Very short note – God reveals things different than man expects, but god is always right

God reveals things different than man expects, but god is always right.

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Quick note on the inspired version

Just a small note: It is interesting to compare the different versions of the Inspired Version of the bible, as it has sometimes been called.

I had noted differences between two different references, so out of curiosity I am copying those verses out of each one to see what I get [Spoiler: for these verses the 1944 and 1970 editions turned out to agree].

Romans 1:28
—————–
1867 Inspired Version Romans 1:28 And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge,, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, according to some to do those things which are not convenient;

1944 Inspired Version Romans 1:28 And even as they did not like to retain God according to some knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient.

1970 Inspired Version Romans 1:28  And even as they did not like to retain God according to some knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient;

Romans 1:32
—————–
1867 Inspired Version Romans 1:32 And some knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are inexcusable, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them.

1944 Inspired Version Romans 1:32 And some who, knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, are inexcusable, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them.

1970 Inspired Version Romans 1:32 And some who, knowing the judgement of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, are inexcusable, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them.

In both cases the 1944 and 197 editions turn out to agree. The 1867 edition is different, and of course the KJV is different.

As a side note, the LDS scriptures does not contain all of the JST changes and shows very few of the changes in Romans 1. It doesn’t include JST footnotes for either verse 28 or 32. I am not sure whether or not it even contains most of the JST changes in the bible. At the time the JST footnotes were added to the scriptures the brethren were perfectly clear that only the JST changes that were largest or most significant were included.

As a further side note it is quite easy to get a free electronic copy of the 1867 version photographed from the actual book, which is in the public domain.

There is an online version of the 1944 edition, which I assume to have represented a significant revision since my 1970 edition copy lists that as the one it is descended from.

The 1970 edition claims it is a “new corrected edition”.

Certainly the 1944 and 1970 versions of Romans 1:32 (which are the same) seem to fit better than the 1867. They know the judgement of God which is that such are worthy of death as the Lord plainly laid out to the Israelites. It just feels right. It fits the scriptures.

Nephi’s comments on Isaiah and Isaiah’s vision of the Lord

Just a quick note about these verses.

2 Nephi 11:2 And now I, Nephi, write more of the words of Isaiah, for my soul delighteth in his words. For I will liken his words unto my people, and I will send them forth unto all my children, for he verily saw my Redeemer, even as I have seen him.
3 And my brother, Jacob, also has seen him as I have seen him; wherefore, I will send their words forth unto my children to prove unto them that my words are true. Wherefore, by the words of three, God hath said, I will establish my word. Nevertheless, God sendeth more witnesses, and he proveth all his words.

Nephi writes that “… for he verily saw my Redeemer, even as I have seen him. And my brother, Jacob, also has seen him as I have seen him; wherefore, I will send their words forth unto my children to prove unto them that my words are true”.

We often read this, but I don’t think I have ever heard it connected to the fact that after Nephi gives us this introduction in 2 Nephi 11, he then quotes Isaiah chapters 2-14, which includes Isaiah’s account of his vision of the Lord found in 2 Nephi 16.

The gospel of brokenness and the gospel of God

We live in a day when many people are troubled, even in the church. It has become popular, in some circles, to use the word “broken” and to say that everyone, or that many people are broken. They congratulate each other in discussions of their “brokenness”.

Such teachings are a gospel of failure that stands in opposition to the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Such people have lost their faith in Christ’s ability to heal. They don’t really believe it. They think healing is actually against his plan.

One wonders whether they have ever read about his life. How frequently he healed people.

Perhaps the victories of modern medicine over the body have left our spirits weak.

When people find themselves “broken” what do they need to do?

How did they get “broken”? Suffering may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning. But what leaves our members broken that they do not find those joyful mornings? Where have their sunrises gone?

Because while all may endure the the ups and downs of lifes wheel, sometimes enjoying the top, and other times enduring their periods and times of pain and spiritual trauma, these discussions of being broken do not fit that description. They are not talking about the periods of suffering and joy that all experience. They are not talking about the tides of joy and grief that are the lot of man in a fallen world.

They are more “broken” than that.

And the answer is simple. It is sin that leaves our members broken.

We live in a day of misbehavior and coddling. We look down at ancient Israel for their wickedness. But if we suddenly had to live the law of Moses, would we not find many of our members saying “this requires too much” for it casts stones at adulterers. If we could not endure the lesser law, why do we think we are spiritually better than those in ancient Israel?

If we have faith, we do well in that. But must we not also show our faith by our works?

The issue is not one of tribulation. Joseph Smith endured horrible tribulation. But that didn’t make him feel “broken”. It wasn’t even an issue, because he stayed true and didn’t give way to the adversary. Therefore, he never complained of being “broken”.

Our members who complain of being broken could find the roots of their malady if they would look back to their choices. Have they suffered tribulation? Certainly, as others have before, and as others will after.

But our trouble is not one of affliction, but of sin. We do wrong and think nothing of it, saying that the Lord will not hold it against us.

We tread dangerous waters when our youth engage in pornography, our young single adults use each other as “friends with benefits”, and our married couples get divorced.

But what use is there in pointing out the fire that surrounds us if we give no heed to the danger of our circumstances.

We must repent. We are not even claiming the spiritual blessings that were common among non members in the 1940s and 1950s. We no longer claim the blessings of family stability and unity that come by adhering and requiring strict decency in what we bring into our own homes. Thus the non members of last century, by adhering to a more moral life more strictly have greater claims on the blessings of the home and family than the members of God’s true church are claiming for their own families in this day.

Our media, our friends, and Paul’s writings on the company we keep

We sell our birthright for a song.

Or a video.

Or a book.

Or a website.

It is through our media that the adversary has so thoroughly silenced the Holy Ghost among us.

We don’t believe that he has.

But I invite you to try some things for a few years.

Don’t watch anything, or read anything, or listen to anything which is, in the least bit, provocative, sleazy or immodest. Don’t watch anything, or read anything, or listen to anything which is, in the least bit, portrays immorality or gender apostasy as normal or acceptable.

There is counsel in the scriptures that we have all but forgotten.

1 Corinthians 5:9 I wrote unto you in an epistle not to company with fornicators:
10 Yet not altogether with the fornicators of this world, or with the covetous, or extortioners, or with idolaters; for then must ye needs go out of the world.
11 But now I have written unto you not to keep company, if any man that is called a brother be a fornicator, or covetous, or an idolater, or a railer, or a drunkard, or an extortioner; with such an one no not to eat.

Now Paul is perfectly plain that when he says not to company with fornicators, he is not meaning simply everyone that commits a sort of fornication with the world. He doesn’t mean not to company with people just because the are covetous, or extortioners, or idolaters, because then we would need to actually go out of the world. He does explain in the succeeding verses that if a member of the church is involved in any of those things they need to be cut off.

But when it comes to the big moral sins, such as fornication, Paul says not to company with people involved in them.

Now that is saving counsel right there. It is inspired. If we would teach that to our children from their youth up we would lose far, far, far fewer of them.

Of course, it means to literally “not company with fornicators”.

Certainly that includes friends that think nothing of pornography, and would pass it on to our youth.

But we also company with them constantly through our media. We think nothing of watching a show with adultery being portrayed as normal and acceptable, particularly if it doesn’t “show anything”. We don’t think anything of it even involving us in the act, portaying a woman being seductive. We cannot look upon such things and be obeying Paul’s counsel.

Such things are offensive to the Holy Ghost. We may do many things that are pleasing to the Holy Ghost, but we habitually partake of that which offends him and think it makes no difference in our lives.

Temple work and family.

I sometimes run into those who do not see family temple work through eyes of faith. They see cards with names printed on them, but do not think of the actual people those cards represent.

My daughter recently turned eight and was baptized. Imagine if when the time for the baptism arrived the bishop had picked out whoever caught his eye first and asked that person to do the baptism. Most of us would recognize that something was wildly wrong if I was sitting there ready and willing to do the baptism, but some local authority intervened, acting like he had the right (which he doesn’t) and assigned someone else to perform the baptism of my own daughter as I sit there.

But you can go to the temple and some people there do exactly the same thing. People bring the names of their own ancestors and relatives to the temple. They can be sitting there ready and willing to do the ordinance, and some local authority at the temple will think they have the right to ignore family relationships and just give the ordinance out to whomsoever they see fit.

The dead are as real as we are. They have families, just as we do. I sometimes wonder whether they are not shocked at our ignorance of their own reality, and of their own family. There are those who do not have sufficient faith and they ignore that these dead ancestors are perfectly real, and they ignore that these dead ancestors have families, just was you or I do. It is because they don’t have the faith. They say they do, but in reality they just see a card with a name printed on it. They want efficiency or convenience and lack the faith needed to see the truth.

We cannot be made perfect without our fathers, and they cannot be made perfect without us. Work for the dead is a family affair. If we cannot be made perfect without the fathers, then we should not treat these relationships lightly at the temple. If the fathers cannot be made perfect without us, then we should not treat family relationships lightly when doing work for our dead.

When we are doing family history and we find an ancestor name, it not infrequently happens that we feel that ancestor telling us they want us to research and do the temple work for some of their other descendents, who are not our direct ancestors. What does that mean? It means that ancestor either knows that the person desires to receive the gospel, and would like their work done by you, or it means that the ancestor who is prompting you is committing themselves to actually take the gospel to those relatives if you do the work. When we feel prompted to extend the work to other relatives than our direct ancestors, feeling whispers by an ancestor to do work for another relative, or by a relative to do the work for themselves, we can trust those promptings from beyond the viel. If we follow the Holy Ghost we can always have confidence that what is going on beyond the veil matches up with the work we are prompted to do on this side of the veil. The holy ghost will always lead us right.

The JST of Romans 2:1 – It isn’t about judging, it is about homosexuality

Just as the JST clarifies Christ’s meaning from “Judge not, that ye be not judged” to “Judge not unrighteously that ye be not judged, but judge righteous judgment”

So also the JST changes Romans 2:1 from

Romans 2:1 Therefore thou art inexcusable, O man, whosever thou art that judgest: for wherein thou judgest another, thou condemnest thyself; for thou that judgest doest the same thing.

to

Romans 2:1 Therefore thou art inexcusable, O man, whosever thou art that judgest thus: for wherein thou judgest another, thou condemnest thyself; for thou that judgest doest the same thing.

That one word “thus” makes a tremendous difference, as it refers us back to the the preceding verses. The preceding verses are about homosexuality and lesbianism. Putting the JST of Romans 2:1 in context so we know what “judgest thus” refers to, we get
JST Romans 1:26 For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections; for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature;
27 And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the women, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompense of their error which was meet. 
28 And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, according to some, to do those things which are not convenient;
29 Being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity; whisperers,
30 Backbiters, haters of God, despiteful, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents,
31 Without understanding, covenant-breakers, without natural affection, implacable, unmerciful;
32 And some who, knowing the judgement of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, are inexcusable, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them.
Romans 2.1 Therefore thou art inexcusable, O man, whosever thou art that judgest thus: for wherein thou judgest another, thou condemnest thyself; for thou that judgest doest the same thing.
The structure here is that 26-27 describe homosexuality directly. Then verse 28 discusses their being given over to a reprobate mind. Then verse 29-31 illustrate what it means that God gave these homosexual and lesbians over to a reprobate mind by describing their traits. They are spot on. Then verse 32 discusses those who know the judgments of God against homosexuality (because it is continuing the thought of the previous verses), and yet do the same themselves and take pleasure in others who do them.

Now, how the JST is precisely supposed to read on Romans 1:28 and Romans 1:32 is something that is somewhat unclear. Robert Matthews, who was the one who obtained permission from the RLDS church to verify that the Inspired Version they published matched the original document (which we previously had no access to) said that sometimes there are notes pinned to the page, and occasionally notes pinned to notes. I don’t know if this is one such location, but there is a difference between the 1867 Inspired Version, and the one that I have a printed copy of. The commentary in McConkies Doctrinal New Testament Commentary matches the 1867 inspired version, whereas mine was printed in 1970 which claims to be “a new corrected edition”. It seems clear that the 1944/1970 version of verse 32 is better than the 1867 edition version of verse 32.
All that aside, it makes no particular difference to the changes in Romans 2:1. There we read a completely different text in either case. There we read no condemnation for judging, but instead read condemnation of those “inexcusable” people described in verse 32, who know the judgment of God against homosexuality and lesbianism, but nevertheless commit such things themselves, and have pleasure in those that do so.

The JST is terrific, and offers more than you thought

It is not well known, but the footnotes in the lds scriptures do not contain all the Joseph Smith translations. That was made clear at the time that the current edition of the scriptures came out. They said that only the most significant changes were included in the footnotes. Generally they do a decent job.

But as I recall, there are places where no single change makes a tremendous difference, but where there were a large number of minor changes that, taken together, significantly clarify the meaning of the text. The book of Romans was this way as I recall.

So I am just starting in on part of Romans 1 and including the full JST changes in the text over part of that chapter. I will put the JST changes in bold.

Romans 1:1-13

1 Paul, an apostle, a servant of God, called of Jesus Christ, and separated to preach the gospel,
2 (Which he had promised before by his prophets in the holy scriptures)
3 Concerning his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord, which was made of the seed of David according to the flesh;
4 And declared the Son of God with power, by the spirit according to the truth, through the resurrection from the dead:
5 By whom we have received grace and apostleship, through obedience, and faith in his name to preach the gospel among all nations;
6 Among whom ye also are called of Jesus Christ;
7 Wherefore I write to all who are in Rome, beloved of God, called saints; Grace to you, and peace, from God our Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ.
8 First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ, that you all are steadfast, and your faith is spoken of throughout the whole world.
9 For God is my witness, whom I serve, that without ceasing I make mention of you always in my prayers, that you may be kept through the Spirit, in the gospel of his Son,
10 Making request of you, to remember me in your prayers, I now write unto you, that you will ask him in faith, that if by any means, at length, I may serve you with my labors, and may have a prosperous journey by the will of God, to come unto you.
11 For I long to see you, that I may impart unto you some spiritual gift, that it may be established in you to the end;
12 That I may be comforted together with you by the mutual faith both of you and me.
13 Now I would not have you ignorant, brethren, that oftentimes I purposed to come unto you, ( but was hindered hitherto,) that I might have some fruit among you also, even as among other Gentiles.

Now there are actually more changes than are apparent at first glance at this, because there are probably 4 or 5 places where the JST took a word or phrase out of the text. And you can see the additions and changes easily with the above highlights, but you can’t easily tell where there is text that was removed. But it gives you a sense of how much JST there really is in Romans 1.

Note that only the changes in verse 5 appear in the JST footnotes.

Now the vast bulk of the scriptures are not corrected or clarified nearly that much by the JST. Generally, the lds footnotes do a decent job of giving you the JST.

But there is very significant clarification to the text here, and it is mostly not available in the JST footnotes of our scriptures. If you don’t have a copy of the “Inspired Version”, you might want to consider getting a copy of it for personal study. If you want to quote and read verses aloud that sound like everyone else then the JST might be an obstacle. If you want to understand what the scriptures are teaching, the JST is amazing.

Being blessed on condition of obedience is different than earning and deserving all we recieve

The scriptures plainly teach that when any man receives a blessing from God it is by obedience to that law upon which the blessing was predicated.

And if you try to teach that, someone is going to object. 
The will mock you saying we don’t earn our spiritual blessings. The will say that we can’t do works that make it so that we deserve to be saved. They will say we can’t earn our salvation through our works.
But they are just knocking down a straw man. 
Gaining salvation by receiving blessings predicated on obedience to law is very different than earning our salvation or deserving our salvation. 
There is an enormous gap, a great distance, between what we actually earn and deserve for our works, and what God has, by his very merciful and generous laws, said he will bestow upon us.
When I bow on my knees and close my eyes and attempt to speak to God, what have I earned? Not much. What I have earned is the direct physical consequence of my actions – namely that some sound emanates from my mouth if I said the prayer out loud.
But what generous blessings has the Lord been willing to pour out in response to that action? Has he not granted great miracles in response to prayer?
We do not earn, nor deserve, our salvation. The blessings God grants are overly generous and full of mercy. 
At the same time, his blessings are all conditioned on our obedience.
Gaining blessings by obedience to law is different than earning and deserving those blessings, because the laws are set by a generous and merciful God.
I do an act of service for someone, and I feel light and truth in my soul. Everyone experiences that. But did they earn that light and truth, that feeling of edification? No. What they earned by their work was simply that the service itself was accomplished. The feeling of edification and joy was an overly merciful and generous gift given by a loving God. At the same time, did they gain that edification it by obedience to eternal law? Yes. They obeyed law and had the overly generous and merciful blessings predicated on that law poured out in response. 
We must work out our own salvation with fear and trembling. But that doesn’t mean that we earned, or deserved salvation. We do not deserve, or earn, the overly merciful gifts that God bestows.
We have faith, repent, and get baptized for the remission of sins. Then we are given the gift of the Holy Ghost. Did we earn the gift of the Holy Ghost? Not even close. It is a merciful and generous gift. It is far above what we have earned or deserved. But did we gain it by obedience to eternal law? Yes we did.
What we can obtain as a generous blessing given mercifully for obeying eternal law is far and above what we actually earn and deserve. This is the generosity and mercy of a loving God: That his laws bestow divine gifts that are merciful and overly generous, and that are frankly outside of man’s power to obtain in response to works of obedience to his divine laws. What man can force the Holy Ghost to come? None can. The Holy Ghost is a God, and will go where he pleases. Yet the Holy Ghost will descend on a man in response to a man’s obedience. That is simply outside a man’s power. Man cannot force a God to let his presence fall on a man. It is a merciful and loving gift of something that is outside man’s power, in response to obedience to God’s law.
When we decide that, because there is a law set, and a blessing attached to obeying that law, then we must have earned and deserved whatever we obtain by obeying that law, we are simply giving way to false pride and denying the merciful nature of our God.

It seems that with us you could offer to pay a man a million dollars a day, and he would be grateful for the first month. But give him six months with such wages and he will decide he earned and deserved such a rich reward just because that was the price that was set. In his pride he forgets that the reward was far, far more than what he rightly earned or deserved. It was merciful and generous.

And when we think of receiving such marvelous manifestations as answers to our prayers, and the gift of the Holy Ghost, and baptism, and the temple endowments, we may be tempted to give way to pride and think we deserved them and earned them. But no, we did not. We obeyed the law and obtained the prize, but the law was set by a merciful and generous God and its rewards for obedience are far better than millions of dollars, but far more unattainable by the power of mankind.

We are judged by our works in mortality as well as in eternity

The scriptures testify again and again that we will be judged according to our works. Interestingly, we don’t realize that that is no different in mortality than in eternity. That is exactly what the scripture means:

D&C 130:20 There is a law, irrevocably decreed in heaven before the foundations of this world, upon which all blessings are predicated—
21 And when we obtain any blessing from God, it is by obedience to that law upon which it is predicated.
We are judged by our works in mortality. We will be judged by them in eternity. This is the doctrine of the scriptures. And it is laid out for us as plain as day, that we cannot misunderstand. 
… must be judged of their works (1 Nephi 15:32)
… must be brought to stand before God, to be judged of their works; (1 Nephi 15:33)
… all men shall be judged of their works (2 Nephi 9:44)
… they shall be judged, every man according to his works (Mosiah 3:24)
… stand before God to be judged according to the deeds which have been done in the mortal body (Alma 5:15)
… stand before God, and be judged according to their works. (Alma 11:41)
… to be judged according to their works, whether they be good or whether they be evil. (Alma 11:44)
… stand before God to be judged according to their works (Alma 12:8)
… all men shall stand before him, to be judged at the last and judgment day, according to their works. (Alma 33:22)
… stand in the presence of my God, to be judged of my deeds. (Alma 36:15)
… stand before God, and be judged according to their works. (Alma 40:21)
… men should be judged according to their works; and if their works were good in this life,
 and the desires of their hearts were good, that they should also, at the last day, be restored unto that which is good. And if their works are evil they shall be restored  unto them for evil… (Alma 41:3-4)
 … they are restored into his presence, to be judged according to their works (Alma 42:23)
 … all people, all kindreds, and all nations and tongues shall stand before God, to be judged of their works, whether they be good or whether they be evil (3 Nephi 26:4)
 … be judged according to your works (Mormon 3:18)
 … to be judged according to your works (Mormon 6:21)
We will be judged by our works in eternity. And just so, we are judged by our works in mortality, for when we obtain any blessing from God, it is by obedience to that law upon which it is predicated.