Sunday, November 5, 2017

Founded Upon the Rock of Jesus Christ

As used herein, “G&S” means “Guide and Standard,” referring to the statement of principles the Lord has in the covenant document commanded the covenant participants to write, and has also commanded the covenant participants to adopt by mutual agreement as a guide and standard. Also, “KJV” means the “King James Version of the Bible.”  The Rock of Jesus Christ: A Statement of Our Principles is available at this link.

When the covenant participants mutually agree to a G&S, the covenant participants will thenceforth be required to follow the G&S by the covenant, thus any precepts or commandments in the G&S become part of the covenant obligations.

Additionally, the G&S is to bless, benefit, and inform those who as yet know nothing of the Lord’s work now underway. The Lord’s work now underway is to restore his original faith to the Earth, and prepare a people who may be saved at his appearing and be able to dwell with him bodily in Zion.

The Lord, in the covenant document, tells us how that is to be done: “All must come unto me or they cannot be saved. And how do men come unto me? It is by faith, repentance, and baptism, which bring the Holy Ghost to then show you all things you must know.” This is the gospel of Jesus Christ, his rock and his salvation (1 Nephi 13:36; LDS D&C 11:24; LDS D&C 39:6). Just as the Holy Ghost shows us all things we must know, the Holy Ghost also shows us all things we must do (2 Nephi 32:5). The Holy Ghost teaches us what we need to know and do to come into the presence of Jesus Christ and be saved.

We know that those who trust in men are cursed of the Lord (KJV Jeremiah 17:5; 2 Nephi 4:34; 2 Nephi 28:31). And all of us, including Denver Snuffer, are yet men. We are not the leaders, nor guides, of any man: that role is reserved for the Holy Ghost, whose guidance brings us to the Lord. Therefore, to bless, benefit, and inform those who as yet know nothing of the Lord’s work now underway, we need only give them sufficient instruction to obtain the Holy Ghost. That instruction is faith, repentance, and baptism, which bring the Holy Ghost to guide us. That is the gospel of Jesus Christ, and is his rock. The gospel is where our obligation to teach ends. Going beyond the gospel in our teaching without being commanded is for us to usurp the role reserved for the Holy Ghost. This is why the church of God in Nephite times taught nothing but repentance and faith in God (Mosiah 25:22).

The covenant instructs:

“Teach your children to honor me.”

“Seek to recover the lost sheep remnant of this land and of Israel and no longer forsake them. Bring them unto me and teach them of my ways, to walk in them.”

“Cry peace. Proclaim my words. Invite those who will repent to be baptized and forgiven, and they shall obtain my Spirit to guide them.”

It is to fulfill all these things that I have put forth the G&S proposal now entitled The Rock of Jesus Christ: A Statement of Our Principles, which consists of 3 Nephi 11:30-40 and KJV Luke 6:20-49, with two introductory sentences. Directives specific to the disciples are omitted.

We teach our children to honor the Lord when we teach our children to keep his law and commandments as contained in the Sermon. Because Israel is all who love the Lord and keep his commandments, and no one else (LDS D&C 29:12), we gather the lost sheep remnant and scattered Israel by proclaiming Christ’s gospel, his rock and his salvation, and inviting those who believe to repent and be baptized that they may receive the Holy Ghost, which will tell them all things they should know and do. We cry peace when we teach his doctrine, his law, and his commandments, the keeping of which bring peace.

3 Nephi 11:30-40 is used instead of its Restoration Edition equivalent because The Rock of Jesus Christ is for outreach to the world as well as a teaching tool and reminder to us all of what really matters: the gospel of Jesus Christ, which is his rock and his salvation. The LDS edition of the Book of Mormon is commonly available for free, whereas Restoration Edition scriptures are not complete as of this writing. Despite differences in punctuation, the meaning is unchanged.

Verse 30 cries peace. As times grow more troubled, the teaching that men should not be stirred up in anger one towards another anymore will seem more and more appealing to those who desire peace.

Directives to the disciples concerning baptism and their own disputations are avoided.

There is no unambiguous universal commandment to be baptized found within the pages of the Bible. The doctrine of Christ as found in the Book of Mormon supplies this universal requirement, along with the promise of the Father’s record or testimony of the Son by fire and by the Holy Ghost.

With respect to KJV Luke 6:20-49, the differences between the Restoration Edition and the KJV are not substantial. Using the KJV allows for a broader approach to Christians who are not from the Mormon traditions.

Repentance consists of turning aside from the ways of the world and freely conforming one’s behavior and thoughts to the law and commandments of Jesus Christ as contained in the Sermon on the Mount. Performing the deeds commanded in the Sermon are the fruits of repentance (see, for example, John’s preaching in RE Luke 3:3-4). The law and the commandments contained in the Sermon are the ways of the Lord and the path that all men are to walk in or else abide without salvation. Perfecting our execution of his law and commandments brings us to be just like Jesus Christ, which constitutes salvation (KJV Luke 6:40; Lectures on Faith 7:8, 14).

The Lukan Sermon is preferred over the Nephite and Matthean versions for the purpose of outreach to the world for four reasons.
  1. It’s short. People generally don’t like to read much anymore.
  2. It’s available to anyone who has a Bible, and every translation of it that I have seen reads substantially the same. We can afford to be accepting of other translations.
  3. It contains most of the controversial commandments such as: give to every man that asks you, yield without a fight when sued, lend to all comers, don’t ask for your possessions back from whoever takes them, &c.
  4. It omits commandments specifically given to the disciples, such as “take ye no thought for the morrow” and “take no thought for your life.”
If men will believe even as much as the Lukan Sermon and freely put it into practice, the rest will come. As the Lord says in the covenant document, “Do my works and you will know my doctrine; for you will uncover hidden mysteries by obedience to these things that can be uncovered in no other way. This is the way I will restore knowledge to my people.” This is the place to start.

The obligation to receive the Restoration Edition scriptures as a standard is upon us who have agreed to this obligation by covenant, and covenant obligations are not binding upon those who have not entered into the covenant. As we are trying to save men by our labors, it helps to use the scriptures of the people we are talking to so we can give them one less thing to object to when presenting the rock of Jesus Christ that they may repent and be baptized and receive the Holy Ghost, which will then show them all that they must know and do. Men may repent and be baptized and receive the Holy Ghost and not enter into the covenant offered through Denver Snuffer; that is between them and the Lord, whom they have taken for their guide. It is not for us to usurp the role of the Holy Ghost.

The Rock of Jesus Christ features none of the language from the covenant offered through Denver Snuffer for reasons which include the following:
  1. The covenant offered through Denver Snuffer is not part of the gospel, or the doctrine, of Jesus Christ. Therefore this covenant is not necessary to receive the Holy Ghost, which teaches men all that they should know and do.
  2. There is no authority found nor commandment given within the covenant document for any to proselytize others into the covenant; therefore, attempts to proselytize into the covenant are not done by any authority or commandment within the covenant itself.
  3. To attempt to proselytize others into the covenant without commandment would be for us to usurp the role of the Holy Ghost.
Therefore, with respect to the G&S:

Without a direct commandment by the Lord, I will neither proselytize any man into the covenant offered through Denver Snuffer nor impose the covenant obligations upon non-participants. I will preach the Lord and his gospel instead that men may believe, repent, be baptized, and receive the Holy Ghost which will teach them all that they should know and do.

Without a direct commandment by the Lord, I will not hold Denver Snuffer up to the world as an inspired teacher to be relied upon and thus cause men to trust in him rather than the Holy Ghost and be cursed by the Lord, and bring their blood upon me. I will preach the Lord and his gospel instead that men may be cleansed and healed through repentance and faith in the name of Jesus, that I may be made clean from the blood and sins of this generation and my garments may be found spotless at the last day. Therefore, I omit the words and teachings of Denver Snuffer, and uphold the words of Jesus Christ, for he is the prophet which all must hear or else be cut off from among the people (LDS D&C 133:63).

Without a direct commandment by the Lord, I will not teach tithing, for we are not under the law of tithing, which was commanded of the LDS Church (LDS D&C 119). I will teach the Lord’s commandments concerning the distribution of our substance as found in the Sermon on the Mount instead of seeming to give men an alternative to the commandments of the Lord, thus bringing their blood upon me.

Without a direct commandment by the Lord, I will not say anything about how the fellowships are to govern themselves. I will instead preach the Lord and his gospel, that each member of each fellowship may govern themselves according to the Holy Ghost, which teaches them all that they should know and do.

Without a direct commandment by the Lord, I will not speak of priesthood, ordination, rites, or ordinances, thus enabling pretenders who seek for power and authority, but I will instead preach the Lord and his gospel that men may, through their belief in his words and their repentance from all their sins and the exercise of exceeding faith, become the Lord’s priests and be sent to minister and teach in spirit and in truth and in power, receiving their instructions directly from him instead of men.

Because the G&S must be adopted by mutual agreement, each of us is individually responsible for whatever we agree to adopt as though we individually had both written it and sent it out to the world ourselves. The gospel of Jesus Christ as contained in The Rock of Jesus Christ, or its functional equivalent, is what I am willing both to follow and to send out under my own name to the world to bless, benefit, and inform them.

We are to be restoring the original faith of Christ, and preparing a people to survive the coming of the Lord in the glory of his Father, to dwell with him and the powers of heaven in Zion. Therefore let us preach to the world the gospel of Jesus Christ, his rock and his salvation, lest we commit the same errors as our fathers.

Jared Livesey