Lectures of Faith No. 6

This is an excerpt from the Sixth Lecture in the Lectures on Faith.  This was at one point a part of the Doctrine & Covenants.  They were prepared for the School of the Prophets and approved by Joseph Smith.  Their presence in the scriptures was the reason for the change in the title from Book of Commandments to Doctrine and Covenants.  The “Doctrine” portion of the book was comprised of these lectures.  They were subsequently removed from the D&C.  Below is an excerpt which I think is needed to be understood by anyone who would like to comprehend the faith restored through Joseph Smith:
An actual knowledge to any person that the course of life which he pursues is according to the will of God, is essentially necessary to enable him to have that confidence in God, without which no person can obtain eternal life.
It was this that enabled the ancient saints to endure all their afflictions and persecutions, and to take joyfully the spoiling of their goods, knowing (not believing merely) that they had a more “enduring substance” (Heb. 10:34). 
Having the assurance that they were pursuing a course which was agreeable to the will of God, they were enabled to take, not only the spoiling of their goods and the wasting of their substance joyfully, but also to suffer death in its most horrid forms; knowing (not merely believing) that when this earthly house of their tabernacle was dissolved, they had a building of God, a house “not made with hands, eternal in the heavens” (2 Cor. 5:1).

Such was, and always will be, the situation of the saints of God, that unless they have an actual knowledge that the course that they are pursuing is according to the will of God, they will grow weary in their minds and faint; for such has been, and always will be, the opposition in the hearts of unbelievers and those that know not God, against the pure and unadulterated religion of heaven (the only thing which ensures eternal life), that they will persecute to the uttermost all that worship God according to his revelations,

receive the truth in the love of it, and submit themselves to be guided and directed by his will, and drive them to such extremities that nothing short of an actual knowledge of their being the favorites of heaven,and of their having embraced that order of things which God has established for the redemption of man, will enable them to exercise that confidence in him necessary for them to overcome the world, and obtain that crown of glory which is laid up for them that fear God.
For a man to lay down his all, his character and reputation, his honor and applause, his good name among men, his houses, his lands, his brothers and sisters, his wife and children, and even his own life also, counting all things but filth and dross for the excellency of the knowledge of Jesus Christ, requires more than mere belief or supposition that he is doing the will of God, but actual knowledge; realizing that when these sufferings are ended he will enter into eternal rest, and be a partaker of the glory of God.
For unless a person does know that he is walking according to the will of God, it would be offering an insult to the dignity of the Creator were he to say that he would be a partaker of his glory when he should be done with the things of this life.
But when he has this knowledge, and most assuredly knows that he is doing the will of God, his confidence can be equally strong that he will be a partaker of the glory of God.

Let us here observe, that a religion that does not require the sacrifice of all things, never has power sufficient to produce the faith necessary unto life and salvation; for from the first existence of man, the faith necessary unto the enjoyment of life and salvation never could be obtained without the sacrifice of all earthly things; it was through this sacrifice, and this only, that God has ordained that men should enjoy eternal life; and it is through the medium of the sacrifice of all earthly things, that men do actually know that they are doing the things that are well pleasing in the sight of God.

When a man has offered in sacrifice all that he has for the truth’s sake, not even withholding his life, and believing before God that he has been called to make this sacrifice, because he seeks to do his will, he does know most assuredly that God does and will accept his sacrifice and offering, and that he has not nor will not seek his face in vain.
Under these circumstances then, he can obtain the faith necessary for him to lay hold on eternal life.
It is in vain for persons to fancy to themselves that they are heirs with those, or can be heirs with them, who have offered their all in sacrifice, and by this means obtained faith in God and favor with him so as to obtain eternal life, unless they in like manner offer unto him the same sacrifice, and through that offering obtain the knowledge that they are accepted of him.
It was in offering sacrifices that Abel, the first martyr, obtained knowledge that he was accepted of God.
And from the days of righteous Abel to the present time, the knowledge that men have that they are accepted in the sight of God, is obtained by offering sacrifice.
And in the last days, before the Lord comes, he is to gather together his saints who have made a covenant with him by sacrifice. Ps. 50:3-5, “Our God shall come, and shall not keep silence: a fire shall devour before him, and it shall be very tempestuous round about him. He shall call to the heavens from above, and to the earth, that he may judge his people. Gather my saints together unto me; those that have made a covenant unto me by sacrifice.”
Those then who make the sacrifice will have the testimony that their course is pleasing in the sight of God, and those who have this testimony will have faith to lay hold on eternal life, and will be enabled through faith to endure unto the end, and receive the crown that is laid up for them that love the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ.
But those who do not make the sacrifice cannot enjoy this faith, because men are dependent upon this sacrifice in order to obtain this faith; therefore, they cannot lay hold upon eternal life, because the revelations of God do not guarantee unto them the authority so to do; and without this guarantee faith could not exist.
All the saints of whom we have account in all the revelations of God which are extant, obtained the knowledge which they had of their acceptance in his sight, through the sacrifice which they offered unto him.
And through the knowledge thus obtained, their faith became sufficiently strong to lay hold upon the promise of eternal life, and to endure as seeing him who is invisible; and were enabled, through faith, to combat the powers of darkness, contend against the wiles of the adversary, overcome the world, and obtain the end of their faith, even the salvation of their souls.  
But those who have not made this sacrifice to God, do not know that the course which they pursue is well pleasing in his sight; for whatever may be their belief or their opinion, it is a matter of doubt and uncertainty in their minds; and where doubt and uncertainty are, there faith is not, nor can it be.
For doubt and faith do not exist in the same person at the same time.
So that persons whose minds are under doubts and fears cannot have unshaken confidence; and where unshaken confidence is not, there faith is weak; and where faith is weak, the persons will not be able to contend against all the opposition, tribulations, and afflictions which they will have to encounter in order to be heirs of God, and joint heirs with Christ Jesus; and they will grow weary in their minds, and the adversary will have power over them and destroy them.

5 thoughts on “Lectures of Faith No. 6

  1. Ten thousand fools proclaim themselves into obscurity, while one wise man forgets himself into immortality.
    Martin Luther King Jr.

  2. In the footnotes of my copy of Lectures on Faith… it says regarding Lecture 6th:

    This lecture is so plain, and the facts set forth so self-evident that it is deemed unnecessary to form a catechism upon it: the student is, therefore, instructed to commit the whole to memory.

    I have not yet commited this to memory, but it is on my list ;)

  3. Denver, I read The Second Comforter last year and came to this website just today. As a young missionary I picked up a 1970s Ensign with the subtitle, “The Three Lights.” It was a talk by Marion G. Romney and commenced me on the path you discuss in your book.

    I love and appreciate your personal mission. It is enabling me to fulfill my mission more fully. My heartfelt thanks!

    I’m struggling with an issue. As I successfully turn others fully to Christ within the set of truths I teach,an outpouring of the spirit is always associated with the process, which enables clients to let go of me and to take hold of Christ. This is a great blessing to them and to me. They receive the superior help they need, and I do not need to act the part of a guru. It is so refreshing.

    Here is my Issue

    As I more effectively teach in such a manner, I’ve come to realize that by turning others fully to Christ, I have now become the gospel for hire within my field of expertise.

    I have begun to pray specifically about this issue. As per this Blog, I am operating with certainly that what I am doing is not only the will of God for me at this time in my life, but it is an important life’s mission specific to me and the gifts, talents, upbringing, knowledge, and education I have received–which now serves others.

    As I’ve come to face the truth squarely, that I am the gospel for hire regarding certain truths, I am re-evaluating consecration and how to apply the law fully to what I do.

    My wife and I have been praying about how to live a celestial law today while we must still meet Babylon’s financial demands. In a sense, we feel as if we are like the people of Alma who were in bondage to the Lamanites. We are unsure of how to escape bondage.

    Me, you, seminary and institute teachers, professors of religion, General Authorities, and even Apostles and Prophets are paid to teach the gospel. We all receive renumeration in one way or another (salary, books, stipends, etc.) While in bondage to Babylon, it is the only way I know of to meet certain obligations.

    Do you believe it is possible to enter Zion fully today, to live millenial principles of consecration fully, and to receive gifts from God sufficient to maintain our stewardships over our families?

    Thank you for providing meaningful content that gives me a little more courage to ask the Savior to minister to me in this matter. Perhpas I am asking the wrong questions, but they are questions that do not leave me.

    My father spoke of a time in his life when the people of his community would gather together to do a house-raising to help young couples get started in life. He longed for a return to such times for his posterity. I do too!

  4. @Jamessi

    Your comment is eloquent and thought out. I think it unlikely that Denver will reply publicly, if at all.

    From what I’ve read of his book, Brother Snuffer isn’t looking to set himself up as a light or source of truth. Personally I feel that Denver would rather point you to the true light. Have you asked your question of God? From personal experience, I know God answers prayers. Why not use your question as an opportunity to grow closer to Him?

  5. Jamessi,
    My copy of “A Marvelous Work and A Wonder” has a note in the front saying the author recieved no financial gain from the sale of that book. Denver has said on this blog that any royalties he recieves from book sales are donated to the church so I dont think either of these men are teaching the gospel for hire. I have wondered if making a profit on the sale of books about the gospel would amount to teaching the gospel for hire and I think it does. Jesus was a carpenter, Paul made tents and Peter was a fisherman, none were professional preachers. That makes me think the gospel should not be anyone’s profession. That is just my opinion though and worth exactly what you paid for it.

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