Monday, February 29, 2016

Why They Persecute the Saints and the Prophets

JST Romans 2:1 Therefore thou art inexcusable, O man, whosoever thou art that thus judgest; for wherein thou judgest another, thou condemnest thyself; for thou that judgest doest the same things.

That verse is the key to understanding why professed believers persecute the saints and the prophets, when combined with this, from Lectures on Faith, Lecture Sixth.
[T]hose who do not make the sacrifice [of all things] cannot enjoy this faith, because men are dependent upon this sacrifice in order to obtain this faith; therefore, they cannot lay hold upon eternal life, because the revelations of God do not guarantee unto them the authority so to do; and without this guarantee faith could not exist.
[T]hose who have not made this sacrifice to God, do not know that the course which they pursue is well pleasing in his sight; for whatever may be their belief or their opinion, it is a matter of doubt and uncertainty in their mind; and where doubt and uncertainty is, there faith is not, nor can it be. For doubt and faith do not exist in the same person at the same time. So that persons whose minds are under doubts and fears cannot have unshaken confidence, and where unshaken confidence is not, there faith is weak, and where faith is weak, the persons will not be able to contend against all the opposition, tribulations and afflications which they will have to encounter in order to be heirs of God, and joint heirs with Christ Jesus; and they will grow weary in their minds, and the adversary will have power over them and destroy them.
These professed believers judge the saints and the prophets according to the wickedness of their own unbelieving and disobedient hearts.  They read their own fear, doubt, disbelief, pride, lust, covetousness, and judgementality into the words and actions of the saints and the prophets and conclude that the saints and the prophets must be trying to gain power over them by lying.  Of course they must be lying, you see, because the conduct of the saints and prophets is incompatible with the doubt and uncertainty these "believers" feel in matters religious, which feelings are their standard of judgement, and of course it's for power, since displays of piety or knowledge are how "believers" signal their virtue and moral superiority - that is, jockey for social status - among themselves.  In fact, there is typically little more to their "faith" than the acquisition of social status, including positions of authority, within the community.  Confidence towards God, coming from these "believers," is a pretense, thus they interpret the confidence of the saints and prophets as insolence or arrogance.  So, when argument fails to overcome the words of the saints and the prophets, social pressure gets applied, followed by physical pressure, followed by death - thinking, perhaps, they do God a favor by permanently silencing these lying upstarts, trolls, and troublemakers.

These "believers" can be discerned by their inconsistent principles, loyalty to men, misunderstanding and misapplication of the scriptures, contention, anger, offendedness, moral outrage, mockery, scorn, watching for iniquity, and attempting to make men appear offenders for a word by use of the liar's art.

They find the truth distasteful, or even hateful, and distressing, since it threatens their positions and security, both social, financial, emotional, and intellectual - the stuff they really value.  They are incompetent, and don't know it.

How Do We Repent?

In a nutshell - turn from the ways of the world to walk the path of God, as outlined in the sayings and commandments of Jesus.  Those are the things we were actually asked to do - how few and simple they truly are and always have been.

You have power to be one of the very few that not only believes in Christ, but actually believes Christ - that is, believes he meant what he said - and to show him your faith in him by bringing forth fruits meet for repentance through keeping his sayings and commandments, confessing your sins to those you have wronged, praying always to be forgiven and to receive the Holy Ghost, and pursuing this path until he answers you from on high.

What do you have going on that is worth procrastinating the day of your salvation for?

Sunday, February 28, 2016

The Least of These, My Brethren

JST Matthew 25:32-47
32 When the Son of Man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then he shall sit upon the throne of his glory;
33 And before him shall be gathered all nations; and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth sheep from the goats; the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on his left.
34 And he shall sit upon his throne, and the twelve apostles with him.
35 Then shall the king say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.
36 For I was an hungered, and ye gave me meat; I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink; I was a stranger, and ye took me in; naked, and ye clothed me;
37 I was sick, and ye visited me; I was in prison, and ye came unto me.
38 Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungered, and fed thee; or thirsty, and gave thee drink?
39 When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in; or naked, and clothed thee?
40 Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee?
41 And the king shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.
42 Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels.
43 For I was an hungered, and ye gave me no meat; I was thirsty, and ye gave me no drink;
44 I was a stranger, and ye took me not in; naked, and ye clothed me not; sick, and in prison, and ye visited me not.
45 Then shall they also answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungered, or athirst, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not minister unto thee?
46 Then shall he answer them, saying, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye did it not to one of the least of these my brethren, ye did it not unto me.
47 And these shall go away into everlasting punishment; but the righteous into life eternal.
Previously, it was noted that "these, my brethren" were the heavenly hosts that come with Jesus when he judges the nations.  But who are these hosts?
JST Matthew 12:40-44
40 And while he yet talked to the people, behold, his mother and his brethren stood without, desiring to speak with him.
41 Then one said unto him, Behold, thy mother and thy brethren stand without, desiring to speak with thee.
42 But he answered and said unto the man that told him, Who is my mother? and who are my brethren?
43 And he stretched forth his hand toward his disciples, and said, Behold my mother and my brethren!
44 And he gave them charge concerning her, saying, I go my way, for my Father hath sent me. And whosoever shall do the will of my Father which is in heaven, the same is my brother, and sister, and mother.
So, his disciples are his brethren - they who do the will of the Father, keeping the sayings of Jesus.
JST John 6:44 No man can come unto me, except he doeth the will of my Father who hath sent me. And this is the will of him who hath sent me, that ye receive the Son; for the Father beareth record of him; and he who receiveth the testimony, and doeth the will of him who sent me, I will raise up in the resurrection of the just.
The record, and the testimony spoken of, is the visitation of fire and of the Holy Ghost.
3 Nephi 11:32-39
 32 And this is my doctrine, and it is the doctrine which the Father hath given unto me; and I bear record of the Father, and the Father beareth record of me, and the Holy Ghost beareth record of the Father and me; and I bear record that the Father commandeth all men, everywhere, to repent and believe in me.
 33 And whoso believeth in me, and is baptized, the same shall be saved; and they are they who shall inherit the kingdom of God.
 34 And whoso believeth not in me, and is not baptized, shall be damned.
 35 Verily, verily, I say unto you, that this is my doctrine, and I bear record of it from the Father; and whoso believeth in me believeth in the Father also; and unto him will the Father bear record of me, for he will visit him with fire and with the Holy Ghost.
 36 And thus will the Father bear record of me, and the Holy Ghost will bear record unto him of the Father and me; for the Father, and I, and the Holy Ghost are one.
 37 And again I say unto you, ye must repent, and become as a little child, and be baptized in my name, or ye can in nowise receive these things.
 38 And again I say unto you, ye must repent, and be baptized in my name, and become as a little child, or ye can in nowise inherit the kingdom of God.
 39 Verily, verily, I say unto you, that this is my doctrine, and whoso buildeth upon this buildeth upon my rock, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against them.
The will of him who sent Jesus is the doctrine, or teachings, or sayings, of Jesus.
JST John 7:16-17
16 Jesus answered them, and said, My doctrine is not mine, but his that sent me.
17 If any man will do his will, he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God, or whether I speak of myself. 
3 Nephi 12:19-20
 19 And behold, I have given you the law and the commandments of my Father, that ye shall believe in me, and that ye shall repent of your sins, and come unto me with a broken heart and a contrite spirit. Behold, ye have the commandments before you, and the law is fulfilled.
 20 Therefore come unto me and be ye saved; for verily I say unto you, that except ye shall keep my commandments, which I have commanded you at this time, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven.
The commandments he commanded at that time were the Sermon on the Mount / Plain / Bountiful.

But let us return to the original question: who are the hosts which Jesus brings with him at his coming in his glory?  These.
D&C 76:50-70
 50 And again we bear record—for we saw and heard, and this is the testimony of the gospel of Christ concerning them who shall come forth in the resurrection of the just—
 51 They are they who received the testimony of Jesus, and believed on his name and were baptized after the manner of his burial, being buried in the water in his name, and this according to the commandment which he has given—
 52 That by keeping the commandments they might be washed and cleansed from all their sins, and receive the Holy Spirit by the laying on of the hands of him who is ordained and sealed unto this power;
 53 And who overcome by faith, and are sealed by the Holy Spirit of promise, which the Father sheds forth upon all those who are just and true.
 54 They are they who are the church of the Firstborn.
 55 They are they into whose hands the Father has given all things—
 56 They are they who are priests and kings, who have received of his fulness, and of his glory;
 57 And are priests of the Most High, after the order of Melchizedek, which was after the order of Enoch, which was after the order of the Only Begotten Son.
 58 Wherefore, as it is written, they are gods, even the sons of God
 59 Wherefore, all things are theirs, whether life or death, or things present, or things to come, all are theirs and they are Christ’s, and Christ is God’s.
 60 And they shall overcome all things.
 61 Wherefore, let no man glory in man, but rather let him glory in God, who shall subdue all enemies under his feet.
 62 These shall dwell in the presence of God and his Christ forever and ever.
 63 These are they whom he shall bring with him, when he shall come in the clouds of heaven to reign on the earth over his people.
 64 These are they who shall have part in the first resurrection.
 65 These are they who shall come forth in the resurrection of the just.
 66 These are they who are come unto Mount Zion, and unto the city of the living God, the heavenly place, the holiest of all.
 67 These are they who have come to an innumerable company of angels, to the general assembly and church of Enoch, and of the Firstborn.
 68 These are they whose names are written in heaven, where God and Christ are the judge of all.
 69 These are they who are just men made perfect through Jesus the mediator of the new covenant, who wrought out this perfect atonement through the shedding of his own blood.
 70 These are they whose bodies are celestial, whose glory is that of the sun, even the glory of God, the highest of all, whose glory the sun of the firmament is written of as being typical.
They are the divine council, the priests of God; these are Jesus's brethren, and his sisters, and his mothers.  Again, that could be you - do you want to be numbered among them?  Consider again what Jesus said his family's lot in this life is: an hungered, or athirst, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison.  Does that describe your life?

It is your life if you keep the commandments of Jesus.  That's why he said this.
JST Luke 14:25-34
25 And when he had finished these sayings, he departed thence, and there went great multitudes with him, and he turned and said unto them,
26 If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, or husband, yea and his own life also; or in other words, is afraid to lay down his life for my sake, cannot be my disciple.
27 And whosoever doth not bear his cross, and come after me, cannot be my disciple.
28 Therefore, settle this in your hearts, that ye will do the things which I shall teach, and command you.
29 For which of you intending to build a tower, sitteth not down first, and counteth the cost, whether he have money to finish his work?
30 Lest, unhappily, after he has laid the foundation and is not able to finish his work, all who behold, begin to mock him,
31 Saying, This man began to build, and was not able to finish. And this he said, signifying there should not any man follow him, unless he was able to continue; saying,
32 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 who cometh against him with twenty thousand.
33 Or else, while the other is yet a great way off, he sendeth an embassage, and desireth conditions of peace.
34 So likewise, whosoever of you forsaketh not all that he hath he cannot be my disciple.
Are you willing to forsake all that you have to receive Jesus, and be a member of his family?

A word concerning repentance - when John came to prepare the way for Jesus, he taught thusly.
JST Luke 3:12-21
12 Then said John to the multitude that came forth to be baptized of him, crying against them with a loud voice, saying, O generation of vipers, who hath warned you to flee from the wrath to come?
13 Bring forth therefore fruits worthy of repentance, and begin not to say within yourselves, Abraham is our father; we have kept the commandments of God, and none can inherit the promises but the children of Abraham; for I say unto you, That God is able of these stones to raise up children unto Abraham.
14 And now also, the axe is laid unto the root of the trees; every tree therefore which bringeth not forth good fruit, shall be hewn down, and cast into the fire.
15 And the people asked him, saying, What shall we do then?
16 He answered and said unto them, He that hath two coats, let him impart to him that hath none; and he that hath meat, let him do likewise.
17 Then came also publicans [tax collectors] to be baptized, and said unto him, Master, what shall we do?
18 And he said unto them, Exact no more than that which is appointed unto you.
19 For it is well known unto you, Theophilus, that after the manner of the Jews, and according to the custom of their law in receiving money into the treasury, that out of the abundance which was received, was appointed unto the poor, every man his portion;
20 And after this manner did the publicans also, wherefore John said unto them, Exact no more than that which is appointed you.
21 And the soldiers [police] likewise demanded of him, saying, And what shall we do? And he said unto them, Do violence to no man, neither accuse any falsely; and be content with your wages.
Do you notice the theme to what John said the fruits worthy of repentance were?  It is this: "all things whatsoever ye would that men should do unto you, do ye even so unto them; for this is the law and the prophets."

"What shall we do then?"

The first place to look is at the sayings of Jesus, to keep them.  After all...
Doctrine and Covenants 82:10 I, the Lord, am bound when ye do what I say; but when ye do not what I say, ye have no promise.

Friday, February 26, 2016

Disciples of Christ

The purpose of the disciple-master relationship is for the disciple to become what the master is.  The disciple follows the master's teachings and doctrine, is shown the master's secrets, and through experience and practice become a master of the discipline himself.
  • What is the doctrine of Christ?  
  • What are the teachings of Christ?
  • What is the art, or discipline, one is practicing when one performs the tasks Christ has asked his disciples to perform?
  • How does one know when one has mastered the art, or discipline, of Christ?
On the other hand:
  • If one does not perform the tasks Christ has asked his disciples to perform, is one a disciple of Christ?
  • Can a disciple who doesn't do what Christ has asked possibly understand the discipline Christ is teaching?
  • Can a disciple who doesn't do what Christ has asked possibly understand Christ, when the path to gaining the experience necessary to understand Christ is in doing what Christ has asked?
Would you feel comfortable living with someone - forever and ever, worlds without end - who says things that you don't agree with, who does things that you wouldn't do, and whose values and ideology you don't share?

How do you think it will be in heaven, or Zion, which is its earthly counterpart?
D&C 93:Verily, thus saith the Lord: It shall come to pass that every soul who forsaketh his sins and cometh unto me, and calleth on my name, and obeyeth my voice, and keepeth my commandments, shall see my face and know that I am[.]
D&C 130:1-3 
When the Savior shall appear we shall see him as he is. We shall see that he is a man like ourselves. 
And that same sociality which exists among us here will exist among us there, only it will be coupled with eternal glory, which glory we do not now enjoy. 
John 14:23—The appearing of the Father and the Son, in that verse, is a personal appearance; and the idea that the Father and the Son dwell in a man’s heart is an old sectarian notion, and is false.

Monday, February 22, 2016

The Unjust Steward, Revisited

Here are my answers to the questions I asked in the post on the Unjust Steward.
  1. Who does the rich man represent?
  2. What are the Lord's goods?
  3. What does it mean to waste the Lord's goods?
  4. Who has actual power to call every one of his Lord's debtors to himself and "adjust" their bills?
  5. Who then does the steward represent (see question 11)?
  6. Who are the Lord's debtors?
  7. What do the bills represent?
  8. What does wheat represent?
  9. What does oil represent?
  10. What does it mean to be unjust?
  11. What does it mean for a disciple to fail?
  12. What houses / everlasting habitations is the Lord referring to?
1.  The rich man represents the Lord.
2.  The Lord's goods are the resources of the earth.
3.  To waste the Lord's goods means to use the resources in a manner he hasn't asked for them to be used in.  Specifically, it can mean to use the resources to try to manipulate people into a course of discipleship they haven't the interest, or the commitment, to complete.
4.  Those who hold rule in the Lord's house in every age have actual power to call every one of the Lord's debtors to themselves to "adjust" their bills.
5.  The Lord's steward, then, is the leadership of the Church in every age.
6.  The Lord's debtors are those who have entered into a contract, or covenant with him, publicly witnessed by baptism, to be obedient to him.  At this point, one might recall the following verses.
1 Nephi 20:1-2
1 Hearken and hear this, O house of Jacob, who are called by the name of Israel, and are come forth out of the waters of Judah, or out of the waters of baptism, who swear by the name of the Lord, and make mention of the God of Israel, yet they swear not in truth nor in righteousness.
2 Nevertheless, they call themselves of the holy city, but they do not stay themselves upon the God of Israel, who is the Lord of Hosts; yea, the Lord of Hosts is his name.
Granted, "or out of the waters of baptism" was an interpolation introduced in the 1840 edition of the Book of Mormon, and was apparently made by Joseph Smith.  If Joseph was correct in this interpretation of "com[ing] forth out of the waters of Judah," then we readily see we're dealing with people who have publicly witnessed that they have repented of all their sins and received a remission of them and have a determination to serve [obey] the Lord until the end of their lives, yet are witnessing falsely.  They don't have an interest in serving God by keeping his commandments, even if they say they are of Zion, the holy city; and they don't rely upon God.  We might conclude that we're looking at a society of baptized pretenders; a Church full of hypocrites pretending to be Zion, as it were.

7.  The bills represent the commandments of the Lord, which the debtors have agreed to render to the Lord, witnessing this publicly by baptism.
8.  I'm inclined to read wheat as the word of the Lord.  The debtor was supposed to teach all the word of the Lord, but the steward conspires with him that he only need teach most of it.  That fifth which is omitted can sometimes be quite significant.
9.  I'm inclined to read oil as symbolic of works of righteousness, which give fuel to the Spirit of God in our hearts.
10.  To be unjust means to do more or less than what was agreed upon.
11.  For a disciple to fail means they did not finish the course of discipline to become as the master, refusing to complete the training through diligence and practice in the teachings of the master, and are thus not like the master and don't know what he knows.  Lacking experience, they don't understand the master and don't know him.  They don't know why his rules are the way they are.  That's not what they're interested in.

One might consider a kung fu movie, where you have a master who has dedicated his life to his art, and disciples who follow him because of his displayed skills and powers.  They aren't terribly interested in the ascetic self-discipline and teachings of the master, lacking the pure dedication to his art, but they are deeply interested in the respect he commands and resulting sense of security - nobody messes with him - and the attention he gets from women.  So they slack off on the actual practice of the master's discipline, and instead fly his flag, wear his colors, behave belligerently towards students of other schools of kung fu, cash in on the reputation of the master, and avenge the dignity of the master against resultant perceived slights, confident the master will rescue them from situations they can't handle.  When the master passes on, the show continues with his erstwhile, and failed, disciples opening a school in his name, teaching a bastardized and adulterated version of the master's art, flashy to impress the rubes and the ladies, while omitting the self-control and self-mastery necessary to perfect the skills described in the master's scrolls.  After the generation who knew the master passes on, the new disciples disbelieve the reports of the powers the master displayed and so do not seek after them nor teach others how to obtain them; the common arts of the common schools suffice for their purposes.  Since the failed disciples, and their disciples, don't have the skills and powers the master had, they have to intimidate people as a preemptive measure to avoid being tested in their prowess, and gang together just in case they actually are ever put to the test.  Eventually, they rule their little province, and have a nice side business teaching thuggery to any willing to pay, and whose victims, of course, typically end up being those who haven't joined the team.

One can imagine how these thugs would react if one arrived in their province announcing that he had the long-lost skills and powers of the master, which were obtained through the same ascetic self-discipline and diligence in applying the teachings of the master.  Why, they'd probably try to kill him, or at the very least cast him out of the province.  After all, he would be a disruptor to their kingdom, seeking to take possession of the whole of it, wouldn't he?  People would start following him and training in his schools, and that would be bad for business.

And that puts me in mind of this section of scripture.
JST Matthew 21:21-56
21 And when he was come into the temple, the chief priests and the elders of the people came unto him as he was teaching, and said, by what authority doest thou these things? And who gave thee this authority?
22 And Jesus answered and said unto them. I also will ask you one thing, which if ye tell me, I, likewise, will tell you by what authority I do these things. 
23 The baptism of John, whence was it? From heaven, or of men?
24 And they reasoned with themselves, saying, If we shall say, From heaven; he will say unto us, Why did ye not then believe him? But if we shall say, Of men; we fear the people, For all people held John as a prophet. And they answered Jesus and said, We cannot tell. 
25 And he said, Neither tell I you by what authority I do these things.
26 But what think ye? A man had two sons; and he came to the first, saying, Son, go work to-day in my vineyard. 
27 He answered and said, I will not; but afterward he repented, and went.
28 And he came to the second, and said likewise. And he answered and said, I will serve; and went not.
29 Whether of these twain did the will of their father?
30 They say unto him, The first.
31 Jesus said unto them, Verily I say unto you, That the publicans and harlots shall go into the kingdom of God before you. 
32 For John came unto you in the way of righteousness, and bore record of me, and ye believed him not; but the publicans and the harlots believed him; and ye, afterward, when ye had seen me, repented not, that ye might believe him. 
33 For he that believed not John concerning me, cannot believe me, except he first repent. 
34 And except ye repent, the preaching of John shall condemn you in the day of judgment. And, again, hear another parable; for unto you that believe not, I speak in parables; that your unrighteousness may be rewarded unto you. 
35 Behold, there was a certain householder, who planted a vineyard, and hedged it round about, and digged a wine-press in it; and built a tower, and let it out to husbandmen, and went into a far country.
36 And when the time of the fruit drew near, he sent his servants to the husbandmen, that they might receive the fruits of it. 
37 And the husbandmen took his servants, and beat one, and killed another, and stoned another.
38 Again, he sent other servants, more than the first; and they did unto them likewise.
39 But last of all, he sent unto them his son, saying, They will reverence my son.
40 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.
41 And they caught him, and cast him out of the vineyard, and slew him.
42 And Jesus said unto them, When the Lord therefore of the vineyard cometh, what will he do unto those husbandmen?
43 They say unto him, He will destroy those miserable, wicked men, and will let out the vineyard unto other husbandmen, who shall render him the fruits in their seasons.
44 Jesus said 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 doings, and it is marvelous in our eyes.
45 Therefore say I unto you, The kingdom of God shall be taken from you, and given to a nation bringing forth the fruits thereof. 
46 For whosoever shall fall on this stone, shall be broken; but on whomsoever it shall fall, it will grind him to powder. 
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.) [D&C 109:60 - that's us.]
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.
12.  The everlasting habitations / houses the Lord is referring to is wherever that society goes which has not obeyed his commandments.

"What is the damnation of hell? To go with that society who have not obeyed His commands." - Joseph Smith, TPJS p. 197

JST Matthew 5:21 Whosoever, therefore, shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so to do, he shall in no wise be saved in the kingdom of heaven; but whosoever shall do and teach these commandments of the law until it be fulfilled, the same shall be called great, and shall be saved in the kingdom of heaven.


D&C 82:10 I, the Lord, am bound when ye do what I say; but when ye do not what I say, ye have no promise.

If you break one of the least commandments, and teach others likewise to break it, he is bound; if you do and teach his commandments until you fulfill them, he is bound.

Friday, February 19, 2016

Why Not Pay Your Bill Now, While It's Relatively Easy?

Right now, in 'Murica, gasoline and food are both relatively cheap.  If you have an interest in keeping the commandments of the Lord, and becoming his disciple in spirit and in truth, in both word and deed, and not in name only, then right now would seem to be an opportune time to start doing those things he asked of his disciples.

If you are unwilling to perform his sayings now, when the relative cost in fear is lower, how do you think you will do it later after the shit hits the fan and the cost in fear is higher?  And if you do it not at all, how can you have the faith to be saved, since you have no promise of the Lord?

Everything you wish others would do to you, do to others; this is the law and the prophets.

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Stuff Published At Latterdaycommentary.com

Tim Malone was kind enough to provide a list of links to stuff I published at his blog.  Some might find something of value in there, somewhere.

http://latterdaycommentary.com/2016/01/22/your-bill-is-coming-due/

http://latterdaycommentary.com/2015/05/29/ignorance/

http://latterdaycommentary.com/2015/05/11/the-hitchhiker/

http://latterdaycommentary.com/2015/05/06/the-ideology-of-god/

http://latterdaycommentary.com/2015/04/26/the-path-of-discipleship/

http://latterdaycommentary.com/2015/04/22/hedging-the-law-two-variations-on-a-theme/

http://latterdaycommentary.com/2015/04/19/rules-contraries-and-zion/

http://latterdaycommentary.com/2015/04/01/try-the-spirits/

http://latterdaycommentary.com/2015/02/24/enhancing-the-truth/

http://latterdaycommentary.com/2015/02/19/power-and-authority/

http://latterdaycommentary.com/2015/02/11/the-second-comforter/

http://latterdaycommentary.com/2015/02/02/pure-and-virtuous-principles/

http://latterdaycommentary.com/2015/01/30/a-short-self-analysis/

http://latterdaycommentary.com/2015/01/19/questions-worth-pondering/

http://latterdaycommentary.com/2015/01/11/cry-mightily/

http://latterdaycommentary.com/2015/01/08/thoughts-on-thoughts-a-pondering-post/

http://latterdaycommentary.com/2015/01/02/a-paean-to-scripture/

http://latterdaycommentary.com/2014/12/24/the-king-of-the-bums/

http://latterdaycommentary.com/2014/12/23/the-point-of-it-all/

http://latterdaycommentary.com/2014/12/13/a-primer-on-just-judgment/

http://latterdaycommentary.com/2014/12/05/one-rule-to-rule-them-all/

http://latterdaycommentary.com/2014/12/02/seven-verse-sermon/

http://latterdaycommentary.com/2014/11/29/forgiveness/

http://latterdaycommentary.com/2014/11/23/do-ye-also-to-them-likewise-part-3/

http://latterdaycommentary.com/2014/11/21/ye-also-likewise-part-2/

http://latterdaycommentary.com/2014/11/19/ye-also-likewise-part-1/

http://latterdaycommentary.com/2014/10/25/the-sacrament/

http://latterdaycommentary.com/2014/10/23/contend-against-no-church-save-it-be-the-church-of-the-devil/

http://latterdaycommentary.com/2014/10/11/apologies-to-tims-readers/

http://latterdaycommentary.com/2014/10/07/what-manner-of-men/

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Psalm 82 - Directions to Ponder Upon

This is a pastiche of multiple translations of Psalm 82.
-- A Psalm of Asaf
1. The Gods have taken their places in the council of God; he judges among the Gods.
2. "How long will you judge unjustly, and show partiality towards the wicked?" Selah.
3. "Defend the weak, the poor, and the fatherless. Maintain the rights of the poor and oppressed.
4. Rescue the weak and needy. Deliver them out of the hand of the wicked."
5. They know nothing, nor do they understand; they walk in darkness. All the foundations of the earth are shaken.
6. I said, "You are Gods, Sons of the Most High, all of you.
7. Nevertheless you shall die as mortals, and fall like any leader.
8. Rise, Gods, judge the earth, for you will inherit the people."
The council of God seems to be referred to in the Book of Abraham.
Abraham 3:22-23
 22 Now the Lord had shown unto me, Abraham, the intelligences that were organized before the world was; and among all these there were many of the noble and great ones;  23 And God saw these souls that they were good, and he stood in the midst of them, and he said: These I will make my rulers; for he stood among those that were spirits, and he saw that they were good; and he said unto me: Abraham, thou art one of them; thou wast chosen before thou wast born.
Being organized, in this context, can simply mean "appointed to offices."

Jesus referred to Psalm 82.
JST John 10:22-39
22 And it was at Jerusalem the feast of the dedication, and it was winter.
23 And Jesus walked in the temple in Solomon's porch.
24 Then came the Jews round about him, and said unto him, How long dost thou make us to doubt? If thou be the Christ, tell us plainly.
25 Jesus answered them, I told you, and ye believed not; the works that I do in my Father's name, they bear witness of me.
26 But ye believe not, because ye are not of my sheep, as I said unto you.
27 My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me;
28 And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand.
29 My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father's hand.
30 I and my Father are one.
31 Then the Jews took up stones again to stone him.
32 Jesus answered them, Many good works have I showed you from my Father; for which of those works do ye stone me?
33 The Jews answered him, saying, For a good work we stone thee not; but for blasphemy; and because that thou, being a man, makest thyself God.
34 Jesus answered them, Is it not written in your law, I said, Ye are gods?
35 If he called them gods, unto whom the word of God came, and the Scripture cannot be broken;
36 Say ye of him, whom the Father hath sanctified, and sent into the world, Thou blasphemest; because I said, I am the Son of God?
37 If I do not the works of my Father, believe me not.
38 But if I do, though ye believe not me, believe the works; that ye may know, and believe, that the Father is in me, and I in him.
39 Therefore they sought again to take him; but he escaped out of their hand[.]
"If he called them Gods, unto whom the word of God came...."

What does it mean for the word of God to come unto one?
JST John 1:16 For in the beginning was the Word, even the Son, who is made flesh, and sent unto us by the will of the Father. And as many as believe on his name shall receive of his fullness. And of his fullness have all we received, even immortality and eternal life, through his grace. 
Jesus is the Word.
JST John 1:12 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. 
As many as receive Jesus, to them he gives power to become the Sons of God - to become members of the council of God, meaning Gods - only to them who believe on his name.
Helaman 14:13 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.
The council, it seems, is at least partially a self-selecting/self-deselecting group.
 D&C 11:28-30
 28 Behold, I am Jesus Christ, the Son of God. I am the life and the light of the world.
 29 I am the same who came unto mine own and mine own received me not;
 30 But verily, verily, I say unto you, that as many as receive me, to them will I give power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on my name. Amen.
And more.
Alma 13:1-12 (See also Alma 12)
 1 And again, my brethren, I would cite your minds forward to the time when the Lord God gave these commandments unto his children; and I would that ye should remember that the Lord God ordained priests, after his holy order, which was after the order of his Son, to teach these things unto the people.
 2 And those priests were ordained after the order of his Son, in a manner that thereby the people might know in what manner to look forward to his Son for redemption.
 3 And this is the manner after which they were ordained—being called and prepared from the foundation of the world according to the foreknowledge of God, on account of their exceeding faith and good works; in the first place being left to choose good or evil; therefore they having chosen good, and exercising exceedingly great faith, are called with a holy calling, yea, with that holy calling which was prepared with, and according to, a preparatory redemption for such.
 4 And thus they have been called to this holy calling on account of their faith, while others would reject the Spirit of God on account of the hardness of their hearts and blindness of their minds, while, if it had not been for this they might have had as great privilege as their brethren.
 5 Or in fine, in the first place they were on the same standing with their brethren; thus this holy calling being prepared from the foundation of the world for such as would not harden their hearts, being in and through the atonement of the Only Begotten Son, who was prepared—
 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—
 8 Now they were ordained after this manner—being called with a holy calling, and ordained with a holy ordinance, and taking upon them the high priesthood of the holy order, which calling, and ordinance, and high priesthood, is without beginning or end—
 9 Thus they become high priests forever, after the order of the Son, the Only Begotten of the Father, who is without beginning of days or end of years, who is full of grace, equity, and truth. And thus it is. Amen.
 10 Now, as I said concerning the holy order, or this high priesthood, there were many who were ordained and became high priests of God; and it was on account of their exceeding faith and repentance, and their righteousness before God, they choosing to repent and work righteousness rather than to perish;
 11 Therefore they were called after this holy order, and were sanctified, and their garments were washed white through the blood of the Lamb.
 12 Now they, after being sanctified by the Holy Ghost, having their garments made white, being pure and spotless before God, could not look upon sin save it were with abhorrence; and there were many, exceedingly great many, who were made pure and entered into the rest of the Lord their God.
That could be you.  Do you want it to be?

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

The Liar's Art: Authority, Keys, Priests, and Priesthood

To be added to the fundamentals:

Authority: 1.  To be the author of words or works.  2.  A has authority from B if B asks A to give forth words or works.

Keys: items of knowledge which serve to unlock the hidden meaning of things.

Priest: one sent forth to teach the commandments of God, having an understanding of the spirit of prophecy, who may also perform rites.

Priesthood:  To be in association (or of a society - friends and family) with the powers of heaven.  The fulness of the priesthood is to be in association with the Most High God.

Sunday, February 7, 2016

Rebaptism and the Doctrine of Christ

3 Nephi 11:31-41
 31 Behold, verily, verily, I say unto you, I will declare unto you my doctrine.
 32 And this is my doctrine, and it is the doctrine which the Father hath given unto me; and I bear record of the Father, and the Father beareth record of me, and the Holy Ghost beareth record of the Father and me; and I bear record that the Father commandeth all men, everywhere, to repent and believe in me.
 33 And whoso believeth in me, and is baptized, the same shall be saved; and they are they who shall inherit the kingdom of God.
 34 And whoso believeth not in me, and is not baptized, shall be damned.
 35 Verily, verily, I say unto you, that this is my doctrine, and I bear record of it from the Father; and whoso believeth in me believeth in the Father also; and unto him will the Father bear record of me, for he will visit him with fire and with the Holy Ghost.
 36 And thus will the Father bear record of me, and the Holy Ghost will bear record unto him of the Father and me; for the Father, and I, and the Holy Ghost are one.
 37 And again I say unto you, ye must repent, and become as a little child, and be baptized in my name, or ye can in nowise receive these things.
 38 And again I say unto you, ye must repent, and be baptized in my name, and become as a little child, or ye can in nowise inherit the kingdom of God.
 39 Verily, verily, I say unto you, that this is my doctrine, and whoso buildeth upon this buildeth upon my rock, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against them.
 40 And whoso shall declare more or less than this, and establish it for my doctrine, the same cometh of evil, and is not built upon my rock; but he buildeth upon a sandy foundation, and the gates of hell stand open to receive such when the floods come and the winds beat upon them.
 41 Therefore, go forth unto this people, and declare the words which I have spoken, unto the ends of the earth.
Let us pay particular attention to verse 37: you must repent, meaning, as I take it, of all your sins, and become as a little child, meaning, as I take it, uncritically believing of God's words at face value, and be baptized in his name, the manner of which is given in 3 Nephi 11:21-30, or you cannot receive the record of the Father, and will not therefore be visited with fire and with the Holy Ghost.

And let us look at verse 38: you must repent, meaning, as I take it, of all your sins, and be baptized in his name, the manner of which is given in 3 Nephi 11:21-30, and become as a little child, meaning, as I take it, uncritically believing of God's words at face value, or else it is impossible for you to inherit the kingdom of God, which means, as I take it, to become a joint heir with Christ, which means, as I take it, being introduced to the Father and being acclaimed a Son of God.

That is the intended purpose of discipleship, and what I understand to be the fullness of the gospel.

It is possible to read these things as though verses 33, 37, and 38 were referring to a single baptism by water.  However, one might also perceive in verses 37 and 38 the intimations of a journey - a process of endowment, perhaps - from an initial repentance and baptism by water and corresponding baptism with fire and with the Holy Ghost, to a later second repentance and baptism by water followed by acclamation as a Son of God, due to the differing order of the elements involved.  It is impossible to rule out this "multiple baptisms" reading without adding to, or subtracting from, the doctrine of Christ as contained in the Book of Mormon, and declaring the result to be the doctrine of Christ.  For someone to add to, or subtract from, the doctrine of Christ and establish the result as the doctrine of Christ comes from evil and marks them that so do as not being built upon Christ's rock, which means, as I take it, they are not part of the church of Christ.

The Nephites appear to have practiced rebaptism, unless one believes their elders, priests, and teachers were chosen from outside of the church of Christ.
Moroni 6:1-4
 1 And now I speak concerning baptism. Behold, elders, priests, and teachers were baptized; and they were not baptized save they brought forth fruit meet that they were worthy of it.
 2 Neither did they receive any unto baptism save they came forth with a broken heart and a contrite spirit, and witnessed unto the church that they truly repented of all their sins.
 3 And none were received unto baptism save they took upon them the name of Christ, having a determination to serve him to the end.
 4 And after they had been received unto baptism, and were wrought upon and cleansed by the power of the Holy Ghost, they were numbered among the people of the church of Christ; and their names were taken, that they might be remembered and nourished by the good word of God, to keep them in the right way, to keep them continually watchful unto prayer, relying alone upon the merits of Christ, who was the author and the finisher of their faith.
Let us assume that the elders, priests, and teachers were, initially, numbered among the people of the church of Christ, having been baptized.  Let us further assume that there was an orderly progression of some kind from teacher to priest to elder - once they brought forth acceptable fruit showing their readiness, perhaps some kind of sign or token (think of the endowments).  They then came forth with broken hearts and contrite spirits, and witnessed unto the church that they truly repented of all their sins, suggesting public confession thereof, and were baptized.  If those assumptions are correct, then that suggests elders were baptized at least four times, priests at least thrice, and teachers at least twice.

This presents a problem for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, which, I am given to understand, has undertaken to excommunicate people solely for being rebaptized, a service the Church itself no longer offers, though it apparently once did.

Saturday, February 6, 2016

Temple Ordinances

Ordinances were instituted in heaven before the foundation of the world of in the priesthood, for the salvation of man. not be altered. not to be changed. all must be saved upon the same principle.  that is only your opinion Sir—say Sectarians.—when a man will go to hell it is more than my meat & drink to help them to do as they want to.  where there is no change of priesthood there is no change of ordinances says Paul [apparent reference: Hebrews 7:12].  If god has not changed the ordinances & priesthood, howl ye sectarians, if he has where has he revealed it. have ye turned revelators? then why deny it?  (Words of Joseph Smith, p. 179, 11 June 1843, Joseph Smith Diary, by Willard Richards)
 The ordinances Joseph was referring to were apparently the ordinances of the temple.
He then asked what was the object of Gathering the Jews together or the people of God in any age of the world, the main object was to build unto the Lord an house whereby he could reveal unto his people the ordinances of his house and glories of his kingdom & teach the peopl the ways of salvation for their are certain ordinances & principles that when they are taught and practized, must be done in a place or house built for that purpose this was purposed in the mind of God before the world was & it was for this purpose that God designed to gather together the Jews oft but they would not it is for the same purpose that God gathers togethe the people in the last days to build unto the Lord an house to prepare them for the ordinances & endowment washings & anointings &c. one of the ordinances of the house of the Lord is Baptism for the dead, God decreed before the foundation of the world that that ordinance should be administered in a house prepared for that purpose. If a man gets the fulness of God he has to get [it] in the same way that Jesus Christ obtain it & that was by keeping all the ordinances of the house of the Lord....
But to the text why gather the people together in this place For the same purpose that Jesus wanted to gather the Jews, to receive the ordinances the blessings & the glories that God has in store for his Saints. And I would now ask this assembly and all the Saints if they will now build this house & receive the ordinances & Blessings which God has in store for you, or will you not build unto the Lord this house & let him pass by & bestow these blessings upon another I pause for a reply[.]  (Words of Joseph Smith, pp. 180-181, 11 June 1843, Wilford Woodruff Diary)
The house being referred to was the Nauvoo temple.
The reason why the Jews were scattered and their House left unto them Desolate was because they refused to be gathered that the fulness of the Priesthood might be revealed among them which never can be done but by the gathering of the People also also The Order & Ordinances of the Kingdom were instituted by the Priesthood in the council of Heaven before the World was[.]  (Words of Joseph Smith, p. 182, 11 June 1843, Franklin D. Richards "Scriptural Items")
That Joseph said the Lord would pass over The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints for failing to build the temple in Nauvoo and bestow the blessings of the fulness of God upon another people was apparently not an invention by Woodruff.
He beautifully and in a most powerful manner, illustrated the necessity of the gathering and the building of the Temple that those ordinances may be administered which are necessary preparations for the world to come: he exhorted the people in impressive terms to be diligent—to be up and doing lest the tabernacle pass over to another people and we lose the blessing.  (Words of Joseph Smith, p. 182, 11 June 1843, Eliza R. Snow Diary)
That The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints failed to build the temple in Nauvoo was conceded by George Q. Cannon on Saturday, April 8th, 1871 - apparently during General Conference.
[T]he completion of the temple at Nauvoo brought many blessings; that is, so far as it was completed, for the enemies of God's kingdom did not permit us to complete it entirely[.]  (George Q. Cannon, Journal of Discourses, vol. 14, p. 124)
For scripture on why the failure to build the temple in Nauvoo mattered, see D&C 124:25-55.  We may therefore expect another people to receive the blessings of the fulness of God [re: JST Matthew 21, 3 Nephi 16:10-15, D&C 14:10].

According to Brigham Young, after Joseph delivered what apparently became the core of the LDS temple rites, Joseph told him:
Brother Brigham, this is not arranged perfectly; however we have done the best we could under the circumstances in which we are placed. I wish you to take this matter in hand: organize and systematize all these ceremonies.  (L. John Nuttall Diary, 7 February 1877, quoted in BYU Studies 19 (Winter 1979): 159 fn. 77)
Now we have enough to see that there is a problem: if Joseph was reported correctly as saying the ordinances are immutable, and if the rites delivered by Joseph in Nauvoo are the ordinances Joseph was speaking of, then Brigham lied about Joseph's instructions to him.  If Joseph was reported correctly, and if Brigham was telling the truth about what Joseph told him, then the rites Joseph delivered in Nauvoo cannot have been those instituted for the salvation of men, being mutable.  Either one of these leads to the same conclusion: the temple ordinances are not salvific.

There is scripture to support the idea that an ordinance is immutable, and it puts the concern therewith squarely at the time of the coming of the Lord in glory.
Isaiah 24:1-6 
 1 Behold, the Lord maketh the earth empty, and maketh it waste, and turneth it upside down, and scattereth abroad the inhabitants thereof.
 2 And it shall be, as with the people, so with the priest; as with the servant, so with his master; as with the maid, so with her mistress; as with the buyer, so with the seller; as with the lender, so with the borrower; as with the taker of usury, so with the giver of usury to him.
 3 The land shall be utterly emptied, and utterly spoiled: for the Lord hath spoken this word.
 4 The earth mourneth and fadeth away, the world languisheth and fadeth away, the haughty people of the earth do languish.
 5 The earth also is defiled under the inhabitants thereof; because they have transgressed the laws, changed the ordinance, broken the everlasting covenant.
 6 Therefore hath the curse devoured the earth, and they that dwell therein are desolate: therefore the inhabitants of the earth are burned, and few men left.
These are the latter-days, after all.  Isaiah's words seems to relate also to the coming of Elijah, who is to come before the day of the Lord.
3 Nephi 25 
 1 For behold, the day cometh that shall burn as an oven; and all the proud, yea, and all that do wickedly, shall be stubble; and the day that cometh shall burn them up, saith the Lord of Hosts, that it shall leave them neither root nor branch.
 2 But unto you that fear my name, shall the Son of Righteousness arise with healing in his wings; and ye shall go forth and grow up as calves in the stall.
 3 And ye shall tread down the wicked; for they shall be ashes under the soles of your feet in the day that I shall do this, saith the Lord of Hosts.
 4 Remember ye the law of Moses, my servant, which I commanded unto him in Horeb for all Israel, with the statutes and judgments.
 5 Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord;
 6 And he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers, lest I come and smite the earth with a curse.
Joseph apparently consistently taught that Elijah's coming to restore the priesthood and keys has not yet occurred - this is a typical example.
We freequently have mention made of the offering of Sacrifice by the servants of the most high in antient days prior to the law of moses, which ordinances will be continued when the priesthood is restored with all its authority power and blessings. Elijah was the last prophet that held the keys of this priesthood, and who will, before the last dispensation, restore the authority and delive[r] the Keys of this priesthood in order that all the ordinances may be attended to in righteousness. (Words of Joseph Smith, p. 48, 8 October 1840, Original Manuscript)
If Isaiah 24 is referring to to the temple ordinance, then the LDS leadership from Brigham onward would seem to be implicated in defiling the earth by altering it.  After all, if you're not doing what you were asked to do, what promise do you have?
D&C 132:8-11 
 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?
 11 And will I appoint unto you, saith the Lord, except it be by law, even as I and my Father ordained unto you, before the world was?
D&C 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. 
Some might claim that since God has given his power (i.e., "priesthood") unto men they may therefore alter things without loss of efficacy, but Joseph has already answered you sectarians:
[T]he ordinances must be kept in the very way God has appointed, otherwise their priesthood will prove a cursing instead of a blessing. (Words of Joseph Smith, p. 47, 8 October 1840, Original Manuscript)
Ordinances were instituted in heaven before the foundation of the world of in the priesthood, for the salvation of man. not be altered. not to be changed. all must be saved upon the same principle.  that is only your opinion Sir—say Sectarians.—when a man will go to hell it is more than my meat & drink to help them to do as they want to.  where there is no change of priesthood there is no change of ordinances says Paul.  If god has not changed the ordinances & priesthood, howl ye sectarians, if he has where has he revealed it. have ye turned revelators? then why deny it?  (Words of Joseph Smith, p. 179, 11 June 1843, Joseph Smith Diary, by Willard Richards)

Friday, February 5, 2016

Same as It Ever Was.

Let us imagine that, after the death of its founder and the founder's appointed successor, there was a Church whose remaining officers voted themselves a lifetime salary sufficient for all their temporal concerns, howsoever small a pittance this living stipend might be in comparison with what they could obtain were they to leave the ministry; that is to say, they became paid ministers, whose craft was playing the role of priests, leaders, and rulers unto the Church.

Let us further imagine that the vast majority of these paid ministers died in the office of their ministry from natural causes - and that the sole exceptions to this rule occurred very early in the Church's history.

Let us further imagine that these paid ministers replenished their ranks from those whose faith in the Church, implicitly meaning faith in the leadership of the Church, had never wavered.

Let us further imagine that those considered for leadership positions in the Church also were successful in whatever their careers were prior to consideration for leadership, thus demonstrating the ability to get along well in hierarchies, as well as other skills that the leadership might have use for, such as business management, law, and the like.

Let us further imagine that divorce was eventually considered by the leadership to be an instant disqualification from consideration for leadership positions in the Church.

Let us further imagine that those considered for leadership positions in the Church also underwent stringent background checks and screenings to ensure their reputation was beyond known reproach, lest the Church be embarrassed by scandal arising from their appointment to the ministry.

Let us imagine this Church had these items within their duly canonized scriptures.
5 For a man to lay down his all, his character and reputation, his honor and applause, his good name among men, his houses, his lands, his brothers and sisters, his wife and children, and even his own life also, counting all things but filth and dross for the excellency of the knowledge of Jesus Christ, requires more than mere belief, or supposition that he is doing the will of God, but actual knowledge: realizing, that when these sufferings are ended he will enter into eternal rest; and be a partaker of the glory of God. 
7 Let us here observe, that a religion that does not require the sacrifice of all things, never has power sufficient to produce the faith necessary unto life and salvation; for from the first existence of man, the faith necessary unto the enjoyment of life and salvation never could be obtained without the sacrifice of all earthly things: it was through this sacrifice, and this only, that God has ordained that men should enjoy eternal life; and it is through the medium of the sacrifice of all earthly things, that men do actually know that they are doing the things that are well pleasing in the sight of God. When a man has offered in sacrifice all that he has, for the truth's sake, not even withholding his life, and believing before God that he has been called to make this sacrifice, because he seeks to do his will, he does know most assuredly, that God does and will accept his sacrifice & offering, & that he has not nor will not seek his face in vain. Under these circumstances, then, he can obtain the faith necessary for him to lay hold on eternal life. 
8 It is in vain for persons to fancy to themselves that they are heirs with those, or can be heirs with them, who have offered their all in sacrifice, and by this means obtained faith in God and favor with him so as to obtain eternal life, unless they in like manner offer unto him the same sacrifice, and through that offering obtain the knowledge that they are accepted of him. 
12 But those who have not made this sacrifice to God, do not know that the course which they pursue is well pleasing in his sight; for whatever may be their belief or their opinion, it is a matter of doubt and uncertainty in their mind; and where doubt and uncertainty is, there faith is not, nor can it be. For doubt and faith do not exist in the same person at the same time. So that persons whose minds are under doubts and fears cannot have unshaken confidence, and where unshaken confidence is not, there faith is weak, and where faith is weak, the persons will not be able to contend against all the opposition, tribulations and afflictions which they will have to encounter in order to be heirs of God, and joint heirs with Christ Jesus; and they will grow weary in their minds, and the adversary will have power over them and destroy them.
Let us further imagine that the forgoing items of canonized scripture are true.

What may be concluded about the leadership of this hypothetical Church?  Could they have the faith to be saved?  Could they have possibly performed the sacrifice of all things before ascending to their positions of leadership?  Wouldn't the vetting process of this hypothetical Church have weeded out all such?  And if these leaders die in office, can they have performed the sacrifice of all things?  Can they have other than vainly sought the face of God?

How might the leadership of such an hypothetical Church react to a challenge to their authority based on the aforementioned duly canonized items of scripture, particularly if they are not able to contend against the charges by way of truth and demonstration thereof?

Why does baloney reject the grinder?

And, lastly, if such a Church were to be more than hypothetical, wouldn't it resemble this?
NET Jeremiah 5:31 The prophets prophesy lies.  The priests exercise power by their own authority.  And my people love to have it this way.  But they will not be able to help you when the time of judgment comes!
Same as it ever was.

The Unjust Steward

JST Luke 15
1 Then drew near unto him, many of the publicans, and sinners, to hear him.
2 And the Pharisees and scribes murmured, saying, This man receiveth sinners and eateth with them.
He then related the parables of lost sheep, the lost piece of silver, and the prodigal son.  That is the apparent background and audience for this.
JST Luke 16
1 And he said also unto his disciples, There was a certain rich man who had a steward; and the same was accused unto him, that he had wasted his goods.
2 And he called him, and said unto him, How is it that I hear this of thee? Give an account of thy stewardship; for thou mayest be no longer steward.
3 Then the steward said within himself, What shall I do? For my lord taketh away from me the stewardship. I cannot dig; to beg I am ashamed.
4 I am resolved what to do, that, when I am put out of the stewardship, they may receive me into their houses.
5 So he called every one of his lord's debtors, and said unto the first, How much owest thou unto my lord?
6 And he said, A hundred measures of oil. And he said unto him, Take thy bill, and sit down quickly, and write fifty.
7 Then said he to another, And how much owest thou? And he said, A hundred measures of wheat. And he said unto him, Take thy bill, and write fourscore.
8 And the lord commended the unjust steward, because he had done wisely; for the children of this world are wiser in their generation, than the children of light.
9 And I say unto you, Make to yourselves friends, of the mammon of unrighteousness; that when ye fail, they may receive you into everlasting habitations.
Questions:
  1. Who does the rich man represent?
  2. What are the Lord's goods?
  3. What does it mean to waste the Lord's goods?
  4. Who has actual power to call every one of his Lord's debtors to himself and "adjust" their bills?
  5. Who then does the steward represent (see question 11)?
  6. Who are the Lord's debtors?
  7. What do the bills represent?
  8. What does wheat represent?
  9. What does oil represent?
  10. What does it mean to be unjust?
  11. What does it mean for a disciple to fail?
  12. What houses / everlasting habitations is the Lord referring to?
10 He who is faithful in that which is least, is faithful also in much; and he who is unjust in the least, is also unjust in much.
11 If therefore ye have not been faithful in the unrighteous mammon, who will commit to your trust the true riches?
12 And if ye have not been faithful in that which is another man's, who shall give unto you that which is your own?
13 No servant can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.
Mammon is that which gives rise to the feeling of temporal security: money, property, business, social status, armies and navies, a year's supply of food, etc.
14 And the Pharisees also who were covetous, heard all these things; and they derided him.
Covetous means, merely, desiring to possess stuff.
15 And he said unto them, Ye are they who justify yourselves before men; but God knoweth your hearts; for that which is highly esteemed among men, is an abomination in the sight of God.
16 And they said unto him, We have the law, and the prophets; but as for this man we will not receive him to be our ruler; for he maketh himself to be a judge over us.
17 Then said Jesus unto them, The law and the prophets testify of me; yea, and all the prophets who have written, even until John, have foretold of these days.
18 Since that time, the kingdom of God is preached, and every man who seeketh truth presseth into it.
19 And it is easier for heaven and earth to pass, than for one tittle of the law to fail.
20 And why teach ye the law, and deny that which is written; and condemn him whom the Father hath sent to fulfill the law, that ye might all be redeemed?
21 O fools! for you have said in your hearts, There is no God. And you pervert the right way; and the kingdom of heaven suffereth violence of you; and you persecute the meek; and in your violence you seek to destroy the kingdom; and ye take the children of the kingdom by force. Woe unto you, ye adulterers!
A fool is someone who believes a lie.  The Pharisees were closet atheists.  What, therefore, accounts for their seeking and attaining prestige in a religious community?  What would that imply about their activities in that community?

Adultery is for one's heart to depart from one's wedded spouse.  So how would closet atheists, who were the leaders in the religious community, be adulterers with respect to God?  Might mammon be involved?
22 And they reviled him again, being angry for the saying, that they were adulterers.
23 But he continued, saying, Whosoever putteth away his wife, and marrieth another, committeth adultery; and whosoever marrieth her who is put away from her husband, committeth adultery. Verily I say unto you, I will liken you unto the rich man.
24 For there was a certain rich man, who was clothed in purple, and fine linen, and fared sumptuously every day.
25 And there was a certain beggar named Lazarus, who was laid at his gate, full of sores,
26 And desiring to be fed with the crumbs which fell from the rich man's table; moreover the dogs came and licked his sores.
27 And it came to pass, that the beggar died, and was carried of the angels into Abraham's bosom. The rich man also died, and was buried.
28 And in hell he lifted up his eyes, being in torments, and saw Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom.
29 And he cried, and said, Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus that he may dip the tip of his finger in water, and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame.
30 But Abraham said, Son, remember that thou in thy lifetime receivedst thy good things, and likewise Lazarus, evil things; but now he is comforted, and thou art tormented.
31 And besides all this, between us and you, there is a great gulf fixed; so that they who would pass from hence to you, cannot; neither can they pass to us that would come from thence.
32 Then he said, I pray thee therefore, father, that thou wouldest send him to my father's house,
33 For I have five brethren, that he may testify unto them, lest they also come into this place of torment.
34 Abraham said unto him, They have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them.
35 And he said, Nay, father Abraham; but if one went unto them from the dead, they will repent.
36 And he said unto him, If they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded, though one should rise from the dead.

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

The Liar's Art: Fundamentals

"The Liar's Art" is intended primarily to be a series of essays on lies and the lying liars who tell them.  My intent is to give the reader tools to discern lies, and to explain why things are the way they are.

What follows is a primer on vocabulary and key concepts.  I may revise this list in the future.

Key Terms

Abuse (noun): evil; equivalently, that which diminishes something or someone.

Abuse (verb): to do evil; equivalently, to do what one does not wish others would do to oneself.

Apostle: one sent forth with orders to do or say something; a messenger; a delegate.

Authority: 1.  To be the author of words or works.  2.  A has authority from B if B asks A to give forth words or works.

Belief: the opinion that a proposition is true.

Believe: to hold the opinion that a proposition is true.

Bless: to grace with one's presence.

Conflict: to be in opposition.

Consistent: that which does not conflict with itself.

Covet: to desire to possess.

Curse: to withdraw one's presence from.

Enemy: one who abuses one.

Equivocation: redefining words such that what was being spoken about at the beginning is no longer necessarily what is being spoken about at the end.

Evil: that which diminishes; something one does not wish were done to one.

Faith: trust in that which is both not seen and is true.

False: that which conflicts with itself; that which is more or less than truth.

Fear: an emotion and ideology which is characterized externally by behavior that enhances self at the expense of others.

Fool (noun): someone who believes or trusts a lie; someone who is deceived.

Fool (verb): to lie to someone who believes or trusts the lie; to deceive someone.

Friendship: the principle of equality; in words, "love them that love you," and "do no harm."

Fundamental Premise of Communication: men speak to be believed or trusted.

Fundamental Problem of Existence: diversity + proximity = conflict.

Gift: a transfer without exchange.

Golden Rule: the principle which, in words, is "everything you wish others would do to you, do to others."  It is a description of the behavior of perfect, universal love, called charity.

Good: that which only enhances.

Grace (noun): the ability to give a good gift.

Grace (verb): to give a good gift.

Hierarchy: a principle of social organization in the presence of fear which results in leaders and followers; this is an attempt to resolve the fundamental problem of existence without recourse to war.

Humility: the feeling that one is not hierarchically superior to anyone.

Inconsistent: that which conflicts with itself.

Just: doing that which is agreed upon.

Justice: the principle of exchange; the rule of quid pro quo.

Keys: items of knowledge which serve to unlock the hidden meaning of things.

Know: to experience firsthand.

Knowledge: firsthand experience.

Law of Non-Contradiction: the axiom that states a claim and its negation cannot both be simultaneously true.

Lie (noun): A lie is a false statement made to another without disclosing that the statement is false.

Lie (verb): To lie is to make a false statement to another without disclosing to him that the statement is false.

Love (noun): an emotion and ideology which is characterized externally by behavior to enhance others at the expense of self.

Love (verb): to do good to something.

Manipulation: appealing to false principles or lies to impose on others.

Oppose: Claim A is said to oppose claim B if A being true entails B being false.

Peace: absence of conflict.

Persuasion: appealing to true principles and truth to free others from impositions.

Pride: the feeling that one is hierarchically superior to someone.

Priest: one sent forth to teach the commandments of God, having an understanding of the spirit of prophecy, who may also perform rites.

Priesthood:  To be in association (or of a society - friends and family) with the powers of heaven.  The fulness of the priesthood is to be in association with the Most High God.

Principle: a rule of behavior.

Prophet: spokesman.

Reality: things as they are.

Right: that which is not in conflict with truth; that which resolves conflict.

Scripture: God's words in writing.

Security: freedom from fear; to be beyond the ability of one's enemies to harm one.

Time Preference: the value one places upon time as a resource.

True: that which does not conflict with itself; that which is of truth.

Trust: to believe a proposition is true with sufficient strength to act as though it were true; alternatively, to voluntarily enter into a relationship with someone such that they have power to harm you.

Truth: knowledge of things as they are, as they have been, and as they are to come.

Vengeance: the principle whose description is "do unto others what has been done to one."

War: an attempt to resolve the fundamental problem of existence by eliminating either diversity or proximity by physical force.

Wrong: that which is in conflict with truth; that which causes conflict.