cases, one must repent and call upon the name of the Lord having perfect faith in Christ, or else one does not receive. So it was with Adam, Alma, the Lamanites, Enos, the people of King Benjamin, and so forth. So it was with Joseph and so it was with me.

    Hell is the suffering that Jesus Christ experienced when He drank the cup of the wrath of God in Gethsemane (D&C 19:15-20). I have had the unfortunate happenstance of suffering those things, perhaps only in the least degree, at the time the Lord withdrew His spirit from me; that catalyzed my repentance and faith unto salvation.

    I have to be perfectly clear here – hell is the fate of those who are instructed in faith, repentance, and mighty prayer unto salvation in the Lord Jesus Christ by one bearing the commission to teach these things, and who do not call upon His name to be redeemed, but remain in their carnal and sinful state. They are resurrected to the telestial kingdom, same as any other who “follow the prophets” and trust that merely being “on the right team” will save them (D&C 76:99-101). Note that “following the prophets” (v. 99-100) does not constitute “receiving the prophets” (v. 101), and being a member of the Church does not constitute “receiving the gospel” (D&C 112:23-26, Mormon 8:38). These are they who do not receive “the testimony of Jesus”, borne by the Father by the baptism by fire (3 Nephi 11:35, Moses 6:66), given upon the conditions of faith, repentance, and calling upon the name of the Lord.

    On the other hand, those who do receive this testimony lose the telestial option.

  • Log:

    Also – it has always been the case that “strait is the gate, and narrow is the way that leads to life, and few there be that find it; but wide is the gate, and broad the way which leads to death, and many there be that travel therein, until the night cometh, wherein no man can work (3 Nephi 27:33).”

    That was part of the reason for the war in heaven.

    Men always prefer a religion of outward works and performances rather than the true faith which requires the sacrifice of all things. After all, it is much easier to attend a temple session watching a dramatization of the Divine Council than it is to repent,forsake the world, cry mightily unto the Lord, and perform the sacrifices necessary to stand in the real Divine Council in heaven. It is much easier to sit through a three-hour session of meetings at Church than it is to spend three hours on one’s knees pleading with God for the remission of one’s sins.

    The former does not touch the heart, whereas the latter must.

  • JR:

    I hope this discussion draws other into it. It would be a shame to lose such a terrific opportunity to share and learn from one another about this very important topic.
    I just posted this yesterday on another blog, but I feel it bears repeating:
    The church is divided into two broad groups, those who have passed thru “the gate” by receiving the BFHG and are in the straight and narrow path (2 Nephi 31:17-18)..and those who are among the “numberless concourses of people, pressing forward, that they might obtain the path” (1 Nephi 8:21).
    AT BEST following the Prophet, following the Brethren, and being a member of the church, serves to bring one up to “the gate”. It is always up to the individual to take the actions necessary to pass through “the gate”. The Holy One of Israel is the Keeper of the Gate; and HE employeth no servant there; and there is none other way save it be by the gate” (2 Nephi 9:41) (Matt. 3:11)
    Once thru “the gate” it is then the responsibility of the individual to develop a relationship with the Savior in order to “press forward with a steadfastness in Christ” (2 Nephi 31:20) from that point.
    These things are scriptural, not my conjectures.
    FWIW, I know of a GA who made the statement that 99% of the church has not received the Baptism of Fire and the Holy Ghost. This should be a topic of intense interest within the church, but instead it is treated as unimportant, or as Log put it, ” the silence is deafening. ”
    Great post Spek. Thank you.
    Your brother in Christ,
    JR

  • JR:

    Log,
    I really appreciated these words…powerful sermon!

    “And we all have to be taught to recognize what has happened. It’s utterly outside of our experience, even our very imagination, until we receive – we have not got words for it until we are taught; that is what is meant by “knew it not”.

    The model I teach is that contained in the scriptures. In all cases, one must repent and call upon the name of the Lord having perfect faith in Christ, or else one does not receive. So it was with Adam, Alma, the Lamanites, Enos, the people of King Benjamin, and so forth. So it was with Joseph and so it was with me.

    Hell is the suffering that Jesus Christ experienced when He drank the cup of the wrath of God in Gethsemane (D&C 19:15-20). I have had the unfortunate happenstance of suffering those things, perhaps only in the least degree, at the time the Lord withdrew His spirit from me; that catalyzed my repentance and faith unto salvation.

    I have to be perfectly clear here – hell is the fate of those who are instructed in faith, repentance, and mighty prayer unto salvation in the Lord Jesus Christ by one bearing the commission to teach these things, and who do not call upon His name to be redeemed, but remain in their carnal and sinful state. They are resurrected to the telestial kingdom, same as any other who “follow the prophets” and trust that merely being “on the right team” will save them (D&C 76:99-101). Note that “following the prophets” (v. 99-100) does not constitute “receiving the prophets” (v. 101), and being a member of the Church does not constitute “receiving the gospel” (D&C 112:23-26, Mormon 8:38). These are they who do not receive “the testimony of Jesus”, borne by the Father by the baptism by fire (3 Nephi 11:35, Moses 6:66), given upon the conditions of faith, repentance, and calling upon the name of the Lord.”

    Very well said indeed!
    JR

  • Jack:

    Just as long as we remember that we cannot receive the testimony of Jesus without receiving his servants. It is logically impossible.

    • Lilli:

      We just have to be able to tell God’s ‘true’ servants and prophets from ‘false’ ones, who are everywhere around us today in the Church unfortunately.

      Joseph warned that most people fall for false prophets thinking they are true prophets, because false ones look, seem and sound just the same as true ones, except they change a few things that are hardly ever caught by most members, enough to led followers astray.

  • JR:

    Log,
    Do you live in UT?
    I would like to meet you.
    Perhaps you wouldn’t mind giving me your personal email address thru Spektator?
    I know Spek lives outside the intermountain area.
    Thank you.
    JR

  • Log:

    Jack,

    That is true.

  • Lilli:

    I believe the true fruit of being ‘born again’ is the possession of ‘Charity’, the pure love of Christ, unconditional love, especially for one’s spouse. You can easily see who is born again by how they treat, love and serve their spouse, especially if their spouse doesn’t deserve or return their love.

    Marriage proves whether one has ‘true Christlike love’ better than any other situation in life. For anyone, even the wicked, can love those who love them, but only those who have been truly born again can love those who don’t love them, especially if that is one’s spouse. And since in most all marriages, one or both spouses are abusive to the other in some way or degree, all married people have the test to show unconditional love and service to their spouse and prove they have truly been born again.

    If we don’t have unconditional pure love and devotion for our spouse, we can’t have it for anyone else, not God or our children or any other person.

    • Log:

      I’m very sorry about your marriage. It is possible for one who has been born again to depart out of the right way (D&C 20:31-34) and to lose the Spirit and the gift of charity.

      Don’t marry someone you don’t love, and don’t marry someone who doesn’t love you; a marriage worthy of the name will be mutual.

      • Lilli:

        I agree that even those who have been born again can fall. The Scriptures and church history are full of people and prophets who have been highly favored of the Lord, even seen Christ and then have fallen into whoredoms and sin.

        But most spouses don’t show their abusive side or become abusive until later in the marriage, the best spouses can easily fall, so it’s something we all have to watch for and deal with in our marriages. Usually though most people see most abuse as normal and don’t see how abusive they or their spouse is.

        It isn’t about marrying someone you don’t love or who doesn’t love you, abusive people appear to love you more than righteous people, at least until they have you. Or they become abusive or adulterous later on.

        God knew that most everyone would have abuse, adultery problems, etc. in their marriage in some form or degree, (just look at the Church’s porn problem for starters) and that’s why marriage is the perfect place to become born again and prove one’s true charity and willingness to keep their sacred marriages vows.

      • Log:

        A marriage entered into without revelation and commandment is not of God and shall not be sealed (the upshot of D&C 132:7, 18, 29, 32) – it is because this law is not obeyed that many suffer.

        So you take your chances if you do not counsel with the Lord to receive revelation AND commandment. And both of you must have the same revelation and commandment or else one or both are deceived.

      • Lilli:

        Before quoting D&C 132, I would look into the history of it, you will find that it is proven to be false, according to Joseph Smith, for he taught that any revelation or teaching that is contrary to Christ or the scriptures is for sure false and the teacher or it an imposter. Joseph also warned that if even a so-called ‘prophet’ or anyone, came preaching polygamy they and we would be damned for falling for it, for he continually taught that polygamy was a vile whoredom, just like the scriptures say it always is.

        And there is no such thing as ‘sealing’ of spouses either. That was apparently made up by Brigham Young too, along with his polygamy doctrines.

        It appears that Joseph Smith taught and believed that all (1st) marriages upon the earth will be eternal, no matter what religion they are or no religion at all, as long as at least 1 of the spouses was righteous, for then the righteous one can save the other.

        Thus there is no need for such a thing as ‘sealing’. And all parents will always be the parents of their children in eternity no matter what kingdom each other ends up in.

        Brigham Young needed such ideas as ‘sealings’ to help sell his polygamy doctrines, and he changed marriages to be done secretly in false temples because they were illegal and against the Constitution.

        Joseph never meant for temples to be used as LDS use them today.

        Joseph Smith never preached or practiced polygamy, despite what the story books say, for the victors always get to write the history. The facts show that Joseph always preached and warned strongly against polygamy and that he commanded that all marriages were to be in a public place where everyone could join in the ceremony with the couple.

        But Brigham Young took those scriptures against polygamy and the one about ‘public marriage’ out of the D&C after Joseph died and years later replaced it with 132, which was completely contrary to what Christ and Joseph Smith and ancient BoM prophets always taught.

        Joseph taught that our revelation can come from the Adversary as much as from God or from our own mind or heart. So we must test it to see where it is coming from, by comparing it with the scriptures say, that Christ and Joseph Smith brought forth, which does not include 132.

        Also, the Lord can confirm and agree with our choice in marriage partners, but that doesn’t mean they will never fall and commit abuse or adultery. God knows that most people will, for that’s just the way most people are. God can’t or won’t even stop prophets from falling and leading tons of people astray, so he can’t keep our spouses in line either, for they must have their agency to do wrong.

        And again, revelation, even if both get the same answers, doesn’t mean it is coming from God anyway, Satan more often gives us revelation and his is easier for people to hear and accept, especially if it’s things we want to believe and hear.

        Very few people are probably worthy to receive much true revelation from God, because it takes such a high level of righteousness and purity.

        Though everyone thinks their revelation, visitations, etc. is from God, but it probably usually isn’t, for Satan is continually giving us revelation, visitations and inspiration which are false but which feel and seem, good, right and true.

      • Log:

        Unfortunately, dear sister, I know from whence ye are.

      • Lilli:

        Log,

        I would encourage you to study the true facts, they are easy to find, but maybe you have, yet perhaps polygamy and the likes of Brigham Young sound better to you then the high morals and teachings of Christ and Joseph Smith. I am sorry if that is the case, I tried.

      • Log:

        Where do you get your true facts, and how do you know they are true, and not merely the philosophies of men mingled with historical documents?

      • Lilli:

        The true facts that I am talking about are the public teachings, talks and scriptures, etc., that Joseph preached publicly and published during his lifetime, that we know he put his stamp of approval on. (Not things that others ‘said he said’, but which we have no proof of just hearsay or private journals that could have been easily tampered with)

        I only go by ‘proven’ things, like what Joseph published in the original D&C, the 1835 edition, before Brigham Young added his version of things and took out Joseph’s scriptures and teachings.

        Also we can study the ‘Times and Seasons’, the Nauvoo Newspaper that Joseph Smith published his writings in and sent out to all the Saints throughout the world.

        Also, most importantly, we can study Christ’s teachings, in the New Testament and in the Book of Mormon, where he teaches against polygamy and divorce and remarriage, calling them adultery.

        The Prophets of the Book of Mormon also condemn polygamy in every case, and Joseph continually taught that anyone who teaches contrary to the Book of Mormon or his edition of the D&C, is an imposter. So Joseph was calling Brigham Young an imposter, who he almost surely knew was practicing polygamy secretly in Nauvoo, but Joseph died before he could excommunicate BY as it clearly appears he intended to, along with other church leaders who were committing such whoredoms. But after Joseph’s death those wicked leaders took over the Church and were never disciplined and the rest is history.

        The Church knows that Joseph taught the Saints of Nauvoo that if they ever fell for anyone, even a Prophet, who came preaching polygamy, they would be damned. Funny how we never hear about such vital ‘proven and published’ statements by Joseph Smith in General Conference.

        Instead the Church bases it’s beliefs about Joseph on the vilest of hearsay and rumor, usually from those who wanted to live polygamy and who believed that lying was ok.

        We have no proof that Joseph ever preached or practiced polygamy, but we have tons of published proof that he warned and preached against it and testified over and over he was innocent of it, as did Emma continually say he was innocent of it.

        But the Church takes the stance that Joseph was just lying his whole life, not only to his wife but to the whole Church. But anyone who believes that true prophets would lie to the Church like that, let alone lie to their wife or abuse her with such vile things like polygamy, deserve to be led astray.

      • Log:

        The historical consensus is overwhelmingly on the other side of this issue, both Mormon and non-Mormon: Joseph was sealed to multiple women in his lifetime, and it ruined his marriage to Emma.

        You might find this essay enlightening: http://eldenwatson.net/9PM1890Manifesto.htm

        You might also appreciate “Passing the Heavenly Gift”, by Denver Snuffer.

      • Lilli:

        We have tons of proof that Joseph preached ‘against’ polygamy, but where is your proof that he preached or practiced it?

        No matter how much hearsay there is, or how many people may fall for it, as most always do, it still doesn’t prove anything unless you have actual proof from Joseph while he was alive that he preached or practiced polygamy.

        I have never heard of anyone yet who has been able to prove it.

        I would recommend you reading the book “Joseph Smith Fought Polygamy”, you can read it online for free at restorationbookstore.org. It as all the facts and proof of Joseph’s innocence.

        Of course though, whether Joseph Smith did or didn’t practice polygamy doesn’t matter much for us, only for Joseph’s personal salvation, for Christ taught that polygamy is always adultery and so that ends the debate on it. For no one can preach or practice contrary to Christ and be taken seriously.

        Sorry, I have already studied Denver Snuffer’s beliefs and I don’t agree with him or believe he had such experiences, at least not with Christ.

      • Log:

        Let’s see, there’s Rough Stone Rolling, by Richard Bushman, and In Sacred Loneliness, by Todd Compton.

        So, you’re not LDS? Are you RLDS?

      • Lilli:

        Those authors have not presented any ‘proof’ that I am aware of. They have presented evidence of hearsay, rumor and other people’s testimony, but those things haven’t been proven to be true. They haven’t proven that Joseph preached or practiced polygamy. Hearsay and second hand testimony are not proof.

        But we can prove that Joseph testified and warned ‘against’ polygamy and his innocence regarding it.

      • Lilli:

        I am LDS according to Joseph’s original Church, not Brigham’s branch.

        I would have never followed Brigham out west, but I would have stayed behind with the majority of the Church who refused to follow him, the righteous Saints who believed Joseph’s strong and constant warnings against polygamy, and thus who weren’t deceived by Brigham’s whoredoms.

        Though I’m not RLDS I believe the Apostles (including Joseph’s brother, family, wife and children) and Saints who started the Church of Christ were very close to Joseph’s original church, while Brigham’s church was the polar opposite of Joseph’s Church and doctrine.

        But I don’t believe either branch ever had any authority or sanction from God to continue his Church. The true church went into apostasy after Joseph died, just like the Book of Mormon prophesied it would in these last days and just like the true church has always gone into apostasy, except for the City of Enoch, every other time it has been established throughout history.

        Righteous people since Joseph just have to do the best they can on their own until Christ returns and restores his true Church to the earth.

      • Log:

        Lilli, you and I do not agree on these historical matters, and I can tell from your rhetoric that it would be fruitless to discuss them. So I won’t.

        And it doesn’t much matter except for one thing – The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints possesses exclusive authority to baptize in the name of Christ. Even if the Church is in a state of apostasy, as you believe, it is to be remembered that in the days of their apostasy, the Jews also possessed exclusive authority to baptize, until John.

        If therefore a man must be born of water and of the Spirit to see the kingdom of heaven, as the Savior taught, then one must be baptized into The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

        Every other issue doesn’t matter save that alone.

      • Lilli:

        Where is your proof that the LDS Church has authority today? For wicked leaders and members lose all their authority, keys and Priesthood they might have once held, and thus couldn’t pass it on.

        We are commanded to ‘prove all things’ so we aren’t deceived by false prophets. So I look for proof of authority and proof of righteousness, according to how Christ said to judge.

        If you believe the LDS Church has true authority to baptise then you have to believe that the RLDS and FLDS and Catholic Church, etc. also have such true authority, for they had as much right and authority to start their church’s as Brigham and his gang did. The RLDS Church was started by Apostles too, much better men, if not righteous men, at that, including Joseph’s own son who it is said Joseph designated as his rightful successor to the Church, so the men who started the RLDS (Church of Christ) probably had far more authority, keys, right and claim to continue the true church then Brigham ever had.

        But you are right, we are so far apart in our views and beliefs, that we aren’t going to convince each other of anything. So I agree, we needn’t continue this discussion.

      • Log:

        Where is your proof that the LDS Church has authority today?

        In the days that I was born again, made a new creature in Christ, and full of love, innocence, and light, my Father said unto me, among other things: “All things taught by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, pertaining to the salvation of men, are true.”

        The exclusive authority to baptize would be one of those things taught which pertain to the salvation of men.

      • Log:

        Such testimony from God, the Father, is one of the fruits of being born again (3 Nephi 11:35).

      • Lilli:

        I’m sorry, but I know too many people who have said the Spirit or even visitations from angels or Christ, gave them special instructions and revelation to commit evils like adultery, so I know we can’t just go on what we feel or think the Spirit is telling us, for it could more likely be from Satan or our own mind or heart, as Joseph Smith warned us.

        Even Joseph was often deceived by his own revelation, thinking it came from God when it really came from Satan, and thus he made many errors in judgment, discernment, callings of evil people into high office and teaching false doctrine.

        He finally learned and taught that we, like he, must always test, prove and compare our revelation with what Christ and the scriptures say, to see if we are receiving correct revelation of not.

        We need to have more sure proof than just our feelings, revelation or even visitations when it come to thinking the Church is true. For there are countless people in every religion who say and claim the same things as you, who feel the Spirit told them they are in the only true church too.

        So we need to have the ‘back up’ of Christ’s teachings of what he said about passing on authority and how to tell righteous men from unrighteous men, etc. so we can actually ‘prove’ that a person is a righteous true prophet with true authority and calling.

        It is so easy to be deceived and still think we are right and righteous, insomuch that every single person is often deceived by their own revelation or by people around them, even the humble followers of Christ at times.

        How can you be ‘full of love’ if you believe in abusing women by polygamy? You know that polygamy doesn’t even pass Christ’s “Golden Rule” test, which is the basis and test for all the laws and the Prophet’s teachings. For men would not want to done to them what they do to women in polygamy, even Brigham Young admitted that. Men would not put up with polygamy the other way around, being 1 of 50 husbands to 1 wife that he hardly ever sees cause she is too busy with her other husbands. He just wouldn’t sit home doing all the chores, kids, cooking and stay faithful when he hardly ever saw his wife.

        Let alone does polygamy pass the test of comparing it against what the scriptures say that Joseph and Christ gave us, which call it a whoredom in every case.

        Men who have love in their hearts don’t abuse women or their wife. And polygamy is always extremely abusive to women and children, as Christ and prophets have taught. Righteous men ‘full of love’ would never believe in or live polygamy.

        But Satan has always loved polygamy, it’s one of his favorite things, and he has tried to inspire all men and women throughout the ages to fall for it and live it. He gives revelation to men and women to entice them to believe in it. And since it sounds so good to the carnal man, most men easily fall for it, thinking it’s God talking to them.

      • Log:

        Lilli, I know nothing of abusing women. I only know what I have personally experienced and what has been spoken to me by the voice of God. Anything else is conjecture and supposition – the philosophies of men, in other words.

  • JR:

    Or as an old professor of mine used to say, “Marriage is like buying a pair of shoes; if you get a bad fit it hurts all day!”
    JR

  • Spektator:

    Log said;

    “In the days that I was born again, made a new creature in Christ, and full of love, innocence, and light, my Father said unto me, among other things: “All things taught by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, pertaining to the salvation of men, are true.”The exclusive authority to baptize would be one of those things taught which pertain to the salvation of men.”

    I have heard you quote these same words before and realize that it represents a significant spiritual experience in your life. I would echo what Lilli said regarding the need to prove all things. What does the church teach regarding ‘salvation’ as opposed to exaltation and other important doctrines? Could what the church teaches about salvation be correct but not complete? We have had the conversation before about what I consider as misleading comments by the General Authorities regarding the ‘process’ of being born again. As I recall, you said that you couldn’t explain what they were talking about. There is an obvious disconnect, in my opinion, between what is being ‘taught’ from the pulpit and what is stated in the scriptures. Shouldn’t that prompt a serious search into what you received from the Father and how you should consider what scope should be applied?

    Regarding your comment quoted above. Does the fact that the church may teach the right information regarding a narrow topic, such as salvation, automatically give them authority to perform related ordinances? I think not.

    Spek

  • Log:

    Spek,

    I have had to answer these same questions for myself; here are the answers as I understand things today.

    What does the church teach regarding ‘salvation’ as opposed to exaltation and other important doctrines?

    Salvation incorporates the preparatory gospel of repentance and baptism and the remission of sins (D&C 84:26-27). The rest shall be taught by the Holy Ghost (2 Nephi 32).

    Could what the church teaches about salvation be correct but not complete?

    I don’t think so, actually, in the context I believe it applies. It’s enough to get you into the Celestial Kingdom, which is salvation, but not enough for exaltation and eternal lives. Again, what comes after salvation will be taught from on high (2 Nephi 32).

    We have had the conversation before about what I consider as misleading comments by the General Authorities regarding the ‘process’ of being born again. As I recall, you said that you couldn’t explain what they were talking about. There is an obvious disconnect, in my opinion, between what is being ‘taught’ from the pulpit and what is stated in the scriptures. Shouldn’t that prompt a serious search into what you received from the Father and how you should consider what scope should be applied?

    I am bound by covenant in how I should represent the leadership and their teachings. But yes, I have made that precise question a matter of sincere searching and prayer. And the best I can come up with is that the scriptures represent the united voice of the Church – therefore whatsoever the scriptures teach on the subject of salvation is true and binding upon all. The leadership is not the Church.

    Does the fact that the church may teach the right information regarding a narrow topic, such as salvation, automatically give them authority to perform related ordinances? I think not.

    No, but the scriptures claim that we have the authority to baptize, at least (Joseph Smith History 1:69), and the fact that the Lord honored my baptism (and yours, it would appear) shows that the scriptural claim is true, or, at least, we (you and I) have no reason to doubt that the Church does, in fact, possess this authority – the Aaronic priesthood.

  • JR:

    I see nothing new has been posted for 11 days. This is too good a discussion to let it just die off.
    So….
    My thoughts, in hopes of reviving some worthwhile discussion.
    I have shared these ideas before, but I notice no one seems to have heard what I said.
    This is what the Spirit has shown me.
    The church is still valuable to the Lord. It is the repository of the preparatory gospel, including the ordinance of baptism. Yes, I know the church has gone deeply into apostasy. No argument there!
    However, just as in the Meridian of Time, when the church was even further into apostasy than now, the church still can and does administer the preparatory gospel; which includes an invitation to all mankind to repent, have faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, be baptized with water and receive the laying on of hands for the Gift of the Holy Ghost.
    I know these ordinances are efficacious because they were administered to me and led me to eventually receive the Baptism of Fire and the Holy Ghost.
    THESE ARE THE ORDINANCES OF THE PREPARATORY GOSPEL AND THE CHURCH DOES STILL ADMINISTER THEM.
    Once a man/woman/child has received the preparatory ordinances, including the BFHG, they are then in the straight and narrow path (2 Nephi 31:17-18). The church serves to bring anyone who is sincere and truly wishes to follow Christ to this point. Once the individual has entered the straight and narrow path, they are then required to establish a relationship with the Savior, and learn to hear HIS voice. It is the Words of Christ (God) that will then lead them to Eternal Life. The church, at that point, has largely become irrelevant, except as a source of ongoing service and encouragement and an opportunity to develop the pure love of Christ which is Charity. They have moved past the preparatory gospel and are in a personal quest to receive the fullness of the gospel of Jesus Christ, from the Savior Himself, usually thru the ministrations of the Holy Ghost, by personal revelation, which leads to Eternal Life.
    All the quibbling about the church, apostasy, the general authorities, the history, polygamy, etc. is simply distraction provided by Satan who seeks to throw up clouds of darkness and mists of confusion to distract and lead astray those who have started into the straight and narrow path…
    “And I saw numberless concourses of people, many of whom were pressing forward, that they might obtain the path which led unto the tree by which I stood.
    And it came to pass that they did come forth, and commence in the path which led to the tree.
    And it came to pass that there arose a mist of darkness; yea, even an exceedingly great mist of darkness, insomuch that they who had commenced in the path did lose their way, that they wandered off and were lost.” (1 Nephi 8:21-23)
    If we were to lose all of the Book of Mormon after 2 Nephi, we would still have the fulness of the gospel. Nephi laid it out very nicely and quite thoroughly. His words from 1 Nephi 1:1 thru 2 Nephi 33:15 should be taken as a primer wherein the fulness of the gospel of Jesus Christ is taught.
    There is so much to learn and so little time. DO NOT fall prey to the mists of darkness and confusion!
    JR

    • Spektator:

      JR stated:
      “If we were to lose all of the Book of Mormon after 2 Nephi, we would still have the fulness of the gospel. Nephi laid it out very nicely and quite thoroughly. His words from 1 Nephi 1:1 thru 2 Nephi 33:15 should be taken as a primer wherein the fulness of the gospel of Jesus Christ is taught”

      While the first two books of the Book of Mormon are very important in terms of the doctrine of Christ, I would suggest that the ‘fullness of the gospel of Jesus Christ is located elsewhere.

      The following is found in Joseph Smith – History, verse 34:

      He said there was a book deposited, written upon gold plates, giving an account of the former inhabitants of this continent, and the source from whence they sprang. He also said that the fulness of the everlasting Gospel was contained in it, as delivered by the Savior to the ancient inhabitants;

      So, according to this account, the ‘fulness of the gospel’ is found in 3rd Nephi. I would suggest that this be the guide in terms of the identification of the gospel of Christ.

      With respect to the church, I have stated many times that 3rd Nephi, chapter 27, gives us the criteria by which we should judge whether or not an organization is considered by Christ to be His Church.

      Is it called by His Name?
      Is it built on His Gospel?
      Does the Father show forth His own works (miracles) in it?

      We are each to prayerfully decide the answers to these questions with respect to the LDS Church.

    • Good Will:

      Once a man/woman/child has received the preparatory ordinances, including the BFHG, they are then in the straight and narrow path (2 Nephi 31:17-18). The church serves to bring anyone who is sincere and truly wishes to follow Christ to this point. Once the individual has entered the straight and narrow path, they are then required to establish a relationship with the Savior, and learn to hear HIS voice. It is the Words of Christ (God) that will then lead them to Eternal Life. The church, at that point, has largely become irrelevant, except as a source of ongoing service and encouragement and an opportunity to develop the pure love of Christ which is Charity. They have moved past the preparatory gospel and are in a personal quest to receive the fullness of the gospel of Jesus Christ, from the Savior Himself, usually thru the ministrations of the Holy Ghost, by personal revelation, which leads to Eternal Life.
      All the quibbling about the church, apostasy, the general authorities, the history, polygamy, etc. is simply distraction provided by Satan who seeks to throw up clouds of darkness and mists of confusion to distract and lead astray those who have started into the straight and narrow path…

      This understanding is precious! How could I go 35 years as an active member of the Church — a missionary, even! — having read these verses FOR YEARS, and not understood this? The delusion of thinking that “faithful service in the Church” alone were sufficient for “salvation” is great! I had “salvation” years ago! I had received the baptism of fire by the Holy Ghost years ago! I have been ministered to by angels AND by the Lord Himself — to the melting of my heart and the consuming of my bones, as it were, with love. I have seen His glory.

      And yet, I was turned away. Exactly as you pointed out! “All the qibbling…” did exactly that! I got lost! All I had to do was follow Christ and seek after that same Spirit of revelation which lead and prompted me to repent and be baptized in the first place! I had already entered into “the gate”! Why did I forsake Him? Why did I not understand that I was “trusting in the arm of flesh”?

      Oh, thank you! Thank you! I am so grateful for what you’ve taught me! I now understand!

    • Good Will:

      JR,

      I have “heard” what you have written and I will not let these things “die off”. I will resurrect this topic in every discussion I can. Your insights are instructive and very helpful. I have recorded your words in my journal and will pass them down to my children.

      Thank you.

  • Jack:

    If the church is properly authorized to give the Gift of the Holy Ghost then it is not in apostasy. The spirit is at work in the church.

    Come back, brother.

  • Log:

    Jack,

    There are two ways to receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.

    1. Being confirmed by one who is actually authorized to give the gift of the Holy Ghost through the baptism by fire and the Holy Ghost (D&C 20:41,43; D&C 76:52).

    2. Repenting and praying with all one’s might until one has a real, unfeigned faith in Christ, for then Christ himself shall bapize one by fire and the Holy Ghost (Helaman 5:40-45, 3 Nephi 9:20, Ether 12:14).

    I did not receive the gift of the Holy Ghost over a decade after my baptism and confirmation, and I did so by the method in #2. I therefore have reason to suppose that the Church doesn’t have the authority to give the gift of the Holy Ghost, even if the Church teachings pertaining to salvation are true. That you have not been baptized by fire is evidence against the proposition that the Church has the authority to bestow the gift of the Holy Ghost.

    It is not an institutional power, conferred from men to a man, but a power bestowed by Christ himself (Moroni 2).

    • Good Will:

      Log,

      If the power to confer the gift of the Holy Ghost is not an “institutional power” but one conferred directly by Christ, then how do you explain D&C 20:38-45 and 58?

      38 The duty of the elders, priests, teachers, deacons, and members of the church of Christ—An apostle is an elder, and it is his calling to baptize;
      39 And to ordain other elders, priests, teachers, and deacons;
      40 And to administer bread and wine—the emblems of the flesh and blood of Christ—
      41 And to confirm those who are baptized into the church, by the laying on of hands for the baptism of fire and the Holy Ghost, according to the scriptures;
      42 And to teach, expound, exhort, baptize, and watch over the church;
      43 And to confirm the church by the laying on of the hands, and the giving of the Holy Ghost; [It's said twice!]
      44 And to take the lead of all meetings.
      45 The elders are to conduct the meetings as they are led by the Holy Ghost, according to the commandments and revelations of God.
      58 But neither teachers nor deacons have authority to baptize, administer the sacrament, or lay on hands;

      I think I know how you would answer that question: D&C 20:60.

      “Every elder, priest, teacher, or deacon is to be ordained according to the gifts and callings of God unto him; and he is to be ordained by the power of the Holy Ghost, which is in the one who ordains him.”

      In other words, not every elder receives the “gift and calling” to confer the gift of the Holy Ghost. If he does, that gift is imparted “by the power of the Holy Ghost”…whom Christ will send (John 16:7).

      Is this your understanding?

      • Log:

        Pretty much.

        Doctrine and Covenants 76:52
        52 That by keeping the commandments they might be washed and cleansed from all their sins, and receive the Holy Spirit by the laying on of the hands of him who is ordained and sealed unto this power;

        Ordination alone is not enough.

      • Log:

        I have some additional pondering to do because if the Lord honors excommunications performed by the Church, withdrawing whatever portion of the Spirit a person has through the administrative action of the Church, then the Lord must also be granting an increased portion of the Spirit to be bestowed also through confirmation, even if they are not being baptized by fire thereby.

  • Log:

    “I did not receive the gift of the Holy Ghost *for* over a decade…”

  • Log:

    And be aware, the Spirit striving with the membership is not evidence that the gift of the Holy Ghost has been or is being received. It is only evidence of God’s longsuffering and loving kindness towards His covenant people.

  • Log:

    The lack of power in the priesthood in the Church generally is a known problem. See “The Power of the Priesthood,” April 2010 General Conference, by President Packer.

    We have done very well at distributing the authority of the priesthood. We have priesthood authority planted nearly everywhere. We have quorums of elders and high priests worldwide. But distributing the authority of the priesthood has raced, I think, ahead of distributing the power of the priesthood. The priesthood does not have the strength that it should have and will not have until the power of the priesthood is firmly fixed in the families as it should be.

    I differ from President Packer a bit. I believe if one has no power in the priesthood, one also has no authority in the priesthood (D&C 121:34-46).

    • Good Will:

      Log:”I believe if one has no power in the priesthood, one also has no authority in the priesthood (D&C 121:34-46).”

      This, in my view, is an erroneous assumption. Christ counselled those who followed Him to obey them which sat in Moses’ seat, doing as they said and not as they did. (Matt. 23:2-3.) Read the following verse from D&C 121 again:

      “37 That they may be conferred upon us, it is true; but when we undertake to cover our sins, or to gratify our pride, our vain ambition, or to exercise control or dominion or compulsion upon the souls of the children of men, in any degree of unrighteousness, behold, the heavens withdraw themselves; the Spirit of the Lord is grieved; and when it is withdrawn, Amen to the priesthood or the authority of that man.”

      Legitimate priesthood authority is accompanied with power. “By what authority doest thou these things?” Jewish religious leaders asked Jesus (Mark 11:28). The Master proved He had legitimate authority by demonstrating power (to heal, forgive, etc.). So, too, did Stephen and many of the apostles, by working “many signs and wonders” (Acts 5:12, 2 Cor. 12:12). Priesthood “authority” may be “conferred” on us, it is true — and once conferred, it cannot be removed, even by excommunication — however, the power to exercise that authority is tied up in the keys (“divine permission” to exercise authority) and the power (the “ability” to use that authority). One does not lose one’s priesthood nor one’s authority by committing sin, merely the power. And, thus, “amen” to the priesthood or authority of that man. He is powerless, regardless of his ordination, status, or standing.

      • Log:

        That’s my point – there is no such thing as “illegitimate” priesthood authority or power. If a man hasn’t got power from heaven, he hasn’t got authority from heaven either.

      • Good Will:

        Then why did Christ recognize that “illegitimate” authority?

        There seems to be some purpose in allowing even “illegitimate” authority to remain in place. (Do not the kingdoms and rulers of this world operate, by and large, without “legitimate” authority from God? Not to mention the various religious sects?)

        Certainly Jewish history is permeated and punctuated with periods of righteousness between long swaths of wickedness. Was the “legitimate” priesthood restored at intervals at the hands of angels? Did the entire Jewish nation cease to have the keys of the “legitimate” priesthood from Moses and Elijah until they were “restored” to Christ on the mount of transfiguration? Did not Zacharias officiate legally in the temple at the time of Christ’s birth? Was not Caiphas the “legitimate” (if not wicked) high priest who, under inspiration of the Holy Ghost, prophesied of the Savior’s atonement?

        It is impossible to do the works of God unless God be with him (John 3:22). But who says “officiating” in the Church is the work of God?

      • Log:

        Then why did Christ recognize that “illegitimate” authority?

        He didn’t. He said, simply, that the scribes and the pharisees sit in Moses’ seat, and counselled his disciples to submit to their demands. But, again, the authority to officiate was lineal down to John.

        There seems to be some purpose in allowing even “illegitimate” authority to remain in place. (Do not the kingdoms and rulers of this world operate, by and large, without “legitimate” authority from God? Not to mention the various religious sects?)

        If mankind will only receive an hierarchical authoritarian power structure instead of the true, familial arrangement (vestiges of which survive in our common practice of calling one another “brother” and “sister”), then that is what mankind gets. Just as Israel asked for a king. It serves a purpose, just as the Jewish hierarchical authoritarian power structure did. Order is better than chaos.

        Certainly Jewish history is permeated and punctuated with periods of righteousness between long swaths of wickedness. Was the “legitimate” priesthood restored at intervals at the hands of angels?

        Joseph said the prophets received their priesthood from God directly. So, yes.

        Did the entire Jewish nation cease to have the keys of the “legitimate” priesthood from Moses and Elijah until they were “restored” to Christ on the mount of transfiguration? Did not Zacharias officiate legally in the temple at the time of Christ’s birth? Was not Caiphas the “legitimate” (if not wicked) high priest who, under inspiration of the Holy Ghost, prophesied of the Savior’s atonement?

        Until John, Zacharias’ son, they had the Aaronic priesthood and the authority to officiate in the ordinances thereof. The prophets alone had the high priesthood, it appears. After John, and through Christ, the kingdom – authority – was given to the Gentiles. As for Caiaphas, I don’t figure he had any real authority, but he sat in Moses’ seat, and spoke as he was moved upon, not of any gift or authority of himself, but by the will of God, like this.

        1 Nephi 19:12
        12 And all these things must surely come, saith the prophet Zenos. And the rocks of the earth must rend; and because of the groanings of the earth, many of the kings of the isles of the sea shall be wrought upon by the Spirit of God, to exclaim: The God of nature suffers.

        It is impossible to do the works of God unless God be with him (John 3:22). But who says “officiating” in the Church is the work of God?

        Who indeed? I hadn’t quite thought of that, that “officiating” is NOT the work of God. I kinda thought we were claiming just that. If our ordinances are performed “in the name of Christ” are we not claiming they are the work of God? Are they not performed by the “authority” of the “priesthood”, and is not “priesthood” the authority to do the works of God, in God’s place?

  • Log:

    And I guess it’s always been this way.

    Joseph, at this time, rebuked the Elders for administering the form without the power. Said he, “Let the Elders either obtain the power of God to heal the sick, or let them cease to administer the form without the power.” (Quoted by Joseph Noble, See Juvenile Instructor, 15:112)

    So it is with any ordinance. We have the forms of godliness, but manifestly do not have the powers thereof (see 2 Timothy 3:1-7), because we are yet carnal, because we have not repented and don’t have unfeigned faith in Christ. We say and don’t do (Matt 21:28-31). That’s why we generally are not baptized by fire and the Holy Ghost at confirmation (Mormon 1:14), to say nothing of the lack of miracles and angelic visitations generally (Moroni 7:35-38).

    The ONLY solution is to repent and cry mightily until we are received (Alma 22:15-18), that we thus become saints through the Atonement of Christ, that the mighty change of heart is wrought in us and we receive God’s nature, which is charity, that we have no more desire for sin, that we are cleansed, every whit, from our iniquity (3 Nephi 8:1) and have all power through God (D&C 50:29, Moses 6:61).

    I know God requires us to be holy if we would be priests unto the Most High (see 1 Peter 1:15-16, Leviticus 20:7) There is no other way to have any kind of authority or power than by being holy, pure, and without spot before God (Moroni 10:32-33), which requires repentance from all one’s sins and perfect faith in Christ (2 Nephi 9:23).

    All is not well in Zion (2 Nephi 28:21, 25).

  • Log:

    By the by, the Lord does grant a remission of sins at baptism – that is why it is frequently, if not universally, reported that one feels pure and clean and filled with warmth following baptism – that is the sign by the Spirit that one’s sins have been remitted. Therefore we may know the baptism is authoritative. We may also know that the confirmation was NOT authoritative when the recipient is not filled as if by fire and that joy which is indescribable and full of glory, receiving revelations and able to prophesy (Helaman 5:44-45), and work miracles (3 Nephi 7:21-22).

    I wish the people were instructed that they must ask for the blessings of God which are offered to them through the ordinances of the Church. Their bestowal is not automatic with having undergone the ordinances. All of the blessings must be sought for through mighty prayer and faith in Christ, following his commandments diligently, until one receives.

  • Jack:

    Log,

    I disagree — but I think you already know that. The Lord’s long suffering towards his people is evidenced by His willingness to work with us where we’re at. There are many in the church who have been baptized by fire and there are many who are in the process of receiving the Holy Ghost (and I know you don’t believe that it can be a process). People are trying.

    As to Elder Packer’s statement: Because we need to improve doesn’t mean the church (generally) is in a state of apostasy.

  • Spektator:

    As long as you ignore the prophecies in the Book of Mormon regarding the rejection of the fulness of the gospel by those who are believers, you can claim that no apostasy exists… I think 3rd Nephi, chapter 16 is pretty explicit on what will happen to the Gentiles who received the restoration.

    • Jack:

      Spektator,

      I think that chapter makes it clear that there will be believing gentiles and unbelieving gentiles — and that distinction is not limited to what might be found in the church.

      • Spektator:

        Actually, if you read the entire chapter, you have two groups identified: the gentiles and the unbelieving of the gentiles. The gentiles are the ones who reject the fullness of the gospel. These same gentiles are the ones who had the fulness of the gospel made known unto them…

    • Good Will:

      The “trodding down” and “tearing apart” prophesied of the disbelieving Gentiles by the Lord’s people (in this case, the resurgent Lamanites) written of in 3 Nephi 16 is well under way. Dissolution need not be by warfare or conflict, but by simply supplanting the existing population. Everywhere we look we see it now. Our language, our culture, our traditions, soon, even our gene pool will be replace by those now “going through” this people, to re-inherit the land.

  • Log:

    Jack,

    People are indeed trying, and perpetually failing, because they are not instructed sufficiently to find the gate to the path of eternal life. And it is so that they may finally succeed and partake of the atonement while in this life, rather than be eternally divided from God when the night comes wherein no man can work, that I bring these things up.

    All one has to do is cast all sin and all ungodliness and every worldly lust or ambition away, turn one’s heart solely towards God, and pray with all one’s might, mind, and strength to receive redemption and it shall be given immediately (Alma 34:31).

    That is the only “improvement” needed: repent and exercise genuine faith unto mighty prayer to be forgiven and redeemed. That is the only thing we have really been asked to do. And it seems too simple, thus people refuse to do it. That is what happened to the Jews (1 Nephi 17:41), and it is what is happening today.

    Here is a description of those who have been baptized by fire and the Holy Ghost.

    12 No man hath seen God at any time, except them who believe. If we love one another, God dwelleth in us, and his love is perfected in us.

    13 Hereby know we that we dwell in him, and he in us, because he hath given us of his Spirit.

    14 And we have seen and do testify that the Father sent the Son to be the Saviour of the world.

    15 Whosoever shall confess that Jesus is the Son of God, God dwelleth in him, and he in God.

    16 And we have known and believed the love that God hath to us. God is love; and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him.

    17 Herein is our love made perfect, that we may have boldness in the day of judgment: because as he is, so are we in this world.

    18 There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love.

    Note verse 17 – as God is, so are those who have received the Holy Ghost in this world. And they have no fear, for they are filled with love and faith. They have offered up their whole souls in sacrifice to God upon the altar of prayer, and their offerings have been consumed by fire from heaven, thus they know they have been received, for they have it from His voice from heaven.

    Why bother arguing about it? Why not simply do it? It is the evil spirit who teaches a man not to pray, after all (2 Nephi 32:8).

    Mormon 9:20 And the reason why he ceaseth to do miracles among the children of men is because that they dwindle in unbelief, and depart from the right way, and know not the God in whom they should trust.

    2 Nephi 25:29 And now behold, I say unto you that the right way is to believe in Christ, and deny him not; and Christ is the Holy One of Israel; wherefore ye must bow down before him, and worship him with all your might, mind, and strength, and your whole soul; and if ye do this ye shall in nowise be cast out.

    “Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father” (John 14:12).

    Therefore, if one knows what improvement is needed that one may work miracles in the name of Jesus, and obtain power in the priesthood, what valid excuse does one have for not doing it? After all, “there was not any man who could do a miracle in the name of Jesus save he were cleansed every whit from his iniquity” (3 Nephi 8:1).

    • Jack:

      Log,

      How are they not instructed sufficiently? They study the Book of Mormon as you do. They strive to follow the counsel of living prophets. They strive to live by the spirit.

      And you believe that God will cast these folks away at the last day because they — some of them — haven’t received the Holy Ghost in one blinding event? What kind of god do you believe in? Certainly not the One who condescended below all.

      It’s a crazy capricious god you worship.

      • Log:

        What divided the children of King Benjamin’s people from their parents was that the children refused to “call upon the Lord” and therefore 1. remained in their carnal and sinful state, and 2. were therefore of a different faith than their parents.

        D&C 29:1 Listen to the voice of Jesus Christ, your Redeemer, the Great I Am, whose arm of mercy hath atoned for your sins;

        2 Who will gather his people even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, even as many as will hearken to my voice and humble themselves before me, and call upon me in mighty prayer.

        Romans 10:13 For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.

        This requirement is not taught – I have never once heard it referenced in meetings, conferences, neither classes.

        Ether 2:14
        14 And it came to pass at the end of four years that the Lord came again unto the brother of Jared, and stood in a cloud and talked with him. And for the space of three hours did the Lord talk with the brother of Jared, and chastened him because he remembered not to call upon the name of the Lord.

        15 And the brother of Jared repented of the evil which he had done, and did call upon the name of the Lord for his brethren who were with him. And the Lord said unto him: I will forgive thee and thy brethren of their sins; but thou shalt not sin any more, for ye shall remember that my Spirit will not always strive with man; wherefore, if ye will sin until ye are fully ripe ye shall be cut off from the presence of the Lord.

        The sin of the Brother of Jared, note well, was in failing to call upon the name of the Lord – which is engaging in mighty prayer unto Him.

        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.

        These are the children of the people of King Benjamin. Note what they failed to do: call upon the Lord their God for redemption from their sinful and carnal state. Therefore they remained in it, just as those today who do not pray mightily to be redeemed remain in their fallen and carnal state.

        Here is an example of being instructed sufficiently, and obeying the instructions.

        Alma 22:15
        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.

        The capricious and crazy God I worship saves those who repent of all their sins and call upon His name in perfect faith, believing they shall receive redemption.

        Doctrine and Covenants 100:17 And all that call upon the name of the Lord, and keep his commandments, shall be saved. Even so. Amen.

        Doctrine and Covenants 82:10
        10 I, the Lord, am bound when ye do what I say; but when ye do not what I say, ye have no promise.

      • Jack:

        So you know that active members of the LDS church generally are not calling on the Lord because they don’t teach the doctrine of being born again as frequently as they should. That’s what I take away from your last comment.

        OK, I would venture to say that, yes, you are right that some of them probably don’t. If even the brother of Jared could fail to call on the Lord like he should then surely some LDS are going to fail in that regard as well. But even so, The real question should be: What *do* we talk about (in lieu of instantaneous rebirth)? We talk about things having to do with *enduring* in the gospel. And that is what we — those who are born again or in the process of it — need to hear.

      • Log:

        So you know that active members of the LDS church generally are not calling on the Lord because they don’t teach the doctrine of being born again as frequently as they should. That’s what I take away from your last comment.

        No, that is not how I know it. The fact that they do not teach that we must call upon the name of the Lord unto redemption is supporting evidence for the thesis that they are not calling upon the Lord as they ought. That such a doctrine is met with ridicule and condescending scorn from among those of the household of faith is also supporting evidence for the thesis that the Saints are not calling upon the name of the Lord and are therefore not born again. I do know it, independent of these evidences.

        Those who have been born again see eye-to-eye, because they know, having experienced. Those who have not been born again cannot understand the things of the Spirit, thinking them foolish (1 Corinthians 2:14).

        But even so, The real question should be: What *do* we talk about (in lieu of instantaneous rebirth)? We talk about things having to do with *enduring* in the gospel.

        Unless one is born again, one is *not* enduring to the end, but the end is approaching anyways. I appreciate the wisdom of the Lord in giving us so much to do in the Church; having so many outward works and performances keeps many people out of a lot more trouble than they’d be in otherwise.

        And that is what we — those who are born again or in the process of it — need to hear.

        The Lord has commanded us to teach nothing but repentance and faith on the name of Christ. Those who are born again are taught from on high what comes after that (2 Nephi 32). Those who are born again are capable of enduring to the end in faith, hope, and charity, and no one else is capable, because no one else has faith, neither hope, neither charity.

        And you get saving faith, as well as hope, and charity, through complete repentance of all sin and mighty prayer to receive redemption (Alma 22:15-18) [or the Spirit (3 Nephi 19:9), or charity (Moroni 7:48)], as repeatedly demonstrated and taught throughout the Book of Mormon. Again, the whole church is condemned for hypocrisy concerning the teachings of the Book of Mormon (D&C 84:54-59). We say, and don’t do.

        Therefore, if you believe in enduring to the end in faith, hope, and charity, according to the commandments, you ought to pray with all the energy of heart that you may be filled with this love, which God bestows upon all who are true followers of His Son, Jesus Christ, repenting from all your sins, for there is no other way to receive it, and with it you will have faith and hope (Moroni 10:20-21).

        And if you don’t have the faith to pray in this fashion, believing that you will receive, then perhaps it would be profitable to pray to have the power to do so; ask the Lord to help you with your power to believe (Mark 9:24).

        It is simple to describe, but hard to do – it cannot be taught directly, but it must be learned. As Nephi taught: “And now behold, I say unto you that the right way is to believe in Christ, and deny him not; and Christ is the Holy One of Israel; wherefore ye must bow down before him, and worship him with all your might, mind, and strength, and your whole soul; and if ye do this ye shall in nowise be cast out.”

        Or, as the Lord has said today, “Listen to the voice of Jesus Christ, your Redeemer, the Great I Am, whose arm of mercy hath atoned for your sins; who will gather his people even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, even as many as will hearken to my voice and humble themselves before me, and call upon me in mighty prayer.”

        For He has also said “I will raise up unto myself a pure people, that will serve me in righteousness; and all that call upon the name of the Lord, and keep his commandments, shall be saved. Even so. Amen.”

        And He has said “I, the Lord, am bound when ye do what I say; but when ye do not what I say, ye have no promise.”

        Therefore do not dispute the doctrine, but put it into practice; perform an experiment on the word of the Lord, and see if He will keep His promises.

      • Jack:

        Log,

        It’s not the doctrine that is met with scorn. It’s your incessant railing on the saints because of your interpretation of that doctrine that is met with ridicule and scorn.

        Personally, I wish the whole world would embrace the gospel.

      • Log:

        Jack,

        At this point, I am simply explaining the doctrine, or gospel, of Christ, to those who might read this exchange and be profited thereby. I wish everyone would embrace the gospel too, and repent of all their sins, and cry mightily to be redeemed from them, having perfect faith in Christ, that they may be born again, and then endure to the end with steadfastness in Christ, being filled with the love of God and all mankind, so that they may be saved in the kingdom of God.

      • Good Will:

        I cannot speak for Jack or Log. I only know that those things which Log has taught above are true. If Log is saying that the Church is in apostasy, generally, he is right. For the vast body of “believers” — not one of them in a hundred — have received an outpouring of the Holy Ghost sufficient to testify to them, with indisputable power and great glory, to the filling of their souls with cleansing love and light, of the “truthfulness” of this work.

        Yes, people have received the influence of the Holy Ghost, by degrees; almost as if by “borrowed light”, walking in the path of righteousness, doing the works of righteous. But they do them by rote, following the written commandments or the words of the prophets. This is a start.

        But the saints, by and large, have only come this far. They have been baptized; they received the ordinance of the gift of the Holy Ghost; but, by and large, they have not done what is required to receive the Holy Ghost. They have stopped short. They have no progressed down the path. They have “settled” for what they have received and they have not received “more”. Consequently, God has withheld His visions and His blessings from them. He has withheld His power. To that extent, the Church has “apostatized”.

    • Good Will:

      In the comments below Log states: Those who have been born again see eye-to-eye, because they know, having experienced. Those who have not been born again cannot understand the things of the Spirit, thinking them foolish (1 Corinthians 2:14)….Unless one is born again, one is *not* enduring to the end, but the end is approaching anyways….The Lord has commanded us to teach nothing but repentance and faith on the name of Christ. Those who are born again are taught from on high what comes after that (2 Nephi 32). Those who are born again are capable of enduring to the end in faith, hope, and charity, and no one else is capable, because no one else has faith, neither hope, neither charity.”

      THIS IS TRUE! Thank you, Log!!!!!!!

  • Log:

    This is why confirmations are, by and large, ineffective – the same power required to work miracles is the power required to perform the ordinances of the Melchizedek priesthood. When that power is lacking in an earthly administrator, the Lord Himself (3 Nephi 9:20) or the Father (2 Nephi 31:12-13) shall perform the ordinance themselves upon one who has complied with the conditions, including repenting from all one’s sins, being authoritatively baptized, and exercising perfect faith in Christ (2 Nephi 9:23).

  • Log:

    … and that faith is gotten through prayer in obedience to the word of God (Helaman 5:40-45).

  • JR:

    Spek,
    I said “If we were to lose…”
    I did not mean to imply that the fulness of the Gospel is not to be found in other places in the BoM.
    By all means, the sermons by the Savior to the Nephites were full of profound truth.
    All too often we overlook 1Nephi and 2Nephi. The fulness of the Gospel is in the writings of Nephi. One has to look with the Spirit and it is all there to be “mined”.
    Second Nephi is a treasure trove of Gospel truth which explains and clarifies many of the doctrines Nephi touched on in his earlier writings.
    Sorry to see that we are still debating BFHG event vs process.
    For those who have experienced it, there is no doubt it is a life changing one of a kind experience.
    Since God is no respector of persons, my take is that if HE gives the experience to one as a profound spiritual bonanza, HE will do the same for anyone whom HE deems ready.
    Much love brothers!
    JR

    • Spektator:

      JR,
      I think there is a strong correlation between the ‘doctrine’ of Christ found in second Nephi and the fullness of the gospel of Jesus Christ found in third Nephi. I wrote a post a while ago that postulated that the doctrine encompassed the gospel.

      I would also say that the debate on process versus event will continue as long as there are general authorities who espouse and preach of the ‘process of being born again.’ We know that the baptism of fire can be an event, that is well documented in the scriptures. I would hope that no one who wished to know God would be satisfied with the ‘assumed’ process. No joy can be greater than that experienced by one through the baptism of fire.

  • Log:

    JR,

    You bring up a point that I was not actually addressing – there are (roughly) two perspectives at work here.

    There are those who claim that authoritative earthly ordinances are in and of themselves sufficient for salvation, regardless whether heaven directly manifests anything discernible to the recipient. The ordinances alone, by claim of proper authority, are sufficient for acceptation of the recipient by heaven. No need for repentance from all sin and mighty prayer to receive manifestations from heaven that one is acceptable – as long as you have received the earthly ordinances and you’re “trying” to “repent”, you’re good enough, and if, at the time you die, you are not pure, well, nobody’s perfect; God will beat you with few stripes and you shall at last be saved in the kingdom of God. Priesthood is dependent upon lines of authority, and these lines of authority are the basis for belief in the efficacy of the ordinances. The scriptures appear to be interpreted metaphorically and allegorically by those who hold this view.

    There are those who claim that earthly ordinances are insufficient, even though necessary, for salvation, and that heaven must ratify the ordinances to the recipient, that they may know they have been accepted, or else they have not been. Therefore there is urgent need for repentance from all sin and mighty prayer unto faith in Christ to be redeemed from our sins and thus born again, and for following in strict obedience to the commandments of God to the end of our lives in diligent prayer to retain the remission of our sins, that we may die clean and firm in the hope of a glorious resurrection. Priesthood is dependent upon authorization directly from heaven and personal holiness before God through the Atonement of Christ. Scriptures, to those who hold this perspective, are interpreted as literally as possible.

    Suppose the first perspective were correct. If it is true that one can be baptized by fire and the Holy Ghost and notice nothing, and it is also true that, as Joseph taught, one cannot receive the Holy Ghost without receiving revelations, then it must be the case that some revelations are imperceptible and unknowable by the recipient… but then, what good would such manifestations be? For if nothing is noticed, nothing is learned, and there is no rejoicing on the part of the recipient; therefore there is no rejoicing on the part of the giver (D&C 88:33). And, nothing being noticed, what divides such a recipient from those who had, in fact, received nothing? And how could this difference be known by the recipient, since nothing is noticed?

    Is God a respecter of persons, that some notice pentecostal outpourings of spiritual manifestations upon receiving the Holy Ghost, while some notice exactly nothing (D&C 38:26)? Or is the rarity of spiritual gifts and manifestations among the people a sign that perhaps the laws upon which these blessings are predicated have not been complied with (D&C 130:20-21)? After all, is not that which is Spirit light (D&C 84:45-46), and is not light discernible (Alma 32:35)? Therefore, it would appear that those who claim to have received the Holy Ghost and noticed nothing, have, in fact, received nothing (D&C 93:32).

    Thus the first perspective would seem to be self-contradictory on its face, by reference to the scriptures. But each may judge for themselves.

  • JR:

    Good points Log.
    I don’t think the issue can be clarified any better for those who regard the BFHG as a gradual experience and therefore see no need to seek for something more.
    My thought is that rather than justifying their non-reception of THE EVENT, perhaps they would be well served by making whatever effort might be necessary to comply with all that has been written on the topic IN THE SCRIPTURES to see if there is something they have missed out on.
    It is quite plain in 2 Nephi 31:17-18 that baptism of water and baptism of fire and the Holy Ghost are just the beginning (The Gate) of the straight and narrow path which leads to sanctification by the Savior Himself (2Nephi 32:6).
    Justifying ones failure to pass thru The Gate (the Savior Himself bestows the BFHG (Matt. 3:11)) and even start on the path, is foolish in the extreme to my way of thinking. It is spiritual suicide.
    This hardly is an issue to take a proud, stubborn stance over!
    JR

  • JR:

    Spek,
    Just getting back to you. Sorry to be a bit slow here.

    We are in complete agreement. The fullness of the Gospel of Jesus Christ is found in the Doctrine of Christ. It is all there for the “mining” as I mentioned yesterday.

    How disheartening it is to see so many in the church today who believe and promote the false idea that the baptism of fire and the Holy Ghost is an imperceptible experience that comes on a person gradually over an extended period of time. That is false doctrine and will damn anyone who believes it and relies on it.

    It is promoted in the Ensign, in general conference talks, and from the podium at every baptism.
    It is false doctrine.

    There is but ONE LORD and ONE BAPTISM and must be accomplished correctly or it is of no value.

    One who fails to receive BOTH the baptism of water and the baptism of fire and the Holy Ghost has not entered the straight and narrow path to Eternal Life. No matter what their good works, the Lord will eventually say unto them “I know you not”.
    JR

  • Jack:

    Wow, JR. I’d like you to show me where in the scriptures the exact operation of the baptism of fire is set forth as *doctrine*. Show me where the one and only way that this baptism must be experienced is set forth in explicit detail — the same level of detail that the Savior used to teach the baptism of water.

  • Log:

    Not being JR, here are some references from the Book of Mormon.

    2 Nephi 31:13 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.

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

    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.

    Note the similarity between that and this:

    Moroni 10:32 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.

    33 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.

    That is because that is how we become sanctified, or literal saints, not just Saints by virtue of Church membership, through the atonement of Christ.

    Ether 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.

    Helaman 5: 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.

    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.

    3 Nephi 9: 20 And ye shall offer for a sacrifice unto me a broken heart and a contrite spirit. 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 19:8 And when they had ministered those same words which Jesus had spoken—nothing varying from the words which Jesus had spoken—behold, they knelt again and prayed to the Father in the name of Jesus.

    9 And they did pray for that which they most desired; and they desired that the Holy Ghost should be given unto them.

    10 And when they had thus prayed they went down unto the water’s edge, and the multitude followed them.

    11 And it came to pass that Nephi went down into the water and was baptized.

    12 And he came up out of the water and began to baptize. And he baptized all those whom Jesus had chosen.

    13 And it came to pass when they were all baptized and had come up out of the water, the Holy Ghost did fall upon them, and they were filled with the Holy Ghost and with fire.

    That one is filled with fire and that singular, specific joy which is indescribable and full of glory, and is able to speak with the tongue of angels thereafter, or prophesy, is the essential core of the experience as far as can be described. The experience of spiritual rebirth, or quickening, or being made alive in Christ which occurs through the baptism by fire and the Holy Ghost cannot be expressed in words which mean anything to those who haven’t received it.

    That it is not described in greater detail in the scriptures is simply because it is utterly outside of the experience of those who have not received it. It is, quite literally, like trying to describe color to a blind person. Once received, the aptness of the descriptions in the scriptures pertaining to these experiences requires no additional comment. Spektator, JR, and I don’t argue about these things because we have a common experience of the reality underlying these scriptural descriptions, and we recognize in each other this truth. Thus we see eye-to-eye, as do any who have received.

    • Good Will:

      For the FIRST TIME in 35 YEARS of membership in the Church, I feel like I have found true brothers! I have felt like a “wanderer in the wilderness” and a “sojourner in a strange land” walking the halls and aisles of the Church, speaking up in Sunday School only to be silenced, surrounded by people who could not understand and did not appreciate my testimony — and now I know WHY!

      Thank you, Log! Thank you, JR and Spektator! THANK YOU for blessing me with your testimonies!

      I went to Church yesterday and sat through 70 minutes of “non-testimony” meeting, delivered by well-meaning, but misunderstanding people who (like I, for so many years) have “missed the mark”, being deluded into thinking that embracing the culture of Mormonism, the actions and jargon, was enough; that just doing our job, doing our duty (having FHE, reading our scriptures, “saying” our prayers, etc.) would “save” us. But they can’t!!! NO WORKS but REPENTANCE and CALLING UPON GOD IN THE NAME OF JESUS CHRIST IN MIGHTY PRAYER can place us in the path of salvation!!!!!

      I know that when I have done so, when I have repented of ALL my sins and called upon His name, He has poured out His Spirit upon me in abundance, to the consuming of my flesh, as it were. The heavens have been opened to me and I have received great things. Why did I stop?

      I have received visions and revelations from heaven. He was the Giver of the gift! Why did I stop?

      We have been told to “hush up”, to keep our “revelations” and our “spiritual experiences” to ourselves, to write them in book, if we have to, but not share them in our public meetings. The Spirit of the Lord has been restrained in the modern LDS Church! Precisely because many of the members and leaders have not received the Spirit of God and do not understand what it is we’re talking about when we say we have been “born of God”!

      There may be, too, some things so sacred as to not be shared in public. But bearing witness of Christ ought not be one of them! We are not “the light”. We ought not draw attention to ourselves. It is enough to teach from the scriptures the doctrines and experiences which have been revealed (as you’ve done here).

      Thank you! Now I know. Thanks to you, I KNOW that, though I erred, wondering why the way for me heretofore was so dry and desolate, now I KNOW! It is because I sought living water from dry cisterns and looked to those whom I ought not to look for “further light and knowledge”. I ought to have gone to converse with the Lord through the veil.

      I ought to have continued.

      Quite literally, acting on the Lord’s behalf, you have rescued me from a certain hell.

      I am grateful.

  • Log:

    There is no scripture, at all, to support the notion that the baptism by fire is, or can be, imperceptible.

    “For the word of the Lord is truth, and whatsoever is truth is light, and whatsoever is light is Spirit, even the Spirit of Jesus Christ.”

    ” O then, is not this real? I say unto you, Yea, because it is light; and whatsoever is light, is good, because it is discernible.”

    “And every man whose spirit receiveth not the light is under condemnation.”

    Neither is there scripture to support the notion that the baptism by fire is, or can be, an extended, even lifelong process. The very word “baptism” contradicts it. Baptism connotes a binary condition: one is either baptized, or one is not, and there is no middle ground.

  • JR:

    Jack,
    You are either extremely determined to have it your way on this issue or you are on someone’s payroll. Do you work in the COB?

    Here are the words of Paul:
    One Lord, one faith, one baptism (Eph. 4:5)

    If there is only ONE BAPTISM, then we would not expect to see some people baptized by sprinkling, some by pouring, some by immersion, some by women, some as infants, some as 8 year olds, nor by any other means than the prescibed method.

    If there is but ONE baptism by water, WHY WOULD THERE BE MORE THAN ONE BAPTISM OF FIRE AND THE HOLY GHOST? Is Father’s House a house of confusion?

    Here are the words of Nephi:
    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 straight 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.
    (2 Nephi 31:17-18)

    How could one “enter in” by “the gate” into the straight and narrow way (which includes receiving the Holy Ghost) over a prolonged period of time; say 5 or 10 or 20 or 50 years?

    Can you explain to me how one enters in by a GATE over a period of many years?

    Nephi goes on to tell us, entering in by the gate into the straight and narrow way is just the beginning:
    19. And now, my beloved brethren, after ye have gotten into this straight and narrow path, I would ask if all is done? Behold, I say unto you, Nay; for ye have not come thus far save it were by the word of Christ with unshaken faith in Him, relying wholly upon the merits of Him, who is mighty to save.
    20. Wherefore, ye must press forward with a steadfastness in Christ…(2 Nephi 31:19-20)

    If it were to take 20 or 50 years to pass thru The Gate, how many of those people would survive to complete the journey ahead of them on the straight and narrow path? You seem to want to make of God a respecter of persons because He is obviously quite arbitrary about whom HE selects to have a reasonable chance of completing the journey down the straight and narrow path…to Eternal Life.

    Sorry Jack, these references are not from the Savior Himself…OR ARE THEY?

    What do you think it means to be able to speak the Words of Christ after one has received the baptism of fire and the Holy Ghost?

    If you are truly not seeing this, I am sorry for you. I suggest you fast and pray until this issue is clarified for you.

    If you are purposely contentious, shame on you.
    JR

  • Jack:

    JR & Log,

    You have not shown me exactly how one is *supposed* to experience the baptism of fire. And as you, Log, said, it can’t really be explained to those who haven’t experienced it. So the question is this: If you are not able to show by the scriptures exactly how this baptism ought to occur and, indeed, if it cannot really be explained why do you go on to judge those who have demonstrated the fruits of having received such but cannot say that it occurred according to your interpretation of the doctrine?

    By their fruits you shall know them. You must look at their fruits — indeed, I would challenge you to look at the fruits of those devoted LDS who are sacrificing their time, talents, and all to the kingdom and then see if your personal lives match up to theirs. The Lord doesn’t care so much what we’ve experienced in terms of this or that operation of the spirit so much as he cares about what we’re becoming. And the saints are becoming a loving people; a people who love the Lord and love their neighbors. Zion is comprised of people who care about the welfare of their neighbors not of people who boast of their acquaintance with the miraculous.

    • Good Will:

      Jack wrote: “You have not shown me exactly how one is *supposed* to experience the baptism of fire. And as you, Log, said, it can’t really be explained to those who haven’t experienced it. So the question is this: If you are not able to show by the scriptures exactly how this baptism ought to occur and, indeed, if it cannot really be explained why do you go on to judge those who have demonstrated the fruits of having received such but cannot say that it occurred according to your interpretation of the doctrine?”

      Jack,

      All I can say is — if you are sincere and truly seeking — that you have MUCH to look forward to! The Lord has a REAL treat for you! You are to be commended if you have persisted and “endured” thus far. Now CALL upon God IN MIGHTY PRAYER and REPENT of ALL your sins, believing that you shall receive, and YOU SHALL BE FORGIVEN and RECEIVE THE HOLY GHOST.

      (That, by the way, is how you know you have been forgiven: you receive the Holy Ghost.)

      You will NEVER be the same after that. Either you will go on to eternal life, or you will be damned, having rejected (to some extent) the gift. If you have not received this gift already, if you do as instructed, you WILL be BAPTIZED in the heavenly element. You will speak with the tongues of angels! You will glorify God — and testify of Him — for you will KNOW Him! You will receive of His Spirit and, depending on how that Spirit operates upon you, you may have visions, dreams, hear heavenly voices, music, be moved within with intense feelings, commune with prophets and saints (living and dead), and behold the very face of God! Above all, you will have KNOWLEDGE that you do not now have. And your FAITH and your HOPE and your CHARITY will grow to overflowing, to a fullness, while you are yet “in the Spirit”.

      Thus Nephi taught that repentance and faith on the Lord Jesus Christ, calling upon Him in mighty prayer, is so essential. It is, indeed, the only thing that matters until you get inside “the gate”.

      Then, following the Spirit — receiving and obeying every word of God that falls from His lips — is the only thing that matters after that.

      I contend, Jack, that physical baptism truly is the gate. If done with real intent, having faith in Jesus Christ, repenting fully and calling upon God, then baptism by the Holy Ghost lies just beyond that gate.

      You may be dismayed to learn however (as have I been, recently) that you have “paused” far too long at that gate and have operated all too long while beholding others from the gate, “seeing” and “knowing” for yourself only what can be observed from the gate.

      There’s a big crowd at the gate! But few there be that go in thereat.

      I walked down the path, for a time. But then I returned to the start, finding myself alone and fearing that I had erred, somehow.

      I was mistaken.

      I should have pressed onward.

      I will do so now.

      • Jack:

        Just so you know, I do believe in the reception of the Holy Ghost. And I believe that many in the church have received it or are in the process of receiving it. What I object to is the notion that receiving the Holy ghost can only happen as a singular event. Yes, some will receive it as did the Lamanites — an instantaneous conversion. But for most it will come “line upon line, here a little and there a little.” That said, what I strongly object to is the idea that members are not talking much about sacred experiences because they are not having them. That’s just false. Most members who have sacred experiences will talk about them only when constrained by the spirit.

        The church is moving forward. Come back brother.

      • Log:

        Jack,

        The scriptures are *all* on the other side. Why is it that you don’t see that fact as problematic for your position? Do you not believe the scriptures?

      • Log:

        I cannot understand how anyone who believed the scriptures could disbelieve, or argue against, the oft-repeated doctrine of crying mightily to receive the Holy Ghost. Are not the scriptures given by the Holy Ghost? Isn’t arguing against them contending against the Holy Ghost?

      • Log:

        I mean, I read about the reason people reject this doctrine in the scriptures, but I still don’t understand what rests in the hearts of those who reject these things.

        Alma 33:20
        19 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.

        20 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.

        21 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?

        “Looking” is here a type and a representation of crying mightily unto the Lord to receive the Holy Ghost, to be filled with the Spirit.

        Jack, why will you perish rather than repent and call upon God in your might to receive the Holy Ghost? Why will you fight against the word of God?

      • Log:

        Surely you do not believe anything bad would occur should you lay aside your sins and call upon God in your might, having faith in Christ, to receive the Holy Ghost?

        Does not God give liberally to all who ask him in faith, believing they shall receive?

        Why therefore do you not either ask if this doctrine is true, or, if you believe it, why then do you not ask for the gift of the Holy Ghost?

        Do you not believe God will cleanse you of your sins?

      • Jack:

        Log,

        Why is it that Alma (the younger), he who experienced one of the most miraculous conversions in all of scripture, would liken receiving the word unto a seed that would grow *over time* into a tree representing eternal life? If he were truly concerned about the instantaneous conversion of those to whom he was preaching don’t you think he would have shared something akin to what you espouse as the proper mode of receiving the Holy Ghost?

        The editors of the scriptures highlight the miraculous conversion stories because they’re conceptually coherent. How do you present a lifelong conversion process in a way that calls the sinner to action? That’s difficult to do. And so what we have are conversion stories that demonstrate the reality of conversion *plus* doctrinal expositions of the principles involves *plus* the counsel of living prophets who help us apply these teachings in a way that make sense to us in the most intimate terms possible.

        You gotta put it all together, bro, otherwise you’re likely to miss the mark.

  • Jack:

    And by the way, JR, I have nothing to do with the church office building. I’m your regular nobody who tries to do what seems right.

  • Log:

    why do you go on to judge those who have demonstrated the fruits of having received such but cannot say that it occurred according to your interpretation of the doctrine?

    All I say is that for each person who fails to understand the doctrine of the baptism by fire and the Holy Ghost, that person also fails to bring forth the fruits which follow from having received it, such as prophesy and miracles – their “priesthood blessings” are not answered because they have no power, and that is a fact which even President Packer admits, and they have no power because they are unholy, or else they would have power.

    Doctrine and Covenants 50:29
    29 And if ye are purified and cleansed from all sin, ye shall ask whatsoever you will in the name of Jesus and it shall be done.

    Helaman 4:24 The Spirit of the Lord doth not dwell in unholy temples.

    And it is the Spirit which gives power (see Moses 6:61).

    That’s not a value judgement, neither is it me condemning them; that is simple observation.

    I’m your regular nobody who tries to do what seems right.

    Then do what is right.

    2 Nephi 25:29
    29 And now behold, I say unto you that the right way is to believe in Christ, and deny him not; and Christ is the Holy One of Israel; wherefore ye must bow down before him, and worship him with all your might, mind, and strength, and your whole soul; and if ye do this ye shall in nowise be cast out.

    Contend no more against the Holy Ghost, but … receive it, and take upon you the name of Christ; … humble yourselves even to the dust, and worship God, in whatsoever place ye may be in, in spirit and in truth; and … live in thanksgiving daily, for the many mercies and blessings which he doth bestow upon you.

  • Log:

    Doctrine and Covenants 42:14
    14 And the Spirit shall be given unto you by the prayer of faith; and if ye receive not the Spirit ye shall not teach.

    I am extremely careful in what I choose to contend against.

    14 Wherefore, take heed, my beloved brethren, that ye do not judge that which is evil to be of God, or that which is good and of God to be of the devil.

    15 For behold, my brethren, it is given unto you to judge, that ye may know good from evil; and the way to judge is as plain, that ye may know with a perfect knowledge, as the daylight is from the dark night.

    16 For behold, the Spirit of Christ is given to every man, that he may know good from evil; wherefore, I show unto you the way to judge; for every thing which inviteth to do good, and to persuade to believe in Christ, is sent forth by the power and gift of Christ; wherefore ye may know with a perfect knowledge it is of God.

    17 But whatsoever thing persuadeth men to do evil, and believe not in Christ, and deny him, and serve not God, then ye may know with a perfect knowledge it is of the devil; for after this manner doth the devil work, for he persuadeth no man to do good, no, not one; neither do his angels; neither do they who subject themselves unto him.

    18 And now, my brethren, seeing that ye know the light by which ye may judge, which light is the light of Christ, see that ye do not judge wrongfully; for with that same judgment which ye judge ye shall also be judged.

    And I would certainly NOT contend against a doctrine, which I knew had to be true and of God because it is entirely consistent with the scriptures, based solely on the fact that I feel it doesn’t paint me in a positive light. I don’t care to gratify my pride or vain ambition; that is contrary to the ways of God. My reputation doesn’t matter; only the Truth, and obedience thereto, matters, for that is what sets us free – free from sin, free from error, free from the lusts and concerns of this world, free from the need to impress those who dwell in the great and spacious building, whether in or out of the household of faith.

  • Log:

    If you feel a need to repent, if you feel unclean before God, now is a good time to lay aside all pride and rebellion and contention, prostrate yourself unto the dust in your secret place, and cry mightily to be forgiven and to receive the Holy Ghost.

    Mormon 9:21
    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.

    Then you will have power to bring forth the fruits of having received the Spirit.

    Moroni 10:24 And now I speak unto all the ends of the earth—that if the day cometh that the power and gifts of God shall be done away among you, it shall be because of unbelief.

    25 And wo be unto the children of men if this be the case; for there shall be none that doeth good among you, no not one. For if there be one among you that doeth good, he shall work by the power and gifts of God.

    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.

    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;

    22 Therefore, if ye do these things blessed are ye, for ye shall be lifted up at the last day.

    2 Nephi 31: 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.

    John 14:12
    12 Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father.

    3 Nephi 12:16
    16 Therefore let your light so shine before this people, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father who is in heaven.

    3 Nephi 18:24
    24 Therefore, hold up your light that it may shine unto the world. Behold I am the light which ye shall hold up—that which ye have seen me do.

    Could it be any more plain?

  • Log:

    Zion is comprised of people who care about the welfare of their neighbors not of people who boast of their acquaintance with the miraculous.

    Let us see who gets invited to Zion.

    Moses 7:27
    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.

    There’s that pesky miraculous stuff again. No boasting about it, even, it’s all kind of matter-of-fact.

  • Log:

    I only post these things so that others may benefit from them. Let each man judge them how they may, for with the same judgement they judge these things, they shall themselves be judged (Moroni 7:18).

  • Log:

    And, one final point.

    The Lord doesn’t care so much what we’ve experienced in terms of this or that operation of the spirit so much as he cares about what we’re becoming.

    John 3:5
    5 Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.

    Doctrine and Covenants 5:16
    16 And behold, whosoever believeth on my words, them will I visit with the manifestation of my Spirit; and they shall be born of me, even of water and of the Spirit.

    Moses 7:59 By reason of transgression cometh the fall, which fall bringeth death, and inasmuch as ye were born into the world by water, and blood, and the spirit, which I have made, and so became of dust a living soul, even so ye must be born again into the kingdom of heaven, of water, and of the Spirit, and be cleansed by blood, even the blood of mine Only Begotten; that ye might be sanctified from all sin, and enjoy the words of eternal life in this world, and eternal life in the world to come, even immortal glory;

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

    61 Therefore it is given to abide in you; the record of heaven; the Comforter; the peaceable things of immortal glory; the truth of all things; that which quickeneth all things, which maketh alive all things; that which knoweth all things, and hath all power according to wisdom, mercy, truth, justice, and judgment.

    62 And now, behold, I say unto you: This is the plan of salvation unto all men, through the blood of mine Only Begotten, who shall come in the meridian of time.

    63 And behold, all things have their likeness, and all things are created and made to bear record of me, both things which are temporal, and things which are spiritual; things which are in the heavens above, and things which are on the earth, and things which are in the earth, and things which are under the earth, both above and beneath: all things bear record of me.

    64 And it came to pass, when the Lord had spoken with Adam, our father, that Adam cried unto the Lord, and he was caught away by the Spirit of the Lord, and was carried down into the water, and was laid under the water, and was brought forth out of the water.

    65 And thus he was baptized, and the Spirit of God descended upon him, and thus he was born of the Spirit, and became quickened in the inner man.

    66 And he heard a voice out of heaven, saying: Thou art baptized with fire, and with the Holy Ghost. This is the record of the Father, and the Son, from henceforth and forever;

    67 And thou art after the order of him who was without beginning of days or end of years, from all eternity to all eternity.

    68 Behold, thou art one in me, a son of God; and thus may all become my sons. Amen.

    Thus it is that we become what we are intended to be: sons of God, by “this or that operation of the Spirit” which is disdained.

    Ether 4:4 Behold, I have written upon these plates the very things which the brother of Jared saw; and there never were greater things made manifest than those which were made manifest unto the brother of Jared.

    5 Wherefore the Lord hath commanded me to write them; and I have written them. And he commanded me that I should seal them up; and he also hath commanded that I should seal up the interpretation thereof; wherefore I have sealed up the interpreters, according to the commandment of the Lord.

    6 For the Lord said unto me: They shall not go forth unto the Gentiles until the day that they shall repent of their iniquity, and become clean before the Lord.

    7 And in that day that they shall exercise faith in me, saith the Lord, even as the brother of Jared did, that they may become sanctified in me, then will I manifest unto them the things which the brother of Jared saw, even to the unfolding unto them all my revelations, saith Jesus Christ, the Son of God, the Father of the heavens and of the earth, and all things that in them are.

    8 And he that will contend against the word of the Lord, let him be accursed; and he that shall deny these things, let him be accursed; for unto them will I show no greater things, saith Jesus Christ; for I am he who speaketh.

    9 And at my command the heavens are opened and are shut; and at my word the earth shall shake; and at my command the inhabitants thereof shall pass away, even so as by fire.

    10 And he that believeth not my words believeth not my disciples; and if it so be that I do not speak, judge ye; for ye shall know that it is I that speaketh, at the last day.

    11 But he that believeth these things which I have spoken, him will I visit with the manifestations of my Spirit, and he shall know and bear record. For because of my Spirit he shall know that these things are true; for it persuadeth men to do good.

    12 And whatsoever thing persuadeth men to do good is of me; for good cometh of none save it be of me. I am the same that leadeth men to all good; he that will not believe my words will not believe me—that I am; and he that will not believe me will not believe the Father who sent me. For behold, I am the Father, I am the light, and the life, and the truth of the world.

    13 Come unto me, O ye Gentiles, and I will show unto you the greater things, the knowledge which is hid up because of unbelief.

  • JR:

    Jack,
    I have no interest in debating or arguing.
    You asked a question and I have spent time giving you an answer.

    If you want to answer the questions I posed to you, I can discuss this with you further.
    These are reasonable questions, asked to elicit not just a canned answer or to prolong a debate, but asked to get you to think about the dangerous position you have taken on this issue.

    Brother, it may be your perception that Log and I are just trying to win a point, arguing, but I assure you that YOUR ETERNAL LIFE IS IN DANGER, and we are simply concerned for YOU.

    “If there is but ONE baptism by water, WHY WOULD THERE BE MORE THAN ONE BAPTISM OF FIRE AND THE HOLY GHOST? Is Father’s House a house of confusion?”

    “How could one “enter in” by “the gate” into the straight and narrow way (which includes receiving the Holy Ghost) over a prolonged period of time; say 5 or 10 or 20 or 50 years?”

    “Can you explain to me how one enters in by a GATE over a period of many years?”

    “If it were to take 20 or 50 years to pass thru The Gate, how many of those people would survive to complete the journey ahead of them on the straight and narrow path? You seem to want to make of God a respecter of persons because He is obviously quite arbitrary about whom HE selects to have a reasonable chance of completing the journey down the straight and narrow path…to Eternal Life.”

    “Sorry Jack, these references (Paul & Nephi) are not from the Savior Himself…OR ARE THEY?”

    “What do you think it means to be able to speak the Words of Christ after one has received the baptism of fire and the Holy Ghost?”

    Best wishes to you brother.
    JR

  • Jack:

    JR & Log,

    I don’t care about myself — God will do with me what he will. But when I see folks on the blogs condemning the entire church because of the tiniest points of doctrine I get a little irked. You need to loosen up your tight interpretations of the scriptures and allow yourselves to be instructed by living prophets.

    Jr,

    As for the “gate” — I think of it more in terms of position rather than velocity. There is only one way into the kingdom and we find it by exercizing faith in Christ, repenting and then being baptized by water and spirit. You can try any other number of ways to get into the kingdom but you’ll fail — you won’t *find* the way (or the “gate”).

    Log,

    Those who were taken up to Zion upon conversion were removed from the earth as it was about to be flooded. Those were different days. Today we stay and build the kingdom on the earth.

    Re: Contending against the Holy Ghost — Those who receive the spirit will not contend against the Lord’s anointed but will seek to edify them and establish the kingdom according the directions received from the highest councils of the priesthood.

  • Log:

    Jack,

    Zion IS the converted – they who have been baptized by fire and the Holy Ghost. You don’t get there piecemeal, as the scripture showed.

    What do you think a prophet is?

    What do you think priesthood is?

    Is it possible for a person having been called to the Apostleship in the Church to have erroneous ideas, even doctrinal misunderstandings?

  • Log:

    Who are the Lord’s anointed?

    With what are they anointed?

    How does one edify the Lord’s anointed?

    How is one placed in a position to edify the Lord’s anointed?

    How is the kingdom established?

    Are we not all under obligation to persuade all men unto repentance (2 Nephi 26:27)?

    Does not each Aaronic priest have a duty to teach repentance (D&C 13)?

    Does not each Melchizedek priest have a duty to teach men how to enter the rest of the Lord (Alma 13:6)?

    Can one be a Melchizedek priest without being sanctified, or, in other words, made holy, without spot (Alma 13:11-12)?

    If one dies in one’s sins, that is, unholy, and with spotted garments, what is one’s final state (Alma 34:35)?

    How does one become holy, without spot (Moroni 10:32-33)?

    Does an unholy man have power in the priesthood?

    How can one tell if another man has power in the priesthood?

    Does any calling in the Church guarantee the office-holder shall be holy, and without spot?

    If so, how is the guarantee known?

    If not, then how can we know whether they are holy, and without spot, and thus speaking with power and authority from God, as opposed to preaching the philosophies of men, mingled with scripture?

    How can we know whether a leader guides us aright?

    What should we do if a leader does not guide us aright?

    What should we do if several leaders do not guide us aright?

    Is dependence upon the leadership pleasing in the sight of God?

  • Log:

    How do we distinguish between the word of God and the philosophies of men, mingled with scripture?

    Is there a calling in the Church which guarantees us that no matter what the office-holder says, it is indeed the word of God and not the philosophies of men mingled with scripture?

    If so, how is this guarantee known to be true?

    How can we know if we are holy, without spot?

    Let men come home with the Holy Ghost on them, with the spirit of revelation in them, do they want to know of me, or any other person, if they are pure? They know they are pure, as well as the angels know. But it is a sure sign that a man is impure, when he doubts in his own mind. …Be sure That a Man Who does not Know He Is Pure, Is Not Pure. (The Teachings of President Brigham Young, Vol. 3 1852-1854, p. 190, emphasis in original)

    So, this suggests an introspective question. Are you, the reader, pure?

    If you are not pure, do you wish to be pure?

    Is there a guide to becoming pure (Enos 1:1-8)?

    What stops you from doing likewise?

    Does a leader have to explicitly instruct you to do likewise (D&C 58:26)?

    Why is Enos’s account in the Book of Mormon?

    Which should take precedence if there ever is a conflict or contradiction between the scriptures and the teachings of leaders?

    Was Joseph correct when he taught this:

    We take the sacred writings into our hands, and admit that they were given by direct inspiration for the good of man. We believe that God condescended to speak from the heavens and declare His will concerning the human family, to give them just and holy laws, to regulate their conduct, and guide them in a direct way, that in due time He might take them to Himself, and make them joint heirs with His Son. But when this fact is admitted, that the immediate will of heaven is contained in the Scriptures, are we not bound as rational creatures to live in accordance to all its precepts? Will the mere admission, that this is the will of heaven ever benefit us if we do not comply with all its teachings? Do we not offer violence to the Supreme Intelligence of heaven, when we admit the truth of its teachings, and do not obey them? Do we not descend below our own knowledge, … by such a course of conduct? (Documentary History of the Church, vol. 2, p. 11.)

    Was Elder Paul H. Dunn teaching a correct principle when he said “I don’t care what the scriptures say, I care what the current prophet says they say”?

    Was President Joseph Fielding Smith teaching a correct principle when he said “If I say anything that is contrary to the scriptures, the scriptures prevail”?

    Is there a calling in the Church which renders a man immune to correction by reference to the scriptures which have been upheld as binding upon all the Saints, by common consent?

  • Log:

    Gotta love Brigham.

    I will now tell the people once and for all, that no man lives, or ever did live, that can teach a doctrine except he possesses the keys of it.

    By keys he here meant experience.

    Therefore, how shall we be able to identify true messengers that can give us knowledge concerning repentance, faith, the baptism by fire and the Holy Ghost, and so forth?

    Again, let me appeal to those who have done wrong (if any there are) and follow it. Did you come to this Conference from your homes before you first repented of your sins, and obtained forgiveness? If you did I want you to leave in the intermission, and go home again, and there I want you to stay, until your sins are remitted… so that you may not hinder those who are pure, that every individual’s heart in this Conference may be pure before God, and have a mite to contribute to the faith of the whole body, that every heart may be lighted up by the power of God, and receive the Holy Spirit of the Lord Jesus Christ, and increase from this time in all righteousness, and not come and go like a door upon its hinges, without any variation for the better.

    Let every man and woman humble themselves before the Lord, and exercise mighty faith. Did you come here for the First Presidency and the Twelve to bless you? It is out of our power to bless you unless you are prepared to receive a blessing from your Father in Heaven. We can stand before you here, and talk to you, but we cannot give you the Spirit of the Lord, unless you are prepared to receive it through our administration, it must come from the Lord.

    Imagine hearing that today.

  • JR:

    Jack,
    “Tiniest points of doctrine”??

    Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the Kingdom of God
    Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of The Spirit, he cannot enter into the Kingdom of God
    (John 3:3,5)

    Wherefore, do the things which I have told you I have seen that your Lord and your Redeemer should do; for, for this cause have they been shown unto me, THAT YE MIGHT KNOW THE GATE BY WHICH YE SHOULD ENTER. For the gate by which ye should enter is repentance and baptism by water; and then cometh a remission of your sins by fire and by the Holy Ghost.
    AND THEN are ye in this straight and narrow path which leads to eternal life; yea, ye have 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.
    (2 Nephi 31:17-18)

    “loosen up your tight interpretations of the scriptures and allow yourselves to be instructed by living prophets.”

    Are you aware that up until the 1950’s Presidents of the church did not claimed the title of “Prophet”?

    Are you aware that the sustaining of the First Presidency and Q12 as “Prophets, Seers, and Revelators” is a fairly recent invention?

    When there is a conflict between the words of any man, even a PS&R, and the words of prophets in the Book of Mormon, I will side with the Book of Mormon. It is the most correct of any book and a man may draw closer to God by abiding its precepts than any other.

    Best wishes to you brother.
    JR

  • Jack:

    JR,

    I see no conflict between the prophets in the BoM and those who lead the church today.

    Re: Tiniest points of doctrine — That spiritual baptism must be experienced in one event seems to be a rallying point on this blog. There are many who will say they’re converted whom you will reject because they cannot pinpoint an exact moment when their conversion occurred. Be REALLY careful that you don’t judge them wrongfully.

    Log,

    I know I’m not pure. I’m working on it — and with God’s help will get there someday.

    As far as the main body of your comments goes, their need not be a dichotomy between spiritual independence and following inspired leadership. Would to God that all men were prophets! But even so, I wonder that you are so quick to challenge the slightest bit of encouragement to follow living prophets whilst on the other hand you happily encourage one and all to follow dead prophets.

  • Log:

    Jack,

    There was a most enlightening discussion on that very issue here: http://www.mormoninterpreter.com/the-sod-of-yhwh-and-the-endowment/

    Indeed, I wonder at times whether the authors of these papers understand the implications of their work for the modern Church. Biblically speaking, a true prophet is one who has stood in the divine council and therefore knows the will of God. A false prophet is one who has not stood in the divine council.

    How can we know whether a man has stood in the divine council? Is there a position within the Church which guarantees the office-holder has stood in the divine council? If there is, how is this guarantee known to be true?

    Why is it that, excepting Samuel alone, none of the prophets raised up unto the Jewish Church came from the leadership of the Church, including Christ himself? Might this pattern be repeated in our dispensation? Why or why not?

    A true disciple of Christ never enjoins us to follow himself, but only points to the Master, because those who follow men, who trust in men, who make flesh their arm, get the telestial kingdom, which they purchase through hell (D&C 76:98-112).

    As Christ taught, we should do what the leaders say (unless the Lord directs otherwise), for they sit in Joseph’s seat. They are the leaders of the Church, and none else have authority to lead in it.

    Doing one’s home teaching, attending the temple as frequently as practical, having family home evening, attending church on Sunday, fulfilling one’s calling in the Church, saying one’s morning and evening prayers, praying over one’s food, paying one’s tithes and offerings, wearing white shirts and ties to church, fasting once a month, praying using King James English, and engaging in the occasional service project are all possibly good things. I am relatively certain most, if not all, of us here do all these things. These outward performances are easy.

    Others do more even of those things. Muslims fast for an entire month and pray 5 times a day facing Mecca, Mennonites dress up (not merely pray) in what seems to be King James-era garb, Hebrew National hot dogs are certified kosher (speaking of blessing one’s food!), atheists give alms (Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, anyone? Ted Turner &. co?), and the lead singer from Sublime claimed to have taken all his money and given it all to charity.

    The Lord asks us for something a bit more involved, as he set out in 3 Nephi 12-13:24. And look how it begins (3 Nephi 12:1-2).

  • Log:

    Lastly, I dunno bout anyone else, but on campouts as a Boy Scout, when drinking from streams, I preferred to get my water from as close to the source as possible. The further away from the source, the more contaminated the water gets.

    There’s an analogy somewhere in there to something.

  • Jack:

    Log,

    Just about all of those practices you mention are listed among those things that the Nephite saints did or were charged to do (according to their own customs). Did that make them like the Zoramites? Of course not. Also, we can analogize from the Book of Mormon as well. Most of the Nephite prophets (when times are relatively good) seem to come from the church and *not* from the outside.

  • Log:

    The book begins with Jeremiah and many prophets from outside the leadership of the Church crying repentance one year after Josiah’s son, Zedekiah begins his reign.

    That fact, to me, has interesting and negative implications for Josiah’s “reform,” which seems to have been unauthorized.

    There were some interesting articles on THAT topic recently, too.

    http://www.mormoninterpreter.com/josiahs-reform-an-introduction/
    http://www.mormoninterpreter.com/vindicating-josiah/
    http://www.mormoninterpreter.com/prophets-and-kings-in-lehis-jerusalem-and-margaret-barkers-temple-theology/

    Let every man make up his own mind about that, though; to me, there are extremely telling parallels between the Deuteronomist proscriptions described in the last article and the culture of the modern Church which lead me to wonder if we have likewise had some kind of unauthorized religious reform in the Church which has had the same effect upon us, that the heavens are sealed against us.

    Anyways, Lehi apparently did not reject these prophets, even though none of them were from among the Brethren (the Elders of the Church). Instead, he prays with all his heart on behalf of his people, and is given an open vision, the contents of which are not in the Book of Mormon as we have it. He is given another vision soon after in which he stands in the divine council and receives his commission from the Lord to proclaim the sins of of the people of the Church to them, and teach them of the Messiah and the conditions of repentance and redemption.

    His son, Nephi, wishing to know for himself, prays about his father’s message, and is at that time born of the Spirit (that is what is meant by “I cried unto the Lord and behold he did visit me”) and believes his father’s word. And we know that the Lord made him a teacher and a ruler over his brothers, even though he was the youngest at the time. Culturally, the right of rule fell to the oldest.

    I like this statement from Nephi.

    17 And it came to pass after I, Nephi, having heard all the words of my father, concerning the things which he saw in a vision, and also the things which he spake by the power of the Holy Ghost, which power he received by faith on the Son of God—and the Son of God was the Messiah who should come—I, Nephi, was desirous also that I might see, and hear, and know of these things, by the power of the Holy Ghost, which is the gift of God unto all those who diligently seek him, as well in times of old as in the time that he should manifest himself unto the children of men.

    18 For he is the same yesterday, today, and forever; and the way is prepared for all men from the foundation of the world, if it so be that they repent and come unto him.

    19 For he that diligently seeketh shall find; and the mysteries of God shall be unfolded unto them, by the power of the Holy Ghost, as well in these times as in times of old, and as well in times of old as in times to come; wherefore, the course of the Lord is one eternal round.

    The rest of the book presents a very complicated religious picture, with reforms, restorations, righteous minorities being led out from among apostate majorities (at least three times), and the like.

    Did the Nephites become like the Zoramites? I think they did. Nephi had to teach his followers that the outward performances and ordinances were not ends in and of themselves, but were merely types and shadows of Christ who was to come. Abinadi taught the same message to the priests of Noah, and was killed for it – and he came from outside of the hierarchy. The Zoramites had a strict dress code, a prescribed form of prayers, and held testimony meetings of sorts on their sabbaths.

    These examples were given for a reason. In the end, though, perhaps Joseph said it best.

    The best way to obtain truth and wisdom is not to ask from books, but to go to God in prayer, and obtain divine teaching.

    He also said this:

    Salvation cannot come without revelation; it is in vain for anyone to minister without it. No man is a minister of Jesus Christ without being a Prophet. No man can be a minister of Jesus Christ except he has the testimony of Jesus; and this is the spirit of prophecy. Whenever salvation has been administered, it has been by testimony. Men of the present time testify of heaven and hell, and have never seen either; and I will say that no man knows these things without this.

    That seems to be affirmed by the Book of Mormon as well.

  • Log:

    The way the Nephites became like the Zoramites was in adopting the view that it is one’s church affiliation that gives one the status of the elect of God and thus makes one “saved”, or the “good guys”, rather than the inward faith which connects one directly to God. The Zoramites were simply a particularly straightforward manifestation of this view.

    2 Nephi 30:2
    2 For behold, I say unto you that as many of the Gentiles as will repent are the covenant people of the Lord; and as many of the Jews as will not repent shall be cast off; for the Lord covenanteth with none save it be with them that repent and believe in his Son, who is the Holy One of Israel.

    Helaman 14:13
    13 And if ye believe on his name ye will repent of all your sins, that thereby ye may have a remission of them through his merits.

  • Jack:

    We need to remember, though, that after Lehi leaves Jerusalem the problem seems to be keeping people *in* the church. Yes, there were a few migrations and what not but generally what we have are leaders trying to keep the people in a state of repentance. Indeed, their biggest concern was to keep them from dissenting away from the church, away from their religious society.

    And such is the state of affairs today. We mustn’t think that because there have been new dispensations of the gospel from time to time that we are in a state of apostasy today because we are not called into the wilderness or into some strange sectarian nonsense.

    That said, it is well understood by most active LDS that conversion is generally an esoteric process — something that is understood only on an individual level.

  • Log:

    We must, however, think that the cessation of prophecy, angelic ministrations, visitations, visions, and miracles is a sign the heavens are sealed shut against us. And if the heavens are shut against us, it is on its face a sign that we, as a people, are out of the way.

    Moroni 7:27 Wherefore, my beloved brethren, have miracles ceased because Christ hath ascended into heaven, and hath sat down on the right hand of God, to claim of the Father his rights of mercy which he hath upon the children of men?

    28 For he hath answered the ends of the law, and he claimeth all those who have faith in him; and they who have faith in him will cleave unto every good thing; wherefore he advocateth the cause of the children of men; and he dwelleth eternally in the heavens.

    29 And because he hath done this, my beloved brethren, have miracles ceased? Behold I say unto you, Nay; neither have angels ceased to minister unto the children of men.

    30 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.

    31 And the office of their ministry is to call men unto repentance, and to fulfil and to do the work of the covenants of the Father, which he hath made unto the children of men, to prepare the way among the children of men, by declaring the word of Christ unto the chosen vessels of the Lord, that they may bear testimony of him.

    32 And by so doing, the Lord God prepareth the way that the residue of men may have faith in Christ, that the Holy Ghost may have place in their hearts, according to the power thereof; and after this manner bringeth to pass the Father, the covenants which he hath made unto the children of men.

    33 And Christ hath said: If ye will have faith in me ye shall have power to do whatsoever thing is expedient in me.

    34 And he hath said: Repent all ye ends of the earth, and come unto me, and be baptized in my name, and have faith in me, that ye may be saved.

    35 And now, my beloved brethren, if this be the case that these things are true which I have spoken unto you, and God will show unto you, with power and great glory at the last day, that they are true, and if they are true has the day of miracles ceased?

    36 Or have angels ceased to appear unto 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?

    37 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.

    38 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.

    I would encourage one and all to read Mormonism and Early Christianity, as well as The World and the Prophets, both available free here: http://maxwellinstitute.byu.edu/publications/books/ . Compare the attitude of the post-apostolic Christian church towards miracles, visitations, visions, and prophecy with today’s Church.

    The way a person uses words is ofttimes a clue as to his level of understanding.

    Jonah: We’re going to be digested! Do you even know what that means?

    Khalil: Of course! Digestion runs very deep in my family.

    Conversion in modern LDS vernacular doesn’t mean what it means in the scriptures, which never speak of a process of conversion – it is a binary condition, like being pregnant.

    Likewise, “good works”, scripturally, does not mean charitable works, but rather works done by the power and gifts of God – miracles, in other words.

    That is why the Lord cannot be justly accused of lying when, during the First Vision, he told Joseph that “none doeth good, no, not one.” None had the powers and gifts of God to do good works, even though there were and always have been charitable works in the world.

    Is the corruption of our religious vocabulary significant?

    The words and the way they are used in the Book of Mormon by the Lord should become our source of understanding and should be used by us in teaching gospel principles. (Ezra Taft Benson, General Conference address, Ensign, 5/87, p. 84)

    (The irony of that citation is not lost on me.)

    There is only one way to become converted unto the Lord: exercise mighty faith, and pray for forgiveness / redemption / rebirth / the Holy Ghost / charity until you receive.

    2 Nephi 25:29 And now behold, I say unto you that the right way is to believe in Christ, and deny him not; and Christ is the Holy One of Israel; wherefore ye must bow down before him, and worship him with all your might, mind, and strength, and your whole soul; and if ye do this ye shall in nowise be cast out.

    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.

    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;

    22 Therefore, if ye do these things blessed are ye, for ye shall be lifted up at the last day.

  • Log:

    “Continual repentance” is a doctrine foreign to the scriptures as well.

    “Repentance is a thing that cannot be trifled with every day. Daily transgression and daily repentance is not that which is pleasing in the sight of God.” – Joseph Smith

  • JR:

    Have we discussed this topic sufficiently?
    How ’bout a question on a different “fruit of being born again”?

    What is Nephi saying here:

    “Do ye not remember that I said unto you that after ye had received the Holy Ghost ye could speak with the tongue of angels? And now, how could ye speak with the tongue of angels save it were by the Holy Ghost?
    Angels speak by the power of the Holy Ghost; wherefore, they speak the words of Christ. Wherefore, I said unto you, feast upon the words of Christ; for behold, the words of Christ will tell you all things what ye should do.”
    (2 Nephi 32:2-3)

    Interesting statement by someone who was probably quite elderly and nearing the end of a long career as a prophet. He was writing down that which he deemed to be of most value to the seed of his brethren the lamanites, to the Jews, and to the Gentiles (us) in the latter days….on metal plates which were very tedious to work with and clumsy to handle. This was obviously something very important.
    JR

  • Jack:

    Log,

    But miracles haven’t ceased. They happen regularly in the church. Now you may be concerned that “great” manifestations are not as visible today as they were in the early days of the church. But this follows a regular pattern, the exodus pattern, if you will. At the beginning there are might miracles wrought but, by and by, things simmer down and what we have is the daily manna from heaven appearing quietly as the dews from heaven. This becomes the standard way of life in the wilderness of purification, albeit, punctuated occasionally by notable miracles.

    Re: The change in vernacular — It happens all through the scriptures. Think of the word “Babylon” or “church” or “damned” or what-have-you and then consider they’re shift in meaning and application. In my “book” there’s conversion and then there’s Conversion with a capital C. Let’s be careful not to make others an offender for a word — even when that word may be precious to us.

    JR,

    I love that verse.

  • Log:

    Jack,

    They have ceased. What miracles we have now are common outside the church as well – healings, fortuitous circumstances arising, and the like.

    The pattern is a dispensation arrives with the full power of God because of holy men, and then the holy men die or are rejected (Joseph was rejected) and the manifestations of the power of God cease, and the people of the Church slowly become as weak and as ignorant as those outside of the Church, continually losing knowledge and light. Occasionally a prophet is raised up from outside of the hierarchy and cries repentance, but the people usually reject him, BECAUSE he is not of the hierarchy. A happy exception to this pattern was the people of Melchizedek, who actually repented.

    Typically, the people ripen in iniquity and are destroyed and the kingdom given to another people who will bear Him the fruits thereof in its season.

    That is the trajectory we are on; it is set in stone (JST Matthew 21:56). That is the process the Book of Mormon describes for us. Those who have taken the Spirit to be their guide shall know who speaks truth and who errs; there may not be two to a city who have taken the Spirit to be their guide.

    And about the vernacular – Babylon, if it is not a literal reference to the historical city, always signifies the world and the quid-pro-quo society, which is the antitype of Zion, the pure in heart who can bear the presence of the Lord because they are holy. Church is any religious group. Damned means stopped, barred. There is only one conversion spoken of in the scriptures, just as there is only one baptism by water and one baptism by the Spirit.

    And the words have changed meaning in the modern LDS vernacular because people are no longer being converted and do not understand what the word means, just as the word “charity” likewise is not understood; neither is “faith” and “knowledge”.

    As an example, the word “love” carries some 27 definitions. Originally, it had far fewer. This corruption of the word has come because some have never experienced the real thing, so they apply the word in situations far removed from its original meaning. Such it is within the Church as well.

    When I was a teenager, I despised love songs. I believed they were all lies, essentially, taking that vague fondness I felt at times for my parents and blowing it up through massive poetic over-exaggeration into something it wasn’t to make themselves seem better than others. Such was my arrogance and ignorance. Then, in my late teens, I fell in love, and understood what the songs were talking about.

    Come to think of it, that is a very good analogy for being born of the Spirit.

  • Jack:

    Log,

    I simply disagree. There are miracles.

    And I disagree with your tight interpretation of the scriptures. I fear that you have created a narrative of prophetic events that allows you to justify yourself as one who is called from the outside to set the church aright.

    Re: The analogy of falling in love — I think it might be an adolescent infatuation that you’re analogizing. The love of God is better typified by long burning embers than blinding flashes of magnesium.

  • Log:

    Jack,

    I explain the scriptures to them who are seeking to enter the presence of God, and bring to light that which is missing from their education that they may know how they may find the gate to the path of eternal life and thereby enter into His love and light. I have and am nothing of worth to them who do not so seek.

    That which is missing is laying aside *all* sin and crying with all one’s might, mind, and strength unto the Lord to receive the Holy Ghost, and not ceasing from this prayer until one receives it. One cannot do this without focusing entirely upon God to the expense of every other interest in one’s life – thus our eye becomes single to the glory of God, that we may be full of light continually.

    Rather than contradicting or contending, why not do it? Each of us shall die someday. What does it matter to us if we pray nigh unto death that we might be filled with the Spirit of God like a fire burning, that we may be visited by angels and receive visions and the blessings of old? What do you have going on in your life that is better than being filled with endless happiness?

  • Jack:

    As I’ve said before, I’m not contending to justify myself. I don’t care about receiving visions or visitations. I only hope that somehow, in spite of my weakness, God will help me become a better christian. That said, what troubles me is your condemnation of the entire church — your assumption that the saints, one and all, have gone off the rails. Now I’m not blind to the fact that we have work to do in the church — we can do better. But even so, the spirit is operative in the lives of the saints. The Lord is preparing the hearts of his people. The building of the kingdom has not ceased to be a “marvelous work and a wonder.”

  • Log:

    Jack,

    Don’t let these things trouble you. There is a known method to determine if I speak truth.

    4 And when ye shall receive these things, I would exhort you that ye would ask God, the Eternal Father, in the name of Christ, if these things are not true; and if ye shall ask with a sincere heart, with real intent, having faith in Christ, he will manifest the truth of it unto you, by the power of the Holy Ghost.

    5 And by the power of the Holy Ghost ye may know the truth of all things.

    The truth of *all* things is available through this method.

    5 If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.

    6 But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed.

    7 For let not that man think that he shall receive any thing of the Lord.

    This is the central message of the Restoration.

  • Jack:

    Would you have me tempt God? I already know the church is the kingdom.

  • Log:

    Who has said anything about that?

  • Good Will:

    I am going to transcribe the bulk of this post (and most of the comments) to my personal journal. This emphasis is just too “choice” to miss or lose.

  • Log:

    Log,
    Why is it that Alma (the younger), he who experienced one of the most miraculous conversions in all of scripture, would liken receiving the word unto a seed that would grow *over time* into a tree representing eternal life? If he were truly concerned about the instantaneous conversion of those to whom he was preaching don’t you think he would have shared something akin to what you espouse as the proper mode of receiving the Holy Ghost?

    Let us read the VERY NEXT CHAPTER.

    17 Therefore may God grant unto you, my brethren, that ye may begin to exercise your faith unto repentance, that ye begin to call upon his holy name, that he would have mercy upon you;

    18 Yea, cry unto him for mercy; for he is mighty to save.

    19 Yea, humble yourselves, and continue in prayer unto him.

    20 Cry unto him when ye are in your fields, yea, over all your flocks.

    21 Cry unto him in your houses, yea, over all your household, both morning, mid-day, and evening.

    22 Yea, cry unto him against the power of your enemies.

    23 Yea, cry unto him against the devil, who is an enemy to all righteousness.

    24 Cry unto him over the crops of your fields, that ye may prosper in them.

    25 Cry over the flocks of your fields, that they may increase.

    26 But this is not all; ye must pour out your souls in your closets, and your secret places, and in your wilderness.

    27 Yea, and when you do not cry unto the Lord, let your hearts be full, drawn out in prayer unto him continually for your welfare, and also for the welfare of those who are around you.

    28 And now behold, my beloved brethren, I say unto you, do not suppose that this is all; for after ye have done all these things, if ye turn away the needy, and the naked, and visit not the sick and afflicted, and impart of your substance, if ye have, to those who stand in need—I say unto you, if ye do not any of these things, behold, your prayer is vain, and availeth you nothing, and ye are as hypocrites who do deny the faith.

    29 Therefore, if ye do not remember to be charitable, ye are as dross, which the refiners do cast out, (it being of no worth) and is trodden under foot of men.

    30 And now, my brethren, I would that, after ye have received so many witnesses, seeing that the holy scriptures testify of these things, ye come forth and bring fruit unto repentance.

    31 Yea, I would that ye would come forth and harden not your hearts any longer; for behold, now is the time and the day of your salvation; and therefore, if ye will repent and harden not your hearts, immediately shall the great plan of redemption be brought about unto you.

    32 For behold, this life is the time for men to prepare to meet God; yea, behold the day of this life is the day for men to perform their labors.

    33 And now, as I said unto you before, as ye have had so many witnesses, therefore, I beseech of you that ye do not procrastinate the day of your repentance until the end; for after this day of life, which is given us to prepare for eternity, behold, if we do not improve our time while in this life, then cometh the night of darkness wherein there can be no labor performed.

    34 Ye cannot say, when ye are brought to that awful crisis, that I will repent, that I will return to my God. Nay, ye cannot say this; for that same spirit which doth possess your bodies at the time that ye go out of this life, that same spirit will have power to possess your body in that eternal world.

    35 For behold, if ye have procrastinated the day of your repentance even until death, behold, ye have become subjected to the spirit of the devil, and he doth seal you his; therefore, the Spirit of the Lord hath withdrawn from you, and hath no place in you, and the devil hath all power over you; and this is the final state of the wicked.

    36 And this I know, because the Lord hath said he dwelleth not in unholy temples, but in the hearts of the righteous doth he dwell; yea, and he has also said that the righteous shall sit down in his kingdom, to go no more out; but their garments should be made white through the blood of the Lamb.

    37 And now, my beloved brethren, I desire that ye should remember these things, and that ye should work out your salvation with fear before God, and that ye should no more deny the coming of Christ;

    38 That ye contend no more against the Holy Ghost, but that ye receive it, and take upon you the name of Christ; that ye humble yourselves even to the dust, and worship God, in whatsoever place ye may be in, in spirit and in truth; and that ye live in thanksgiving daily, for the many mercies and blessings which he doth bestow upon you.

    39 Yea, and I also exhort you, my brethren, that ye be watchful unto prayer continually, that ye may not be led away by the temptations of the devil, that he may not overpower you, that ye may not become his subjects at the last day; for behold, he rewardeth you no good thing.

    40 And now my beloved brethren, I would exhort you to have patience, and that ye bear with all manner of afflictions; that ye do not revile against those who do cast you out because of your exceeding poverty, lest ye become sinners like unto them;

    41 But that ye have patience, and bear with those afflictions, with a firm hope that ye shall one day rest from all your afflictions.

    Did you notice verses 17 and 18? Did you notice verse 38? (I am posting the scriptures verbatim because you don’t look up the citations I include in my posts.)

    The editors of the scriptures highlight the miraculous conversion stories because they’re conceptually coherent. How do you present a lifelong conversion process in a way that calls the sinner to action? That’s difficult to do.

    The doctrine of the “lifelong conversion process” which is utterly and completely absent in the scriptures, as well as being completely contrary to each precept and example of conversion found within the scriptures, does indeed justify men in their sins, that they do not take action. Who benefits when sinners do not take action to become redeemed, which, according to the scriptures, is only possible through exercising mighty faith in Christ and calling upon his name to be forgiven and cleansed?

    The editors of the scriptures – Mormon and Moroni – were instructed of the Lord, whom they spoke with face-to-face, in what they should include and how to include it. Moreover, there is no other way to become converted spoken of throughout the scriptures. So I ask again – why is the complete and utter lack of any scriptural support for your position not problematic for your position, in your eyes?

    I ask again: Surely you do not believe anything bad would occur should you lay aside your sins and call upon God in your might, having faith in Christ, to receive the Holy Ghost?

    Does not God give liberally to all who ask him in faith, believing they shall receive?

    Why therefore do you not either ask if this doctrine is true, or, if you believe it, why then do you not ask for the gift of the Holy Ghost?

    Do you not believe God will cleanse you of your sins?

  • Log:

    I asked a lot of questions you likewise didn’t answer, so I guess I’ll repost them.

    Was Joseph correct when he taught this:

    We take the sacred writings into our hands, and admit that they were given by direct inspiration for the good of man. We believe that God condescended to speak from the heavens and declare His will concerning the human family, to give them just and holy laws, to regulate their conduct, and guide them in a direct way, that in due time He might take them to Himself, and make them joint heirs with His Son. But when this fact is admitted, that the immediate will of heaven is contained in the Scriptures, are we not bound as rational creatures to live in accordance to all its precepts? Will the mere admission, that this is the will of heaven ever benefit us if we do not comply with all its teachings? Do we not offer violence to the Supreme Intelligence of heaven, when we admit the truth of its teachings, and do not obey them? Do we not descend below our own knowledge, … by such a course of conduct? (Documentary History of the Church, vol. 2, p. 11.)

    Was Elder Paul H. Dunn teaching a correct principle when he said “I don’t care what the scriptures say, I care what the current prophet says they say”?

    Was President Joseph Fielding Smith teaching a correct principle when he said “If I say anything that is contrary to the scriptures, the scriptures prevail”?

    Is there a calling in the Church which renders a man immune to correction by reference to the scriptures, which have been upheld as binding upon all the Saints by common consent?

  • Log:

    I think this needs no additional comment, with respect to the conversation between us.

    43 And I now give unto you a commandment to beware concerning yourselves, to give diligent heed to the words of eternal life.

    44 For you shall live by every word that proceedeth forth from the mouth of God.

    45 For the word of the Lord is truth, and whatsoever is truth is light, and whatsoever is light is Spirit, even the Spirit of Jesus Christ.

    46 And the Spirit giveth light to every man that cometh into the world; and the Spirit enlighteneth every man through the world, that hearkeneth to the voice of the Spirit.

    47 And every one that hearkeneth to the voice of the Spirit cometh unto God, even the Father.

    48 And the Father teacheth him of the covenant which he has renewed and confirmed upon you, which is confirmed upon you for your sakes, and not for your sakes only, but for the sake of the whole world.

    49 And the whole world lieth in sin, and groaneth under darkness and under the bondage of sin.

    50 And by this you may know they are under the bondage of sin, because they come not unto me.

    51 For whoso cometh not unto me is under the bondage of sin.

    52 And whoso receiveth not my voice is not acquainted with my voice, and is not of me.

    53 And by this you may know the righteous from the wicked, and that the whole world groaneth under sin and darkness even now.

    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.

  • Log:

    It is an article of faith (literally) for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints that the Bible and the Book of Mormon are the word of God. Nobody is above them – each man’s doctrine is testable against the scriptures, and if it is inconsistent with the scriptures, then it is false, no matter the calling of the individual who propounds it.

    As what should be an unobjectionable example, Brigham Young taught that Adam, the first mortal on this earth, was also God, the Eternal Father, the father of our spirits. Brigham claimed this doctrine was received by him through revelation, and he taught it in the name of Christ over the pulpit. Orson Pratt, an apostle, publicly opposed the doctrine. Brigham tried to force it on Orson by saying it was the word of God; Orson responded that the word of God to Brigham wasn’t the word of God to him.

    Brigham said other things on this topic, and he was inconsistent in his teachings. The Church today agrees with Orson. And why? Because Brigham’s teaching contradicted the scriptures. Note that Brigham taught it in conference, acting as prophet, and claimed it was revelation.

    That ought to give any person pause who thinks it a virtue to blindly trust the teachings of men, no matter their calling in the Church. Why did Orson alone oppose this teaching? Was he right to do so? What of “following the prophet”?

    What then should be our attitude towards the leaders? What should we think if some apostles or even a president of the Church teach a new doctrine, not claiming revelation, and which is at variance with the entirety of the teachings of the scriptures, which scriptures are by common consent binding upon all for doctrine and reproof, on the subject of the doctrine being taught?

    Which should be believed? The scriptures – which we teach (and ostensibly believe) are the word of God – or men – who we teach are fallible in principle, and can be historically proven to have been fallible in fact, even at the very highest levels in the Church?

    As an aside, the teaching that conversion is or can be a lifelong and imperceptible process undergirds the modern notion that “all is well in Zion; yea, Zion prospereth; all is well.” This is because by definition if someone is “doing the right thing” then they are “becoming converted”. Therefore, mere church attendance is the metric by which the “health” of the Church is measured – if someone is going to meetings, then they are “doing the right thing” and by so doing are “becoming converted,” making “imperceptible” “spiritual progress”. And, even if they are not fully sanctified by the time they die, well, nobody can repent of *all* their sins because if they did so they would be perfect and “nobody’s perfect”; and because they were “trying” they will inherit the kingdom of God. So long as seats are being filled, and people being baptized, the Church is progressing, and there is none to molest or hinder.

    Yet, the holy prophets condemn this precise teaching.

    After the Book of Mormon comes forth, this is the state of affairs. You can verify this is post-Book of Mormon publication by reading 2 Nephi 27. Remember, WE are the Gentiles (D&C 109:60).

    2 Nephi 28:1 And now, behold, my brethren, I have spoken unto you, according as the Spirit hath constrained me; wherefore, I know that they must surely come to pass.

    2 And the things which shall be written out of the book shall be of great worth unto the children of men, and especially unto our seed, which is a remnant of the house of Israel.

    3 For it shall come to pass in that day that the churches which are built up, and not unto the Lord, when the one shall say unto the other: Behold, I, I am the Lord’s; and the others shall say: I, I am the Lord’s; and thus shall every one say that hath built up churches, and not unto the Lord—

    4 And they shall contend one with another; and their priests shall contend one with another, and they shall teach with their learning, and deny the Holy Ghost, which giveth utterance.

    5 And they deny the power of God, the Holy One of Israel; and they say unto the people: Hearken unto us, and hear ye our precept; for behold there is no God today, for the Lord and the Redeemer hath done his work, and he hath given his power unto men;

    6 Behold, hearken ye unto my precept; if they shall say there is a miracle wrought by the hand of the Lord, believe it not; for this day he is not a God of miracles; he hath done his work.

    7 Yea, and there shall be many which shall say: Eat, drink, and be merry, for tomorrow we die; and it shall be well with us.

    8 And there shall also be many which shall say: 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.

    9 Yea, and there shall be many which shall teach after this manner, false and vain and foolish doctrines, and shall be puffed up in their hearts, and shall seek deep to hide their counsels from the Lord; and their works shall be in the dark.

    10 And the blood of the saints shall cry from the ground against them.

    11 Yea, they have all gone out of the way; they have become corrupted.

    12 Because of pride, and because of false teachers, and false doctrine, their churches have become corrupted, and their churches are lifted up; because of pride they are puffed up.

    13 They rob the poor because of their fine sanctuaries; they rob the poor because of their fine clothing; and they persecute the meek and the poor in heart, because in their pride they are puffed up.

    14 They wear stiff necks and high heads; yea, and because of pride, and wickedness, and abominations, and whoredoms, they have all gone astray save it be a few, who are the humble followers of Christ; nevertheless, they are led, that in many instances they do err because they are taught by the precepts of men.

    15 O the wise, and the learned, and the rich, that are puffed up in the pride of their hearts, and all those who preach false doctrines, and all those who commit whoredoms, and pervert the right way of the Lord, wo, wo, wo be unto them, saith the Lord God Almighty, for they shall be thrust down to hell!

    16 Wo unto them that turn aside the just for a thing of naught and revile against that which is good, and say that it is of no worth! For the day shall come that the Lord God will speedily visit the inhabitants of the earth; and in that day that they are fully ripe in iniquity they shall perish.

    17 But behold, if the inhabitants of the earth shall repent of their wickedness and abominations they shall not be destroyed, saith the Lord of Hosts.

    18 But behold, that great and abominable church, the whore of all the earth, must tumble to the earth, and great must be the fall thereof.

    19 For the kingdom of the devil must shake, and they which belong to it must needs be stirred up unto repentance, or the devil will grasp them with his everlasting chains, and they be stirred up to anger, and perish;

    20 For behold, at that day shall he rage in the hearts of the children of men, and stir them up to anger against that which is good.

    21 And others will he pacify, and lull them away into carnal security, that they will say: All is well in Zion; yea, Zion prospereth, all is well—and thus the devil cheateth their souls, and leadeth them away carefully down to hell.

    22 And behold, others he flattereth away, and telleth them there is no hell; and he saith unto them: I am no devil, for there is none—and thus he whispereth in their ears, until he grasps them with his awful chains, from whence there is no deliverance.

    23 Yea, they are grasped with death, and hell; and death, and hell, and the devil, and all that have been seized therewith must stand before the throne of God, and be judged according to their works, from whence they must go into the place prepared for them, even a lake of fire and brimstone, which is endless torment.

    24 Therefore, wo be unto him that is at ease in Zion!

    25 Wo be unto him that crieth: All is well!

    26 Yea, wo be unto him that hearkeneth unto the precepts of men, and denieth the power of God, and the gift of the Holy Ghost!

    27 Yea, wo be unto him that saith: We have received, and we need no more!

    28 And in fine, wo unto all those who tremble, and are angry because of the truth of God! For behold, he that is built upon the rock receiveth it with gladness; and he that is built upon a sandy foundation trembleth lest he shall fall.

    29 Wo be unto him that shall say: We have received the word of God, and we need no more of the word of God, for we have enough!

    30 For behold, thus saith the Lord God: I will give unto the children of men line upon line, precept upon precept, here a little and there a little; and blessed are those who hearken unto my precepts, and lend an ear unto my counsel, for they shall learn wisdom; for unto him that receiveth I will give more; and from them that shall say, We have enough, from them shall be taken away even that which they have.

    31 Cursed is he that putteth his trust in man, or maketh flesh his arm, or shall hearken unto the precepts of men, save their precepts shall be given by the power of the Holy Ghost.

    32 Wo be unto the Gentiles, saith the Lord God of Hosts! For notwithstanding I shall lengthen out mine arm unto them from day to day, they will deny me; nevertheless, I will be merciful unto them, saith the Lord God, if they will repent and come unto me; for mine arm is lengthened out all the day long, saith the Lord God of Hosts.

    • Jack:

      Well, Log, all I can say is that you have your interpretation of the scriptures and I have mine. So will just have to leave it at that.

      • Log:

        Jack,

        I would appreciate a straightforward answer to my questions. And, you’ll note, I am simply quoting the scriptures, not interpreting them.

  • Jack:

    Log,

    Nowhere in any of those quotes does it mention anything about being born again in a jiffy. They set forth what we must do — yes, but mention *nothing* as to the actual mechanism of receiving the Holy Ghost. Loosen up bro. You’re fast becoming an accuser of those believers who don’t experience conversion exactly the way you think they should.

    • Log:

      Jack,

      The baptism by fire is the actual mechanism of receiving the Holy Ghost.

      D&C 20:41 And to aconfirm those who are baptized into the church, by the laying on of bhands for the baptism of fire and the Holy Ghost, according to the scriptures;

      43 And to confirm the church by the laying on of the hands, and the giving of the Holy Ghost;

      All who are baptized by fire and the Holy Ghost receive it alike.

      3 Nephi 9:20 And ye shall offer for a sacrifice unto me a broken heart and a contrite spirit. 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.

      The Lamanites were filled as if by fire and indescribable joy, and could prophesy.

      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.

      Those who notice nothing have not received the baptism by fire and the Holy Ghost, therefore they have not received the Holy Ghost.

      Doctrine and Covenants 84:45
      45 For the word of the Lord is truth, and whatsoever is truth is light, and whatsoever is light is Spirit, even the Spirit of Jesus Christ.

      Alma 32:35
      35 … whatsoever is light, is good, because it is discernible, therefore ye must know that it is good …

      They don’t receive it because they don’t exercise their faith to receive it through prayer.

      Doctrine and Covenants 42:14
      14 And the Spirit shall be given unto you by the prayer of faith; and if ye receive not the Spirit ye shall not teach.

      Doctrine and Covenants 63:64
      64 Remember that that which cometh from above is sacred, and must be spoken with care, and by constraint of the Spirit; and in this there is no condemnation, and ye receive the Spirit through prayer; wherefore, without this there remaineth condemnation.

      They don’t pray in faith to receive it because either they don’t know the requirement to pray in faith to receive it – which is not the case with you.

      If they are aware of it, they are rebelling against God by refusing to obey his commandments because their heart is hard and they don’t believe the word of God.

      About being baptized by fire and, as you put it, “born again in a jiffy”, each and every single explicit case of being born again is, as you put it, “in a jiffy.”

      Without exception.

      Adam sets the pattern explicitly.

      Moses 6:64 And it came to pass, when the Lord had spoken with Adam, our father, that Adam cried unto the Lord, and he was caught away by the Spirit of the Lord, and was carried down into the water, and was laid under the water, and was brought forth out of the water.

      65 And thus he was baptized, and the Spirit of God descended upon him, and thus he was born of the Spirit, and became quickened in the inner man.

      66 And he heard a voice out of heaven, saying: Thou art baptized with fire, and with the Holy Ghost. This is the record of the Father, and the Son, from henceforth and forever;

      67 And thou art after the order of him who was without beginning of days or end of years, from all eternity to all eternity.

      68 Behold, thou art one in me, a son of God; and thus may all become my sons. Amen.

      You are already aware of Alma the Younger.

      Mosiah 27: 23 And it came to pass after they had fasted and prayed for the space of two days and two nights, the limbs of Alma received their strength, and he stood up and began to speak unto them, bidding them to be of good comfort:

      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.

      27 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.

      28 Nevertheless, after wading through much tribulation, repenting nigh unto death, the Lord in mercy hath seen fit to snatch me out of an everlasting burning, and I am born of God.

      29 My soul hath been redeemed from the gall of bitterness and bonds of iniquity. I was in the darkest abyss; but now I behold the marvelous light of God. My soul was racked with eternal torment; but I am snatched, and my soul is pained no more.

      30 I rejected my Redeemer, and denied that which had been spoken of by our fathers; but now that they may foresee that he will come, and that he remembereth every creature of his creating, he will make himself manifest unto all.

      31 Yea, every knee shall bow, and every tongue confess before him. Yea, even at the last day, when all men shall stand to be judged of him, then shall they confess that he is God; then shall they confess, who live without God in the world, that the judgment of an everlasting punishment is just upon them; and they shall quake, and tremble, and shrink beneath the glance of his all-searching eye.

      And it is not a “lifelong process,” which “lifelong process” is utterly and completely alien to the world of discourse within the scriptures – the word of God.

      Alma 5: 14 And now behold, I ask of you, my brethren of the church, have ye spiritually been born of God? Have ye received his image in your countenances? Have ye experienced this mighty change in your hearts?

      15 Do ye exercise faith in the redemption of him who created you? Do you look forward with an eye of faith, and view this mortal body raised in immortality, and this corruption raised in incorruption, to stand before God to be judged according to the deeds which have been done in the mortal body?

      16 I say unto you, can you imagine to yourselves that ye hear the voice of the Lord, saying unto you, in that day: Come unto me ye blessed, for behold, your works have been the works of righteousness upon the face of the earth?

      17 Or do ye imagine to yourselves that ye can lie unto the Lord in that day, and say—Lord, our works have been righteous works upon the face of the earth—and that he will save you?

      18 Or otherwise, can ye imagine yourselves brought before the tribunal of God with your souls filled with guilt and remorse, having a remembrance of all your guilt, yea, a perfect remembrance of all your wickedness, yea, a remembrance that ye have set at defiance the commandments of God?

      19 I say unto you, can ye look up to God at that day with a pure heart and clean hands? I say unto you, can you look up, having the image of God engraven upon your countenances?

      If you will repent, Jack, and I am speaking to you personally, and call upon God in faith, asking to receive the gift of the Holy Ghost, and if you will pursue that with singleminded devotion, he will receive you and you, as the Lamanites, shall be filled with fire and indescribable joy and be able to prophesy and speak with the tongue of angels. You will know for yourself, as I know for myself, and we shall see eye-to-eye, as all who are born of God do.

      Alma 36:26
      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.

      Come unto Christ as you have been instructed throughout the Book of Mormon, the Doctrine and Covenants, and the Pearl of Great Price, and receive the Holy Ghost, and thereby take upon you the name of Christ.

      • Jack:

        Does one experience a softening of the heart as Nephi did? Or does one hear the voice of the Lord as Enos did? Or is one encircled about by fire as were the Lamanites? (And by the way, Nephi and Lehi were already converted so that wasn’t their initial baptism of fire) Or does one fall to the ground as other Lamanites did? Or is one filled with joy and able to prophecy as were the people of King benjamin? (I doubt that was the initial baptism of fire for all involved as they were already a righteous people — some yes, but not all)

        What is the preeeeeeeeecise mechanism involved in receiving the Holy Ghost? How small or great must this manifestation be in order to qualify as the reception of the spirit? Can it be as small as a softening of the heart as per Nephi? And if so, can it be even smaller? Can it be a change in motives or an increase in virtue? Can it be a feeling of peace or a sense of clarity to those who are already inclined to live the gospel?

        Should a sober child of eight expect to have a major overhaul?!

        Unlike baptism by water the precise mechanism for spiritual baptism cannot be nailed down. And as such, I invite you to loosen up your interpretation of the scriptures and allow yourself to be taught by living prophets on the subject.

      • Log:

        No man who contradicts the scripture is a prophet, no matter his calling in the Church.

      • Log:

        Does one experience a softening of the heart as Nephi did?

        Yes.

        Or does one hear the voice of the Lord as Enos did?

        Yes.

        Or is one filled with joy and able to prophecy as were the people of King benjamin? (I doubt that was the initial baptism of fire for all involved as they were already a righteous people — some yes, but not all)

        Yes.

        Or is one encircled about by fire as were the Lamanites? (And by the way, Nephi and Lehi were already converted so that wasn’t their initial baptism of fire)

        Sometimes.

        Or does one fall to the ground as other Lamanites did?

        Sometimes.

        What is the preeeeeeeeecise mechanism involved in receiving the Holy Ghost?

        Fools mock, but they shall mourn.

        How small or great must this manifestation be in order to qualify as the reception of the spirit?

        If one is filled as if by fire, hears the voice of God from heaven, and is also filled by the indescribably glorious joy and can prophesy, then that qualifies, and nothing less does.

        Can it be as small as a softening of the heart as per Nephi?

        Nephi did not include everything about his experience.

        And if so, can it be even smaller?

        Ask of God, who giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not.

        Can it be a change in motives or an increase in virtue?

        Ask of God, who giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not.

        Can it be a feeling of peace or a sense of clarity to those who are already inclined to live the gospel?

        No. It comes upon all men alike, as I have already pointed out, that they are filled as if by fire and indescribably glorious joy and are able to prophesy.

        Should a sober child of eight expect to have a major overhaul?!

        Yes, if they have repented of all their sins and called upon the name of the Lord – they will receive just as every other person receives.

        Unlike baptism by water the precise mechanism for spiritual baptism cannot be nailed down.

        The mechanism is the baptism by fire, as I have pointed out from the scriptures.

        And as such, I invite you to loosen up your interpretation of the scriptures and allow yourself to be taught by living prophets on the subject.

        No man who has the spirit of prophecy contradicts or undermines the scriptures. I again point you to the example of Brigham and Orson. And, once again, you’ll note that I simply quote the scriptures – I don’t interpret them.

  • Log:

    Remember.

    Doctrine and Covenants 82:10
    10 I, the Lord, am bound when ye do what I say; but when ye do not what I say, ye have no promise.

    Doctrine and Covenants 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.

    If you try any other way than what the Lord has said according to the Book of Mormon, you have no promise, but scourging and judgement.

  • Log:

    I love the implication that Mormon and Moroni, and, by extension, the Lord who instructed and commanded them, engaged in what is essentially false advertising by only mentioning the miraculous conversion stories while steadfastly ignoring the (asserted to be far more numerous yet conspicuously entirely absent) “normal” patterns of “conversion” through a “lifelong process” which “is never completed in this life.”

    Everyone has to make a choice. You choose to believe the word of God and obey it or you choose to believe the precepts of men and obey them.

    I can testify the scriptures are true, and if any man obeys the precepts therein, they shall know as I know of the goodness and mercy of God, for they shall be born again, being filled as if by fire and that joy which is indescribable and full of glory; they shall hear the voice of God from on high testify to them, and they shall be full of light, able to speak forth marvellous words. They shall have hope and charity as an answer to their faith, and shall be able to endure to the end feasting upon the revelations of God, which are the words of Christ, and they shall have power to do good, working by the powers and gifts of God.

    Lay aside every sin, every worldly lust, every ambition, and all claims upon anything in this world, and call upon God with all your might to receive the Holy Ghost and be forgiven, and pursue this prayer until he answers you. Push past your feelings of unworthiness, past your sense of futility, past your disbelief that he will answer you. Pour out your whole soul on the altar of prayer before God, even if this effort takes you nigh unto death, and you shall be received.

  • EvenTheLeastSaint:

    Jack (http://justandtrue.com/?p=413#comment-6495) said:

    Unlike baptism by water the precise mechanism for spiritual baptism cannot be nailed down. And as such, I invite you to loosen up your interpretation of the scriptures and allow yourself to be taught by living prophets on the subject.

    2 Nephi 28:26 Yea, wo be unto him that hearkeneth unto the precepts of men, and denieth the power of God, and the gift of the Holy Ghost!

    You hearken unto the precepts of men because you can’t tell the difference between the speculative ideas of men and that of the witness of those who have experienced the BF&HG, even though the spirit testifies of the truth thereof.

    You deny the power of God because you do not believe He can create a mighty change in your heart “in a jiffy” as you disparagingly describe it. You instead prefer to believe that you are redeemed from the fall (changed from fallen man to spiritual man) through a life time of your own works or service e.g. delivering casseroles and mowing your neighbors lawn.

    And of coarse, you deny the gift of the Holy Ghost because you refuse to receive it, believing you have enough of the word of God and you need no more.

  • Jack:

    “You deny the power of God because you do not believe He can create a mighty change in your heart “in a jiffy” as you disparagingly describe it.”

    Wrong, old boy. I do believe He can cause a rapid change in the hearts of his children. I just don’t believe that spiritual rebirth happens as a singular event in every case — some yes, but not all. In fact, I’d say that the majority of folks experience it as a process.

    That said, I could quote many versus from the Book of Mormon that deal with God’s dismay at how his people fail to receive his prophets — and there are just as many of those as there are that treat miraculous conversion. But I digress…

    • EvenTheLeastSaint:

      Jack said:

      In fact, I’d say that the majority of folks experience it as a process

      In scripture there is not a “gradual Imperceptable change” option, there is only a mighty change. The only thing in scripture that resembles a gradual Imperceptable change is the Nephite cycle back into wickedness. As Screwtape would point out, “Indeed the safest road to Hell is the gradual one–the gentle slope, soft underfoot, without sudden turnings, without milestones, without signposts…”

      Jack said:

      … I could quote many versus from the Book of Mormon that deal with God’s dismay at how his people fail to receive his prophets —

      One way to recognize a true prophet – a true prophet won’t preach contrary to the scriptures.

      • Log:

        One way to recognize a true prophet – a true prophet won’t preach contrary to the scriptures.

        Amen.

        And why is that the case?

        Because the scriptures were given by the spirit of prophecy.

        Therefore, if someone contradicts the scriptures, he does not do so by the spirit of prophecy, for God does not lie, nor contradict himself.

        Therefore, when someone contradicts the scriptures, we know immediately one of two things is true, no matter their calling in the Church.

        1. They don’t have the gift of the Holy Ghost. This means either they have never been converted, or they have fallen into transgression.

        -OR-

        2. They have the Holy Ghost and are speaking against it, and are thereby committing an unpardonable sin.

        It is difficult to imagine how much more clear the scriptures can be on this topic.

        Moses 6:64 And it came to pass, when the Lord had spoken with Adam, our father, that Adam cried unto the Lord, and he was caught away by the Spirit of the Lord, and was carried down into the water, and was laid under the water, and was brought forth out of the water.

        65 And thus he was baptized, and the Spirit of God descended upon him, and thus he was born of the Spirit, and became quickened in the inner man.

        66 And he heard a voice out of heaven, saying: Thou art baptized with fire, and with the Holy Ghost. This is the record of the Father, and the Son, from henceforth and forever;

        67 And thou art after the order of him who was without beginning of days or end of years, from all eternity to all eternity.

        68 Behold, thou art one in me, a son of God; and thus may all become my sons. Amen.

        “THUS MAY ALL BECOME MY SONS.” In modern English, “This is the way anyone becomes my child.”

        3 Nephi 9:20 And ye shall offer for a sacrifice unto me a broken heart and a contrite spirit. 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.

        “EVEN AS.” In modern English, “Just like.” All experience it this way.

        “THEY KNEW IT NOT.” In modern English, “They didn’t understand what was done to them.” This is always the case – because it is entirely outside of normal human experience, it is literally like being able to see, to feel, to live for the very first time, and we have not got words to describe it; we must be taught the labels for these things.

        Choose ye this day whom ye shall serve.

        You may listen to them who say you don’t need to exercise perfect faith in Christ, neither can you repent from all your sins; God may have answered Joseph, but he won’t answer you, because you’re unworthy; just perform faithful Church service and you’re saved, after, of course, all you can do.

        Or you may listen to the Holy Spirit, and believe the word of God, which says something entirely different.

        You are an agent unto yourself, and you have knowledge, and can judge between good and evil, and the path of life and the path of death are set before you.

        Pick your path.

  • Jack:

    “In scripture there is not a “gradual imperceptible change” option, there is only a mighty change.”

    First, let me say that I’ve never heard conversion preached as “imperceptible.” I’ve heard “almost imperceptible” but not (completely) “imperceptible.” That said, I think you need to define what “mighty” means as it relates to a change of heart. For me it (mighty) means having great strength or force, or being large and powerful. I think that definition suits what the scriptures are trying to convey. But notice, “mighty” doesn’t automatically imply “quick” or “swift.” Yes, “quick/swift” can be an effect of “powerful” but powerful things can also be large and lumbering. So, as it relaters to conversion, if one who has experienced a change of heart over time were to measure that change from day one to the present it would be significant.

    The long and short of it is: “Mighty” need not have to do with the speed of change so much as it has to do with the amount of change.

    “One way to recognize a true prophet – a true prophet won’t preach contrary to the scriptures.”

    That’s what the scribes and pharisees believed — and they were doctors of the Law. No one new the scriptures better than they did.

    • Log:

      Your position would be reasonable except:

      1. The mighty change of heart is synonymous with being born again (Alma 5:14).
      2. Being born again is brought about by the mechanism of the baptism of fire and the Holy Ghost (Moses 6:65-66).
      3. Baptism is a binary condition – either one is baptized, or one is not baptized; there is no middle ground.
      4. All receive the baptism by fire alike (3 Nephi 9:20).
      5. We have scriptural records of baptisms by fire and the Holy Ghost; in every case they were singular events and not “(nearly) imperceptible processes”.

      Therefore, the notion that the mighty change of heart can be a “(nearly) imperceptible process” is anti-scriptural.

    • Log:

      Add to #4 (Moses 6:68).

    • EvenTheLeastSaint:

      “ ‘One way to recognize a true prophet – a true prophet won’t preach contrary to the scriptures.’

      That’s what the scribes and pharisees believed — and they were doctors of the Law. No one new the scriptures better than they did.”

      Christ never preached contrary to the scriptures. He always used the scriptures to back up His teachings.

      • Log:

        In fact, did he not spend quite a lot of time explaining them, expounding them, and exhorting from them?

        John 5:39
        39 ¶Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me.

        Alma 17:2 Now these sons of Mosiah were with Alma at the time the angel first appeared unto him; therefore Alma did rejoice exceedingly to see his brethren; and what added more to his joy, they were still his brethren in the Lord; yea, and they had waxed strong in the knowledge of the truth; for they were men of a sound understanding and they had searched the scriptures diligently, that they might know the word of God.

        3 But this is not all; they had given themselves to much prayer, and fasting; therefore they had the spirit of prophecy, and the spirit of revelation, and when they taught, they taught with power and authority of God.

      • Log:

        ETLS, feel free to drop me a line as well!

      • EvenTheLeastSaint:

        Thank you Log.

        I believe the one thing that the Scribes and Pharacies were most offended by was Christ’s ability to use the scriptures to expose their false doctrines and traditions. Much like what you have doing here Log :)

      • EvenTheLeastSaint:

        (edit)
        Much like what you have been doing here

  • Log:

    I think I’ve said all that I can say on the subject.

    Here are some parting thoughts.

    2 Nephi 18:20
    20 To the law and to the testimony; and if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them.

    Mormon 8:33
    33 O ye wicked and perverse and stiffnecked people, why have ye built up churches unto yourselves to get gain? Why have ye transfigured the holy word of God, that ye might bring damnation upon your souls? Behold, look ye unto the revelations of God; for behold, the time cometh at that day when all these things must be fulfilled.

    Mormon 8:38
    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 ashamed to take upon you the name of Christ? 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?

    Moroni 10:32-33
    32 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.

    33 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.

    • Jack:

      Log,

      Are the LDS building up churches unto themselves to get gain? If so, how are they doing it? If not, then the rest of that verse is not be applicable to the church either – generally speaking.

      • Log:

        Are the LDS building up churches unto themselves to get gain?

        Maybe.

        If so, how are they doing it?

        Maybe corrupt contracts for construction, if we wish to be extremely literal, or maybe the little cult of personalities which get built up around certain men in the Church, should we wish to be typological; maybe those silly MLMs LDS keep hawking might qualify. It’s not something I care about, since I don’t intend to build up churches unto myself, neither can I operate a backhoe, and neither do I have enough friends and family (read: suckers) to profit off an MLM. Likewise, I don’t need a list of possible iniquities, as well as how they get performed, before I point out that all possible iniquities are to be found in the Church (Mormon 8:36).

        If not, then the rest of that verse is not be applicable to the church either – generally speaking.

        The rest of the verse is applicable to any and all who transfigure the holy word of God, both in and out of the Church.

      • Log:

        By “maybe” I am trying to communicate that I really don’t know, that it’s not something I take a position on, and I don’t really care.

  • Spektator:

    In Moroni, chapter 6, one reads:

    2 Neither did they receive any unto baptism save they came forth with a broken heart and a contrite spirit, and witnessed unto the church that they truly repented of all their sins.
    3 And none were received unto baptism save they took upon them the name of Christ, having a determination to serve him to the end.
    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.

    Moroni gives us a clear description of what we must do BEFORE we can truly be considered members of the church of Christ.

    1. One must come forth with a broken heart and a contrite spirit
    2. Witness to the church that they have repented of all their sins
    3. Receive the baptism of water
    4. Be cleansed by the power of the Holy Ghost – baptism of fire and the Holy Ghost

    It is not until all these conditions are met that one is considered to be numbered among the people of church of Christ, at least according to the church established among the Nephites.

    In my opinion, this scripture aligns well with 2 Nephi 31:17-18 which described baptism of water and of fire and the Holy Ghost as prerequisites to the gate to the strait and narrow path. If one is not a member until they have been cleansed by the Holy Ghost, how can this be a lifelong process? I don’t think it can. How does one receive a remission of their sins? It is the event of baptism of fire and the Holy Ghost.

    Being a member of the church of Christ is what many assume they received when they were confirmed. This may be true with respect to the corporate church, but the spiritual church requires obedience to the scripture cited above.

  • Jack:

    Just remember that those who are baptized very young may not experience such a radical change as others who are more steeped in sin when they’re converted. And as these young ones grow and strive to keep the commandments many of them will need no more than the gentle whispers of the spirit to keep them moving forward in a state of justification.

    • Log:

      Mosiah 27:25
      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.

    • Log:

      There is no “not steeped in sin so no mighty change” state.

      Alma 34:9
      9 For it is expedient that an atonement should be made; for according to the great plan of the Eternal God there must be an atonement made, or else all mankind must unavoidably perish; yea, all are hardened; yea, all are fallen and are lost, and must perish except it be through the atonement which it is expedient should be made.

    • Log:

      Lastly, if the children are not born again, it is not because they are so pure that there is no necessary (noticeable) change, but rather it is because they were not taught the doctrine of repentance, which of necessity includes calling upon the name of the Lord in faith to be forgiven one’s sins.

      Doctrine and Covenants 68:25
      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.

    • Log:

      18 And it came to pass that when Jesus had made an end of praying unto the Father, he arose; but so great was the joy of the multitude that they were overcome.

      19 And it came to pass that Jesus spake unto them, and bade them arise.

      20 And they arose from the earth, and he said unto them: Blessed are ye because of your faith. And now behold, my joy is full.

      21 And when he had said these words, he wept, and the multitude bare record of it, and he took their little children, one by one, and blessed them, and prayed unto the Father for them.

      22 And when he had done this he wept again;

      23 And he spake unto the multitude, and said unto them: Behold your little ones.

      24 And as they looked to behold they cast their eyes towards heaven, and they saw the heavens open, and they saw angels descending out of heaven as it were in the midst of fire; and they came down and encircled those little ones about, and they were encircled about with fire; and the angels did minister unto them.

      25 And the multitude did see and hear and bear record; and they know that their record is true for they all of them did see and hear, every man for himself; and they were in number about two thousand and five hundred souls; and they did consist of men, women, and children.

      Is it hard to believe that if the same outward manifestation granted unto the Lamanites at the time of their conversion, that they were baptized by fire and the Holy Ghost, was given unto these children, that the children also were filled with as if by fire and that joy which is indescribable and full of glory even as the Lamanites were?

      • Jack:

        Log,

        You’re conflating spiritual manifestations with the doctrine of spiritual rebirth. Yes they can be one and the same as in the case of the Lamanites. But remember, Nephi and Lehi also had the same experience there in the jail with the Lamanites — they too were encircled by fire. But even so, we shouldn’t assume that this was when they received the Holy Ghost as a saving ordinance. They were already converted.

        The same can be said for the children, many of whom I presume were younger than the age of accountability. This was a spiritual manifestation for their (the entire group) edification.

      • Log:

        You’re conflating spiritual manifestations with the doctrine of spiritual rebirth.

        I’m suggesting that if the Lamanites were filled as if by fire and that joy which is indescribable and full of glory, while at the same time they were surrounded as if by fire, and angels came down to minister to them, and they heard the voice of God, then it is reasonable to surmise – although, as a surmising, it is able to be rejected out of hand – that the children, since they were surrounded as if by fire and angels came down to minister to them and they were in the presence of God, even Jesus Christ, that they too may very well have been filled as if by fire and that joy which is indescribable and full of glory.

        They were also able to speak forth marvellous words.

        3 Nephi 26:14
        14 And it came to pass that he did teach and minister unto the children of the multitude of whom hath been spoken, and he did loose their tongues, and they did speak unto their fathers great and marvelous things, even greater than he had revealed unto the people; and he loosed their tongues that they could utter.

        So, I think it is reasonable to infer that since each of the external signs given to the Lamanites were the same for these children, that the internal manifestations of spiritual rebirth were also there.

        Unfortunately, “…and the things which they did utter were forbidden that there should not any man write them.” So we don’t know.

        Yes they can be one and the same as in the case of the Lamanites. But remember, Nephi and Lehi also had the same experience there in the jail with the Lamanites — they too were encircled by fire. But even so, we shouldn’t assume that this was when they received the Holy Ghost as a saving ordinance. They were already converted.

        No, you’re right, and Nephi and Lehi were already converted. We know that for a fact. It was Nephi specifically of which it was written:

        3 Nephi 8:1
        1 And now it came to pass that according to our record, and we know our record to be true, for behold, it was a just man who did keep the record—for he truly did many miracles in the name of Jesus; and there was not any man who could do a miracle in the name of Jesus save he were cleansed every whit from his iniquity—

        Therefore we know Nephi was a high priest, and was sanctified, which is had through the baptism of fire and the Holy Ghost; indeed, it was his faith, along with Lehi his brother, which made it possible for these Lamanites to receive the baptism of fire and the Holy Ghost which Lamanites had come into the prison to kill them.

        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.

        “The change” is shorthand for “the mighty change of heart”.

        The same can be said for the children, many of whom I presume were younger than the age of accountability. This was a spiritual manifestation for their (the entire group) edification.

        I believe the same thing, that some of these kids may well have been younger than 8. But I would also like to say that yes, the external signs in this context were for the benefit of the group. A single person alone on a mountaintop crying mightily may, or may not, be encircled about by visible fire, and may, or may not, be ministered to by an angel, but he shall be filled as if by fire and that joy which is indescribable and full of glory, and shall hear the voice of God, and shall be able to prophesy.

      • Log:

        Woops. The Nephi in 3 Nephi 8 is the son of Nephi in Helaman 5. My bad.

      • Log:

        Anyways, yes, it is really hard to get God to baptize men by fire, even before they have been baptized, even after they had rejected holy prophets, unless one is likewise already sanctified.

    • Good Will:

      I have studied, pondered, prayed about and rejoiced over this thread now for many days. Log has masterfully taught the word of God with power and authority, without regard for the opinions or praises of men.

      Jack likewise has fulfilled his role as the “faithful Mormon”, espousing the current and common practices and opinions of the Church.

      One of these men reasons from the scriptures, voluminously and without contradiction. The other appeals mostly to tradition and anecdotal evidence. One teaches as the Msster. The other teaches as the scribes.

      That being said, I know from experience that the Holy Ghost often acts more powerfully upon them who have strayed than upon those who have remained within the fold; that He rejoices more over him who was lost but now is found.

      They that are “whole” need no physician. They that are not “lost” need not be “found”.

      Clearly every one of us is “sick” and “lost”, to some extent. Now we see through a glass, darkly. The amazing truth exposed by this thread (and others) is how far we have strayed from the original ordinances — which were delivered with power! — and the doctrines and covenants of the early Saints. Correspondingly, the powers of heaven, for the most part, have fled.

      The Lord, in His wisdom, understands that those who are already walking, more or less, according to His statutes and commandments need not condemnation, but gentle prodding and correction.

      That being said, Log is absolutely right. God cannot look upon sin with the least degree of allowance. Those who enter into His presence must have their sins actually burned out of them by the power of the Holy Ghost, which testifies and justifies (makes right, purifies) with fire.

      Jack will have to embrace that baptism, sooner or later, or he cannot be saved. Perhaps for him it will be much as it was for those babes who sat at Jesus’ feet. (See 3 Nephi 17:24.)

      Meanwhile, those of us who have experienced the heavenly gift understand that it is not the “be all and end all” of our faith. It does not make us perfect nor prevent us from sinning again. Rather it is a sign from heaven that we have entered in at the gate. It is a taste of the glory that awaits us eternally, if we prove faithful. It is the process by which we are purified. It is the standard by which we should live, that we might always have His Spirit to be with us.

      Blessed are those who have seen and believed. But more blessed are those who have not seen, and yet have believed.

      God bless both of you, Log and Jack, for your faithfulness.

      • Log:

        Meanwhile, those of us who have experienced the heavenly gift understand that it is not the “be all and end all” of our faith. It does not make us perfect nor prevent us from sinning again.

        I commend to your attention 1 John. It is sufficiently plain on this topic that it really requires no comment from me.

        Such is the state of them who remain diligent unto prayer and good works until we are brought to the Savior.

      • Jack:

        “Jack likewise has fulfilled his role as the “faithful Mormon”, espousing the current and common practices and opinions of the Church.”

        I’ll take that as a compliment.

  • Log:

    Spek,

    The baptism of fire and the Holy Ghost is the sign from heaven that one has entered the gate as commanded. That much I think everyone agrees on. However, since very, very few have entered the gate according to the commandments of God, which gate is repentance and baptism, very, very few receive the baptism by fire and the Holy Ghost. Because the scriptures are extremely plain on the necessity of the baptism by fire, but also because few there be that receive it, an anti-scriptural teaching has arisen that the baptism of fire and the Holy Ghost is, or can be, imperceptible, and the mighty change of heart is, or can be (nearly) imperceptible, taking place over an extended period of time, perhaps even a lifetime; this anti-scriptural teaching is a consequence of the fact that the doctrine of repentance has been adulterated to where it now is taught that no man can repent of all his sins, for that would imply such a man is perfect, and, as we all know, “nobody’s perfect,” therefore repentance is a process which does not end in this life, but is completed in the next. The role of the Atonement in all of this is actually rather murky, and the doctrine of the fall, if it is ever referenced, makes its appearance as a creedal point, and not a vital part of our understanding of the nature and state of man in temporality.

    The upshot of all this is that it is explicitly taught there is no manifestation of the Spirit which attends spiritual rebirth, and we should not expect any manifestations. Healings we gots (sometimes), just as those outside the Church gots (Benny Hinn, anyone?), but angels and heavenly ascents with visions of God are to be expected only in dramatizations within the temples.

    Thus by our traditions, which traditions have arisen due to disobedience, wickedness, and unbelief, the commandments of God are made of none effect. Even the humble followers of Christ stumble and err because they are led by the precepts of men.

    I used to believe that if I could but teach the gospel of repentance and faith in Christ, as I am authorized to do as an Aaronic priest, that people would do it – that most people were basically honorable and not entering in because they knew not where to find the truth. Some have received it. Most, however, seem to fight this doctrine – and that is a decision I cannot sympathize with, even if I understand the roots of it. I recognize the patterns of unbelief from the scriptures, and I watch the same heartbreakingly backward decisions and rationalizations throughout scriptures being made by people who don’t realize how they are parroting the very same false doctrines Nephi and Mormon and Moroni warned about. I watch people reject the gospel of Jesus Christ for a religion of outward works and performances, flavored with the philosophies of men, mingled with scripture.

    I understand why Nephi cried at night pondering the state of his people, why Christ mourned over Jerusalem, and why we still weep for Zion.

    What panics me, though, is that they have to know it is true when they hear it. They cannot possibly believe anything bad could happen should they repent (lay aside all sin and focus one’s mind entirely upon God and doing his will) and cry mightily to receive the Holy Ghost until they are answered from heaven. They also have to know that we receive according to our desires. They also know from the example of Joseph that any sincere seeker receives in response to sufficiently powerful prayer. They know from the D&C that the Spirit is given by the prayer of faith, and from the Book of Mormon and the Pearl of Great Price that the sole manner of redemption is through mighty prayer unto a perfect faith in Christ. Therefore, they have every reason to do it, and no reason not to do it. Yet, they elect to listen to the evil spirit which teaches a man not to pray.

    Therefore, they are in a state of rebellion against God in that they do not come unto him as he has commanded through repentance and perfect faith. They seek to enter the fold of God by some means other than the gate by which Jesus stands, ready to anoint his sheep with the oil of the Holy Ghost, wherein we take upon us the name of Christ.

    What do they think they have going on that is better than coming into the presence of God, according to his commandments? Or do they suppose they shall be happy and at peace if they were called into the presence of God in their current sinful state, their repentance unfinished?

    God receives all who exercise faith and repent from all sin, and focus upon serving him, if they have not sinned unto death; for anything shy of that, you may be cleansed and purified from all sin if you will but exercise faith and humble yourself before God and call upon the name of Christ to be made whole and pursue that until you are received – for that is your test of faith.

    It would be one thing if we were boasting about to one another in the miracles we have witnessed or the gifts we have received – but we are not; indeed, we testify simply that the scriptures are true, and the gifts and manifestations of the kingdom of God are available still! We are saying come up as the Lord has commanded and taste the fruit of the tree of life for yourself, that you may rejoice in the glory and goodness of God, being filled with fire, love, and light, that you may in your turn bring others to receive!

    • Good Will:

      Log,

      Your post of June 7th, at 4:44 p.m., was a masterful treatise on the current state of the Church and what we must do to be saved. Clearly you have “fasted and prayed many days” to know these things for yourself. A hack parsing scriptures with a search engine could not find what you have revealed to us. The Church does not teach the doctrine of baptism by fire and the Holy Ghost any more, nor is it commonly practiced or expected among the LDS people.

      We are in a state of apostasy, as you have exposed, and your words have inspired me with both excitement and dread.

      I realize now that I must re-focus my life. You have called me to repentance. I must embrace, again, the former things. I also know now that crying nothing but repentance unto this untoward generation is sufficient work for a lifetime, for how few have entered in at the gate!

      God has poured out His Spirit upon you. (That is evident.) I am grateful for what God has revealed to you — and for what you have shared with us. I say this because I want to acknowledge the Source for these truths and bear testimony of them also.

      These words that Log has written are true! They are the true gospel of Jesus Christ. It is impossible to be saved without embracing these principles and doctrines.

      Now it is incumbent upon us to “go and do”, teaching these truths with “kindness, and pure knowledge, which shall greatly enlarge the soul without hypocrisy, and without guile” (D&C 121:42).

  • Log:

    I should add that if there are further requirements to one’s personal repentance, such as confessing and restoring to the wronged party, if such there is, the Spirit shall manifest that to you as you pray in faith to be forgiven.

  • Log:

    Another thing I found interesting in this context.

    D&C 84:27-28
    27 Which gospel is the gospel of repentance and of baptism, and the remission of sins, and the law of carnal commandments, which the Lord in his wrath caused to continue with the house of Aaron among the children of Israel until John, whom God raised up, being filled with the Holy Ghost from his mother’s womb.

    28 For he was baptized while he was yet in his childhood, and was ordained by the angel of God at the time he was eight days old unto this power, to overthrow the kingdom of the Jews, and to make straight the way of the Lord before the face of his people, to prepare them for the coming of the Lord, in whose hand is given all power.

    Like Christ with the Nephite children when he manifested himself to them, there are exceptions to the 8-year-old thing.

    But that’s not really my point in this.

    This is.

    Matt 3:14-17
    13 ¶Then cometh Jesus from Galilee to Jordan unto John, to be baptized of him.

    14 But John forbad him, saying, I have need to be baptized of thee, and comest thou to me?

    15 And Jesus answering said unto him, Suffer it to be so now: for thus it becometh us to fulfil all righteousness. Then he suffered him.

    16 And Jesus, when he was baptized, went up straightway out of the water: and, lo, the heavens were opened unto him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and lighting upon him:

    17 And lo a voice from heaven, saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.

    By this we can know Jesus also was born again; not that there was any real question, as he set the example for us.

    But notice John’s response when Christ came to be baptized.

    “I have need to be baptized of thee,” John says to Christ. What baptism is John speaking of?

    Matt 3:11 I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance: but he that cometh after me is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear: he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost, and with fire.

    Note well, John had been “filled with the Holy Ghost from his mother’s womb”, and he had been baptized by water while in his childhood, ordained by an angel at the age of 8 days to overthrow the kingdom of the Jews – that is, the kingdom had been taken from the Jews, and the authority to perform the ordinances rested with John alone. He does not appeal to a lifetime process of conversion, nor a (nearly) imperceptible extended “mighty change of heart” which is not mighty because it’s imperceptibly drawn out over years, neither does he claim that he has been imperceptibly baptized by fire and the Holy Ghost, and so forth.

    He straightforwardly acknowledges he had not been baptized by fire and the Holy Ghost, and required that ordinance to be performed by the Lord.

    Take from that what you will.

    • Good Will:

      My goodness, Log, you’ve done it again!

      Even Christ was “baptized” of the Holy Ghost after His own baptism in water! John needed to be baptized of the Holy Spirit, something only God Himself could do! I never read that before! (Though I’ve “read” it many times!)

      Does this explain, also, why John later sent his disciples to Jesus to inquire whether Jesus was, indeed, the Christ, or whether they should look for another? (Matt. 11:3.) Did John’s “testimony” begin to waiver as he languished in prison, not being “tempered” as he would be if he had received the baptism of fire and the Holy Ghost? Wasn’t Peter’s “commitment” less than stellar, lacking this same “heavenly gift”?

      If so before, it wan’t afterward!

      In lieu of a spiritual witnesses, Christ offered John physical “proofs” of His messianic appointment (Matt. 11:4-5). Why would Christ give one, but not the other? Clearly a spiritual testimony was attainable, inasmuch as Peter later bore witness of the Christ by the Spirit. Christ even said that Peter’s “revelation” came from the Father. (Matt. 16:17.) Yet, clearly, Peter did not enjoy a baptism of fire. That would come at the day of Pentacost.

      Why the physical Jesus, but not the spiritual Holy Ghost? (In our day, is it just the opposite?) Must two of the three Members of the Godhead always be together? “For wherever two or three are gathered together in my name, there I am” (Matt. 18:20). Is that why Stephen (and Joseph) saw Jesus standing “at the right hand of God” being filled as he was (on earth) with the Holy Ghost? Is that why Jesus doesn’t regularly appear to us now: because He must withdraw His Holy Spirit to do so?

      Clearly Jesus explained that the Holy Ghost could not come to His disciples until He (Christ) departed and sent the Spirit to them (John 16:7). Christ said that the coming of the Holy Ghost would be “expedient” for them. It would be revelatory, witnessing, comforting, necessary. (See John, chapters 14, 15 and 17.)

      The Spirit would prepare those who receive Him to meet Christ and His Father. It would open the door to knowing Them and to experiencing eternal life.

      Thank you, Log!

      • Jack:

        There’s something funny going on with the exchanges between Log and Good Will. I’ll wait for further evidence before I say what I think it is.

      • Log:

        There is no need to postulate that I am engaged in sock-puppetry, if that is what you are hinting at. There is a map in the lower left corner of the blog. If you are sufficiently observant, you can determine the geographic location of myself and Will. For the record, he lives a lot closer to you than he does me (if I have guessed which dot is his correctly). And also for the record, prior to his posting on this thread, I had never heard of him. There is no collusion between us.

        Being thanked for doing my duty is rather embarrassing. Rather than being thanked, all I want is for someone, anyone, to actually do what I have been showing is the gospel, or doctrine, of Christ according to the Book of Mormon, that they should enter into their closet or their private space and call upon the name of the Lord – engage in mighty prayer for redemption having faith in Christ, and not ceasing until they receive. Then may I rejoice with them in the kingdom of our Father. Otherwise, the thanks are vain anyways.

  • Jack:

    I think that whole bit about the Savior offering physical proof was for the benefit of John’s followers. I would venture to say that John’s purpose in sending them was to help them transition to following the Savior. John knew his mission was over.

    As to the main point: I don’t think John really needed to be baptized by the Savior(fire) anymore than Jesus need to be baptized by John(water). John merely recognized which was the greater baptism.

    • Log:

      And yet, John explicitly said he did need to be baptized by the Savior.

      So we either believe John, or we believe our “common sense,” which, be it noted, never seems to comport with what the word of God actually says – so we “interpret” it.

      That, by the way, is pretty much what is meant by the philosophies of men, mingled with scripture.

  • Jack:

    I think John’s ability to prophesy was indicative of his having received the Holy Ghost.

    • Log:

      John, himself, disagreed with you. Who should someone believe, you, or John?

      • Log:

        I suppose you would say Caiaphas, the high priest who delivered Jesus to the Romans, had received the Holy Ghost.

        John 11:49-52
        49 And one of them, named Caiaphas, being the high priest that same year, said unto them, Ye know nothing at all,

        50 Nor consider that it is expedient for us, that one man should die for the people, and that the whole nation perish not.

        51 And this spake he not of himself: but being high priest that year, he prophesied that Jesus should die for that nation;

        52 And not for that nation only, but that also he should gather together in one the children of God that were scattered abroad.

      • Jack:

        Don’t let’s be silly. Jesus himself said that there never was a greater prophet than John the Baptist. One who prophesies has the spirit of prophecy — the testimony of Jesus. Now perhaps there’s an odd mechanism in there that I don’t understand. But it seems to me that one must have the gift of the Holy Ghost in order to receive that testimony and endure in it.

      • Log:

        Don’t let’s be silly. Jesus himself said that there never was a greater prophet than John the Baptist. One who prophesies has the spirit of prophecy — the testimony of Jesus. Now perhaps there’s an odd mechanism in there that I don’t understand. But it seems to me that one must have the gift of the Holy Ghost in order to receive that testimony and endure in it.

        We’re not being silly – you said John’s ability to prophesy was, in your eyes, indicative that he had received the Holy Ghost. Here we have Caiaphas who likewise had the ability to prophesy. Therefore, you must take that as indicative of Caiaphas having received the Holy Ghost, and the testimony of Jesus, if you are consistent.

        The odd mechanism which is not understood is that which is taught in the scriptures – that of the baptism by fire and the Holy Ghost, wherein we receive the Holy Ghost. John had not received that, by his own testimony, yet he lived according to the promptings of the spirit, the ministrations of angels, and so forth.

  • Jack:

    And by the way, interpreting the scriptures differently than you do does not always constitute transfiguring God’s holy word.

    • Log:

      No, but negating it, reversing it, or denying it always does.

      • Log:

        … and I wonder if teaching the transfigured word of God might be how one builds up churches unto oneself? Certainly it is how false doctrines are taught, bringing damnation and wo upon the souls of them who teach them.

        I wonder if that is how the Pharisees and scribes, the “interpreters” of the scriptures, accomplished this feat:

        Matt 23:15 Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye compass sea and land to make one proselyte, and when he is made, ye make him twofold more the child of hell than than he was before, like unto yourselves.

        Sounds like it is.

        Luke 11:52 Woe unto you, lawyers! for ye have taken away the key of knowledge, the fullness of the scriptures; ye enter not in yourselves into the kingdom; and those who were entering in, ye hindered.

        And, of course, by “lawyers” he meant “lawyers of the scriptures”, just as Joseph said.

        So, by “interpreting” the scripture, thus mingling the philosophies of men with scripture, and subsequently teaching this poisonous mixture, one fails to enter the kingdom of God, even if one does enter the Church; one also hinders those who are entering into the kingdom, or even makes them twofold more the child of hell than they were before!

        Why is it that the Prophet whom we praise God for is steadfastly ignored? Joseph, how shall we read the scriptures?

        What is the rule of interpretation? Just no interpretation at all. Understand it precisely as it reads. (TPJS, p.276)

  • Good Will:

    Dear Jack,

    To summarize, Log has explicated why baptism — not just with water, but with fire of the Holy Ghost — is both “expedient” and necessary. John the Baptist said “I have need to be baptized of thee” (speaking of Christ, see Matt. 3:14). Yet John taught that Christ “shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost, and with fire” (Matt. 3:11). John did not teach that Christ could baptize you or that He might baptize you, but that He shall baptize you with the fiery element of the Holy Ghost.

    What would be the point of merely washing the outward vessel if the inner spirit were not also cleansed?

    Jesus explained to His disciples that it was “expedient” that He should go away that the Comforter (the Holy Ghost) might come unto them (John 16:7).

    D&C 20:41 announces that elders in the Church today are ordained with the “duty” “to confirm those who are baptized into the church, by the laying on of hands for the baptism of fire and the Holy Ghost, according to the scriptures</b".

    Clearly the baptism of fire is no anachronistic, purely ancient practice. It is required today. We are to be baptized even as they of old!

    Dig into the scriptures. Everywhere we read that the baptism of the Holy Ghost is received with fire. Consider the earnest and forceful words of Nephi, leading us into the way we should go:

    “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…”.

    And what baptism ought this to be? Nephi explains:

    “[Y]ea, 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.”(2 Ne. 31:13.)

    Perhaps this is why some destined for telestial glory require a thousand years to repent: they receive not the gift of the Holy Ghost and the “baptism of fire” all at once, but one glorious “drop” at a time!

    Why not jump “all in” and receive the Holy Ghost, as expected? Why stay “in the dark” when ye can come into the light?

    The things of God cannot be understood except by the Spirit of God. (1 Cor. 2:11.)

    “Neither is man capable to make them known, for they are only to be seen and understood by the power of the Holy Spirit, which God bestows on those who love him, and purify themselves before him; To whom he grants this privilege of seeing and knowing for themselves; That through the power and manifestation of the Spirit, while in the flesh, they may be able to bear his presence in the world of glory.” (D&C 76:116-118.)

    You reason that in a day of wickedness, the Lamanites who were converted unto the Lord received the baptism of fire and the Holy Ghost imperceptibly, without even knowing it! (The scriptures say “they knew it not”. See 3 Ne. 9:20.) But I say unto you — with no apology to Joseph Smith — that the proper translation of that verse ought to be “they understood it not”…because they didn’t know what was happening to them! Contrary to your assertion that they barely noticed, they were overwhelmed! They were amazed at this transformative experience! It was undeniable, so much so that “the more part of the Lamanites were convinced…because of the greatness of the evidences which they had received” (Hel. 5:50). Perhaps so few were the missionaries among them (Nephi and Lehi) and so little time did these missionaries spend with them (because the Lamanites had thrown them into prison!) that those who were converted unto the Lord did not understand that the great change that had taken place within them was because of the Holy Ghost “because of their faith in [Christ] at the time of their conversion”. (3 Ne. 9:20.)

    The scriptural record is clear: “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.” (D&C 33:11.)

    Nephi identified this process as “the gate” by which we should enter:

    “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.” (2 Ne. 31:17.)

    Only then can we move forward to eternal life.

    “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.” (2 Ne. 31:18.)

    The baptism of fire and the Holy Ghost is given unto us as a sign that we have, indeed, entered into the proper gate! That we are in the right path that leads, not just toward good or toward God, but toward eternal life!

    If you do not receive the sign — the baptism of fire and the Holy ghost — then you have not entered into the gate. You have merely been baptized by water and, if confirmation by one having authority was given, you have joined The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. That is all.

    So what are you waiting for? The ordinance is not complete until you receive the gift of the Holy Ghost!

    Nephi exhorted:

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

    All of 2 Nephi 32 is but a lament for those who will not believe and do these things.

    “Wherefore, now after I have spoken these words, if ye cannot understand them it will be because ye ask not, neither do ye knock; wherefore, ye are not brought into the light, but must perish in the dark.” (2 Ne. 32:4.)

    Perish in the dark! Not “progress more slowly down the road to salvation, little by little, line upon line, precept upon precept”, or any other such damning nonsense, but die spiritually, unenlightened!

    “For behold, again I say unto you that if ye will enter in by the way, and receive the Holy Ghost, it will show unto you all things what ye should do.” (2 Ne. 32:5.)

    Quite frankly, the “word of God” we have today is insufficient to fully save, for “man shall live by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God” (Matt. 4:4). And many more things must man receive from God before he can be saved. Nephi merely pointed out the gate. He told us we must “press forward with a steadfastness in Christ, having a perfect brightness of hope, and a love of God and of all men. Wherefore, if ye shall press forward, feasting” — not nibbling! — “upon the word of Christ, and endure to the end, behold, thus saith the Father: Ye shall have eternal life.” (2 Ne. 31:20.)

    Now humble yourself and go and do. And perish not.

  • Jack:

    “You reason that in a day of wickedness, the Lamanites who were converted unto the Lord received the baptism of fire and the Holy Ghost imperceptibly, without even knowing it!”

    Nope. I believe they understood that something marvelous had happened to them. They just didn’t have enough training in the doctrine to know what it was within the matrix 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.(D&C 33:11.)”

    Notice this verse does not qualify exactly how the Holy Ghost will come. It only states that it will — and (for me) that could mean as an overpowering manifestation or quietly, refining our nature over time.

    “The baptism of fire and the Holy Ghost is given unto us as a sign that we have, indeed, entered into the proper gate!”

    I agree — and would add that those who experience the operations of the Holy Ghost and follow its promptings regularly in their lives, even though they cannot pinpoint and exact moment when they we’re converted, are in the path that leads to eternal life.

    • Log:

      Notice this verse does not qualify exactly how the Holy Ghost will come.

      The verse does qualify exactly how the Holy Ghost will come: by fire.

      I agree — and would add that those who experience the operations of the Holy Ghost and follow its promptings regularly in their lives, even though they cannot pinpoint and exact moment when they we’re converted, are in the path that leads to eternal life.

      You would indeed be adding to the scriptures, for the scriptures say that it is those who have been baptized by fire and the Holy Ghost which are in the path that leads to eternal life. It does not say any others are. Remember: “I, the Lord, am bound when ye do what I say, but when ye do not what I say, ye have no promise.”

      Just because you don’t like the conclusion which is drawn from the scriptures does not give you, nor any other man, license to mingle your philosophies with them, to soften, alter, or adulterate their contents.

  • Good Will:

    We should look to the Nephites and to Samuel the Lamanite and to others for examples of those who served during the time of the Savior’s mortal ministry.

    If the Holy Spirit could not come upon Christ’s disciples in the Old World until Christ departed and sent the Spirit (if the scripture is to be believed), was the gift of the Holy Ghost given to those in the New World? Did not Nephi and Lehi, Samuel the Lamanite, and others already have it? Why them, and not Christ’s Jewish disciples? Were Christ and the Holy Spirit prevented from operating together merely in Palestine? Or on the planet?

    If the gift of the Holy Spirit could not be received during the mortal ministry of the Savior, then John the Baptist surely was the greatest prophet of all, for he served his mission faithfully without the aid of the “heavenly gift”, being filled, rather, with the Holy Ghost from his mother’s womb — by which he recognized the Savior when he came into His presence, when Mary first visited her cousin, Elizabeth (John’s mother) when John was six month’s in gestation, upon learning of her (Mary’s) conception. Who among us can testify that we bore witness of and recognized the Savior in the flesh while yet in the womb? Who among us has lived a life of intense deprivation and austerity, bearing faithful witness of Him, in holiness, without the gift of the Holy Ghost?

    Clearly the New World prophets manifested the workings of the Spirit, even with fire.

    I remember vaguely an address given recently in Conference regarding the “subtler” impact that the Holy Ghost has upon some members who are raised in the gospel light. I do not suppose that the Holy Spirit’s descent upon Christ at the river Jordan was an “overwhelming, transformative” event for Him — for I believe that He was without sin throughout His life and therefore “worthy” to have the Spirit with Him always.

    So, too, many members of the Church may find “living in the light” their natural element. For them, the witness of the Holy Ghost at their “baptism” may be as gently perceptible as tepid waters and the “fire” as purging as a warm blanket.

    For most of us, however, the ministration of the Holy Ghost is as thoroughly encompassing as being completely immersed in fire. (Did you not feel the water envelope you at your baptism? Can you deny that you got wet? Even so, a “baptism of fire and the Holy Ghost” should be equally as memorable and evident, and often many times more so.) Even so, that “baptism” is very rarely experienced in the Church and hardly ever spoken of.

    I do not deny that Jack has received the gift of the Holy Ghost. I know that I have been “baptized” in the Spirit many times. As we each strive to enter in at the strait and narrow gate, let us look forward to the purging influence of the Holy Spirit and receive the revelations that accompany His justifying influence.

    • Log:

      Some things I would that perhaps you might consider.

      Who among us has lived a life of intense deprivation and austerity, bearing faithful witness of Him, in holiness, without the gift of the Holy Ghost?

      John hadn’t been sanctified, therefore he wasn’t holy. Nevertheless, he was filled with the Holy Ghost, nevertheless, he had not been given the gift of the Holy Ghost until (presumably) the Savior ministered to him, and at that point would he have been holy.

      I do not suppose that the Holy Spirit’s descent upon Christ at the river Jordan was an “overwhelming, transformative” event for Him — for I believe that He was without sin throughout His life and therefore “worthy” to have the Spirit with Him always.

      The scripture says this:

      2 Nephi 31:12
      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.

      And

      John 3:34
      34 For he whom God hath sent speaketh the words of God: for God giveth not the Spirit by measure unto him, for he dwelleth in him, even the fullness.

      It was at that point that he received the fullness of the Spirit. That’s the point of this:

      D&C 93
      11 And I, John, bear record that I beheld his glory, as the glory of the Only Begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth, even the Spirit of truth, which came and dwelt in the flesh, and dwelt among us.

      12 And I, John, saw that he received not of the fulness at the first, but received grace for grace;

      13 And he received not of the fulness at first, but continued from grace to grace, until he received a fulness;

      14 And thus he was called the Son of God, because he received not of the fulness at the first.

      15 And I, John, bear record, and lo, the heavens were opened, and the Holy Ghost descended upon him in the form of a dove, and sat upon him, and there came a voice out of heaven saying: This is my beloved Son.

      16 And I, John, bear record that he received a fulness of the glory of the Father;

      17 And he received all power, both in heaven and on earth, and the glory of the Father was with him, for he dwelt in him.

      Now, how is it for them who have been born again, converted, received the mighty change of heart, and been sanctified?

      1 John 3: 6 Whosoever abideth in him sinneth not: whosoever sinneth hath not seen him, neither known him.

      7 Little children, let no man deceive you: he that doeth righteousness is righteous, even as he is righteous.

      8 He that committeth sin is of the devil; for the devil sinneth from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil.

      9 Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; for his seed remaineth in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God.

      • Good Will:

        Log,

        I see now that I was mistaken. I misunderstood the role of the Spirit at Christ’s baptism.

        I understand now that Christ received a fullness of the Spirit of God at that time. In so doing, He became even as the Father, being filled (without measure) with the Spirit of God. When one is baptized with fire and the Holy Ghost, one sees and hears and thinks and knows (at least in part!) even as God does! For he is “baptized” in (possessed of?) God’s Spirit!

        We are commanded to receive the Holy Spirit even as Christ did. I have never known anyone so pure, so divine, so holy and intelligent that — upon being possessed of the Holy Ghost — they would say “It’s nothing, really. I hardly even notice it. Just a warm feeling, a prompting, a gentle nudge in the right direction, that’s all.”

        Really? The God of the universe indwells within you or surrounds you so completely as if to “baptize” you with fire and the Holy Ghost and you don’t notice?

        If that’s the case, you have not received the gift.

      • Good Will:

        Log,

        Your post of June 9th, at 5:57 p.m., citing 1 John 3:6-9, cuts so far to the quick that almost any discussion after that is sacrilege. I cannot say that — after seeing God — I remained without sin. I wish it were true, but it is not.

        I do know that any man beholding Him — or retaining the memory of beholding Him — cannot sin — not without denying the Holy Ghost! It would simply be too great an offense. What could inspire someone to deny the Light, the Truth and the Way — when He stands before you?! When the Spirit bears witness of the truth?!

        We fall from grace when we forget who we are and Whose we are. Those who know better ought to do better.

        Your quote humbled me to the dust and stopped my mouth with shame.

  • Good Will:

    Log,

    Do you think Christ, prior to His resurrection, sent/gave the gift of the Holy Ghost to John the Baptist, but not to Peter (and the other apostles)? What of those in the New World?

    Without question, God expects/commands that we receive the Holy Ghost in the same manner and to the same extent that Christ received Him. When and how this happens is not specified in scripture, other than “after” baptism by water.

    Without question, there have been none like Christ, either before or since, and the distinguishing characteristic revealed here is that He, alone, was unique among men in that the Holy Spirit was not given unto Him by measure. So fully did Christ personify God that He was called “the Spirit of truth, which came and dwelt in the flesh, and dwelt among us” (D&C 93:11). Like Him, we are to grow “from grace to grace”, receiving further light and knowledge through the Spirit of truth.

    I don’t fully understand the relationship between Christ, the Spirit of truth, the Holy Ghost, the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of God or the Light of Christ. Does anyone?

    It is possible to live a day without sinning. (I’ve done it.) Maybe even longer. But anyone who does lives in the Spirit and is careful to remember and do all that he has been commanded to do. Thus we grow “from grace to grace”.

  • Log:

    Will,

    If the Holy Ghost was not given to anyone until Jesus was glorified – that is, resurrected – then John would not have been baptized by fire and the Holy Ghost, just as the Apostles were not, until Pentecost. But God is able to do whatsoever he will; so the Lamanites were cleansed by fire before they were baptized by water. I will agree there is no record

    In the New World, we know they received the gift of the Holy Ghost, for they who were converted worked miracles, therefore they were cleansed, every whit, from their iniquity. So it seems that the Holy Ghost was ministering among the Nephites.

    3 Nephi 7: 21 And it came to pass that the thirty and first year did pass away, and there were but few who were converted unto the Lord; but as many as were converted did truly signify unto the people that they had been visited by the power and Spirit of God, which was in Jesus Christ, in whom they believed.

    22 And as many as had devils cast out from them, and were healed of their sicknesses and their infirmities, did truly manifest unto the people that they had been wrought upon by the Spirit of God, and had been healed; and they did show forth signs also and did do some miracles among the people.

    23 Thus passed away the thirty and second year also. And Nephi did cry unto the people in the commencement of the thirty and third year; and he did preach unto them repentance and remission of sins.

    24 Now I would have you to remember also, that there were none who were brought unto repentance who were not baptized with water.

    25 Therefore, there were ordained of Nephi, men unto this ministry, that all such as should come unto them should be baptized with water, and this as a witness and a testimony before God, and unto the people, that they had repented and received a remission of their sins.

    The distinguishing characteristic of Christ was that he was not subject to the Fall. He did not start out with the fullness of the Spirit, as evidenced by D&C 93, as well as Luke 2:52, but grew from grace to grace until he was anointed at his baptism, receiving the fullness.

    Likewise, we are given the fullness of the Holy Ghost when we are baptized by fire and the Holy Ghost, like unto Jesus: this is the entire point and effect of the Atonement in this life: we are one with God, he dwelling in us and we in him. Thus we see eye-to-eye, knowing as we are known.

    And, note well, the Savior, setting the example before us, was filled with glory, heard the voice of God, and was able to prophesy. From what Nephi (and Mormon) says, we may likewise infer Jesus was filled with fire, as well, since he set the example before us (2 Nephi 31:13, Mormon 7:10). And he obtained the Holy Ghost through prayer (Luke 3:21).

    These are the signs of being born of the Spirit: being filled as if by fire and indescribably glorious joy, hearing the voice of God from heaven, and the ability to speak with the tongue of angels, or, in other words, the ability to prophesy.

    Without those things, any pretensions to having received the Holy Ghost are just those: pretensions.

  • Log:

    “I will agree there is no record of John’s being baptized by fire and the Holy Ghost. But we know that those who would have received, with all their hearts, had they been permitted to tarry, are accepted as though they had received, and we also know that John was resurrected, therefore we know he fulfilled all conditions set upon him by God.”

    I would like to believe Jesus anointed John in mortality, but in the end it mattereth not. That the Spirit was given to none while Jesus tarried in the flesh was a special circumstance surrounding the mortal ministry of Christ.

    John 7:39
    37 In the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried, saying, If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink.

    38 He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water.

    39 (But this spake he of the Spirit, which they that believe on him should receive: for the Holy Ghost was not yet given; because that Jesus was not yet glorified.)

    Likewise, remember: Helaman 14:13
    13 And if ye believe on his name ye will repent of all your sins, that thereby ye may have a remission of them through his merits.

    Therefore, if you do not repent of all your sins, you do not receive the Holy Ghost.

  • Jack:

    Good Will: “So, too, many members of the Church may find “living in the light” their natural element. For them, the witness of the Holy Ghost at their “baptism” may be as gently perceptible as tepid waters and the “fire” as purging as a warm blanket.”

    That’s my experience — well put.

    Log & GW,

    The baptism of fire need not be compared (metaphorically) to the baptism of water only at a 1:1 ratio. The point of the symbol of immersion (among other things) is to demonstrate that our baptism in the spirit must be complete. But it need not mean that water baptism and spirit baptism must mirror each other in terms of exact methodology. Indeed there are many levels of symbolism that may be applied to baptism. On a macro level, for example, it may be likened to the “cosmic” body of Christ rising out of the waters of chaos.

    Log,

    Perhaps I misunderstand you, but I’m not convinced that the baptism of fire and receiving a fulness (of the Father as Jesus did) are the same. Yes, one must receive the Holy Ghost in order to receive a fulness. I believe that doctrinally one precedes the other. Though in our actual experience they both may be received “grace for grace” over time.

  • Log:

    The baptism of fire need not be compared (metaphorically) to the baptism of water only at a 1:1 ratio. The point of the symbol of immersion (among other things) is to demonstrate that our baptism in the spirit must be complete. But it need not mean that water baptism and spirit baptism must mirror each other in terms of exact methodology. Indeed there are many levels of symbolism that may be applied to baptism. On a macro level, for example, it may be likened to the “cosmic” body of Christ rising out of the waters of chaos.

    I honestly don’t know what you mean to say by this.

    Log,

    Perhaps I misunderstand you, but I’m not convinced that the baptism of fire and receiving a fulness (of the Father as Jesus did) are the same.

    Yes, you misunderstand me. I am saying is that when we are baptized by fire and the Holy Ghost, we receive the Holy Ghost in its fullness, even as Jesus did, for that is the promise, and the experience. We typically don’t have all power in heaven and earth given to us at that time, but we do receive everything we ask for:

    Doctrine and Covenants 50:29
    29 And if ye are purified and cleansed from all sin, ye shall ask whatsoever you will in the name of Jesus and it shall be done.

    Though in our actual experience they both may be received “grace for grace” over time.

    You receive grace for grace up until you are prepared to receive the fullness, which comes the same way for all men: we are filled as if by fire and that joy which is unspeakable and full of glory and are able to speak forth marvellous words, and hear the voice of God from on high testifying to us. It is always a point experience and not a process. From thence, says Joseph, let us continue in hungering and thirsting after righteousness until God says to us “Son, thou shalt be exalted.” Then we shall find our calling and election, provisionally granted through the baptism by fire and the Holy Ghost, made sure.

    I believe that men receive the fullness of the Father in the same way, by progressing from grace to grace until they are prepared in all things to converse with the Lord through the veil and are brought into his presence in Heaven. There is no piecemeal receipt of these blessings spoken of in the scriptures; no imperceptible, lifetime process of inching one’s way into the presence of God and the heavenly host, millimeter by millimeter.

    On the other hand, if one supposes one has already gotten the gift, and supposes he has already been baptized by fire and the Holy Ghost, but in reality hasn’t, that would seem to be an insuperable obstacle to receiving the gift, for it is only had on asking for it.

    • Good Will:

      Log,

      I really would like to believe that the majority of the Saints who have never experienced (perceptibly) the gift of the Holy Ghost must be receiving it nonetheless, somehow. But, frankly, I find your exegesis of the topic so much more compelling!

      Where is the evidence demonstrating that “baptism by fire” is occurring among our people? How many Mormons do I know that would even admit to speaking with the tongue of angels or of shouting praises to the Most High? I don’t know any! (That’s a strange and sad statement, for it reveals the inefficacy of our local Fast & Testimony meetings.)

      The dearth of miracles, in general, among our people is also a “sign” of a lack of faith, leading me to believe that the baptism of fire and the Holy Ghost is likewise unfamiliar to most of us.

      I hope I’m wrong.

      • Log:

        You are not wrong, unfortunately. I know this for myself.

        The closest you’re going to get to what you wish were true is this.

        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.

        You’ll note, of course, that sanctification and purification is a point event and not a process, even here – however, gaining faith and humility is, for some, a process, a grace-for-grace kinda thing, and may be drawn out because of unbelief and precepts of men – and at the end of that process of acquiring faith and humility comes the purification and sanctification through the blood of Christ which makes men saints in reality rather than saints in name only.

        So it is that some will eventually wake up, at different times in their lives, and yield their hearts to God through faith.

        1 For the kingdom of heaven is like unto a man that is an householder, which went out early in the morning to hire labourers into his vineyard.

        2 And when he had agreed with the labourers for a penny a day, he sent them into his vineyard.

        3 And he went out about the third hour, and saw others standing idle in the marketplace,

        4 And said unto them; Go ye also into the vineyard, and whatsoever is right I will give you. And they went their way.

        5 Again he went out about the sixth and ninth hour, and did likewise.

        6 And about the eleventh hour he went out, and found others standing idle, and saith unto them, Why stand ye here all the day idle?

        7 They say unto him, Because no man hath hired us. He saith unto them, Go ye also into the vineyard; and whatsoever is right, that shall ye receive.

        8 So when even was come, the lord of the vineyard saith unto his steward, Call the labourers, and give them their hire, beginning from the last unto the first.

        9 And when they came that were hired about the eleventh hour, they received every man a penny.

        10 But when the first came, they supposed that they should have received more; and they likewise received every man a penny.

        11 And when they had received it, they murmured against the goodman of the house,

        12 Saying, These last have wrought but one hour, and thou hast made them equal unto us, which have borne the burden and heat of the day.

        13 But he answered one of them, and said, Friend, I do thee no wrong: didst not thou agree with me for a penny?

        14 Take that thine is, and go thy way: I will give unto this last, even as unto thee.

        15 Is it not lawful for me to do what I will with mine own? Is thine eye evil, because I am good?

        16 So the last shall be first, and the first last: for many be called, but few chosen.

        34 … And why are they not chosen?

        35 Because their hearts are set so much upon the things of this world, and aspire to the honors of men, that they do not learn this one lesson—

        36 That the rights of the priesthood are inseparably connected with the powers of heaven, and that the powers of heaven cannot be controlled nor handled only upon the principles of righteousness.

        37 That they may be conferred upon us, it is true; but when we undertake to cover our sins, or to gratify our pride, our vain ambition, or to exercise control or dominion or compulsion upon the souls of the children of men, in any degree of unrighteousness, behold, the heavens withdraw themselves; the Spirit of the Lord is grieved; and when it is withdrawn, Amen to the priesthood or the authority of that man.

        38 Behold, ere he is aware, he is left unto himself, to kick against the pricks, to persecute the saints, and to fight against God.

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

        40 Hence many are called, but few are chosen.

        Thus some, but not all, will wake up, maybe early in life, maybe in the middle of their life, maybe towards the end of their life. But it can be now, if they will but repent and call upon God with their whole heart for redemption!

        Alma 34:31
        31 Yea, I would that ye would come forth and harden not your hearts any longer; for behold, now is the time and the day of your salvation; and therefore, if ye will repent and harden not your hearts, immediately shall the great plan of redemption be brought about unto you.

        And that, remember, is Amulek explaining how to apply Alma’s teachings on “planting the seed of the word in your heart”. So there is no need to wait and develop faith and humility through adversity and trials; it is available to all if they will call upon the name of the Lord; yea, they shall be saved, even immediately if they will humble themselves and pray in faith for redemption!

        Thus it is that the Lord has instructed the only thing we are to teach is repentance, which of necessity includes calling upon the name of the Lord. That is the great defect in the spiritual education in the Church.

        Alma 9:17
        17 And at some period of time they will be brought to believe in his word, and to know of the incorrectness of the traditions of their fathers; and many of them will be saved, for the Lord will be merciful unto all who call on his name.

        Romans 10:13
        13 For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved
        .
        Doctrine and Covenants 100:17
        17 And all that call upon the name of the Lord, and keep his commandments, shall be saved. Even so. Amen.

        Acts 2:21
        21 And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved.

        Thus it is that it is by grace we are saved, and not of works, lest any man should boast.

        Alma 22:15-18
        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.

        22 Now when Aaron saw the determination of the queen, he, also knowing the hardness of the hearts of the people, feared lest that a multitude should assemble themselves together, and there should be a great contention and a disturbance among them; therefore he put forth his hand and raised the king from the earth, and said unto him: Stand. And he stood upon his feet, receiving his strength.

        23 Now this was done in the presence of the queen and many of the servants. And when they saw it they greatly marveled, and began to fear. And the king stood forth, and began to minister unto them. And he did minister unto them, insomuch that his whole household were converted unto the Lord.

        The incident from which I chopped that is the model of missionary teaching and conversion in the Book of Mormon. But this is disdained in the Gentile Church; “Baptist born-again snake oil” I have heard it sneeringly called.

        This is why we are condemned as a Church, that many, perhaps most, do not come unto Christ.

        D&C 84:49 And the whole world lieth in sin, and groaneth under darkness and under the bondage of sin.

        50 And by this you may know they are under the bondage of sin, because they come not unto me.

        51 For whoso cometh not unto me is under the bondage of sin.

        52 And whoso receiveth not my voice is not acquainted with my voice, and is not of me.

        53 And by this you may know the righteous from the wicked, and that the whole world groaneth under sin and darkness even now.

        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.

        And our failure is assured.

        2 Nephi 28:32
        32 Wo be unto the Gentiles, saith the Lord God of Hosts! For notwithstanding I shall lengthen out mine arm unto them from day to day, they will deny me; nevertheless, I will be merciful unto them, saith the Lord God, if they will repent and come unto me; for mine arm is lengthened out all the day long, saith the Lord God of Hosts.

        JST, Matthew 21:47–56.
        Compare Matthew 21:45–46
        47 And when the chief priests and Pharisees had heard his parables, they perceived that he spake of them.

        48 And they said among themselves, Shall this man think that he alone can spoil this great kingdom? And they were angry with him.

        49 But when they sought to lay hands on him, they feared the multitude, because they learned that the multitude took him for a prophet.

        50 And now his disciples came to him, and Jesus said unto them, Marvel ye at the words of the parable which I spake unto them?

        51 Verily, I say unto you, I am the stone, and those wicked ones reject me.

        52 I am the head of the corner. These Jews shall fall upon me, and shall be broken.

        53 And the kingdom of God shall be taken from them, and shall be given to a nation bringing forth the fruits thereof; (meaning the Gentiles.)

        54 Wherefore, on whomsoever this stone shall fall, it shall grind him to powder.

        55 And when the Lord therefore of the vineyard cometh, he will destroy those miserable, wicked men, and will let again his vineyard unto other husbandmen, even in the last days, who shall render him the fruits in their seasons.

        56 And then understood they the parable which he spake unto them, that the Gentiles should be destroyed also, when the Lord should descend out of heaven to reign in his vineyard, which is the earth and the inhabitants thereof.

        That’s us.

        D&C 109:60
        60 Now these words, O Lord, we have spoken before thee, concerning the revelations and commandments which thou hast given unto us, who are identified with the Gentiles.

        So, we cry repentance for those few who will hear, and the rest shall find out the hard way.

        D&C 112:23-26
        23 Verily, verily, I say unto you, darkness covereth the earth, and gross darkness the minds of the people, and all flesh has become corrupt before my face.

        24 Behold, vengeance cometh speedily upon the inhabitants of the earth, a day of wrath, a day of burning, a day of desolation, of weeping, of mourning, and of lamentation; and as a whirlwind it shall come upon all the face of the earth, saith the Lord.

        25 And upon my house shall it begin, and from my house shall it go forth, saith the Lord;

        26 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.

        Remember further that to take upon oneself the name of Christ means to receive the Holy Ghost.

        Alma 34:38
        38 That ye contend no more against the Holy Ghost, but that ye receive it, and take upon you the name of Christ; that ye humble yourselves even to the dust, and worship God, in whatsoever place ye may be in, in spirit and in truth; and that ye live in thanksgiving daily, for the many mercies and blessings which he doth bestow upon you.

        Thus, it appears pretty clear that the vengeance of the Lord at his coming shall be poured out first upon those in the Church who have not been baptized by fire and the Holy Ghost, but have pretended to have received the Holy Ghost.

        Thus we see how great the need is to cry repentance, to teach men to call upon the name of the Lord, and make straight his paths!

        Mormon 8:38
        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 ashamed to take upon you the name of Christ? 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?

        Why indeed are they ashamed to receive the Holy Ghost? Why are they ashamed to repent of all their sins and call upon the name of the Lord until they are received? What do they have going on that is better than eternal happiness? So what if they end up on the outskirts of the Church? So what if they are persecuted and rejected by those who should have been their beloved brethren? So what if they are cast out and reviled? Has not the Lord suffered all those things for us that we might be eternally happy if we should obey him in all things, yea, having joy in our persecutions, and eternal glory in the hereafter?

        Why not make today the day that you begin to call upon the name of the Lord for redemption and the remission of your sins? Why not choose to serve God with all your heart, mind, and strength? Why not lay aside all worldly concerns or lusts or ambitions and rely wholly upon the merits of Christ who is mighty to save? Why do you choose to hearken to the precepts of men, who teach you that you need not pray mightily until you are received of God? Why is it you settle for a religion of outward works and performances rather than the true faith of Christ, answered with fire from heaven and the powers of heaven?

        Why not do as Joseph did? What have you got to lose?

    • Jack:

      Log: “There is no piecemeal receipt of these blessings spoken of in the scriptures.”

      Yes there is: Alma 32, D&C 93, Isaiah 28, and of course Helaman 3: 35. I must say that you’re interpretation of that verse in Helaman is, ironically, incredibly negative. Mormon was recounting the experience of those people as an example that we might emulate – and that’s exACTly what many members of the church are doing today. Also, I don’t know why sanctification must be viewed as a single event as per that particular verse. Mormon in no way makes that clear. In fact, it (verse 35) reads better as a process.

      • Log:

        Jack,

        You’re free to “interpret” the scriptures in whatever way you like.

        Re D&C 93, if you see going from grace to grace until one is granted the fullness as receiving the fullness by piecemeal, try it out and at the resurrection we’ll see how that worked for you.

        Re Helaman 3:35, if you see people waxing firmer and firmer in the faith over a year until they were finally sanctified as an endorsement of an imperceptible lifelong process of sanctification, then again, try that out and let us see how it works out for you.

        Re Isaiah 28, you may interpret that however you may. Context is key.

        Re Alma 32, read Alma 34 to find out how Alma’s sermon was to be put into action; are you able to pervert that into an imperceptible lifelong process? Or do you have ears to hear this:

        30 And now, my brethren, I would that, after ye have received so many witnesses, seeing that the holy scriptures testify of these things, ye come forth and bring fruit unto repentance.

        31 Yea, I would that ye would come forth and harden not your hearts any longer; for behold, now is the time and the day of your salvation; and therefore, if ye will repent and harden not your hearts, immediately shall the great plan of redemption be brought about unto you.

        32 For behold, this life is the time for men to prepare to meet God; yea, behold the day of this life is the day for men to perform their labors.

        33 And now, as I said unto you before, as ye have had so many witnesses, therefore, I beseech of you that ye do not procrastinate the day of your repentance until the end; for after this day of life, which is given us to prepare for eternity, behold, if we do not improve our time while in this life, then cometh the night of darkness wherein there can be no labor performed.

        34 Ye cannot say, when ye are brought to that awful crisis, that I will repent, that I will return to my God. Nay, ye cannot say this; for that same spirit which doth possess your bodies at the time that ye go out of this life, that same spirit will have power to possess your body in that eternal world.

        35 For behold, if ye have procrastinated the day of your repentance even until death, behold, ye have become subjected to the spirit of the devil, and he doth seal you his; therefore, the Spirit of the Lord hath withdrawn from you, and hath no place in you, and the devil hath all power over you; and this is the final state of the wicked.

        36 And this I know, because the Lord hath said he dwelleth not in unholy temples, but in the hearts of the righteous doth he dwell; yea, and he has also said that the righteous shall sit down in his kingdom, to go no more out; but their garments should be made white through the blood of the Lamb.

        37 And now, my beloved brethren, I desire that ye should remember these things, and that ye should work out your salvation with fear before God, and that ye should no more deny the coming of Christ;

        38 That ye contend no more against the Holy Ghost, but that ye receive it, and take upon you the name of Christ; that ye humble yourselves even to the dust, and worship God, in whatsoever place ye may be in, in spirit and in truth; and that ye live in thanksgiving daily, for the many mercies and blessings which he doth bestow upon you.

      • Log:

        Is it really your position that because the Lord gives to men precept upon precept, here a little there a little, that therefore repentance is a lifelong imperceptible process, that conversion is an imperceptible lifelong process, and that there is no noticeable sign from heaven when men are fully converted, because nobody truly is converted in this life, but only in the next life?

        I wonder what Isaiah could possibly have meant by this:

        13 But the word of the Lord was unto them precept upon precept, precept upon precept; line upon line, line upon line; here a little, and there a little; that they might go, and fall backward, and be broken, and snared, and taken.

      • Log:

        Ironies.

        30 For behold, thus saith the Lord God: I will give unto the children of men line upon line, precept upon precept, here a little and there a little; and blessed are those who hearken unto my precepts, and lend an ear unto my counsel, for they shall learn wisdom; for unto him that receiveth I will give more; and from them that shall say, We have enough, from them shall be taken away even that which they have.

        31 Cursed is he that putteth his trust in man, or maketh flesh his arm, or shall hearken unto the precepts of men, save their precepts shall be given by the power of the Holy Ghost.

        32 Wo be unto the Gentiles, saith the Lord God of Hosts! For notwithstanding I shall lengthen out mine arm unto them from day to day, they will deny me; nevertheless, I will be merciful unto them, saith the Lord God, if they will repent and come unto me; for mine arm is lengthened out all the day long, saith the Lord God of Hosts.

      • Jack:

        Let’s give that passage a little more context:

        9 Whom shall he teach knowledge? and whom shall he make to understand doctrine? them that are weaned from the milk, and drawn from the breasts.

        10 For precept must be upon precept, precept upon precept; line upon line, line upon line; here a little, and there a little:

        11 For with stammering lips and another tongue will he speak to this people.

        12 To whom he said, This is the rest wherewith ye may cause the weary to rest; and this is the refreshing: yet they would not hear.

        13 But the word of the Lord was unto them precept upon precept, precept upon precept; line upon line, line upon line; here a little, and there a little; that they might go, and fall backward, and be broken, and snared, and taken.

        These verses taken together seem to suggest that as we move beyond the “milk” of the gospel we are taught the “greater things,” albeit, a little bit at a time. And it is in gaining this knowledge that we enter into the rest of the Lord. However, the grand irony is that because we learn these things incrementally there is a danger that we may become complacent towards or even desensitized to the little bits of grace that come from above as we navigate our way through life’s difficulties. It “smacks” of Alma 12.

        Re: My interpretation of the scriptures — I think I’m in good company, though, I’m certainly willing to be wrong in order to be corrected.

        “If you see people waxing firmer and firmer in the faith over a year until they were finally sanctified as an endorsement of an imperceptible lifelong process of sanctification, then again, try that out and let us see how it works out for you.”

        Well, if it takes one year then why not two? And if two then why not ten? Who knows the bounds of the Lord’s patience?

      • Log:

        The boundary is death.

        3 Nephi 27:33
        33 And it came to pass that when Jesus had ended these sayings he said unto his disciples: Enter ye in at the strait gate; for strait is the gate, and narrow is the way that leads to life, and few there be that find it; but wide is the gate, and broad the way which leads to death, and many there be that travel therein, until the night cometh, wherein no man can work.

        Alma 34:34
        34 Ye cannot say, when ye are brought to that awful crisis, that I will repent, that I will return to my God. Nay, ye cannot say this; for that same spirit which doth possess your bodies at the time that ye go out of this life, that same spirit will have power to possess your body in that eternal world.

      • Log:

        You procrastinate the day of your repentance, which is also the day of your salvation, at your peril.

        33 And now, as I said unto you before, as ye have had so many witnesses, therefore, I beseech of you that ye do not procrastinate the day of your repentance until the end; for after this day of life, which is given us to prepare for eternity, behold, if we do not improve our time while in this life, then cometh the night of darkness wherein there can be no labor performed.

        34 Ye cannot say, when ye are brought to that awful crisis, that I will repent, that I will return to my God. Nay, ye cannot say this; for that same spirit which doth possess your bodies at the time that ye go out of this life, that same spirit will have power to possess your body in that eternal world.

        35 For behold, if ye have procrastinated the day of your repentance even until death, behold, ye have become subjected to the spirit of the devil, and he doth seal you his; therefore, the Spirit of the Lord hath withdrawn from you, and hath no place in you, and the devil hath all power over you; and this is the final state of the wicked.

  • Log:

    By “on asking for it” I mean through complete repentance and mighty prayer for the gift, or one of its equivalents (charity, the Holy Ghost, forgiveness, redemption, to know the will of God, and so forth), having perfect faith in Christ.

  • Log:

    Let’s look a little closer at Helaman 3:35, which some insist gives license to the view that one need not repent from all one’s sins nor call upon God with all one’s might, mind, and strength, to receive redemption.

    33 And in the fifty and first year of the reign of the judges there was peace also, save it were the pride which began to enter into the church—not into the church of God, but into the hearts of the people who professed to belong to the church of God—

    34 And they were lifted up in pride, even to the persecution of many of their brethren. Now this was a great evil, which did cause the more humble part of the people to suffer great persecutions, and to wade through much affliction.

    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.

    36 And it came to pass that the fifty and second year ended in peace also, save it were the exceedingly great pride which had gotten into the hearts of the people; and it was because of their exceedingly great riches and their prosperity in the land; and it did grow upon them from day to day.

    Notice that it was the persecutions of their proud brethren, who professed to be of the Church of God, but were not, that gave occasion for these others to humble themselves and wax firmer in the faith until they were sanctified. This occurred during the fifty-second year of the reign of the judges, and was not a lifelong process.

    But notice more the description of the persecutors. They professed to belong to the Church of God. They had been baptized and confirmed. But they were not members of the Church of God, even if they were members of the earthly Church. What is the Church of God?

    Doctrine and Covenants 10:67
    67 Behold, this is my doctrine—whosoever repenteth and cometh unto me, the same is my church.

    (Do you notice that throughout scripture, repentance is never, ever a piecemeal process, but a wholesale renunciation of, and turning from, sin, and of making one’s eye single to the glory of God?)

    This was the kind of thing happening.

    Alma 4:8 For they saw and beheld with great sorrow that the people of the church began to be lifted up in the pride of their eyes, and to set their hearts upon riches and upon the vain things of the world, that they began to be scornful, one towards another, and they began to persecute those that did not believe according to their own will and pleasure.

    Now, recall they did not permit any to join the church save they professed to have called upon the name of the Lord and received a remission of their sins and had entered into a covenant to serve him and keep his commandments. After they were baptized with water, and by fire, then they were accounted members of the Church.

    Moroni 6:1 And now I speak concerning baptism. Behold, elders, priests, and teachers were baptized; and they were not baptized save they brought forth fruit meet that they were worthy of it.

    2 Neither did they receive any unto baptism save they came forth with a broken heart and a contrite spirit, and witnessed unto the church that they truly repented of all their sins.

    3 And none were received unto baptism save they took upon them the name of Christ, having a determination to serve him to the end.

    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.

    3 Nephi 7:25
    25 Therefore, there were ordained of Nephi, men unto this ministry, that all such as should come unto them should be baptized with water, and this as a witness and a testimony before God, and unto the people, that they had repented and received a remission of their sins.

    That is why we are told this.

    Mormon 9:29
    29 See that ye are not baptized unworthily; see that ye partake not of the sacrament of Christ unworthily; but see that ye do all things in worthiness, and do it in the name of Jesus Christ, the Son of the living God; and if ye do this, and endure to the end, ye will in nowise be cast out.

    And the worthiness standard for baptism has not changed.

    37 And again, by way of commandment to the church concerning the manner of baptism—All those who humble themselves before God, and desire to be baptized, and come forth with broken hearts and contrite spirits, and witness before the church that they have truly repented of all their sins, and are willing to take upon them the name of Jesus Christ, having a determination to serve him to the end, and truly manifest by their works that they have received of the Spirit of Christ unto the remission of their sins, shall be received by baptism into his church.

    But we don’t obey this law and are almost universally baptized unworthily, which is why our confirmations do not result in the baptism by fire, generally.

    Now, some wish to make much of the fact that the Lord delivers precept upon precept, line upon line.

    However, to the unconverted, the sole precept they are instructed to obey is to repent and call upon the name of the Lord unto the remission of their sins by the baptism by fire and the Holy Ghost, wherein we are sanctified by the reception of the Holy Ghost.

    After that, the Lord gives precept upon precept to them who have been converted thereby, that we may be brought into his presence. That is what this means!

    28 Behold, I will show unto the Gentiles their weakness, and I will show unto them that faith, hope and charity bringeth unto me—the fountain of all righteousness.

    Remember: the baptism of fire is wherein we gain hope and charity as an answer to our faith.

    Moroni 8:25-26
    25 And the first fruits of repentance is baptism; and baptism cometh by faith unto the fulfilling the commandments; and the fulfilling the commandments bringeth remission of sins;

    26 And the remission of sins bringeth meekness, and lowliness of heart; and because of meekness and lowliness of heart cometh the visitation of the Holy Ghost, which Comforter filleth with hope and perfect love, which love endureth by diligence unto prayer, until the end shall come, when all the saints shall dwell with God.

    The visitation of the comforter is the baptism by fire.

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

    61 Therefore it is given to abide in you; the record of heaven; the Comforter; the peaceable things of immortal glory; the truth of all things; that which quickeneth all things, which maketh alive all things; that which knoweth all things, and hath all power according to wisdom, mercy, truth, justice, and judgment.

    66 And he heard a voice out of heaven, saying: Thou art baptized with fire, and with the Holy Ghost. This is the record of the Father, and the Son, from henceforth and forever;

    67 And thou art after the order of him who was without beginning of days or end of years, from all eternity to all eternity.

    68 Behold, thou art one in me, a son of God; and thus may all become my sons. Amen.

    If we have not experienced the baptism by fire, it is because we don’t have faith in Christ, and have not repented of our sins, and do not believe on his name.

    Helaman 14:13
    13 And if ye believe on his name ye will repent of all your sins, that thereby ye may have a remission of them through his merits.

    Helaman 5:41
    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.

    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.

    46 And it came to pass that there came a voice unto them, yea, a pleasant voice, as if it were a whisper, saying:

    47 Peace, peace be unto you, because of your faith in my Well Beloved, who was from the foundation of the world.

    Therefore, it is marvelously perverse to contend against the doctrine of Christ and justify men in their sins. But the Lord knew this would happen.

    Ether 12:36
    36And it came to pass that I prayed unto the Lord that he would give unto the Gentiles grace, that they might have charity.

    37 And it came to pass that the Lord said unto me: If they have not charity it mattereth not unto thee, thou hast been faithful; wherefore, thy garments shall be made clean. And because thou hast seen thy weakness thou shalt be made strong, even unto the sitting down in the place which I have prepared in the mansions of my Father.

    No charity = no visitation by the comforter, no baptism by fire.

    2 Nephi 28:32
    32 Wo be unto the Gentiles, saith the Lord God of Hosts! For notwithstanding I shall lengthen out mine arm unto them from day to day, they will deny me; nevertheless, I will be merciful unto them, saith the Lord God, if they will repent and come unto me; for mine arm is lengthened out all the day long, saith the Lord God of Hosts.

    But if we repent and call upon the name of the Lord, he instructs us, precept by precept, line upon line, and NOT MEN. Remember, if you enter in by the way, you receive the baptism of fire and the Holy Ghost, and possess the gift of the Holy Ghost, the Spirit of God in you, being one with God, communing with him, and dwelling in him and he in you.

    2 Nephi 32
    1 And now, behold, my beloved brethren, I suppose that ye ponder somewhat in your hearts concerning that which ye should do after ye have entered in by the way. But, behold, why do ye ponder these things in your hearts?

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

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

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

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

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

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

    8 And now, my beloved brethren, I perceive that ye ponder still in your hearts; and it grieveth me that I must speak concerning this thing. For 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.

    9 But behold, I say unto you that ye must pray always, and not faint; that ye must not perform any thing unto the Lord save in the first place ye shall pray unto the Father in the name of Christ, that he will consecrate thy performance unto thee, that thy performance may be for the welfare of thy soul.

    That is why this is true of them who have received the Holy Ghost.

    1 John 2:27
    27 But the anointing which ye have received of him abideth in you, and ye need not that any man teach you: but as the same anointing teacheth you of all things, and is truth, and is no lie, and even as it hath taught you, ye shall abide in him.

    But, if you receive not this anointing of the Holy Ghost by fire, wherein you are taught all things from on high, then the only precept you will be given is repentance and faith. And if you receive not this precept, you are damned.

    Do not justify yourself nor others in sin. Do not justify any in procrastinating the day of repentance, but humble yourselves into the dust and call upon God in the name of the Son to be redeemed from your sins and to be cleansed by fire from on high.

    • Log:

      If I didn’t make it explicitly clear (and I guess I didn’t), Helaman 3:35 is not a precept, but simply an example where internal persecution gave a group of believers in the Church an occasion to exercise faith unto sanctification through prayer and fasting. (It is in no way an endorsement, nor even an acknowledgement, of a lifelong continual [nearly] imperceptible process of sanctification or repentance or whatever.)

      Other times, the opposite has happened, and hearts have been hardened through persecutions and trials and names blotted from the records of the Church.

      Alma 62:41
      41 But behold, because of the exceedingly great length of the war between the Nephites and the Lamanites many had become hardened, because of the exceedingly great length of the war; and many were softened because of their afflictions, insomuch that they did humble themselves before God, even in the depth of humility.

      The continual explicit precept of the Book of Mormon is to repent and cry mightily to receive redemption.

      1 Behold, it came to pass that I, Enos, knowing my father that he was a just man—for he taught me in his language, and also in the nurture and admonition of the Lord—and blessed be the name of my God for it—

      2 And I will tell you of the wrestle which I had before God, before I received a remission of my sins.

      3 Behold, I went to hunt beasts in the forests; and the words which I had often heard my father speak concerning eternal life, and the joy of the saints, sunk deep into my heart.

      4 And my soul hungered; and I kneeled down before my Maker, and I cried unto him in mighty prayer and supplication for mine own soul; and all the day long did I cry unto him; yea, and when the night came I did still raise my voice high that it reached the heavens.

      5 And there came a voice unto me, saying: Enos, thy sins are forgiven thee, and thou shalt be blessed.

      6 And I, Enos, knew that God could not lie; wherefore, my guilt was swept away.

      7 And I said: Lord, how is it done?

      8 And he said unto me: Because of thy faith in Christ, whom thou hast never before heard nor seen. And many years pass away before he shall manifest himself in the flesh; wherefore, go to, thy faith hath made thee whole.

      Alma 38:8
      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.

      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.

      Moroni 7:48
      48 Wherefore, my beloved brethren, pray unto the Father with all the energy of heart, that ye may be filled with this love, which he hath bestowed upon all who are true followers of his Son, Jesus Christ; that ye may become the sons of God; that when he shall appear we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is; that we may have this hope; that we may be purified even as he is pure. Amen.

      Helaman 3:27
      27 Thus we may see that the Lord is merciful unto all who will, in the sincerity of their hearts, call upon his holy name.

      28 Yea, thus we see that the gate of heaven is open unto all, even to those who will believe on the name of Jesus Christ, who is the Son of God.

      Did you notice how believing on the name of Jesus Christ is linked with calling upon the name of the Lord in sincerity?

      Alma 9:17
      17 And at some period of time they will be brought to believe in his word, and to know of the incorrectness of the traditions of their fathers; and many of them will be saved, for the Lord will be merciful unto all who call on his name.

      Alma 19:16
      16 And it came to pass that they did call on the name of the Lord, in their might, even until they had all fallen to the earth…

      27 And now, my brethren, I wish from the inmost part of my heart, yea, with great anxiety even unto pain, that ye would hearken unto my words, and cast off your sins, and not procrastinate the day of your repentance;

      28 But that ye would humble yourselves before the Lord, and call on his holy name, and watch and pray continually, that ye may not be tempted above that which ye can bear, and thus be led by the Holy Spirit, becoming humble, meek, submissive, patient, full of love and all long-suffering;

      29 Having faith on the Lord; having a hope that ye shall receive eternal life; having the love of God always in your hearts, that ye may be lifted up at the last day and enter into his rest.

      30 And may the Lord grant unto you repentance, that ye may not bring down his wrath upon you, that ye may not be bound down by the chains of hell, that ye may not suffer the second death.

      And so forth. It’s not just in the Book of Mormon.

      Romans 10:13
      13 For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.

      Acts 2:21
      21 And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved.

      Doctrine and Covenants 100:17
      17 And all that call upon the name of the Lord, and keep his commandments, shall be saved. Even so. Amen.

      And that is not exhaustive.

    • Log:

      How perverse it is to justify men who refuse to repent and call upon God, to contend over how one man views another, or because we don’t like the implications of the scriptures for a group of people who refuse to repent and call upon God in their mights!

      4 For it came to pass in the commencement of the first year of the reign of Zedekiah, king of Judah, (my father, Lehi, having dwelt at Jerusalem in all his days); and in that same year there came many prophets, prophesying unto the people that they must repent, or the great city Jerusalem must be destroyed.

      5 Wherefore it came to pass that my father, Lehi, as he went forth prayed unto the Lord, yea, even with all his heart, in behalf of his people.

      That is the reaction of a righteous man. Behold the reaction of the wicked.

      22 And we know that the people who were in the land of Jerusalem were a righteous people; for they kept the statutes and judgments of the Lord, and all his commandments, according to the law of Moses; wherefore, we know that they are a righteous people; and our father hath judged them, and hath led us away because we would hearken unto his words; yea, and our brother is like unto him. And after this manner of language did my brethren murmur and complain against us.

    • Jack:

      “No charity = no visitation by the comforter, no baptism by fire.”

      And the inverse is true as well. Many members of the church bear this particular fruit of the spirit.

      And with that I will only say that I’m through being pounded by your priestcraft.

      One more thing — an invitation: Turn from your fundamentalism and come back.

      • Log:

        I leave it to you to ascertain why the Lord says the members of the Church generally don’t have charity, as I have cited him.

        Could it be that you don’t know, or understand, what charity is, because you have never been born of God?

        What would you have me come back to, trusting in men rather than God? Would you have me abandon my foundation, which is Christ, the Lord, and trust blindly in men who know not God?

        I remind you again of the example of Brigham and Orson. Figure out for yourself how far “following the prophet” gets you (D&C 76:98-105). Or how far teaching men not to pray to gain for themselves gets you (Luke 11:52, 2 Nephi 28:15).

      • Log:

        I point men to the scriptures and to God according to the teachings therein.

        2 Nephi 26:29
        29 He commandeth that there shall be no priestcrafts; for, behold, priestcrafts are that men preach and set themselves up for a light unto the world, that they may get gain and praise of the world; but they seek not the welfare of Zion.

        Posting anonymously on the internet that men should engage in mighty prayer to be born of God, according to the teachings of the scriptures, seems a very ineffective manner of getting the gain and the praise of the world, and the teaching itself seems calculated for the welfare of Zion, those who have been born again.

        Doctrine and Covenants 29:2
        2 Who will gather his people even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, even as many as will hearken to my voice and humble themselves before me, and call upon me in mighty prayer.

        Doctrine and Covenants 42:14
        14 And the Spirit shall be given unto you by the prayer of faith; and if ye receive not the Spirit ye shall not teach.

        Moses 7:27
        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.

  • Log:

    In the end, the doctrine that there is, or can be, a lifelong [nearly] imperceptible process of spiritual rebirth / conversion / mighty change of heart / baptism by fire, potentially never completed in this life, is completely without basis in the scriptures, which are by common consent the united voice of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in doctrinal matters. It in fact flies in the face of each and every explicit teaching on conversion and the manner in which it is brought about.

    It is a view which is not gotten from the scriptures, but is read into the scriptures; it has its genesis among some of the leadership of the Church. But, as is already known, when any man or group of men teach contrary to the scriptures, the scriptures prevail, for they are binding upon all members of the Church.

    You get to choose, for you have agency, who you will believe and obey: the united voice of the Church, which teaches emphatically that now, right now, is the time and day of your salvation through repentance from all your sins, and faith in the Lord Jesus Christ unto mighty prayer to be redeemed until you receive the Holy Ghost and are born of God, and from thence instructed in all things from on high – or the scattered voices of some of the leaders who say there is no need to go overboard; all is well in Zion, yea, Zion prospereth, all is well; nobody’s perfect, so don’t believe you can repent from all your sins this side of the grave; if, in the end, you are found guilty before God, he will beat you with few stripes and at last you will be saved in the Celestial kingdom; faithful church service is all that is required of you.

    Remember, just because God has called men to leadership does not imply they have the spirit of prophecy, the gift of seership, nor that they are receiving revelations. Whether you sustain them as prophets, seers, and revelators has absolutely no effect on their spiritual gifts and status before God. The fruits of the spirit of prophecy are, well, prophecies! The fruits of the gift of seership are, well, visions! The fruits of the spirit of revelation are, well, revelations!

    Joseph was not shy about his status as prophet, seer, revelator, and translator, for he had the gifts, as he demonstrated, and knew of his standing before God. But it is a sign when a man who is called a prophet by other men disavows that title for himself.

  • Log:

    The priestcraft accusation is also very interesting.

    2 Nephi 26:29
    29 He commandeth that there shall be no priestcrafts; for, behold, priestcrafts are that men preach and set themselves up for a light unto the world, that they may get gain and praise of the world; but they seek not the welfare of Zion.

    A man who sets himself up as a light to the world for money, property, or power, and popularity among the wicked but is not seeking the welfare of Zion is committing priestcraft.

    Those who point towards the True Light, even Jesus Christ, and the God who sent him, the Father of Lights, according to the right way according to the word of God, cannot be committing priestcraft.

    2 Nephi 25:29
    29 And now behold, I say unto you that the right way is to believe in Christ, and deny him not; and Christ is the Holy One of Israel; wherefore ye must bow down before him, and worship him with all your might, mind, and strength, and your whole soul; and if ye do this ye shall in nowise be cast out.

    The definition of priestcraft excludes any and all who are not getting paid for their efforts. The only ones who can possibly be committing priestcraft are those who receive renumeration for their labors. There was once upon a time when it was a selling point for the missionaries to publicize the fact that the Church had no paid ministry. In fact, it does: General Authorities, CES (Church Education System) employees, COB (Church Office Building) employees, LFS (LDS Family Services) employees, authors who profit from books on gospel related topics, and artists. I’m not sure if Area Authorities or Mission Presidents receive living stipends, neither do I know much about the Correlation Department.

    This much I know.

    Mosiah 18:26
    26 And the priests were not to depend upon the people for their support; but for their labor they were to receive the grace of God, that they might wax strong in the Spirit, having the knowledge of God, that they might teach with power and authority from God.

    Mosiah 27:5
    5 Yea, and all their priests and teachers should labor with their own hands for their support, in all cases save it were in sickness, or in much want; and doing these things, they did abound in the grace of God.

    Alma 1:26
    26 And when the priests left their labor to impart the word of God unto the people, the people also left their labors to hear the word of God. And when the priest had imparted unto them the word of God they all returned again diligently unto their labors; and the priest, not esteeming himself above his hearers, for the preacher was no better than the hearer, neither was the teacher any better than the learner; and thus they were all equal, and they did all labor, every man according to his strength.

    Moreover, this is the prime example of priestcraft in the Book of Mormon.

    Alma 1:2-6
    2 And it came to pass that in the first year of the reign of Alma in the judgment-seat, there was a man brought before him to be judged, a man who was large, and was noted for his much strength.

    3 And he had gone about among the people, preaching to them that which he termed to be the word of God, bearing down against the church; declaring unto the people that every priest and teacher ought to become popular; and they ought not to labor with their hands, but that they ought to be supported by the people.

    4 And he also testified unto the people that all mankind should be saved at the last day, and that they need not fear nor tremble, but that they might lift up their heads and rejoice; for the Lord had created all men, and had also redeemed all men; and, in the end, all men should have eternal life.

    5 And it came to pass that he did teach these things so much that many did believe on his words, even so many that they began to support him and give him money.

    6 And he began to be lifted up in the pride of his heart, and to wear very costly apparel, yea, and even began to establish a church after the manner of his preaching.

    Those committing priestcraft must be teaching doctrines which are popular with the world, which means the wicked, or unconverted – those who come not unto Christ according to his commandments – or else there would be no demand; nobody would pay for an unpopular teaching.

    Therefore, those whose teachings are derided or met with general censure and condescension cannot be committing priestcraft. On the other hand, those whose teachings are welcomed by a majority may well be committing priestcraft, especially if they’re getting paid and praised.

    God alone knows whether a man seeks the welfare of Zion. It may well be possible that a carnal man thinks he is doing God a service by teaching his common-sense version of the gospel of Christ, according to his callings and gifts, but is spreading false doctrine because he understands not the things of God, they being foolish to him. But failing to commit priestcraft does not let them off the hook, for they who teach false doctrines also have a wo pronounced upon them, as do they who hearken to them.

    2 Nephi 28:15
    15 O the wise, and the learned, and the rich, that are puffed up in the pride of their hearts, and all those who preach false doctrines, and all those who commit whoredoms, and pervert the right way of the Lord, wo, wo, wo be unto them, saith the Lord God Almighty, for they shall be thrust down to hell!

  • Log:

    2 Nephi 28:31
    31 Cursed is he that putteth his trust in man, or maketh flesh his arm, or shall hearken unto the precepts of men, save their precepts shall be given by the power of the Holy Ghost.

    And it was because of priestcraft that the Jews slew Jesus.

    2 Nephi 10:5
    5 But because of priestcrafts and iniquities, they at Jerusalem will stiffen their necks against him, that he be crucified.

    It is because of priestcrafts that the true prophets are rejected – always.

    Helaman 13
    25 And now when ye talk, ye say: If our days had been in the days of our fathers of old, we would not have slain the prophets; we would not have stoned them, and cast them out.

    26 Behold ye are worse than they; for as the Lord liveth, if a prophet come among you and declareth unto you the word of the Lord, which testifieth of your sins and iniquities, ye are angry with him, and cast him out and seek all manner of ways to destroy him; yea, you will say that he is a false prophet, and that he is a sinner, and of the devil, because he testifieth that your deeds are evil.

    27 But behold, if a man shall come among you and shall say: Do this, and there is no iniquity; do that and ye shall not suffer; yea, he will say: Walk after the pride of your own hearts; yea, walk after the pride of your eyes, and do whatsoever your heart desireth—and if a man shall come among you and say this, ye will receive him, and say that he is a prophet.

    28 Yea, ye will lift him up, and ye will give unto him of your substance; ye will give unto him of your gold, and of your silver, and ye will clothe him with costly apparel; and because he speaketh flattering words unto you, and he saith that all is well, then ye will not find fault with him.

  • Log:

    Incidentally, from Nehor (Alma 1:6) it appears that teaching false doctrine is one way someone can build up a church unto themselves. Even if the resulting congregation is called after the name of God, it won’t be his church, for they are not founded upon his gospel (3 Nephi 27:8), therefore we should not expect to see his works in it (3 Nephi 27:10), such as healing infirmities and plagues, casting out devils, making the blind to see, the lame to walk, the lepers cleansed, the deaf to hear, the dead to rise, and the gospel preached to the poor (John 14:12, Luke 7:21-22, D&C 84;65-72).

    Can’t preach a gospel to the poor you haven’t received and don’t obey.

  • Log:

    To be clear, I don’t think the First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve are engaged in priestcraft. I think they are doing the best they can according to their light and knowledge.

  • Log:

    I probably have posted these before, but these two papers are of supreme importance.

    http://maxwellinstitute.byu.edu/publications/jbms/?vol=3&num=1&id=53

    http://maxwellinstitute.byu.edu/publications/jbms/?vol=5&num=2&id=123

    Think of them as the “Cliffs Notes” version of the Book of Mormon and the gospel of Jesus Christ.

  • Good Will:

    Before commenting on this blog, I failed to perceive that “the gospel of Jesus Christ” may be reduced to a binary equation: (1) repent of all one’s sins and (2) cry unto the Lord with all the energy and focus of one’s soul.

    The teachings of Nephi — regarding coming unto Christ and feasting on His word, being personally led by Him after coming in at the “gate” of baptism by water and the Holy Ghost (see 2 Nephi 31 & 32) — had somehow escaped me. Remarkably ignorant (or “forgetful”) of this “plan”, I considered my own glorious (however rare) experiences with Deity to be almost “accidents”. (“The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the Spirit.–John 3:8) I had “stumbled” upon the fruit of the Tree of Life and, failing to notice precisely how I got there, I wandered off. (Ironically, I was persuaded by other “good Mormons” to do so!) I ignorantly followed the traditions and philosophies of men (mingled with scripture) rather than the words of Christ and the patterns He had shown me. I put other “shepherds” in His place. I mistook mouthpieces for the Master.

    To some degree (to a very great degree, actually), I tripped and stumbled over the trappings of the Church early on — much as the Jews of Christ’s time elevated their scholarly teachers and priestly authorities and trusted in their “performances” to the point that they distanced themselves from and, ultimately, rejected their God, preferring the practice of “religion” to real discipleship and doing “works” to true worship.

    Since implementing the instructions “forwarded” to me in this thread, my life — and the lives of my family (even in so short of time!) — has been blessed. I have spent considerably more time in earnest prayer and I’ve received directions and answers regarding my own pressing needs and questions.

    For example, I was having trouble getting my children to do their chores without complaint or delay. I asked the Lord in prayer what I should do about it. He told me (through the “whisperings” of His Spirit) that I should “Say unto them, ‘How can I help you [insert desired outcome here]…?’ and then do what they ask.” Implementing this approach immediately transformed the conditions of my home and the attitudes and behaviors of my children. They literally “jumped up” — not just to help, but to be helped — and, in the process, I got to show them (by example) how the Lord would do things. (In that regard, I became more like Him: gentle, entreating, persuasive, helpful, not compulsive, demanding or over-bearing.) No contention. No procrastination. A spirit of peace, unity and service. All for speaking five simple words, given to me by inspiration. Inspired by the directive to “come unto Christ”.

    Doing things “the Lord’s way” (rather than my own) worked MUCH better. I want now to go to Him in prayer, not because I am constrained by “duty”, but rather because I (again) consider it a privilege. I want to learn more and grow, repenting of my less-than-perfect ways.

    The principle contributor to this thread wishes not be thanked or recognized for his contribution. He merely wishes all to come unto Christ and be perfected in Him. I, for one, have found his contributions here to be invaluable. I hope someday to make good on his request: to communicate to him something only he and the Lord would know. Such would be the ultimate “sign” that I have, indeed, taken his words to heart and have fully “come unto Christ”.

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