Clarifying Distinctions

The “stone cut out of the mountain without hands” (Dan. 2:44-45) is not a corruptible institution but an incorruptible Gospel.

There is no organization currently ministering the “gift of the Holy Ghost” as a right conferred upon an individual to remain always with them. There is an admonishment directing people to: “receive the Holy Ghost.” That admonishment is directed to the individual as advice, counsel or an objective to seek for, not as a right conferred indelibly upon them. (See, David Bednar, Receive the Holy Ghost, April 2010 General Conference; That We May Always Have His Spirit To Be With Us, April 2006 General Conference.) As recently as the Sunday morning session of the last LDS conference, President Eyring explained the limits of the LDS connection to the Holy Ghost. “We desire it, yet we know from experience that it is not easy to maintain. We each think, say, and do things in our daily lives that can offend the Spirit.” (The Holy Ghost as Your Companion.) Anyone of any faith anywhere in the world can have the same experience as a transitory gift from God. (Moroni 10:4-5.) Remember God gives liberally to all; the wicked and the righteous.  People of faith throughout the world have as much access to the Holy Ghost as a latter-day saint. If it were not so, the LDS missionaries could not advise an investigator to pray and ask God – pointing out Moroni 10:4. If it were not so, Joseph could not have asked God relying on the promise of James 1:5. There is nothing special about the LDS admonishment, but it is a good, worthy and correct principle which all mankind ought to follow. If they do, no matter what their faith traditions, they will harvest the same results as those spoken of by President Eyring in the last LDS general conference.

Christ, however, can give the permanent gift of the Holy Ghost by His touch. (3 Ne. 18:36; Moroni 2:1-3.)

There are no “sealing” keys used by any Mormons in their temple rites: “Brothers and sisters, if you are true and faithful the time will come when you will be called up and anointed kings and priests, queens and priestesses, whereas now you are only anointed to become such. The realization of these blessings depends on your faithfulness.” It, like the Holy Ghost, is conditioned on your faithfulness. This same promise is made to all mankind by the Lord. (See, e.g., D&C 14:7; D&C 96:6; Alma 11:40; Moroni 7:41.)

Christ can and does seal a man up to eternal life. (See, e.g., Mosiah 26: 14, 20; Enos 1:5-8; D&C 132:49; 1 John 2:25.)

Institutions who use fear to control the hopes and aspirations of mankind concerning eternal life are in the gall of bitterness. Fear is of the devil. When the final remnant is gathered, they will have shepherds who remove fear. (Jeremiah 23:2-5.) When we are prepared by Christ, and by His word alone, we will not fear. (D&C 38:30.)

If we are warned we should warn others. But the Lord has instructed: “And let your preaching be the warning voice, every man to his neighbor, in mildness and in meekness.” (D&C 38:41.)

Missionary Work

Now, as you have asked, behold, I say unto you, keep my commandments, and seek to bring forth and establish the cause of Zion.

Now, Behold, a marvelous work is about to come forth among the children of men. Therefore, O ye that embark in the service of God, see that ye serve him with all your heart, might, mind and strength, that ye may stand blameless before God at the last day. Therefore, if ye have desires to serve God ye are called to the work; For behold the field is white already to harvest; and lo, he that thrusteth in his sickle with his might, the same layeth up in store that he perisheth not, but bringeth salvation to his soul; And faith, hope, charity and love, with an eye single to the glory of God, qualify him for the work. Remember faith, virtue, knowledge, temperance,patience, brotherly kindness, godliness, charity, humility,diligence. Ask, and ye shall receive; knock, and it shall be opened unto you. Amen.

For behold, it is not meet that I should command in all things; for he that is compelled in all things, the same is a slothful and not a wise servant; wherefore he receiveth no reward. Verily I say, men should be anxiously engaged in a good cause, and do many things of their own free will, and bring to pass much righteousness; For the power is in them, wherein they are agents unto themselves. And inasmuch as men do good they shall in nowise lose their reward. But he that doeth not anything until he is commanded, and receiveth a commandment with doubtful heart, and keepeth it with slothfulness, the same is damned.

New Website Update

On the first day there were baptizers authorized, requests to be baptized submitted and at least one baptism arranged.

To help those desiring to receive baptism, there is now a button that can be used on other sites to refer people to the baptism website. There is more information available at BornOfWater.org. The button has been installed at the top of this site and can be used as an active link back to the Born of Water site. The rate of progress is astonishing to me. There will be other developments as the Lord’s work rolls forward. All of those involved are working as volunteers. There is no central control, and everything should be done by a common spirit and common cause.

New Website and Logo

An important step has been achieved. A new website titled “Born of Water” is now live. The website allows anyone located anywhere in the world who desires to be baptized to identify themselves. It is all confidential.

The website also allows those with authority to baptize to identify themselves in a confidential submission. Those qualified to baptize can then determine if they are able to assist someone in need of baptism. If they are able and willing to help, the baptizers can send a contact through the site to the one wanting baptism. This way those in remote locations will be able to receive baptism.

The logo on the site is shaped like two hands reaching upward, forming the image of a dove. The eye of the dove is a mark on the wrist of the right hand. The colors in the corners of the mark are the colors of the veil in the Tabernacle of Moses and Temple of Solomon. It is a trademarked, copyrighted and servicemarked registered image that is the property of Adrian Larsen. He alone can give or revoke permission to use the image that is his property.

The logo will appear on three sites: Born of Water, Recorder’s Clearinghouse, and for a time on this site to acquaint people with the logo. The logo is a way to vouch for a site’s privacy and safety. If the logo is authorized for use, the public can be confident it will not take them to a site of a hostile group, commercial enterprise or specious origin. It is a way to identify authenticity.

Big Cottonwood Conference Remarks

Last Sunday I went to Big Cottonwood Canyon as a conference involving 7 fellowships was ending. I went to visit with those who were there and inquire of those who attended what their observations were concerning the conference.

I got into a conversation with a few of the people who were still there after the closing prayer, but was handed a microphone and told that others felt I was leaving them out. Rather than seem unfriendly, I went ahead and took the microphone and spoke for a few minutes to everyone still there. I learned that what I said was recorded, and a copy of the transcript was sent to me for review. I’ve now done a superficial edit to make it more coherent, and filled in some missing portions, including the first few moments that were not recorded. Without voice inflection, transcripts can be misleading even if they were the actual words. Humor and irony in particular can be misunderstood when the speaking voice is absent. So I’ve done some editing to make some things clear. I haven’t filled in source materials, or cited to all the material I am quoting from the TPJS or scriptures. Those who study will readily identify them.

I did not intend to be put on display or get the attention of the group when I went up. I timed my arrival to be after the conference part was over. I wanted to hear from those who were there. I did not intend to speak. What happened frustrated that purpose.

I hate being made the center of attention. I am not a celebrity,  do not want to be one and should not be treated like one. I am another ordinary man living in perilous times seeking hard to do what the Lord asks of me. I fear my weaknesses. I fear failure. We all must be careful about confining our admiration to God alone. If I cannot be allowed to come and quietly participate or observe, then my family and I will not come.

If I am asked to say something by the Lord then I will do so. Otherwise, I hope to remain silent and get out of the way. We all have work to do.

The transcript is now on the downloads page of the blog (here) as one of the papers so everyone can read it.

I have heard many positive things about the conference. It was attended by a couple of hundred people. The format was a success. The setting was beautiful. The meadow where the closing prayer was given was a spectacular setting for petitioning God. Best of all, I had nothing to do with organizing it or speaking (until it was over). It was encouraging to see how some took the initiative and much good was accomplished by these few fellowships. A surprising amount of food was still available for the post-conference dinner. What a great thing happened!

Priesthood and Baptism Questions

I’ve been asked in several emails if the recent post titled “Priesthood and Baptism” means I’m advocating changes to the criteria for baptism. At first I thought the inquiries were unnecessary. But now I think I should clarify:

That recent post included the following introduction: “I answered an email from someone who has read the things I have written about priesthood, including the Elijah materials. He was asking about priesthood held by LDS men who were not in a position of leadership, and inquiring whether LDS missionaries could still offer acceptable baptism. Those who have read what I have written will understand the question and my response.”

I thought it would be clear because when I refer to “what I have written” TWICE in the introduction, I wrongly assumed everyone reading that would understand it means what was said before still mattered. The answer was clarifying that a fully conforming missionary could qualify, and would not be disqualified merely by reason of serving an LDS mission at the time they baptized.  It should not be required to rehearse every detail related to every topic every time a simple issue is raised by a question.

I hope this answers these additional inquiries and helps to point out how to read a post.

Priesthood and Baptism

I answered an email from someone who has read the things I have written about priesthood, including the Elijah materials. He was asking about priesthood held by LDS men who were not in a position of leadership, and inquiring whether LDS missionaries could still offer acceptable baptism. Those who have read what I have written will understand the question and my response.

I responded as follows:

_____________________________________________________

In the beginning there was only one, unified priesthood. This is why Joseph commented “all priesthood is Melchizedek, but there are different degrees of it.” (I’m paraphrasing his statement.)

If, therefore, any person has been ordained to any portion of priesthood, they have received in part the original, unified priesthood.

In the end of the world the same priesthood which was in the beginning is to return. Adam prophesied this and Enoch recorded Adam’s prophecy. (Moses 6:7.)  It returns when God’s voice confers it upon a man. (JST Gen. 14:29.) Therefore if a man holds some degree of it, and God confers the rest by His voice from heaven, the ordination is completed and the same priesthood which was in the beginning of the world returns.

The LDS Church is not led by men authorized to offer baptism, but it includes many men who could offer baptism. But the form of baptism is strictly prescribed by the Lord in 3 Ne. 11. He explains His doctrine and then directs that anything more or less than this cometh of evil.

The missionaries are required to compel a confession from prospective converts before baptism that they acknowledge Thomas S. Monson as a prophet. This is in Preach My Gospel. It is the second question asked in the baptismal interview. As long as a missionary conforms to the Lord’s direction in 3 Ne. 11, I see no reason why their baptism would not be acceptable to the Lord. But if they follow the direction in Preach My Gospel, then the baptism would need to be redone. Not because of a lack of authority, but because the ordinance has been corrupted.

γνῶσις

Gnosis (γνῶσις) is a Greek noun meaning “knowledge.” A celebrated but errant lecture in Provo recently characterized those who are learning about LDS history and forgotten doctrine, and thereby realizing there are gaps in LDS traditions, to be “Mormon gnostics.” She (and by extension FAIR) apparently are unaware of the many criticisms of Mormonism itself as “gnostic.” I have previously provided links to that talk, the Church News and Meridian Magazine‘s coverage of the talk. I usually don’t comment on such things, but it’s a smoky Sunday here in Sandy (California is burning again) and I’m on-line so I decided to put this up before my wife talks me out of it.

Joseph Smith taught that “Knowledge saves a man; and in the world of spirits no man can be exalted but by knowledge.” (TPJS, p. 357.) In the same talk Joseph said, “If a man has knowledge, he can be saved.” (Id.) Gnosis is at the heart of the Mormonism Joseph Smith taught.

Gnostics often claimed to have “hidden knowledge” that the world could not receive. It was too sacred and would be profaned by public exposure. This characteristic of gnosticism is far more applicable to LDS temple rites than teaching about the Second Comforter, or Christ’s continuing personal ministry. If there is  “Mormon gnosticism,” it is practiced by the temple-attending latter-day saints. If gnosticism is a legitimate term of derision, then it describes the church FAIR attempts to defend.

The proper role is to point people to God and testify that any can come directly to Christ, without an intermediary, and receive Him. I have testified that to receive Christ means His actual appearing to you, not something that happens merely in your heart. We should all echo Joseph Smith’s teaching and the scripture within the LDS Doctrine and Covenants: “John 14:23: The appearing of the Father and the Son, in that verse, is a personal appearance; and the idea that the Father and the Son dwell in a man’s heart is an old sectarian notion, and is false.” (D&C 130:3.)

Guarding the Pathway

The Lord limited Nephi by commanding that, “the things which thou shalt see hereafter thou shalt not write”(1 Ne. 14:25.)  This may have been to prevent different prophetic accounts from introducing errors, disputes and open conflict. Both Oliver and Joseph described and quoted John the Baptist. But their accounts relate it differently. They quote the angel differently:

Joseph: “…and this shall never be taken again from the earth until the sons of Levi do offer again an offering unto the Lord in righteousness.” JS-H 1:69. [Implies it will remain until an event, and then be removed.]

Oliver: “..which shall remain upon the earth, that the Sons of Levi may yet offer an offering unto the Lord in righteousness!” JS-H footnote, taken from the Messenger and Advocate, vol. 1, October 1834, p. 14-16. [Implies it may be here to stay, and will accommodate a righteous offering by Levites while here.]

It is not a significant difference. But it is just such different accounts that have produced disagreements, and disputes follow disagreements, and those grow into fanatical opposition between religious communities and eventually we have wars.

What if the Lord’s instruction was not to limit Nephi, but it was instead because God recognizes us as insecure, hasty and foolish beings. What if Nephi could have given a cogent retelling of the same events that were assigned to John. But since John was going to retell them so differently using cosmic imagery, drawn from heavenly constellations,(dragon-Draco; woman with child-Virgo; altar-Ara; the lamb-Aries; the lion-Leo; pouring out judgments/plagues-Aquarius; etc.) that we would make mush out of reconciling the two different approaches. Nephi talks about gentiles, waters, wars, books, and history in much simpler metaphors. Nephi may have understood Jewish learning, but he tried not to use it apart from quoting Isaiah.

Nephi may have understood the cosmic plan as well as John. John wanted to point to the testimony above, in the stars. Nephi may have given even a plainer version of it than did John. But Nephi was required to couch everything he taught in the words of those who already “had written them.” 1 Ne. 14:26. So Nephi employed Isaiah to teach his (Nephi’s) message. Thus a seeming conflict between two visionaries was averted–for our benefit.

Similarly, today we have people whose notions, visions, dreams and experiences are being promulgated through blogs, lectures, seminars, books and sermons. Most are unanchored in scripture. Because the scriptures are not being used to anchor these messages, there are widely disparate views of what is going on now and what is supposed to happen in the future.

What if the Lord restricted today’s visionaries the same way he restricted Nephi? What if the visionary information was used by the recipient to explain, expound and preach from holy scripture? Things would be much clearer for His people in these last days if we were given the assurance that God is the same yesterday, today and forever. This is the message of the scriptures. The scriptures are how God gets His word out to His people. Using the scriptures to expound the word of the Lord is not an antiquated notion. What if the Lord wants His word vindicated by referring to them now? Using them now? Expounding them now? What if the Lord’s example on the Road to Emmaus is to be taken seriously? His example was to teach using the law and all the prophets to show how in all things He was to suffer as He did.

It should be relatively plain to judge between what the Lord commissions and wants preached and what comes from the foolish imaginations of men and women. Apparently the best way to sift sheep and goats is to allow every wind of doctrine to come upon mankind and see which are wise and which are foolish virgins. Who keeps themselves unspotted and who runs to and fro with itching ears to consume on their lusts every new thing.

What a perfect test we are taking. Everyone knows they ought to be grounding themselves on a rock, but then mistake sand, leaves, air, wood and dung for the rock. There are people waste-deep in excrement who are certain they are standing on holy ground.

How much sooner might we be able to agree on the things that matter most if we put our understanding into words of scripture? How can we ever come to unity if we do not share a common scripture; an anchor to hold us together?

The pathway back is guarded by shiny trinkets that get all the wayfaring fools to step off a cliff to their ruin. Just because you are in the largest crowd leaving the pathway doesn’t mean the landing is going to be any less destructive. To stay on it the iron rod is needed.

Preserving the Restoration is now available.

PtR_front_1

 

After a year’s work the book inspired by the ten lectures has been completed and published. It includes a great deal of supporting research and citations which the lectures did not use. Some of the limitations of the talks do not exist for a book. Therefore the book covers more than I could fit into the lecture series and is organized somewhat differently to finish the discussion.

The substance of the book is contained in the ten lectures, the blog posts about King Benjamin and the paper titled Cutting Down the Tree of Life to Build a Wooden Bridge. These are available for free on this website. It is not necessary to spend money to acquire the book to learn the substance.

This new book enlarges on subjects and has a better overall organization. It has also made extensive use of the Joseph Smith Papers, the Times and Seasons, conference minutes, contemporary newspapers written in the 1830’s and 1840’s, correspondence from the era. The quotations from those sources leave their language as in the original, with misspellings, cross-outs, improper grammar, etc. At the end of the book there is a “Word Index” that is blank, allowing the reader to fill in citations to pages that the reader may want to find quickly. The book is a reference work to recover the original faith that existed at the beginning of the restoration, the original destiny, and sets out how the restoration can continue despite the fact institutions based on “Mormonism” have universally abandoned the original faith.

Anyone who is interested in Mormonism will benefit from reading this book. It is not hostile to any sect, but attempts to restate the original “Mormonism” for the benefit of anyone in any sect who would like to better understand what their faith started out to accomplish.

You can view details about the book by clicking here or on the image at the top of this post.

Pretensions of Public Piety

The idea of a “wolf” concealing itself in “sheep’s clothing” (Matt. 7:15) comes from the pretense of piety by men whose hearts are set on the things of this world. The more conspicuous the pretensions to piety the quicker people are misled.

John C. Bennett was a notorious adulterer, having abandoned his marriage and family before arriving in Nauvoo. But he was elected the first Mayor of Nauvoo. His election was unanimous. The citizens of Nauvoo universally admired him.

In his inaugural address on February 3, 1841, his first recommendation for improving the community was to pass an ordinance forbidding bars, dram shops and sales of alcohol by the drink in Nauvoo. He associated drinking with “evil and crime” which could be prevented by adopting his recommended ordinance. The first ordinance adopted by the Nauvoo City Council and signed into law by Mayor Bennett was “An Ordinance in relation to Temperance” passed on February 15, 1841. It prohibited “all persons and establishments” from selling whiskey by the drink in Nauvoo without a physician’s recommendation in writing.

This conspicuous act of public piety reaffirmed the man’s nobility and concealed Bennett’s real inclinations and ongoing betrayal of a wife and children. It made Bennett appear to be the right man to be trusted to lead the community.

This same black-hearted character defended enforcement of morality by compulsion. “Liberty to do good should be cheerfully and freely accorded to every man; but liberty to do evil, which is licentiousness, should be peremptorily prohibited. The public good imperiously demands it.” This was Lucifer’s plan advocated anew by Nauvoo’s first mayor. Given Bennett’s inclinations, maybe he proposed forcing morality on citizens because he knew it was the only way he could be moral.

John C. Bennett also appears to be the first Mormon to quote Francis Bacon: “Knowledge is power.” This slogan is now carved on a monument at one of the entrances to BYU. So far as I have discovered, it was John C. Bennett’s Inaugural Address in February 1841 that this quote first found its way into Mormon use.

In hindsight, it is so very easy to pick out Bennett’s pretensions to piety and to see them for what they are. Nauvoo elected the man by unanimous vote to be the first mayor of the Mormon city because they could not see what he really was. His attire was so very sheep-like they could not conceive they were upholding a wolf.

Today it is probably no different. Wolves are still trusted with the treasury, given honor, and smothered with adoration. Joseph Smith had little confidence in mankind’s ability to decide between the real and the imitation. He explained it this way: “The world always mistook false prophets for true ones, and those that were sent of God, they considered to be false prophets, and hence they killed, stoned, punished and imprisoned the true prophets, and these had to hide themselves ‘in deserts and dens, and caves of the earth, (see Hebrews 11:38), and though the most honorable men of the earth, they banished them from their society as vagabonds, whilst they cherished, honored and supported knaves, vagabonds, hypocrites, impostors, and the basest of men.” (DHC, Vol. 4, p. 574; also TPJS, p. 206.) Anything claimed to be truth should conform with the truths already given in scripture. Everyone’s motives should be questioned until it is determined by sufficient observation they are sheep. Any teaching or person who draws us to them, and does not point us to the Lord is unable to help us. If they try to supplant Christ as the object of admiration, then they are anti-Christ and a false prophet.

Second Comforter

As foreign translations of The Second Comforter: Conversing With the Lord Through the Veil are being considered, one question that has come up is whether the book ought to be updated to reflect changes since its original publication 9 years ago. There will be no changes made in the book. If there is a third edition, there will be no changes made there either.

I was an active, faithful Latter-day Saint when the book was written. It is a correct statement of the LDS Church beliefs at that time. The book preserves an important moment in time, before even more radical changes to the LDS Church were made.

When the book was written it was understood that “the second Comforter” referred to Christ. The footnotes in LDS scripture confirmed John 14: 16, 18 and 23 were referring to Christ. They were Christ’s promise that He would appear to His disciples. In the latest revisions to the LDS scriptures, the reference was changed and redefined to mean the Holy Ghost, and not Christ.

The LDS Church has not yet changed, altered or deleted the explanation to John 14:23 in the D&C. That volume of scripture still states: “John 14:23—The appearing of the Father and the Son, in that verse, is a personal appearance; and the idea that the Father and the Son dwell in a man’s heart is an old sectarian notion, and is false.”  (D&C 130: 3.)

The elimination of the footnotes was not inadvertent. The LDS Church no longer teaches that it is possible for a faithful Latter-day Saint to receive the Second Comforter. As recently as June 13, 2015, LDS assistant historian Richard Turley and church apostle Dallin Oaks traveled to Boise, Idaho, and while there denounced the idea of church members having spiritual experiences that go “entirely against all the rules of order that we have talked about.” (Recording at 59 minutes.) Turley, quoting President Spencer W. Kimball, warned that this kind of experience “may not come from God. I am sure that there may be many spectacular things performed because the devil is very responsive.” (Id.)

Dealing directly with the Second Comforter, Turley denounced the claim, “only those who see the face of Jesus Christ in mortality will receive Celestial Glory.” (Id.)

Elder Oaks added: “the suggestions that this must happen in mortality is a familiar tactic of the adversary.” (Recording at 1 hr. 30 seconds.)

If these statements are not enough, a talk at FAIR was covered by both the Church News and LDS Meridian Magazine. The Church News headlined their article “Speaker identifies ‘spiritual threat‘.” In that article, it reports it is spiritually threatening to have “an inordinate interest in the Second Comforter.” LDS Meridian Magazine reprinted the talk. The talk states it is wrong to have, “Inordinate interest in the Second Comforter or Second Anointing, complaints that the church does not teach or emphasize them enough, and belief that books or teachings by individuals who are not church leaders are the best way to obtain them.”

The last time the Second Comforter was mentioned in general conference was in the early 1970’s. It is not covered in Priesthood, Relief Society or Gospel Doctrine lesson manuals of the church. It is not on the correlation committee’s approved list of topics suitable for discussion.

The book The Second Comforter: Conversing With the Lord Through the Veil uses scripture, traditional sources and quotes from LDS Church leaders, including Joseph Smith, and books printed by Deseret Book and Bookcraft (a subsidiary of Deseret Book).  It is an entirely orthodox book 9 years ago. It represents the actual position of the LDS faith when it was printed.

The shift in just 9 years is so dramatic that the book needs stay just as it is. It demonstrates how very much the LDS Church has changed, and how quickly it did so. It is an important historical document preserving a snapshot that allows a stark contrast to be made in the minds of anyone interested in understanding a rapidly changing institution losing track of its most fundamental teachings.

FAIR Conference

FAIR held a conference in Provo on August 6th and 7th. Presentations included the following speakers/topics:

Ed Pinegar: How to help young Latter-day Saints deal with criticisms against the Church and the doubts they cause while remaining faithful.

Margaret Barker: The Mother in Heaven and Her Children.

Brittany Chapman: An Act of Religious Conviction: Mormon Women and Nineteenth-Century Polygamy.

Ron Dennis: Captain Dan Jones: Defender of the Faith in Wales.

Brant Gardner: History and Historicity in the Book of Mormon.

James D. Gordon III: Faith and Scholarship.

Mrs. Brian D. Hales: Joseph Smith’s Polygamy: Toward a Better Understanding.

Cassandra Hedelius: A house of order, a house of God: Recycled challenges to the legitimacy of the church.

Michael R. Otterson: Correcting The Record.

Dan Peterson: The Reasonable Leap into Light: A Barebones Secular Argument for the Gospel.

Paul Reeve: From Not White Enough, to Too White: Rethinking the Mormon Racial Story.

Stephen Webb: Why Mormon Materialism Matters.

Lynne Wilson: Christ’s Emancipation of Women in the New Testament from their Cultural Background and Baggage.

These all sound like great presentations. But the LDS Church News only reported on two of the talks: Otterson’s talk (he is employed in the LDS Church Public Relations Department) and Hedelius, an attorney working for the government somewhere near Washington DC.

The LDS Church News article did not clearly identify what (or who) Hedelius was targeting. (See, Speaker identifies ‘spiritual threat’, August 16, 2015, p. 11.) That omission has been fixed by LDS Meridian Magazine which has now published her entire talk, with footnotes, here: “A House of Order; A House of God: Recycled Challenges to the legitimacy of the Church.” http://ldsmag.com/a-house-of-order-a-house-of-god-recycled-challenges-to-the-legitimacy-of-the-church/

Dan Peterson and Ed Pinegar are usually more noticed than an obscure speaker on her maiden voyage into FAIR.

Baptism is Mandatory

There is one Lord, only one faith, and only one baptism acceptable to Him. (Eph. 4:5.)

The Lord has a simple doctrine. He explained it directly to those who heard Him at Bountiful. Here is His doctrine:

And this is my doctrine, and it is the doctrine which the Father hath given unto me; and I bear record of the Father, and the Father beareth record of me, and the Holy Ghost beareth record of the Father and me; and I bear record that the Father commandeth all men, everywhere, to repent and believe in me. And whoso believeth in me, and is baptized, the same shall be saved; and they are they who shall inherit the kingdom of God. And whoso believeth not in me, and is not baptized, shall be damned. Verily, verily, I say unto you, that this is my doctrine, and I bear record of it from the Father; and whoso believeth in me believeth in the Father also; and unto him will the Father bear record of me, for he will visit him withfire and with the Holy Ghost. And thus will the Father bear record of me, and theHoly Ghost will bear record unto him of the Father and me; for the Father, and I, and the Holy Ghost are one. And again I say unto you, ye must repent, and become as a little child, and be baptized in my name, or ye can in nowise receive these things. And again I say unto you, ye must repent, and be baptized in my name, and become as a little child, or ye can in nowise inherit the kingdom of God. Verily, verily, I say unto you, that this is my doctrine, and whoso buildeth upon this buildeth upon my rock, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against them. And whoso shall declare more or less than this, and establish it for my doctrine, the same cometh of evil, and is not built upon my rock; but he buildeth upon a sandy foundation, and the gates of hell stand open to receive such when the floods come and the winds beat upon them.  (3 Ne. 11:32-40.)

Baptism must be by immersion. (3 Ne. 11:26: “then shall ye immerse them in the water, and com forth again out of the water.”)

To baptize, a man must have been given authority by Jesus Christ. Christ taught that in the baptismal prayer He required to be recited by anyone performing the ordinance. It establishes the condition that He first directly gives them authority to baptize: “These are the words which ye shall say, calling them by name, saying: Having authority given me of Jesus Christ, I baptize you in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. Amen.” (3 Ne. 11:24-25.)

Catholics baptize by sprinkling. This is not accepted by the Lord as His because it does not comply with the required pattern.

Baptists may immerse, but do not have authority to baptize given to them by Jesus Christ. This is not accepted as His. 

All the denominations are presently astray. But God still offers baptism.

There are some few authorized by Christ, performing baptism with His authority, teaching the doctrine of Christ, and giving freely an ordinance to any willing to accept the Doctrine of Christ and repent.

God has made Himself directly known to prophets of old. He did so with Abraham (Gen. 15:1); and Jacob/Israel (Gen. 46:2);  and has said He would do so with any authentic prophet (Num. 12:6).

The LDS Church does not offer an acceptable baptism any longer. In the LDS Church’s official publication for their missionaries (who are involved with any baptism of any individual nine years of age or older), they instruct the following is to be included in the missionaries’ Baptismal Interview Questions (see Preach My Gospel, p. 206): “2. Do you believe that [current Church President] is a prophet of God? What does this mean to you?”

The phrasing of the question presumes any generic church president who happens to be “current” is ipso facto “a prophet of God.” The office makes it so. 

It is a church office in LDS theology, and not the calling of the man by God’s own voice. (Contrast with JST Gen. 14:29.)

The baptism offered by LDS Church missionaries is based on an adulteration of Christ’s doctrine, is not effective, and will no longer be accepted by Christ as His. He does, however, require baptism. The acceptable means was outlined in my talk in Phoenix and can be read as a paper on this blog, or the talk can be downloaded here or streamed on YouTube. 

Baptism is necessary. A record is likewise necessary. Baptism is offered freely, without obligation, and without initiating you to follow another man or men. You are free to thereafter worship as you see fit. But it is essential. A record is kept by a central recorder. The website is www.recordersclearinghouse.com. It is a necessary process.

The only condition for baptism is to accept the Doctrine of Christ, set out by Christ in His own words. Christ commanded it be done, and has reiterated that it is to be done anew in our day. We will be disappointed at His coming if we fail to obey.