Monday, September 11, 2017

It Does Not Have to Be This Way

So, having unworthily entered into the covenant offered through Denver Snuffer on 9/3/17, I have bound myself to the Gentiles. I have therefore got an obligation “to assist all others who covenant to likewise accept this standard [the Book of Mormon and the scriptures] to govern their lives to keep the Lord’s will[.]”

Will you who have accepted the covenant, worthily, accept my unworthy assistance? If so, I offer this to you.

It has come to my attention that some who have agreed to the covenant have begun deriding or scorning or mocking those whom they once fellowshipped with who did not enter into the covenant. Some of these being mocked did not agree to the covenant, having abstained solely because they could not answer question 1 in the affirmative, and decided to maintain their integrity rather than compromise themselves before God, angels, and men. Unlike me, I might add, who said “yes” that I knew the covenant was from God when, in retrospect, I only believed - strongly enough to drive to Boise, but only believed nonetheless. If anyone deserves mockery and scorn and derision, it is me.

These others who maintained their integrity, not answering “yes” for the sole reason that they could not answer question 1 in the affirmative, yet believe that the covenant is of God, deserve neither scorn nor mockery nor derision for their righteousness in this thing. Question 1 was, for these, a test of integrity which they have passed.

This division doesn’t have to be this way.

We read:
Alma 1
21 Now there was a strict law among the people of the church, that there should not any man, belonging to the church, arise and persecute those that did not belong to the church, and that there should be no persecution among themselves.
22 Nevertheless, there were many among them who began to be proud, and began to contend warmly with their adversaries, even unto blows; yea, they would smite one another with their fists.
23 Now this was in the second year of the reign of Alma, and it was a cause of much affliction to the church; yea, it was the cause of much trial with the church.
24 For the hearts of many were hardened, and their names were blotted out, that they were remembered no more among the people of God. And also many withdrew themselves from among them.

Those were the proud who professed to have covenanted with God. What of the rest?

25 Now this was a great trial to those that did stand fast in the faith; nevertheless, they were steadfast and immovable in keeping the commandments of God, and they bore with patience the persecution which was heaped upon them.
26 And when the priests left their labor to impart the word of God unto the people, the people also left their labors to hear the word of God. And when the priest had imparted unto them the word of God they all returned again diligently unto their labors; and the priest, not esteeming himself above his hearers, for the preacher was no better than the hearer, neither was the teacher any better than the learner; and thus they were all equal, and they did all labor, every man according to his strength.
27 And they did impart of their substance, every man according to that which he had, to the poor, and the needy, and the sick, and the afflicted; and they did not wear costly apparel, yet they were neat and comely.
28 And thus they did establish the affairs of the church; and thus they began to have continual peace again, notwithstanding all their persecutions.

Between these two groups, which one was in spirit and in truth the people of God?

And we see, again, in Helaman:

Helaman 3
33 And in the fifty and first year of the reign of the judges there was peace also, save it were the pride which began to enter into the church—not into the church of God, but into the hearts of the people who professed to belong to the church of God—
34 And they were lifted up in pride, even to the persecution of many of their brethren. Now this was a great evil, which did cause the more humble part of the people to suffer great persecutions, and to wade through much affliction.
35 Nevertheless they did fast and pray oft, and did wax stronger and stronger in their humility, and firmer and firmer in the faith of Christ, unto the filling their souls with joy and consolation, yea, even to the purifying and the sanctification of their hearts, which sanctification cometh because of their yielding their hearts unto God.
36 And it came to pass that the fifty and second year ended in peace also, save it were the exceedingly great pride which had gotten into the hearts of the people; and it was because of their exceedingly great riches and their prosperity in the land; and it did grow upon them from day to day.

How did this end?

Helaman 4
11 Now this great loss of the Nephites, and the great slaughter which was among them, would not have happened had it not been for their wickedness and their abomination which was among them; yea, and it was among those also who professed to belong to the church of God.
12 And it was because of the pride of their hearts, because of their exceeding riches, yea, it was because of their oppression to the poor, withholding their food from the hungry, withholding their clothing from the naked, and smiting their humble brethren upon the cheek, making a mock of that which was sacred, denying the spirit of prophecy and of revelation, murdering, plundering, lying, stealing, committing adultery, rising up in great contentions, and deserting away into the land of Nephi, among the Lamanites—
13 And because of this their great wickedness, and their boastings in their own strength, they were left in their own strength; therefore they did not prosper, but were afflicted and smitten, and driven before the Lamanites, until they had lost possession of almost all their lands.

They lost almost all their lands for their lying, smiting their humble brethren, contention, boasting in their own strength, oppressing the poor, and withholding their food and clothing from the needy - they personally passed up the poor, despite the commandments of God to the contrary.

We are supposed to be forming a society which replicates heaven on Earth, being ultimately of one heart and one mind, but how can we have that society when we are so insecure in our position before God that we mock, scorn, and deride those who have declined to compromise their integrity before God?

Is not mockery, scorn, and derision of outsiders the behavior of the denizens of the great and spacious building recounted in the Book of Mormon?

1 Nephi 8
26 And I also cast my eyes round about, and beheld, on the other side of the river of water, a great and spacious building; and it stood as it were in the air, high above the earth.
27 And it was filled with people, both old and young, both male and female; and their manner of dress was exceedingly fine; and they were in the attitude of mocking and pointing their fingers towards those who had come at and were partaking of the fruit.
28 And after they had tasted of the fruit they were ashamed, because of those that were scoffing at them; and they fell away into forbidden paths and were lost.
29 And now I, Nephi, do not speak all the words of my father.
30 But, to be short in writing, behold, he saw other multitudes pressing forward; and they came and caught hold of the end of the rod of iron; and they did press their way forward, continually holding fast to the rod of iron, until they came forth and fell down and partook of the fruit of the tree.
31 And he also saw other multitudes feeling their way towards that great and spacious building.
32 And it came to pass that many were drowned in the depths of the fountain; and many were lost from his view, wandering in strange roads.
33 And great was the multitude that did enter into that strange building. And after they did enter into that building they did point the finger of scorn at me and those that were partaking of the fruit also; but we heeded them not.
34 These are the words of my father: For as many as heeded them, had fallen away.

We don’t read that the humble returned mockery for mockery, nor scorn for scorn, but simply that they “heeded [the mockers and the scorners] not.”

If we are the Lord’s people, and have that perfect surety of knowledge of the foundation upon which we stand, then had we not ought to seek to bring others to this same knowledge, rather than divide those who have not compromised their integrity from our company and ostracize them? And how else can one bring them to the same surety of knowledge which one has except by being an example of believers, as we see in the Book of Mormon?

Thursday, September 7, 2017

Jesus as the God of Nature

As the song says, “Everybody Wants to Rule the World,” but who wants to be the Earth?

In that light, consider the following passages:

D&C 88:1-13
1 Verily, thus saith the Lord unto you who have assembled yourselves together to receive his will concerning you:
2 Behold, this is pleasing unto your Lord, and the angels rejoice over you; the alms of your prayers have come up into the ears of the Lord of Sabaoth, and are recorded in the book of the names of the sanctified, even them of the celestial world.
3 Wherefore, I now send upon you another Comforter, even upon you my friends, that it may abide in your hearts, even the Holy Spirit of promise; which other Comforter is the same that I promised unto my disciples, as is recorded in the testimony of John.
4 This Comforter is the promise which I give unto you of eternal life, even the glory of the celestial kingdom;
5 Which glory is that of the church of the Firstborn, even of God, the holiest of all, through Jesus Christ his Son—
6 He that ascended up on high, as also he descended below all things, in that he comprehended all things, that he might be in all and through all things, the light of truth;
7 Which truth shineth. This is the light of Christ. As also he is in the sun, and the light of the sun, and the power thereof by which it was made.
8 As also he is in the moon, and is the light of the moon, and the power thereof by which it was made;
9 As also the light of the stars, and the power thereof by which they were made;
10 And the earth also, and the power thereof, even the earth upon which you stand.
11 And the light which shineth, which giveth you light, is through him who enlighteneth your eyes, which is the same light that quickeneth your understandings;
12 Which light proceedeth forth from the presence of God to fill the immensity of space—
13 The light which is in all things, which giveth life to all things, which is the law by which all things are governed, even the power of God who sitteth upon his throne, who is in the bosom of eternity, who is in the midst of all things.

41 He comprehendeth all things, and all things are before him, and all things are round about him; and he is above all things, and in all things, and is through all things, and is round about all things; and all things are by him, and of him, even God, forever and ever.
42 And again, verily I say unto you, he hath given a law unto all things, by which they move in their times and their seasons;
43 And their courses are fixed, even the courses of the heavens and the earth, which comprehend the earth and all the planets.
44 And they give light to each other in their times and in their seasons, in their minutes, in their hours, in their days, in their weeks, in their months, in their years—all these are one year with God, but not with man.
45 The earth rolls upon her wings, and the sun giveth his light by day, and the moon giveth her light by night, and the stars also give their light, as they roll upon their wings in their glory, in the midst of the power of God.
46 Unto what shall I liken these kingdoms, that ye may understand?
47 Behold, all these are kingdoms, and any man who hath seen any or the least of these hath seen God moving in his majesty and power.
48 I say unto you, he hath seen him; nevertheless, he who came unto his own was not comprehended.

As if to say we see him but do not comprehend that it is him.

Mosiah 2
20 I say unto you, my brethren, that if you should render all the thanks and praise which your whole soul has power to possess, to that God who has created you, and has kept and preserved you, and has caused that ye should rejoice, and has granted that ye should live in peace one with another—
21 I say unto you that if ye should serve him who has created you from the beginning, and is preserving you from day to day, by lending you breath, that ye may live and move and do according to your own will, and even supporting you from one moment to another—I say, if ye should serve him with all your whole souls yet ye would be unprofitable servants.
22 And behold, all that he requires of you is to keep his commandments; and he has promised you that if ye would keep his commandments ye should prosper in the land; and he never doth vary from that which he hath said; therefore, if ye do keep his commandments he doth bless you and prosper you.
23 And now, in the first place, he hath created you, and granted unto you your lives, for which ye are indebted unto him.
24 And secondly, he doth require that ye should do as he hath commanded you; for which if ye do, he doth immediately bless you; and therefore he hath paid you. And ye are still indebted unto him, and are, and will be, forever and ever; therefore, of what have ye to boast?
25 And now I ask, can ye say aught of yourselves? I answer you, Nay. Ye cannot say that ye are even as much as the dust of the earth; yet ye were created of the dust of the earth; but behold, it belongeth to him who created you.

Our bodies are not ours, but his, and he is in and through them, as he is in all things, sustaining us in our bodies moment by moment - no distant clockmaker God is he. We do not live in the naturalistic / materialistic universe we are propagandized with in our schools.

1 Nephi 19:7-17
7 For the things which some men esteem to be of great worth, both to the body and soul, others set at naught and trample under their feet. Yea, even the very God of Israel do men trample under their feet; I say, trample under their feet but I would speak in other words—they set him at naught, and hearken not to the voice of his counsels.
8 And behold he cometh, according to the words of the angel, in six hundred years from the time my father left Jerusalem.
9 And the world, because of their iniquity, shall judge him to be a thing of naught; wherefore they scourge him, and he suffereth it; and they smite him, and he suffereth it. Yea, they spit upon him, and he suffereth it, because of his loving kindness and his long-suffering towards the children of men.
10 And the God of our fathers, who were led out of Egypt, out of bondage, and also were preserved in the wilderness by him, yea, the God of Abraham, and of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, yieldeth himself, according to the words of the angel, as a man, into the hands of wicked men, to be lifted up, according to the words of Zenock, and to be crucified, according to the words of Neum, and to be buried in a sepulchre, according to the words of Zenos, which he spake concerning the three days of darkness, which should be a sign given of his death unto those who should inhabit the isles of the sea, more especially given unto those who are of the house of Israel.
11 For thus spake the prophet: The Lord God surely shall visit all the house of Israel at that day, some with his voice, because of their righteousness, unto their great joy and salvation, and others with the thunderings and the lightnings of his power, by tempest, by fire, and by smoke, and vapor of darkness, and by the opening of the earth, and by mountains which shall be carried up.
12 And all these things must surely come, saith the prophet Zenos. And the rocks of the earth must rend; and because of the groanings of the earth, many of the kings of the isles of the sea shall be wrought upon by the Spirit of God, to exclaim: The God of nature suffers. [The Spirit speaketh the truth and lieth not (Jacob 4:13)]
13 And as for those who are at Jerusalem, saith the prophet, they shall be scourged by all people, because they crucify the God of Israel, and turn their hearts aside, rejecting signs and wonders, and the power and glory of the God of Israel.
14 And because they turn their hearts aside, saith the prophet, and have despised the Holy One of Israel, they shall wander in the flesh, and perish, and become a hiss and a byword, and be hated among all nations.
15 Nevertheless, when that day cometh, saith the prophet, that they no more turn aside their hearts against the Holy One of Israel, then will he remember the covenants which he made to their fathers.
16 Yea, then will he remember the isles of the sea; yea, and all the people who are of the house of Israel, will I gather in, saith the Lord, according to the words of the prophet Zenos, from the four quarters of the earth.
17 Yea, and all the earth shall see the salvation of the Lord, saith the prophet; every nation, kindred, tongue and people shall be blessed.

Jesus is the God of Nature.

3 Nephi 11:14 Arise and come forth unto me, that ye may thrust your hands into my side, and also that ye may feel the prints of the nails in my hands and in my feet, that ye may know that I am the God of Israel, and the God of the whole earth, and have been slain for the sins of the world.

So what does this passage imply?

Mosiah 3:19 For the natural man is an enemy to God, and has been from the fall of Adam, and will be, forever and ever, unless he yields to the enticings of the Holy Spirit, and putteth off the natural man and becometh a saint through the atonement of Christ the Lord, and becometh as a child, submissive, meek, humble, patient, full of love, willing to submit to all things which the Lord seeth fit to inflict upon him, even as a child doth submit to his father.

If Jesus is the God of Nature, what would it mean to submit to all things he sees fit to inflict upon us?

Do not the ways of Babylon cut us off from Nature? Isn't controlling and exploiting Nature (not to mention each other) the point of science, medicine, and engineering? Of interest in this context is that it seems the Lord confounded the languages at Babel to slow down man's technological advancement (Genesis 11:6).

Maybe it's time to rethink our approach to Nature, as well as each other, in the light of his commandments and teachings. Can Zion be controlling and exploitative of Nature and each other, as Babylon is?

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

I Get to Embarrass Myself Again

So what do you do if you, like me, discover that you have entered into a covenant that you did not qualify for, and were acknowledged by God as having entered in?

You execute your end of the bargain to the utmost of your ability, even until you are crushed under it.

You can't unring the bell.

Monday, September 4, 2017

A Confession to My Readers

Yesterday, September 3, 2017, in Boise, when the covenant was read and we were asked to stand and say “yes” if we were willing to accept it, I was already standing due to lack of seating, and I said “yes” when I should not have said anything at all.

I should not have said anything at all because I cannot answer question 1 in the affirmative in truth and holiness.  I thought I could truthfully answer “yes” without requiring revelation form God on the matter based on reasoning which lacks foundation in truth.  I reasoned to myself that because the covenant document explicitly invites to do good, and to persuade to believe in Christ, therefore I did know with a perfect knowledge that it was from God.  This reasoning misapplies Moroni 7:16.

A previous post, “Judging the Covenant,” is truthful, but I personally did not give sufficient weight to the word “may,” as in “ye may know with a perfect knowledge it is of God,” which I rendered as “have power to,” following the 1828 Webster’s Dictionary - it can also be rendered “are permitted to.”

Just because I may know with a perfect knowledge that the covenant document is of God does not mean I do know with a perfect knowledge that the covenant document is of God.  Moroni 7:16 seems to be giving guidance on what things we are encouraged to inquire of the Lord about.  And God did not answer me when I prayed about it.  “No answer” is not “yes,” and it is also not “no.”  It is just no answer.  Therefore, I presently do not know the covenant document to come from God.  Therefore I had no foundation of truth - no surety of knowledge, and no confidence.  Therefore I should have said nothing.

Therefore, I confess before men, angels, and God, that I did say “yes” when I should have said nothing.  I do not know how else to repent of this except to say that to those who have entered into the covenant provided through Denver Snuffer, they should consider me as not being part of that covenant.  I failed in a test of personal integrity pertaining to question 1.  I lied by saying “yes.”  I repent me of this lie by making the truth known.

This applies to me only.  I make no representation about whether or not others were indeed answered of God.  I make no representation about whether the covenant document is, or is not, from God.

I have a second sin to confess.  There is an innocent man who did not say “yes” to the covenant, having not received confirmation from God concerning it, and whom I derided for not following my own corrupt and false reasoning.  In deriding him, I engaged in the same pattern of behavior displayed by those who occupy the great and spacious building in 1 Nephi 8, for the same reason: mockery / scorn / derision is a way of manipulating others into agreement when you are unable to persuade from a foundation of truth.

Thus in deriding him I demonstrated my pride and my lack of foundation in truth.  He was right and I was wrong.  He passed the test of personal integrity where I failed.

Friday, August 25, 2017

A Dream

In a dream, I was socializing with a group that included a lawyer of my acquaintance and was talking about the Golden Rule. The lawyer said, “come and make me a fence.” I asked, “do you want a fence?” (He didn’t answer, indicating this was a challenge, not a sincere request.) Smiling, I said, “maybe I’ll come make you a nice barbed wire fence with some razor wire on top and a couple of watch towers - I can imagine you having a use for such a thing” (because this lawyer has a lot of children).

I then explained, in case anyone truly didn’t understand how to apply the Golden Rule, “but that’s not how the Golden Rule works. This is how it works: do you want someone to come make you a fence? Then you should go and make someone else a fence. See? That’s how the Golden Rule works. The Golden Rule is not about sticking it to other people to benefit yourself, but about sticking it to yourself for the benefit of others.”

I could see by their faces that they weren’t keen on serving others as the law requires, but wanted to see some benefit to themselves in it, so I said, “so what’s the point of the Golden Rule? Well, there is a point to it, but you have to obey the Golden Rule for a long time before you find out what it is. Or, maybe not - I suppose you could find out quickly.”

=====

I wanted to explain the point of the Golden Rule fully in my dream, but I knew my words would not get it across to their understanding, for the point of it must be revealed and be felt to be understood, and God only shows it to you after you obey. “For ye receive no witness until after the trial of your faith.”

Monday, August 14, 2017

Judging the Covenant

Moroni 7
12 Wherefore, all things which are good cometh of God; and that which is evil cometh of the devil; for the devil is an enemy unto God, and fighteth against him continually, and inviteth and enticeth to sin, and to do that which is evil continually.

13 But behold, that which is of God inviteth and enticeth to do good continually; wherefore, every thing which inviteth and enticeth to do good, and to love God, and to serve him, is inspired of God.

14 Wherefore, take heed, my beloved brethren, that ye do not judge that which is evil to be of God, or that which is good and of God to be of the devil.

15 For behold, my brethren, it is given unto you to judge, that ye may know good from evil; and the way to judge is as plain, that ye may know with a perfect knowledge, as the daylight is from the dark night.

16 For behold, the Spirit of Christ is given to every man, that he may know good from evil; wherefore, I show unto you the way to judge; for every thing which inviteth to do good, and to persuade to believe in Christ, is sent forth by the power and gift of Christ; wherefore ye may know with a perfect knowledge it is of God.

17 But whatsoever thing persuadeth men to do evil, and believe not in Christ, and deny him, and serve not God, then ye may know with a perfect knowledge it is of the devil; for after this manner doth the devil work, for he persuadeth no man to do good, no, not one; neither do his angels; neither do they who subject themselves unto him.

18 And now, my brethren, seeing that ye know the light by which ye may judge, which light is the light of Christ, see that ye do not judge wrongfully; for with that same judgment which ye judge ye shall also be judged.
Let us focus once again on verse 16, which is the key to the matter of righteous judgement, which may be restated as follows:
Anything that invites you both to do good and also to persuade others to believe in Christ - meaning to trust in him, to rely upon him, or, in other words, to keep his commandments in every circumstance - is sent forth by the power and gift of Christ, therefore you have power to know with a perfect knowledge that it is of God.
Does the covenant invite one to do good and also invite one to persuade others to continually keep the commandments of Jesus Christ?
First: Do you believe all the words of the Lord which have been read to you this day, and know them to be true and from the Lord Jesus Christ who has condescended to provide them to you, and do you covenant with Him to cease to do evil and to seek to continually do good?

Second: Do you have faith in these things and receive the scriptures approved by the Lord as a standard to govern you in your daily walk in life, to accept the obligations established by the Book of Mormon as a covenant and to use the scriptures to correct yourselves and to guide your words, thoughts and deeds?

Third: Do you agree to assist all others who covenant to likewise accept this standard to govern their lives to keep the Lord’s will, to succor those who stand in need, to lighten the burdens of your brothers and sisters whenever you are able, and to help care for the poor among you?

Fourth: And do you covenant to seek to become of one heart with those who seek the Lord to establish His righteousness?
And to those who assent to these things, these are the instructions they are to receive:
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.

But if you do not honor me, nor seek to recover my people Israel, nor teach your children to honor me, nor care for the poor among you, nor help lighten one another’s burdens, then you have no promise from me and I will raise up other people who will honor and serve me and give unto them this land, and if they repent I will abide with them.

The time is now far spent, therefore labor with me and do not forsake my covenant to perform it; study my words and let them be the standard for your faith and I will add thereto many treasures. Love one another and you will be mine, and I will preserve you, and raise you up, and abide with you for ever.
These things seem to me to conform to the standard of righteous judgement given in Moroni 7:16 as though they had been written with that standard in mind. It seems to me that this was not intended to be a hard judgement call to make.

The document ought to be taken on its own terms, despite the clamoring of the opposition: are the obligations contained in this covenant according to righteousness, which is justice and mercy, or, in other words, obedience and mercy, and will you do them? Are the promises things you desire to obtain?

Sunday, August 13, 2017

For They Say, and Do Not

JST Matthew 5
15 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 thenceforth be good for nothing, but to be cast out and to be trodden underfoot of men.
16 Verily, verily, I say unto you, I give unto you to be the light of the world; a city that is set on a hill cannot be hid.
17 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.
18 Therefore, let your light so shine before this world, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father who is in heaven.
19 Think not that I am come to destroy the law or the prophets; I am not come to destroy, but to fulfill.
20 For verily, I say unto you, Heaven and earth must pass away, but one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law until all be fulfilled.
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.
22 For I say unto you, except your righteousness shall exceed that of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven.
The sin of the scribes and Pharisees is that they said, but did not do.
JST Matthew 23
1 Then spake Jesus to the multitude and to his disciples, saying, The scribes and the Pharisees sit in Moses' seat.
2 All, therefore, whatsoever they bid you observe, they will make you observe and do; for they are ministers of the law, and they make themselves your judges. But do not ye after their works; for they say, and do not.
And worse, they did not even say, but substituted their own traditions, wisdom, precepts, and commandments in the place of the commandments of God:
JST Mark 7
1 Then came together unto him, the Pharisees and certain of the scribes, which came from Jerusalem.
2 And when they saw some of his disciples eat bread with defiled (that is to say with unwashen) hands, they found fault.
3 For the Pharisees and all the Jews, except they wash hands oft, eat not, holding the tradition of the elders.
4 And when they come from the market, except they wash their bodies, they eat not.
5 And many other things there be, which they have received to hold, as the washing of cups, and pots, brazen vessels, and of tables.
6 And the Pharisees and scribes asked him, Why walk not thy disciples according to the tradition of the elders, but eat bread with unwashen hands?
7 He answered and said unto them, Well hath Isaiah prophesied of you hypocrites, as it is written, This people honoreth me with their lips, but their heart is far from me. Howbeit, in vain do they worship me, teaching the doctrines and commandments of men.
8 For laying aside the commandment of God, ye hold the tradition of men: the washing of pots and of cups; and many other such like things ye do.
9 And he said unto them, Yea, altogether ye reject the commandment of God, that ye may keep your own tradition.
10 Full well is it written of you by the prophets, whom ye have rejected.
11 They testified these things of a truth, and their blood shall be upon you.
12 Ye have kept not the ordinances of God; for Moses said, Honor thy father and thy mother; and whoso curseth father or mother, let him die the death of the transgressor, as it is written in your law; but ye keep not the law.
13 Ye say, If a man shall say to his father or mother, Corban, that is to say, a gift, by whatsoever thou mightest be profited by me, he is of age. And ye suffer him no more to do aught for his father or his mother, making the word of God of none effect through your tradition, which ye have delivered; and many such like things do ye.
The scribes and Pharisees damned those who hearkened to them.
JST Matt 23:12 Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For ye compass sea and land to make one proselyte; and when he is made, you make him twofold more the child of hell than he was before, like unto yourselves.
Salvation is contingent upon keeping the commandments of God.
Mosiah 15
26 But behold, and fear, and tremble before God, for ye ought to tremble; for the Lord redeemeth none such that rebel against him and die in their sins; yea, even all those that have perished in their sins ever since the world began, that have wilfully rebelled against God, that have known the commandments of God, and would not keep them; these are they that have no part in the first resurrection.
27 Therefore ought ye not to tremble? For salvation cometh to none such; for the Lord hath redeemed none such; yea, neither can the Lord redeem such; for he cannot deny himself; for he cannot deny justice when it has its claim.
Again:
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.
22 For I say unto you, except your righteousness shall exceed that of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter into 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.
Therefore, if you break one of the least of the commandments in the Sermon on the Mount, and teach men to break it, you shall bind the Lord to his word and you shall in no wise be saved in the kingdom of heaven.

Here are four commandments in the Sermon that men break, and teach others to break.

1. Give to every man who asks (Luke 6:30; Matt 5:42; 3 Nephi 12:42).
2. Do not ask for your stuff back from anyone who takes it (Luke 6:30).
3. Lend to everyone who asks, do not ask for it back (Luke 6:30), and hope that you do not get paid back (Luke 6:34-35; Matt 5:42; 3 Nephi 12:42).
4. Do not build up storage for yourself in this world of anything which can be corrupted or stolen, but instead give your excess substance to the poor (Matt 6:19-20; 3 Nephi 13:19-20).

The Lord did not command “give only to them in need.” He commanded that we give to every man that asks. Those who therefore do not give to every man that asks, and teach that the Lord’s commandment - give to every man that asks - should be construed as “give only to them in need” are thereby binding the Lord to his word and shall not be saved in the kingdom of heaven unless they repent.

Remember: the sin of the scribes and Pharisees was that they said, and did not do.

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

"I Do Not Want What I Say I Want."

The scribes and Pharisees, being closet atheists, affected to be believers unto men, and pretended like they would not commit the least sin while transgressing the whole of the law, said the Lord.  Because there was, to them, no God, they felt free to preach their own wisdom, learning, precepts, and commandments for popularity and money, since the scriptures were false: God did not give the law and commandments to Moses, and they would face no final accounting of their handling of God's law and commandments nor for their teachings to the people.

Of course, the common people, who were the majority of the scribes' and Pharisees' paying audience, did believe in God, and so the priestcrafters had to step carefully, always being seen to be on the side of the most popular opinions - whenever they were unable to control the popular perception of the meaning and course of events, or "the narrative."  Because the majority of the people seemed to think Jesus a prophet, they greeted Jesus before the people as "master," or "rabbi."  And their alterations to the law - eventually compiled in the Talmud (their equivalent of the LDS Church Handbook of Instructions) - came by mischaracterizing and deliberately interpreting the law and commandments of God as draconian, unmerciful, or nonsensical, and substituting their own wisdom and commandments in the place thereof, always in ways to make themselves appear more merciful / wise / just than God, allow for the rich to keep their mammon in contradiction to the commandments (the rich, you see, pay their preachers more per capita than the poor), and advance their own power in the community.  "Believe it not; do it not" was the sum of their teachings, "... but do what we say instead; we'll show you how to succeed in the world."

As an aside, the Pharisees were the leftists / progressives / "living document" nonliteralists of their day.  The Sadducees were the right / conservatives / traditionalists / literalists (they didn't believe in the resurrection because it wasn't clearly taught in the scriptures they had).  The Essenes would have roughly corresponded to today's "alt-right" movement.

However, consider the problem the Pharisees' interpretation of the law and commandments of God posed for them, if their teachings were taken literally.  God, if we take the scribes and Pharisees seriously, is in effect saying "I do not want what I say I want."  That is, God is a liar: nothing he says is to be taken literally... unless it suits your purposes to take him literally.

Why give commandments at all, or even communicate, then, one might ask.  And that is an excellent question, one that has only one answer - to such, there is no God.  The law and commandments are simply foolish traditions handed down because of the childishness of the fathers. To such, religion is a huge scam for money and power, selling an imaginary product to ignorant and superstitious rubes, and why not play the game to the hilt since there is no God save it be mammon?

We Have Learned Nothing

Then:

Moses 7
45 When shall the day of the Lord come? When shall the blood of the Righteous be shed, that all they that mourn may be sanctified and have eternal life?
46 And the Lord said: It shall be in the meridian of time, in the days of wickedness and vengeance.

2 Nephi 10:5 But because of priestcrafts and iniquities, they at Jerusalem will stiffen their necks against him, that he be crucified.

Now:

Moses 7
59 And Enoch beheld the Son of Man ascend up unto the Father; and he called unto the Lord, saying: Wilt thou not come again upon the earth?
60 And the Lord said unto Enoch: As I live, even so will I come in the last days, in the days of wickedness and vengeance[.]

D&C 33: And my vineyard has become corrupted every whit; and there is none which doeth good save it be a few; and they err in many instances because of priestcrafts, all having corrupt minds.

The Lord comes in days of wickedness, vengeance, and priestcrafts.

What Are Priestcrafts?

2 Nephi 26
29 He commandeth that there shall be no priestcrafts; for, behold, priestcrafts are that men preach and set themselves up for a light unto the world, that they may get gain and praise of the world; but they seek not the welfare of Zion.
30 Behold, the Lord hath forbidden this thing; wherefore, the Lord God hath given a commandment that all men should have charity, which charity is love. And except they should have charity they were nothing. Wherefore, if they should have charity they would not suffer the laborer in Zion to perish.
31 But the laborer in Zion shall labor for Zion; for if they labor for money they shall perish.

Alma 1:16 Nevertheless, this did not put an end to the spreading of priestcraft through the land; for there were many who loved the vain things of the world, and they went forth preaching false doctrines; and this they did for the sake of riches and honor.

More Simply:

Priestcrafts are preaching one’s own wisdom, precepts, and commandments for money and popularity.

Priestcrafts and iniquities caused they at Jerusalem to stiffen their necks towards the Lord and crucify him. Who were the priestcrafters - the paid preachers and inspirational / religious / legal scholars - during the Lord’s ministry?

The scribes and Pharisees, of whom the Lord said “hypocrites!” Of whom the Lord said “they say, and do not.” Of whom the Lord said “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.”

It is an error to view the scribes and Pharisees as the overly-literalistic, over-zealous interpreters and enforcers of the commandments of God. The scribes and Pharisees were closet atheists who made a pretense to men of being believers while not keeping the commandments of God, affecting to be wise men and teachers from God for money and popularity.

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

The Simplified Gospel

The ways humanity tries to bring about justice, peace, and unity do not and cannot work. History and current events are proof that competing against, controlling, or manipulating others always results in disunity, conflict, injustice, and inequality. Yet competition, force, and manipulation are how humanity has chosen to govern itself. Jesus offers us the sole alternative to humanity’s self-destructive ways: love.

The law of God is this: every last thing you wish others would do to you, do those exact same things to them. This law defines the behavior of perfect love, which is called “charity.” God’s law is the true moral and ethical standard of all humankind, being written into every conscience, and it is the definition of “good.” Behavior that falls short of this law is not good and produces both guilt and conflict with others.

The purpose of the law of God is to end conflict between people. Those who willingly keep His law may joyfully and peacefully live together as equals, both here and now, and forever in the eternal world. The commandments that Jesus gave us in the Sermon on the Mount are how we are to obey the law of God through our works and end our conflicts with others.

Love, the feeling which makes us want to do what the law of God commands, is given to us by God. Charity is Jesus’s nature, meaning He feels perfect love towards everyone. Charity is the nature of all those who inherit God’s kingdom with Jesus. Jesus’s commandments in the Sermon on the Mount are the actions which those who have charity do by nature.

“Sin” is intent or action which falls short of the law of God, such as giving in to lust and doing to others what we do not wish others would do to us. “Repent” means to change one’s mind, to reconsider, or to relent, all of which implies a willing change in one’s behavior.

Any who will believe Jesus’s words in the Sermon on the Mount as literally as small children believe their parents’ words, and repent of all their sins, and be baptized by one of His sent servants, shall be visited by God with fire and with the Holy Ghost and shall receive a remission of their sins.

The visitation of the Holy Ghost changes our feelings so that we understand Jesus’s love and want to only do good. Then we are to do what Jesus commands until the end of our lives. We trust in Jesus to guide and comfort us in our trials and afflictions as we learn who and what He is by the things we suffer in obedience to His teachings. Just as one does not learn a new skill without practice, nobody can understand nor master the discipline of perfect love without doing its works. Doing the works Jesus commanded until we fully understand Him and freely agree to become what He is and to receive His nature from Him permanently as a gift by His grace so that we love everyone perfectly just like He does is what it means to be a disciple of Jesus.

Sunday, July 30, 2017

Temporal Equality

The Overarching Law

“All things whatsoever ye would that men should do unto you, do ye even so unto them.”

The Derived General Principle

D&C 49:20 But it is not given that one man should possess that which is above another, wherefore the world lieth in sin.

The General Commandment

“Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.”

The Specific Commandment

D&C 70:10, 14 And behold, none are exempt from this law who belong to the church of the living God … [I]n your temporal things you shall be equal, and this not grudgingly, otherwise the abundance of the manifestations of the Spirit shall be withheld.

The Specific Instructions To Carry It Out

“Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and thieves break through and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasure in heaven, where moth nor rust doth corrupt, neither do thieves break through and steal. But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal.”

Which is done like this: “Sell what you possess, and give the proceeds of the sale as alms to the poor, and you shall have treasure in heaven.”

“Give to every man that asketh thee, and of him who taketh thy goods ask them not again.”

“From him who would borrow of thee turn thou not away.”

“Lend [in context, even, or especially, to your enemies] hoping for nothing again [hoping you will not be paid back].”

The Observed Result

Among both the Christians in Acts, and the Nephites, “no man called anything his own.” The Nephites dwelt in peace until they apostatized - rejecting the commandments, starting up the economy again, and ultimately getting destroyed.

Saturday, July 29, 2017

"No Poor Among Us"

Jacob said thus:
Jacob 2:17-19
Think of your brethren like unto yourselves
and be familiar with all
and free with your substance
that they may be rich like unto you
but before ye seek for riches
seek ye for the kingdom of God
and after ye have obtained a hope in Christ ye shall obtain riches
if ye seek them
and ye will seek them for the intent to do good
to clothe the naked
and to feed the hungry
and to liberate the captive
and administer relief to the sick and the afflicted
It is possible for the rich to cast away their riches and humble themselves as their poor brethren.
It is possible to sell houses, distribute the proceeds of the sale directly to the poor, and take up rentals.
It is possible to sell expensive cars and buy used cars and distribute the difference directly to the poor.
It is possible to liquidate retirement funds and give the contents directly to the poor.
It is possible to liquidate one's toys, jewelry, or other non-necessities, and distribute the proceeds of the sale directly to the poor.
It is possible to think of your brethren like unto yourself and be familiar with all and free with your substance that they may be rich just like you: equal with you in temporal things.

It is possible to do these things in the fellowships.
D&C 104:13-16
For it is expedient that I, the Lord, should make every man accountable, as a steward over earthly blessings, which I have made and prepared for my creatures.
I, the Lord, stretched out the heavens, and built the earth, my very handiwork; and all things therein are mine.
And it is my purpose to provide for my saints, for all things are mine.
But it must needs be done in mine own way; and behold this is the way that I, the Lord, have decreed to provide for my saints, that the poor shall be exalted, in that the rich are made low.

Not to Excess, Neither by Extortion

Every businessman operates by two rules.

1. Take more than you need.
2. Keep it away from others except on profitable exchange.

These two rules have scriptural names. #1 is called "excess."  #2 is called "extortion."

God commands that we lay not up for ourself treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt and thieves break through and steal.

God commands that we shall give to every man that asks us.

God commands that we shall lend to all comers, even to our enemies, hoping we shall not be paid back, and not asking to be paid back.

God commands that we shall esteem our brethren as ourselves.

God commands that we shall do all things whatsoever we wish that others would do to us to others.

God commands that we shall be equal in our temporal things.

This is why you cannot serve God and mammon: everything you do in the service of mammon breaks the law and commandments of God.

And salvation is contingent upon keeping the commandments of God.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Love Your Enemies

D&C 58:26-33
for behold it is not meet
that I should command in all things
for he that is compelled in all things
the same is a slothful
and not a wise servant
wherefore he receiveth no reward 
verily I say
men should be anxiously engaged in a good cause
and do many things of their own free will
and bring to pass much righteousness
for the power is in them
wherein they are agents unto themselves
and inasmuch as men do good
they shall in nowise lose their reward 
but he that doeth not anything until he is commanded
and receiveth a commandment with doubtful heart
and keepeth it with slothfulness
the same is damned 
who am I
that made man
saith the Lord
that will hold him guiltless
that obeys not my commandments
who am I
saith the Lord
that have promised
and have not fulfilled 
I command
and men obey not
I revoke
and they receive not the blessing 
then they say in their hearts
this is not the work of the Lord
for his promises are not fulfilled
but wo unto such
for their reward lurketh beneath
and not from above
The Lord has commanded, in triplicate, that we shall give to every man that asks (Luke 6:30; Matthew 5:42; 3 Nephi 12:42).  He did not command that we should give only when moved upon by the Spirit, for those who must be micromanaged or directly commanded in the keeping of his law and commandments are slothful and unwise and doubt-filled servants who are damned and receive no reward from him.  Recall Joseph wrote: “[D]oubt and faith do not exist in the same person at the same time” (LoF 6).

How much and how, therefore, shall we give to those who ask, including our enemies?

Granting their request or demand for substance, so long as we have physical capacity to do so, is a commandment from the Lord.  Therefore, the question is really “how much and how shall we render to the Lord according to his commandment?”

Would you think, perhaps, “give the Lord whatever he asks whenever he asks however he asks” is a wise policy?  Might you even think, perhaps, “give the Lord more than what he asks, as a token of love for him?”

Therefore, how shall we give to every man who asks, even our enemies and our persecutors, who spitefully use us and ask us for all that we possess, even our very lives?  Even as we would to the Lord, for it is the Lord who asks it of us.
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
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
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
therefore I would that ye should be perfect even as I
or your Father who is in heaven is perfect

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

The Way to Judge

In “There Are Save Two Churches Only,” we learned these things:
D&C 10:67-68
Behold, this is my doctrine—whosoever repenteth and cometh unto me, the same is my church.  Whosoever declareth more or less than this, the same is not of me, but is against me; therefore he is not of my church.
3 Nephi 14:12 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.
3 Nephi 15:9-10
Behold, I am the law, and the light. Look unto me, and endure to the end, and ye shall live; for unto him that endureth to the end will I give eternal life.  Behold, I have given unto you the commandments; therefore keep my commandments. And this is the law and the prophets, for they truly testified of me.
2 Nephi 30:1-2
For behold, except ye shall keep the commandments of God ye shall all likewise perish; and because of the words which have been spoken ye need not suppose that the Gentiles are utterly destroyed.  For behold, I say unto you that as many of the Gentiles as will repent are the covenant people of the Lord; and as many of the Jews as will not repent shall be cast off; for the Lord covenanteth with none save it be with them that repent and believe in his Son, who is the Holy One of Israel.
1 Nephi 14:10 Behold there are save two churches only; the one is the church of the Lamb of God, and the other is the church of the devil; wherefore, whoso belongeth not to the church of the Lamb of God belongeth to that great church, which is the mother of abominations; and she is the whore of all the earth.
In “The Teaching that Characterizes the Church of God,” we learned this:
Mosiah 25:22 And thus, notwithstanding there being many churches they were all one church, yea, even the church of God; for there was nothing preached in all the churches except it were repentance and faith in God.
In “The Function of the Priesthood,” we learned this:
Alma 13:1, 6
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.  ...  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….
Mosiah 23:14 And also trust no one to be your teacher nor your minister, except he be a man of God, walking in his ways and keeping his commandments.
And we also learned, through multiple citations, by both precept and example, that the Ten Commandments given to Moses at Sinai are not sufficient, having been superseded by the Sermon on the Mount: 3 Nephi chapters 12 through 14.  The Sermon is the current law and commandments unto all mankind.  Torah does not suffice.

Now we get to the standard by which we may judge righteously.
Moroni 7:16-17
wherefore I show unto you the way to judge
for every thing which inviteth to do good
and to persuade to believe in Christ
is sent forth by the power and gift of Christ
wherefore ye may know with a perfect knowledge it is of God
but whatsoever thing persuadeth men to do evil
and believe not in Christ
and deny him
and serve not God
then ye may know with a perfect knowledge it is of the devil
Everything which invites to do good and to persuade to believe in Christ is of God.

Since the law of God - the Golden Rule - defines good, and since to believe in Christ means fully relying upon him, confidently trusting him, and therefore doing all things whatsoever he commands without regard to your relationships, your career, your reputation, your holdings, and even your own life, this is equivalent to saying everything which invites you to obey the law of God and to persuade others to keep commandments of Christ is of God.

Everything which persuades men to do evil and believe not in Christ and deny him and serve not God is of the devil.

Since anything short of the Golden Rule is evil, this is equivalent to saying everything which persuades men to do to others what they do not want others to do to them, and to not fully rely upon Christ, and to reject Christ or any of Christ’s commands, teachings, or sayings, and to not keep the commandments of God, is of the devil.

There is a theme to all of this, for there is but one purpose for which we are in this world.
Abraham 3:25 [W]e will prove them herewith, to see if they will do all things whatsoever the Lord their God shall command them[.]
That’s all we are here for: to do the commandments of God and endure in so doing until the end shall come, and to teach others to do likewise.
2 Nephi 26:27-32
[H]e hath commanded his people
that they should persuade all men to repentance

He commandeth
that there shall be no priestcrafts
for behold priestcrafts are that men preach
and set themselves up for a light unto the world
that they may get gain
and praise of the world
but they seek not the welfare of Zion.
[T]he Lord God hath given a commandment
that all men should have charity which charity is love.
[T]he laborer in Zion shall labor for Zion
for if they labor for money they shall perish
And again, the Lord God hath commanded
that men should not murder
that they should not lie
that they should not steal
that they should not take the name of the Lord their God in vain
that they should not envy
that they should not have malice
that they should not contend one with another
that they should not commit whoredoms
and that they should do none of these things
for whoso doeth them shall perish
And, again, speaking of the Sermon, the Lord said:
JST Matthew 5:21-22
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
for I say unto you
except your righteousness shall exceed that of the scribes
and Pharisees
ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven

Sunday, June 18, 2017

The Function of the Priesthood

In “There Are Save Two Churches Only,” we learned this:
D&C 10:67-68
Behold, this is my doctrine—whosoever repenteth and cometh unto me, the same is my church.  Whosoever declareth more or less than this, the same is not of me, but is against me; therefore he is not of my church.
And we learned this:
1 Nephi 14:10 And he said unto me: Behold there are save two churches only; the one is the church of the Lamb of God, and the other is the church of the devil; wherefore, whoso belongeth not to the church of the Lamb of God belongeth to that great church, which is the mother of abominations; and she is the whore of all the earth.
In “The Teaching that Characterizes the Church of God,” we learned that the teaching that characterizes the church of God is this:
Mosiah 25:22 And thus, notwithstanding there being many churches they were all one church, yea, even the church of God; for there was nothing preached in all the churches except it were repentance and faith in God.
This, of course, makes sense, since Christ also said this:
3 Nephi 11:31-40
Behold
verily verily I say unto you
I will declare unto you my 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

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

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

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

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
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
Repent means turning from one’s own ways and thoughts to voluntarily bringing one’s thoughts and behavior into conformity law and commandments of God, which one will only do if one fully trusts Jesus Christ, which is what it means to believe in him.  Who but they who believe Jesus, and believe in Jesus, trusting in him, who place their faith and confidence in him, would give to every man that asks, yield in any lawsuit without a fight, not store up temporal substance for himself in this world, but distribute his substance to the poor, &c., as Christ commanded in the Sermon?

Which brings us to the next question: if the church of Christ is defined as all they who repent and keep the commandments of Jesus as delivered in the Sermon, that being the current law and commandments of God unto all mankind, and come to him, and if there is nothing preached among those who are of the church of Christ save it be repentance and faith in Christ, then what is the function of the priesthood of the church of Christ?

The short answer is: the function of the priesthood of the church of Christ is to teach the commandments of God that men may come into his presence in the eternal world through obedience to them.  Today that entails teaching the Sermon, which is the strait and narrow way.

Alma 13:1, 6 - high priests are called for the purpose of teaching the commandments of God unto men that they may enter into the rest of God as the high priests have.

D&C 84:23-24 - the rest of God is the fulness of his glory, apparently including his presence (see also D&C 76:116-118).

D&C 22 - nobody can enter in at the strait gate by the Law of Moses, which has been done away.

1 Nephi 13:35-36, 40-41; 2 Nephi 25:27-30; Mosiah 13:27; Alma 13:24, 16:16-17, 25:15; 3 Nephi 1:24-25, 12:19, 12:46-47, 15:1-10; 4 Nephi 1:12; Luke 16:16 - the Law of Moses is fulfilled and done away; the Sermon is the law and commandments of God unto all mankind: the rock of Christ, and his salvation.
Mosiah 23:14 And also trust no one to be your teacher nor your minister, except he be a man of God, walking in his ways and keeping his commandments.
Since we have the commandments of Jesus in Luke 6:20-49, Matthew chapters 5 through 7, and 3 Nephi chapters 12 through 14, it is not hard to discern who walks in the ways of God and keeps his commandments, so long as we are ourselves walking in the ways of God and keeping his commandments.

Saturday, June 17, 2017

The Teaching that Characterizes the Church of God

In "There Are Save Two Churches Only," it was established that the church of Jesus Christ is whosoever repents and comes to him - all they who hear and believe his commands, turn from their disobedience and obey his commands, and endure in faith in keeping his commands until they come to him.

Another way to say that is that the church of Jesus is all they who repent and believe in him.

Because there are only two churches, all who are not of Jesus's church - all who hear and do not turn away from their disobedience to walk in his commandments and do not believe in him - are of the church of the devil, which church is the mother of abominations, the whore of all the earth.

The hallmark of the church of Christ, then, is not whether they corporately believe in this-or-that "doctrines," or mysteries, or follow any mortal leader.  Christ himself said that his sheep hear his voice and will not follow another.  Christ's church is identified by their behavior - adherence to an ideology - and not their beliefs, save it be in Christ.

Therefore what teaching characterizes the followers of Christ?
Mosiah 25:22 And thus, notwithstanding there being many churches they were all one church, yea, even the church of God; for there was nothing preached in all the churches except it were repentance and faith in God.
Nothing - not mysteries, nor "doctrines" - but repentance and faith in God: repent, believe in Christ, and endure in faith in the keeping of his commandments until the end: this is the teaching that characterizes the church of Jesus.

If this is the "Awakening," then let us therefore awaken to our state of awful wickedness and repent of all our sins and execute our Lord's commandments - just as literally and fully as we would like him to perform his promised blessings to us - and teach others to do likewise, that we may be his church and his people and not be cast out as salt that has lost its savor, to be trodden under foot of men.

There Are Save Two Churches Only

D&C 10:67-68
Behold, this is my doctrine—whosoever repenteth and cometh unto me, the same is my church.  Whosoever declareth more or less than this, the same is not of me, but is against me; therefore he is not of my church.
"Repent" means "to think differently, to reconsider, to change your mind," while "sin" means "to miss the mark."  We know from John that "sin is the transgression of the law," therefore we know that "the mark" is the law of God, and we know that the law is Jesus, as he said:
3 Nephi 14:12 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.
3 Nephi 15:9-10
Behold, I am the law, and the light. Look unto me, and endure to the end, and ye shall live; for unto him that endureth to the end will I give eternal life.  Behold, I have given unto you the commandments; therefore keep my commandments. And this is the law and the prophets, for they truly testified of me.
Therefore, "repent" means to freely and voluntarily bring your mind and behavior into conformity with the law and commandments of Christ.  If you want to enter his covenant and be his church, you must keep Jesus’s commandments if you know them.

These are the commandments of Jesus Christ (those put forth in parable are omitted).
  • Love your enemies (Luke 6:27, Luke 6:35, Matthew 5:44).
  • Do good to those that hate you (Luke 6:27, Matthew 5:44).
  • Bless those that curse you (Luke 6:28, Matthew 5:44).
  • Pray for those which spitefully use you and persecute you (Luke 6:28, Matthew 5:44).
  • If someone strikes you on one cheek, turn the other to him also (Luke 6:29, Matthew 5:39).
  • If someone takes away your cloak, do not tell him he cannot also take your coat (Luke 6:29).
  • If someone sues you at law and takes away your coat, let him have your cloak also (Matthew 5:40).
  • Give to every man that asks (Luke 6:30, Matthew 5:42).
  • Do not ask for your stuff back from whomever takes it (Luke 6:30).
  • Every last thing you wish people would do to you, do exactly those things to others (Luke 6:31, Matthew 7:12).
  • Do good (Luke 6:35).
  • Lend to all, hoping that you don't get paid back (Luke 6:35, Matthew 5:42) and don't ask to be paid back (Luke 6:30).
  • Be as merciful as God is (Luke 6:36).
  • Be perfect as your Father in heaven is perfect (Matthew 5:48).
  • Let your light so shine before men that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father in heaven (Matthew 5:16).
  • If you bring a gift to God to the altar of prayer and remember your brother has something against you, leave the gift, go and be reconciled with your brother, and then come and offer your gift (Matthew 5:23-24).
  • Placate your opponent swiftly while you are in conflict with him (Matthew 5:25-26).
  • 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 12:29-30).
  • Do not swear upon anything to enhance your credibility, but let your words be "yes, yes," or "no, no" (Matthew 5:33-37).
  • Do not resist evil - do not fight back, do not defend yourself (Matthew 5:39).
  • If anyone forces you to go a mile, go with him two miles (Matthew 5:41).
  • Do not do your alms for the purpose of others knowing you give alms (Matthew 6:1).
  • Do not do your alms for the purpose of getting people to think better of you (Matthew 6:2).
  • Keep your almsgiving a secret (Matthew 6:3-4).
  • Do not pray for the purpose of others seeing you pray (Matthew 6:5).
  • Pray in your closed closet in secret where nobody can see you (Matthew 6:6).
  • When you pray do not use empty repetitions, as is practiced in some Eastern religions (Matthew 6:7).
  • Pray according to this pattern: Our Father in heaven, may your name be hallowed; may your kingdom arrive, may your will be done on earth like it is done in heaven.  Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our debts to you just like we forgive our own debtors' debts to us.  And do not lead us into temptation, but rescue us from evil, for the kingdom and the power and the glory is yours forever.  Amen (Matthew 6:9-13; Luke 11:2-4).
  • When you fast do not make a public show about it so that people know you are fasting (Matthew 6:16).
  • When you fast anoint your head and wash your face so that nobody knows you are fasting (Matthew 6:17-18).
  • Do not store up for yourself in this world goods, nor clothes, nor food, nor money, nor any other resource which can be corrupted or stolen (Matthew 6:19).
  • Give your goods or clothes or food or money or other corruptible or steal-able resources that you possess more than your actual needs to those who have need of them (Matthew 6:20-21).
  • Do not concern yourself at all about what you shall eat, or what you shall drink (Matthew 6:25, 31).
  • Do not concern yourself at all about your body, such as what clothes you will wear (Matthew 6:25, 31).
  • Work for the kingdom of God, and for his righteousness, above all other considerations - that is, do and teach these commandments as your first concern - and food, drink, and clothing shall be given to you with no effort on your own part (Matthew 6:33).
  • Don't think about - do not plan for - tomorrow (Matthew 6:34).
  • Do not judge nor condemn, so that you will not be judged nor condemned (Matthew 7:1, Luke 6:37).
  • Forgive and you will be forgiven (Luke 6:37, Matthew 6:14).
  • Give and more will be given to you by people (Luke 6:38).
  • The same standard of judgement by which you judge how much you give to others shall be used to measure out what is given to you (Luke 6:38, Matthew 7:2)
  • Beware of false prophets (Matthew 7:15-20, Luke 6:43-45).
  • You do not get into the kingdom of God, and neither do you know him, without doing these things (Matthew 7:21-23).
  • If you do these things you build on his rock (Matthew 7:24-25, Luke 6:47-48).
  • If you do not do these things you do not build upon his rock (Matthew 7:26-27, Luke 6:49).
The Lord will covenant with you if you will repent and therefore keep his commandments always.
2 Nephi 30:1-2
For behold, except ye shall keep the commandments of God ye shall all likewise perish; and because of the words which have been spoken ye need not suppose that the Gentiles are utterly destroyed.  For behold, I say unto you that as many of the Gentiles as will repent are the covenant people of the Lord; and as many of the Jews as will not repent shall be cast off; for the Lord covenanteth with none save it be with them that repent and believe in his Son, who is the Holy One of Israel.
And if you elect to not repent and keep his commandments, since you now know them, then you are not of his church, but you are of the whore of all the earth.
1 Nephi 14:10 And he said unto me: Behold there are save two churches only; the one is the church of the Lamb of God, and the other is the church of the devil; wherefore, whoso belongeth not to the church of the Lamb of God belongeth to that great church, which is the mother of abominations; and she is the whore of all the earth.
A whore only wants you around as long as she’s profiting from you, and as long as she is profiting from you, she pretends to love you, but inwardly she despises you.  As soon as she stops profiting from your presence she wants you gone.  So also are they who are of her.
Ezekiel 33:31 They love with their mouths, but their hearts follow the profits.

Sunday, June 11, 2017

Obeying Orders

For those who were ever in the military: if your commanding officer were to give you a facially lawful general order that you were to perform certain specific actions every time certain specific conditions were fulfilled, you would have obeyed that order without fail so long as you had physical ability to obey, right?

If so, then can there be a principled objection to obeying the Savior's commandment that we shall give to every man that asks us, just to pick one commandment that is specific, actionable, categorical, and given in triplicate?  See Luke 6:30, Matthew 5:42, and 3 Nephi 12:42.

Is not the substance of the earth his?  And are you not merely a steward over your possessions?  Therefore what could possibly justify your insubordination to his command?

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.