BOWbutton

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

 

New Video

There is a new video on the website for the 500th Anniversary of the Christian Reformation. The video is titled:
Reconsidering Everything

A link is provided by clicking on the name above. You can access all six of the videos on that same page.

Prayer

I received the following email:

Denver,

I know you are used to far more profound questions, but do you have any suggestions on how to make prayer meaningful? I find it hard to pray, given that God knows whats in my head and what I will say, but I have been making an effort to pray more. Any tips?
_______________________________
I sent the following reply:
Talk like you are addressing your most intimate friend and have nothing to hide. Tell Him about your regrets, hopes, frustrations, concerns, fears, and confusion. Before long you will discover that whatever you care about God also cares about. He can give perspective that changes everything. Prayer should not recognize the distance between us and God, but should become the way we close that distance.

Equality?

I received the following email today:

Dear Denver,
 
I know you don’t know me, but there are some things that have been on my mind for quite a while and I wanted to ask you a couple of questions.
 
When you spoke in St. George, you said, “We are all equal, and we are all accountable.”  What did you mean by that?  At the time, I felt the Spirit bear witness to me that what you were saying was true as well as very significant.  Over the past few months, though, I’ve wondered if I didn’t really understand what you were saying.  Could you please clarify for me and maybe others as well?  Obviously, we all have differing degrees of light and truth.  Does that make us unequal?  How can I be equal with someone who has a greater connection to the Lord than I do?  Are we necessarily brought back into a hierarchy because of this inequality?  Do all our voices matter when some might voice mere opinions, others inspired thoughts from God and others revealed truths from the Lord?  How can I be equal with all when some voices are loud and strong and heard by many and others are quiet and reserved and heard by so few?
 
And are we all really accountable for what happens with the scripture project?  About a month ago I read this on the scripture update from the scripture committee:
 
“If we mess things up, we are responsible for that and the Lord cannot hold the assembly responsible. The Lord is capable of making the covenant happen. He wants this. Many on the other side (according to Denver) are eager for this to happen. The Lord can remove any knucklehead(s) that gets in the way or threatens the project. He will also support it. We have seen signs that heaven has compassion on the project and the Committee (Denver receiving corrections to the scriptures is one sign). Trust that the Lord will get His way.”
 
To me, this sounds like we’re not accountable at all.  And it also reminded me of this:
 
“The Lord will never permit me or any other man who stands as President of this Church to lead you astray. It is not in the programme. It is not in the mind of God. If I were to attempt that, the Lord would remove me out of my place, and so He will any other man who attempts to lead the children of men astray from the oracles of God and from their duty. (Sixty-first Semiannual General Conference of the Church, Monday, October 6, 1890, Salt Lake City, Utah. Reported in Deseret Evening News, October 11, 1890, p. 2.)”
 
In PTR, you asked, “Can we be ‘one’ because we believe in the theory of equality? . . . Is belief enough? Or must there be action?”  I know you were talking about temporal matters, but does it apply here as well?  I also looked up “Equality” on your website and discovered a series of blog posts that discuss this very concept, pointing out errors in the early church.  You talked about how Joseph had initially set up a system where various groups shared power with each other and with the church as a whole.  You said:

“This splintering of authority precluded any single man or small body of men from dominating and dictating to the church. Ultimate authority was vested in ‘the voice of the Church’ who could revoke any man’s position or authority.” (September 21, 2016)
 
Up until now, there hasn’t been a concern about authority and power because we, as a people, have been organized in fellowships and have governed ourselves and have seen ourselves as equals.  But now there is “a small body of men” who are making decisions that affect everyone.  Is their authority splintered so that they don’t have too much power or control?  Are there checks in place to ensure against unrighteous dominion? 
 
In the same blogpost, you said:
 
“There are two great principles this history has proven. First, a body of believers who are equal are not easily governed. If the only tools to employ are persuasion, long-suffering, gentleness, meekness, love unfeigned and pure knowledge, it will require the wisdom of God to keep believers together. As soon as they are allowed “to govern themselves” there will be ill-defined margins and straying believers in need of teaching, preaching, persuading and long-suffering. Second, it is easy to aggregate power, wealth, influence and authority if religion is used to control people . . .
 
If Zion is to have people of one heart and one mind, who live in righteousness with one another (Moses 7:18) then however cumbersome, inefficient, difficult or daunting it may prove, only the first principle can be chosen. If it fails, then there is no residual institution to add another abusive tool for the god of this world to employ in deceiving and chaining men using another inherited false tradition.”
 
I can’t imagine any of us in this situation today holding any judgment against the early saints.  It is incredibly difficult to govern with persuasion and long-suffering and all of that.  As a parent, I fail at it daily.  It would be so much easier to establish a hierarchical system and move forward.  But are we following the same pattern in a different way?  I hear fewer and fewer voices because they don’t feel heard.  I see more and more shrugging and saying, “I guess the Lord will take care of everything,” “Just trust the scripture committee.”
 
You said: 
“Zion will be produced by a journey begun in equality, pursued by equals, with no man able to command another man’s actions. Persuasion, meekness, unfeigned love and pure knowledge are the only tools necessary for Zion.”
 
I’m not interested in the theory of equality.  Could the process of getting a new set of scriptures be just important as the scriptures themselves? Are we so interested in the end results that we don’t care how we get there?  You said it better:

“This way is cumbersome and inefficient. But why do gentiles think it is preferable to trade godly equality for administrative efficiency? If the destiny is equality, then the journey must begin with that held paramount. We cannot pursue abusive and controlling means to achieve freedom and equality. The path taken, matters as much as the destination. Struggling with the inefficient and cumbersome tools of persuasion, love, patience and pure knowledge will require a lot of changes to be made voluntarily. That is of course the goal: Voluntarily changing hearts.” (September 22, 2016)
 
Are we really all equal?  Are we really all accountable?  If not, please let me know.  If we are, then how do we change the way we’re doing things so that we operate as equals?
___________________________________________

I responded to this inquiry as follows:

What is the “project” now underway? I believe it to be something other than just recovering the scriptures. But the scriptures are an essential part of the “project” now underway.

As to the scriptures, there were really five different points of origin for what has been accomplished to date. No one began the project because someone was “in control.” All five different points of origin were either an individual or a small group of people who banded together to start some aspect of recovering a more accurate version of the scriptures. I was not involved. I heard that some group was working on a new set of better scriptures, and I thought it was a good idea. But I wasn’t involved.
As work proceeded some of these people learned of the work of others and banded together. Over time the different groups distilled into three: two groups working independently and an individual working alone. They were unaware of each other. The two groups were working on all of the scriptures, and the individual was working on the Joseph Smith Bible text alone.
One of the groups contacted me and turned their “finished” product over to me to publish. They asked to be left unnamed. I was going to respect their wishes, but, while I was still reviewing their work I learned of another project having been completed. I’ve explained already that I contacted the other group, and put the two groups in contact with one another, and that once they were in contact they learned from one another and determined to consolidate and improve the overall project into a single effort.
No one was prevented from doing this work. Everyone was equal and entitled to do the work. There was and is no-one “in charge” including me. In fact, my contributions have been limited and carefully measured by me to allow others to complete their labors uninterrupted by me attempting to exert any control. This has been freely done by volunteers laboring prayerfully as equals in pursuit of a product they have all been led by God to accomplish.
The fellow who labored alone on the Joseph Smith Bible project only recently came to the attention of the others laboring on this scripture undertaking. He stepped up voluntarily, explained what he had been working on, and is now in charge of the JST portion of the project because his work has been better than anything accomplished by either of the groups separately or in their combined efforts. No one elected him to take over. He just appeared with better work having been accomplished, his labors were recognized as better than what others had been able to perform, and he was given by everyone the responsibility to shepherd that part of the project to completion.
The fact that an unknown individual could step forward in the last month and provide valuable and inspired work that everyone who had been previously laboring for over a year and a half to accomplish, and then be recognized as having done a better work, in my estimation PROVES that we are all equal. He did this as a solitary labor of love and devotion. He was not called, controlled, or assigned. He volunteered. Like all others working on the scriptures, he also proceeded as an individual with equal right to contribute. And contribute he has.
The labor on the “D&C” (I use that term for convenience) was turned over to two volunteers sometime after St. George. They were not part of the original two groups, and were only recent volunteers added to the work because they had the desire and willingness to labor on this work. Although they were very recent additions, compared with those who worked for 18 months before these two joined, the entire “D&C” has been turned over to them. They volunteered and have proven by their efforts to be worthy of the labor they are performing. No one called them. No one presides over them. They decided to do the work and have been trusted to accomplish it by everyone who had done the preliminary work.
Everyone has had the same opportunity throughout. And many people now in critically important roles assumed those positions of trust and labor very recently and entirely voluntarily.
No one is getting paid. No one is paying anyone. No one has the right to hire or fire the volunteers. There is no inequality in this project that I can determine from my observations of the work and how it has progressed.
There are a lot of people criticizing because they haven’t been consulted along the way or “included” in the work. But if they rolled up their sleeves and did something to contribute they would soon find themselves laboring alongside those who have done just that for nearly two years now. Everyone is welcomed to the work.
It is not particularly easy work. It involves many hours of reviewing sometimes difficult to read and poor quality documents in order to recover as accurate a transcript as possible. There is no “freelancing” involved in any of this. It is a word-recovery labor in which the person doing the work is attempting to restore original language. It should not matter if someone presently working on the scriptures does the work or if someone else gets out a magnifying glass (or uses a program to increase magnification) to determine what the original document said. The result should be the same.
But I asked at the beginning what “the project” really consists of: because the effort is intended to remove condemnation and rejection. The first step is to respect the Book of Mormon and former commandments, not only to say but to do them. The scriptures project is intended to show the Lord we are willing to recover what “to say” or in other words to recover as best a reconstruction of the scriptures as we can now do. We know that will not be perfect. That opportunity was lost forever. We cannot achieve perfection. What we can do is make a good faith effort to get it as right as presently possible, given the neglect and loss of important information that cannot now be recovered.
We can make as earnest and heartfelt an effort to show our respect as humanly possible in the circumstances. But we know it will not be perfect because of the state of the records now remaining.
So we will do as much as we can, and know that when we present it to the Lord it will be up to Him to determine if He will have mercy on us.
I am very encouraged by the work I have seen done. I have every hope that the scriptures that will result from this effort will be as close as possible to what Joseph Smith left us in his ministry. Not perfect, but close. And I think they will be very valuable, even precious, for anyone who is interested in getting light and truth from the reconstructed materials.
But that is only one step in “the project” and perhaps the easier one at that. The more important step is to distinguish ourselves from those who went before. When you give a fair account of the failure to accomplish Zion, the language of scriptures ascribes the pollution of the earlier saints’ inheritance to contentions, jarrings, envyings, strifes and their lustful and covetous desires. On those qualities I fear we are almost identical to the earlier saints. We have not been able to eradicate those things from ourselves.
I read the foolish opposition that has been and is being advanced and I am astonished at the failure to be grateful and deeply appreciative of the many, many hours of sacrifice that have been freely made by all involved to give something of value to everyone who will receive it. I know the Lord has been displeased by the clamor, the vocal suspicions and the negative assumptions that have been freely published to the world. I mourn because we may succeed in having the best recovered scriptures of all the last-days saints, but still be no better than the worst of them.
So “the project” remains, in my view, still a distant and probably unattainable accomplishment. We seem ill-suited to become “one” and therefore ill-suited to have the Lord consider us for Zion. He will bring it about. But maybe with people who use the scriptures we are able to produce in order to actually “do” what they require for His people.
We take it one step at a time. Right now the remainder of the work to produce the scriptures is daunting. When finished, it will be presented to the Lord. Everyone is welcome to do that individually, collectively in fellowship groups, in families, or among friends. Everyone can present it to the Lord. Equally. And everyone can seek their own answer from Him. I intend to do so. I hope you will choose to do likewise.
If we have scriptures that please the Lord, then it is equally up to us to live according to their commandments, teachings, precepts, advice, counsel and warnings.

 

Trinitarian Impediment

The doctrine of the Trinity which was settled, if not created, in the Council of Nicea is an impediment, and not an advantage, to knowing God. If “life eternal” is to “know God” (as John declared–see John 17:3) then of what value is a doctrine that makes God “incomprehensible?”

Even theologian, James R. White, from the Christian Research Institute makes damning admissions as he labors to defend the Nicene Creed. (See What Really Happened at Nicea? CRI Statement DN-206.) He explains that “every time they came up with a statement that was limited solely to biblical terms” it was unclear. They invented and used new terminology because “they needed to use a term that could not be misunderstood.” Meaning that they had to go outside the scriptures because the scriptures failed to say what they wanted said.

He elaborates that “they sought to clarify biblical truth.” He does not want to admit their extra-biblical creed was a departure, and struggles to claim the council was only accomplishing a limited and clarifying task.

What if instead of debating and focusing on “substance” (or the material of which God is composed), the debate did confine itself solely to biblical terms? Nicene terminology debated the terms homoousios and homoiusios to resolve their extra-biblical debate. The hetereroousios term was easily defeated.

These terms mean:

Homoousios: of the same identical substance

Homoiusios: of similar substance

Heteroousios: of a different substance

Why focus on “substance” at all? What in the New Testament makes that a Christian concern? The only time “substance” enters into the picture is when a very physical Jesus Christ accomplishes very physical acts during His ministry. Touching the eyes and healing (John 9:6), breaking apart loaves of bread (Matt. 14:19), handling a bowl, water, towel and touching feet (John 13:5), or when He was resurrected, allowing the disciples to handle His physical body to confirm it was Him (Luke 24:39). These physical descriptions of a Being composed of material substance, like us, are in the Bible precisely to inform us of Christ’s physical nature. All the biblical texts were discarded because they were insufficient to describe the kind of “substance” the theologians wanted to adopt.

The quest for singular and unknowable “substance” for God was because of the Christian embarrassment at their loss of monotheism. If Christ and the Father were different in any way from one another, then the monotheistic tradition of apostate Judaism would be lost. Earliest Judaism had a Divine Council with a Father who presided, a Divine Son, and angelic hosts. Their theology changed dramatically during the Second Temple period, which has been regarded by many scholars as a time of Jewish apostasy.

Like so many other false notions, however, this one is also solved by the Bible. Christ declared plainly how the Father and the Son were “one”.

Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word; That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me. And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one: I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them, as thou hast loved me. (John 17:20-23; emphasis added.)

The disciples were not of the identical substance. Peter was separate from John, who were both different beings than Andrew. Yet they were to be “one” in the same way the Son and the Father are “one.” Or, in other words, the unity of the Godhead is not clarified by a discussion on “substance” and is utterly confused by making them identical “substance” so as to avoid polytheism. The Godhead is “one” because they are united in purpose, accomplishing the same work jointly, and abiding by the identical principles of truth and righteousness. In that way men can likewise become “godly” by uniting in God’s purpose, working jointly to save the souls of men, and abiding the same standards of truth and righteousness.

Trinitarian theology is not an advantage to Christian orthodoxy. It is an impediment to understanding and knowing God. It alienates you from the Godhead, with whom you are intended to become “one.” And above all else, even the defenders of Trinitarianism admit it is extra-biblical and cannot be proven if the discussion is limited solely to the Bible.

Life eternal is to know Jesus Christ and His Father who sent Him. You cannot know an unknowable god. Trinitarianism was defended by Athanasius at Nicea and advocated by him afterwards. He developed a follow-on creed to help further explain what was done to the orthodox god at Nicea. Here is what he claimed they accomplished with their creedal explanation of god: “The Father incomprehensible, the Son incomprehensible, and the Holy Spirit incomprehensible… As also there are not three … incomprehensible, but one uncreated and one incomprehensible.”

The Orthodox Christian god is one great “incomprehensible” and unknowable being who cannot be defined if you limit the description solely to the Bible.  If you are an Orthodox Christian, that ought to trouble you.

You have become like the Samaritans whom Christ told worshipped “they know not what” (John 4:22), or the pagans Paul addressed on Mars Hill who did not know what or who they worshipped. (Acts 17:22-23.)

False traditions cannot save you, however sincerely you may hold them. Knowing God, however, is life eternal.

September Boise Conference

The upcoming conference in Boise this September will be broadcast live on the Internet. There will be both an audio feed (for those with limited bandwidth) and a video/audio feed for all others. These Internet broadcast options will allow anyone anywhere in the world to participate in the event live.

More details will be made available as the date approaches.

Baptist or Beloved?

The debate over who was “speaking” the testimony of Jesus Christ in the beginning of the Gospel of John has been one of the longest-standing questions in Christianity. Heracleon addressed this at about 165 a.d. He was a Gnostic and from the school of Valentinus. Valentinus was an early Gnostic, claiming to have secret knowledge passed from John (the Beloved). He attributed early material in the Gospel of John to John the Baptist.

Origen wrote early in the Third Century, disputed Heracleon and argued that it was John the Beloved who was responsible for the composition. Origen’s Commentary on John, Sixth Book, Chapter 2. The debate has never ended.

The term “logos” which is rendered “word” in most English translations of the Gospel of John, has a pre-Gospel of John history. The most recent use of the term, prior to the composition of the Gospel of John, was Philo of Alexanderia. He was born two decades before the birth of Christ and wrote just a few years prior to the composition of John’s writing.

Philo considered the “logos” to be an intermediary between man and God, a Divine being that bridged the gap between fallen man and perfect God. There is a great debate over the extent to which Philo’s writings influenced John’s composition.

John the Beloved’s composition begins by placing Christ in a pre-earth, creative role that is cosmic in scope. This introduction was intended to alert the reader that the individual described in the text that would follow was God. Then the often mundane events build with proof upon proof that the man Jesus was indeed the cosmic creator and God in very fact. By the end of the account, the proof has been assembled to demonstrate that the opening description was true beyond dispute. Christ was God.

Origen’s writings make it clear that a pre-earth existence for mankind, not just Christ but all men, was part of early Christian belief. That belief has been lost for most Christians. Origen wrote: “John’s soul was older than his body, and subsisted by itself before it was sent on the ministry of the witness of the light.” He extends this to us all: “if that general doctrine of the soul is to be received, namely, that it is not sown at the same time with the body, but is before it, and is then, for various causes, clothed with flesh and blood; then the words ‘sent from God’ will not appear to be applicable to John alone.” Origen’s Commentary on John, Book II, Chapter 24.  Meaning that not only did John exist before he was flesh and blood, but all men likewise existed before they entered this world.

The pre-earth existence of mankind is taught in the Bible. Jeremiah was told he was “ordained” before he entered his mother’s womb: “Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee; and before thou camest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee, and I ordained thee a prophet unto the nations.” Jeremiah 1:5 KJV.

Job likewise describes the joy of the spirits of men when they learned of the plan for creating this world: “When the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy.” Job 38:7. Christ’s apostles inquired about the pre-birth sins of the man born blind. John 9:2. A question that could only be asked if it were possible for him to sin before birth because he existed prior to his birth.

Although Christians today do not recognize the doctrine of pre-earth existence of man’s spirit, it was once a part of Christian belief. Like the confusion about who is speaking in the earliest verses of the Gospel of John, Christianity has lost clarity that can only be restored by another revelation from God. As Roger Williams, a late Protestant Reformer in the American Colonies, said: “The apostasy… hath so far corrupted all, that there can be no recovery out of that apostasy until Christ shall send forth new apostles to plant churches anew.” He recognized that no man has authority to perform even the basic ordinances of the Gospel of Jesus Christ unless Christ has authorized that man.

Reading the New Testament is like reading another person’s mail. It was written to a specific body of believers who had been taught by those who knew Christ. Today it is just as necessary to have that same vital connection to Christ in order to be saved. How can we believe the truth if we are not taught the truth? How can we be taught the truth unless someone is sent from Christ to teach a message from Him? How can anyone pretend to teach the truth if Christ did not send them? See Romans 10:14-15.

Melchizedek

I received the following email inquiry:

I can’t seem to reconcile your repeated statements that Melchizedek was not a king. You use Joseph Smith (From the James Burgess Notebook) as your source.

Although called a “prince of peace” and the “king of Salem,” Joseph Smith explained these terms were not because he had kingly rule over any group. but it “signifies king of peace or righteousness and not any country or nation.” (WJS, p. 246)

The footnote 4 on page 302 (for the 27 August 1843 discourse) of the Words of Joseph Smith talks about his use of the Hebrew word for Salem.

The Greek letters didn’t copy correctly, so I have just replaced them with —-
4. Since the King James Version of the New Testament comes from Greek manuscripts, the transliteration of ——, (given as Salem) in Hebrews 7:1-2 is correct. However, Greek does not have a sh equivalent, thus when Shalem (pronounced shaw-lame’) was transliterated from the Hebrew manuscript to the Greek manuscripts of the New Testament, the h was lost. Nevertheless, while authorities say Shalem means peaceful, they also say that it may stand for “an early name for Jerusalem.” It is this latter point which Joseph Smith disputed.

It seems to me that Joseph might have got carried away with his study of Hebrew. At least I can’t see how you can ignore the scripture in Alma that seems to completely contradict Joseph’s position.

Now I can understand if you have further light and knowledge and you are simply using these statements from Joseph as a source without revealing why you know he was right. In such a case I will just shut up and accept what you offer.

Alma 13:18
. . . And behold, they did repent; and Melchizedek did establish peace in the land in his days; therefore he was called the prince of peace, for he was the king of Salem; and he did reign under his father.
_____________________________________________

I responded to the inquiry as shown below:

He inherited from his father the right of “dominion” originally given by God to Adam. He was the “father” over all mankind, and in that capacity was a “king” or a “ruler” though he exercised that right given to him as did Adam: only as a father-figure and not as a tyrant. Abraham came to him to obtain this same right belonging to the first fathers or the right which descended from Adam. This is “the rights belonging to the fathers” which Abraham was so overjoyed to have obtained, because he was then the rightful father of “many nations” by reason of his position in the family of God. This, however, did not confer authority that was respected or acknowledged by men in that day, but it was respected by God.

Joseph’s explanation related to the status of man’s governments at the time of Melchizedek. Alma’s explanation related to the status of the authority conferred by God.

New Paper

I have prepared a new paper based on the talk I gave in St. George. The paper is on this site under the “downloads” section under the title:

Things to Keep us Awake at Night

It can be accessed by clicking on the title above.

In addition the scripture committee has posted another update document that can be linked by clicking on the title below:

Scripture Project UPDATES

Work on recovering a more accurate version of the scriptures restored through Joseph Smith is far more challenging that it may seem. Despite our best efforts to restore what came through Joseph, some of it will have been lost because of the indifference and neglect of our predecessors. But that is no excuse to leave the work undone.

The work is challenging, but rewarding. I am hopeful that the result will please the Lord.

The Lord’s People Israel

When the people with Moses continually balked at receiving the gifts offered to them by the Lord, the Lord tired of their murmuring and considered rejecting them and making of Moses alone His covenant people:

And the Lord said unto Moses, How long will this people provoke me? and how long will it be ere they believe me, for all the signs which I have shewed among them? I will smite them with the pestilence, and disinherit them, and will make of thee a greater nation and mightier than they. And Moses said unto the Lord, Then the Egyptians shall hear it, (for thou broughtest up this people in thy might from among them;) And they will tell it to the inhabitants of this land: for they have heard that thou Lord art among this people, that thou Lord art seen face to face, and that thy cloud standeth over them, and that thou goest before them, by day time in a pillar of a cloud, and in a pillar of fire by night. Now if thou shalt kill all this people as one man, then the nations which have heard the fame of thee will speak, saying, Because the Lord was not able to bring this people into the land which he sware unto them, therefore he hath slain them in the wilderness. And now, I beseech thee, let the power of my Lord be great, according as thou hast spoken, saying, The Lord is longsuffering, and of great mercy, forgiving iniquity and transgression, and by no means clearing the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation. Pardon, I beseech thee, the iniquity of this people according unto the greatness of thy mercy, and as thou hast forgiven this people, from Egypt even until now. And the Lord said, I have pardoned according to thy word: But as truly as I live, all the earth shall be filled with the glory of the Lord. Because all those men which have seen my glory, and my miracles, which I did in Egypt and in the wilderness, and have tempted me now these ten times, and have not hearkened to my voice; Surely they shall not see the land which I sware unto their fathers, neither shall any of them that provoked me see it: But my servant Caleb, because he had another spirit with him, and hath followed me fully, him will I bring into the land whereinto he went; and his seed shall possess it. (Now the Amalekites and the Canaanites dwelt in the valley.) To morrow turn you, and get you into the wilderness by the way of the Red sea. And the Lord spake unto Moses and unto Aaron, saying, How long shall I bear with this evil congregation, which murmur against me? I have heard the murmurings of the children of Israel, which they murmur against me. Say unto them, As truly as I live, saith the Lord, as ye have spoken in mine ears, so will I do to you: Your carcases shall fall in this wilderness; and all that were numbered of you, according to your whole number, from twenty years old and upward, which have murmured against me, Doubtless ye shall not come into the land, concerning which I sware to make you dwell therein, save Caleb the son of Jephunneh, and Joshua the son of Nun. But your little ones, which ye said should be a prey, them will I bring in, and they shall know the land which ye have despised. But as for you, your carcases, they shall fall in this wilderness. (Numbers 14:11-32, emphasis added.)

The first offering to the gentiles in Joseph’s day was hardly offered before the Lord sadly reflected:

For whoso cometh not unto me is under the bondage of sin. And whoso receiveth not my voice is not acquainted with my voice, and is not of me. And by this you may know the righteous from the wicked, and that the whole world groaneth under sin and darkness even now. And your minds in times past have been darkened because of unbelief, and because you have treated lightly the things you have received— Which vanity and unbelief have brought the whole church under condemnation. And this condemnation resteth upon the children of Zion, even all. And they shall remain under this condemnation until they repent and remember the new covenant, even the Book of Mormon and the former commandments which I have given them, not only to say, but to do according to that which I have written— That they may bring forth fruit meet for their Father’s kingdom; otherwise there remaineth a scourge and judgment to be poured out upon the children of Zion. For shall the children of the kingdom pollute my holy land? Verily, I say unto you, Nay. (D&C 84:51-59, emphasis added.)

These early gentiles did not repent. The people Joseph taught, like those Moses taught, their carcasses also fell in the wilderness. They were even told by the Lord of what had happened in the time of Moses, to help them avoid the same fate:

And without the ordinances thereof, and the authority of the priesthood, the power of godliness is not manifest unto men in the flesh; For without this no man can see the face of God, even the Father, and live. Now this Moses plainly taught to the children of Israel in the wilderness, and sought diligently to sanctify his people that they might behold the face of God; But they hardened their hearts and could not endure his presence; therefore, the Lord in his wrath, for his anger was kindled against them, swore that they should not enter into his rest while in the wilderness, which rest is the fulness of his glory. Therefore, he took Moses out of their midst, and the Holy Priesthood also; (D&C 84:21-25, emphasis added.)

How oft might a people have been the Lord’s and they simply would not.

For what doth it profit a man if a gift is bestowed upon him, and he receive not the gift? Behold, he rejoices not in that which is given unto him, neither rejoices in him who is the giver of the gift. (D&C 88:33, emphasis added.)

Can you not feel the Lord’s exasperation with us today when we murmur and dispute among ourselves? Can you not feel greater light whenever you accept and seek to understand His words rather than when you fear and complain against them?

Those who have ears will hear this, and those who do not cannot.