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.”

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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.