Thursday, June 8, 2017

Repent of All Your Sins: The Sermon at Bountiful

--A Preliminary Observation on the Doctrine of Christ--

To the disciples he both called and chose to minister unto the people, Jesus said there should be no disputations among them, as there had hitherto been, neither should there be disputations concerning the points of his doctrine, as there had hitherto been.  He gave the baptismal formula and pattern.  He said that those having the spirit of contention are not of him, but of the devil, who is the father of contention (contesting, disputing, &c.).  He said it is his doctrine that such things should be done away.  He then gave a short declaration of his doctrine.

"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.  And whoso believeth in me, and is baptized, the same shall be saved; and they are they who shall inherit the kingdom of God.  And whoso believeth not in me, and is not baptized, shall be damned."

That is his doctrine.

"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.  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."

It is to be noted the phrase "baptism of fire and of the Holy Ghost" does not appear here.  Therefore the baptism of fire and of the Holy Ghost is not part of this statement of his doctrine.  Here, he speaks of the Father visiting someone with fire and with the Holy Ghost, and that this visitation with fire and with the Holy Ghost is the Father bearing record, or testifying, of the Son.  It cannot be established on the words being used here that this visitation with fire and with the Holy Ghost is identical to the baptism of fire and of the Holy Ghost, and there is evidence from 3 Nephi 12 and the gospel of Matthew that they are not the same thing.

"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."

"These things" appears to be a reference to the Father "visit[ing one] with fire and with the Holy Ghost" and thus bearing record of the Son, and the Holy Ghost bearing record of the Father and the Son.

"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."

If we assume there is only one baptism being spoken of, then the difference in the ordering of the elements seems potentially contradictory.  On the other hand, if we grant that the different ordering of elements potentially signifies different baptisms, then we appear to have here, in the doctrine of Christ, two baptisms by water.

In the potential first instance of baptism, we repent and become as a little child - believing, trusting, without malice - and be baptized in the name of Christ, and if we do so the Father visits us with fire and with the Holy Ghost, thus bearing record of the Son, and the Holy Ghost bears record of the Father and the Son.

In the potential second instance of baptism, we repent, are baptized in the name of Christ, and become as a little child - believing, trusting, without malice - to perhaps be made fit to potentially inherit the kingdom of God.

This reading is possible on the words being used, and cannot be contradicted without adding, subtracting, or moving words or fixing meanings where the words used can have multiple meanings.

"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."

See the last few verses of Luke 6, Matthew 7, and 3 Nephi 14.

"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."

And he instructed his disciples to go forth and teach his words among the people in all the land.

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--The Sermon at Bountiful: Introduction--

In the last post, I performed a detailed analysis of the actual words used in 3 Nephi 11, noting that therein was spoken of a "visitation with fire and with the Holy Ghost" whereby the Father would bear record of the Son, but the "baptism of fire and of the Holy Ghost" was not mentioned, thus suggesting we are dealing with two different things.  I noted variances in the mentions of baptism that could be held to suggest references to at least two baptisms by water.

Let us then turn to the Savior's words to the multitude after he declared his doctrine to his disciples.

3 Nephi 12:1-2
And it came to pass that when Jesus had spoken these words
unto Nephi and to those who had been called
now the number of them who had been called
and received power and authority to baptize
was twelve
and behold he stretched forth his hand unto the multitude
and cried unto them
saying
blessed are ye if ye shall give heed unto the words of these twelve
whom I have chosen from among you
to minister unto you
and to be your servants
and unto them I have given power
that they may baptize you with water
and after that ye are baptized with water
behold I will baptize you with fire and with the Holy Ghost
therefore
blessed are ye if ye shall believe in me
and be baptized
after that ye have seen me
and know that I am
and again more blessed are they
who shall believe in your words
because that ye shall testify that ye have seen me
and that ye know that I am
yea blessed are they
who shall believe in your words
and come down into the depths of humility
and be baptized
for they shall be visited with fire and with the Holy Ghost
and shall receive a remission of their sins.

To them whom he was physically present with, he says after they are baptized by the twelve disciples by water, that he, Jesus, would baptize them with fire and with the Holy Ghost.  Therefore blessed are they, who then were physically present with the Savior, if they should believe in him and be baptized after they have seen him and know that he exists.

Clearly the phrase "believe in me" means more than simply "believe that I exist."  As Abinadi used the phrase, to "believe in" something, such as a prophet's words, meant to trust in, to place confidence in, and therefore do, as the words instructed.  It seems here that Christ means the same thing by "believe in me," that is, to trust in him - rely upon him, depend upon him, have confidence in him, believe him - and do what he is saying to do, in particular, give heed to the words of the twelve and be baptized and testify of him and do what he is about to command them.

Next he says that those who believe in the words of this group, among whom the Savior was then physically present, are more blessed, because those whom the Savior was now among should testify that they have seen him and that they know that he exists.  They who believe in the words of this group who then come down into the depths of humility and are baptized shall be visited with fire and with the Holy Ghost and shall receive a remission of their sins.

Note the difference.  Those to whom he was speaking, once they heeded the words of the twelve and were baptized would then be baptized by fire and by the Holy Ghost by Christ, thus becoming sanctified, holy, without spot, being one in Christ, sons of God.  Those who believed on the words of those to whom he was speaking would, if they came down into the depths of humility and were baptized, be visited with fire and with the Holy Ghost and receive a remission of their sins.

This second group were to be more blessed by this, therefore there is a difference between the first and the second groups, and the difference appears to be that the first group would be baptized by fire and by the Holy Ghost, while the second group would be visited with fire and with the Holy Ghost, and receive a remission of their sins.  Why this means the second group would be more blessed than the first is a mystery not clearly explained in the text, but that there is a difference is clearly stated.

This seems to accord with the doctrine of Christ as he explained it to his disciples, and also lend some potential fodder for thought if one should go back to 2 Nephi 31 and compare with the doctrine of Christ as outlined there.

Of interest therefore might be what the Savior means by "come down into the depths of humility."

2 Nephi 9:41-43
O then my beloved brethren
come unto the Lord the Holy One
remember that his paths are righteousness
behold the way for man is narrow
but it lieth in a straight course before him
and the keeper of the gate is the Holy One of Israel
and he employeth no servant there
and there is none other way save it be by the gate
for he cannot be deceived
for the Lord God is his name
and whoso knocketh to him will he open
and the wise
and the learned
and they that are rich
who are puffed up
because of their learning
and their wisdom
and their riches
yea they are they whom he despiseth
and save they shall cast these things away
and consider themselves fools before God
and come down in the depths of humility
he will not open unto them
but the things of the wise and the prudent shall be hid from them forever
yea that happiness which is prepared for the saints.

Riches (possessions above need), learning (knowledge of principles or facts received by instruction and study [not by direct experience]), and wisdom (plans for the temporal future) are what must be jettisoned to come down into the depths of humility; pretense to knowledge must give way to considering oneself a fool before God.

We are to esteem our fellows as ourselves, with no more lifting ourselves above our fellow man either in substance or learning or temporal preparations, and come down into the dust, and call upon the name of the Lord to be forgiven our iniquities, that we may also be visited with fire and with the Holy Ghost, and receive a remission of our sins.

(Note: Joseph said "to be righteous is to be just and merciful."  "Just" means "doing that which is agreed upon."  Therefore, the paths of the Lord, the Holy One of Israel, being righteousness means that his paths are doing that which is commanded and being merciful.)

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--The Sermon at Bountiful: The Beatitudes--

3 Nephi 12:3-12
Yea blessed are the poor in spirit who come unto me
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven
and again blessed are all they that mourn
for they shall be comforted
and blessed are the meek
for they shall inherit the earth
and blessed are all they who do hunger and thirst after righteousness
for they shall be filled with the Holy Ghost
and blessed are the merciful
for they shall obtain mercy
and blessed are all the pure in heart
for they shall see God
and blessed are all the peacemakers
for they shall be called the children of God
and blessed are all they who are persecuted for my name’s sake
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven
and blessed are ye when men shall revile you
and persecute
and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely
for my sake
for ye shall have great joy
and be exceedingly glad
for great shall be your reward in heaven
for so persecuted they the prophets who were before you

The "poor in spirit" are they who have not eternal life, we learn in the D&C, for he that hath eternal life is rich.  "Come unto me" means to, well, come to him physically, if we're being perfectly literal, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven - they who come to him physically are made kings of heaven.

"And again" - so maybe he's talking about the same people, those that are poor in spirit who come unto him - "blessed are all they that mourn, for they shall be comforted."  Mourning about what, we don't know from the text.  Comforted how, we don't know either from the text.  We could speculate and say perhaps mourning for one's sins or also mourning for one's sinful and carnal nature, in which case the comfort might be brought firstly by the Holy Ghost which it is written is the first comforter, or secondly by the Holy Spirit of Promise, which it is written is the other comforter spoken of in John.  Maybe it means to mourn for the sins of the world.  Or, if we don't know, we leave it alone and move on.

"And blessed are the meek for they shall inherit the earth." "Meek" in the concordances for the Hebrew seems to mean "afflicted, miserable, gentle," preferring to bear injuries rather than to return them.  In the Greek concordances, it seems to mean "gentle."  It seems to me that the sense of the word is "gentle and forbearing."

"And blessed are all they that hunger and thirst after righteousness for they shall be filled with the Holy Ghost."  As Joseph said, to be righteous is to be just and merciful; just means keeping one's agreements; to hunger and thirst after righteousness is, to me, read as seeking with all diligence for the state of being of righteous, being made perfectly just and merciful, seeking commands to fulfill and to execute mercy upon all.  Yes, there is a reference to Christ being "the Son of Righteousness" in the JST of Malachi, as well, so there is another meaning possible.

"Blessed are the merciful for they shall obtain mercy."  To be merciful is to let one's enemies go without harm nor reprisals when they are in your power and you could destroy them if you so desired.  Not only do you let them go, but you bless them in the bargain.  For we all start out enemies to God, as it is written.

"Blessed are all the pure in heart for they shall see God."  Pure, as opposed to corrupt.  The lexicon entry on this word is very interesting: https://www.blueletterbible.org/lang/lexicon/lexicon.cfm?Strongs=G2513&t=KJV

"Blessed are all the peacemakers for they shall be called the children of God."  In my reading, being a peacemaker is akin to being meek - to endure abuse and not send it out, to return good for evil.  In absorbing and forgiving evil and not sending evil out, but rather returning good for evil, we make peace.

"Blessed are all they who are persecuted for my name's sake for theirs is the kingdom of heaven."  The word "persecuted" in the Greek and the Hebrew means to be pursued, to be driven off, to be made to flee, to be pressured (in flight), to be harassed, to be molested, &c..  Being persecuted takes many forms.  Persecution may be to be the target of aggressive faultfinding and argumentation when one is on the Lord's errand.  It may be having one's words twisted into falsehoods and put back in one's mouth to make it look like you lied.  It may be someone taking advantage of you because you teach the word of God by pressing you to eat an unpleasant consequence of a commandment.

And so on.

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--The Sermon at Bountiful: The Covenant People--

For those who are proposing to enter into a covenant with God in Boise, Idaho, in September, receiving the Book of Mormon and the New Testament (at least) as canon - as the rule of faith and practice - this is where the Sermon starts to get interesting.

3 Nephi 12:13-16
Verily verily I say unto you
I give unto you to be the salt of the earth
but if the salt shall lose its savor
wherewith shall the earth be salted
the salt shall be thenceforth good for nothing
but to be cast out
and to be trodden under foot of men
verily verily I say unto you
I give unto you to be the light of this people
a city that is set on a hill cannot be hid
behold do men light a candle
and put it under a bushel
nay but on a candlestick
and it giveth light to all that are in the house
therefore
let your light so shine before this people
that they may see your good works
and glorify your Father
who is in heaven

This is the announcement of the covenant to these people.  The people who were there in his presence at that time were to be accounted as the salt of the earth, as saviors of men.  But if they lost their saltness, that preservative quality and flavor for which salt is useful, then they would be good for nothing but to be cast out and stomped down under the foot of men.

We know from the rest of the Book of Mormon that the descendants of this people did, in fact, lose their savor, depart from the covenant - ceasing from doing the commandments of God, which commandments we are getting to - and were, in fact, cast out from the presence of God and were stomped down under the foot of men.

This is a warning to us, who propose to receive the same law and commandments.

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--The Sermon at Bountiful: The Old Is Fulfilled, the New Is Here--

3 Nephi 12:17-20
Think not that I am come to destroy the law or the prophets
I am not come to destroy
but to fulfil
for verily I say unto you
one jot nor one tittle hath not passed away from the law
but in me it hath all been fulfilled
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
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

Again, he is speaking directly to those he is with.  He has fulfilled the law (by which I understand him to be referring to the law of Moses).  He has already given the people the law and the commandments of his Father: that they should believe in Christ, that they should repent of their sins, and come unto Christ with a broken heart and a contrite spirit.  These are the law and commandments of the Father.

They have the commandments before them: repent of their sins, believe in Christ, and come unto him with a broken heart and a contrite spirit and be saved, and the law (by which I understand him to be referring to the law of Moses) is fulfilled (ie, the old covenant given through Moses is done).  Therefore come unto him (physically, if we're being perfectly literal) and be saved, he tells them: for if they do not keep his commandments which he has at this time (already - past tense) commanded them they shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven (and thus be unable to come unto him).

This is what this covenant people were to do; to live by these commandments which he had given them: believe in Christ (placing total faith and confidence and trust in him), repent of all their sins, and come to him (physically, if we're being perfectly literal) with a broken heart and a contrite spirit.

How interesting.  Weren't they there with him physically right then?  Maybe the other conditions - believing (placing their full faith and trust and reliance) in Christ, repenting of all their sins, and coming to him with a broken heart and a contrite spirit - weren't yet fulfilled, which seems to be what he said in 3 Nephi 12:1.  "Blessed are ye if ye shall believe in me after that ye have seen me and know that I am."

Maybe "come unto me" means to come unto him physically - through the veil, entering into the kingdom of heaven.

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--The Sermon at Bountiful: Repent of All Your Sins, Part 1--

Remember, the law and commandments of the Father is:
Believe in Christ.
Repent of your sins.
Come unto Christ with a broken heart and a contrite spirit.

I am persuaded that the word "repent" means to change our mind or alter our course by bringing our thoughts and deeds into conformity with the law of God.  I am persuaded that to "believe in" Christ means to have unwavering faith, trust, and confidence in him above any competing power; therefore, executing his words in all circumstances, through any trials or afflictions or exigencies.  I am persuaded that to "come unto Christ with a broken heart and a contrite spirit" means to approach him at the veil bearing for our sacrifice a broken heart and a contrite spirit, from thence to be received into the kingdom of heaven and thus come to him physically while yet in the flesh.

What follows are the sayings of Jesus Christ, wherein he explains what we must do to repent of all our sins.  If we believe in him, we will do all of these things always, and by doing all of these things always, come unto him with a broken heart and a contrite spirit.

3 Nephi 12:21-24
Ye have heard that it hath been said by them of old time
and it is also written before you
that thou shalt not kill
and whosoever shall kill
shall be in danger of the judgment of God
but I say unto you
that whosoever is angry with his brother
shall be in danger of his judgment
and whosoever shall say to his brother raca
shall be in danger of the council
and whosoever shall say thou fool
shall be in danger of hell fire
therefore
if ye shall come unto me
or shall desire to come unto me
and rememberest that thy brother hath aught against thee
go thy way unto thy brother
and first be reconciled to thy brother
and then come unto me with full purpose of heart
and I will receive you

Q: Who decides what it will take to be reconciled to your brother?
A: Your brother.

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--The Sermon at Bountiful: Repent of All Your Sins, Part 2--

3 Nephi 12:25-26
Agree with thine adversary quickly
while thou art in the way with him
lest at any time he shall get thee
and thou shalt be cast into prison
verily verily I say unto thee
thou shalt by no means come out thence
until thou hast paid the uttermost senine
and while ye are in prison
can ye pay even one senine
verily verily I say unto you nay

Agree - be reconciled with, conciliate - your opponent in legal matters, when you come into conflict with him.

The point of this saying isn't that you can pay slowly while you are in prison, as our modern system makes it appear.  The point is you cannot pay while you are in prison - at all.

Jesus is instructing us to yield rather than contest or dispute or fight.

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--The Sermon at Bountiful: Repent of All Your Sins, Part 3--

3 Nephi 12:27-30
Behold
it is written by them of old time
that thou shalt not commit adultery
but I say unto you
that whosoever looketh on a woman
to lust after her
hath committed adultery already in his heart
behold
I give unto you a commandment
that ye suffer none of these things to enter into your heart
for it is better that ye should deny yourselves of these things
wherein ye will take up your cross
than that ye should be cast into hell

Neither anger nor despising nor reviling nor contention nor lust shall we allow to enter our heart.  This is how we take up our cross.

3 Nephi 12:31-32
It hath been written
that whosoever shall put away his wife
let him give her a writing of divorcement
verily verily I say unto you
that whosoever shall put away his wife
saving for the cause of fornication
causeth her to commit adultery
and whoso shall marry her who is divorced committeth adultery

Note: Jesus is not saying you should divorce for the cause of fornication; he is not endorsing divorce for any cause.  He is saying that if you divorce for any other reason than your wife's fornication you cause your wife to commit adultery (ie, her blood comes upon you) and whoever marries a divorced woman commits adultery.

3 Nephi 12:33-37
And again it is written
thou shalt not forswear thyself
but shalt perform unto the Lord thine oaths
but verily verily I say unto you
swear not at all
neither by heaven
for it is God’s throne
nor by the earth
for it is his footstool
neither shalt thou swear by thy head
because thou canst not make one hair black or white
but let your communication be yea yea nay nay
for whatsoever cometh of more than these is evil

Jesus is telling us not to try to emotionally manipulate others into taking us more seriously, more sincere, more truthful, or whatever, by saying such things like "I swear I will do it" or "I swear it is true."  That is the purpose for which people swear.  Instead we will straightforwardly say "yes," or "no," without trying to enhance our credibility in their eyes by swearing upon things.

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--The Sermon at Bountiful: Repent of All Your Sins, Part 4--

3 Nephi 12:38-48
And behold
it is written
an eye for an eye
and a tooth for a tooth
but I say unto you
that ye shall not resist evil
but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek
turn to him the other also
and if any man will sue thee at the law
and take away thy coat
let him have thy cloak also
and whosoever shall compel thee to go a mile
go with him twain
give to him that asketh thee
and from him that would borrow of thee turn thou not away

Jesus is instructing us to yield in every conflict.  Give to every man that asks.  Lend to all comers.  If they seek to compel us, comply, do not fight.  If they strike us, turn the other cheek and do not revile.  If we're sued, let them have what they're suing us for without a fight.

and behold it is written also
that thou shalt love thy neighbor
and hate thine enemy
but behold
I say unto you
love your enemies
bless them that curse you
do good to them that hate you
and pray for them who despitefully use you and persecute you
that ye may be the children of your Father who is in heaven
for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good

Until we have perfect love through the redemption of Jesus Christ, we love our enemies by doing good to them, and we know what doing good to someone means.  Men cannot despitefully use you and persecute you unless you are doing what Christ said, thus placing yourself in their power, giving them what they spitefully ask for or falsely sue you for, complying with their compulsion, being smitten on the cheek, and so forth - for we are not to be respecters of men, even as God is no respecter of men, and we are to be sending forth good to all even as God sends forth good to all.

therefore
those things which were of old time
which were under the law
in me are all fulfilled
old things are done away
and all things have become new

The law (I understand him to be referring to that given through Moses) is fulfilled and thus done away.

therefore
I would that ye should be perfect
even as I
or your Father who is in heaven
is perfect

Because the law given through Moses is fulfilled and done away, Jesus has given us the law and commandments of his Father, and it is his will that we should be perfect, for the purpose of which he has given us these things, that we may walk entirely therein and be perfect, even as he, or our Father who is in heaven, is perfect and walks entirely herein.

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--The Sermon at Bountiful: Repent of All Your Sins, Part 5--

In the last part, the Savior commanded those he was then present with that it was his will that they should be perfect, even as he, or their Father in heaven, is perfect. Later, we shall see these sayings apply to all mankind.

3 Nephi 13:1-24
1 Verily, verily, I say that I would that ye should do alms unto the poor; but take heed that ye do not your alms before men to be seen of them; otherwise ye have no reward of your Father who is in heaven.
2 Therefore, when ye shall do your alms do not sound a trumpet before you, as will hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may have glory of men. Verily I say unto you, they have their reward.
3 But when thou doest alms let not thy left hand know what thy right hand doeth;
4 That thine alms may be in secret; and thy Father who seeth in secret, himself shall reward thee openly.

Just as it is his will that we should be perfect, it is his will that we should do alms unto the poor; this is reminiscent of Benjamin's command that we shall not suffer the beggar to put up his petition to us in vain. Jesus warns us that those who do alms to be seen of men, to receive the praise, glory, or esteem of men for that which they do, have their reward in the praise they receive. And letting not your left hand (traditionally, the left is the side that the cursed find themselves on) know what your right hand (the side of the blessed) is doing could mean no reporting your alms on tithing slips nor tax returns nor attempting to get any credit nor return for them from men at all.

5 And when thou prayest thou shalt not do as the hypocrites, for they love to pray, standing in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen of men. Verily I say unto you, they have their reward.
6 But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father who is in secret; and thy Father, who seeth in secret, shall reward thee openly.
7 But when ye pray, use not vain repetitions, as the heathen, for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking.
8 Be not ye therefore like unto them, for your Father knoweth what things ye have need of before ye ask him.

Personal prayers shall be private, between us and the Lord, otherwise, they are not heard. And we are not to simply repeat the same things over and over (a practice of certain Eastern religions). God knows our needs before we ask him.

9 After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name.
10 Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.
11 And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.
12 And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.
13 For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever. Amen.
14 For, if ye forgive men their trespasses your heavenly Father will also forgive you;
15 But if ye forgive not men their trespasses neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.

Of interest is that "give us this day our daily bread" is missing - for, after all, God knows what our needs are before we ask him. Perhaps it is that we need not even ask, but submit to his will in all things rather than trying to get him to submit to ours, and he will give us what in his wisdom he sees that we need. And forgive us our debts - to whom are these debts owed? And of what do they consist? For if we forgive men their trespasses - apparently, including debts - then will God forgive us of ours, but if we do not, and instead insist on payment, or justice, neither does he forgive us of our trespasses.

16 Moreover, when ye fast be not as the hypocrites, of a sad countenance, for they disfigure their faces that they may appear unto men to fast. Verily I say unto you, they have their reward.
17 But thou, when thou fastest, anoint thy head, and wash thy face;
18 That thou appear not unto men to fast, but unto thy Father, who is in secret; and thy Father, who seeth in secret, shall reward thee openly.

Like our prayers and our alms, our fasting is to be in secret.

19 Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and thieves break through and steal;
20 But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal.
21 For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.

Do not build up storage of goods / money / food / toys for yourself in this world - all the things moth or rust could corrupt or thieves could steal, which we store up so that we need not fear for future emergencies or unforeseen circumstance. The only reason to do so is to keep what you consider your own away from others, to make certain one always has enough for oneself, because you are fearful for the future. That kind of behavior shows that our desires, affections, confidence, and trust, is actually in our property and in men, and it is not in the Lord God; we are faithless. To lay up treasure for yourself in heaven, sell what you possess and give the proceeds of the sale to the poor, just as Jesus consistently instructed everyone: his disciples, the rich young ruler, and the Pharisees, all alike received this command. Distributing our substance to the poor is how we exchange our treasures in this world for treasure in heaven; the poor are the exchangers.

For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also; or, in other words, the world you choose to place your confidence / trust / faith in, as evidenced by whether you hoard or invest stuff for your own benefit and well-being in this world, or instead impart that which you possess as Jesus commands and thus gain treasure in heaven, is the world to which you are bound in your heart.

22 The light of the body is the eye; if, therefore, thine eye be single, thy whole body shall be full of light.
23 But if thine eye be evil, thy whole body shall be full of darkness. If, therefore, the light that is in thee be darkness, how great is that darkness!
24 No man 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.

This must be understood with the preceding verses, for it is a continuation of the theme of placing our faith / trust / confidence solely in Jesus in the keeping of his commandments, as opposed to relying on our own wisdom and temporal preparations, the substance of this world, and the human social, economic, and legal systems to ensure our continued, comfortable existence in the here-and-now. If you are focused upon Christ (which entails keeping his commandments, not merely paying lip service to the Lord to be seen of men in the manner of the hypocrites) then you will be filled with his light. If not, then not. You cannot build your holdings and security in this world and serve God simultaneously. The word "mammon" means the substance of this world to which men entrust their well-being, in which they place their confidence, such as goods, stocks, bonds, insurance, savings, property, businesses, food storage, and so on.

There is a second, hidden meaning to these verses. Note that Jesus has also used "the body" elsewhere in scripture as an oblique reference to his church, while the eyes are the seers for the body.

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--The Sermon at Bountiful: Repent of All Your Sins, Part 6--

We previously saw in Part 5 that Christ commanded his people to give alms, pray, and fast, in secret, that others should not know that they do them.  We saw that he commanded his people to not build up storage of goods / food / money - anything that moth or rust can corrupt or thieves can break through to steal - for themselves and their own benefit, but rather to liquidate what they possessed above their needs and distribute the proceeds to the poor.  We saw that he told them that forgiveness is had from God as easily as they forgave others, and that if instead of forgiving they insisted on payment for debts owed to them or justice for wrongs done them, neither would God forgive them.  We saw that Jesus informed his people that it is impossible to both serve God and simultaneously build up temporal holdings and security.  We shall eventually see that his words apply to all that become aware of them.

To the twelve disciples he had called and chosen and given authority and power to baptize, he gave these instructions they were to observe, among them to remember his words, for they were chosen to minister to the people, to serve them and to stir them up in remembrance of the covenant and these commandments they were to keep.  After Christ ascended again to the Father, the twelve disciples ministered to the people the same words Jesus had spoken, nothing varying from what Jesus had spoken.

They were to be permanent ministers unto the people, and this is the manner of their life.

3 Nephi 13:25-34
25 And now it came to pass that when Jesus had spoken these words he looked upon the twelve whom he had chosen, and said unto them: Remember the words which I have spoken. For behold, ye are they whom I have chosen to minister unto this people. Therefore I say unto you, take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment?
26 Behold the fowls of the air, for they sow not, neither do they reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not much better than they?
27 Which of you by taking thought can add one cubit unto his stature?
28 And why take ye thought for raiment? Consider the lilies of the field how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin;
29 And yet I say unto you, that even Solomon, in all his glory, was not arrayed like one of these.
30 Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass of the field, which today is, and tomorrow is cast into the oven, even so will he clothe you, if ye are not of little faith.
31 Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed?
32 For your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things.
33 But seek ye first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you.
34 Take therefore no thought for the morrow, for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient is the day unto the evil thereof.

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--The Sermon at Bountiful: Repent of All Your Sins, Part 7--

3 Nephi 14:1-12
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.

The same judgement we apply to others shall be applied to us; the same standard of judgement by which we measure out what we will give to others when they ask shall be the same standard of judgement used to measure out that which we receive when we ask.  If we give all, we receive all.  If we give little, we receive little.  If we condemn the asker and withhold, then we shall be condemned and receive nothing when we ask.

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.

The meaning of this parable is given from heaven predicated upon one's diligence in keeping the commandments of Jesus being herein commanded.

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.

The meaning of this parable is given from heaven predicated upon one's diligence in keeping the commandments of Jesus being herein commanded.

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.

Every last thing you wish people would do to you, do exactly those things to them: this is the law of God and the message of the prophets.

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--The Sermon at Bountiful: Repent of All Your Sins, Part 8--

3 Nephi 14:13-27
13 Enter ye in at the strait gate; for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, which leadeth to destruction, and many there be who go in thereat;
14 Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.

We know from Nephi in 2 Nephi 32 that the strait gate is repentance from all sin and baptism, after which comes the visitation of fire and of the Holy Ghost wherein the Father bears record of the Son, according to the doctrine of Christ already covered in 3 Nephi 11.  The narrow way which leadeth unto life is the strict and diligent observance of these commandments, sayings, and teachings of Christ - yes, and also his word to us directly.

Anything else is the wide gate or the broad way.

15 Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.
16 Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles?
17 Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit.
18 A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit.
19 Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire.
20 Wherefore, by their fruits ye shall know them.

The meaning of this parable is given from heaven predicated upon one's diligence in keeping the commandments of Jesus being herein commanded.

21 Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father who is in heaven.

The will of his Father who is in heaven is that you repent of all your sins and believe in Jesus Christ, keeping his commandments under all circumstances.  In other words, turn from your wicked ways and keep these commandments, teachings, and sayings, and endure to the end in faith on his name.

22 Many will say to me in that day: Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name, and in thy name have cast out devils, and in thy name done many wonderful works?
23 And then will I profess unto them: I never knew you; depart from me, ye that work iniquity.

Iniquity: inequality, injustice, disobedience, evil, malice, and so on.  "I never knew you" - I never met you; you never received me.

24 Therefore, whoso heareth these sayings of mine and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, who built his house upon a rock—
25 And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not, for it was founded upon a rock.
26 And every one that heareth these sayings of mine and doeth them not shall be likened unto a foolish man, who built his house upon the sand—
27 And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell, and great was the fall of it.

Anyone that hears these sayings of his and does them builds upon his rock, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against them.  Anyone that hears these sayings of his and does not do them shall fall.

3 Nephi 15:1 And now it came to pass that when Jesus had ended these sayings he cast his eyes round about on the multitude, and said unto them: Behold, ye have heard the things which I taught before I ascended to my Father; therefore, whoso remembereth these sayings of mine and doeth them, him will I raise up at the last day.

Anyone that remembers these sayings of his and does them shall Christ lift up at the last day.

And the reward is great.

John 14:15-24
15 ¶ If ye love me, keep my commandments.
16 And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever;
17 Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you.
18 I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you.
19 Yet a little while, and the world seeth me no more; but ye see me: because I live, ye shall live also.
20 At that day ye shall know that I am in my Father, and ye in me, and I in you.
21 He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him.
22 Judas saith unto him, not Iscariot, Lord, how is it that thou wilt manifest thyself unto us, and not unto the world?
23 Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him.
24 He that loveth me not keepeth not my sayings: and the word which ye hear is not mine, but the Father’s which sent me.

Joseph Smith taught that this was a literal visit; the idea that the Father and the Son dwell in a man's heart is an old sectarian notion, and is false.

That's the carrot.

Here's the stick.

1 Nephi 13:40-41
40 And the angel spake unto me, saying: These last records, which thou hast seen among the Gentiles, shall establish the truth of the first, which are of the twelve apostles of the Lamb, and shall make known the plain and precious things which have been taken away from them; and shall make known to all kindreds, tongues, and people, that the Lamb of God is the Son of the Eternal Father, and the Savior of the world; and that all men must come unto him, or they cannot be saved.
41 And they must come according to the words which shall be established by the mouth of the Lamb; and the words of the Lamb shall be made known in the records of thy seed, as well as in the records of the twelve apostles of the Lamb; wherefore they both shall be established in one; for there is one God and one Shepherd over all the earth.

All men must come to Jesus Christ or they cannot be saved, and they must come according to the words which shall be established by his mouth - not through a servant, but in his own proper person.  The Sermon is the words established by the mouth of the Lamb of God, made known in both the Book of Mormon and the New Testament.