Do I consider myself “a prophet?”
The testimony of Jesus is the Spirit of Prophecy. (Revelation 19: 10.) I have the testimony of Jesus.
What if someone has prayed and “still not been visited” by the Second Comforter?
The problem is in the word “still.” What makes you think you control timing? What makes you think you are prepared? The Lord alone determines timing. And the Lord alone judges preparation. The Lord does not come to cause faith, but in response to existing faith. If your faith would be increased by such a visit, it will not occur. The faith necessary requires the sacrifice of all things. You must develop that. That is why I wrote The Second Comforter.
Which version of the ordinances, 1870’s, 1920’s, post-1990, or current, would I prefer to see in the Temple?
Brigham Young’s effort to “complete” the endowment was entrusted to him by Joseph. I have to admit, there are some things he did that were excessive, but nevertheless he completed the charge. They weren’t reduced to writing until the 1870’s. There are steps that needed to be taken. Joseph understood what was needed, and Brigham Young likely did not. Nevertheless, Brigham Young was tasked with the job and therefore, he operated under Joseph’s charge. Details matter. Not merely in the rites but in how the rites came into being. When the Lord allows something, then what the Lord allows (and only what He allows) is permitted. When we go beyond that mark, we lose the commission and we are on our own. I’m acquainted with all the changes. I have found them all and studied them all. I know all of the many differences. In the context of the previous post, it was not important to distinguish between the original, incomplete rites above the Red Brick Store and the later developments. Nor was it necessary to suggest there were other changes between the final version written in the 1870’s and those made most recently. It is the issue of changing, not which changes, that I was responding to in the post. The answer did not attempt to give information beyond the narrow issue. To parse through the history of the temple is a task which I’ve not attempted in writing, and I have no intention of undertaking such a thankless job. Those who would be most benefitted from it resent the discussion. Others revel in the information and have no benefit from it.
What can you do if you’re not acquainted with the pre-1990 endowment?
I don’t think that’s the issue. The issue is whether you will take your present covenants seriously and live true and faithful to them. Treat them as a matter between you and God, and look to Him for the further light and knowledge which He promises to send to those who are faithful in all things. If you remain true and faithful, then you should expect to receive further light and knowledge by conversing with the Lord through the veil. He employs no servant there. He will meet you and will give you such information as you need to then enter into His presence. The rites are a symbol. Treat them as such. The confirmation of the Lord’s intention to preserve you as His will come from Him, not some ordinance worker practicing altered rites. What remains is still enough to inform you of the Lord’s ways. Walk in those ways.
You disagree with submitting to authority as I have suggested:
Then don’t. See what your rebellion gets you. As for me, I trust the Lord was sincere when He admonished following Annas and Caiphus because “they sit in Moses’ seat.” But, He added, we are not expected to “do as they do.” The tradition has been handed down, and we fit into that tradition. We study the Book of Mormon, the Doctrine & Covenants, the Pearl of Great Price, and we thank the institution which prints and distrubutes them. However, we look to the contents of those for the Lord’s word and will. Even the church’s authorities tell us consistently the measure of truth is found in the scriptures, and the president of the church cannot contradict them. The church doesn’t require much of us. Tithing, fasting, serving, supporting leaders, etc. These are nothing compared with overcoming our hearts and minds and living as a sacrifice to God.
Where do women fit into the Second Comforter?
The first person to receive the risen Lord was a woman. More women saw Him before ANY of His apostles following the resurrection. The apostles were rebuked because they didn’t believe the women’s testimony. The requirement for priesthood is related to the man. For women, their condition and covenant with the Lord from the time of Eve is different that the condition and covenant of Adam. Male and female relationships with the Lord are not governed by the same terms. It is the partnership of those two different roles which produces the image of God. When viewed from God’s perspective, woman completes the man. Without her, his condition is “not good” because he remains incomplete.
Wouldn’t membership in an apostate branch of the restoration do more harm than good?
No. The Lord will gather primarily from those who already accept the restoration. Those who accept the restoration as far as it got, who honor Joseph Smith’s status as a Dispensation head, who accept the Book of Mormon, D&C, PofGP and the temple rites are far better off and more able to receive what will come before Zion is built than the rest of this world. The Lord’s gathering at the last will be composed, primarily (although not exclusively) from among these people.
As to Zion:
Just because you have the idea in front of you doesn’t mean you have any concept of what will be required to have the angels gather you into that company. It is like the notion that you’re going to be “exalted” without any idea that the eternities are completely isolated from the unworthy. No one will or can be “exalted” who is not adequately prepared. Anyone who attains that status will be required first to suffer what is suffered, minister what is required to be ministered, to prove here their fitness. How could a selfish soul ever provide to their ungrateful and abusive offspring everything necessary for them to develop? Exalted beings sacrifice themselves, and endure punishment on behalf of the guilty. They take upon themselves burdens which they do not deserve. They forgive, they succor, they uplift the unworthy. Pride is incompatible, and selfishness utterly disqualifies a soul from “exaltation.” The principles which govern there are hardly understood here. Most of the faithful Latter-day Saints imagine they will able to employ means much like Lucifer’s to accomplish their expected outcome. They have no concept of the sacrifices and selflessness required to be trusted by the Lord. He is the prototype of the saved man. He lived His entire existence as a sacrifice. Read 3 Ne. 11: 11 and you will find in His introduction of Himself what a saved man must do. There is no other way. The prideful expectation that someone here is going to attain that status hereafter is based, for the most part, on foolishness and vanity, uninformed by the great things required to become like our Lord. Only those who are exactly like Him will be given that status in the eternities. Zion will be formed from people who are willing to endure His presence. That is no small thing.
If Christ doesn’t change why aren’t we living the Law of Moses?
Because He fulfilled that law. It was “added” and then fulfilled. It was added because the Dispensation intended to be delivered through Moses was rejected by Israel (D&C 84: 19-24). Much like what happened with us. The Dispensation the Lord wanted to hand us was not received (D&C 124: 28). Therefore, something less was added. We get to partake in what we were willing to receive, but we were not willing to receive what we might have been given (D&C 88: 33). Now that about four generations have passed, at some point the Lord will open the heavens again, and we will see His hand moving to allow another opportunity. When that happens, things will be finished. It will be different from what we got through Joseph. It will reflect what might have been given anciently through Moses, and what was offered and rejected through Joseph Smith. It will make possible the establishment of a city of refuge where the Lord can come and dwell with His people (D&C 101: 16-18). You should note, however, that the Law from Moses till Jesus Christ did not change. Dispensations mark changes, like the great dance in the sky moves from constellation to constellation. The turning shows change, the Dispensations here reflect it, the heavens testify the Lord knew the end from the beginning. This is why the stars testify of the Lord’s plan and move to bear that testimony (D&C 88: 45-47). But inside Dispensations, ordinances have traditionally been respected and kept unchanged. The only notable exceptions being the one given through Christ and the one given through Joseph Smith. In the case of Christ, the changes marked the apostasy, not the Lord’s approved course of conduct. We claim our changes have been made with the Lord’s approval. I would note, however, that the explanation given with the changes NEVER claimed the alterations of the Temple rites were because of revelation. They were made based on the claim that the church leaders “held the keys” which allowed them to make the changes. There has never been any claim made contemporaneous with any of the changes that attributed the altered ordinances to revelation from the Lord.
A general note:
Some issues would require a book to lay out the information. They are unsuitable for a blog post. Never conclude that some brief mention is all that is required to set out a matter. I’ve avoided some subjects because it is misleading to give a brief comment about them. As I contemplate the subjects which require some explanation, I realize it would take another book. Don’t presume a comment is more than an allusion to a subject. I try to be helpful., but there is so much more that needs to be understood. I hope the answers illustrate the need for you to devote years of study. Study and prayer are the only way to unlock the mysteries of God. I cannot substitute for that, and do not attempt to provide a shortcut for you. You must engage the Gospel yourself. If you are unwilling to do that, then you will never profit from what I offer. I only refer to the least part of these matters. I raise topics. These are important. You need to investigate them. They are vast. They are hardly understood anymore. They are no longer taught. If you want to understand God, you will have to accomplish that in the same way as all who went before. Take Enoch and Abraham as examples. They studied everything they could find before asking God to show them more. God refused to move their intelligence upward until after they had first obtained a sound understanding, by study, of what He had previously revealed to the fathers. (See Abr. 1: 28, D&C 107: 57, for example.) These past saved men were not merely simpletons like us, surfing the web and looking to the blogosphere to provide them shortcuts. You will delude yourself if you are not spending hours each day studying the scriptures to see what they contain. Sometimes I think the Lord has me on a fool’s errand doing more harm than good. Many of you think that this is a hobby of mine; or that my opinion is just as ill-conceived as your own; or that you can get what you need by what little I post here without the effort of approaching God yourself. I think the harm from that is enough the Lord ought to just let me withdraw from this endeavor and finish the rest of what needs doing in private. He has higher regard for your potential than I have on days like today. But, then again, there are other days when I am filled with hope for all of you. Today is just not one of them.
What is the “Abrahamic test?”
The Lord adapts the test required to prove a person to their unique circumstances. The test given to Abraham was adapted perfectly to him. To understand how great the sacrifice was, the account needed to inform us of the difficulty encountered by him and Sarah to obtain this child of promise. We needed to know the promised future inheritance of a posterity as numerous as the sand or the stars was tied directly to this son’s survival. It was, in the context of Abraham’s life and promises from God, the sacrifice of everything. All his hopes, all his promises from God, all his joy with Sarah, all his future descendants were to be laid on the altar and sacrificed. His heart could only be proven through this means. The Abrahamic Test, therefore, will ask the same of you. It will be adapted to what you hope to receive, or have been promised to receive from God. It will end the work of years, and will require you to sacrifice all to God. What one person prizes is never the same as another. What would be easy for one will be nearly impossible for another. The test is adapted to each person. But it will be equally painful, equally difficult and equally proving of the person. Until the heart is tried in this manner we can never know we will submit everything to the Lord. If such a test has not been given you, then it is because the Lord knows you are not prepared to face it. As soon as you are prepared, you will encounter it. For most people they will likely be in their 50’s, after having spent many years preparing to overcome themselves. There are notable examples who were much younger, namely Samuel or Joseph Smith. Those are exceptions. Abraham was between 70 and 100, depending on how you reconstruct the chronology. Moses was 80. Those are not atypical examples. Until you know your own heart is purified before God, you cannot bear Him nor have the required faith in Him. This is not an avoidable option, but an essential ingredient in knowing Him. This is why there are years of preparation generally required, and warnings given about continuing forward. The recipient must volunteer. And they must be warned beforehand.
What was the difference between Korihor’s claims and Lehi’s?
Lehi followed Christ. Korihor did not. Lehi was a disciple of the Lord’s. Korihor was an enemy of His. Lehi propounded a true message, Korihor a false one. Lehi was Christ-like. Korihor was an anti-Christ. Lehi spoke the truth. Korihor was a liar. They were polar opposites. But the question illustrates that the god of this world is imitative. The difference between truth and error does not lie in the difference between religion and irreligion, but instead between true religion which will save, and false religion which cannot save. If it were any less a test, the very elect would not be deceived in the last days. Unless there are false prophets claiming they are authorized by God to preach false and idle messages, God cannot send true ones to declare the truth. The opposition of the one is required for the other. The enemy of your soul does not create a new religion, but imitates the true one. The Lord’s messenger will be mirrored by the adversary’s, but the reflected image will be reversed. Those who follow the image will find themselves descending, while they think they are ascending to God. Hence the name: “the Deceiver.” He deceives, and even mirrors God’s angels by the claim to be an “angel of light” while spreading darkness. The Deceiver’s false prophets will point you to themselves, to their great works, wonderful accomplishments, and the pride you should take in following them. The Lord’s will point you to Him and preach repentance. The false prophets will speak of riches here, and suggest God’s favor can be measured by success in this world. The Lord will speak only of riches in another world which are only obtained through the sacrifice of all things here.
One comment said I don’t know what I’m talking about, because all the temple ordinance changes have been through revelation. The people in charge are prophets, seers and revelators, and therefore they invariably operate through revelation. So I’m misleading people because I’m not well informed.
When the changes were made, for at least a week, sometimes longer, a letter was read to temple patrons explaining there had been changes made. Those letters invariably referred to the “keys” held by church leaders as the source to justify the changes. I listened closely. There was never any mention made of a revelation requiring the change. Further, there are obligations imposed by Acts, the Book of Mormon, and the D&C which require church leaders to provide testimony to the church of any visit from Christ, or from an angel, or declaration from God to them. That is the role of the “prophet” and the “seer” and the “revelator.” Therefore when a change is made because of an angelic visit, they should testify or witness of it (Moroni 7: 29-32). They should also testify if the Lord visited (Acts 1: 22, D&C 107: 23). Given the absence of that explanation in the letters read to Temple patrons, and the clear statement in the letters from the First Presidency when changes were made, that holding “keys” entitled them to make the change, it is curious to me that a revelation from God would be ignored in the statement. It seems unlikely that in a Temple setting involving changes to Temple rites the fact it was changed because God revealed the change would be something “too sacred” to be stated. Accordingly, unless you impose something which those responsible never put into their statement, they have never received a revelation requiring the changes. If they wanted me to conclude the Lord revealed the change, all they needed to do was to state that. The difference between your view and mine is that I trust these leaders are fully able to say exactly what they mean. Therefore I take them at their word. You, on the other hand, think they lie incessantly and conceal some of the most important information required for their callings. I do not think they are liars.