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Alma the younger, as we read in Mosiah, chapter 27, was ‘going about secretly with the sons of Mosiah seeking to destroy the church. Aided by the prayers of his father and others, Alma experienced the ‘mighty change.’ In Alma, chapter 36, he tells his son Helaman:

24  Yea, and from that time even until now, I have labored without ceasing, that I might bring souls unto repentance; that I might bring them to taste of the exceeding joy of which I did taste; that they might also be born of God, and be filled with the Holy Ghost.

Alma took his charge to be bringing others to the same gate as he had passed through, ‘that they might also be born of God, and be filled with the Holy Ghost.’

This need to be born again. to experience the mighty change, to be baptized by fire and by the Holy Ghost is a charge that is laid upon each one of us as Alma tells us in Mosiah, chapter 27:

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.

All of us are, by this scripture, to be born again as Alma was. We, all individually, or collectively are to shed our sins, and walk with God.

In describing what we should be doing once on the strait and narrow path, Nephi stated the following in Second Nephi, chapter 31:

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

I believe that feasting upon the word of Christ is what we call today personal revelation. We are to seek knowledge and wisdom from the source of all knowledge. To reinforce this idea, I would point to the example of Lehi at the beginning of the Book of Mormon. We read in 1 Nephi, chapter 2, that ‘the Lord spake unto [Lehi] in a dream. Lehi was commanded to take his family into the wilderness and in verse 3, we find that Lehi was ‘obedient unto the word of the Lord.’ Lehi, in this instance, demonstrates that we can receive personal revelation in dreams. The word of the Lord comes to us in dreams, visions, and revelations.

I have no doubt that Lehi prepared for this revelation by mighty prayer as is recounted in the first chapter.

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.

Prayer is the preparation for the receipt of revelation. If we do not ask, we shall not receive. We are to seek the word of Christ, just as Lehi and Alma have done.

Some ten years after Alma was born again, we find that he still thirsted after the knowledge and wisdom that the Spirit brings. He speaks here is his quest to understand these things:

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

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

47  And moreover, I say unto you that it has thus been revealed unto me, that the words which have been spoken by our fathers are true, even so according to the spirit of prophecy which is in me, which is also by the manifestation of the Spirit of God.

Even with the great experience that Alma received, he was only at the beginning. He then applied himself to the acquisition of the knowledge and wisdom of God. The truth was made available to Alma through the Spirit of God as a result of many days of fasting and prayer. The spirit of revelation is knowledge given to us through the communion with this Spirit. The spirit of prophecy is the ability to gain the knowledge of the truth as recorded in the scriptures.

Should we not follow the example of Alma? Should we not be born again? Should we not crave, as he did, the truths available through the conduit of personal revelation?

Later, in Alma, chapter 40, this great man recounts another example of how we gain knowledge through revelation.

3  …  Now, I unfold unto you a mystery; nevertheless, there are many mysteries which are kept, that no one knoweth them save God himself.  But I show unto you one thing which I have inquired diligently of God that I might know—that is concerning the resurrection.

Following this statement, Alma speaks of a mystery – that of the resurrection.  I have no doubt that Alma was prompted to share the knowledge he gained from seeking to know the mysteries of God. I believe this is an example of a mystery becoming a doctrine, in this case the doctrine of the resurrection. Should we not follow Alma’s example and seek to understand the mysteries of God? We find the following in Alma, chapter 12:

9  And now Alma began to expound these things unto him, saying: It is given unto many to know the mysteries of God; nevertheless they are laid under a strict command that they shall not impart only according to the portion of his word which he doth grant unto the children of men, according to the heed and diligence which they give unto him.

10  And therefore, he that will harden his heart, the same receiveth the lesser portion of the word; and he that will not harden his heart, to him is given the greater portion of the word, until it is given unto him to know the mysteries of God until he know them in full.

11  And they that will harden their hearts, to them is given the lesser portion of the word until they know nothing concerning his mysteries; and then they are taken captive by the devil, and led by his will down to destruction.  Now this is what is meant by the chains of hell.

If we will maintain a soft heart, we are promised here that we may receive knowledge of the mysteries of God in full. It is by diligent fasting and prayer that these things can be made available to us. The contrast is brought out in this scripture; we can choose to seek the mysteries of God and be brought into His kingdom or we can close off our minds and hearts to the mysteries of God and find ourselves in hell. What a choice… if anyone were to tell me that we should stay away from the mysteries, I would respond that such thinking is the path away from God.

We are promised that we will be filled with this knowledge. It is important to our salvation. It is critical that we strive to be born again and then seek to receive the mysteries of God. In what I consider to be one of the most meaningful scriptures in the Doctrine and Covenants, we read of this promise:

5  For thus saith the Lord—I, the Lord, am merciful and gracious unto those who fear me, and delight to honor those who serve me in righteousness and in truth unto the end.

6  Great shall be their reward and eternal shall be their glory.

7  And to them will I reveal all mysteries, yea, all the hidden mysteries of my kingdom from days of old, and for ages to come, will I make known unto them the good pleasure of my will concerning all things pertaining to my kingdom.

8  Yea, even the wonders of eternity shall they know, and things to come will I show them, even the things of many generations.

To those who fear and serve God in righteousness is given to opportunity to receive all the mysteries of God. We are given the same opportunity as Ether, Enoch, and other examples in the scriptures of those who reaped the benefits of seeking the knowledge of God. These great men were privileged to see the world from beginning to end. Nephi and Lehi also received this great revelation.

After Joseph Smith and Sidney Rigdon received this revelation concerning the kingdoms of God, we read the following

114  But great and marvelous are the works of the Lord, and the mysteries of his kingdom which he showed unto us, which surpass all understanding in glory, and in might, and in dominion;

Again, we are presented with a mystery revealed. We are allowed to read of a portion of His word which can now be considered doctrine – a public statement of the knowledge of God imparted through revelation.

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.

The words of Christ, received through personal revelation, through the spirit of revelation and the spirit of prophecy, open an avenue to us to receive all the mysteries of God. We are told that those who are not willing to seek the mysteries are not allowed into the kingdom of God. We are shown examples in the scriptures of great people  who have received personal revelation that has given them knowledge of things that were, that are, and that will be.

The gate to the strait and narrow, the mighty change, the baptism of fire and the Holy Ghost gives us a ticket for an unbounded amount of knowledge and wisdom. The Lord delights in giving us these understandings. We should, individually and collectively, strive to gain all the knowledge and wisdom promised us, if we but seek it.

What think ye?

77 Responses to “Seeking Knowledge”

  • Log:

    It was a good talk.

    I like that Elder Bednar pointed out the necessity of praying for the gift, as opposed to asserting that everyone who has been confirmed automatically has the gift (whether they notice anything or not), using the example of the Nephite disciples (3 Nephi 19:8-13).

    I prefer the scriptures, though, with their explicit instructions: repent (turn one’s heart fully to God), and cry unto God until you have faith in Christ, as Enos did (Enos 1:1-8), as the Lamanites did (Helaman 5:40-45), as Nephi did (1 Nephi 2:16-19), as the people of King Benjamin did (Mosiah 4:1-3), as Alma the younger did (Alma 38:8), as Mormon did (at the age of fifteen [Mormon 1:15]; it would be odd for him to apply one method to his personal life and preach another method publicly, as he taught that we need to pray with all the energy of heart to receive it [Moroni 7:48 {cf. Moroni 8:25-26}]). This was the model of Nephite teaching and conversion (Alma 22:15-18).

  • JR:

    Spek,
    How sad that out of approx. 14M people who are counted as members of the church, only a tiny handful of souls seem to take any notice of the majestic and all important words you have tried to teach!
    If Nephi is anyone to be trusted, the words you have spoken are the Words of Christ, which the Holy Ghost delivers unto men and angels.
    The Words of Christ contain many mysteries which, if heeded, will bring men unto Zion in the latter days.
    It is an honor to count you as a Brother in Christ.
    With much love,
    JR

  • Jack:

    That’s silly. Out of 14 million members surely a good number of them have read and reread the Book of Mormon. And surely, out of those who have read the BoM a good number have been drawn to the doctrine of spiritual rebirth. And surely, out of those who have been drawn to that doctrine a good number have experienced it.

    • Spektator:

      Jack,
      As a true blue member, I read the scriptures through many times, with my family and alone. There is a big difference between ‘reading’ the scriptures and ‘being taught by the Spirit’ from the scriptures. I would agree that most members see reading the scriptures as an item on the checklist and not the avenue to learn the language of God.

      • Jack:

        Spektator,

        The “language” of the spirit is manifest in its fruits. Love, kindness, meekness, etc., are greater indicators of spiritual refinement than the ability to cull supposed gems of wisdom from the scriptures.

  • JR:

    Jack,
    Please don`t refer to something I post as “silly” unless you are my mother in reincarmated form. Just saying you don`t agree is sufficient.
    My comment had reference to my conclusion that only a tiny handful of mormons will read Spek`s post, which IMHO, contains the Words of Christ as delivered by the Holy Ghost to men and angels…the Iron Rod of 1 Nephi, or revelation.
    I agree that many have read the BoM. Far fewer have put in the time and effort to gain a decent understanding of what it contains. And only a % of those have received the Holy Ghost and are in a position to receive the Words of Christ by revelation.
    I wonder how many who read what Spek has written will comprehend the power and majesty of the Doctrine that Spek is explaining and urging his readers to implement in their lives.
    I deeply regret that it will very likely be a tiny handful.
    JR

  • Log:

    If Jack were correct, we’d not hear of “lifelong, (nearly) imperceptible processes of spiritual rebirth.”

    Most of the 14 million members he mentions are inactive. Jack himself rejects the necessity of calling upon the name of the Lord for redemption from his sins, and contends against such a teaching.

    I’m not sure his opinion on the topic should be given any weight at all.

  • Good Will:

    I think this treatise has become another valuable essay which I have included in my personal journal, for the benefit of myself and my children. Thank you for these encouraging words!

  • JR:

    Good Will,
    I absolutely agree with you. Spek has done us all a great service by taking his text from the Doctrine of Christ and explaining and teasing out salient points. IMHO, of the numerous doectines taught and expounded in the BoM, the Doctrine of Christ, as taught by Nephi in the waning days of his life, and as touched upon by the Savior in 3 Nephi, is perhaps the clearest explanation of the Gospel of Jesus Christ in its fullness. I have studied the Doctrine for a long time and I still find new insights and it continues to unfold under the influence of the Spirit for me.
    What a marvelous and powerful discourse Nephi left us!
    Much love to those few here who perceive the importance of this oft neglected topic!
    JR

  • Jack:

    Log: “Jack himself rejects the necessity of calling upon the name of the Lord for redemption from his sins.”

    Where and when have I ever said such a thing? What I reject is the notion that many faithful members are going to be cast off because they have not experienced spiritual rebirth in a manner that reflects your narrow interpretation of the scriptures.

    JR, Your clarification is even sillier — as if we cannot glean from the scriptures themselves the doctrines of salvation.

  • Log:

    Jack,

    If you believed it you would do it; you haven’t done it, therefore you don’t believe it; and not only do you not believe it, you contend against it. You do indeed reject it.

    Everyone who repents and calls upon the name of the Lord receives according to the promise of the Lord as He has Himself stated in the scriptures (3 Nephi 9:20).

  • Log:

    I love it – “narrow interpretation,” indeed. If the Lord says “A,” I expect “A.” When I see “Not A” being displayed as “A,” I think of the parable of the Emperor’s New Clothes, which itself bears a thematic similarity to this parable.

    D&C 38:26 For what man among you having twelve sons, and is no respecter of them, and they serve him obediently, and he saith unto the one: Be thou clothed in robes and sit thou here (baptized by fire, born again, becoming a son of God, receiving power in the priesthood, and hearing the voice of God from on high, being one in God); and to the other: Be thou clothed in rags and sit thou there (noticing nothing) —and looketh upon his sons and saith I am just?

    27 Behold, this I have given unto you as a parable, and it is even as I am. I say unto you, be one; and if ye are not one ye are not mine.

  • Log:

    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.

    That is why there are differences in spiritual endowments – some do what the Lord says, according to his word, while others do not. That is why some do not need that any man should teach them (1 John 2:20, 27), whereas some are ever learning and never coming to a knowledge of the truth (2 Timothy 3:1-9).

    Acts 2:21
    21 And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved.

    “Calling upon the name of the Lord” has been quite helpfully defined and exemplified in the Book of Mormon.

    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.

    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.

    Notice that THEY didn’t protest their righteousness, nor the righteousness of others – they obeyed the injunction to repent and call upon the name of the Lord and were converted, past-tense, meaning they received of the Spirit of Christ unto the remission of their sins.

    So, is the Book of Mormon to be trusted on this point, or shall we instead place our hopes in a lifetime of well-doing even if we never exercise the faith to receive these things, according to the commandments and promises of the Lord? (One wonders what was the principled error of the people who were building the Tower of Babel – isn’t it commonly believed today that we build our own tower to heaven (exaltation) through our own works?)

    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.

  • Jack:

    I think it’s counterintuitive to the operations of the spirit to pit an example of a people who required a complete revolutionary change because of their wicked traditions against the more mild change required for those who have been brought up in the truth and have endeavored to live by it.

    I never read where Nephi fell to the earth as if he were dead; only that his heart was softened.

    • Spektator:

      Jack,
      Perhaps you should consider that Moroni taught us that it was not until we are ‘wrought upon and cleansed by the Holy Spirit’ that we are numbered among the church of Christ. (Moroni 6:4) Do you consider yourself a member of this ‘spiritual’ church? Have you been cleansed? I think we all should consider what this chapter defines as criteria to be ‘numbered’ with His Church.

      • Jack:

        Thankfully, the rest of the chapter tells of the necessity to meet together often and partake of the sacrament. And I’m most grateful for verse 8: “But as oft as they repented and sought forgiveness, with real intent, they were forgiven.” Without that little loophole in the bylaws I don’t think I could have continued as a member of Christ’s church.

      • Jack:

        But, really, Spektator, you won’t fond the “inner circle” outside of the Kingdom — the church. That is not the pattern. Sacred space moves from the outer, more profane to the inner, more sacred. You cannot go around or over or under the church to get there. You must go through it — and in going through you remain in it because the inner circle(s) of sacred space is(are) concentric.

  • Log:

    Jack,

    I will agree that the operations of the Spirit are not according to intuitive “common sense,” as understood by carnal men.

    This is why Paul wrote this.

    1 Corinthians 2:11 For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him? even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God.

    12 Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God.

    13 Which things also we speak, not in the words which man’s wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual.

    14 But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.

    15 But he that is spiritual judgeth all things, yet he himself is judged of no man.

    16 For who hath known the mind of the Lord, that he may instruct him? But we have the mind of Christ.

    Despite the common-sense reasoning of men, it happens to be a doctrinal fact that there is no “mild change” required for some, and a “mighty change” required for others.

    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.

    All are on the same footing. This is why the Lord told Alma this:

    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.

    All are in a fallen and carnal state unless they have been born again; even babies. This is what the angel of the Lord said.

    Mosiah 3:16 And even if it were possible that little children could sin they could not be saved; but I say unto you they are blessed; for behold, as in Adam, or by nature, they fall, even so the blood of Christ atoneth for their sins.

    There is no distinction before the Lord between any set of men based on their traditions; the sole dividing line is whether they have been changed from their fallen and carnal state to a state of righteousness by being born again.

    The remedy to the fallen and carnal state is to repent from all one’s sins and call upon the name of the Lord even until one shall have faith in Christ, at which point he will redeem one from the fall and cleanse one from one’s sins. This is the same for all, whether one was raised in the Church (Enos 1:1-8), or has rebelled against the gospel (Helaman 5:40-45).

    Falling to the earth as though one is dead is not a necessary sign of spiritual rebirth. The necessary signs of being reborn are these (following the explicit teaching of the Savior (3 Nephi 9:20 [cf. Helaman 5:40-45] and the example of Adam [Moses 6:65-68], who set the pattern for us all).

    1. One is reborn, and made alive in the inner man.
    2. One is filled with a specific, indescribable and glorious joy.
    3. One is filled as if by fire.
    4. One is able to speak forth marvellous words (can speak with the tongue of angels).
    5. One hears the voice of God testify from on high.

    Nephi said more than simply that his heart was softened.

    1 Nephi 2: 16 And it came to pass that I, Nephi, being exceedingly young, nevertheless being large in stature, and also having great desires to know of the mysteries of God, wherefore, I did cry unto the Lord; and behold he did visit me, and did soften my heart that I did believe all the words which had been spoken by my father; wherefore, I did not rebel against him like unto my brothers.

    17 And I spake unto Sam, making known unto him the things which the Lord had manifested unto me by his Holy Spirit. And it came to pass that he believed in my words.

    18 But, behold, Laman and Lemuel would not hearken unto my words; and being grieved because of the hardness of their hearts I cried unto the Lord for them.

    19 And it came to pass that the Lord spake unto me, saying: Blessed art thou, Nephi, because of thy faith, for thou hast sought me diligently, with lowliness of heart.

    Nephi cried unto the Lord, and the Lord did visit him, and the Lord softened Nephi’s heart that he did believe the words of his father. The Lord also told Nephi something, which was not recorded, though Nephi spoke of it to his brothers; Sam alone believed whatever it was. That Nephi had indeed been born again, baptized by fire and the Holy Ghost, by the visitation of the Lord and the manifestations of His Spirit, is also indicated in verse 19, wherein the Lord blesses Nephi because of his faith, which is a result of being born again, and informs Nephi that Nephi had sought Him diligently, with lowliness of heart.

    What is the significance of diligently seeking the Lord?

    1 Nephi 10:17
    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.

    As Nephi had diligently sought the Lord (by crying unto Him, be it noted), he had obtained the gift of the Holy Ghost through the baptism by fire.

    2 Nephi 31:13
    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.

    Therefore, Nephi had been changed from his carnal and fallen state to a state of righteousness, being born again, born of God, receiving the baptism of fire and the Holy Ghost, because he diligently sought the Lord by crying unto him. It was through this experience that his heart was softened towards the words which his father spake by the power of the Holy Ghost – and Nephi did not swallow them, either; he inquired of the Lord, believing he would receive – and he did.

    Jack, it’s not that the change is less mighty for those who believe in correct traditions than for others who do not – believing in correct traditions gives one a potential edge in exercising faith unto redemption in mighty prayer, because one knows the way to be redeemed. That was, for example, the point of Enos’s example (he knew to call upon the name of the Lord), and the instructions Aminadab gave to the Lamanites who had rejected the Gospel (he told them to repent and cry unto God until they had faith in Christ). But believing in correct traditions do not make make it inevitable that one will, in fact, ever obtain saving faith by crying mightily unto the Lord to be redeemed from our sins. That is up to each individual to choose to do.

    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.

    That is all we are required to do to be redeemed. After that, the fun stuff begins.

  • JR:

    Jack,
    I asked you to stop saying insulting things. I am finished debating with you. In my view you persist in being hard hearted and stiff necked and refuse to listen to the words of truth. We have continued over many months to explain and document the truths of the Gospel of Jesus Christ to you but you resist accepting the words of life.
    You have the words of (at least) 3 witnesses who have testified to you that just living a good life and following the doctrines of men will not bring you to eternal life.
    You have the scriptures before you which testify to you of the existance of a strait nnd narrow path and testify of the gate by which you must enter.
    You have the Words of Christ before you which you refuse to acknowledge and which you reject and mock.
    Why do you persist in rejecting the words of life and light?
    JR

  • Log:

    To be fair, it is hard to take this stuff seriously enough to put your soul into it. Praying with that sincerity and might, even one’s whole soul, is something which requires true humility. True humility is not necessarily submitting to men who outrank one in the Church organization. We understand that kind of earthly authority. We are confronted with it when we get a speeding ticket, when we ask for approval from an employer for whatever, when we pay our taxes. We typically obey because of the implied or explicit immediate consequences of disobedience, including social ostracisation.

    Humbling ourselves to God in mighty prayer is difficult without having the consequences of disobedience being brought to our immediate awareness, and it is made more difficult because God is typically not physically present before us asking us to do so. King Benjamin’s people, for example, had apparently lived what Jack would call “faithful” lives, which the angel said counted for nought without their redemption (Mosiah 3:22). Because Benajamin spoke with the power and authority of God, the people by the power of the Spirit were brought to a knowledge of their fallen and worthless state before God, and were therefore able to pray with perfect sincerity to be redeemed (Mosiah 4:1-3) – that is the content of the phrase “repentance and faith.”

    Repentance, in the Book of Mormon, means to repent of all one’s sins and call upon the name of the Lord to be redeemed from them until one receives the remission of sins, which, if one does, one obtains saving faith (in Christ). That is why the Nephite Church only taught repentance and faith.

    Mosiah 25:22
    22 And thus, notwithstanding there being many churches they were all one church, yea, even the church of God; for there was nothing preached in all the churches except it were repentance and faith in God.

    Apparently, solely teaching repentance and faith was the defining characteristic of the church of God, and that injunction has been echoed today (D&C 6:9, D&C 11:9, &c.).

    The Lord would prefer us to call upon his name in sincerity without being compelled to be humble (Alma 32:14-15, 3 Nephi 12:2) – that is, without a consciousness of our worthless and fallen state being brought to our immediate attention.

    So he offers us gifts (Moroni 10:8), and commands us to seek for them (D&C 46:8), but some respond that they shall not tempt God (cf. 2 Nephi 17:10-14).

    Tempting God, of course, is not their real concern – the real issue is they lack faith. They don’t believe God will answer them, and this because he has heretofore not answered them frequently, if ever, and he has not generally answered them because they have not trusted in him, but rather trust in their own works, and in men. So did those who sought to build the tower of Babel.

    But there is no more oft-repeated promise in the scriptures (that I am aware of) than “Ask, and ye shall receive; knock, and it shall be opened unto you.” Just go into your closet, or your private place, and bow yourself down unto the earth, and cry mightily to God, in sincerity, that you might be forgiven your sins, and that you might receive a remission of them – do as Nephi did, as Alma (Jr) did, as the Lamanites did, as Enos did, as Mormon taught; cast aside all that divides you from God, and call upon his name, that he may visit you with fire and with the Holy Ghost.

    What do you have to lose by doing it now?

  • Jack:

    I don’t think you guys understand that you have taught me nothing new. I have been on the earth for more than five decades now and have pondered deeply upon the things of the spirit my whole adult life. I have heard all of the arguments as to why the church is off track or even in apostasy. I am fully aware of all the arguments leveled against the church because of its history. I have never ceased to read the Book of Mormon for over thirty years now and have pondered deeply upon its precepts — that’s one of my gifts by the way.

    Now, I’m not suggesting that I know so much that I cannot be taught. But I am saying that your arguments are “old hat” and are a facile in their exegesis. And the reason that so few comment on this forum has nothing to do with an inability to comprehend the truth. But it has everything to do with the fact that the arguments here are flat and self-serving with little to offer as to the purposes of the Kingdom.

    Those who have been converted or are in the process of it do not lead people away from the church wherein is found the authority to dispense all things necessary for the preparation of the Lord’s people. You cannot go around it, or over it or under it. The church is the Kingdom and anything pertaining to the further establishment of the Kingdom will only come through the church where the priesthood is the governing force.

    As to the claim of witnesses for your interpretations of the scriptures: I have apostles and prophets for my witnesses — plus my own and that of many others who I know personally who can attest to the fact the your readings of the scriptures is to narrow; to fundamentalist. And all of the witnesses (including myself) can claim that they know the voice of spirit and strive to follow it.

    Come back brothers.

  • Log:

    Who is even obliquely claiming that the Church is in apostasy in this thread? If none, why do you bring it up?

    Who is profiting – a necessary component to being “self-serving” – in any of this?

    Is calling people’s “interpretations” “silly,” “too narrow,” “too fundamentalist” the voice of the Spirit?

  • Log:

    I love it! Repeating what the scriptures say is “facile,” “old hat,” “too narrow,” “too fundamentalist,” and has “little to offer as to the purposes of the Kingdom(!)”

    Jack, why does the complete lack of scriptural support for your position on (almost?) all of the points of doctrine you dispute and contend over not trouble you? The point of your last comment is as an obvious topic change and clear dodge from addressing the content of my posts which were addressed to your objections.

    As for me, I have nowhere claimed that I think the Church is in apostasy. I have nowhere said anyone should disobey any of the authorities of the Church, but rather said they should be obeyed. I have, in each and every thing, exhorted all to repent of all their sins and call upon God in mighty prayer until they have saving faith in Christ – which is what “repentance and faith” means, as used throughout the scriptures.

    If you are truly and sincerely claiming – and it appears you might just be – that exhorting men to repentance and faith somehow undermines the purposes of the Kingdom of God, then I have no idea what you think the purposes of the Kingdom of God are.

    4 We believe that the first principles and ordinances of the Gospel are: first, Faith in the Lord Jesus Christ; second, Repentance; third, Baptism by immersion for the remission of sins; fourth, Laying on of hands for the gift of the Holy Ghost.

  • Jack:

    I’m just getting tired of the old trope that he who has had some wizz-bang experience with something he thinks is the spirit has special knowledge. Whilst those who actually bear the fruits of the spirit (speaking of others, not myself) who cannot claim to have experienced the “fireworks” must have a lesser knowledge. That is utterly and completely capricious. You have continually quoted scriptures having to do with the baptism of fire without understanding the language, intent and spirit of the passages. No where do the scriptures qualify the experience of receiving the Holy Ghost in practical terms — nowhere. There are exceptional experiences offered so that we may know the *reality* of the precept — and even those experiences vary from one another. I know we’ve gone round and round about this already — but I don’t know why you continue to import elements from the more miraculous stories into those of Nephi, Enos, Mormon and others. No doubt these individuals experienced the miraculous during the course of their lives but there is nothing in the record that suggests that they experienced a complete overhaul in one singular event. Now perhaps you’ll throw some esoteric knowledge at me in your defense but I’ll throw it right back at you with something exoteric — something from the brethren. Those who are spiritually mature do not coerce others with personal revelation.

    My claim about apostasy is toward the site in general — and yes, Log, you have intimated that the brethren are off track on this one *silly* issue — your interpretation of spiritual rebirth — perhaps not explicitly on this particular thread but definitely elsewhere.

  • Log:

    I’m just getting tired of the old trope that he who has had some wizz-bang experience with something he thinks is the spirit has special knowledge.

    That would happen to be both reality and the testimony of the scriptures.

    ” 58 Therefore I give unto you a commandment, to teach these things freely unto your children, saying:

    59 That 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.”

    You have continually quoted scriptures having to do with the baptism of fire without understanding the language, intent and spirit of the passages.

    ” 1 Judge not, that ye be not judged.

    2 For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again.

    3 And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother’s eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye?

    4 Or how wilt thou say to thy brother, Let me pull out the mote out of thine eye; and, behold, a beam is in thine own eye?

    5 Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother’s eye.”

    No where do the scriptures qualify the experience of receiving the Holy Ghost in practical terms — nowhere.

    The scriptures most certainly and definitely do qualify the experience of receiving the Holy Ghost. I have cited them at length multiple times.

    Here they are, again, verbatim.

    ” 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.”

    These were the Lamanites of whom the Lord said “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.”

    That this is indeed whom the Lord was speaking of is confirmed by Moroni.

    “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.”

    We are promised, if we come unto Christ, that we shall receive “even as the Lamanites,” the baptism of fire and the Holy Ghost.

    The other controlling text on the experience of being baptized by fire and the Holy Ghost is the record of Adam, given by Enoch.

    “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.”

    From the two records, a minimal list of elements of the experience is, as I have stated, as follows.

    1. They are born again, and quickened or made alive in the inner man.
    2. They are filled as by fire.
    3. They are filled by a joy which is indescribable and full of glory.
    4. They can speak forth marvellous words, or, in other words, prophesy and speak with the tongue of angels.
    5. They hear the voice of God from on high testifying to them.

    There are exceptional experiences offered so that we may know the *reality* of the precept — and even those experiences vary from one another. I know we’ve gone round and round about this already — but I don’t know why you continue to import elements from the more miraculous stories into those of Nephi, Enos, Mormon and others.

    Because that is the promise of the Lord. He is not partial, nor a respecter of persons, and all receive as Adam did, even as the Lamanites did, once they repent and call upon the name of the Lord. Where elements are not explicitly stated, we may, because of the promises of the Lord, infer they were present. As the Lord has said:

    ” 26 For what man among you having twelve sons, and is no respecter of them, and they serve him obediently, and he saith unto the one: Be thou clothed in robes and sit thou here; and to the other: Be thou clothed in rags and sit thou there—and looketh upon his sons and saith I am just?

    27 Behold, this I have given unto you as a parable, and it is even as I am. I say unto you, be one; and if ye are not one ye are not mine.”

    The Lord is not going to reward one with fireworks and the other with the Emperor’s New (Spiritual) Clothes for repenting from all sin and calling upon his name unto redemption. If one is wearing the Emperor’s New (Spiritual) Clothes, it is because one has not obeyed the conditions for being dressed in robes.

    “Precept,” by the way, means “commandment” or “mandate,” which is something to be obeyed, not “principle”.

    No doubt these individuals experienced the miraculous during the course of their lives but there is nothing in the record that suggests that they experienced a complete overhaul in one singular event.

    I have cited multiple times, at length, the examples which explicitly state that Alma, Adam, Enos, the people of King Benjamin, and others, were “completely overhauled in one singular event” and you here deny it.

    Now perhaps you’ll throw some esoteric knowledge at me in your defense but I’ll throw it right back at you with something exoteric — something from the brethren. Those who are spiritually mature do not coerce others with personal revelation.

    I cite the scriptures, which are, as you say, exoteric. Everyone’s got them. They are public, and they take precedence over any member of the Church’s teachings, no matter his calling. As the First Presidency has stated,

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

    I take that counsel seriously, and so I refer only to the scriptures, and advance nothing but what I can prove, and I restrict myself to repentance and faith and the promised results thereof.

    My claim about apostasy is toward the site in general — and yes, Log, you have intimated that the brethren are off track on this one *silly* issue — your interpretation of spiritual rebirth — perhaps not explicitly on this particular thread but definitely elsewhere.

    ” 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.”

    As Joseph taught, “no man can be saved in ignorance.”

    I agree the Brethren are servants of God. I deny the teaching of lifelong imperceptible repentance (as the word is understood today) is to be found in the scriptures, which is why Elder Bednar, for example, cites none to support that teaching (as an aside, I would not mind seeing Elder Bednar become the President of the Church someday). On the testimony of the scriptures (to which I may add my own), the process of repentance would be over today if only the people would do as Enos and the rest did, and cry unto the Lord with all their heart, might, mind, and strength, even their whole soul, for forgiveness and to be redeemed, until they were received. If such a person had already been baptized and confirmed, they would not only be converted (a change of heart), but be sanctified by the baptism by fire and the Holy Ghost, receiving the mighty change of heart and being born again, being cleansed from all sin and having the record of heaven abiding in them, being taught from on high.

    All that is lacking is the faith to try.

    One may recognize whether they have been born again or not by simply contrasting their experience with the scriptures according to the promises of the Lord contained therein; if those descriptions are alien or unfamiliar, then one has not been born again, therefore one needs (presuming baptism and confirmation) solely to call upon the name of the Lord with all one’s might to be forgiven and redeemed, repenting of all their sins.

  • Log:

    Those who have received have an obligation to teach others to receive, so that we may all be equal in spiritual things.

    2 Nephi 26:27
    27 Hath he commanded any that they should not partake of his salvation? Behold I say unto you, Nay; but he hath given it free for all men; and he hath commanded his people that they should persuade all men to repentance.

    There is nothing else worth talking about.

  • Jack:

    Log,

    You can quote the scriptures forever ad infinitum, but if your interpretation is in error (too narrow in your case) then those quotations are meaningless. Again, the scriptures do not clarify in straight-forward terms exactly how the baptism of fire operates. First off, explain to me exactly what the “fire” is. You can’t. And why is it that the Lamanites were encircled about by fire but there is no mention of any such manifestation among the people of King Benjamin? There is not one set pattern in the scriptures that we can rely on. The only thing we know is that the Holy Ghost comes upon us and has some kind of purifying, enlivening influence that gets us moving in the right direction.

    Now I can quote many scriptures that speak of spiritual baptism in terms of something that is forth-coming: After the baptism of water “then cometh” the baptism of fire and the Holy Ghost, etc. In almost every instance where this baptism is mentioned in the scriptures it is spoken of in vague terms as to its mechanics and timing. And on top of that, just about every instance where a miraculous conversion is recounted we find something unique about it; something a little different about it than what we read of in accounts of other like experiences.

    So please be careful not to over-systematize your approach to these precepts. Yes you are right that the scriptures must stand as corner stones by which we measure current doctrine. But on the other hand we need to allow ourselves to be informed by current revelation regarding the scriptures lest we think we’ve understood them when we have actually wrested them by our false assumptions.

    As to judgement: Come now, brother. You have judged me from the beginning as one who has not been born of the spirit. Let’s call it even.

    Finally, remember when Mormon says that we must pray with all our energy that we may be filled with the gift of charity he completes that though by saying that said gift is bestowed upon all those who are true follows of the Savior. So instead of judging who the Lord’s disciples are by whether or not they can testify of having been overhauled by the spirit in one singular event, it might be more to judge them by how they love others. This is how the Lord’s disciples are known: By their love.

  • Jack:

    Oops! …he completes that *thought*…

  • Jack:

    Oops, oops! …it might be more *accurate* to judge…

  • Log:

    Jack,

    A lawyer knows when a non-lawyer is speaking about legal matters, not having had legal training. The non-lawyer cannot help but reveal his ignorance in how he describes things, or in what he omits or makes mention of, or in how he uses words with specialized meanings, and so forth. It doesn’t take a condemnatory judgement to know that a non-lawyer is not a lawyer – it is a simple observation. As Brigham said, a man cannot help but reveal himself if he is allowed to speak.

    In the end, the dividing line between those who have been baptized by fire and the Holy Ghost, having had the Holy Ghost come down out of heaven into their hearts, being filled as if by fire and by an indescribable joy which is full of glory, being born again that all things are new unto them, and hearing the voice of God testify unto them from on high, that they are (or have been) one in God, able to inquire and receive answers on request, and those who have not, is simply this: those who have been born again have turned their hearts fully towards God, repenting of all their sins, and have bowed down before God and asked in true humility for His Spirit in mighty prayer. Those who have not received these things have not yet exercised sufficient faith in mighty prayer.

    That is the dividing line.

    I can answer your questions, but you have already said we have nothing to teach you. If I thought it would do any good, I would post my own experience. In the end, the one thing I would want taken away from my account of my experience is that the scriptures on this topic are literally true and are concretely descriptive, and if any wish to receive those things, they must call upon the name of the Lord in their might, even with their whole souls, that they may be redeemed of God and born of the Spirit through the Atonement of Christ.

    There is no possible harm that can come from bowing oneself down unto God in one’s private places, and pouring out one’s whole soul in asking to be forgiven and cleansed from one’s sins, and to receive the fullness of the Spirit. Ask, and ye shall receive; knock, and it shall be opened unto you.

  • Jack:

    Log,

    It’s not that you (or anyone else) can’t teach me anything. It’s that thus far our conversations regarding the doctrine of Christ as found in the Book of Mormon have revealed nothing new to me. I have pondered on this subject (spiritual rebirth) almost continually my whole adult life. And it is counsel from the brethren that has helped me view the scriptures in a way that makes sense with regard to these themes.

    Now I have to tell you something you may not want to hear — I have tried doing the things you have suggested, giving myself wholly over to God, praying with all the faith I could muster, etc., and it has never produced (for me) the kind of miraculous event you speak of. But I can say this: My heart has been softened so that I believe the words of the prophets. I have received forgiveness for my sins. I have had the spirit of revelation and prophecy to guide me (and others for whom I am responsible). Now here’s the sixty-four thousand dollar question: Are these the fruits of one who has entered in by the way or not?

    As to knowing someone by allowing them to speak — well, you may have guessed that I don’t have a college education. But, really, Log, your use of the scriptures seems (to me) to be based more in a systematic litany gleaned from a faulty interpretation of the scriptures than in living experience.

    Come. Back .Brother.

  • Log:

    Jack,

    Come back to what? I have asked you that thrice now, and you have not answered me.

    Remember, Caiaphas prophesied; had he entered in by the way? Remember, Peter received revelation before he was baptized by fire and the Holy Ghost – he wasn’t even converted, according to the Lord. So, no, those are not sufficient signs of having entered in by the way – but they are present.

    And, while I am sympathetic to the fact that your quest for spiritual rebirth has thus far been fruitless, I can only encourage you to continue in mighty prayer for the fullness of the Spirit until you are answered, and sanctified from all sin. You will know when that happens, for you will be given the signs I spoke of.

  • Log:

    Remember – one must continue in this course of mighty prayer and supplication unto God for one’s soul even until He receives you, and answers you from on high.

    • Good Will:

      Jack,

      I was going to ask, “Why don’t you just do what Log and the scriptures say? Why are you so resistant to receiving more? Do you have doubts? Are you afraid of what will happen to your “testimony” if you do not receive as promised?”

      Then I read your response where you confessed that you had “received not”, even though you had asked, prayed earnestly, etc.

      We all sympathize with you. It ain’t easy to “enter in at the gate”. Nephi was yanked from his home, dispossessed of most of his worldly goods, was driven into the wilderness, forced to marry someone he may not have been in love with, was fed without fire, and suffered famine, fear and fatigue. All of this “opposition”, no doubt, helped him “call upon the Lord” in earnestness, with faith, drawing upon the examples of the scriptures and the teachings of his father.

      Sometimes we’re too blessed to be motivated to seek more. And what does “not receiving more” say about us? Or our faith? Or our God? Sometimes we balk at comparing ourselves to the spirit-filled prophets whose ministries have been attended by signs and wonders. We “talk” ourselves into settling for less.

      We shouldn’t.

      You’ve been given a great gift. Log has borne witness and testified faithfully. He has not backed down. He has not equivocated. He bore a true witness. His testimony is one you can profit from.

      You can do it. Why would you not? You can keep praying with all your soul and keep asking until you receive. Why would you settle for anything less?

      Now go and do!

      As I look back upon the seasons of my life, I remember those experiences where I have tasted of the powers of heaven as Log has described. They have “grounded” me and given me hope and strength to endure.

      No one condemns you. Now receive more. There is no reason to wait.

  • Log:

    And, Jack, I say this to help you, not to condemn you.

    Luke 14:26 If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple.

    27 And whosoever doth not bear his cross, and come after me, cannot be my disciple.

    28 For which of you, intending to build a tower, sitteth not down first, and counteth the cost, whether he have sufficient to finish it?

    29 Lest haply, after he hath laid the foundation, and is not able to finish it, all that behold it begin to mock him,

    30 Saying, This man began to build, and was not able to finish.

    31 Or what king, going to make war against another king, sitteth not down first, and consulteth whether he be able with ten thousand to meet him that cometh against him with twenty thousand?

    32 Or else, while the other is yet a great way off, he sendeth an ambassage, and desireth conditions of peace.

    33 So likewise, whosoever he be of you that forsaketh not all that he hath, he cannot be my disciple.

    We must (in our hearts, at the very least, be willing to) forsake all things in preference to obtaining the Spirit of God. Even if our mighty prayers to receive the Holy Ghost take us to the point where we feel we shall die if we do not receive an answer, yet we have to continue that prayer, withholding nothing, not even our lives.

    Again, I say this to help, not condemn. I have done these things, and I have been answered in the terms that I have spoken of.

  • Log:

    Also – and again, I am saying this to help, and not condemn – obey the commandments and precepts found in 3 Nephi 12-14, construed literally, to the absolute best of your ability.

    These are of extreme importance.

    3 Nephi 12:42 Give to him that asketh thee, and from him that would borrow of thee turn thou not away.

    and…

    3 Nephi 13:1 Verily, verily, I say that I would that ye should do alms unto the poor; but take heed that ye do not your alms before men to be seen of them; otherwise ye have no reward of your Father who is in heaven.

    2 Therefore, when ye shall do your alms do not sound a trumpet before you, as will hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may have glory of men. Verily I say unto you, they have their reward.

    3 But when thou doest alms let not thy left hand know what thy right hand doeth;

    4 That thine alms may be in secret; and thy Father who seeth in secret, himself shall reward thee openly.

    I have had discussions with fellow LDS wherein they told me that they never gave alms to the poor, but rather gave money to charitable organizations, as well as fast offerings, and this because they said they feared that the poor would use the money in ways that they would not want them to – such as for drugs or alcohol. Yet this is precisely the judgement that King Benjamin condemned.

    Mosiah 4: 16 And also, ye yourselves will succor those that stand in need of your succor; ye will administer of your substance unto him that standeth in need; and ye will not suffer that the beggar putteth up his petition to you in vain, and turn him out to perish.

    17 Perhaps thou shalt say: The man has brought upon himself his misery; therefore I will stay my hand, and will not give unto him of my food, nor impart unto him of my substance that he may not suffer, for his punishments are just—

    18 But I say unto you, O man, whosoever doeth this the same hath great cause to repent; and except he repenteth of that which he hath done he perisheth forever, and hath no interest in the kingdom of God.

    19 For behold, are we not all beggars? Do we not all depend upon the same Being, even God, for all the substance which we have, for both food and raiment, and for gold, and for silver, and for all the riches which we have of every kind?

    20 And behold, even at this time, ye have been calling on his name, and begging for a remission of your sins. And has he suffered that ye have begged in vain? Nay; he has poured out his Spirit upon you, and has caused that your hearts should be filled with joy, and has caused that your mouths should be stopped that ye could not find utterance, so exceedingly great was your joy.

    21 And now, if God, who has created you, on whom you are dependent for your lives and for all that ye have and are, doth grant unto you whatsoever ye ask that is right, in faith, believing that ye shall receive, O then, how ye ought to impart of the substance that ye have one to another.

    22 And if ye judge the man who putteth up his petition to you for your substance that he perish not, and condemn him, how much more just will be your condemnation for withholding your substance, which doth not belong to you but to God, to whom also your life belongeth; and yet ye put up no petition, nor repent of the thing which thou hast done.

    23 I say unto you, wo be unto that man, for his substance shall perish with him; and now, I say these things unto those who are rich as pertaining to the things of this world.

    24 And again, I say unto the poor, ye who have not and yet have sufficient, that ye remain from day to day; I mean all you who deny the beggar, because ye have not; I would that ye say in your hearts that: I give not because I have not, but if I had I would give.

    25 And now, if ye say this in your hearts ye remain guiltless, otherwise ye are condemned; and your condemnation is just for ye covet that which ye have not received.

    It doesn’t matter if the beggar does choose to do whatsoever he will with what we give – for that is his agency. Our agency is to obey the commandments of God and give to him who asketh, or to withhold.

    This, too, is quite essential.

    3 Nephi 12:23 Therefore, if ye shall come unto me, or shall desire to come unto me, and rememberest that thy brother hath aught against thee—

    24 Go thy way unto thy brother, and first be reconciled to thy brother, and then come unto me with full purpose of heart, and I will receive you.

    That is deeply related to this.

    3 Nephi 13: 9 After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name.

    10 Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.

    11 And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.

    12 And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.

    13 For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever. Amen.

    14 For, if ye forgive men their trespasses your heavenly Father will also forgive you;

    15 But if ye forgive not men their trespasses neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.

    We must forgive all offenses against us that we may be forgiven – even if they don’t repent of the evil they have done. Not only that, but if they have something against us, we must be reconciled to them. It is our problem.

    We do these things so that this may be true of us.

    3 Nephi 12:45 That ye may be the children of your Father who is in heaven; for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good.

    By strict adherence in all things to the Savior’s teachings and continually praying with our mights to receive the Spirit, we shall be answered.

  • Log:

    Jack is not the only one who has tried to pray mightily and not been received initially.

    Before I was received, I, too, tried sporadically and was not received. I even fasted from food and water for 72 consecutive hours. The reason I was not received at those times (in hindsight) was because I did not have the service of God and obedience to Him as the first – only – thing in my heart. I also did not understand how to pray mightily.

    Now I understand those principles. I learned line upon line.

    When I was received, it was through focusing solely upon strict adherence to those precepts given in 3 Nephi 12-14. I was completely focused on doing what the Savior taught. I prayed for about an hour and a half in the morning, and again in the evening, and as often as I remembered to pray throughout the day, be I in whatsoever place I was, solely to receive the Holy Ghost and to be forgiven, as I felt led by the Spirit. I continued to pray for that for a full month, again, doing everything the Savior taught to do to the best of my abilities, with an eye single to the glory of God.

    It was at the end of that month that the Lord answered me and I was baptized by fire and the Holy Ghost.

    I am not special. The Lord is no respecter of persons. He will answer you and bless you if you as well will with full purpose of heart cleave unto his teachings, serve him with all you are and have, and pray with all the energy of soul to receive the Holy Ghost.

    If I had known then what I know now, I would have been able to do it in a day, or an hour. But back then, I didn’t know how to trust in the Lord completely – my faith, in other words, was lacking – nor did I know how to pour out my whole soul in mighty prayer. Again, I learned line upon line, obeying the Lord’s precepts.

    Eliminate any distractions from your life – any extraneous activities, unrelated to executing your stewardships, which do not tend towards serving God and pondering and praying. You can’t let discouragement dissuade you. In your prayers and whole-hearted efforts at keeping all of the commandments, you must push past your sense of futility – feeling that God doesn’t and won’t answer – because this is your test and your trial of faith. This is how we acquire the necessary faith to receive the baptism by fire and the Holy Ghost.

  • Log:

    I have to emphasize that you must pray always and not faint in this pursuit.

    Luke 18: 1 And he spake a parable unto them to this end, that men ought always to pray, and not to faint;

    2 Saying, There was in a city a judge, which feared not God, neither regarded man:

    3 And there was a widow in that city; and she came unto him, saying, Avenge me of mine adversary.

    4 And he would not for a while: but afterward he said within himself, Though I fear not God, nor regard man;

    5 Yet because this widow troubleth me, I will avenge her, lest by her continual coming she weary me.

    6 And the Lord said, Hear what the unjust judge saith.

  • Jack:

    Good will & Log,

    I’m not saying that I have not received. I’m saying that I have not received in the way that Log believes everyone ought to receive. If 30 years ago I where to instantly arrive at the spiritual maturity that I have now it would have been completely overwhelming — more than I would have been able to bear.

    Now please, friends, listen to the counsel of living prophets and make room in your hearts for a broader understanding of the scriptures.

  • Log:

    Jack,

    One of the reasons I admire Elder Bednar is that he doesn’t wrest the scriptures to make his point. If a teaching isn’t there, he doesn’t try to make it appear to be there.

  • Jack:

    Log,

    This is from a talk Elder Bednar gave in 2012:

    “For many of us, conversion is an ongoing process and not a onetime event that results from a powerful or dramatic experience. Line upon line and precept upon precept, gradually and almost imperceptibly, our motives, our thoughts, our words, and our deeds become aligned with the will of God. Conversion unto the Lord requires both persistence and patience.”

    Here’s the link:

    http://www.lds.org/general-conference/2012/10/converted-unto-the-lord?lang=eng

    That paragraph describes perfectly my experience with conversion.

  • Log:

    I was speaking of that precise paragraph. You’ll note, no doubt, that he cites no scripture to support that statement. Because of that honesty, he has my deepest respect.

    Conversion and sanctification are two related, but separate things. I have been speaking of sanctification.

  • Jack:

    Well, he quotes but doesn’t cite.

    I’m a little confused. Have you been suggesting this whole time that *sanctification* is an event? Have I been reading you wrong?

  • Log:

    Elder Bednar uses the verse for the applicability of its imagery to the teaching.

    It’s my fault (on several levels) for not being clear; I was myself confused as to the distinction between conversion and sanctification.

    Conversion is the change of heart which comes through repentance; when we are fully converted, we are made meek and lowly of heart (humble), even as a little child.

    Repentance is the combination of repenting from all sin and calling upon the name of the Lord until one has faith in Christ, which if one does, one is fully converted. Repentance is as drawn out or as swift as the person engaged in it desires it to be. At the end of repentance, we enter into a two-party covenant with God by the power of the Spirit, and are given a remission of our sins.

    Sanctification comes when one is converted, baptized, and confirmed, and is brought about through the baptism of fire and the Holy Ghost. Sanctification is wherein we are born again, that all things are made new unto us, receive the mighty change of heart (the change from the natural, carnal man into the spiritual man), and we are made holy, without spot, because the third member of the Godhead dwells in us in fullness, and no unclean thing can dwell in his presence, for he is God; neither does he dwell in unholy temples.

    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 repented and called upon the name of the Lord until they had faith in Christ, as they were instructed by Aminadab (Helaman 5:40-45) – that is what the scriptures term “repentance.” This brought about their conversion, or change of heart. Because it was the will of the Lord (to fulfill his purposes concerning his coming to visit his people) and through the faith of Nephi and Lehi, the Lamanites were then at that time baptized by fire and with the Holy Ghost even though they had not yet been baptized by water.

    So, I have to agree that repentance (and therefore conversion) may indeed be an extended process for many, perhaps imperceptibly building up sufficient faith through obedience to the commandments of the Lord that they may someday, according to their desires, call upon the name of the Lord and be sanctified by the reception of the Holy Ghost.

    Again, the process of repentance may be concluded as swiftly as we wish. The thing that holds us back is lack of faith to pour out our whole souls in mighty prayer until we are received. That is why the Lord says this.

    Doctrine and Covenants 88:118
    118 And as all have not faith, seek ye diligently and teach one another words of wisdom; yea, seek ye out of the best books words of wisdom; seek learning, even by study and also by faith.

    Not everyone has faith, which is another way of saying not all are sanctified (some are: D&C 20:34). Some only believe, and that will be enough, if they obey to the best of their understanding.

    Doctrine and Covenants 68:9
    9 And he that believeth and is baptized shall be saved, and he that believeth not shall be damned.

  • Spektator:

    Jack,

    I am the one that espouses the viewpoint that the church is in apostasy. I see it clearly linked to the idea that the core of the gospel is the correct understanding of the baptism of fire and of the Holy Ghost. “Yea, repent and be baptized, every one of you, for a remission of your sins; yea, be baptized even by water, and then cometh the baptism of fire and of the Holy Ghost. Behold, verily, verily, I say unto you, this is my gospel; and remember that they shall have faith in me or they can in nowise be saved;” (D&C 33:11-12)

    These two baptisms are necessary to be on the strait and narrow path to eternal life. How would any righteous person react if they were confronted with the knowledge that the definition taught by men is different than that taught in the scriptures? “If any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed.” (Gal 1:9) That is where I am at.

    Do you agree that the church is under condemnation? Is that declaration not found in D&C 84 and reinforced by President Benson? Have we been told we are no longer under this condemnation? In my opinion, being condemned is not where the Lord expects us to be. What is it that will remove the condemnation? We have to remember the new covenant found in the Book of Mormon. I believe that this covenant is the fulness of the gospel (D&C 66:2)

    Unfortunately, we are confronted with a choice. We can either ‘follow the prophet’ or ‘come unto Christ.’

    The problem with the ‘follow the prophet’ path is that it is fraught with the doctrines of man. Is polygamy necessary for high office and exaltation (Brigham Young) or is it not doctrinal ( Gordon B. HInckley)? Are blacks allowed to hold the priesthood (Joseph Smith) or are they not worthy because of the sins of their father? It places the focus on the works of man, such as the payment of tithing, the construction of buildings, and the number of feet on the street in the form of missionaries. Are these the markers of the true church of Jesus Christ? We are told that those who build the church upon the works men will have joy for a season, and by and by the end will com and they are hewn down.(3 Nephi 27:11)

    The message of the gospel is to ‘come onto Christ.’ It is reinforced in His doctrinal definition of His church in D&C10:67-68) “whosoever repenteth and cometh unto me, the same is my church. No more, no less… We are to seek Christ for He is the one who will baptize us with fire and the Holy Ghost (3 Nephi 12:2) It is through this process that we will be able to speak with the tongues of angels and do the mighty works of God.

    You ask me to come back. Come back to what? Tired teachings of men repeated every four years? To being measured by the dollars I give to the church and the works of my hands ( including home teaching, callings, etc). I get more value in an hour of quiet contemplation in the scriptures than I receive in the a month of 3 hour meeting blocks. I feel closer to my Savior in my closet than I do sitting in a pew listening the how wonderful we are.

    Each of us must make a choice. What voice should I follow? What path should I seek? Upon what door do I knock? I have chosen to take the scriptures as my guide and not rely on the arm of flesh.

    I can only say that the Spirit has led me to the understanding I have regarding the state of the corporate church. I believe I was brought there because I could not reconcile the cognitive dissonance of the current church with its history and doctrine. We are given to be the salt of the earth (3 Nephi 12:13). If we reject the fulness of the gospel, as prophesied in the scriptures (3 Nephi 16:10-15) we no longer that salt.

    My plea, in this blog, is to those who recognize the gospel of Jesus Christ but cannot reconcile the current state of the church which is measured in buildings and dollars. How many people are removing their names from the church because of the effects of the condemnation? Tens of thousands a year are stepping away from the corporate church because, among many reasons, it is not fulfilling the spiritual needs of the people. This can only be done through seeking Christ. By preaching a message centered on following a man, many are lost and many give up seeking the joy that comes from the event of being born again.

    Alma claimed that he was ‘born of the Spirit.’ (Mosiah 27:25) He then told us that ‘all mankind, yea, men and women, all nations, kindreds, tongues, and people must be born again’ just as he was. That should be the challenge and our goal: to be changed, to become a new creature, to be baptized by fire and the Holy Ghost just as Alma was.

    • Jack:

      “Unfortunately, we are confronted with a choice. We can either ‘follow the prophet’ or ‘come unto Christ.’”

      These two propositions need not be mutually exclusive.

      “How many people are removing their names from the church because of the effects of the condemnation?”

      We should stay and help the church move forward — toward Zion. We won’t find it (Zion) anywhere else. Remember, it is through the church that the Kingdom is brought forth — that is the pattern we find in Revelations. And remember also that the church was pained (the woman in labor) in the process of establishing the Kingdom. Zion will not be established without some difficulty in the process.

      That’s what you need to come back to: The church and its purposes — which is to establish the kingdom throughout the world by gathering as many as will come to the Savior by virtue of his everlasting covenant.

  • Spektator:

    You speak of Zion, which is yet another example of the doctrines of men supplanting the dictate of God. When I was growing up, the long held belief was still prevalent that we would, one day, march back to Jackson County to reclaim Zion. Today, we are told that it is no longer necessary to gather to Zion, but we are told to build up the corporate church where we live. Where is the revelation that absolves us of the commandment of God to gather?

    Therefore let my servant Joseph Smith, Jun. say unto the strength of my house, my young men and the middle aged—Gather yourselves together unto the land of Zion, upon the land which I have bought with money that has been consecrated unto me. (DC 103:22)

    Have we, after a little season, been told to fulfill this commandment? Unfortunately, the word from the leadership of the church is to stay where you are and just send a check.

    I have shared with you before a quote that is on a bookmark in my scriptures.

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

    Who do you think the ‘other people’ are of which Joseph Smith speaks? Where is the guarantee that the LDS church is the only path to Zion? Are we, as a people approved by the Lord or are we under condemnation? Just as Alma the elder was forced to flee the institution that claimed to be the rightful church, so may there be people who, today, are estranged from the organization that claims to represent God yet persecutes the poor and lowly.

    Are we not taught that the Book of Mormon speaks to us of the circle of apostasy? Where are we told that we are exempt from this threat? People become rich and complacent and forget about the Lord. A broken heart and a contrite spirit is replaced with a prideful heart and a haughty spirit. We convince ourselves that we are the chosen people, that we are blessed by God and can never fail. We wrest the scriptures to support our contrived view that buildings and majesty are the markers of the true church while the message of the scriptures to us is to repent and return. There is still a small chance, in my opinion, that the church will bring again Zion but it will only happen in sackcloth and ashes.

  • Jack:

    Spektator,

    You construct a theory of apostasy out of resources that, when culled together in a particular manner, have the appearance of being true. In other words you posit this theory because you can — not because it’s necessarily true. It smacks of conspiracy theory wherein an idea is put forth that seems to answer all the questions — and then what follows is, because of a compulsive fear, an inability to disbelieve the theory though its foundational tenets are misplaced.

    I think you know that Zion is to be established throughout all the Earth with(!) Missouri as the center stake. There is nothing in what the church is doing today that works against that vision. Now whether or not we as members are doing as well as we might is another question. Yes, we need to keep moving forward, trying to improve; trying to do more to build the Kingdom. But even so, it doesn’t necessarily follow that the church as a whole is off track.

  • Spektator:

    Jack,
    You have skillfully demonstrated the same art as honed by many church apologetics. When one can’t address the specific aspects of an argument, hand wave, deflect, and attack the style or character of the author in a way that appears to establish an intellectual refutation. For some people that may be a sufficient distraction.

    I can assure you, Zion will not be built next to a $3 billion shopping mall, nor will it be populated by a people who are taught that carnal commandments, such as tithing, are sufficient to bring about the kingdom of God.

  • Log:

    That the Church went off track early, as prophesied, is quite easily demonstrated by a simple, irrefutable fact: We don’t live in the city of Zion, with the Lord dwelling among us bodily. The one requirement for dwelling in the city of Zion is sanctification – for no unclean thing can dwell in the presence of God. (I’m using “off-track” to mean that if we consider the city of Zion as the target, then we aren’t heading there.)

    That doesn’t mean the Church does not possess the kingdom – the commission to preach the gospel and perform the outward ordinances – it does. The ancient Jews possessed the kingdom until it was taken from them, and given to the Gentiles, at the coming of the Lord.

    The Church is not the kingdom; it possesses the kingdom.

    Doctrine and Covenants 136:41
    41 Now, therefore, hearken, O ye people of my church; and ye elders listen together; you have received my kingdom.

    Now we, the Gentiles, have the kingdom, and it shall be taken from us and given back to the Jews, or the remnant of Joseph – the descendants of Lehi – at the coming of the Lord.

    Matthew 21:33 ¶Hear another parable: There was a certain householder, which planted a vineyard, and hedged it round about, and digged a winepress in it, and built a tower, and let it out to husbandmen, and went into a far country:

    34 And when the time of the fruit drew near, he sent his servants to the husbandmen, that they might receive the fruits of it.

    35 And the husbandmen took his servants, and beat one, and killed another, and stoned another.

    36 Again, he sent other servants more than the first: and they did unto them likewise.

    37 But last of all he sent unto them his son, saying, They will reverence my son.

    38 But when the husbandmen saw the son, they said among themselves, This is the heir; come, let us kill him, and let us seize on his inheritance.

    39 And they caught him, and cast him out of the vineyard, and slew him.

    40 When the lord therefore of the vineyard cometh, what will he do unto those husbandmen?

    41 They say unto him, He will miserably destroy those wicked men, and will let out his vineyard unto other husbandmen, which shall render him the fruits in their seasons.

    42 Jesus saith unto them, Did ye never read in the scriptures, The stone which the builders rejected, the same is become the head of the corner: this is the Lord’s doing, and it is marvellous in our eyes?

    43 Therefore say I unto you, The kingdom of God shall be taken from you, and given to a nation bringing forth the fruits thereof.

    44 And whosoever shall fall on this stone shall be broken: but on whomsoever it shall fall, it will grind him to powder.

    What follows is the JST continuation of this incident.

    JST Matthew 21:47 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.

    It is that remnant who will be building Zion, assisted by as many of the Gentiles as will repent, and not the other way around.

    3 Nephi 21:22 But if they [the Gentiles] will repent and hearken unto my words, and harden not their hearts, I will establish my church among them, and they shall come in unto the covenant and be numbered among this the remnant of Jacob, unto whom I have given this land for their inheritance;

    23 And they [the Gentiles who repent] shall assist my people, the remnant of Jacob, and also as many of the house of Israel as shall come, that they may build a city, which shall be called the New Jerusalem.

    We need not identify The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints as the “church” spoken of in verse 22, but I will agree that the “church” spoken of is a subset of the Church.

    Doctrine and Covenants 10:67
    67 Behold, this is my doctrine—whosoever repenteth and cometh unto me, the same is my church.

    “Whosoever repents and comes unto” Christ are the sanctified.

    3 Nephi 27:20
    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.

    For those are they who will be able to dwell in the city of Zion, just as in days of old.

    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.

    Doctrine and Covenants 97:21
    21 Therefore, verily, thus saith the Lord, let Zion rejoice, for this is Zion—the pure in heart; therefore, let Zion rejoice, while all the wicked shall mourn.

    The city of Zion would have been established in the days of Joseph Smith, but the Church went off track even with the Prophet among them. Instead of building the Nauvoo temple as commanded, which the Lord specified was the one place on earth he would come to and restore that which he had taken from the Church – the fullness of the priesthood – they built houses and mansions and businesses to enrich themselves and take their ease. So we were cast out and trodden under foot of men as salt that lost its savor, and Zion fled.

    Now, the Church in its operations is a net drawing all men indiscriminately into it, as prophesied (all of this was foretold and is necessary).

    Matthew 13: 47 ¶Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto a net, that was cast into the sea, and gathered of every kind:

    48 Which, when it was full, they drew to shore, and sat down, and gathered the good into vessels, but cast the bad away.

    49 So shall it be at the end of the world: the angels shall come forth, and sever the wicked from among the just,

    50 And shall cast them into the furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth.

    It is very wise to take the Lord at his word, and to call upon his name to receive the Holy Ghost, that we may abide the days that are coming. Contending and protesting our righteousness may gratify our pride and vanity, but the one we need to impress is the Lord, and he cannot be deceived.

    2 Nephi 9:41
    41 O then, my beloved brethren, come unto the Lord, the Holy One. Remember that his paths are righteous. Behold, the way for man is narrow, but it lieth in a straight course before him, and the keeper of the gate is the Holy One of Israel; and he employeth no servant there; and there is none other way save it be by the gate; for he cannot be deceived, for the Lord God is his name.

    2 Nephi 31:17
    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.

  • Jack:

    Spektator: “I can assure you, Zion will not be built next to a $3 billion shopping mall…”

    Well, I hope not. I also hope that it will not be built next to a missile silo or a sewage treatment plant.

    Spektator: “…nor will it be populated by a people who are taught that carnal commandments, such as tithing, are sufficient to bring about the kingdom of God.”

    Ah, but it will be populated by a people who have made sacred covenants in the temple and strive their best to live up to them.

    Log: “That the Church went off track early, as prophesied, is quite easily demonstrated…” Yes, and those who still seek to bring forth Zion today do it by gathering as many as will come into the church and instructing them in the laws of the gospel.

    Re: Assisting the remnant — That has begun in the sense that the gentiles have carried them on their shoulders and have been as a nursing parent to them — and we better watch out lest because of our pride the tread us down. But the believing gentiles will be numbered with them and assist in the establishment of Zion. So believe!

  • Log:

    JST, John 1:12
    12 But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God; only to them who believe on his name.

    What is the distinguishing characteristic of those who believe on his name – the only ones to whom he gives power to become the sons of God?

    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.

    How are their sins remitted, and they made the sons of God?

    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.

    Believe, indeed, and do likewise.

  • Jack:

    Yep, that’s what we’re working on. Let’s make sure we’re leading people to the church where they may receive the ordinances under the proper authority.

  • Log:

    I think comments along those lines might be best directed at Spektator. I would be curious to learn how he reconciles his view of the Church with the necessity of submitting to its ordinances and requirements.

    As for me, Jack, I’m simply doing what I can to further the work of the Lord by informing any who care to know how to find the gate that they may obtain the path which leads to eternal life. Baptism by water is easy; repentance is not so much, and there is a lot of cultural baggage surrounding it in the Church which makes it difficult for the sincere seeker to find it. Moreover, it is a thing which one who hasn’t done it cannot tell others how it is done. Some of us aren’t “working on” it, having done it as the Lord has commanded.

    I’m trying to help those who are sick to death of trying to repent fully and failing, falling back into old sins time and time again, feeling alone, feeling unworthy, wondering why God doesn’t hear them, why they are so weak, what they are doing wrong. I’m trying to help those who wonder why the scriptures seem so irrelevant to today’s world find the way to enter into the spiritual world described therein. I’m trying to help those who yearn for the revelations, visions, visitations, and mighty works which the Lord gives the faithful to behold and do.

    The key is through crying mightily unto the Lord until he receives you, with an eye single to the glory of God. That is why He came down, suffered for our sins, and was slain for them – to make us even as He is if we will turn our heart fully towards him and call upon His name, that we may receive from Him according to our desires – ask for what you most desire!

    Luke 18:27
    27 And he said, The things which are impossible with men are possible with God.

    D&C 100:15-17
    15 Therefore, let your hearts be comforted; for all things shall work together for good to them that walk uprightly, and to the sanctification of the church.

    16 For I will raise up unto myself a pure people, that will serve me in righteousness;

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

    Ether 3:2
    2 …O Lord, thou hast given us a commandment that we must call upon thee, that from thee we may receive according to our desires.

    JST, Mark 9:45
    45 Seek unto my Father, and it shall be done in that very moment what ye shall ask, if ye ask in faith, believing that ye shall receive.

    3 Nephi 19:9
    9 And they did pray for that which they most desired; and they desired that the Holy Ghost should be given unto them.

    Alma 22:16
    16 … 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.

    Helaman 5:41
    41 … 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.

    Alma 38:8
    8 … 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.

    Acts 22:16
    16 And now why tarriest thou? arise, and be baptized, and wash away thy sins, calling on the name of the Lord.

    Doctrine and Covenants 39:10
    10 But, behold, the days of thy deliverance are come, if thou wilt hearken to my voice, which saith unto thee: Arise and be baptized, and wash away your sins, calling on my name, and you shall receive my Spirit, and a blessing so great as you never have known.

    Luke 3:21-22
    21 Now when all the people were baptized, it came to pass, that Jesus also being baptized, and praying, the heaven was opened,

    22 And the Holy Ghost descended in a bodily shape like a dove upon him, and a voice came from heaven, which said, Thou art my beloved Son; in thee I am well pleased.

    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.

    JST John 3:34
    34 For he whom God hath sent speaketh the words of God: for God giveth him not the Spirit by measure, for he dwelleth in him, even the fullness.

    Doctrine and Covenants 42:14
    14 And the Spirit shall be given unto you by the prayer of faith….

    2 Nephi 31:13, 17-18
    13 Wherefore, my beloved brethren, I know that if ye shall follow the Son, with full purpose of heart, acting no hypocrisy and no deception before God, but with real intent, repenting of your sins, witnessing unto the Father that ye are willing to take upon you the name of Christ, by baptism—yea, by following your Lord and your Savior down into the water, according to his word, behold, then shall ye receive the Holy Ghost; yea, then cometh the baptism of fire and of the Holy Ghost; and then can ye speak with the tongue of angels, and shout praises unto the Holy One of Israel.

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

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

    Enos 1:1-8
    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.

    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.

    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:

    Log,

    If that is your sincere desire, then it is admirable. But tread carefully where you diverge from the brethren on this issue. Because if they’re right(and they are), then you may actually find that your approach might be discouraging to those faithful souls who have not experienced spiritual rebirth in one miraculous event.

  • Log:

    My whole purpose is to give those who are seeking the miraculous event of spiritual rebirth the knowledge and tools they may use to obtain it here and now, even today.

    The reason the teaching of lifelong, imperceptible repentance is not found in the scriptures is because the full intent of the scriptures is to persuade men to repent fully now and partake of the miraculous spiritual rebirth now through crying mightily unto God until one receives the baptism of fire and the Holy Ghost.

    In reading a talk by President Benson from ’89, I recognized that even if he was contradicting a talk he gave in ’87, I had to agree with his purpose, which he baldly stated was to give hope to those who had not yet sufficient faith to pierce the heavens. While conversion (repentance and faith unto a remission of sins) may well be an extended process for many, sanctification is a point event at the end thereof, and nothing bars those who are as faithful as they have knowledge to be from being visited before the end of their lives by fire and the Holy Ghost through the ministration of Christ.

    But they may be so visited now, today, be reborn, and obtain the sure promises of the Lord if they sincerely desire and humble themselves before God in mighty prayer. The one thing lacking is faith to call upon Him until one receives. So we have the Church with its many programs of service, to the intent that men may learn faith by increasingly becoming involved in them. The temple ordinances are also given to point out the way into the presence of God in this life through the ministration of angels by complete and utter fidelity to the covenants entered into (which includes living the Savior’s teachings in 3 Nephi 12-14, these being the commandments and the Law of the Gospel).

    The Savior will give unto us according to the faith, heed, and diligence we give unto Him in obedience to His word; as literally and completely as we obey His precepts and commandments, he blesses us with the Spirit and everything else He has promised.

    I’m doing what I can to extend the invitation to repent and come unto Christ to any with ears to hear and eyes to see. Everyone who has received these things is under an obligation to do likewise.

    2 Nephi 26:27
    27 Hath he commanded any that they should not partake of his salvation? Behold I say unto you, Nay; but he hath given it free for all men; and he hath commanded his people that they should persuade all men to repentance.

    3 Nephi 18:25
    25 And ye see that I have commanded that none of you should go away, but rather have commanded that ye should come unto me, that ye might feel and see; even so shall ye do unto the world; and whosoever breaketh this commandment suffereth himself to be led into temptation.

  • Jack:

    ” While conversion (repentance and faith unto a remission of sins) may well be an extended process for many, sanctification is a point event at the end thereof…”

    I flatly disagree with this. If somehow this has happened to you (in one event) then that is your experience to cherish and keep in your heart (as did Mary) but not to shout from the roof tops. Our job is to invite people to come unto Christ by repentance and baptism (which includes entrance into the church) and then confirmation and the reception of the Holy Ghost. Thus prepared, the Father will teach them of His covenant. It is not for you or I to determine exactly how each individual ought to experience spiritual rebirth. But it is for you and I to edify one and all in a manner that is consistent with the current instruction and counsel that we receive from living prophets.

    It seems to me that you’re attempting to project your private experience upon everyone else thus judging whether or not they are spiritually fit — and I’m telling you to stop it. By so doing you encourage people to look beyond the mark — which is Christ and *not* the exact mode of spiritual rebirth.

  • Log:

    I am citing the scriptures, Jack.

    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.

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

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

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

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

    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.

    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 Lord has declared exactly how each individual does experience spiritual rebirth. This rebirth through the atonement of Christ is the mark. This is the fulfillment of the covenant of the Father.

    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.

    2 Nephi 31:18
    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.

    Moroni 7:32
    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.

    And, in fact, we are to proclaim these things.

    Doctrine and Covenants 19:31
    31 And of tenets thou shalt not talk, but thou shalt declare repentance and faith on the Savior, and remission of sins by baptism, and by fire, yea, even the Holy Ghost.

    Helaman 6:4
    4 And it came to pass that many of the Lamanites did come down into the land of Zarahemla, and did declare unto the people of the Nephites the manner of their conversion, and did exhort them to faith and repentance.

    Alma 27:25-26
    25 … And Alma also related unto them his conversion, with Ammon and Aaron, and his brethren.

    26 And it came to pass that it did cause great joy among them….

    3 Nephi 7:21-22
    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.

    And the significance of that is this.

    3 Nephi 8:1
    1 … there was not any man who could do a miracle in the name of Jesus save he were cleansed every whit from his iniquity….

    I love the liberal spirit displayed by the Prophet, for whom we thank God in hymn.

    If I esteem mankind to be in error, shall I bear them down? No. I will lift them up, and in their own way too, if I cannot persuade them my way is better; and I will not seek to compel any man to believe as I do, only by the force of reasoning, for truth will cut its own way. – Joseph Smith

  • Log:

    Lastly, Jack, this blog is not a church meeting being held under the aegis of the Church. The vast majority of the people who find their way to this or other blogs do so because they are not having their spiritual needs fulfilled by the current course of instruction had at church, neither are they being nourished through the teachings of the leaders.

    The directions to obtaining the spiritual meat they are seeking are to be found in the scriptures. The promises, gifts, and blessings of the Lord, given to us directly from on high and not through an intermediary, are obtained by diligent obedience to the commandments, precepts, and principles found therein, and He has detailed what the reward for diligently seeking Him is. Those who have tasted naturally desire others to taste as well.

    1 Nephi 8:10-18
    10 And it came to pass that I beheld a tree, whose fruit was desirable to make one happy.

    11 And it came to pass that I did go forth and partake of the fruit thereof; and I beheld that it was most sweet, above all that I ever before tasted. Yea, and I beheld that the fruit thereof was white, to exceed all the whiteness that I had ever seen.

    12 And as I partook of the fruit thereof it filled my soul with exceedingly great joy; wherefore, I began to be desirous that my family should partake of it also; for I knew that it was desirable above all other fruit.

    13 And as I cast my eyes round about, that perhaps I might discover my family also, I beheld a river of water; and it ran along, and it was near the tree of which I was partaking the fruit.

    14 And I looked to behold from whence it came; and I saw the head thereof a little way off; and at the head thereof I beheld your mother Sariah, and Sam, and Nephi; and they stood as if they knew not whither they should go.

    15 And it came to pass that I beckoned unto them; and I also did say unto them with a loud voice that they should come unto me, and partake of the fruit, which was desirable above all other fruit.

    16 And it came to pass that they did come unto me and partake of the fruit also.

    17 And it came to pass that I was desirous that Laman and Lemuel should come and partake of the fruit also; wherefore, I cast mine eyes towards the head of the river, that perhaps I might see them.

    18 And it came to pass that I saw them, but they would not come unto me and partake of the fruit.

    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.

    Enos 1:1-12, 19
    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.

    9 Now, it came to pass that when I had heard these words I began to feel a desire for the welfare of my brethren, the Nephites; wherefore, I did pour out my whole soul unto God for them.

    10 And while I was thus struggling in the spirit, behold, the voice of the Lord came into my mind again, saying: I will visit thy brethren according to their diligence in keeping my commandments. I have given unto them this land, and it is a holy land; and I curse it not save it be for the cause of iniquity; wherefore, I will visit thy brethren according as I have said; and their transgressions will I bring down with sorrow upon their own heads.

    11 And after I, Enos, had heard these words, my faith began to be unshaken in the Lord; and I prayed unto him with many long strugglings for my brethren, the Lamanites.

    12 And it came to pass that after I had prayed and labored with all diligence, the Lord said unto me: I will grant unto thee according to thy desires, because of thy faith.

    19 And now it came to pass that I, Enos, went about among the people of Nephi, prophesying of things to come, and testifying of the things which I had heard and seen.

  • Log:

    Baptism of Fire
    See BAPTISM, BORN AGAIN, GIFT OF THE HOLY GHOST, HOLY GHOST, SANCTIFICATION, SANCTIFIER.
    To gain salvation every accountable person must receive two baptisms. They are baptism of water and of the Spirit. (John 3:3-5.) The baptism of the Spirit is called the baptism of fire and of the Holy Ghost. (Matt. 3:11; Luke 3:16; 2 Ne. 31:13-14; 3 Ne. 11:35; 12:1-2; Morm. 7:10 D. & C. 20:41; 33:11; 39:6.) By the power of the Holy Ghost – who is the Sanctifier (3 Ne. 27:19-21) – dross iniquity, carnality, sensuality, and every evil thing is burned out of the repentant soul as if by fire; the cleansed person becomes literally a new creature of the Holy Ghost. (Mosiah 27:24-26.) He is born again.

    The baptism of fire is not something in addition to the receipt of the Holy Ghost; rather, it is the actual enjoyment of the gift which is offered by the laying on of hands at the time of baptism. “Remission of sins,” the Lord says, comes “by baptism and by fire, yea, even the Holy Ghost.” (D. & C. 19:31; 2 Ne. 31:17.) Those who receive the baptism of fire are ‘filled as if with fire” (Hela. 5:45.)

    There have been, however, exceptional and miraculous instances when literal fire has attended the baptism of the Spirit. After the baptism of the Nephite disciples, “they were filled with the Holy Ghost and with fire. And behold, they were encircled about as if it were by fire; and it came down from heaven, and the multitude did witness it, and did bear record.” (3 Ne. 19:13-14.) Similar manifestations occurred on the day of Pentecost (Acts 2:1-4) and among a group of Lamanite converts. (Hela. 5; 3 Ne. 9:20.)

    Born Again
    See BAPTISM, BAPTISM OF FIRE, BIRTH, CONVERSION, GIFT OF THE HOLY GHOST, GIFTS OF THE SPIRIT, HOLY GHOST, HOLY SPIRIT OF PROMISE, SONS OF GOD, SPIRITUAL DEATH, SPIRITUAL LIFE.
    To gain salvation in the celestial kingdom men must be born again (Alma 7:14); born of water and of the Spirit (John 3:1-13); born of God, so that they are changed from their “carnal and fallen state, to a state of righteousness” becoming new creatures of the Holy Ghost. (Mosiah 27:24-29.) They must become newborn babes in Christ (1 Pet. 2:2); they must be “spiritually begotten” of God, be born of Christ, thus becoming his sons and daughters. (Mosiah 5:7.)

    The first birth takes place when spirits pass from their pre-existent first estate into mortality; the second birth or birth “into the kingdom of heaven” takes places when mortal men are born again and become alive to the things of the Spirit and of righteousness. The elements of water, blood, and Spirit are present in both births. (Moses 6:59-60.) The second birth begins when men are baptized in water by a legal administrator; it is completed when they actually receive the companionship of the Holy Ghost, becoming new creatures by the cleansing power of that member of the Godhead.

    Mere compliance with the formality of the ordinance of baptism does not mean that a person has been born again. No one can be born again without baptism, but the immersion in water and the laying on of hands to confer the Holy Ghost do not of themselves guarantee that a person has been or will be born again. The new birth takes place only for those who actually enjoy the gift or companionship of the Holy Ghost, only for those who are fully converted, who have given themselves without restraint to the Lord. Thus Alma addressed himself to his “brethren of the church,” and pointedly asked them if they had “spiritually been born of God,” received the Lord’s image in their countenances, and had the “mighty change” in their hearts which always attends the birth of the Spirit. (Alma 5:14,31.)

    Those members of the Church who have actually been born again are in a blessed and favored state. They have attained their position, not merely by joining the Church, but through faith (1 John 5:1), righteousness (1 John 2:29), love (1 John 4:7), and overcoming the world. (1 John 5:4.) “Whosoever is born of God doth not continue in sin; for the Spirit of God remaineth in him; and he cannot continue to sin, because he is born of God having received that holy Spirit of promise.” (Inspired Version, 1 John 3:9.)

    Gift of the Holy Ghost
    See BAPTISM OF FIRE, BORN AGAIN, CONFIRMATION, HOLY GHOST, LAYING ON OF HANDS, SPIRIT OF THE LORD, SPIRITUAL LIFE.
    “There is a difference between the Holy Ghost and the gift of the Holy Ghost,” the Prophet taught. (Teachings, p. 199.) As the third member of the Godhead, the Holy Ghost is a Personage of Spirit; the gift of the Holy Ghost, however, is the right, based on faithfulness, to the constant companionship of thatmember of the Godhead. It is the right to receive revelation, guidance light, and truth from the Spirit. “The presentation or ‘gift’ of the Holy Ghost,” President Joseph F. Smith said, “simply confers upon a man the right to receive at any time, when he is worthy of it and desires it, the power and light of truth of the Holy Ghost, although he may often be left to his own spirit and judgment.” (Gospel Doctrine, 5th ed., pp. 60-61.)

    Joseph Smith explained: “Cornelius received the Holy Ghost before he was baptized which was the convincing power of God unto him of the truth of the gospel but he could not receive the gift of the Holy Ghost until after he was baptized. Had he not taken this sign or ordinance upon him, the Holy Ghost which convinced him of the truth of God, would have left him. Until he obeyed these ordinances and received the gift of the Holy Ghost, by the laying on of hands, according to the order of God, he could not have healed the sick or commanded an evil spirit to come out of a man, and it obey him.” (Teachings, p. 199.)

    In similar manner, in this day, many nonmembers of the Church, “by the power of the Holy Ghost” (Moro. 10:4-5), learn that the Book of Mormon is true, or that Joseph Smith is a Prophet of God, but unless they repent and are baptized that flash of testimony leaves them. They never receive the continuing, renewed assurance that comes from the companionship of that Spirit Being whose mission it is to whisper truth to the spirits within men. (Teachings, pp. 198-199.)

    Further, the fact that a person has had hands laid on his head and a legal administrator has declared,”Receive the Holy Ghost,” does not guarantee that the gift itself has actually been enjoyed. The gift of the Holy Ghost is the right to have the constant companionship of the Spirit; the actual enjoyment of the gift, the actual receipt of the companionship of the Spirit, is based on personal righteousness; it does not come unless and until the person is worthy to receive it. The Spirit will not dwell in an unclean tabernacle. (1 Cor. 3:16-17; 6:19.) Those who actually enjoy the gift or presentment of the Holy Ghost are the ones who are born again, who have become new creatures of the Holy Ghost. (Mosiah 27:24-26.)

    Even a righteous person is often left to himself so that he does not at all times enjoy the promptings of revelation and light from the Holy Ghost. “Every elder of the Church who has received the Holy Ghost by the laying on of hands, by one having authority, has power to confer that gift upon another; it does not follow that a man who has received the presentation or gift of the Holy Ghost shall always receive the recognition and witness and presence of the Holy Ghost himself; or he may receive all these, and yet the Holy Ghost not tarry with him, but visit him from time to time (D. & C. 130:23); and neither does it follow that a man must have the Holy Ghost present with him when he confers the Holy Ghost upon another, but he possesses the gift of the Holy Ghost, and it will depend upon the worthiness of him unto whom the gift is bestowed whether he receives the Holy Ghost or not.” (Gospel Doctrine, 5th ed., p. 61.)

    With such gems in it, plainly spoken and easy to be understood, it is perhaps not difficult to imagine why Mormon Doctrine is now out of favor. Yet Brother McConkie’s book does suffer from a great defect on this topic, in my view, because he neglected to tell the reader HOW to obtain the baptism of fire and the Holy Ghost. “Calling upon the Name of the Lord” is missing from Mormon Doctrine.

    That is how any of us who have received this spiritual rebirth have received it: by repenting and calling upon the name of the Lord in our mights until we we were received into union with God.

    Moses 6:64-68
    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.

    Alma 22:15-18, 23
    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.

    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.

    Helaman 5:40-47
    40 And it came to pass that the Lamanites said unto him: What shall we do, that this cloud of darkness may be removed from overshadowing us?

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

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

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

    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.

    Enos 1:1-8
    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.

    Do likewise, and you shall partake of the fruit of the tree of life.

    Alma 36:24
    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.

    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.

    Calling upon the name of the Lord in our mights to be received of Him is how we come unto Christ with a broken heart and a contrite spirit. By doing this, you will obtain the peace and freedom promised through the Atonement of Christ – with your heart changed that you have no more desire to do evil, but to do good continually, you will be free to do anything you want; that is the freedom Christ promises, and delivers through the baptism by fire and the Holy Ghost, when we repent and call upon His holy name. Then will you be born of God, and know as I do know of the goodness and mercy of Christ. Then will the mysteries of the kingdom be unfolded to your view, if you will seek them.

    This is what every seeker who comes here is looking for. Take these things literally, and cry mightily unto God in the name of the Son that you might receive it, and continue without fainting until you do receive it.

    Luke 18:1-6
    1 And he spake a parable unto them to this end, that men ought always to pray, and not to faint;

    2 Saying, There was in a city a judge, which feared not God, neither regarded man:

    3 And there was a widow in that city; and she came unto him, saying, Avenge me of mine adversary.

    4 And he would not for a while: but afterward he said within himself, Though I fear not God, nor regard man;

    5 Yet because this widow troubleth me, I will avenge her, lest by her continual coming she weary me.

    6 And the Lord said, Hear what the unjust judge saith.

  • JR:

    There is a point in this discussion that I believe needs clarifying. IMHO, the church is into apostasy exactly because of the condemnation spoken of by the Lord in D&C 84, and reiterated by Pres. Benson. As has been mentioned previously (multiple times) when the Saints in Nauvoo failed in their commission, given directly to them of the Lord, to finish the Nauvoo temple by a certain time, their chance to receive of the fullness of the Priesthood was lost. THAT is at least a part of the condemnation spoken of by the Lord and by Pres. Benson. Apostasy is not an all or nothing proposition! The church in the days of the Savior’s mortal ministry was deeply into apostasy, yet retained the authority and power to baptize with water (in other words to bring people up to “the gate” spoken of in 2 Nephi 9:41 and in 2 Nephi 31:17-18). It was true then, and it is true today, that only the Father or the Savior under the direction of the Father can baptize with Fire and the Holy Ghost. It is only thru receiving BOTH baptisms that one comes into the straight and narrow path spoken of by the Savior and by Nephi (and others). At least part of the apostasy of the church in our day is the unwillingness to address and remedy the apostasy of the Saints in Nauvoo! That apostasy persists! We hear constantly in the church today that we have the fullness of the Priesthood and the fullness of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. RUBBISH! The church today has neither the fullness of the Priesthood nor the fullness of the Gospel. Don’t agree? When was the last time you had a lively discussion of the Baptism of Fire and the Holy Ghost, or the Second Comforter in your PH/RS meeting? When was the last time you had a discussion in church of what it really means to enter into the straight and narrow path? We recycle the same Preparatory Gospel discussions year after year after year and never move beyond the preparatory gospel BECAUSE the church is stuck in an apostasy wherein they do not even perceive that there is so very much more to learn and incorporate into their lives! We remain under condemnation exactly as Pres. Benson stated because we fail to study and pray over and receive revelation about matters addressed in the Book of Mormon which would clarify and expand the Doctrine of Christ to us and bring us thru the gate into the straight and narrow path which leads to eternal life. We remain, as a church, much as the pharisees in the New Testament time, well grounded in the foundation of the gospel but ignorant of the greater doctrines which would bring us unto eternal life. Apostasy is NEVER an all or nothing proposition. Unfortunately, the church today seems to be moving more and more into apostasy with each passing year. The church, as it exists today, will never bring Zion, will never bring men and women to sanctification and a face to face relationship with the Savior, will NEVER save any man or woman though it claims to have the pwoer to do so.
    JR

  • Log:

    JR,

    How are you defining apostasy? That is a very charged word in LDS culture.

  • JR:

    Log,
    Apostasy is a charged word because those who set the rules don´t like to hear it used to describe their actions or the policies they advocate.

    Apostasy is deviating from that which is truth, from that which was given by the Lord in the case of His church. One simple example should suffice to make the point. The way in which we pay tithing today in the church is a deviation from the way in which the Lord instructed Joseph Smith in D&C 119. There are many, many examples that could be cited of ways that the current church has deviated from the program the Lord instituted through His prophets and through the scriptures.

    When this is brought up, the case is always advanced that church leaders receive ¨continuing revelation¨ and thus are free to change the rules when they are inspired to do so. However, in the case of tithing, the scripture says: ¨and this shall be a standing law unto them forever, for my holy priesthood, saith the Lord¨ (D&C 119:4). Some people have a hard time with that word ¨forever¨ which does not seem to indicate 25 or 50 or even 100 years.

    As I stated, and emphasized, apostasy is not an all or nothing proposition. There have been numerous laws given by the Lord that the church still adheres to and others that it adheres to at least partially. The concern of some people is that since the Lord has stated that He does not deviate to the right or to the left from His straight course, are we as a chuch justified in doing so and still believing we are the one true church with which the Lord is well pleased, especially in light of His condemnation of the church (D&C 84:55-57) which has never been lifted and was reiterated by Pres. Benson just a few years ago?

    It is not my desire to enter into a discussion of whether or not the church has entered into apostasy. That is for each individual to decide for him or her self, nor do I wish to be an accuser of the brethren. However, as Joseph Smith and Brigham Young (and others) have put forth, we believe in the truth, and we believe in speaking the truth. To be required to hide the truth, if there is indeed an apostasy going on, would be much the same as our govt is currently attempting to do in the case of Edward Snowden who has become a ¨traitor¨ simply because he has told the truth about the illegal and immoral activities of our govt. and thus obeyed the higher law of the Constitution, versus obeying the lesser laws of men which make speaking the truth a traitorous act.

    Just my thoughts. Each person must decide these matters for him or her self. We know that the Lord is an austere man and cannot look upon sin with the least degree of allowance, neither does His course vary at all to the right or to the left from the straight and narrow path.
    Much love brother,
    JR

  • Log:

    Well, here’s something that will help each person decide matters.

    D&C 46:7-9
    7 But ye are commanded in all things to ask of God, who giveth liberally; and that which the Spirit testifies unto you even so I would that ye should do in all holiness of heart, walking uprightly before me, considering the end of your salvation, doing all things with prayer and thanksgiving, that ye may not be seduced by evil spirits, or doctrines of devils, or the commandments of men; for some are of men, and others of devils.

    8 Wherefore, beware lest ye are deceived; and that ye may not be deceived seek ye earnestly the best gifts, always remembering for what they are given;

    9 For verily I say unto you, they are given for the benefit of those who love me and keep all my commandments, and him that seeketh so to do; that all may be benefited that seek or that ask of me, that ask and not for a sign that they may consume it upon their lusts.

  • JR:

    Log,
    I agree brother!
    This is truly another of the many areas where the words of Nephi provide guidance:

    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, I said unto you, feast upon the the words of Christ; for behold, the words of Christ will tell you all things what ye should do. (2 Nephi 32:2-3).

    There is much more to these words of Nephi than meets the eye.

    His very next statements tell us how we are to proceed:

    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 remain in darkness.
    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 Nephi 32:4-5)

    Much love dear brother,
    JR

  • Log:

    As an aside, even though I have cited McConkie, that is not to imply that I necessarily agree with everything he says.

    Compare, for example, this…

    Even a righteous person is often left to himself so that he does not at all times enjoy the promptings of revelation and light from the Holy Ghost. “Every elder of the Church who has received the Holy Ghost by the laying on of hands, by one having authority, has power to confer that gift upon another; it does not follow that a man who has received the presentation or gift of the Holy Ghost shall always receive the recognition and witness and presence of the Holy Ghost himself; or he may receive all these, and yet the Holy Ghost not tarry with him, but visit him from time to time (D. & C. 130:23); and neither does it follow that a man must have the Holy Ghost present with him when he confers the Holy Ghost upon another, but he possesses the gift of the Holy Ghost, and it will depend upon the worthiness of him unto whom the gift is bestowed whether he receives the Holy Ghost or not.” (Gospel Doctrine, 5th ed., p. 61.)

    … with these.

    3 Nephi 13:22-23
    22 The light of the body is the eye; if, therefore, thine eye be single, thy whole body shall be full of light.

    23 But if thine eye be evil, thy whole body shall be full of darkness. If, therefore, the light that is in thee be darkness, how great is that darkness!

    John 8:29
    29 And he that sent me is with me: the Father hath not left me alone; for I do always those things that please him.

    Thus we know it is possible to always be filled with light; when we are not, it is because our eye is no longer single to the glory of God, and we are not always doing those things which please God.

    The fix? Cry mightily to be forgiven and to receive again the Holy Ghost.

    About the rest…

    Moroni 2
    1 The words of Christ, which he spake unto his disciples, the twelve whom he had chosen, as he laid his hands upon them—

    2 And he called them by name, saying: Ye shall call on the Father in my name, in mighty prayer; and after ye have done this ye shall have power that to him upon whom ye shall lay your hands, ye shall give the Holy Ghost; and in my name shall ye give it, for thus do mine apostles.

    3 Now Christ spake these words unto them at the time of his first appearing; and the multitude heard it not, but the disciples heard it; and on as many as they laid their hands, fell the Holy Ghost.

    Moroni 3
    1 The manner which the disciples, who were called the elders of the church, ordained priests and teachers—

    2 After they had prayed unto the Father in the name of Christ, they laid their hands upon them, and said:

    3 In the name of Jesus Christ I ordain you to be a priest (or if he be a teacher, I ordain you to be a teacher) to preach repentance and remission of sins through Jesus Christ, by the endurance of faith on his name to the end. Amen.

    4 And after this manner did they ordain priests and teachers, according to the gifts and callings of God unto men; and they ordained them by the power of the Holy Ghost, which was in them.

    Is it too much to expect that the same power of the Holy Ghost, present in them who ordain priests and teachers, should be present in the administrator of the ordinance of confirmation? (Hint: see Moses 6:67, and the verses around it; also, note that the disciples of Moroni 2 are the same in Moroni 3.)

    I guess that’s why Brother McConkie was citing Joseph Fielding Smith, rather than the scriptures, to establish some of his points – the scriptures are nowhere near as flattering.

  • Log:

    It takes true humility to lay down one’s pride, vanity, and arrogance, to recognize one’s true state before God, and to labor with all one’s heart and soul in mighty prayer to come unto Christ. That is why so few are fully converted.

    Brethren, I submit as a matter of logic and fact that it does not matter whether the Church may justly be said to be in apostasy or not. The only thing that matters is this: coming unto Christ ourselves through repentance and faith through mighty prayer, and being one in Him, sons of God in truth.

    From thence, we are led by the Spirit in all things, so long as our eye remains single to the glory of God.

    Nevertheless, the Lord has repeatedly said that we should teach nothing but repentance, faith, and remission of sins by water and by fire. All the rest is decoy and diversion. JR, you even said as much in a wonderful post not too long ago.

    I have noted that sometimes, things are said by inspiration… and those who say them do not fully appreciate the truth of what they said. I think that might have been one of those times. ;)

  • Spektator:

    I regret that I have not been able to participate as much as I would like to the conversation. I do want to offer some thoughts. I have to say that reading the words of Log and JR give my heart hope that we can see Zion sometime in the future. Isn’t that what we are supposed to be aiming for? There seems to be an innate desire, when one has a spiritual experience such as the baptism of fire, to want to gather with others who share the same foundation. I am convinced that Zion cannot be achieved without the sanctifying crucible of the baptism of fire.

    Log, you asked this question of me:

    “I think comments along those lines might be best directed at Spektator. I would be curious to learn how he reconciles his view of the Church with the necessity of submitting to its ordinances and requirements.”

    As I pondered the topic of the church, my mind went back to the ‘church’ that Christ established among the Nephites. He identified twelve brethren to be ‘ministers and servants’ to the people. These twelve were given the ‘authority’ to baptize with water in preparation for the baptism of fire to be administered by Christ, himself. One of them was given the ‘authority’ to administer the sacrament. They were told that they were to only teach the words of Christ to the people to prepare them for baptism.

    Should that be a model for our church today? Do we have a leadership of the church that acts as ministers and servant and only teaches the words of Christ? I cannot, in good conscience, ascribe to a ‘church’ that gives its top leaders chauffeured limousines and million dollar penthouses. I cannot condone a church that pays its leadership a stipend based on their ‘position’ in the church. I cannot put men who write books and assume positions on boards in the same category as servants and ministers.

    Yes, JR is correct, each of us must make that determination for ourselves. For me, I took the Book of Mormon for what I was told it was. I scoured this book and assembled what I considered to be the core elements of the gospel, the doctrine and the church of Christ. While I do take the Doctrine and Covenants as scripture, I can also see where Joseph Smith, intentionally or unintentionally, laid the grounds for the current situation – a priesthood that exhibits the same traits as those who were in power at the time of Christ. If the church at the time of Christ was in apostasy, then the same can be said of our situation. This apostasy is characterized as a deviation from the gospel of Christ

    9 Verily I say unto you, that ye are built upon my gospel; therefore ye shall call whatsoever things ye do call, in my name; therefore if ye call upon the Father, for the church, if it be in my name the Father will hear you;
    10 And if it so be that the church is built upon my gospel then will the Father show forth his own works in it.
    11 But if it be not built upon my gospel, and is built upon the works of men, or upon the works of the devil, verily I say unto you they have joy in their works for a season, and by and by the end cometh, and they are hewn down and cast into the fire, from whence there is no return.
    12 For their works do follow them, for it is because of their works that they are hewn down; therefore remember the things that I have told you.(3 Nephi 27)

    I don’t see the kingdom of God as something that anyone or any group can possess. I believe it resides where there is at least one person who is truly sanctified and prepared for the presence of God. Therefore, I don’t equate the church with the kingdom of God. It has the ability to move in that direction if the church, individually and collectively, shows a willingness to ‘repent and return,’ just as the Lord has asked them to do.

    As for Christ, I don’t believe that He went to the ‘church’ at that time for the baptism of water. He went to someone outside the structure of authority. His baptism, to fulfill all righteousness, was done by another outsider in John the Baptist.

    Alma the elder was one of the priests that King Noah installed when he took over for his righteous father. At that time, all the righteous priests were replaced by Noah’s handpicked alternatives. When Alma fled and began to integrate the doctrine pronounced by Abinadi, he didn’t go to the ‘church’ of his time for the ordinance, nor did he receive it at the hands of any mortal. He received his authority directly from God.

    So, does the church represent the only source for the ordinances? I can only say from the above examples that it does not have exclusivity. Is there a point where there is no authority left in the church? I think that is possible.

    In my opinion, the honest seeker’s heart dictates more of the efficacy of that person’s baptism than the administrator. The sole purpose of the church should be to bring people to Christ. Any policy or practice or doctrine that takes people away from that goal should not be found in His church.

  • Log:

    As for Christ, I don’t believe that He went to the ‘church’ at that time for the baptism of water. He went to someone outside the structure of authority. His baptism, to fulfill all righteousness, was done by another outsider in John the Baptist.

    John was in the structure of authority, as the firstborn son of a Levite. For that reason did the Pharisees and Saducees also go to him to be baptized (Matt. 3:7).

    Said Joseph,

    Ans to 1st His (John’s) greatness consisted in 3 things 1st His appointment to prepare the way before the Lord Jesus Christ 2nd His privilege to Baptise him or induct him into his Kingdom 3d His being the only legal administrator in the affairs of the Kingdom that was then on the Earth consequently the Jews had to obey his instruction or be damned by their own Law

    And they did obey his instruction.

    We don’t really know much about Alma Sr. save it be that he was ordained a priest under Noah, because of whom the Lord sent Abinadi to reclaim “my people” (Mosiah 11:22); the Lord recognized them as authorized. Noah had a valid claim to authority from his father, who in turn received it from Benjamin, and so on back to Lehi. We nowhere read of any other ordaining for Alma, Sr., than that of Noah.

    I would, through sentimentality, wish to agree that the honest seeker’s heart dictates more of the efficacy of that person’s baptism than the administrator – except that no effort of the seeker can render an unauthorized ordinance authorized.

    D&C 22
    1 Behold, I say unto you that all old covenants have I caused to be done away in this thing; and this is a new and an everlasting covenant, even that which was from the beginning.

    2 Wherefore, although a man should be baptized an hundred times it availeth him nothing, for you cannot enter in at the strait gate by the law of Moses, neither by your dead works.

    3 For it is because of your dead works that I have caused this last covenant and this church to be built up unto me, even as in days of old.

    4 Wherefore, enter ye in at the gate, as I have commanded, and seek not to counsel your God. Amen.

    It’s odd. Sometimes, it’s in writing a comment that I realize there’s a deeper issue at stake. When I commented on how Bruce R. relied on Joseph Fielding Smith, rather than the scriptures, in this: “neither does it follow that a man must have the Holy Ghost present with him when he confers the Holy Ghost upon another, but he possesses the gift of the Holy Ghost, and it will depend upon the worthiness of him unto whom the gift is bestowed whether he receives the Holy Ghost or not,” I realized that Joseph Fielding was actually addressing the issue of priesthood authority; after all, if the administrator of a confirmation must have been baptized by fire in order to give the gift of the Holy Ghost, and surely JFS was aware, as I am, as Bruce R. was, just how few people that would be who could then perform that ordinance, then almost every confirmation would be invalid. But he was deploying an argument which the Catholics may likewise utilize: the ordinance’s validity depends solely on formal requirements (say, priesthood lines of authority [having undergone an ordinance or ordination]).

    After all, if the validity of an ordinance followed from ordinances or ordinations, then the Catholic claim to authority would be just as valid as the LDS claim. The Catholics can trace their “line of authority” back to Peter, of course. Thus JFS has not helped matters, and I think that he’s mistaken.

    An ordinance’s validity is not a matter of the worthiness of the administrator, neither is it determined by the honest seeker’s heart (though the realization of the promised blessing flowing from an authorized ordinance certainly is).

    No, here is where we do possess the kingdom (the divine commission to preach the gospel and administer in the ordinances thereof), and why our ordinances are valid, despite the fact that their forms are being altered over the years, despite the lack of sanctification of many of the administrators thereof. It is because our ordinances and ordinations are performed by revelation and commandment.

    D&C 132:8-10
    8 Behold, mine house is a house of order, saith the Lord God, and not a house of confusion.

    9 Will I accept of an offering, saith the Lord, that is not made in my name?

    10 Or will I receive at your hands that which I have not appointed?

    An ordinance or ordination not performed by revelation and commandment is invalid, for the Lord hath not willed it. That is the significance of Paul mentioning the cessation of prophecy, tongues, and knowledge (1 Corinthians 13:8). That is how the kingdom (the divine commission to preach the gospel and administer in the ordinances thereof) was withdrawn from the Gentiles in days of old; how they lost their priesthood, and why the Catholic chain of authority, through formal ordination, back to Peter matters not a whit. A priesthood holder who, of himself, and not by the will of the Lord made manifest to him by revelation, ordains another or administers an ordinance has done a vain thing, which the Lord shall not own. Even an unsanctified priesthood holder, who does administer an ordinance, or ordain another, and does so by the revealed will of the Lord to him, does the Lord’s will and the Lord shall own that.

    The Church still does operate by revelation today – at least, in speaking with my bishop about how the bishopric makes it decisions, it was apparent that they’re doing so by revelation and commandment (even if it is harder for them who are not sanctified to receive the necessary revelation and commandment). When revelation and commandment cease, then is the kingdom withdrawn.

    The kingdom of God was set up on the earth from the days of Adam to the present time, whenever there has been a righteous man on earth unto whom God revealed His word and gave power and authority to administer in His name. And where there is a priest of God—a minister who has power and authority from God to administer in the ordinances of the gospel and officiate in the priesthood of God—there is the kingdom of God.

    Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, sel. Joseph Fielding Smith (1976), 271.

    By the by, that’s not to argue that EVERY one of the decisions of EVERY leader in the Church at ANY level has been, or is, made by revelation and commandment. Decisions made without revelation nor commandment are how we got where we are today, and again, the Lord superintends this process, prolonging the time until the tides of wickedness may no longer be restrained.

    The Lord is not a God of confusion. I hear of none outside of the Church being baptized by fire, though I do hear of prophecies, revelations, tongues, and miracles; I believe them. Only within the Church do I hear of persons being baptized by fire and the Holy Ghost, even if there may not be two to a city who have received it (I am fortunate in that my city has more than 2). This is the one distinguishing characteristic of the Church, that by submission to its ordinances and through our faith we may be cleansed by fire from heaven.

    In our interview with the President, he interrogated us wherein we differed in our religion from the other religions of the day. Brother Joseph said we differed in mode of baptism, and the gift of the Holy Ghost by the laying on of hands. We considered that all other considerations were contained in the gift of the Holy Ghost.

    I have had much occasion to think of these things before you wrote your comment.

  • Log:

    By the by, do you see how this changes the relevant question? The question becomes (and always has been) “am I proceeding by revelation and commandment in all things?” It doesn’t matter to me that leader X does Y with stewardship Z. All that matters to me is what I do in the stewardship and instructions I have been given, according to the revelations and promptings of the Spirit to me. My relationship with God is not contingent upon whether all, some, or none of the Church is in the right way.

    If we are not in a position to receive revelation continually, being filled with light, then we need to get there, by calling upon the name of the Lord, and walking in strict obedience to His commandments. Once we are filled by the Spirit, we are led in all things.

    You’ll never be any more worthy, under your own power, than you are right this second to receive the fullness of the Spirit – so do not let your feelings and perceptions of unworthiness prevent you from pouring out your whole soul to be filled with the Holy Ghost and with fire, to be sanctified from all sin. If you do let your feelings of unworthiness prevent you from waxing bold in your prayers to be received, then you will always fall short and will remain shackled in darkness.

    • Spektator:

      I agree with your comment here. We are to bring a broken heart and a contrite spirit to the discussion. It is our own guilt and reservation that can, many times, restrict our ability to reach into heaven. We each must search our hearts to determine what it means to have a broken heart and to bear a contrite spirit. These directions require us to dismiss all our pride, excise our ambition, and recognize, as did the people of Benjamin, how truly miniscule we are.

  • Spektator:

    Log said:
    “John was in the structure of authority, as the firstborn son of a Levite. For that reason did the Pharisees and Saducees also go to him to be baptized”

    I see a big difference between having authority and being in the structure. John the Baptist would not fit into the model of the leadership at that time. He called the Pharisees and Sadducees a ‘generation of vipers.’ He stood outside the authority structure of that day. He did not associate with the priesthood hierarchy nor fill any recognized position within the religious community dominated by the Pharisees and Sadducees.

    Log said: “And they did obey his instruction”

    Where did you get the idea that the Pharisees and Sadducees obeyed and were baptized by John the Baptist? Here is what Jesus Christ said about the matter as recorded in Luke, chapter 7:

    28 For I say unto you, Among those that are born of women there is not a greater prophet than John the Baptist: but he that is least in the kingdom of God is greater than he.
    29 And all the people that heard him, and the publicans, justified God, being baptized with the baptism of John.
    30 But the Pharisees and lawyers rejected the counsel of God against themselves, being not baptized of him.

    I take this to mean they DID NOT obey John the Baptist as they would not submit to his baptism.

    Log said:
    “We don’t really know much about Alma Sr. save it be that he was ordained a priest under Noah, because of whom the Lord sent Abinadi to reclaim “my people” (Mosiah 11:22); the Lord recognized them as authorized. Noah had a valid claim to authority from his father, who in turn received it from Benjamin, and so on back to Lehi. We nowhere read of any other ordaining for Alma, Sr., than that of Noah.”

    Where do you derive the idea that the Lord accepted the men that Noah put in as priests? Can men who are chastised for ‘their abominations, and their wickedness, and their whoredoms’ be recognized by the Lord as his authorized representatives on this earth? Why did he need to send Abinadi? This is the crux of the question – Can a man who turns to evil still hold the right to conduct the ordinances of salvation? I would use section 121 of the Doctrine and Covenants as the guide –

    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.

    When the spirit of the Lord is grieved and withdrawn, the authority of that man is null and void. What if we apply this principle to the priests of Noah? If the heavens withdraw themselves and the Spirit is grieved, would that not invalidate the priesthood authority of that man?

    Perhaps that is where we differ. We do not know to what ‘authority’ the priests of Noah were ordained. I would find it hard to believe that the Lord would recognize the ‘authority’ of an evil man. Do you really think that the priesthood is so resilient that it can reside with the wicked?

    If Alma had the true authority to baptize as a priest ordained by Noah, why did he ask the Lord validate the baptism?

    12 And now it came to pass that Alma took Helam, he being one of the first, and went and stood forth in the water, and cried, saying: O Lord, pour out thy Spirit upon thy servant, that he may do this work with holiness of heart.
    13 And when he had said these words, the Spirit of the Lord was upon him, and he said: Helam, I baptize thee, having authority from the Almighty God, as a testimony that ye have entered into a covenant to serve him until you are dead as to the mortal body; and may the Spirit of the Lord be poured out upon you; and may he grant unto you eternal life, through the redemption of Christ, whom he has prepared from the foundation of the world. (Mosiah 18)

    18 And it came to pass that Alma, having authority from God, ordained priests; even one priest to every fifty of their number did he ordain to preach unto them, and to teach them concerning the things pertaining to the kingdom of God.

    I believe that Alma received his authority through the Spirit directly from God. He asked for the Spirit to grant him the authority, he acknowledged the receipt and conducted the baptism based on the received authority. Later he ordained other priests by that same authority.

    Log, help me understand what you mean by this statement: “our ordinances and ordinations are performed by revelation and commandment. An ordinance or ordination not performed by revelation and commandment is invalid, for the Lord hath not willed it.”

    Are you saying that because an ordinance, such as baptism, is a commandment that it is therefore the administrator is automatically ‘authorized?’ I still believe that an ordinance performed by someone who has violated the above description of priesthood authority in section 121, does so to his own damnation. It is the heart of the receiver that dictates the validity of the ordinance in their life.

    By the way, there was a recent post on my blog from someone outside the LDS church describing their experience of being born again. I think it is presumptuous to believe that God would not honor the righteous desires a true seeker outside the church.

    I realize that there is an innate desire to see the priesthood authority of the church as a bastion of protection. I lived that for many years but I don’t any longer. The church is a conduit to direct people to Christ. No more, no less…

  • Log:

    John was in the structure – he was a priest by birth. Therefore he had recognized authority within their power structure. The Pharisees and Saducees came to him for baptism for that reason (even if they then declined to be baptized).

    I had forgotten that when Joseph used the phrase “the Jews,” he meant (as in the scriptures) the leadership. I meant that the Jews, meaning the people (certainly not all of them, and perhaps none of the leadership), were baptized of John.

    Can men who are chastised for ‘their abominations, and their wickedness, and their whoredoms’ be recognized by the Lord as his authorized representatives on this earth?

    Jonah springs to mind. I seem to recall that the Lord often chastised even Joseph Smith (among others). I certainly myself have been chastised oft throughout my life.

    When the spirit of the Lord is grieved and withdrawn, the authority of that man is null and void.

    That is true. But, and this is a significant thought – if you do not know, or cannot in principle know, whether the Spirit of the Lord be grieved and withdrawn from any particular person, then D&C 121 cannot be used as a guide to whether any other man, save ourselves only, possess power and authority; it is, again, a matter of self-analysis.

    Do you really think that the priesthood is so resilient that it can reside with the wicked?

    The Lord will honor a baptism performed by an LDS adulterer, performed by revelation and commandment, but not one performed by a celibate Catholic priest.

    If Alma had the true authority to baptize as a priest ordained by Noah, why did he ask the Lord validate the baptism?

    Alma didn’t ask the Lord to validate the baptism. He was fulfilling the commandments: “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.” (2 Nephi 32:9)

    I agree that Alma received authority from God. He was ordained, however, in the first place, by men. That ordination was not redone, to my knowledge.

    5 We believe that a man must be called of God, by prophecy, and by the laying on of hands by those who are in authority, to preach the Gospel and administer in the ordinances thereof.

    And, given this understanding, Alma would be an example of how resilient the priesthood is.

    You ask:

    Are you saying that because an ordinance, such as baptism, is a commandment that it is therefore the administrator is automatically ‘authorized?’

    No, I am saying that if God reveals unto an administrator that such-and-such a person ought to be baptized, and that administrator either performs it, or directs one to perform it, then the baptism is valid. Without that revelation and commandment, an administrator is not authorized.

    By the way, there was a recent post on my blog from someone outside the LDS church describing their experience of being born again. I think it is presumptuous to believe that God would not honor the righteous desires a true seeker outside the church.

    Was she outside the LDS church? It wasn’t clear to me what church she belonged to. But I also did not see the scriptural signs of spiritual rebirth in her account, therefore I am disinclined to believe she was born again, if her account is complete and accurate. That is not to say it was not a real experience, and it is not to say it was not of God.

    Now, if it is presumptuous to believe the word of God over the word of men, then I am going to be the most presumptuous person alive until I die.

    I, however, never have said that someone outside of the Church cannot be born again (because that would ignore Helaman 5, which is actually rather complicated [it was, after all, the faith of Nephi and Lehi which motivated that episode, which suggests limitations on the principle]). What I have said is I have not heard of anyone outside of the Church who has been baptized by fire and the Holy Ghost (meaning now, today). And what I have said is that the distinguishing characteristic of the Church is that by submission to the ordinances and through our faith we may be cleansed by fire from heaven. I have never seen any other church for which that is the case – ask around; they know nothing of it. That is not to say all inside of the Church know anything of it either, but some do.

    Now, this is “personal revelation,” and you are certainly not bound by it, but God has said to me: “All things taught by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, pertaining to the salvation of men, are true.” Also, very recently, the Lord has referred to the leadership, to me, as “my servants.”

    And, again, the necessary qualifiers – that is not to say all of the Church’s teachings are sound. That is not to say the Lord’s servants do not err (especially the ones who have not been sanctified). That is not to say that all is well in Zion. That is not to say that there is not in-house persecution of the saints of God. And so on and so forth. I’m not blind.

    I would ask you, Spek, and anyone else for whom these things are of concern, to please begin to call upon the name of the Lord in your mights, to be received into union with Him again (or even for the first time) – from thence we get answers and direction. That is the first, and ultimate, priority. From there, filled with light and one in God, we ask and receive immediately. Then we may know from God Himself, what we are to teach, and what our true relationship to the Church is and should be.

  • Spektator:

    Log,
    Given that John the Baptist used the same language that Christ used relative to the Pharisees and Sadducees, I doubt that he was any more accepted as an authority than Christ was. They certainly may have come to see his activities but they were not there in recognition of what they perceived as his authority any more than when they attended Jesus Christ.

    I also perceive that we have a fundamental difference in perspective relative to the priesthood. I believe that the Spirit governs whether one is able to act with authority as outlined in section 121. The idea that every baptism, confirmation, or other ordinance is, today, delivered by revelation is a real stretch.

    So, you suggest that since my position relative to the church does not agree with your personal revelation, I obviously am not calling upon the Lord. Can you validate your assumption? I have found that my first understanding of what I have received may not always be accurate. Sometimes there are multiple meanings. You were told that: “All things taught by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, pertaining to the salvation of men, are true.” All things taught may not be all things necessary, for example. There are many questions I would ask if I received that instruction. And if the Lord refers to someone as servants, are they automatically faithful or unfaithful? Many more questions could be asked. In essence, have you sought to understand what was meant by the information you received? Does it align with the scriptures?

    I can only suggest that you study and ponder the message Christ delivered in Third Nephi, chapter 27. Does the church, as it is constituted today, meet the criteria Christ established for His Church? Does it adhere to the gospel as defined by Christ, and teach people how they may be sanctified or does it teach a set of rules around the works of men? Does it exhibit the works of the Father?

    If it does not meet these criteria, it is not His church.

    I know you have made the statement indicating you understand and agree that the fulness of the gospel will be taken from the Gentiles. Just as the Jews had the kingdom taken from them and given to the Gentiles, so shall the Gentiles lose the kingdom, also. There is a good chance that this has already begun.

  • Log:

    The idea that every baptism, confirmation, or other ordinance is, today, delivered by revelation is a real stretch.

    Well, there is only one way to know.

    And if the Lord refers to someone as servants, are they automatically faithful or unfaithful?

    It is sufficient to me that the Lord calls them His servants. Judging the faithfulness of their service is not my stewardship; indeed, I was chastened by the Lord for doing just that.

    In essence, have you sought to understand what was meant by the information you received?

    Oh, yes.

    Does it align with the scriptures?

    For the questions I ask, yes.

    Does the church, as it is constituted today, meet the criteria Christ established for His Church?

    No, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints does not meet that criteria, and it is obvious because we do not live in the city of Zion, with the Lord dwelling bodily among us in His glory. Neither did the ancient Jews meet that criteria, before John, yet they possessed the kingdom; likewise, even though as a people we are astray, yet the Lord owns us.

    This issue is complicated because the Church is likened by the Savior unto a field in which both wheat and tares were sown, and it is likened unto a net which is cast into the sea, gathering fish of all kinds. Speaking of the Church as an all-good or all-apostate entity loses sight of the fact that the wheat is ripening along with the tares, and that the angels have not yet come to sever the wicked from among the just. This mixed state of affairs shall continue, worsening, until then. As I have pointed out from JST Matthew 21:56, we shall possess the kingdom until the coming of the Lord, at which point He shall destroy the Church and the kingdom shall pass unto another people – the remnant of Lehi’s posterity. (The fruit of the vineyard is redeemed souls.)

    Some are in the right way, and they do the works of the Father, and some are not.

    The real issue to each of us ought to be whether we, ourselves, are of the Church of Christ: “Behold, this is my doctrine—whosoever repenteth and cometh unto me, the same is my church.” By this standard, there are many members of the Church who are not of the Savior’s church. I will grant that in some cases it is distressingly obvious that some are not of the Savior’s church – it is very hard to tell who is of His church.

    Does it adhere to the gospel as defined by Christ, and teach people how they may be sanctified or does it teach a set of rules around the works of men?

    It is the case that many do not adhere to the gospel as defined by Christ, and yet some do. It is the case that many do not understand the gospel, preferring instead ritual to righteousness, and a religion of outward works rather than obtaining the grace of God through mighty prayer and faith on the Savior; however, some do understand it. Some are teaching the right way.

    Does it exhibit the works of the Father?

    Institutionally, no. Some do.

    There is a good chance that this (losing the kingdom) has already begun.

    That’s an all-or-nothing proposition. It happens all-at-once, or not at all; one organization doesn’t have some of the commission to preach the gospel and administer the ordinances thereof, while another organization or people has the rest. Again, JST Matthew 21:56 gives the relevant teaching.

    So, you suggest that since my position relative to the church does not agree with your personal revelation, I obviously am not calling upon the Lord. Can you validate your assumption?

    I’m not suggesting you’re not calling upon the Lord – what I am suggesting, and I guess I shall be plain, is that you do not at this time have the fullness of the Spirit of God, and are not filled with light as you once were. I don’t say this to offend.

    Whenever I err in something, the Lord wallops me mightily. I erred in impugning the leadership over the teaching of lifelong (nearly) imperceptible process of conversion. The Lord said “you have spoken stout words against my servants.” He gave to me to understand that conversion, as used in the scriptures, is the process of repenting from all sin and gaining sufficient faith to receive of the Spirit of Christ unto a remission of our sins (it is at this point we enter into the covenant of obedience with God directly, and not through an intermediary). It is when we are fully converted (having repented from all sin and yielded our hearts to God through prayer) that, if we have already been baptized and confirmed, we are baptized by fire and the Holy Ghost. The purpose of teaching of a lifelong process of conversion is to give hope to them who have not yet got sufficient faith to call upon the name of the Lord to be redeemed, to keep them active in the Church, that they may yet learn faith through service and so forth.

    Whom the Lord loves, the Lord chastens. He won’t suffer one who diligently seeks Him and strives in all things to serve Him to remain in error.

    So I keep inviting you to do what I do. Everything I say to do, I myself do. I do not tell anyone they must adopt my views – for the Lord shall teach what truth He will to any He wishes if they will call upon His name in faith, believing they shall receive.

  • Log:

    Also, I guess I should address this further – I don’t think we do disagree on D&C 121; after all, I have said to be valid, an ordinance or ordination must be performed by revelation and commandment, where you say the Spirit governs whether a man acts by authority. There really is no difference between us there.

    What we disagree on is whether D&C 121 can be used as an external measure of priesthood authority. I don’t see any way to use it in that manner without having access to the gift of discernment, to know of a surety what is in another man’s heart to know if he acts according to the promptings of the Spirit, or by having it revealed from God directly whether a man has done according to His will.

    One of the things reading Passing the Heavenly Gift did for me was open my mind to the historical reality that the unconverted have been represented at all levels in the Church, which thing I had never until then supposed. Nevertheless, they, too, can be and are servants of the Lord. Remember, none of Christ’s disciples were converted during his mortal ministry, and John the Baptist had not received the Holy Ghost.

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