Captain Moroni and Christ

It is tragic that we can read  a verse saying:

Alma 48:17 Yea, verily, verily I say unto you, if all men had been, and were, and ever would be, like unto Moroni, behold, the very powers of hell would have been shaken forever; yea, the devil would never have power over the hearts of the children of men.

and yet exalt all the opposites of Captain Moroni’s traits as Christlike living and spirituality and condemn anything that represents the way Captain Moroni lived as being unchristlike.

Can living so that the devil would never have power over the hearts of the children of men possibly be unchristlike? Doesn’t every good thing come from Christ? And is it not good for the devil to have no power over the hearts of men?

Tragically, even if we acknowledge the plain meaning of the verse, we privately consider it heresy to believe and live it, and think in our hearts it is the very antithesis of following Christ.

Our picture of Christ seems limited to a small part of what we read in his mortal life, and to cast out many of his own words in mortality, as well as such plain teachings as, say, his actual words in Moroni 8, his words in the old testament, and his words in the doctrine and covenants. When we reject 90% of what Christ has said personally in preference to our favorite 10% in order to understand who he is can we at least acknowledge our own bias?

Joseph Smith wrote: “Some of the company thought I was not a very meek Prophet; so I told them: ‘I am meek and lowly in heart,’ and will personify Jesus for a moment, to illustrate the principle, and cried out with a loud voice, ‘Woe unto you, ye doctors; woe unto you, ye lawyers; woe unto you, ye scribes, Pharisees, and hypocrites!'”

How can we be so wrapped up in our nonjudgemental inclusive political correctness that we can still read this verse about Captain Moroni and not immediately conclude that it is really true: that if all men had been, and were, and ever would be, like unto Moroni, the very powers of hell would have been shaken forever and that the devil would never have power over the hearts of the children of men.

In the millennium the devil will be bound by the righteousness of the people. Will it be a day when everyone acts the way a wicked world claims that Christ behaved, or will it be a day when men finally learn to live so the devil will not have power over the hearts of the children of men as Captain Moroni lived?

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Holy Cow, yes, God is still not a racist

Ugh, someone claimed Brigham Young was a racist by appealing to a church article they claimed effectively said Brigham Young and the early brethren were racist. They didn’t give a reference, though to hazard a guess I would expect it to be an lds.org topics article on blacks and the priesthood. Those articles are utter tripe and I have given examples of that before. They are happy to discard truth in favor of good PR.

There is an enormous difference between racism, which is to hold arbitrary prejudice against some race, and between accepting and submitting to the perfectly plain teachings in the scriptures and of the prophets and submitting to the words of the Lord and his servants as truth.

The scriptures themselves are horribly politically incorrect. That is the reality of it. We can either stand by God and his word, or we can pander to the world and worship a God made in the image of man’s dictates. According to the scriptures God made a covenant that his most righteous spirit children would be born into Abraham’s posterity. That means that his less righteous spirit children were born outside Abraham’s posterity. Christ gives many teachings that are based on ethnicity, including such blunt statements as “Salvation is of the Jews” and initially refusing not only to do a miracle for a gentile woman, but even to answer her. Large portions of his teachings to the Nephites are based on different things he will do for different ethnic groups (the gentiles and the Israelites). The Book of Mormon is not written equally to everybody, but written more especially to the Lamanites according to the title page.

We can choose to accept that God and his prophets have been horribly politically incorrect since almost the beginning, or we can pander to the world and worship a God made in the images of man’s ideas.

If we can’t stand by the brethren’s teachings over 150 years, including a statement by the first presidency spelling the doctrine out in great detail, plain teaching by Joseph Smith, Brigham Young, and many others, about matters involving the personal salvation and exaltation of millions of God’s children then we can’t say we belong to the true church of Jesus Christ and are led by e prophet of God. And I testify that we can stand by those whose sacrifices gave us the gospel. When comfortable arm chair mormons write about how racist the brethren were who literally risked their lives to take the gospel into new and foreign lands like Hawaii, Tongo, Somoa, the whole of South and Central America, to Asia while leaving their family behind to live of the land in the desert of Utah I am filled with disgust. We cannot defame them without offending God. We will be judged as we judge God’s servants. As far back as 1969 Ezra Taft Benson wrote that sometimes false teachings appear in our magazines. Since when do we believe an article above a prophet, much less above prophet, after prophet, after prophet over 150 years. Shall we say “I read an article that Jesus Christ was no Son of God” and believe it or should we listen to the spirit of the living God.

Judged out of the books

The scriptures speak of men being judged out of the books that are written, and this verse gives a very explicit description of exactly that taking place (which helps us understand what it means)

Moroni 10: 27 And I exhort you to remember these things; for the time speedily cometh that ye shall know that I lie not, for ye shall see me at the bar of God; and the Lord God will say unto you: Did I not declare my words unto you, which were written by this man, like as one crying from the dead, yea, even as one speaking out of the dust?
..
29 And God shall show unto you, that that which I have written is true.

The type of Israel entering the promised land.

I remember one interesting note from Joseph Fielding McConkies book of Mormon class. He recalled that the Israelites left Egypt and crossed the Red Sea on dry ground. They then wander 40 years in the wilderness. This typifies leaving the world, being baptized, and following the prophet in our days of testing. He then made an insightful addition. He explained that as the Israelites gained a new leader, Joshua, and entered the promised land crossing the Jordan river on dry ground, so also we follow the prophet until Christ takes us through the veil and then we take him on as our leader instead.

He pointed out that Jesus was actually just the Aramaic form of the name Joshua.

I find that extremely insightful. It lends meaning to Christ’s discussion in John 14 and the D&C clarification on that discussion.

Obviously some will object because there are any number of weirdos that make claims about visions. But such individuals are just one of the adversary’s tools to harden our hearts against the doctrine of revelation found in the scriptures. Only those with the keys can give instruction by revelation. You can pass on anyone else who wants to tell you about, or hint about, their own grand manifestations as a fraud.

The church must be defined by the righteousness of its members.

The famous verses about this being the only true and living church give a little more insight and help our membership understand why the Lord is well pleased with us if we include just a bit more in our quotation.

D&C 1:30 And also those to whom these commandments were given, might have power to lay the foundation of this church, and to bring it forth out of obscurity and out of darkness, the only true and living church upon the face of the whole earth, with which I, the Lord, am well pleased, speaking unto the church collectively and not individually—
31 For I the Lord cannot look upon sin with the least degree of allowance;

That last verse adds important meaning to why the Lord is well pleased: “For I the Lord cannot look upon sin with the least degree of allowance”.

In fact, in D&C 63, the Lord expands on this, intentionally using the words “well pleased” he had formerly used when speaking of his church.

D&C 63:2 Yea, verily, I say, hear the word of him whose anger is kindled against the wicked and rebellious;
3 Who willeth to take even them whom he will take, and preserveth in life them whom he will preserve;
4 Who buildeth up at his own will and pleasure; and destroyeth when he pleases, and is able to cast the soul down to hell.
5 Behold, I, the Lord, utter my voice, and it shall be obeyed.
6 Wherefore, verily I say, let the wicked take heed, and let the rebellious fear and tremble; and let the unbelieving hold their lips, for the day of wrath shall come upon them as a whirlwind, and all flesh shall know that I am God.
7 And he that seeketh signs shall see signs, but not unto salvation.
8 Verily, I say unto you, there are those among you who seek signs, and there have been such even from the beginning;
9 But, behold, faith cometh not by signs, but signs follow those that believe.
10 Yea, signs come by faith, not by the will of men, nor as they please, but by the will of God.
11 Yea, signs come by faith, unto mighty works, for without faith no man pleaseth God; and with whom God is angry he is not well pleased; wherefore, unto such he showeth no signs, only in wrath unto their condemnation.

In D&C 63 the Lord actually threatens to cut his church off if they don’t repent.

D&C 63:63 Wherefore, let the church repent of their sins, and I, the Lord, will own them; otherwise they shall be cut off.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints must be defined by the righteousness of its members or it is not his church. We must not excuse our sins rationalizing that membership in the true church excuses its members, believing in our hearts that Christ will save us in our sins instead of saving them from them.

The Lord directs the brethren for the church according to the righteousness of the members

The Lord directs the brethren for the church according to the righteousness of the members

Christ himself said, when he appeared at the Kirtland temple:

D&C 110:8 Yea, I will appear unto my servants, and speak unto them with mine own voice, if my people will keep my commandments, and do not pollute this holy house.

Obviously the Lord doesn’t stop his servants from receiving any personal revelation except based on their own worthiness and preparation.

But with regards to revelation for his church, the principle is laid out in this verse. The Lord will appear to his servants and speak to them if the people keep his commandments and do not pollute this holy house. That “if” is important. If we want more direction from the Lord as a people, all we need to do is keep sacred things sacred and keep the commandments he has already given. If we do not do that, the brethren, be they ever so worthy, will receive their needed personal revelation, but the Lord will withhold his answers to the church. Let it be clear in our minds that such circumstances are embarrassments for the body of the saints, and not embarrassments for the prophet and the twelve. They are worthy. They are the Lord’s chosen vessels.

At times the Lord has been slow to give guidance until the people have been worthy, or have been willing to repent. One obvious case was the revelation that came to Lorenzo Snow that the saints needed to pay their tithing if they wanted the drought to end. The Lord did not appear in this instance. But it was still an answer by revelation. The Lord could have told the Saints immediately, before they suffered a drought at all. But when we are disobeying a commandment the Lord already gave, it may take significant time and penitence before the Lord makes the cause of our discomfort known to us.

Do we believe the scriptures or the ideas inherited from psychology

We have become used to listening to the ideas of psychology. Over a few generations many ideas of psychologists have soaked into our culture and are now accepted as basic truths by nonmembers and members alike.

We have learned that fearing is implicitly bad. Nobody should feel afraid. At least, that statement resounds with us. It is part of what our culture has learned from psychologists and their ilk. But is it true?

When we read a scripture like:

D&C 63:6 Wherefore, verily I say, let the wicked take heed, and let the rebellious fear and tremble; and let the unbelieving hold their lips, for the day of wrath shall come upon them as a whirlwind, and all flesh shall know that I am God.

Do we accept those words in our hearts as the mind and will of God, or do we prefer what we learned from psychology?

Do we believe God really wants the wicked to take heed to the threatening language he uses in D&C 63?

D&C 63:2 Yea, verily, I say, hear the word of him whose anger is kindled against the wicked and rebellious;

Do we believe God really wants the rebellious to fear and tremble?

Or do we prefer what psychologists have taught. Do we prefer believing that nobody should feel afraid? Do we think we should allay the fears of the wicked by simply telling them not to fear, rather than offering them real hope, by telling them they will not fear if they will cease to be wicked and come unto that God who is willing to heal them if they repent?

Short note – Satan will be cast out, again

It is interesting to compare these verses to what came about in the premortal world.

Revelation 20:1 And I saw an angel come down from heaven, having the key of the bottomless pit and a great chain in his hand.
2 And he laid hold on the dragon, that old serpent, which is the Devil, and Satan, and bound him a thousand years,
3 And cast him into the bottomless pit, and shut him up, and set a seal upon him, that he should deceive the nations no more, till the thousand years should be fulfilled: and after that he must be loosed a little season.

In the premortal world, there was a great war that now continues here. It is clear that the adversary had a great deal of time to sway men there before being cast out, or how could he have obtained a full third of the Father’s children. But in the end, he was cast out.

And it is interesting that we see something similar here on earth.

Yes, Satan will be bound by the righteousness of the people, but it will still happen as described in the above verses. One would guess that when there are righteous enough people then, as during the war in heaven, Satan will be cast out by the power of the priesthood. And in turn, that will replace war with an age of peace, just as it surely did in the premortal world.