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In the 31st and 32nd chapter of Second Nephi, we are given a treatise by Nephi of the doctrine of Christ.  Nephi describes the Savior fulfilling the requirements of righteousness by being baptized of John and receiving the Holy Ghost ‘in the form of a dove.’ We are urged to take this as an example of our own need to be baptized by water and receive the Holy Ghost.

Nephi tells us that ‘it showeth unto the children of men the straitness of the path, and the narrowness of the gate, by which they should enter, he having set the example before them’ ( 2 Nephi 31:9). The promise then follows:

And he said unto the children of men: Follow thou me.  Wherefore, my beloved brethren, can we follow Jesus save we shall be willing to keep the commandments of the Father?

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

And also, the voice of the Son came unto me, saying: He that is baptized in my name, to him will the Father give the Holy Ghost, like unto me; wherefore, follow me, and do the things which ye have seen me do.

Wherefore, my beloved brethren, I know that if ye shall follow the Son, with full purpose of heart, acting no hypocrisy and no deception before God, but with real intent, repenting of your sins, witnessing unto the Father that ye are willing to take upon you the name of Christ, by baptism—yea, by following your Lord and your Savior down into the water, according to his word, behold, then shall ye receive the Holy Ghost; yea, then cometh the baptism of fire and of the Holy Ghost; and then can ye speak with the tongue of angels, and shout praises unto the Holy One of Israel. (2 Nephi 31:10-13)

The narrow gate and the strait way is to repent, take upon ourselves the name of Christ through baptism, first by water, and then by fire and the Holy Ghost. We are again encouraged to apply this in our own lives:

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

And then are ye in this strait and narrow path which leads to eternal life; yea, ye have entered in by the gate; ye have done according to the commandments of the Father and the Son; and ye have received the Holy Ghost, which witnesses of the Father and the Son, unto the fulfilling of the promise which he hath made, that if ye entered in by the way ye should receive. (2 Nephi 31:17-18)

The gate is repentance, baptism by water, and baptism by fire and the Holy Ghost. This latter baptism is the conduit through which we receive a remission of our sins. Once this is accomplished, we are then on the strait and narrow path to eternal life.

And now, my beloved brethren, after ye have gotten into this strait and narrow path, I would ask if all is done?  Behold, I say unto you, Nay; for ye have not come thus far save it were by the word of Christ with unshaken faith in him, relying wholly upon the merits of him who is mighty to save.

Wherefore, ye must press forward with a steadfastness in Christ, having a perfect brightness of hope, and a love of God and of all men.  Wherefore, if ye shall press forward, feasting upon the word of Christ, and endure to the end, behold, thus saith the Father: Ye shall have eternal life. (2 Nephi 31:19-20)

Once we are on the path, we are to ‘feast upon the word of Christ’ and endure to the end. This description of the doctrine of Christ is not the only place where we are introduced to the ‘strait and narrow path.’

Over the last few days, my mind has dwelled on this doctrine of Christ as well as other places in the scriptures where the strait and narrow are represented.

Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat:

Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it. (Matthew 7:13-14)

The word ‘strait’ comes from the Greek meaning ‘narrow’ while ‘narrow’ in the translation from the Greek word, thlibo, which can also be translated as afflicted, troubled, narrow, or constrained. Wide was translated from the Greek word ‘platys’ and carries the meaning wide or broad. Broad, as used in this scripture comes  the Greek word, eurychoros, and, at least according to Strong’s concordance, can be translated as broad or spacious.

The gate and the way, in this portion of the Beatitudes leads to life. The message I receive here is that to way to this life described by Christ requires a specific constrained entry point, the gate. The way is one that can also be considered narrow and may lead to affliction as one moves toward life.

Of course, this is not these are not the only scripture that alludes to a gate and a path. In Lehi’s dream, we also find the reference:

And I beheld a rod of iron, and it extended along the bank of the river, and led to the tree by which I stood.

And I also beheld a strait and narrow path, which came along by the rod of iron, even to the tree by which I stood; and it also led by the head of the fountain, unto a large and spacious field, as if it had been a world.

And I saw numberless concourses of people, many of whom were pressing forward, that they might obtain the path which led unto the tree by which I stood.

And it came to pass that they did come forth, and commence in the path which led to the tree.

And it came to pass that there arose a mist of darkness; yea, even an exceedingly great mist of darkness, insomuch that they who had commenced in the path did lose their way, that they wandered off and were lost.

And it came to pass that I beheld others pressing forward, and they came forth and caught hold of the end of the rod of iron; and they did press forward through the mist of darkness, clinging to the rod of iron, even until they did come forth and partake of the fruit of the tree.

But, to be short in writing, behold, he saw other multitudes pressing forward; and they came and caught hold of the end of the rod of iron; and they did press their way forward, continually holding fast to the rod of iron, until they came forth and fell down and partook of the fruit of the tree.

And he also saw other multitudes feeling their way towards that great and spacious building.

And it came to pass that many were drowned in the depths of the fountain; and many were lost from his view, wandering in strange roads.

And great was the multitude that did enter into that strange building.  And after they did enter into that building they did point the finger of scorn at me and those that were partaking of the fruit also; but we heeded them not. (1 Nephi 8:19-24, 30-33)

Again, we are presented with the image of the strait and narrow. This time both adjectives are applied to the path. I believe it is reasonable to assume that we can treat both circumstances, in the doctrine of Christ of Second Nephi, chapter 31 and Lehi’s vision of the tree of life as delivering a consistent message regarding the strait and narrow path.

When we are on the strait and narrow path and are encouraged to feast upon the words of Christ; the message is consistent with the strait and narrow path and the rod of iron in Lehi’s dream. While the, perhaps, standard interpretation of the rod of iron is that it refers to the scriptures, I would like to present an alternative viewpoint. Nephi was told as he received the same vision as his father that the rod of iron was the word of God.

If one looks at other references to the word of God, the first in the Book of Mormon comes in reference to the dream that Lehi received with the message to leave Jerusalem:

And it came to pass that the Lord commanded my father, even in a dream, that he should take his family and depart into the wilderness.

And it came to pass that he was obedient unto the word of the Lord, wherefore he did as the Lord commanded him. (1 Nephi 2:2-3)

In this case, the word of the Lord came as personal revelation to Lehi. Later in the same chapter, Nephi refers to scripture as the words of the prophets:

And thus Laman and Lemuel, being the eldest, did murmur against their father.  And they did murmur because they knew not the dealings of that God who had created them.

Neither did they believe that Jerusalem, that great city, could be destroyed according to the words of the prophets.  And they were like unto the Jews who were at Jerusalem, who sought to take away the life of my father.( 1 Nephi 2:12-13)

Here in the same chapter, Nephi draws a clear distinction between the word of God as personal revelation to Lehi and the words of the prophets as scripture recited to Laman and Lemuel. Likewise we should all have the faith that we are entitled to the same word of God as described here. Once we have made our way to the strait narrow path, we are told we can hold on to and feast upon the words of Christ. We are, each, entitled to receive the word of God for ourselves. We are each promised that by enduring to the end on the strait and narrow path, we will be able to receive eternal life or eternal lives as described here:

For strait is the gate, and narrow the way that leadeth unto the exaltation and continuation of the lives, and few there be that find it, because ye receive me not in the world neither do ye know me.

But if ye receive me in the world, then shall ye know me, and shall receive your exaltation; that where I am ye shall be also.

This is eternal lives—to know the only wise and true God, and Jesus Christ, whom he hath sent.  I am he.  Receive ye, therefore, my law. (D&C 132:22-24)

No one, even the least of those who call themselves Saints, should doubt that the Lord will keep His word. If we repent and take upon ourselves the name of Christ and receive both the baptism of water and the baptism of fire and the Holy Ghost,  we will be able to hold to the iron rod, personal revelation from Jesus Christ. As we endure to the end, we will be the recipients of eternal life. This is the strait and narrow path of which these scriptures speak.

Yea, thus we see that the gate of heaven is open unto all, even to those who will believe on the name of Jesus Christ, who is the Son of God.

Yea, we see that whosoever will may lay hold upon the word of God, which is quick and powerful, which shall divide asunder all the cunning and the snares and the wiles of the devil, and lead the man of Christ in a strait and narrow course across that everlasting gulf of misery which is prepared to engulf the wicked—

And land their souls, yea, their immortal souls, at the right hand of God in the kingdom of heaven, to sit down with Abraham, and Isaac, and with Jacob, and with all our holy fathers, to go no more out. (Helaman 3:28-30)

What think ye?

—————–

As a side note, the preliminary program is out for this year’s Sunstone Symposium the end of July. There great list of notables are included in the program. Not so notable is that I will be giving a presentation entitled  ‘The Latter Day Apostasy – A Scriptural Perspective on Friday morning. Hope to carve off some time for the Wasatch Front like minded. Also planning to be in Las Vegas and Saint George the week before…

55 Responses to “Strait is the Gate and Narrow is the Way”

  • Log:

    The narrow gate and the strait way is to repent, take upon ourselves the name of Christ through baptism, first by water, and then by fire and the Holy Ghost.

    Consider.

    Alma 34:38
    38 [C]ontend no more against the Holy Ghost, but … receive it, and take upon you the name of Christ.

    Mormon 8:38
    38 O ye pollutions, ye hypocrites, ye teachers, who sell yourselves for that which will canker, why have ye polluted the holy church of God? Why are ye ashamed to take upon you the name of Christ? Why do ye not think that greater is the value of an endless happiness than that misery which never dies—because of the praise of the world?

    Mosiah 5:7
    7 And now, because of the covenant which ye have made ye shall be called the children of Christ, his sons, and his daughters; for behold, this day he hath spiritually begotten you; for ye say that your hearts are changed through faith on his name; therefore, ye are born of him and have become his sons and his daughters.

    To make a long story short, it is not in the waters of baptism that we take upon ourselves the name of Christ, but in the fire. Read 2 Nephi 31:13 straitly, and consider how it is possible for members of the Church to fail to take upon themselves the name of Christ.

    • Spektator:

      Log,
      I understand the point your are making. As I read what I said above, I think we are agreement. In my statement, I was paraphrasing this verse in Moroni:

      And ye will also know that ye are a remnant of the seed of Jacob; therefore ye are numbered among the people of the first covenant; and if it so be that ye believe in Christ, and are baptized, first with water, then with fire and with the Holy Ghost, following the example of our Savior, according to that which he hath commanded us, it shall be well with you in the day of judgment.

      The point I attempted to make is that baptism must include both water and fire and the Holy Ghost.

      There is a ‘standard’ sequence one finds in Moroni, chapter 6:

      2 Neither did they receive any unto baptism save they came forth with a broken heart and a contrite spirit, and witnessed unto the church that they truly repented of all their sins.
      3 And none were received unto baptism save they took upon them the name of Christ, having a determination to serve him to the end.
      4 And after they had been received unto baptism, and were wrought upon and cleansed by the power of the Holy Ghost, they were numbered among the people of the church of Christ; and their names were taken, that they might be remembered and nourished by the good word of God, to keep them in the right way, to keep them continually watchful unto prayer, relying alone upon the merits of Christ, who was the author and the finisher of their faith.

      The sequence here is repentance, take upon them the name of Christ, baptism by water then baptism by fire and the Holy Ghost. I think that is pretty much in line with what I thought I said in that paragraph.

  • Daren:

    So, I had understood that the tree of life, in Lehi’s dream, represented receiving the baptism of fire and the holy ghost. Nephi says it represents the “Love of God” and when someone receives the BFHG, they are filled with the love of God.

    In the passage in 2 Nephi 31, Nephi says you enter the strait and narrow path after baptism by water and fire. Yet, in Lehi’s dream, the path comes before the tree of life, not after. So, am I mixed up? Does the tree of life represent something further along the path? If so, then what of those who partake of the fruit and then fall away because of the mocking coming from those in the great and spacious building?

    • Log:

      Those are two different sets of imagery. If you want to merge the two, then the path Nephi speaks of would, in Lehi’s imagery, be equivalent to staying at the tree of life.

      25 And it came to pass that I beheld that the rod of iron, which my father had seen, was the word of God, which led to the fountain of living waters, or to the tree of life; which waters are a representation of the love of God; and I also beheld that the tree of life was a representation of the love of God.

      John 7
      37 In the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried, saying, If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink.

      38 He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water.

      39 (But this spake he of the Spirit, which they that believe on him should receive: for the Holy Ghost was not yet given; because that Jesus was not yet glorified.)

    • Spektator:

      Daren,
      As I see it, the strait and narrow path leads to the tree of life (eternal life?). The baptism of fire and the Holy Ghost is the gate to the strait and narrow path. I agree that the baptism of fire fills someone with an incredible amount of love but is is not the end as described in 2nd Nephi. There is, I assume something much greater at the other end; the result of enduring to the end.

      There is a warning in verse 14 about denying Christ after receiving the gift,

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

      The idea of falling away after the baptism of fire is treated here. I assume it could happen anywhere along the ‘path.’
      I see your point about departing after tasting the fruit. Something to think abot…

      • Log:

        The House of Israel is compared by Lehi and Zenos to a tame olive tree. What would happen if we insisted every reference to the House of Israel throughout the scriptures was to be interpreted by that identification? We would have adulterous trees in Jeremiah 3, or olive-chickens in 3 Nephi 10, among other funny stuff.

        Nephi is not using the tree of life vision imagery when he describes the gate and path.

        Indeed, he is speaking plainly – without metaphor.

        2 Nephi 31
        2 Wherefore, the things which I have written sufficeth me, save it be a few words which I must speak concerning the doctrine of Christ; wherefore, I shall speak unto you plainly, according to the plainness of my prophesying.

        3 For my soul delighteth in plainness; for after this manner doth the Lord God work among the children of men. For the Lord God giveth light unto the understanding; for he speaketh unto men according to their language, unto their understanding.

  • Spektator:

    Log,
    So you don’t think Nephi had the vision of the tree of life in his worldview when he spoke of the strait and narrow path? Such a definitive statement would suggest you know more than others about how Nephi produced the description. I wouldn’t expect you do.

    If you feel this is an issue when considering the ‘strait and narrow path’ would you find a reference where it clearly demonstrates an alternative use of the phrase.

    In all cases that I have found in the scriptures, I see a consistent application of the ‘strait and narrow path’ in the context of our desired spiritual path. If I am incorrect, please show me.

    • Log:

      Spektator,

      At this point, I’m not sure I understand your question. I have explained that Nephi, in 2 Nephi 31-33, is not using the metaphorical imagery from the vision, but is rather speaking in plain terms – simple, straightforward langauge.

      I have explained that, if we want to match Nephi’s descriptions in 2 Nephi 31-33 to the imagery of the vision of the tree of life, then “the path” would be equivalent to staying and feasting from the tree of life / waters of life until one neither thirsts nor hungers (at which point, one has eternal life). It is apparent from the vision of the tree of life that partaking of the fruit is a metaphor for being baptized by fire, for afterwards, some fell away.

      Please help me to understand where I have failed to explain these things properly.

  • JR:

    My take is closer to Spek’s. Entering the S&N path occurs at the BFHG…thus, it would appear the vast majority of the church have not entered the path yet. Passing along the path is a function of holding fast to the Iron Rod, wh. again I agree with Spek, is REVELATION. Having passed along the path for a period of time brings one to the Tree of Life…Who is it we seek to find in our search? The Tree of Life is much more than the BFHG, although the same Love is manifest in both experiences (from my humble experience). Wonderful to meet again to discuss these most important and mostly neglected concepts. My deep and eternal love to you delightful brothers!
    JR

    • Daren:

      But again I must ask, what then of them who fell away from the tree?

      “And after they had tasted of the fruit they were ashamed, because of those that were scoffing at them; and they fell away into forbidden paths and were lost.” (1 Nephi 8:28)

      It would be hard to imagine a large number of people falling away after receiving their calling and election, since the “Lord has thoroughly proved him, and [found] that the man is determined to serve Him at all hazards”. Therefore, the Tree of Life can’t symbolize the receiving your calling and election or the Second Comforter. What, then, does it represent if not the BFHG?

      • Log:

        The first taste of the tree of life is indeed the BFHG. If you afterwards stay at the tree, feasing upon the fruit, you will eventually be filled that you no longer hunger nor thirst, but have eternal life.

      • Spektator:

        Daren,
        An answer that gives me some comfort comes from this verse in 2 Nephi, chapter 31:

        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.
        19 And now, my beloved brethren, after ye have gotten into this strait and narrow path, I would ask if all is done? Behold, I say unto you, Nay; for ye have not come thus far save it were by the word of Christ with unshaken faith in him, relying wholly upon the merits of him who is mighty to save.
        20 Wherefore, ye must press forward with a steadfastness in Christ, 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.

        As I read this, in verse 18, it strongly suggests that by entering in by the gate, we have kept the commandments of the Father and received the Holy Ghost. Receiving the Holy Ghost is the Baptism of Fire and the Holy Ghost. It happens as defined in verse 17 as the gate to the strait and narrow path. But that isn’t the end, we must continue to press forward, relying on personal revelation and endure to the end. If I extend this to the Tree of Life, there are those who do not endure to the end but, for some reason, walk away. Could we not reach a place where we are partaking of the fruit of the tree and then turn away from it? The scriptures warn us that it is better that we would not have known him if we turn away.

        As I read this, I don’t think eternal life happens after the first taste of the fruit, we need to continue to stand in that holy place and not falter. Does enduring to the end mean we continue to partake of the fruit of the tree until we have shown our faithfulness? I am comfortable with that.

  • JR:

    At each level in the ascent of the mountain there is a winnowing out and some fall away. Peter fell away from the Lord at the critical moment of the Savior’s Atonement. Judas fell right after the Last Supper. Sidney and Oliver both fell away after meeting Him in person. It has ever been thus. Only those who truly endure-to-the-end, wh. does not come in mortality, finish the course triumphant.
    I don’t think Nephi was being cryptic when he wrote 2 Nephi 31-32:6
    JR

  • stt:

    Spek, a non-LDS friend of mine believes that he received the BOTHG. He also shouts praises to the Lord and prays in an unknown tongue.
    I was wondering if you think that “and then can ye speak with the tongue of angels” means speaking in tongues?

    • Spektator:

      STT,
      First of all, I don’t believe the baptism of fire is restricted only to members of the LDS church. Christ invites all to come unto Him.

      There are many citations in the scriptures, both ancient and latter day, that supports speaking in tongues. Paul had a rather dim view (Yet in the church I had rather speak five words with my understanding, that by my voice I might teach others also, than ten thousand words in an unknown tongue. 1 Cor 14:19) of the activity and suggested that there needs to be an interpreter in order to edify the congregation. (If any man speak in an unknown tongue, let it be by two, or at the most by three, and that by course; and let one interpret. 1 Cor 14:27)

      As far as your friend praying in an unknown tongue, the scriptures support this also (For he that speaketh in an unknown tongue speaketh not unto men, but unto God: 1 Cor 14:2) I don’t necessarily believe that this act is ‘speaking with the tongues of angels.’ I did a post a while ago on this topic. My take on it is that, as found in 2 Nephi, chapter 32, when we speak with the tongues of angels, we speak the words of Christ; a phrase the points to revelation.

      Sorry for the delay in having your comment posted, as a first timer, it waits for my approval. You are competing with the 6 and 4 year old grandkids this week…

      • Log:

        But do you have affirmative evidence that the BoF is available outside of the Church?

        If so, then the Church is completely unnecessary, as are its ordinances, and this would have been so from the days of Joseph onward.

      • boo:

        I would be interested in your view of Logs question. It appears that Joseph and Oliver didn’t receive the BOFHG , even though they had entertained God the Father. Christ and angels until they were baptized by someone with the priesthood. JSH 1: 72-74. While I believe people other than members of the LDS Church can have miracles through their faith and while I am reluctant to limit God/s involvement in his children’s lives, if these blessings are available generally w/o the need for authority what does that say about the need for the institutional church and the priesthood?

      • Leonard:

        In regards to Log at 11:15 and Boo at 1:17-

        In speaking of imposition on texts, I think it is safe to say the LDS church has imposed the ‘ordinances’ we have supposed are true in the Temple, upon the Book of Mormon.

        The Masonic temple ‘ordinances’ does not exist anywhere in the Book of Mormon,

        Nor did these ‘ordinances’ exist at anytime when the church was enjoying the ministering of angels, tongues etc in Kirtland, which of course coincided with the church actually living consecration and monogamy, and still called by His name ‘the Church of Jesus Christ’, before the ‘saints’ oddly decided in 1834 to take His holy name out of the church and refer to it as ‘The Church of Latter Day Saints’, which can be seen in the 1835 D&C front cover.

        And finally, these so called ‘ordinances’ are not to be found in the D&C in any version, from 1835 on til this day, nor the Book of Commandments 1833.

        These ridiculous ‘ordinances’ are not in our standard of scripture, which regardless of what Brigham said, is not the Bible, but the Book of Mormon as Joseph state. They are later ‘catholisms’ that became part of the Nauvoo culture- you know, the culture that didn’t care to build the Temple and Nauvoo House, but instead built up Masonry to get gain.

        As for this priesthood we keep referring to, there is not evidence the Lord lied in D&C 124:28 that He has taken the fulness of the priesthood away from the Saints and needed to come back and restore AGAIN this priesthood. This is pure evidence, if you will believe the Lord’s chastisement in D&C 124 upon the entire church, leaders and members.

        And since there are no angelic visitations or immediate healings, raising of the dead and other miracles astonishing the world by the personages of the LDS for the last 170 years or so, it is safe to say that the Melchizidek Priesthood, the one Joseph referred to as the ‘Highest’, that is described in JST Genesis 14:25-40, in NOT on the earth, most especially amongst the LDS.

        The Lord never did come and re-restore this Highest Priesthood, and there is not a single record in the church that says otherwise.

        Joseph said in Nauvoo that the church only had the Aaronic and the Patriarchal Priesthoods, the latter of which was ‘the highest yet received in this church’.

        The Temple ordinances we have today are such a pathetic and sorry Masonic substitute for the lack of true priesthood power. There are no revelations existing of any of this stuff coming through Joseph. Brigham made most of the up. And if Joseph had a hand in it, then there is no doubt that he was giving the saints what they wanted through their idols. And Freemasonry was their idol in Naivoo, the largest hotbed of Masonry in the US at that time.

        It is time to get on our collective knees and fall on our faces and plead the Lord to come and forgive us of our arrogance, as the pattern was set in Mosiah. All the talk and supposition of priesthood power and ‘institutional church’ etc is talking about that which does not exist. The only church member of the LDS is Thomas Monson, as president of a ‘sole’ corporation- look it up. The church does not exist today, and hasn’t, for a very long time. I’d say about the same time as those initial 3.5 years or so at the very beginning like I described above.

        Leonard

      • Spektator:

        I would offer a few comments. Does the Baptism of Fire happen outside the Church? Was Cornelius a baptized member of the church when he received the baptism of fire as described in Acts, chapter 10? Can any man forbid water, that these should not be baptized, which have received the Holy Ghost as well as we? I realize that there is an exception to every rule, If Cornelius was an exception, there may be others.

        When did Joseph Smith receive a remission of his sins? I would suggest it was when his prayer was answered in the grove on his first prayer. In D&C, section 20, one reads:

        5 After it was truly manifested unto this first elder that he had received a remission of his sins, he was entangled again in the vanities of the world;
        6 But after repenting, and humbling himself sincerely, through faith, God ministered unto him by an holy angel, whose countenance was as lightning, and whose garments were pure and white above all other whiteness;

        This section was written in April 1830. He received a second cleansing when Moroni appeared to him as described in verse six.

        Does the fact that the baptism of fire exists negate the need for the church? As long as the church is filling the measure of its creation. Alma the elder received his authority to baptize directly from God, see Mosiah 18:12-18. I would not be one to restrict what God would do for someone who is a seeker of the truth.

      • Log:

        Leonard,

        I’m speaking of baptism and confirmation, at a minimum.

        With respect to the temple, I suppose revelation is needed to know if it be of God or no.

        Lack of evidence is not evidence of lack.

      • Leonard:

        Log

        Lack of evidence not being evidence of lack can be leaned upon when talking of those things of which a reasonable conclusion cannot be arrived at.

        In this case, completely offensive temple ordinances have plenty of evidence to the contrary. That they are Masonic is not in question. Any Masonic text will lay evidence of that.

        If we were arguing about these ridiculous ordinances in the time the Book of Mormon was considered the ‘anti-masonic- Bible- which you can see in numerous reports of the early 1830’s- then the fact that secret society initiation rites became from Nauvoo the very gate to enter into the kingdom of heaven- is preposterous.

        This has nothing to do with Jesus.

        If we are to add impositions on the book of Mormon text with things that are not there, simply because of your quote about evidence, then we might as well state right here by that virtue that all those Knights Templar activities and Jesuit rites hold the same weight. Oh and the Koran is true. And Mohammed is His only prophet. By the way, any good looking young ladies around? I’ll claim to my wife that quote about evidence Log, and say if Joseph supposedly married young gorgeous girls, like he taught the temple ordinances. ..and both being true, then she better keep her opinions to herself about what the book of Mormon says…I’m getting a harem! Why, didn’t brigham, parley and the rest of the brighamites?!

        Sorry Log but your argument is very weak. I’ll take the book of Mormon over anything that exists outside of it, anyday. What does Daymon Smith call that- metatext. Yes, I’ll agree with him here.

        Leo

      • Log:

        Lack of evidence not being evidence of lack can be leaned upon when talking of those things of which a reasonable conclusion cannot be arrived at.

        In this case, there are many “reasonable” conclusions which can be arrived at. However, to my knowledge, the Church hasn’t “imposed” the temple ordinances upon the Book of Mormon. The fact that the Book of Mormon doesn’t include any explicit descriptions of temple ordinances doesn’t mean that the Nephites did not practice temple ordinances, and it doesn’t mean that the temple ordinances did not match the Endowments to the letter. No conclusion can be drawn from a lack of evidence in this case. To argue otherwise is in the same class of logical errors as a biblical fundamentalist disclaiming the existence of oxygen and America because neither is mentioned therein.

        Sorry Log but your argument is very weak.

        It’s actually a very strong argument. The only way to show that absence of evidence is evidence of absence in this case is to demonstrate that not only does the Book of Mormon not contain temple ordinances of the type we have today, but that the Book of Mormon is logically incompatible with temple ordinances of the type we have today.

        And even then, I’m not sure that you would have accomplished anything, since I am unaware of anyone claiming that today’s endowment is something the Nephites practiced. Again, it requires revelation to know whether they be of God or not.

        And I am of myself able to produce a much stronger argument against either their necessity, or their efficacy, than you have here. So what? They can still be of God even if they are either unnecessary, or are broken. Again, for the third time, it requires revelation to know if they be of God or not.

        Without revelation on the subject, you’re speculating, and the infinite supply of vain imaginations in the religious realm dictates the price I’m willing to pay for it.

        Lastly, I would be extremely careful who I took to be my leader and teacher.

        2 Nephi 4:34
        34 [C]ursed is he that putteth his trust in the arm of flesh. Yea, cursed is he that putteth his trust in man or maketh flesh his arm.

        2 Nephi 28:31
        31 Cursed is he that putteth his trust in man, or maketh flesh his arm, or shall hearken unto the precepts of men, save their precepts shall be given by the power of the Holy Ghost.

        Jeremiah 17:5
        5 ¶Thus saith the Lord; Cursed be the man that trusteth in man, and maketh flesh his arm, and whose heart departeth from the Lord.

        Mosiah 23:14
        14 And also trust no one to be your teacher nor your minister, except he be a man of God, walking in his ways and keeping his commandments.

        Peace be unto you, Leo. Your argument isn’t with me.

  • sfort:

    JR,

    We have very little on the concept of Peter denying three times. He was pivotal in keeping the church alive after the Savior left. When the Savior had prophesyed unto Peter that he would deny him, could this not be a commandment read with that context? It was imperative that Peter remain to establish the Saviors teachings if only for awhile. I am a believer that the Lord may have commanded him. Knowing the course Peter walked with the Savior those three years, it seems rather fleeting to throw him under the bus. Are we clear of the translation? Just a thought. We just do not have enough to judge at this point.

  • sfort:

    We have witnessed the writings and history of Nephi, Jacob and Enos. When they have had their calling and election made sure, the Lord Asks, “What desirest thou”? The first thing each had asked was to receive help to bless others. The subject shifts from I to they. This is part of calling and election; you have the true love of God. BFHG is a precursor to the true love of God. When you receive your calling and election, the whole being changes, they have no more disposition to do evil and thus the Lord’s will is plainly manifest.

  • sfort:

    Log,

    Not a contest of wills my friend. Just study of Nephi, Jacob and Enos. They testify of this principle. 2 Ne.: 9&10 is a beautiful rendition. The Book of Enos is a template. It speaks of his going to sacrifice first then his calling and election, then his desire. What comes to one by the Spirit cannot be ascertained by others unless by the same. There is no doctrine espoused here, just a sojourn. And yes, experience is part of my sojourn and I won’t expound upon your question for the accolades of men.. Thanks for your inquiry, I appreciate your understanding of the scriptures. You fill a measure that is lacking today. Thanks for your inquiry.

    • Log:

      Neither Nephi, Jacob, nor Enos mentioned C&E; such a concept is an imposition on the text, not an interpretation. And once one is baptized by fire and the Holy Ghost, one’s first thought is naturally for one’s family and friends – hence Enos and Lehi.

      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.

      Whenever I see someone imposing things on the text, I always ask whether they are speaking from experience or supposition. I value one, and I reject the other.

  • sfort:

    LOG,
    Thanks for your thoughts. the calling and election of Nephi, Jacob and Enos is not the reference you stated. Your reference is the fruit. Enos for example, (he had alreadyhad his baptism of fire by that time having been taught by Jacob we would assume) had his calling and election and his first endeavor was not for his family, they were secure; but for the Lamanites, their sworn enemies. It shows you that the love of God is manifest shortly at the time the calling and election takes place. Joeph always was told his sins were forgiven evenafter his calling and election; it’s part of mortality. Perhaps Denver Snuffer’s “Enos” may be an additional reference to ponder. I appreciate the dialogue.

    • Log:

      Enos for example, (he had already had his baptism of fire by that time having been taught by Jacob we would assume)

      That would be an admission of imposition upon the text.

      … had his calling and election and his first endeavor was not for his family, they were secure;

      “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.”

      but for the Lamanites, their sworn enemies. It shows you that the love of God is manifest shortly at the time the calling and election takes place.

      This is presuming the very point at issue.

      Joeph always was told his sins were forgiven even after his calling and election; it’s part of mortality. Perhaps Denver Snuffer’s “Enos” may be an additional reference to ponder. I appreciate the dialogue.

      I find Snuffer unpersuasive where he insists on imposing the C&E upon texts in which it is absent.

  • Daren:

    sfort, maybe I’m misunderstanding, but that doesn’t sound like the same Enos I read about. He first asked about himself:

    And I will tell you of the wrestle which I had before God, before I received a remission of my sins.

    Notice, he hadn’t received a remission of his sins yet, something which always comes with the BFHG.

    Then, after his guilt was swept away, he asked about his brethren:

    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.

    Then, after receiving an answer concerning them, he then asked about his enemies, the Lamanites:

    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.

    . It sounds like a progression to me, and it’s also implied that all of this occurred over a long period of time.

    • Log:

      That is the plain reading of the text, and, according to Joseph, ought to be privileged over other readings.

      What is the rule of interpretation? Just no interpretation at all. Understand it precisely as it reads. – Joseph Smith

  • sfort:

    Daren and Log,

    Thanks for your additions. I appreciate your scripture postings.I think that those who profess to know the entire workings of the Spirit would note there are a variety of ways to administer it. 3rd Ne. 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.”

    What happened to Enos, Jacob and Nephi may not have happened in the same exact way. I understand remission and forgiveness and the difference, but then the things missing from the context of the scriptures leaves a gap. Whether or not you think that there is BFHG or C&E or whatever is not a concrete example of how it will happen for you or me. It was different throughout the scriptures, only to be sure that it happened. BFHG comes because of faith as is testified here, and only through a broken heart and contrite spirit. We all know this. However C&E comes after sacrifice as noted by Enos,(this is the Enos I revere and have been inspired to know) and only when the Lord trusts your actions as devoted in all things and to have no disposition to do evil, as noted by Nephi and Jacob. It is nice to quote the scriptures, it is another thing to understand context and consistent application throughout the old and new world.There was something different that happened to the Nephites at the Lord’s coming, as well as the people of Ammon. When the day of pentecost came, the BFHG was given to many. This is a beginning to the entrance at the gate.To see the Lord’s face is something else. The scriptures denote the devotion and change of being after his visit to each of the prophets in question.It is different for all. Some hear their sins forgiven, others don’t. You can still have guilt and concern after receiving the BFHG. Therefore it is incombant on each to continue repentance. There is a differnce and there isn’t a stamp on the process as noted all throughout the scriptures. I appreciate the mental exercise. Your points are all well taken and shed light to my thoughts. It has helped me hone more of the subject matter. Thank you both

    • Log:

      Sfort,

      I am solely making the straightforward claim that the notion that Enos received his C&E in the first 8 verses of the Book of Enos is an unwarranted imposition on the text.

  • sfort:

    Log,

    Acknowledged. I think we can both agree and focus on Spek’s original thesis that the iron Rod is every word brought forth from thr mouth of God via the Holy Spirit, of which obedience through faith enlists us toward the fruit of the tree which is the love of God and the most joyous to the soul. All the semantics beyond that may be needless for eternal life. Thank you for stretching my study. I have high regard for your love of the scriptures.

  • JR:

    Amazes me how fast we drift off topic. I have read virtually everything Denver has written and mostly he refuses to comment on C&EMS. His focus, as ours must be, is coming unto Christ. THAT is precisely what Nephi taught in 2 Nephi 31-32:6, THAT is what the Doctrine of Christ teaches, THAT is what Denver teaches and exemplifies.
    I completely agree that BFHG produces a ripple effect wh. first enwraps the recipient in God’s LOVE, then generates intense concern and love for close family, then extends outward to all mankind.
    All true prophets have but two messages: REPENT and COME UNTO CHRIST (D&C 10:67-68).
    JR

  • sfort:

    Thanks JR,

    Nice comment, so true

  • Spektator:

    What is the purpose of the high priesthood? Perhaps I am too simple-minded but I do resonate with what the Book of Mormon teaches on this topic, as found in Alma, chapter 13:

    6 And thus being called by this holy calling, and ordained unto the high priesthood of the holy order of God, to teach his commandments unto the children of men, that they also might enter into his rest—
    7 This high priesthood being after the order of his Son, which order was from the foundation of the world; or in other words, being without beginning of days or end of years, being prepared from eternity to all eternity, according to his foreknowledge of all things—

    I take this to mean that this high priesthood after the order of His Son has this purpose: to teach others how to enter into his rest. To think that is adds any stature to the man is the reverse of what was taught by Christ among the Nephites; that His disciples were to be servants and minsters unto the people.

  • Log:

    Was Cornelius a baptized member of the church when he received the baptism of fire as described in Acts, chapter 10?

    It doesn’t say he was baptized by fire.

    In point of fact, there are ambiguities which require a lot of research to clear up. I would commend this paper as an entry point to doing so.

    When did Joseph Smith receive a remission of his sins?

    Remission of sins is not necessarily coextensive with the baptism by fire. One’s sins may be remitted and yet one remain not baptized by fire. Such was John the Baptist, by his own account, and he was the greatest prophet born to woman, according to Christ.

    Are there any documented cases where people outside of the Church have been baptized by fire?

    I can only think of one – Helaman 5 – and that was due to the faith of the prophets sent of God involved in the event (Ether 12:14). So that exception appears to not be so much of an exception.

  • sfort:

    Thanks Leo for bringing the ordinances in the temple up. For example, the necessity for baptism for the dead is the only eternal consequence of temple work as quoted by Denver Snuffer. I don’t use him as a beacon for evidence, but my studies have shown that nowhere in church history while Joesph was alive was there any ordinance for the temple except baptisms which the Lord informed Joesph to stop outside the temple until the Nauvoo temple was built. The temple is for the Lord to visit his people and as designated byHim for baptisms for the dead. Why do the dead need the endowment or (clothed) on earth? This is a spiritual blessing, not a temporal or blessing using the elements of the earth?

    In 1843, Joseph performed the first sealing in a store in Nauvoo. He and Emma participated. But this was for the living however. I am not convinced that this was essential for salvation in any regard. The Endowment came at the Morley Farm June 1831 with God the Father bestowing it when the high priesthood was disseminted. Good ‘ole Brigham established from memory? No writings of Joseph concerning temple ordinances? The dead needno spiritual blessings, especially when they are currently spiritual. Only logic makes sense of that. And why did Joseph categorically recite John the Baptist prayer over he and Oliver, but make no written acount of PJ&J verbatim? We are under a strange delusion. Indeed. All the comments have been worth a gret del for getting to truth. Thanks to Spek, Leo, Log and all for their part

    • Leonard:

      Sfort-

      the Morley Farm conference of 1831 is a strange and rather amazing event in many ways. Many testified to things seen and experienced, including Lyman Wight and others having the heavens opened to them upon receiving the highest melchizedek priesthood, and even a large man in the congregation being pysically attacked by an evil spirit/demon.

      Although all the above are amazing, what is more amazing is that this event is virtually never spoken about in the modern LDS church. In fact, in my research I have not found it to be spoken of past the mid-1830’s. It is my conclusion that Brigham barred everyone from talking about it. One of the reasons may have been that it was an event of actual power, not just an image of power, like Brigham supposed he had.

      The other reason is that Brigham was actually not there himself, and in fact was not even a member of the church at the time this happened, in mid-1831.

      If the priesthood is real, then the only time it was evident was in those first 3 or so years of the church upto 1834 or 35. That the LDS leadership took out the Lord Jesus’ name from the official name of the church actually caused me quite shock- didn’t they read what Jesus said in 3 Nephi about the fact that if the church was not called in His name, it simply was not His church. Period.

      I tell you this- if any of you haven’t been reading Daymon Smith’s absolutely phenomenal ‘Cultural History of the Book of Mormon’ volumes he has released recently, you are missing out on some incredible findings. I am not saying I agree with him- it is the stuff he has dug out of the archives that he includes in his books that allow me to reach my own conclusions. In saying that, most of his conclusions aren’t that off compared to mine. But his expose of the Bible in comparison to the Book of Mormon, partly supported by Orson Pratt’s excellent treatise, is something all us BoM believers definitely HAVE to look at.

      Here is Orson’s work from Daymon’s website (I hope Spek doesn’t mind):

      http://daymonsmith.wordpress.com/2012/02/29/breaking-news-mormon-apostle-compares-the-bible-to-the-book-of-mormon/

      Leo

      • Log:

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

        James 1
        5 If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.

        The best way to stifle an inquiry is to convince the investigator that the outcome of the inquiry is known already.

      • Leonard:

        Log-

        Once again you impose upon text what you want. This time, you impose upon mine. I’ll paste this portion so you may understand, as Joseph and another guy called Nephi, would say is reading it in it’s simplest manner:

        ‘I am not saying I agree with him- it is the stuff he has dug out of the archives that he includes in his books that allow me to reach my own conclusions.’ Read that again. And once more time. It is what it is. I could care less what any man tells me. If I did, I would be sitting in Sunday School right now.

        For all the responses people here post at you in response, and the time they, including I, spend, your responses seem curt and contentious. You didn’t have any logical or positive things to form a decent rebuttal of any of my remarks here. Just snide comments. That is truly a pity, especially as others here seem to hold you in decent esteem.

        You know nothing of me, the investigator, nor how long or deep I have been at this. You don’t know any particulars of myself, nor what I do for a living or where I come from, or why I am here. You don’t know whether a Daymon or even a Joseph Smith could convince me of anything, except for Jesus himself, who could convince me. You don’t know how I came to the Book of Mormon, nor do you know through what means I know it is absolutely true. Yet, you impose upon my text that you know somehow that my inquiry can be stifled because I got convinced of an outcome by someone else? If so, why aren’t I convinced by you?

        Attack my message if you must. My failings as a messenger have no bearings on my message.

        Leo

  • Daren:

    Log,

    I think it is possible to show that

    the Book of Mormon is logically incompatible with temple ordinances of the type we have today

    For example:

    22 And there are also secret combinations, even as in times of old, according to the combinations of the devil, for he is the founder of all these things; yea, the founder of murder, and works of darkness; yea, and he leadeth them by the neck with a flaxen cord, until he bindeth them with his strong cords forever.

    23 For behold, my beloved brethren, I say unto you that the Lord God worketh not in darkness.

    24 He doeth not anything save it be for the benefit of the world; for he loveth the world, even that he layeth down his own life that he may draw all men unto him. Wherefore, he commandeth none that they shall not partake of his salvation.

    25 Behold, doth he cry unto any, saying: Depart from me? Behold, I say unto you, Nay; but he saith: Come unto me all ye ends of the earth, buy milk and honey, without money and without price.

    26 Behold, hath he commanded any that they should depart out of the synagogues, or out of the houses of worship? Behold, I say unto you, Nay.

    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.

    28 Behold, hath the Lord commanded any that they should not partake of his goodness? Behold I say unto you, Nay; but all men are privileged the one like unto the other, and none are forbidden.

    29 He commandeth that there shall be no priestcrafts; for, behold, priestcrafts are that men preach and set themselves up for a light unto the world, that they may get gain and praise of the world; but they seek not the welfare of Zion. (2 Nephi 26:24-29)

    Aren’t the temple ordinances a type of secret combination? They are certainly not open to all. Could they not also be a form of priestcraft? (We are required to pay tithing before we can enter. There is money changing inside the Temple.)

    It is the devil that

    stirreth up the children of men unto secret combinations of murder and all manner of secret works of darkness (2 Nephi 9:9)

    See, for example, the Oath of Vengeance that was a part of the Temple Endowment until the 1930s. (See here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oath_of_vengeance)

    • Log:

      Daren,

      You ask: “Aren’t the temple ordinances a type of secret combination?”

      To which I reply “Ask of God.”

      Speculation in matters religious is worse than useless.

      • Daren:

        The questions I asked were intended to be rhetorical. Why would God need to give an answer to something that is already set out plainly in the scriptures? It is only left to us to make the connection.

        the Lord God worketh not in darkness

      • Log:

        The questions I asked were intended to be rhetorical. Why would God need to give an answer to something that is already set out plainly in the scriptures? It is only left to us to make the connection.

        Daren,

        As I said to Leo, the surest way to stifle an inquiry is to convince the seeker they have the outcome already.

        The priests and seekers in Joseph’s day thought they had the answers, so they didn’t ask, therefore they remained in darkness.

        Laman and Lemuel were convinced God would not answer them, therefore they did not inquire (1 Nephi 15:6-11).

        What is to you a rhetorical question, because you have determined the answer beforehand, is not a rhetorical question to me.

        Combination

        1. Intimate union, or association of two or more persons or things, by set purpose or agreement, for effecting some object, by joint operation; in a good sense, when the object is laudable; in an ill sense, when it is illegal or iniquitous. It is sometimes equivalent to league, or to conspiracy. We say, a combination of men to overthrow government, or a combination to resist oppression.

        Since our covenants are not amongst ourselves, but are betwixt the ourselves and God, those who cast temple ordinances as secret combinations are in error.

        In context, “secret combinations” are secret agreements among men to support each other in iniquity, as explicitly described in the book of Ether.

        13 And it came to pass that Akish gathered in unto the house of Jared all his kinsfolk, and said unto them: Will ye swear unto me that ye will be faithful unto me in the thing which I shall desire of you?

        14 And it came to pass that they all sware unto him, by the God of heaven, and also by the heavens, and also by the earth, and by their heads, that whoso should vary from the assistance which Akish desired should lose his head; and whoso should divulge whatsoever thing Akish made known unto them, the same should lose his life.

        15 And it came to pass that thus they did agree with Akish. And Akish did administer unto them the oaths which were given by them of old who also sought power, which had been handed down even from Cain, who was a murderer from the beginning.

        16 And they were kept up by the power of the devil to administer these oaths unto the people, to keep them in darkness, to help such as sought power to gain power, and to murder, and to plunder, and to lie, and to commit all manner of wickedness and whoredoms.

        17 And it was the daughter of Jared who put it into his heart to search up these things of old; and Jared put it into the heart of Akish; wherefore, Akish administered it unto his kindred and friends, leading them away by fair promises to do whatsoever thing he desired.

        18 And it came to pass that they formed a secret combination, even as they of old; which combination is most abominable and wicked above all, in the sight of God;

        19 For the Lord worketh not in secret combinations, neither doth he will that man should shed blood, but in all things hath forbidden it, from the beginning of man.

        20 And now I, Moroni, do not write the manner of their oaths and combinations, for it hath been made known unto me that they are had among all people, and they are had among the Lamanites.

        That is a full description of what is meant by “secret combinations.”

        “But what of consecration?” It is for a specified purpose – the building up of the kingdom of God on the earth, and for the establishment of Zion – neither of which are illegal nor iniquitous.

        “But what of the oath of vengeance?” What of it?

        “You and each of you do covenant and promise that you will pray and never cease to pray to Almighty God to avenge the blood of the prophets upon this nation, and that you will teach the same to your children and to your children’s children unto the third and fourth generation.”

        Seriously – what of it?

  • Log:

    Leo,

    You say:

    For all the responses people here post at you in response, and the time they, including I, spend, your responses seem curt and contentious. You didn’t have any logical or positive things to form a decent rebuttal of any of my remarks here. Just snide comments. That is truly a pity, especially as others here seem to hold you in decent esteem.

    To which I reply “You interpret me according to your own heart, and imagine that what motivates you is what motivates me.” Hence the sayings of the Savior.

    3 Nephi 14
    1 And now it came to pass that when Jesus had spoken these words he turned again to the multitude, and did open his mouth unto them again, saying: Verily, verily, I say unto you, 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 the mote out of thine eye—and behold, a beam is in thine own eye?

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

    6 Give not that which is holy unto the dogs, neither cast ye your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn again and rend you.

    7 Ask, and it shall be given unto you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you.

    8 For every one that asketh, receiveth; and he that seeketh, findeth; and to him that knocketh, it shall be opened.

    9 Or what man is there of you, who, if his son ask bread, will give him a stone?

    10 Or if he ask a fish, will he give him a serpent?

    11 If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father who is in heaven give good things to them that ask him?

    12 Therefore, all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them, for this is the law and the prophets.

    When a man judges me, he says nothing about me, but reveals himself.

  • Leonard:

    *sigh* Log, all I’m expecting is a decent rebuttal of my earliest remarks. If I am wrong, show me. You get into a whole moral-Dr Phil kinda thing, seemingly with every comment.

    But it is ok. You win. By default.

    My words stand as my testimony, for what they are worth.

    Thank you Sfort, Daren and Spek for the great exchange. Hope you keep up this blog, S.

    I’m putting myself out to pasture from here.

    Leo

    • Log:

      Leo,

      Here’s my rebuttal, in full. You haven’t established your claims. Lack of evidence is not evidence of lack.

      And here’s advice, if you will receive it – I would leave the Church and the Brethren and all related topics alone until I had mastered the observance of the Savior’s precepts.

      If one doesn’t obey the Savior’s precepts, the conclusions one reaches with respect to any topic doesn’t really matter – and if one obeys the Savior’s precepts, one is taught from on high and has no need to reach for speculative conclusions.

      As I said, your argument isn’t with me.

  • Sfort:

    Leo,

    You offer much worth. Please do not leave. Many are edified by your thoughts. Thank you for your contribution

  • Daren:

    Log,

    I plainly confess that I don’t know anything. I haven’t truly made a decision on the temple ordinances. Like so many other things, I am unsure what to think. I am continually asking God for wisdom as Church History is incredibly messy and confusing. Yet, since answers and wisdom from heaven seem to take time, in the mean time I am left only with the light I have from the scriptures and the edification I receive from each of you.

    You make a good point that secret combinations are for supporting iniquity. It still concerns me, however, that when we make a covenant to keep the law of consecration, it is to “consecrate yourselves, your time, talents, and everything with which the Lord has blessed you, or with which he may bless you” not to God, but to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, which is an earthly institution, “for the building up of the kingdom of God on the earth and for the establishment of Zion”. This is, in essence, swearing fealty to the Church (capital c). What happens when the actions of the men who lead the Church are no longer directed toward the building of Zion? What then?

    As far as the Oath of Vengeance is concerned, it is promoting revenge (which belongs to the Lord) and murder. Case in point, here is a quote from the wikipedia article I linked to above:

    The oath of vengeance was referenced by John D. Lee in his confession of his involvement in the Mountain Meadows massacre. Lee stated, “I believed then as I do now, that it was the will of every true Mormon in Utah, at that time, that the enemies of the Church should be killed as fast as possible, and that as this lot of people had men amongst them that were supposed to have helped kill the Prophets in the Carthage jail, the killing of all of them would be keeping our oaths and avenging the blood of the Prophets.”

    Here is another example, from the man who became the 6th president of the Church

    Joseph F. Smith, once told the Twelve about how when he visited Carthage jail as a young man “he met a man who said he had just arrived five minutes too late to see the Smiths killed. Instantly a dark cloud seemed to overshadow Bro. Smith and he asked how this man looked upon the deed. Bro. Smith was oppressed by a most horrible feeling as he waited for a reply. After a brief pause the man answered, “Just as I have always looked upon it—that it was a d—-d cold-blooded murder.” The cloud immediately lifted from Bro. Smith and he found that he had his open pocket knife grasped in his hand in his pocket and he believes that had this man given his approval to that murder of the prophets, he would have immediately struck him to the heart.

    (https://www.sunstonemagazine.com/pdf/120-20-43.pdf)

    So, what spirit did the Oath of Vengeance bring upon the Saints? It could not have been the Spirit of God. If Brigham Young put that in the endowment, then what else might be his own innovation?

  • Daren:

    And Log, I would like to add my own voice to Dani and Kathryn on the other blog and ask that you not resign from the blogging community.

    It is hard to see the spirit in which a message is given when it is only words. So, sometimes words seem contentious when they were not intended in that way.

    Yet, your words have always been meaningful and uplifting to me. They have always pointed me back to God, which is what I need.

    Aren’t we supposed to influence each other “only by persuasion, by long-suffering, by gentleness and meekness, and by love unfeigned; by kindness, and pure knowledge, which shall greatly enlarge the soul without hypocrisy, and without guile—”?

    That is what you have done and what I hope you will continue to do. It has not gone unnoticed or been unappreciated.

  • sfort:

    Daren,
    As the scriptures become a cloak unto us, and since light is slow and coming because of unbelief, sometimes asertions are for supplementing since no new scripture is forthcoming on the “new” scripture we had received. We are a thinking people and it is a fine line not to look beyond the mark. But we also are not sitting around doing nothing basting in our unbelief. Keep up the good fight. Light is forthcoming.

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