BOWbutton

This button is a resource to link those desiring baptism with those having authority to baptize. More information can be found here.

Boise Conference

Next month, September 9-11 in Boise, Idaho there will be a conference to which all are invited. It is called The Doctrine of Christ Conference. There has been a website created for the event. I am one of a number of invited speakers. I look forward to participating.

A group of Boise believers have organized the event, arranged and paid for the venues, and will be manning the necessary staffing needs. The website for the event solicits participation from others. If you are inclined to do so, you can sign up to help, or donate. Some people are traveling great distances to attend, and the website allows you to assist those needing help.

Christ Alone Saves

The atonement is our rescue. Christ alone performed it and He has proclaimed that He alone has accomplished it:
Isaiah 63:3: “I have trodden the winepress alone; and of the people there was none with me[.]”

In modern revelation, He has reiterated that He alone performed the atoning sacrifice required to save us from judgment and condemnation:
D&C 133:50: “I have trodden the wine-press alone, and have brought judgment upon all people; and none were with me;”

He saves us through the atonement because He paid the price of the wrath of Almighty God for all sin:
D&C 76:107: “I have overcome and have trodden the wine-press alone, even the wine-press of the fierceness of the wrath of Almighty God.”

Paul explained that through the original disobedience of Adam, a sentence of death was imposed on mankind, but that sentence was reversed and many will be made righteous by the sacrifice of Christ. (See Romans 5:12-19.)

It is Christ alone who will keep the way. He will allow those who have believed in Him, obeyed Him, kept His commandments and thereby walked in the path of His righteousness (to become righteous) to enter:
2 Nephi 9:41: “O then, my beloved brethren, come unto the Lord, the Holy One. Remember that his paths are righteous. Behold, the way for man is narrow, but it lieth in a straight course before him, and the keeper of the gate is the Holy One of Israel; and he employeth no servant there; and there is none other way save it be by the gate; for he cannot be deceived, for the Lord God is his name.”

It is Christ and His name alone which will provide salvation for mankind:
Mosiah 5:8 “And under this head ye are made free, and there is no other head whereby ye can be made free. There is no other name given whereby salvation cometh; therefore, I would that ye should take upon you the name of Christ, all you that have entered into the covenant with God that ye should be obedient unto the end of your lives.”
John 14:6: “Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.”

There are many others in heaven. God the Father and Christ are not alone. There is an entire host of beings with them:
Neimiah 9:6: “Thou, even thou, art Lord alone; thou hast made heaven, the heaven of heavens, with all their host, the earth, and all things that are therein, the seas, and all that is therein, and thou preservest them all; and the host of heaven worshippeth thee.”

Some of the hosts are righteous, align with God, and follow His will:
D&C 88:112: “And Michael, the seventh angel, even the archangel, shall gather together his armies, even the hosts of heaven.”

Angelic hosts are on both sides, some on God’s right hand and others on His left:
2 Chronicles 18:18: “Again he said, Therefore hear the word of the Lord; I saw the Lord sitting upon his throne, and all the host of heaven standing on his right hand and on his left.”
1 Kings 22:19: “And he said, Hear thou therefore the word of the Lord: I saw the Lord sitting on his throne, and all the host of heaven standing by him on his right hand and on his left.”

But angelic hosts retain the right to choose. It is possible for them to rebel and fall short. It is possible for angelic hosts to be cast down from heaven:
D&C 29:36: “And it came to pass that Adam, being tempted of the devil—for, behold, the devil was before Adam, for he rebelled against me, saying, Give me thine honor, which is my power; and also a third part of the hosts of heaven turned he away from me because of their agency;”

Faithful members of the heavenly hosts can further God’s work, and cooperate with Him in assisting mankind:
D&C 84:42: “And wo unto all those who come not unto this priesthood which ye have received, which I now confirm upon you who are present this day, by mine own voice out of the heavens; and even I have given the heavenly hosts and mine angels charge concerning you.”

We cannot be saved by an angel. Nor can we trust any angel, even from heaven, to be the object of worship or adoration. That must be reserved for Christ and His Father alone:
Galatians 1:8: “But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed.”

Even if an angel were to give you a covenant, promise or assurance; or a man were to “seal you up to eternal life,” unless it comes by and through Christ alone, it will be of no value in the afterlife:
D&C 132:12-13: “I am the Lord thy God; and I give unto you this commandment—that no man shall come unto the Father but by me or by my word, which is my law, saith the Lord. And everything that is in the world, whether it be ordained of men, by thrones, or principalities, or powers, or things of name, whatsoever they may be, that are not by me or by my word, saith the Lord, shall be thrown down, and shall not remain after men are dead, neither in nor after the resurrection, saith the Lord your God.”

Those who worship angels, men, or institutions instead of Christ risk becoming subject to a fallen angel:
2 Nephi 9:8: “O the wisdom of God, his mercy and grace! For behold, if the flesh should rise no more our spirits must become subject to that angel who fell from before the presence of the Eternal God, and became the devil, to rise no more.” (See also D&C 76:98-105.)

One of the adversary’s pretensions is to claim that he is “the son of God” or the “Only Begotten,” thereby hoping to mislead people to worship him instead of the Lord. (See Moses 1:19; D&C 128:20.)

Before accepting a message as truth, you ought to know the scriptures well enough to test the message against the words of Christ, His unwaivering voice from the time of Adam until the present, and the prophets. It should not be difficult to determine if some new thing is true or just vanity, without power, and offensive to God. You should be careful about allowing any angel or man to pretend to “seal you up” to some eternal reward. You may find yourself subject in the afterlife to a vile spirit who will claim the right to rule over you. There are pretenders, even among the hosts of heaven. Joseph Smith cautioned, “A man is saved no faster than he gets knowledge, for if he does not get knowledge, he will be brought into captivity by some evil power in the other world, as evil spirits will have more knowledge, and consequently more power than many men who are on the earth. Hence it needs revelation to assist us, and give us knowledge of the things of God.” (DHC 4:588.)

Believe in Christ, trust in Him, and seek salvation through Him alone.

Framework

The scriptures set both the framework to teach, and the standard for teaching content. The scriptures provoked the restoration through Joseph. (JS-H 1:11-12.) The resurrected Lord taught from the scriptures, both in Palestine (Luke 24:25-27) and in the new world (3 Ne. 23:5-6.) Christ pointed to the scriptures as the source to be searched for truth concerning Him. (John 5:39.)

When the apostate Sherem was confronted, and his error denounced, those who heard Jacob “searched the scriptures, and no longer hearkened to the words of this wicked man.” (Jacob 7:23.) When Alma and Amulek finished preaching, those who were converted “began to repent, and to search the scriptures.” (Alma 14:1.)

Once people who had been led astray repented, they looked more carefully at the scriptures to guide them, so they would not fall into error again. The scriptures fortified them against false teachings.

All scripture is given to us for our profit and guidance. They can correct our errors and teach us righteousness. (2 Tim. 3:16.)

Everything I do, teach and write is taken from the scriptures. They are the framework and the standard for the content of anything I teach.

Faith Requires Correct Acts

James wrote, “Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone. Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: show me thy faith without thy works, and I will show thee my faith by my works.” (James 2:17-18.) To the same effect, Lectures on Faith explain, “it is faith, and faith only, which is the moving cause of all action, in them; that without it, both mind and body would be in a state of inactivity, and all their exertions would cease, both physical and mental.” (Lecture First:10.) Faith sets man into action, and whatever it is that man believes he acts in conformity with that. All that is required to trap mankind is to have us accept false ideas. We cannot help but act in conformity with them–whether they are true or false.

Saving faith must be grounded upon a correct understanding of God’s will. As Lectures explain, there are some indispensable requirements for saving faith in God, including “a correct idea of his character, perfections and attributes.” (Lecture Third:4.) We cannot be wrong about God and have saving faith. If we misapprehend His character, we are darkened in our understanding and are likely to be misled. Faith in the only true and wise God gets replaced by worship of others thought to be among the hosts of heaven, like the evil king Manasseh. Manasseh brought into the temple altars to worship the “hosts of heaven” like the heathen (or Wiccan) do. This folly offended God, and God spoke to condemn it, but the people would not listen to God. (2 Chr. 33:2-10.) The false worship of the “hosts of heaven” brought the judgments of God upon those who should have known better. They were warned, failed to heed the warning, and were destroyed. (Zeph. 1:4-9.)

Faith likewise requires we have “an actual knowledge that the course of life which he is pursuing, is according to his will.—For without an acquaintance with these three important facts, the faith of every rational being must be imperfect and unproductive; but with this understanding, it can become perfect and fruitful, abounding in righteousness unto the praise and glory of God the Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ.” (Lecture Third:5.) It is impossible to disobey God and obtain the assurance from Him that a man is pursuing His will.

If we are not doing His will, He will not give us such an assurance. It is contrary to His nature to confirm to us we are pleasing Him when our acts displease Him. When a man or woman worships the hosts of heaven, a divine mother, false spirits, or pursues a course different from the one that follows God’s will, any “assurance” that we are pleasing God comes from a lying source. If we are deceived by a lying spirit, it is impossible to have faith. Joseph Smith said,”A man must have the discerning of spirits before he can drag into daylight this hellish influence and unfold it unto the world in all its soul-destroying, diabolical, and horrid colors; for nothing is a greater injury to the children of men than to be under the influence of a false spirit when they think they have the Spirit of God.” (See Times and Seasons, April 1, 1842, “Try the Spirits.”) He also taught, “Lying spirits are going forth in the earth. There will be great manifestations of spirits, both false and true. … Every spirit, or vision, or singing, is not of God.” (DHC 3:391.)

Saving faith also requires worship of God by correctly identifying the object of your worship. We are authorized to extend faith in God as correctly identified in the Lectures. Whenever the subject is God, “the Godhead: we mean the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. There are two personages who constitute the great, matchless, governing and supreme power over all things—by whom all things were created and made, that are created and made, whether visible or invisible: whether in heaven, on earth, or in the earth, under the earth, or throughout the immensity of space—They are the Father and the Son: The Father being a personage of spirit, glory and power: possessing all perfection and fulness: The Son, who was in the bosom of the Father, a personage of tabernacle, made, or fashioned like unto man, or being in the form and likeness of man, or, rather, man was formed after his likeness, and in his image;—he is also the express image and likeness of the personage of the Father: possessing all the fulness of the Father, or, the same fulness with the Father; being begotten of him, and was ordained from before the foundation of the world to be a propitiation for the sins of all those who should believe on his name, and is called the Son because of the flesh—and descended in suffering below that which man can suffer, or, in other words, suffered greater sufferings, and was exposed to more powerful contradictions than any man can be. But notwithstanding all this, he kept the law of God, and remained without sin: Showing thereby that it is in the power of man to keep the law and remain also without sin. And also, that by him a righteous judgment might come upon all flesh, and that all who walk not in the law of God, may justly be condemned by the law, and have no excuse for their sins. And he being the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth, and having overcome, received a fulness of the glory of the Father—possessing the same mind with the Father, which mind is the Holy Spirit, that bears record of the Father and the Son, and these three are one, or in other words, these three constitute the great, matchless, governing and supreme power over all things: by whom all things were created and made, that were created and made: and these three constitute the Godhead, and are one: The Father and the Son possessing the same mind, the same wisdom, glory, power and fulness: Filling all in all—the Son being filled with the fulness of the Mind, glory and power, or, in other words, the Spirit, glory and power of the Father—possessing all knowledge and glory, and the same kingdom: sitting at the right hand of power, in the express image and likeness of the Father—a Mediator for man—being filled with the fulness of the Mind of the Father, or, in other words, the Spirit of the Father: which Spirit is shed forth upon all who believe on his name and keep his commandments: and all those who keep his commandments shall grow up from grace to grace, and become heirs of the heavenly kingdom, and joint heirs with Jesus Christ; possessing the same mind, being transformed into the same image or likeness, even the express image of him who fills all in all: being filled with the fulness of his glory, and become one in him, even as the Father, Son and Holy Spirit are one.” (Lecture Fifth:1-2.)

This description of the Godhead excludes a mother-in-heaven, the hosts of heaven, and other extraneous objects of veneration. Faith must be centered in the God of heaven or it cannot save.

Tiresome Lying

The hyper-political reporting by the major news outlets has become tiresome. It is no longer watchable. All sense of decency and fairness has been abandoned in order to polarize. Candidates use every device of rhetoric and distortion to portray their opponent to be astonishingly evil, untrustworthy, incompetent, vile and dangerous.

There is no attempt at fairness, no recognition of virtue in the opponent. If you trusted the partisan press you would believe the two major political parties of this nation have insanely chosen to offer us a stupid criminal or a dangerous egomaniac for our presidential candidates.

Washington is corrupt. Both of these candidates have exploited the corruption to gain power by using opposite means. Nevertheless it is corruption which has produced the present choice.

This foolish angry debate between parties may generate interest, sell papers, improve ratings, and increase audience share for the purveyors of propaganda, but it divides people into thoughtless hostile opposing camps. It is unworthy of us.

Suspend all judgment until the candidates debate each other, and decide between them based on the content of their respective explanations. Turn the debate off as soon as the candidates finish speaking, and avoid the highly paid, politically motivated “analysts” who try to tell you what to think afterwards. They are well-paid liars offering opinions for hire, who are far more loyal to their bosses than our country.

As long as we the people have the right to vote bad leaders out and new leaders in to office, no political problem is insurmountable.

Sunstone Paper

The paper that the Sunstone talk I gave yesterday is available as a download. You can view or download the paper here.

We are working to add it to the “Downloads” area of this website and should have that accomplished later today.

Missionary Outreach

The purpose of A Man Without Doubt is to allow those with a desire to open a conversation regarding the restoration with non-Mormons to have a resource to invite questions. The best way to introduce new religious truths is by answering questions. The book explains Joseph Smith in his own words. He explained his beliefs simply, forthrightly, and persuasively. When he is allowed to speak, he does not appear to be the fanatical despot most non-Mormons conjure as their imagined character.

I’m giving copies of the book to others in the hope they will want to learn more. It is intended to be a resource for anyone to use with non-Mormons. We all have an obligation to others. When we are informed about how God is advancing His last-days work, we are obligated to inform others, “it becometh every man who hath been warned to warn his neighbor.” (D&C 88:81.)

2016 Sunstone Symposium

This coming Friday, July 29, I will be speaking at the Sunstone Symposium at the University of Utah. I speak at 5:00 p.m. The lecture is titled: Was There An Original?

The lecture will examine how Mormonism changed during Joseph Smith’s lifetime. By taking a few topics to illustrate the overall phenomena, I hope to provide some additional insight into Joseph’s ministry and how to put context to the restoration. It was an incomplete work-in-process. There is a great deal left to be done.

New Book For Christians

A new book addressed to Christians is now available on Amazon. The book is titled A Man Without Doubt.

It is intended to be readable. There are no footnotes, and it is just under 200 pages. The book introduces material written by Joseph Smith by laying the historical setting that produced the document. Then Joseph is allowed to speak to the reader in his own words. The book was reviewed by non-Mormon readers beforehand, and their comments and suggestions were solicited and considered in finalizing it.

If you know of a Christian who has a negative opinion of Joseph Smith, you may want to lend them a copy of this book to see if influences them in a positive way.

Mormons may not appreciate the book. There is very little about the history leading to each of the three writings that is particularly flattering. The book first explains the frustrations and disappointments Joseph encountered in trying to convey to others the higher priesthood. In response to the failure, Joseph set out to address the lack of faith. Lectures on Faith were given in the School of the Prophets, then canonized in the Doctrine and Covenants to address the crisis of faith early Mormons experienced when the higher priesthood did not work as expected.

The second crisis began in 1837 and lasted through 1838. The collapse of the Kirtland Safety Society, the many members angry at Joseph, his flight to Missouri to escape the Mormons who intended to kill him, and the troubles in Missouri leading up to the Mormon War are explained as background. When John Whitmer, the historian of the church, left with the history, Joseph began a new composition in 1838 to replace the one Whitmer took. The background is prelude to the Joseph Smith History, and explains why Joseph wrote many of the comments in his history.

The third crisis was when Joseph was taken prisoner in the Mormon War. For six months in 1838-1839 he was confined in Missouri while Mormons were scattered from the state under threat of extermination. The background explains the circumstances in which Joseph wrote the letter from Liberty Jail.

After introducing the events leading to the three Joseph Smith compositions, the reader is allowed to read Joseph’s response to the crises. Everyone is allowed to form their own opinion of Joseph by considering how he reacted.

There is a glossary to help those unacquainted with Mormon language and leading figures to familiarize themselves with events, persons and texts of early Mormonism.

Most of the opposition Joseph Smith encountered had either disaffected Mormons leading or participating against him. His responses are all the more remarkable because of how positive he remained throughout.

If you know anyone, including Christian ministers, who could benefit from reading the book, please share it with them. Nothing in the book attempts to convert anyone to Mormonism. Its only purpose is to introduce Joseph Smith as a Christian figure whose life, in many ways, was like the Apostle Paul. A quote from Paul in the beginning of the book supplies all later chapter titles.