Misbehavior, and casting out devils

There is a great story from Lucy Mack Smith’s history that we should learn from. She visits a relative who suffers from being agitated, what we would call “anxious”, and who says she cannot listen to the elders teach. Lucy discerns that the woman has a devil, and that she needs to have the devil cast out of her.

One of the great problems we are facing within the church is that the members are watching, listening, reading, and otherwise consuming things hour by hour which are so depraved and indecent that the spiritual consequences can be quite severe. And, at the same time, what those members are engaging in has become so common within the church that nobody actually thinks such people are doing anything particularly wrong at all.

Thus, we find ourselves with many, many members who are dealing with the devil exercising great power over them as a consequence of their indulgences, but who we think are living clean lives worthy of every gift of God.

Consequently, we have a host of our members who believe they are “born gay”, or who give way to some other form of gender apostasy. They have given the advesary great sway in their lives through their indulgences. Because we have been completely indifferent to decency we think that these things came upon them while they were doing nothing particularly wrong.

We have a great host of members who are afflicted with devils, and who consume thought and emotion altering medicine day by day in order to be normal. We do not know by what door these members gave the adversary such power over themselves. In fact, we don’t believe the adversary exercises power in that way anyway, and we read the new testament wondering that Christ and his disciples had to cast devils out of people.

We consume evil and are afflicted with devils, while the devil tells us that he is no devil, but only chemical imbalances and mental health.

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Satan rebelled against the Father as the husbandman

We misunderstand the plan of the adversary in the pre-existence.

Take these words of the Savior:

John 15:1 I am the true vine, and my Father is the husbandman.
2 Every branch in me that beareth not fruit he taketh away: and every
branch that beareth fruit, he purgeth it, that it may bring forth more
fruit.

If you look at those words carefully, and believe them, then Christ is
saying that his Father takes away every branch that beareth not fruit.
The Father apparently requires Christ to cast off every one that
beareth not fruit. At least, that is what Christ, himself, says about
it.

Now pair that with these verses, as I think they are closely related.

Moses 4:1 And I, the Lord God, spake unto Moses, saying: That Satan,
whom thou hast commanded in the name of mine Only Begotten, is the
same which was from the beginning, and he came before me, saying –
Behold, here am I, send me, I will be thy son, and I will redeem all
mankind, that one soul shall not be lost, and surely I will do it;
wherefore give me thine honor.

When we read these words of the adversary, we think that the adversary
is proclaiming that he will do the Father a great favor, and in return
he wants the Father’s glory. When we read Lucifer’s statement “I will
redeem all mankind, that one soul shall not be lost”, we think he is
offering a great enticement to the Father, that he hopes will win the
father to his plan.

But that isn’t what is going on at all.

Christ said that he is the vine we need to be attached to in order to
have life, but that his father is the husbandman who will take away
any branch in him that does not bear fruit.

When Lucifer said “I will redeem all mankind that one soul shall not
be lost” Lucifer is proposing that he deny the father the right to be
the husbandman. He is proposing that the Father will not have his
right to require that “every branch that beareth not fruit, he taketh
away”. He is rebelling against the father when he says that he will
save all men.

Lucifer’s desire for the Father’s honor is related to his desire to
supplant the Father’s role as the husbandman who will take away any
branch that doesn’t bear fruit. Lucifer has become an accuser of the
brethren, and an accuser of God himself. Lucifer is rebelling against
the Father’s requirement that all those who will not bring forth good
fruit must be taken away. He is rebelling against the Father’s right
as the husbandman to lay the ax to the root of every tree, and to burn
down every tree that will not bring forth good fruit.

Lucifer is not offering an enticement, coupled with rebellion. The
statement that we think is an enticement is actually Lucifer is
rebelling against the Father’s role as husbandman.

We see this spirit very much alive in the church today. We see it
overcoming the church. We have many who want to deny the Father’s
requirements. They want to give temple ordinances to those who are not
worthy of temple ordinances, and the sacrament to those who are not
worthy of the sacrament, and the gift of the Holy Ghost to those who
are not worthy of the gift of the Holy Ghost. They want to deny the
Father his role as the husbandman, who takes away every branch that
will not bear fruit. We send boys on missions and to the temple who
are addicted to pornography. Last week at church one high priest
stated that since the sacrament was a renewal of our baptismal
covenants, then he didn’t know of any sin that should keep us from
taking the sacrament. We have a plague of pornography in the church,
but everybody is still taking the sacrament. I remember in North Salt Lake there was one guy who would not take it when I passed it. But everyone else would. He was the wiser one, because we hear that around 20% of the members are addicted to pornography, but everyone takes the sacrament. Last week, another high priest said that if we waited to become worthy to go to the temple, we would never go, and so we should go to the temple in order to become worthy.

The perversion of homosexuality is becoming an obsession in the
church. We fail to obey God’s requirements of who should be cut off
from the church, and think we are being more Christlike for doing so.
But that is not the spirit of Christ. Christ did not deny the Father
his right as the husbandman. Christ warned us that if we denied the
Father this right, then we would not enter into heaven.

Matthew 18:7 Wherefore if thy hand or thy foot offend thee, cut it off
and cast it from thee; for it is better for thee to enter into life
halt or maimed, rather than having two hands or two feet to be cast
into everlasting fire.
8 And if thine eye offend thee, pluck it out, and cast it from thee:
it is better for thee to enter into life with one eye, rather than
having two eyes to be cast into hell fire.
9 And a man’s hand is his friend, and his foot, also; and a man’s eye
are they of his own household.

Those who take the spirit of the adversary, calling it mercy to deny
the Father his rights, become accusers of the brethren, and they will
be cut off in time. Because they will not cut off their hand, as
Lucifer would not, they have taken the same spirit as the adversary,
and thus they will join him in hell instead of joining the Father in
heaven.

This spirit is altogether overwhelming the church these days. We call
it mercy, but it is the plan of the adversary that caused Lucifer to
fall. Those who embrace this plan, claiming they are Christlike cannot
tolerate Christ as he really is, and rebel against him. Those who
pursue it soon hate those who are actually striving to be the humble
followers of Jesus Christ.

The crucial doctrine of Jacob’s ladder

One way to picture the strait and narrow path that leads to eternal life is to view it as a ladder that goes from the earth all the way up to heaven. This was how it was shown to Jacob in vision. It is a very long ladder. There are three portions of that ladder, the highest portion is celestial, the middle portion terrestrial, and the lowest portion is telestial.

When we have faith, repent, and are baptized, we have placed our feet on the bottom rung of that ladder. We are then starting to learn to live by the laws of a glorified telestial kingdom, and consequently, we begin to gain the spiritual blessings available in a glorified telestial kingdom.

Now, that rubs most people the wrong way. It is perfectly correct, but we want to hear that when we were baptized we were ready for the celestial kingdom. After all, the telestial kingdom is for wicked people.

Yes, after the wicked repent and bow the knee, accepting Christ as their king, they will be resurrected with a telestial body and obtain a telestial kingdom for eternity. But it is called a “kingdom” because nobody enters it without accepting Christ as their king by covenant.

As members of the true church, God wants us to learn every law of his kingdom and obtain every blessing offered in it. But we must begin at the bottom. The bottom, the least and simplest laws of his kingdom, are the telestial law.

At baptism we begin to partake of the same blessings available in a glorified telestial kingdom. And what is available to those in a glorified telestial kingdom? Why principally, the gift of the Holy Ghost.

D&C 76:86 These [the telestial] are they who receive not of his fulness in the eternal world, but of the Holy Spirit through the ministration of the terrestrial.

88 And also the telestial receive it of the administering of angels who are appointed to minister for them, or who are appointed to be ministering spirits for them; for they shall be heirs of salvation.

Note that both these verses are about how those in the telestial kingdom learn to receive the Holy Ghost. When those people enter the telestial kingdom, they are given the same command that we are given when we entered the kingdom of God through baptism: “Receive the Holy Ghost”. The Holy Ghost is the great gift available in a glorified telestial kingdom, and it is the great gift given to us after baptism.

When we enter the kingdom of God and begin to learn his laws, we start at the bottom, because that is all we are prepared to handle when we first step in. We are given the gift of the Holy Ghost, but we have a long way to travel as we learn to “receive the Holy Ghost” in truth. We must enter the kingdom of God on the lowest rung. We can tell whether we are climbing from one rung to the next by whether we are beginning to receive the Holy Ghost more and more potently in our life, just as those in the telestial kingdom will need to.

Now let us assume that we climb this ladder from earth to heaven to the point where we reach the terrestrial portion of the ladder. This is the point that is depicted in Lehi’s dream as reaching the tree of life. If we get to that point in mortality, there will be a marked change in what we need to be about, and much greater joy, just as there was in Lehi’s dream. We will begin to learn a terrestrial law and begin to obtain the spiritual blessings available in a glorified terrestrial kingdom.

D&C 76:77 These [the terrestrial] are they who receive of the presence of the Son, but not of the fulness of the Father.

As the scripture states, those in a terrestrial kingdom can receive the ministrations of the celestial, including personal instruction from the Son himself. However, they cannot live in the presence of God. We must learn to live a terrestrial law and gain the blessings found in a terrestrial kingdom before we can move on.

We can think of any number of people in the scriptures who received direction from angels, or who the Lord directed by his own voice, or who the Lord even brought into his presence to teach. These were people who had progressed to points on the terrestrial portion of the ladder.

We need to progress from living a telestial to a terrestrial law. From the scriptures the principle law in the terrestrial kingdom is clearly “what the Lord says to you by vision, or by his own voice, or by his own presence, that thou shalt do”. Hardly enough emphasis can be placed on that final phrase “that thou shalt do”.

Think of the examples of such people in the scriptures.

Some were taught by angels, by the Lords voice, and some even enjoyed his presence. They were blessed with great joy. But the law “what the Lord says by vision or by his own voice, that thou shalt do” is a very serious matter. Jonah could hear the voice of the Lord. He disobeyed and the Lord was not satisfied to have him cast overboard, but also caused a great fish to swallow him, where he stayed for two days. Miriam could hear the voice of the Lord, as could Aaron. The Lord smote Miriam with leprosy for speaking against Moses. Could we endure Miram’s punishment for speaking against a Moses? Could we endure Jonah’s punishment for disobedience? No. We are not ready for a terrestrial law yet.

Think about it. When you or I disobey what happens to us? Mostly, not much. We aren’t disobeying visions, or disobeying the Lord’s own voice speaking to us. We lack both the magnitude of light that conveys, as well as the depth of obligation it carries.

Moses smote the rock with a staff instead of speaking to it as the Lord commanded, and was not allowed to enter the promised land. If we were in Moses’ shoes, after all we had done, could we endure such a punishment for disobedience? No. We know that even though Melchizedek quenched the violence of fire and stopped the mouth of lions while a child through his faith, yet he learned obedience by the things which he suffered. We know that Zacharias didn’t believe an angel, and was dumb until the birth of his son, John. Could we endure that for simply disbelieving? No. We are not ready for a terrestrial law.

We are not ready for the intense joy and light of a terrestrial law for several reasons:

Firstly) We are not ready because we have not learned to be steady enough in our commitment to endure such punishment if we were to disobey something commanded by God himself in person or by vision.

Secondly) We are also not ready because we have not proven our strict obedience enough for God to have the needed confidence in our obedience in the first place.

Thirdly) Joseph Smith explained: “The reason we do not have the secrets of the Lord revealed unto us, is because we do not keep them but reveal them. We do not keep our own secrets, … then how would we keep the secrets of the Lord? I can keep a secret till Doomsday”. Joseph Fielding McConkie summarizes this with the quip “God does not reveal himself to blabbermouths”.

Joseph Smith asked the same question three times through the Urim and Thummim. What did he suffer? Notice there was no direct disobedience on Joseph’s part, he merely asked three times. But still he suffered great agony and uncertainty in spirit as the Lord took the Utim and Thummim from him for a time. Are we ready for that ourselves? No. We are not ready for a terrestrial law.

Adam and Eve lived a terrestrial law, for the Father and the Son could come and teach them from time to time. And what happened when they disobeyed a command God gave them by his own voice? The effects were tremendous.

Now this doctrine is all through the scriptures. God wants us to gain all the blessings of his kingdom and to obey the full law of his kingdom, but we have to start at the beginning. We are not ready for it all at once.

Now this is crucial doctrine because we all have the wrong idea. I think most members of the church have a sort of feeling that if they could be as good as their bishop, or their stake president, or some good member they know and admire personally, then that is all the Lord could want from them spiritually. I think we tacitly believe Zion is a place where everyone learns to live like some good member or other we know in our stake.

Ugh.

No.

That isn’t it at all.

The Lord wants us to live up to a terrestrial law. When we see and understand what that means we plainly see we aren’t there yet. We aren’t even close. But we MUST be striving toward that. We aren’t here to merely live a telestial law. We are here on probation to see what we will do. The Lord wants us to prove we are willing to serve him at all hazards, and that we will keep his manifestations strictly to ourselves. The Lord wants us to live up to a terrestrial law.

And THAT is what makes this doctrine crucial to understand.

This doctrine is crucial to help us move along the way we need to, instead of thinking we can coast into exaltation. It shows us that we are truly required to work out our own salvation with fear and trembling. It is beautiful doctrine, and manifests itself all through the scriptures.

For example, we read these verses, but without understanding the doctrine we don’t realize that the way things work in the kingdom of God in the resurrection is the way they work here.

D&C 76:86 These [the telestrial] are they who receive not of his fulness in the eternal world, but of the Holy Spirit through the ministration of the terrestrial;
87 And the terrestrial through the ministration of the celestial.

What do we have here in mortality? Why we, who are learning the telestial law, are in need of learning from those who God could teach by the mouth of angels, or by his own voice, or in person. We need to feast daily on the scriptures to learn from such men. Thus here in mortality we see that we, who are learning the telestrial law are being ministered to by those who have come up to a terrestrial law. And those who have come up to a terrestrial law are being ministered to by those who have come up to a celestial law. It is the same principle here in mortality as in the resurrection.

In fact, in Jacob’s vision of the ladder he saw angels going up and down. They go down to minister to those beneath them, and doing so exalts themselves to a higher point. The terrestrial are glorified by ministering to the telestial. The celestial are glorified by ministering to the terrestrial. We progress upward by bringing those beneath us up to our level. As we gather sheaves, our dead, and our family we save our own soul.

Lehi’s dream depicts our situation, though it mostly leaves off at the transition from a telestial to a terrestrial law, simply hinting that there is a significant change that brings great joy, and that we are back at the tree of life, i.e. back in a terrestrial eden of sorts. It mostly just lets us know that if we reach the terrestrial portion it will be crucial that we fall down and feast on the joy available there because those who do not may wander away from the tree.

The temple goes further and fleshes out the story significantly. It shows Adam and Eve struggle through the telestial portion, but then further follows their progression through the terrestrial portion to the point where they have not only learned by angels who prepare them to behold of God’s glory, and have come up to the general assembly and the church of the first born, but they have learned to hear the Lord’s own voice teaching them, and preparing them to come into his presence. Just as Lehi’s dream essentially leaves off from telling us more at the transition from telestial to terrestrial (when they arrive at the tree), so the temple leaves off telling us more at the point where we can begin to learn in God’s own presence. That is fitting, because the temple presents the problem of being cast out of God’s presence, and lays out the path to follow to return to his presence during our mortal probationary time. The temple’s use of the words telestial, terrestrial, and celestial in laying out our mortal progression is quite intentional. We make real covenants in the temple, but they are also types and shadows of more serious covenants yet to come.

We are required to build Zion. Can we read the verse and finally understand it for the first time?

D&C 105:5 And Zion cannot be built up unless it is by the principles of the law of the celestial kingdom; otherwise I cannot receive her unto myself.

We are required to build Zion. Zion is not built on telestial law, or even terrestrial law.

Zion can only be built on celestial law.

Adam and Eve lived a terrestrial law in Eden. They could enjoy the presence of God to teach them from time to time. But they were not prepared to live in his presence. Just as we, who are living a telestial law, can plainly see we are not yet ready for a terrestrial law, so also those who are living a terrestrial law, can plainly see they are not yet ready for a celestial law. But they press forward to come up to a celestial law so they can enjoy the fulness of the Father and gain eternal life.

Christ said of Zion “Behold, mine abode forever”. Christ came and lived with the people of Zion. In reality, I severely understated when I said that the Lord wants us to learn to live a terrestrial law. To build Zion we must come up past a terrestrial law to a celestial law. That is why D&C 84 warns that not a single one of the saints who had gathered to Missouri to redeem Zion was ready for the return of Zion.

If all we want in the end is the blessings of a telestial kingdom, I suppose then it doesn’t matter if we are satisfied with its blessings here in mortality. But our Father in heaven wants more for us.

If it is eternal life we are after, we must press forward toward being worthy of living a terrestrial law and gaining its blessings. We can gauge our progress by whether we are enjoying the Holy Ghost more potently in our lives over time, as that is the measure of how well we are keeping the command to “receive the Holy Ghost”. These days, we have cut him down to a trickle by filling our lives with media that offends him as well as by fostering men in their wickedness rather than warning them of their dire state. We cannot have the spirit in the homes of members today without requiring the same strict decency that was required even in the homes of nonmembers before the 1960s. If we will stop choking off the Holy Ghost by rationalizing indecency, then there is great power to be found in the three great spiritual powerhouses that bring the Holy Ghost into our lives like nothing else: missionary work, saving our dead, and saving our family.

 

The 12th article of faith and a land redeemed by the shedding of blood

The 12th article of faith is one principle, but other principles can certainly outweigh it. Joseph Smith penned the 12th article of faith, but he also escaped from Liberty Jail. The actions of Rahab that Paul said were made in faith were horribly illegal. The prophet that we are astonished at for his disobedience is the one who obeyed his king. King Balak sent messengers telling Balaam to come and curse the Israelites and the Lord slew Balaam when Balaam found a way to obey his king. The Hebrew midwives disobeyed Pharoah’s direct command, and did not kill the male Hebrew babies, thereby winning God’s approval. Nephi slew Laban, which was a clear violation of the law of Moses, but these days we think we should not listen to the Holy Ghost for even very small violations of the law. Ehud slew the king the Israelites were beholden to (you should know the story of Ehud, if you don’t, it is fun). In fact, anyone, and there were many, who freed Israel from a nation they had been made subject to broke the law. Obadiah, Ahab’s chief butler, did not subject himself to his rulers when he saved the 100 prophets of the Lord from queen Jezebel. Daniel broke the law openly and was thrown in a Lion’s den, but he pleased God when he did so. Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-nego pleased God when they broke the law and wouldn’t bow down to the golden statue. Abinadi stood trial and was given a means to reconcile himself with the demands of the King during trial, but would not take it, and suffered the punishment of that King, but was highly approved of God. There are so many more in the scriptures. Elijah did not subject himself to his king when the king sent 50 men to get Elijah, and Elijah called down fire from heaven to consume them, as well as the next 50 who the king sent.

But back in that day when we used the 12th article of faith as an excuse to not rebel against gay marriage being forced on Utah, we proved that we were not like the ancient saints, or even like the founders. The scriptures say this land was “redeemed by the shedding of blood” but nobody knows what that means. It means that when enough men of virtue before God (and they had to be men of virtue) were willing to allow their own blood to be shed to obtain freedom for their posterity, then God would take their cause into his own hand, and he would exercise his power for their sake and for their cause and make their country free. If they had not been men of peculiar virtue, then God would not take their cause into his hand when they were willing to let their blood be shed. But they were virtuous, and so the land was redeemed by the hand of God from tyranny to freedom, God’s aid being won by the their willingness to let their blood by shed. Enough virtuous men sealed their testimony that they desired freedom for their posterity by their blood, and so God took their cause up as his own. That is what it means that this land was redeemed by the shedding of blood.

The day in which we did not rebel against gay marriage being illegally forced on Utah, partly in the name of following the 12th article of faith, but mostly because we are spiritual pansies, was the day that we lost that redemption, and must go into eventual captivity unless we repent.

The church cannot be destroyed by the deaths of the first presidency and the twelve.

Brigham Young taught:

“Let me give you the definition in brief. Your endowment is, to receive all those ordinances in the House of the Lord, which are necessary for you, after you have departed this life, to enable you to walk back to the presence of the Father, passing the angels who stand as sentinels, being enabled to give them the key words, the signs and tokens, pertaining to the Holy Priesthood, and gain your eternal exaltation in spite of earth and hell.

Who has received and understands such an endowment, in this assembly? You need not answer. Your voices would be few and far between, yet the keys to these endowments are among you, and thousands have received them, so that the devil, with all his aids, need not suppose he can again destroy the Holy Priesthood from the earth, by killing a few, for he cannot do it. God has set His hand, for the last time, to redeem His people, the honest in heart, and Lucifer cannot hinder Him.” (Brigham Young, JD 2:31-32)

The first half of this statement should be quite familiar to the members.

But what does it mean that the devil cannot again destroy the Holy Priesthood from the earth by killing a few? Brigham Young explains it quite plainly. He says the devil can no longer destroy the priesthood by slaying a few because “the keys to these endowments are among you, and thousands have received them”. So the point is that in order to destroy the priesthood, the devil would have to kill all those who have received their endowments.

We have forged a rather strong tradition that if the first presidency and twelve were killed, then the church will be destroyed.

But that tradition is nonsense. It is nonsense in part because D&C 107 lays out quite plainly that the first presidency (and yes, the first presidency is three people, it means the entire first presidency) is supposed to be chosen by the body of the church. We don’t do it that way, but it is simply preposterous to think that if the first presidency and the twelve were to die then the Lord would not allow us to simply choose a new first presidency in precisely the way that he has revealed for it to be done.

D&C 107:22 Of the Melchizedek Priesthood, three Presiding High Priests, chosen by the body, appointed and ordained to that office, and upheld by the confidence, faith, and prayer of the church, form a quorum of the Presidency of the Church.

Consequently, if the first presidency and twelve were to die, then there would be no difficulty in obtaining a new first presidency. We could do so in precisely the way that the Lord revealed.

And who might ordain them?

Well, Brigham Young answers that nicely for us as well. It is a long explanation, so I will append it to the end. But it can be summed up in a scripture: “An apostle is an elder”.

Of course, there are those who would wonder whether we had lost the keys of the kingdom. They would think Brigham Young doesn’t know what he is talking about.

But Brigham Young knows exactly what he is talking about. Goodness, it is Brigham Young we like to quote saying that the twelve had the keys and that the church would not have them if they chose Sidney Rigdon (who was never endowed) to lead them. We should read that statement of Brigham Youngs just a little further, for Brigham Young taught that the twelve had the keys to deliver to all the earth. Brigham Young said that the twelve held those keys and that the saints would lose them if they chooe someone else to lead them. But then he said that the twelve were to deliver those keys to all the earth. What keys? The keys of the priesthood given out in the endowment, for the twelve were endowed, and Sidney Rigdon was not. If the saints had chosen Sidney Rigdon, they would never have obtained the keys given out in the endowment. But the twelve held those keys to deliver to all the earth.

If there was time here to try and lay out the matter fully then I would do so. I have certainly done so in great detail elsewhere. Our modern language concerning keys is very different than the language of Joseph Smith, the language of the revelations, and the language of Brigham Young. We need not think we are wiser about the keys of the priesthood then they were.

And Brigham Young is perfectly right. Once the members were endowed, once thousands were endowed, then the Devil could no longer destroy the priesthood by killing a few.

I write this because if, by some horrible means, the first presidency and the twelve were to die, then many, many members would believe the church was no longer on the earth. They would believe it because we have forged an iron clad tradition that says so. Vast hosts of members would wander away thinking the church was lost to the earth.

But it is just a tradition. It is sheer nonsense. The body of the church may choose a new first presidency, precisely as the revelations of the Lord lay out. And the priesthood, meaning the keys of the priesthood, are on the earth as long as we have some who are endowed remaining.

=========================
Here is Brigham Young’s explanation of what would happen if there was only on Elder in the church remaining taken from Journal of Discourses 9:88-90.
I referred to this above.

Everything that follows is quoted from Brigham Young.
==========================

Suppose that Sidney Rigdon and Frederick G. Williams had been taken away or had apostatized, as one of them did soon after the revelation I have referred to was given, and there had been only Joseph Smith left of the First Presidency, would he alone have had authority to set in order the kingdom of God on the earth? Yes. Again: Suppose that eleven of the Twelve had been taken away by the power of the Adversary, that one Apostle has the same power that Joseph had, and could preach, baptize, and set in order the whole kingdom of God upon the earth, as much so as the Twelve, were they all together. Again: If in the providence of God he should permit the Enemy to destroy these two first Quorums, and then destroy the Quorum of Seventy, all but one man, what is his power? It would be to go and preach, baptize, confirm, lay on hands, ordain, set in order, build up, and establish the whole kingdom of God as it is now. Can we go any further? Yes; and I think you will see the reason of it, and how easy it is to be understood, and see the propriety of it. I really believe, and it is my doctrine, that if I speak to the brethren by the power of the Spirit of my calling, the evidences are commended to those who hear, and the reasons they see in the spirit of the remarks I make. Suppose the Enemy had power to destroy all but one of the High Priests from the face of the earth, what would that one possess in the power of his Priesthood? He would have power and authority to go and preach, baptize, confirm, ordain, and set in order the kingdom of God in all its perfection on the earth. Could he do this without revelation? No. Could the Seventies? No. Could the Twelve? No. And we ask, Could Joseph Smith or the First Presidency do this without revelation? No; not one of them could do such a work without revelation direct from God. I can go still further. Whoever is ordained to the office of an Elder to a certain degree possesses the keys of the Melchizedek Priesthood; and suppose only one Elder should be left on the earth, could he go and set in order the kingdom of God? Yes, by revelation.

How came these Apostles, these Seventies, these High Priests, and all this organization we now enjoy? It came by revelation. Father Cahoon, who lately died in your neighborhood, was one of the first men ordained to the office of High Priest in this kingdom. In the year 1831, the Prophet Joseph went to Ohio. He left the State of New York on the last of April, if my memory serves me, and arrived in Kirtland sometime in May. They held a General Conference, which was the first General Conference ever called or held in Ohio. Joseph then received a revelation, and ordained High Priests. You read in the Book of Doctrine and Covenants how he received the Priesthood in the first place. It is there stated how Joseph received the Aaronic Priesthood. John the Baptist came to Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery. When a person passes behind the veil, he can only officiate in the spirit world; but when he is resurrected he officiates as a resurrected being, and not as a mortal being. You read in the revelation that Joseph was ordained, as it is written. When he received the Melchizedek Priesthood, he had another revelation. Peter, James, and John came to him. You can read the revelation at your leisure. When he received this revelation in Kirtland, the Lord revealed to him that he should begin and ordain High Priests; and he then ordained quite a number, all whose names I do not now recollect; but Lyman Wight was one; Fathers Cahoon and Morley, John Murdock, Sidney Rigdon, and others were also then ordained. These were the first that were ordained to this office in the Church. I relate this to show you how Joseph proceeded step by step in organizing the Church. At that time there were no Seventies nor Twelve Apostles.

Twenty-seven years ago, on the 5th of this month, in the year 1834, a company started from Kirtland to redeem the land of Zion. Brother Heber C. Kimball and my brother Joseph were in that camp. There had not then been ordained any Twelve Apostles, nor any Seventies, although there was a revelation pertaining to the Apostles and Seventies. There were High Priests, but no High Priests’ Quorum. I am relating this as a little matter of history that will no doubt be interesting to those who were not there.

After we returned from Missouri, my brother Joseph Young and myself had been singing after preaching in a meeting; and when the meeting was dismissed, brother Joseph Smith said, “Come, go down to my house with me.” We went and sung to him a long time, and talked with him. He then opened the subject of the Twelve and Seventies for the first time I ever thought of it. He said, “Brethren, I am going to call out Twelve Apostles. I think we will get together, by-and-by, and select Twelve Apostles, and select a Quorum of Seventies from those who have been up to Zion, out of the camp boys.” In 1835, the last of January or in February, or about that time, we held our meetings from day to day, and brother Joseph called out Twelve Apostles at that time. He had a revelation when we were singing to him. Those who were acquainted with him knew when the spirit of revelation was upon him, for his countenance wore an expression peculiar to himself while under that influence. He preached by the Spirit of revelation, and taught in his council by it, and those who were acquainted with him could discover it at once, for at such times there was a peculiar clearness and transparency in his face. He followed up that revelation until he organized the Church, and so along until the baptism of the dead was revealed.

I relate these circumstances to show you that a person who is ordained to the office of an Elder in this kingdom has the same Priesthood that the High Priests, that the Twelve Apostles, that the Seventies, and that the First Presidency hold; but all are not called to be one of the Twelve Apostles, nor are all called to be one of the First Presidency, nor to be one of the First Presidents of all the Seventies, nor to be one of the Presidents of a Quorum of Seventies, nor to preside over the High Priests’ Quorum; but every man in his order and place, possessing a portion of the same Priesthood, according to the gifts and callings to each. Does not this clear up the subject? [Voices: “It does.”] This will explain it to you so that you can understand it. When we find where our callings and positions are in the midst of the people of God, and every person willing to act in the discharge of his duty, there is enough for us all to do. All persons can have all they desire to do to promote the kingdom of God on the earth; they can exercise themselves in all that God has granted to them to prove themselves worthy before God and the people.

Thomas Ford’s carcass was food for the carrion crow

From SP-journal-december-1842-june-1844-book-2-10-march-1843-14-july-1843:

“evening at home before the Lawyers570 “I prophecy in the name of the Lord God that Governor [Thomas] ford by granting the writ—571 again[s]t me. has damned hims [p. [289]]elf politically and eternally and his carcase will. stink on the face of the earth and be food for the carrion crow & Turkey buzzard—”

I have no idea whether historian’s agree, and I don’t care. Where prophesies are involved, I do not care what anybody else says. Joseph Smith was correct.

Consequently, Governor Thomas Ford’s carcas stank on the face of the earth and was food for the carrion grow and turkey buzzard.

And in case that any decision of these quorums is made in unrighteousness …

I am by no means trying to accuse the brethren. But I do want to break down false tradition. We have a tradition that any decision by the first presidency or the quorum of the twelve must be the mind and will of the Lord.

But by revelation the Lord explains what is to be done when “any decision of these quorums is made in unrighteousness”. (D&C 107:32) He says that then all of the quorums may meet together as a body to judge the matter.

I write this not as an accusation, but to break down false tradition. There is a tremendous difference between our false tradition that the decisions of the first presidency, or the twelve, are the mind and will of the Lord, and between what the Lord revealed, which included discussing what may be done (and he doesn’t say it must be done, or guarantee that it will be done) when their decisions are made in unrighteousness.

How different the revelations and our traditions are.

Be careful how you speak of God’s leaders, but know what is revelation and what is tradition and hold firmly in your heart to every revelation of God.

Clasping the cause of perversion in our embrace – the dark mire of doom

I have been thinking about those old friends of mine who have suffered themselves to be overcome by clasping the cause of homosexuality and its variants to their bosom.

I wonder whether anything can be done for these ones who were once friends. People who fall into that hole almost never find their way back out. Once the adversary has that strong of a hold on them, they keep on going down. It is just too dark a place, too evil an endorsement, the Holy Ghost has long since left.

Whence comes people’s natural revulsion toward such dark perversion as men pretending to be women, or women pretending to be men, or men being attracted to men, or women being attracted to women? People feel a natural revulsion toward that. But where does that revulsion come from? It comes from the light of Christ.

To cast off such a strong revulsion requires people to sear their conscience in a great degree. They do so claiming it is Christlike love, as if it was not Christ who destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah with fire from heaven.

And once they have seared their conscience so badly that they no longer feel the natural revulsion such perversions of the family inspires, there is not much conscience left for them to hold on by. They are more or less doomed to continue their dark descent.

And here is the tragic thing.

If some leader were to stand up and boldly declare the truth plainly. If some Nephi in his garden who stood in some position of authority over these lost friends of mine were to weep for their sins and declare to them plainly and boldly so that they could repent, then I think they might pull themselves out of that mud. It would be a tough business, and somewhere in there they would have to face the fact that they had rejected Christ all while gushing his name. But it would be possible in our current church culture for them to repent.

It is tragic because the Bishop could probably save them.

But the words of Paul no longer ring in their ears as having profound authority from God.

It is tragic because the Stake President might be able to save them.

But the revelation of God given to the Israelites in Leviticus 18 no longer has enough authority in their mind to pull them out of their wallowing in the mire.

How long ago we cast off the Savior’s words “let every man stand or fall for himself, and not for another, or not trusting another”.

How long ago we cast off the many commandments that each man must work out his own salvation with fear and trembling before the Lord.

How long ago we have forgotten the Savior’s words:

He who loveth father and mother more than me is not worthy of me; and he who loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me.

And so when the child, or the friend, or the neighbor, or the parent, or the close friend says that they have apostatized from their own gender, and love the wrong gender, or think they are the wrong gender or any other such nonsense, we love them more than we love Christ. Instead of plainly declaring their apostasy from truth according to his word, we embrace them and hold them to us in their iniquities. We become champions for the cause of perversion. We do it all while gushing Christ’s name. But we will not stand by his plain words. We need some other, better, newer counsel than his.

And so, by loving father, mother, son or daughter more than God, we cut ourselves off from God.

Oh, I wish I could rescue them. Tragically, horribly, wrongly, their Bishop or their Stake President probably could, but Paul cannot, and Jehovah’s own words are insufficient for them.

The Lord will have a pure people

The Lord will have a pure people.

It is a simple truth. But we are embracing the opposite. Quite intoxicated with the ideas of men, we think we please the Lord as we do so.

In our endless quest to justify and embrace perversion and to allow men and women who are possessed of a legion of devils into the church and the temple, perhaps somewhere back in our minds we could once in a while remember these few words.

The Lord will have a pure people.

Then, when we are scourged, we will know why the lash is falling upon us. Then, we may repent, instead of thinking that we are being proven in our valiance as righteous Job was.

If the Lord cleansed his temple by such brutal force anciently (do we pretend it was not brutal force) do we think he will not do the same in these days as he did anciently?

The Lord will have a pure people.

The very special role we will get to play if we will not repent

It seems that big changes are being made regarding homosexuality in the church. With that mind, I thought I would write a note about the very special role we will get to play if we will not repent.

Isaiah talks about the restored church. He writes about the vineyard that Joseph Smith planted. He writes that many houses will be desolate and many fair cities left without inhabitant. He says that the noble ones will be famished, and that the multitudes will be dried up for thirst, and that they will go into captivity because they have no knowledge. He says that hell hath enlarged herself to take in our pomp and glory.

But we need not fret ourselves. We have wanted to have a grand and important role to play in this dispensation. We are a chosen generation, as I have been told so many times in my life.

And what will we be chosen to do? What is the critical role that we will play?

Why, when the rest of the church sees our destruction for our wickedness, they may take note, and repent.

When many of our houses are left desolate, when the Lord takes away the whole staff of bread, leaving our honorable ones famished (quite literally) and takes away the whole stay of water, letting our multitudes to die of thirst, when many of our fair and great cities are without inhabitant, and when we have gone into captivity because we have no knowledge and when our pomp and glory has sunk into hell, then the rest of Israel may take warning, and repent.

They need a grand warning. It needs to be really huge. They need to realize that they do not need to only recapture what we discarded yesterday, but to go all the way back and pick up everything we have discarded all along the sad road of cast off truth and treasure it all to themselves.

For them to do that will require an absolutely huge warning.

And so we see we really are a chosen generation. Our generation will serve a peculiar purpose. We are a peculiar people for a peculiar time. Our destruction will play a critical role, just as the destruction of the cities of ancient Nephites played a critical role. We may inspire the remainder who were less wicked to repent in other parts of the earth.

How marvelous our work and our wonder will be then, when the multitude of our corpses will be a reminder to many generations that follow us that each man must work out his own salvation with fear and trembling before the Lord, and that the Lord will have a pure people who search his word to say and do according to that which is written, and that the Lord commanded that each man should stand and fall for himself, and not for another, or rather, not trusting another.

A battle worthy of such a grand memorial as we have fought will surely be remembered all the days of this mortal earth.