Category: repentance

1 Nephi 14: 3-4

“And that great pit, which hath been digged for them by that great and abominable church, which was founded by the devil and his children, that he might lead away the souls of men down to hell—yea, that great pit which hath been digged for the destruction of men shall be filled by those who digged it, unto their utter destruction, saith the Lamb of God; not the destruction of the soul, save it be the casting of it into that hell which hath no end.  For behold, this is according to the captivity of the devil, and also according to the justice of God, upon all those who will work wickedness and abomination before him.”
Now I wish Nephi would only prophecy smooth things to us. (Isa. 30: 10.) But once again here we find him being negative. He needs to repent or he’s going to lose readers.
The “great pit” is an interesting symbol. Remember when the brothers sought to kill Joseph? Before they sold him into slavery, they put him into a pit in which there was no water. (Gen. 37: 23-24.) They stripped him of his sacred garment – not of “many colors” but of “sacred markings.” Having stripped him of the garment that belonged to the heir, and assured him of his exaltation, they cast him into a pit without water. He descended, as the damned, into the waterless pit. This pit symbolizes the damned souls in spirit prison who, without deliverance from the waters of baptism, are left to suffer. (See Zech. 9: 12.) Joseph’s pit without water is a reminder of how the ordinances that pass us through the water are the means of deliverance. (Hence the Red Sea and rebirth of Israel as they emerged from Egypt.) Christ also alluded to this in His parable of Lazarus, when the torment could only be cooled by covenantal water. (Luke 16: 24.)
Well the abominable church offers ordinances, but they leave people in a pit, without redemption and in need of authoritative washing to cleanse from sin. The devil and his children are the founders of this great and abominable order. They seek to cheat mankind of salvation. If they can cause even a little error that robs power from the ordinances performed, they can keep mankind captive. For death and hell will claim all those who have not been redeemed from the awful pit.

How unkind would it be to fail to warn people of this risk they face? How unkind would it be to allow them to proceed into the afterlife unprepared, uncleansed, and unredeemed? Which would be better, to stay silent while the idolatry of the Latter-day Saints robs them of redemption, or to speak up and warn? Men and institutions will never redeem a man. Idolizing an institution will damn every participant. Idolizing men will damn those false religionists. In the Latter-day Saint community we have two groups: Those who are humble and follow Christ, but who are taught by the precepts of men and err. (2 Nephi 28: 14.)  And the rest are those who follow men and worship the institution and proclaim “All is well” with their faith. For the first group there is hope, so long as they are able to find the truth. (D&C 123: 12.)  For the rest, they will become heirs of this prophecy of Nephi’s, all the while assuring one another that the odds are they are going to be exalted.

The goal in every generation is to become Zion. To do that you must have a return of a Patriarchal head, as in Enoch’s day or in Melchizedek’s day, wherein they organized again after the pattern of heaven. A family. One. Where all things are in common because there is a loving environment where all are of equal worth. No one aspires to be a leader, but all become sons and daughters, brothers and sisters, husbands and wives where the care of all is as natural as family affection for one another.
The devil and his children seek to fragment, to divide, and to keep mankind from organizing into a family where the hearts of fathers are with the children and the hearts of children are toward their fathers. When you divide up into separate clans or divided families, while still paying tribute to the honored position of “family life” among the divided clans and families, you still have only a form of godliness without any power. This is the goal of the devil. It will prevent Zion from ever being brought again. It will leave people unorganized and unprepared to assume a place in the government of God, which is His eternal and singular extended family, where all are one.
The references to the “hell that hath no end” is that same play on words that is defined in D&C 19: 5-12.  It is a place of torment, where people suffer as in the Telestial Kingdom, or the world in which you presently reside (to paraphrase the Endowment). How long will people endure such an experience? Until they repent.  (D&C 76: 99-101.) What if they do not repent? They will suffer, worlds without end. (D&C 76: 109-112.)
All of this according to “the justice of God.”
Notice that people arrive here because of the “abominable church” that will always be ready to preach to you false, vain and foolish doctrines. They will offer anything to distract you and keep you from seeing the Lord “bring again Zion.” They will use the words of Zion to preach a false faith. They are “abominable” because their false teachings are clothed in the vocabulary of truth.
At that day even the very elect will be the targets of deception. Those claiming falsely to be “prophets” will arise and lead away many. They will show great wonders, spacious and glorious buildings, feats of charity and good will. But the elect will not be deceived, though they may be troubled. (JS-M 1: 22-25.) They will not be deceived because they treasure up His words. They know His voice, recognize when it speaks, and will use it to keep them from deception. They will have entertained angels, who will have gathered them, and will be waiting for His return. (JS-M 1: 37.)
Now, indeed, is the great day of Satan’s power; who rules from the rivers to the ends of the earth and there are none to molest him or make him afraid. We look for the day when, again, a voice will cry out in the wilderness saying to walk in the strait path of the Lord. It would be interesting if that should happen to see who would recognize it, and who would want to know instead “by what authority” such a voice cries out.
Well, there’s more to the verse than this. Ask yourself:
-Why is it a “great pit which hath been digged for the destruction of men?”
-Who is it that “shall fill” it?
-What does “utter destruction” mean?
-What does the phrase “not the destruction of the soul, save it be the casting of it into that hell which hath no end” refer to?
-Why is this “according to the captivity of the devil?”
-Why is this “also according to the justice of God, upon all those who will work wickedness and abomination before him?”
It is an interesting insight into the patience of God, the eternal purposes of God, and the endless, even “worlds without end” which will be provided for all those who will not repent. What a vast, eternal work God has set about to accomplish!  Imagine bringing to pass the immortality and eternal life of man! What an endless process such a work may entail! Why would anyone procrastinate the day of their repentance?

Alma 13:30

Alma 13: 30: 

“And may the Lord grant unto you repentance, that ye may not bring down his wrath upon you, that ye may not be bound down by the chains of hell, that ye may not suffer the second death.” 

Alma’s closing remark here is a prayer. He is asking that the Lord “grant unto you repentance.” This is an interesting cause-and-effect way to state the proposition. We cause it by our desire and willingness to become humble and repent. The Lord causes it because without His atoning sacrifice it could not be done.

We receive the effect because we are cleansed by our acts, humility and willingness to accept what is offered. The Lord receives the effect because He has allowed us to join Him in being pure and holy. He acquires a brother (or, more correctly a son). But He has no jealousy, allowing His brothers/sons to sit upon His own throne.  (Rev. 3: 21.)  He wants to have “all things in common” with us.

Alma’s petition goes further to ask that the wrath of God not be poured out upon these people to whom he is preaching. There are, of course, two levels of wrath. One is temporal–here and now. The wicked are often punished here by letting them pursue their own evil course until it destroys them. Repentance in that sense relieves them of the physical, emotional, social, military, economic, and interpersonal disasters they bring upon themselves by their ruinous pursuit of destructive behavior.

The other is eternal–meaning coming after this life. That second “wrath” is a result of leaving this life with accountability for what happened here, and the lack of preparation for the moment when “judgment” is rendered. That “judgment” consists of you finally facing reality. When you are in His presence you can accurately measure the difference between what you are and what He wanted you to become–i.e., like Him. The gulf is so great that you would rather be in hell than in the presence of a just and holy being when you are stained with the blood and sins of your generation.  (Mormon 9: 4.)

I have been in the presence of President Ronald Reagan. I met with President Spencer W. Kimball at the law school at BYU when he would come to visit with his son, who was a criminal law professor there. I shook hands and spoke with Chief Justice Warren Burger for about a half hour in the law library at BYU. I have appeared at the US Supreme Court, the Utah Supreme Court, argued before Federal and State courts in Utah, Idaho, Arizona, Texas, California, Virginia, Washington DC, New York, Oregon, Nevada, Montana and New Mexico. I have seen Congress in session. Although a boy at the time, I was there when President Kennedy came to Berlin and spoke at Checkpoint Charlie, giving his “Ich Bin Ein Berliner” speech.  I have seen many other men who have shaped history. But there simply is no comparison between these mere children, these insubstantial and powerless creatures, and the holiness, power, majesty and glory of the one True Man, clothed in light. You may  see what the world reckons as a “great man” and think he was impressive. But you come from the presence of glory with only one conclusion:  Surely man is nothing, which I had never before supposed.  (Moses 1: 10.)

It is awful, fearful and dreadful to be in the presence of God. You realize the horror of your own darkness. (Gen. 15: 7-18.) You cry out with the realization that you are unclean, living your life among the unclean, and you are not ready for His presence. (Isa. 6: 5.) You are not prepared, and all your careful pretensions dissolve until you stand naked, revealed, hollow and unworthy to stand in His presence.

How, then, does a man stand in His presence? Through the merits and mercy and grace of this, our Lord. (2 Ne. 2: 8.) If your mouth is unclean, He will use an ordinance to cleanse your lips. (Isa. 6: 6-7.)  If you are covered by the blood and sins of your generation, He will cleanse them. (John 13: 5-13.)  If you cannot stand, He will raise you up with His own hand. (Daniel 10: 5-10.)  He is the God of mercy. Your discomfort is relieved by what He does, and this not of yourself, least you should boast. There is nothing in you from which to boast other than the merit and mercy and love and sacrifice given to you by Him.

How can He love so? It defies explanation. Words fail. You can search your lifetime through every word you have ever seen or heard – nothing comes close to being able to describe it. It cannot be spoken….  Too sacred for language to capture. Beyond our power.  So, you are left saying only: “Come, see.”

How, then, can a man come to the judgment and not feel the wrath which they might have overcome by His grace and mercy? Through the merits of Him bestowing upon a man the power to stand in His presence.

Alma’s pain at the thought of these people perishing was real. He was powerless to bring them to Christ. That power consists only in the authorized and truthful declaration of an invitation to come to Him.  But the choice remained in those who, having heard, must decide for themselves whether they will repent. They were free to choose iniquity and abominations. Alma was only able to invite.

The invitation, if rejected, will cause those who die to die yet again.  The way is broad which leads to such eternal deaths.  (D&C 132: 25.)

Alma 13: 17-18

Alma 13: 17-18:

“Now this Melchizedek was a king over the land of Salem; and his people had waxed strong in iniquity and abomination; yea, they had all gone astray; they were full of all manner of wickedness;  But Melchizedek having exercised mighty faith, and received the office of the high priesthood according to the holy order of God, did preach repentance unto his people. 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.”

He was a king over people who had “waxed strong” in both “iniquity” and also “abomination.” Keep in mind that “waxing strong” means to be increasingly determined or committed.  “Iniquity” is generally evil practice, but “abomination” involves the religious justification of wrongdoing. That is, something becomes “abominable” when it is motivated out of a false form of religious observance or is justified because of religious error.

The people to whom Melchizedek would minister were not simply in error, they were motivated by a false set of religious beliefs and errors. The result was that “they had all gone astray.” They were “full of all manner of wickedness.” This was a challenging audience for this man to minister to and try to convert to the truth.

Melchizedek began by “exercising mighty faith” in order to understand the truth and discern the difference between truth and error.  Remember how difficult it is to be taught truth. It is more difficult to learn truth than it is to perform miracles. (3 Ne. 17: 2-7.)  Despite this, Melchizedek was able to set aside all he beheld and through faith acquire an understanding of the truth for himself.  Conferred upon him as part of this education was the priestly authority with which to minister to others.

He “did preach repentance unto his people.” This required him to expose the errors, show them they were involved in iniquity and to expose how their religious errors had made them abominable. This preaching is always most difficult because it confronts the audience with a challenge to their mistaken beliefs, and false religion. There is a risk of violence when this happens. People who entertain abominable religious practices are more often moved to violence than to repentance. The Lord was greeted with violence. So was Lehi, Isaiah, Nephi, Samuel the Lamanite, Abinadi, Peter, Paul, Stephen, James, Zacharias and too many others to mention. To their credit, and to Melchizedek’s, the preaching resulted in repentance.

The serious errors, iniquity, and abominations of these people did not prevent Melchizedek from establishing a Zion. These people were able to acquire “peace in the land” because of their repentance. As used here, however, peace means more than the absence of violence, it means the presence of the Lord.

The statement that he established peace as the King of Salem (Shalom means peace) and “he did reign under his father” is a play on words. Which “father” is being identified in the statement. Was it Noah, or Gabriel? (A man who would also be translated and have a ministry as the Lord’s herald before the birth of John the Baptist and Christ.) Or was the “father” Him would would declare that Melchizedek was “begotten” as a “son of God?” It likely meant both. But it is also likely written this way to let those who do not understand what is being said to read it in a way that conceals the dual meanings. The scriptures are filled with such dual meanings.

What is hopeful for us today, is that no matter how much “iniquity” and religious error we engage in that results in our “abominations” in our pride and foolishness, we still may be candidates to receive something similar to what befell the City of Salem. The first step is to acquire the presence of this priesthood through individual repentance.

We envy these ancients. But we do nothing to try and follow the pattern revealed to us in their course. The Book of Mormon is a course in ancient failure and ancient success. We just do not respect what we have in that volume.

Well, let us press on…

Alma 13:12

“Now they, after being sanctified by the Holy Ghost, having their garments made white, being pure and spotless before God, could not look upon sin save it were with abhorrence; and there were many, exceedingly great many, who were made pure and entered into the rest of the Lord their God.”
If the earlier verse were not clear enough, the point is reiterated again here.  These people are “sanctified by the Holy Ghost” as a result of “having their garments made white.” They are “pure and spotless before God!”
This is the reason they can enter His presence.  He has accepted them because just like Him, they are without sin. They were not perfected by their own acts. The earlier reference to their repentance makes that clear. They become pure and spotless before God because they have done what was asked of them to become clean. They have repented.
Now, measure the effects of their repentance.  It has been so complete, so heartfelt, and deeply prized that they “could not look upon sin save it were with abhorrence.” It is this notion that underlies the mistaken idea that once someone’s calling and election has been made sure they are required to suffer for their own sins, because they have knowledge they are redeemed.  This is a twisted view, designed by the adversary to discourage those who might otherwise seek and find.

It is not that the atonement ceases to operate for the redeemed. The atonement continues to cover the on-going sins of these redeemed souls which arise from their foolishness, mistakes, errors of comprehension, and the things they don’t understand yet. Christ does not require them to do what they don’t know is a requirement yet. As the gentle and kind Lord, He will forgive all they do that is wrong, while He reveals through greater light and knowledge a higher path.  As He unfolds to their understanding more light, they can measure their conduct according to that greater light.

As they gain greater truth and light they see things how they really are.  Right and wrong are seen differently. What once was “right” is now wrong as greater light and truth is received.  What was once “wrong” is now seen clearly, without all the errors of understanding held before. 
The spotlessness is because their heart is right. They WANT to please their Lord. They WANT to be like Him. Sin is not tempting because it is contrary to Him whom they love.
The abhorrence they feel at sin is not within them.  It is not the temptations they struggle against. That is not the meaning at all.  It is what they see all about them. The lost souls are the object of their compassion and care. They WANT to have others redeemed and saved from this lost and fallen world. The fruit they tasted is something they desire to share. They WANT many, an exceeding many, to share with them in the hope that can be won by repentance.
They would shout “flee from Babylon” if they thought it would do any good. But shouting does no good among a darkened and benighted people. They may speak the words of an angel to others, but it is up to others to decide whether they will listen. It will be a still, small, quiet pleading they make to others. Within their entreaties will be found the Master’s words.
Many may claim to speak in His name, but only these few have the ability to speak with His approval. These are holy men, possessing words of eternal life. In them will be found truths that come from eternity and that will save to all eternity.
Only a few will listen. That won’t detract from the power of the message delivered by those who are after the holy order of the Son of God, for their words can save any who will listen.
What an interesting chapter we have found here. And we are only a dozen verses into it!  We should press on.

Alma 13:10

Alma 13: 10:

Now, as I said concerning the holy order, or this high priesthood, there were many who were ordained and became high priests of God; and it was on account of their exceeding faith and repentance, and their righteousness before God, they choosing to repent and work righteousness rather than to perish;”

Immediately following the formula, the explanation continues that “many” were able to become ordained as such “high priests of God.” But the way they did this was through several specific actions.
They had “exceeding faith.” What do you suppose “exceeding faith” means? Why not “faith?”  What is the difference between “faith” and “exceeding faith?”

They went through “repentance.”  So we know they made the same kinds of mortal mistakes as we do. They experience the bitter and then are able to prefer the sweet. They knew what it was like to feel the bitterness of hell, because they felt the sting of sin. So they repented. These great souls are NOT perfect, after all! They “repented” because they didn’t do it right the first time. What a refreshing idea. They weren’t fake. They didn’t feign virtue.  They had failing. They were filled with life, made errors, and needed to repent. They were not immune to the circumstances of this fallen world.

More importantly, do the terms “exceeding faith” and “repentance” go together? That is, do you necessarily have to possess “exceeding faith” in order to become one who fully “repents?” If so, why? How is it done? This may be an important clue to the process of “keeping the second estate” and “proving” that you are ready to move on.  Perhaps it is in this manner that some will then have “glory added upon their heads forever,” (Abr. 3: 26) and in another cycle of existence and eternal progression then also join in the ranks of those belonging to the “holy order after the Son of God.”

These called persons are, despite everything, “righteous before God.” God measures differently than do we. Being “righteous before God” may not mean the same thing we think “righteous” means. We want outward signs, symbols, dress, grooming and conformity. God looks at the intent of the heart.

Interestingly, they “choose to repent and work righteousness rather than to perish.” What do you suppose that means? First, they “repent,” then they “work righteousness.” Because of this, they do not “perish.”  So do these things all go together? Can a person “repent” but then not “work righteousness?”  Does a person have to  “repent” and “work righteousness” in order to not “perish?”   

Repentance and redemption

I was asked this question:

In D&C 138:57-59 it states: 

“the faithful elders from this dispensation, when they depart this life continue their labors by preaching to those who are in darkness and under bondage of sin, etc.”  

The scripture then says that the dead who REPENT WILL BE REDEEMED, THROUGH OBEDIENCE TO THE ORDINANCES OF THE HOUSE OF THE LORD. I thought temple ordinances, including baptisms for the dead, were only necessary for those who are heirs to at least some degree in the Celestial Kingdom. See Doctrines of Salvation, II, p. 191. If this is so, then why does the scripture go on to say “[a]nd after they have paid the penalty of their transgressions, and are washed clean, shall receive a reward according to their works, for they are heirs of salvation.” 

If they repent and are redeemed through the ordinances of the temple then why are they paying the penalty for their transgressions? I understood D&C 19:15-18 to mean if you repent then because of the atonement you do not suffer because Christ suffered for us. As I read this scripture it can only mean one of two things. First, some people who end up in he Celestial Kingdom must suffer for their own sins.  Second it could mean that these people are not going to the Celestial Kingdom (“for they shall receive a reward according to their works”). So am I wrong that an “heir of salvation” (not “exaltation”) can end up in the C, T or T Kingdom, as all are kingdoms of glory and the heirs of each of these kingdoms are saved with a “resurrection of endless life and happiness”? (Mosiah 16:11) And if so then why did they need the ordinances of the temple?

My response:
To enter into the Celestial Kingdom requires the ordinances of the Temple.  As explained in D&C 131: 1-4:
 1 In the celestial glory there are three heavens or degrees;
 2 And in order to obtain the highest, a man must enter into this order of the priesthood [meaning the new and everlasting covenant of marriage];
 3 And if he does not, he cannot obtain it.
 4 He may enter into the other, but that is the end of his kingdom; he cannot have an increase.
This statement defines the “highest” as the only one involving the covenant of marriage.  The other Celestial Kingdom residents would require all Temple ordinances, from washings, anointings through endowment to be able to enter and pass by the sentinels who stand guard there.  Only the highest requires the new and everlasting covenant of marriage.
As to who will “suffer for their own sins” and yet enter into the Celestial Kingdom, there are at least two categories:  First, those who have received their calling and election, but who return to sin, but not an unpardonable sin.  Those are required to “pay the price” for this misconduct.  (D&C 132: 26.)  Second, those who are “sealed up” through the faithfulness of their parents, who claim them as children of promise as a matter of right because of the sealing upon the parents.  Such children will need to either qualify in their own right, or if inheritors of the promise through the merit of their parents’ sealing they will have to suffer to become clean in order to inherit what is sealed upon them by this right.
It is a good question.  It shows the order in heaven and the way in which things are governed by laws established before the foundation of the world.  (D&C 130: 20-21.)

God is no respecter of persons

I am surprised by how people regard me as something special.  I have been blessed by the Lord to be able to write some books and put some information on this blog. However, if you were raised LDS and put forth some nominal effort to living your religion, you have lived a better life than I have. I wasn’t raised LDS and had no understanding of the Gospel, or the underlying reasons for the commandments.  Therefore, I never obeyed even a fraction of the commandments that you have grown up following.

I am absolutely convinced that any one of you is a better candidate than I was to receive an audience with the Lord.  The wonder of this process is not that someone has done it, but that so few have.  Given that I am probably the least qualified, the point should not be lost on you.  If it has happened to me, then it absolutely can and should happen to you.
God is no respecter of persons.  All are alike to Him.  Qualifications are based upon the behavior and faith of the person, not on their status or past mistakes.
You probably think your errors are more serious an impediment to God accepting you than He ever has.  He doesn’t want to judge you, He wants to heal you. He wants to give you what you lack, teach you to be better and to bless you.  He doesn’t want to belittle, demean or punish you.  Ask Him to forgive and He forgives.  Even very serious sins.  He does not want you burdened with them.  He wants you to leave them behind.

His willingness to leave those errors in the past and remember them no more is greater than you can imagine.  It is a guiding principle for the Atonement. Asking for forgiveness is almost all that is required to be forgiven.

What alienates us from Him is not our sins.  He will forgive them.  What we lack is the confidence to ask in faith, nothing doubting, for His help.  He can and will help when you do so.
The sins that offend Him are not the errors, weaknesses and foolishness of the past.  He is offended when we are forgiven by Him, and then return to the same sin. That shows a lack of gratitude for His forgiveness.  Even then, however, there are addictions, compulsions and weaknesses that we sometimes struggle with for years, even decades.  When the sin is due to some difficulty based on biology, physiology or  an inherent weakness that we fight for years to overcome, then His patience with us is far greater than our own.  He will help in the fight.  He will walk along side you as you fight.  He does not expect you to run faster than you have strength.  When, at last, because of age or infirmity, a troubling weakness is at last overcome, He will readily accept your repentance and let you move forward clean, whole and forgiven.  That is His ministry – to forgive and make whole.

I know all my mistakes.  They are greater than most of yours. I am in awe of His mercy and forgiveness.  I am not at all impressed by my worthiness.  It is nothing.  It consists of borrowed finery from Him who has let me use His great worthiness to cover my own failings.  To the extent that I have any merit, it comes from Him.  I remain astonished that He would condescend for someone like me. 

It is a wonder some think I have an advantage.  I assure you that the promised blessings are available to ALL.  If that were not true then someone as weak, simple and flawed as I am would never have had the hope that I now have in Christ.

First principles of the Gospel

Someone asked this question:

In one part of Come, Let Us Adore Him you talk about the Dispensation in the Meridian of Time.  How “Men of good faith and sincere desire doing their best to follow after God, lost the light of the Spirit, then lost sound doctrine, and ultimately lost their covenant status and drifted into darkness.” Did you mean this collectively?  Over time as a group?  As an individual of good faith, sincere desire, doing their best to follow after God, losing the light of the spirit, then sound doctrine and later drifting into darkness….   How tragic.  If after all that they still failed, what then is our hope for an individual now, in our dispensation?  Are we doomed to the same outcome?  I see many following the same course as anciently.  

My answer:

It is troubling.  It is the terrible problem of mortality.  We are all prone to drift and fail.  It is only by constant renewal of faith that we can hope to succeed.  No matter how far we have come, what great things we have obtained, we are still subject to failure.  This is why the FIRST principles and ordinances of the Gospel are: “faith, repentance, baptism and laying on of hands for the gift of the Holy Ghost.”  We never outgrow these FIRST principles.

I believe them to be “FIRST” in the sense of primacy, not a singular event which happens and then you can take them off the list of stuff to do.  They are primary. They are foundational.  They are required to be used constantly.  Therefore, they are “FIRST.”

So, we always go forward in faith.  No matter how much we already know, we must use faith to go forward.  We live within the limitation of linear time.  We experience things in a flow that happens without our control.  Life unfolds as an unknown to us, and we must cope with all it hands us from day to day.  That requires faith to confront this uncontrolled, unfolding stream of time in which we are presently confined. 

Repentance is required because even if we are doing what we should be doing we are always going to learn more.  It is the nature of the Gospel that our light should increase.  Whenever we learn more, we must change to reflect what we have just gained.  Change is the heart of repentance. 

Baptism is to have sins washed away.  If you are already baptized, then the ordinance does not need to be done again, but the remission of sins and washing them away is required repeatedly.  For those already baptized, this is done through the Sacrament. It is still required for us to have sins remitted.

The Holy Ghost is should be a regular participant in our lives.  Its renewed companionship is also primary.  Its witness to us that we are on the right path is the only way to wage the necessary war against entropy which seeks to take you into darkness.  It is the source of renewed light that always enlightens when it comes. 

These are the only means by which we can avoid the same dismal fate as all others of all prior dispensations.  We must do this individually.  It does not matter if it is done collectively. I’ve yet to see any reason in the scriptures to expect great collective success by the Gentiles who inherit the Gospel in our dispensation.  There are individual promises to the few Gentiles who will repent, have faith, be baptized, enter into the covenant and remain faithful.  But the collective outcome is not particularly rosy.