The gospel, pornography and God’s decrees about liars

We are required to cast off those things for which a man will be cast into the lake of fire and brimstone in order to be baptized. Doing so does not make us prepared for the celestial kingdom, it makes us worthy to be baptized, enter the gate, and receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. We must press forward diligently from that point if we want eternal life.

Someone doing those things which the Lord says he will cast a man into the lake of fire and brimstone for must repent (which includes completely stopping) or be cast off. One will be cast into the lake of fire and brimstone for immorality, including pornography. One is not an honorable man of the earth while committing adultery in his heart. Liars will also be thrust into hell. Therefore, liars must either repent or be cast out of the church.

We don’t like that. But that is the doctrine taught in the scriptures. If you are doing something for which you will be cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, then you must either repent or be cast out.

We don’t really like the list of who will go to hell. We are fine with some parts of it. We are not fine with the inclusion of “liars”. But it isn’t my list.

It is the sort of thing someone will want to make into a straw man. They will say that I wrote that anyone who tells a lie should be excommunicated. Well, that wasn’t what I wrote. I do not know what the cut off is for one to be counted as a liar by the scriptural measure. But God is the one who said it, and he knows, and if we go to him, he can tell us all about it.

But we need to find out about it from him, not from our own personal inclinations. Because our own inclinations would probably not send any liars to hell, and we are not in agreement with scripture on that point. And once we understand the matter, then we need to act as the Lord has commanded on it. Those who are liars by God’s measure need to repent, or to be cast out.

Because you can’t be a member of the church while actively doing those things for which God places men in a lake of fire and brimstone. That is the principle by which people are cast out, as laid out in D&C 63, for God threatens to cut off his church if such things are kept among them in that section.

We don’t like that, but if we would just stick to the scriptures we would find that there are a great many of our members who would be willing to repent and work righteousness.

We have our inclinations. But if we will seek for and follow God’s instead, we will find that he knows how to save his children far better than we do.


The power of the weak against the mighty and strong

I have noticed increasingly that members feel a need to appeal to statistics and studies rather than to scriptures and plain spoken truth. I think the tools of the learned are a poor choice. They lack the power to convert that a pure statement of truth does. The more we can strike at the heart of a truth and lay it plain, the more the Holy Ghost can testify of its truth.

When a man speaks by the power of the Holy Ghost, he says things the Holy Ghost can testify of. He speaks of eternal truths. The scriptures say that

D&C 1:19 The weak things of the world shall come forth and break down the mighty and strong ones, that man should not counsel his fellow man, neither trust in the arm of flesh—

20 But that every man might speak in the name of God the Lord, even the Savior of the world;

This is not teachings of studies and statistics that is spoken of. In fact, it says that the weak things of the world shall come forth and break down the mighty and strong ones, that man should not counsel his fellow man, neither trust in the arm of flesh.

Counting on studies and statistics is trusting in the arm of flesh. It is based in man counseling his fellow man. It is the very sort of thing that God says he will break down, by using the weak things of the world.

Our power is the power of the Holy Ghost and the power of truth. We can be certain that when the Brother of Jared wrote things that were so powerful that they would overwhelm a man to read them, it was neither citing a recent study nor a bunch of statistics. But it resounded with the soul to the overpowering of the body when read by the power of God. We do not have any who writes like that in these days, nor have we known such in this dispensation. But of this we can be sure,  we will not raise up another one like that man, none of us will ever become like him, by trying to teach and preach the gospel using the studies and statistics of the learned.


We do not obtain heaven simply by avoiding hell

We do not obtain heaven simply by avoiding hell. We do not obtain a higher glory by simply avoiding a lesser one. We are not celestial material merely by avoiding that which we know will condemn us to a telestial kingdom.

Yes, we start there. We start by making a commitment at baptism to no longer do those things for which the Lord will cast a man into the lake of fire and brimstone.

But that is a beginning place, a gate onto a path. It is the required entrance fee to walk on the path. It is no more the end of the path than simply leaving Jerusalem brought Lehi and Nephi to the promised land. Having paid the price of admission, there is still yet a great journey to be made.

We are not worthy of the celestial kingdom simply by avoiding being deserving of hell. We must press forward with diligence, feasting on the words of Christ, if we want eternal life. We must endure to the end, not by hunkering down at the start of the path, but by clinging to the iron rod and pressing forward with diligence to the end.



What we have rejected must return before Zion be built for not a jot or tittle will pass away but all be fulfilled

We have been allowed to discard much of what prophets in this dispensation have taught because of the hardness of our hearts.

That is nothing new. Moses suffered ancient Israel to write writs of divorcement because of the hardness of their hearts. But from the beginning it was not so.

And it is critical that we realize of such truths that Zion cannot be built without them. We cannot build Zion on hard hearts. We will have to repent, and cleave to every truth we have rejected before we can begin to begin to build Zion in earnest.

Sure, we are accumulating large numbers now. That is fine. But we cannot build Zion until our old men see visions and our young men dream dreams. We cannot build Zion until we cease to live below our privileges for Zion is build on the graces of our God and on the feast of the gifts of the spirit.

And we cannot enjoy those until we reclaim the basic truths we have hardened our hearts against. We cannot build Zion while rejecting what the Father laid out in Eden. We cannot be redeemed and stand at the tree of life while rejecting the things God declared at that very place.

We will have to remember that we were commanded to multiply and replenish the earth, that God set the father at the head of the home, that the command to provide necessities was directed to Adam, that only when Adam and Eve are given in marriage may they cleave together as one flesh, that when God has put together man and woman then man should not put them asunder save it be for adultery, and we must not allow ourselves to forget what many now wish to now erase: that God created them male and female after the image of God.

The most direct route to Zion is the one of repentance. For the celestial city cannot be built, cannot even be begun, except on the principles of the laws of the celestial kingdom.

As Christ said in his day, so it is true of ours. We should not think Zion can be built by destroying the prophets. When Zion is finally built, we will look back and see that not one jot nor tittle of the prophets of this dispensation have passed away, but have all been fulfilled.

Wisdom of the Wise 2

I think that one crucial issue that is missing is that we understand only leadership based on motherhood. We don’t have a sense of leadership based on fatherhood. Our Fatherhood these days is no longer fatherhood as the head of the home, it has become fatherhood as no more than a figurehead in the home. We don’t know what real fatherhood even looks like.
Because of that, we don’t know what leadership looks like and our leadership is based on motherhood instead of fatherhood. We believe that a leader’s role is primarily that of a nurturer. He mothers those he leads. He is there for every emotional “need”, at their spiritual whim. If he deviates from the course of being a nurturer, and mothering those under him, he is seen as deviating from the path of true Christian leadership.
Now, let us compare that to what is found in the scriptures.

Take John 6, and measure it by the measure of nurturing. It is not nurturing. It is fatherhood. Christ tests his followers. He actually loses many of them permanently. But he has made those who follow him far more certain, more refined, more committed in their faith.
Our God, the Christ is a refiner. He sits as a refiner and purifier and silver. He gains a large following in John 6, and then tells them that they must eat his flesh and drink his blood to have eternal life. They misunderstand him, believing his words to be literal. He, being the Son of God, cannot help but know what is going on. But he does not offer the clarification that would straighten everything out. This is not poor teaching on Christ’s part, that left his audience confused. This is a test that he gives. It is a crucible he forces them to pass through. He knowingly, intentionally leaves them misunderstanding him and then we read:

John 6:66 From that time many of his disciples went back, and walked no more with him.

67 Then said Jesus unto the twelve, Will ye also go away?

68 Then Simon Peter answered him, Lord, to whom shall we go? thou hast the words of eternal life.

69 And we believe and are sure that thou art that Christ, the Son of the living God.

In these verses Christ has forced his followers through a refiners fire. He has tested their faith. But he tests it further, for in their moment of their faithful answer, he responds:

John 6:70 Jesus answered them, Have not I chosen you twelve, and one of you is a devil?
If we ask how that was nurturing, the answer is that it was not. Mothering and nurturing this is not.

It is refinement. Christ is more concerned with perfecting those who will accept him and will be perfected than he is with a gaining a larger number of converts. We read the scripture about how great our joy will be if we save one soul and assume it is a numbers game we are after. But that isn’t the way Christ did his preaching at all.

Note that the statistics say Christ did the wrong thing here in John 6! That tells us what we should think of statistics as being our measure.

We have bought statistics as a measure of leaders, yet we are saved by a God who clearly acted completely and directly contrary to that notion.

We think challenges and tests are wrong, because they do not nurture. We only understand leadership in terms of nurturing and mothering. This lies behind our notion that God does not punish despite the plainest statements of the scriptures. Our sense of leadership as being about nurturing and mothering is also behind our rejection of the idea that God is angry with the wicked, which appears multiple times in the scriptures, including the very frank scripture “God is angry with the wicked every day” and his plain declaration that he was angry with the saints that sought signs in D&C 63 as well as his identifying two saints he is angry with in D&C 64. It also contradicts John the Baptist’s teaching at the end of John 3 that the wrath of God abides on those that do not believe on the Son of God.

There are other ways that we see the shift to leadership that is based on motherhood as we lose track of fatherhood more and more. Unalterable requirements are simply not something we consider part of real life – everything is negotiable. Everything is about relationships. Relationships supersede obedience among us just as mothering supersedes fathering among us. We don’t need to obey, we just need a good relationship with God. There is no father who will be really angry with us when he gets home.

We think we have no need of good doctrine, all we need is a “relationship with God”. Good doctrine becomes irrelevant, obedience becomes largely irrelevant, what matters to us is to believe we have a relationship with God. And that is not good doctrine. It is dangerous thinking.

We do still believe in shadows of the traits of fathering, but they are always second place to traits of nurturing and mothering.

How far the distance, how great the gap

We seem to be so concerned about gathering into the fold that we have forgotten where we were going in the first place. We need to build Zion. That is how we prepare the world for the second coming.

But our understanding of what that means and how it must be accomplished is like someone struggling learning to add and subtract, in order to pass their calculus final next fall.

What has gone wrong with us? We have forgotten that Zion cannot be built without the doctrine. We have forgotten that Zion cannot be built without our membership as a whole coming to a much higher level of understanding, of practice, and of commitment.

Well, so what, you may ask. What does it matter where we need to go? We are doing good work.

Well the problem is that, rather than pressing forward, and growing in our knowledge of the truth, we are in high speed reverse. The doctrine we all knew last week is the doctrine that became controversial yesterday, is the doctrine that is quite-offensive-to-people-and-we-should-stop-teaching-things-that-aren’t-official today, and is the heresy of tomorrow. That is not a new trend, it is ongoing, but increasing in speed.

We are hastening our retreat, not recognizing that the path we needed to travel was already further than we could make without pressing forward with swift diligence.

And the issue is not one of side topics. Nobody cares whether Brigham Young counseled the saints to plant sugar beets. Nobody really even cares about his teachings on blood atonement (but please ignore the horribly wrong topics article on that, Brigham Young himself said he was misunderstood, and offered corrections, but the lds topics article has all the misunderstandings, and none of the corrections).

The “old teachings” that we want people to stop teaching because they “cause division” are not obscure details, they are core fundamental teachings we already know, but have been trying to forget about, because our members have  largely rejected them.

We are in a hasty retreat because we have become obsessed with the gospel of statistics. If we have 10 more active members by teaching 2 less fundamental truths, we think we have made a good bargain. We think being a Christlike leader is about nurturing and mothering, because we have forgotten what Fatherhood really is in an age where men are nothing more than figureheads in their own homes. You cannot obtain real fatherhood from a figurehead. You can obtain a masquerade of it, a puppet rendition, a finger painting of what it was supposed to be. But that is all.

The retreat is not the fault of the brethren, it is a rejection of truth at the local level by the members. Yes, the brethren have suffered us to retreat from some matters. But we want to pretend that it is not for the hardness of our hearts, and to instead pretend that the brethren finally came round to the truth.

And that is a critical distinction. When we admit that what was done yesterday was right, but we are now living beneath it because our parents rejected it, then we sense the need to come about and repent. When we have hardened our hearts to the point that we think the brethren of the past finally saw the light and stopped preaching doctrine XYZ then we are treading the ground of apostasy, we have further hardened our hearts, and we have cut our children off from repentance, having taught them that what our parents rejected and lost was really the brethren coming round to the truth at last.

It is we, as the members, and the local units, that need to stop our retreat. We teach the truth just as Christ did. We say, sure, because of the hardness of our hearts we are suffered to divorce, but from the beginning it was not so. Because of the hardness of our hearts men our figureheads in their own homes, but from the beginning it was not so. Because of the hardness of our hearts we are suffered to limit our children, but from the beginning it was not so.

It is these and other fundamentals that we despise hearing the words of “old prophets” about. It is, essentially, the things the Father laid out from the beginning that we do not want to hear any more. We do not want to hear the truth about them and we blame those who quote “old prophets” of this dispensation, but know in our hearts that there are quotes from God the Father that say the same thing. Is he an “old prophet” that we no longer believe in quoting?

It is not the brethren who erred on the matters, but our parents rejected their teachings. And we are in turn rejecting yet more fundamentals, as there are wards now in which we are ashamed to say that God created them male and female after his image.

We must not back down on doctrine. We must stand by the truth of the matter. It is different to concede than to do as Christ did and be honest. We rejected these things because of the hardness of our hearts. But we will not build Zion until we have retrod the path we have retreated down. Zion is built on these principles and far more. It is built on those things we haven’t yet known, as well as those we have known but rejected.

We will not, we cannot, we have no power to build Zion except on the principles of the laws of the celestial kingdom. Thus we will have to recover and live each of those things our parents rejected and cease to reject one word more before we can even begin to build Zion in truth. Indeed as Christ said in his own day, when we finally build Zion we will find that not one jot nor tittle of the prophets has passed away, but has all been fulfilled. We cannot build Zion on principles other than those we and our parents have rejected and the shortest path to building Zion will be to repent on precisely those matters we like to hear about the least.

The Lord has spoken on this matter and it isn’t to our credit. We know we are called to build Zion, and we believe in our statistics and think that our massive retreat counts to our credit because we were so accommodating that our numbers have grown so much more than they would have otherwise.

God said that Zion cannot be build only on the principles of the laws of the celestial kingdom. And thus it is.

We have cast off so much truth out of our midst that you can hardly say anything that the Father himself in Eden established for his own children like you believe it to be true without offending someone and often suffering persecution from other members for your pains.

We must press forward in truth and doctrine. We must slow our retreat and turn it around.

We have been called to build up Zion.

We have oh such a terribly long ways to go.

We have so much to learn.

We have so much to change in ourselves.

And we have been running in the opposite direction.

If Zion is what we are called to build, shall we not go forward in so great a work? Forward and not backward?

We must not discard the truth we have. We must treasure it, for we need it for our great work.

We must not fail to grow greater and greater in the knowledge of the truth. The Lord has told us as plain as word can be that we are taking lightly the things that we have received, even the Book of Mormon as well as his former commandments.

He has told us plainly that this is spiritual vanity. It is us, looking in the spiritual mirror, and admiring our good looks, rather than feasting on the word in a desperately battle to improve them. He has warned us against this pride. He has told us that all of us rest under this condemnation.

He is not talking about just having read the text. It is an issue of coming to know what is truly taught there. It is coming to cast off the philosophies of men and learning the doctrine in truth through the Holy Ghost.

But we discard his warning, and many among us constantly war the war against good doctrine. It is a war against God’s word, and it cannot possibly be pleasing to him. His requirement is that if we cannot teach by the power of the Holy Ghost, we shall not teach. He wants us learning and feasting on truth through the power of the Holy Ghost. He wants it to become delicious to us, and for us to correctly discern good doctrine from evil doctrine of our own accord, by searching diligently in the light of Christ. He wants us to know as perfectly as the daylight is from the dark night.

A man is saved no faster than he gains knowledge. Not academic knowledge or trivia, but knowledge of those things that can only come by the Holy Ghost. We start the path with such knowledge, when we gain a testimony, but that is the infant starting place, and the road is very long.

Truly a man is saved no faster than he gains knowledge. And by that same token, Zion is built no faster than we gain knowledge.

And we gain knowledge no faster than we truly receive the Holy Ghost.

And we must not fail to act on that knowledge, not only to say, but to do according to that which is written.









A few quick notes on Zion

Zion is celestial, not terrestrial, for it is a place where Christ dwells as we read in Moses, not a place that he visits from time to time as he visited Eden and will visit the terrestrial kingdom. This agrees with scriptures for D&C 105:5 says Zion cannot be built except on the principles of law of the celestial kingdom.

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.

To build Zion requires individuals to follow in the pattern laid by Melchizedek. They must exercise such exceeding great faith that they can bring the wicked to repentance. I don’t think faith that will not bring a wicked city to repentance is sufficient to bring a group of saints to celestial principles for the gap is great and the time short.

I think I know any number of people who believe in building Zion, but who do not believe in making one’s calling an election sure. At least, they reject Joseph Smith’s plain teachings that we should go forth to make our calling and election sure. But this is folly. To make one’s calling and election sure is to live so as to eventually begin to enjoy the gifts of the terrestrial kingdom, where the father and the son will visit from time to time and instruct you. But Zion is a celestial city, and requires better people than that.

Let me repeat that. Zion is a celestial city, and requires better people than that.

We build Zion by first building it in individuals, and nothing will bring the progress of Zion forward more than for individuals to strive diligently that they may make their calling and election sure. Trying to build Zion without the individuals involved striving to make their calling and election sure is the blind leading the blind, for one cannot lead where one does not comprehend.