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The Sealing Power

I’ve explained the sealing authority in the last three chapters of Beloved Enos.  An example of the Lord and His servant Enoch conversing, and the Lord requiring the sealing authority to be used is found in Moses 7: 6-7, which read as follows:
And again the Lord said unto me: Look; and I looked towards the north, and I beheld the people of Canaan, which dwelt in tents.  And the Lord said unto me: Prophesy; and I prophesied, saying: Behold the people of Canaan, which are numerous, shall go forth in battle array against the people of Shum, and shall slay them that they shall utterly be destroyed; and the people of Canaan shall divide themselves in the land, and the land shall be barren and unfruitful, and none other people shall dwell there but the people of Canaan;
Enoch was shown the events, but the Lord required the voice of Enoch to speak and “prophesy” what was to happen.  The voice of one holding this authority is the same as the Lord’s own voice.  (D&C 1: 38.)  The “Word” needed to be employed, because it is by the “Word” that all things are established.
The “Word” comes through Christ, who has in Him all power and authority.  It was and is through Him that others are called upon from heaven, given authority, and commissioned to speak and make the Word of God live again on the earth.
Therefore, in the beginning the Word was, for he was the Word, even the messenger of salvation— The light and the Redeemer of the world; the Spirit of truth, who came into the world, because the world was made by him, and in him was the life of men and the light of men.”  (D&C 93: 8-9.)
It was by employing the “Word” that the creation of this earth rolled into order at the direction of the “noble and great” souls who were the “Gods” or the “Elohim” in the beginning.  As Abraham recorded:

And they (the Gods) said: Let there be light; and there was light. And they (the Gods) comprehended the light, for it was bright; and they divided the light, or caused it to be divided, from the darkness. And the Gods called the light Day, and the darkness they called Night. And it came to pass that from the evening until morning they called night; and from the morning until the evening they called day; and this was the first, or the beginning, of that which they called day and night.  And the Gods also said” (Abr. 4: 3-6.)

It is through the Word, or sealing authority, spoken by one sent from God, that salvation and exaltation are made available to mankind.  It was intended that this authority to speak in His name might belong to every man in this dispensation:  “But that every man might speak in the name of God the Lord, even the Savior of the world; That faith also might increase in the earth; That mine everlasting covenant might be established;”  (D&C 1: 20-22.)   This was not to be a time when there would be a famine in hearing the Word of the Lord.  (cf. Amos 8: 11.)  Rather it was to be a time of great abundance, when every man would know the Lord.  (Heb. 8: 11; D&C 84: 98.)  This was to be the day when all would see visions and dream dreams, beholding the Lord.  (JS-H 1: 41; Joel 2: 28.)
For some, this IS a day of great plenty.  For others it remains a time of famine.  The Lord spoke truly that in our day two shall be together, and the one taken but the other left.  (Luke 17: 34-36; Matt. 24: 40-41; JS-M 1: 44-45.)  And why are they not taken? 
Because their hearts are set so much upon the things of this world, and aspire to the honors of men, that they do not learn this one lesson— That the rights of the priesthood are inseparably connected with the powers of heaven, and that the powers of heaven cannot be controlled nor handled only upon the principles of righteousness.  That they may be conferred upon us, it is true; but when we undertake to cover our sins, or to gratify our pride, our vain ambition, or to exercise control or dominion or compulsion upon the souls of the children of men, in any degree of unrighteousness, behold, the heavens withdraw themselves; the Spirit of the Lord is grieved; and when it is withdrawn, Amen to the priesthood or the authority of that man.” (D&C 121: 35-37.)
Whenever men possess the “word” from God, they necessarily speak it in plainness.  When men do not, history tells us they will assert the right to control, dominate and exercise authority over others to prevent the “word” from being spoken by anyone.  This is the consistent pattern found among the Jews at the time of Christ; among the Catholics when they obtain political dominance; and it is the pattern that we must not repeat in our own dispensation.  For we all share responsibility for how this turns out.  Nephi’s view of how we would perform was quite pessimistic.  (2 Ne. 28: 20-29.)  However, the group outcome needn’t ever be the individual’s outcome, even in Nephi’s prophetic “word” about our day.  (2 Ne. 28: 14.)

Books for sale – used

A friend of mine brought to my attention that there are “used” copies of my books available on the web for sometimes hundreds of dollars.  I was surprised.  Let me give some warning to people so no-one takes advantage of you.
 
First, there is absolutely no reason to pay anything more than what the Amazon.com book charges are to anyone anywhere.  The books are all still in print and you do not need to resort to buying them used.  Buy them new from Amazon and you’ll get a newly printed copy at the lowest price, other than shipping which they add on to the cost.
 
Second, if you live in Utah, you can buy copies at the same reasonable prices from either Benchmark Books on about 3300 South Main Street, or from a place called Confetti Books in Spanish Fork (whose address I do not have at the moment).  Neither of these stores mark the books up, and they don’t charge you shipping.  But you have to drive there to buy them.
 
Third, I am not trying to make money from book sales.  I work as an attorney for a living and writing is not a commercial endeavor.  Whatever royalties I earn are donated to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  So you buying a book I’ve written does nothing financial for me.

WWJD

Stopped shaving a few weeks ago, except for the neck.  Now I’ve got a bit of face hair, which feels like spiders are crawling all over my face.  I took a poll, figuring I’d get a vote to return to the orthodox visage.  To my surprise all the kids said “keep it.”  Even my wife says to leave it for a while.  So I’m going to keep the spiders for a while.
I’ve done this before, back when I made the annual trip to Sturgis.  I know that eventually there isn’t any feeling to a beard.  In fact, when you shave it off then you can feel the air movement on your face and that’s quite weird for a few days.  But I haven’t been to Sturgis for about 5 years or more, and so I hadn’t grown a beard for that long.
As an aside, when you go to Sturgis you ought to look the part.  The “brethren” there expect some effort to blend in.  Consequently, I have managed a fairly true ‘scooter-trash’ look when I make the effort.
As long as I have the chin-hair I need to dust off the Harley, get it inspected and licensed, and start riding again this summer.  It is, of course, the answer to the question: “WWJD?”  (What would Jesus drive?)  It’s environmentally friendly, leaves a small carbon footprint, quick, high-mileage, ….fun as hell, and pretty badass, too.  All the ingredients needed for transcendental transportation.
Steppenwolf sang the theme song to it all:

Get your motor runnin’

Head out on the highway;
look’in for adventure
and whatever comes our way……
I like smoke and lightning
Heavy metal thunder
Racin’ with the wind
And the feelin’ that I’m under…..
It’s a biker thing.  Can’t be explained.  Can be shared, though.  You start with face hair;  … then let it take you to its logical extreme.
Hmmmm……no wonder missionaries are clean-shaven.

Presiding Authority

When Joseph Smith died, the crisis in succession produced arguments from various contenders who claimed it their right to lead the Church.  Although no one argued that Section 107: 22-24 controlled the decision, ultimately the decision was that the Twelve Apostles held keys to lead the Church.  A few years later the verses in Section 107 just cited became the rationale for why the Twelve would lead.


This decision was further clarified by adoption of the rule that the senior (one who held office longest) Apostle would be the presiding authority and by virtue of that seniority would be the President.  Initially he was President of the Twelve.  Then when Brigham Young reformed the First Presidency after a few years, he became President of the Church.  Then in 1955 he became the living “prophet” as well.

Since the system has now reached a stable, orderly manner of choosing and recognizing whose right it is to preside over the church, what happens if another,  more senior Apostle happens along?  Whose right is it to preside if you are required to choose between direction that comes from the presiding authority of the church or direction that comes from John (who tarries in the flesh), (D&C 7: 1-4.) or Peter, James and John?  (D&C 27: 12)  Everyone presumes the messages from those who preside over the church on the earth and those who “tarry in the flesh” will be congruent, and that there is no conflict between the messages. But query what choice should be made if there is at least some inconsistency?  Upon whom does the seniority rest?  

A simpler question is what choice should be made between the Lord and those who preside in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  I think all would agree that all church authorities are inferior to the Lord.  However, we also presume that there will be no conflict between the two.  What if there is at least some inconsistency?  

It is an interesting question to ponder.  Not that I have anything to add to your reflection on the matter.  Sometimes it is just interesting to consider a question.  Like I’ve said elsewhere, answers are less important than a good question to ponder from time to time.  In the pondering, new and important ideas can occur to you.

Debate is not necessary

I am not trying to make my mind up about Mormonism or The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  I have long ago sorted out my views.  They are not going to change.

Although my views are explained in this blog, I do not debate them.  You are welcome to have contrary views, to disagree and to think I am altogether incorrect.  But you shouldn’t waste the effort to try and persuade me to change my own view.

My testimony of Christ is informed both by what I have studied and what I have witnessed.  It has taken decades of devotion in study and living to obtain a stable, firm view of the Lord and His role in my life.  No one should expect to acquire an unchanging view of the Lord without paying a significant price in their time and effort.  I can try to help, give advice and make suggestions.   I can explain my views.  But, in the end, every person must determine for themselves what Christ means and how they intend to relate to Him.

I believe the truth exists independent of your view or my view.  Just because someone believes a false notion does not make it so.  Eventually we will all come into agreement by the things which we experience.  For most of the world, that will be some time after they are dead.

Debate is not necessary.  And I am just a lay member of the Church, without any reason for you to consider what I have to say.  Therefore, you ought to measure my views against the scriptures and the Spirit, and let the truth be the single standard for deciding to accept something.
I quoted a few ideas from Mark Twain in a post a while back.  You ought to re-read them if you don’t remember them.  They were chosen with some care.  They summarize ideas which I believe to be important.

Debate is not necessary

I am not trying to make my mind up about Mormonism or The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  I have long ago sorted out my views.  They are not going to change.

Although my views are explained in this blog, I do not debate them.  You are welcome to have contrary views, to disagree and to think I am altogether incorrect.  But you shouldn’t waste the effort to try and persuade me to change my own view.

My testimony of Christ is informed both by what I have studied and what I have witnessed.  It has taken decades of devotion in study and living to obtain a stable, firm view of the Lord and His role in my life.  No one should expect to acquire an unchanging view of the Lord without paying a significant price in their time and effort.  I can try to help, give advice and make suggestions.   I can explain my views.  But, in the end, every person must determine for themselves what Christ means and how they intend to relate to Him.

I believe the truth exists independent of your view or my view.  Just because someone believes a false notion does not make it so.  Eventually we will all come into agreement by the things which we experience.  For most of the world, that will be some time after they are dead.

Debate is not necessary.  And I am just a lay member of the Church, without any reason for you to consider what I have to say.  Therefore, you ought to measure my views against the scriptures and the Spirit, and let the truth be the single standard for deciding to accept something.
I quoted a few ideas from Mark Twain in a post a while back.  You ought to re-read them if you don’t remember them.  They were chosen with some care.  They summarize ideas which I believe to be important.

Most answers are in the scriptures

I’ve been reflecting upon a conversation I had with a  self-described “tax protester” who has not paid income taxes and is now facing legal issues as a result.  After a couple of days of reflection I had this considered response to this dilemma:
 
I use a particular method in determining what issues I need Divine direction to resolve and what issues I need no direction from the Lord to resolve.  If there is an answer in the scriptures, contained in the teachings of Christ, then I simply do not ask the question.  Instead I assume Christ’s teachings are intended to govern my conduct and I comply.  On the tax issue, for example, Christ did not resist paying taxes.  (Matt. 17: 24-27.)  Nor did Christ teach anything other than to pay taxes.  (Matt. 22: 15-22.)  Therefore, it would not occur to me to even ask the Lord about whether or not to pay taxes.
 
When it comes to asking the Lord about something on which His teachings are already clear, a person risks receiving permission to do what will ultimately instruct them by sad example that they ought to have followed His earlier teachings.  The best example of this is when Joseph requested he be allowed to let Martin Harris take the 116 pages and was told “no.”  He persisted, and despite having been told “no,” he asked again and was then told “yes.”  The “yes” was not because God had changed His mind, but because Joseph simply refused to learn by anything other than sad experience to respect God’s counsel.  (D&C 3; D&C 10: 1-30.)
 
Therefore, when there is already an instruction on point from the Lord, and we ignore it, the answer we receive may be for our benefit.  We may need to learn by sad experience what we might have learned instead by precept and wisdom from the Lord.
 
It is this kind of experience men repeat by failing to follow God’s counsel.  Then, when they might have avoided the sting which follows, they choose instead to suffer.  Oftentimes they will blame the Lord for the hardships they brought upon themselves, when, if they had hearkened to the Lord’s counsel in the first place, they would never have had to suffer.
 
This is why it is so important to study the scriptures.  If the answer is in there (and almost everything IS in there) and we do not choose to find it, but to inquire for a new revelation instead, we oftentimes doom ourselves to a sad experience.  His counsel should be heeded.  When we don’t heed, and ask instead for new or different guidance, we may be given permission to do what He has already told us to avoid.  This is one of the great lessons from the lost 116 pages.

Promise vs. Appearance

I was asked:
 
“I’ve wondered about this for a long time.  In the blog post about ‘Why wait?‘  there is a phrase that says ‘This appearance is not merely “in the heart,” but is an actual appearance or visit.’  The ‘in the heart’  is my question.   Once in a while this concept doesn’t contradict but at the moment it seems to. In D&C 88 it says:  ‘Wherefore, I now send upon you another Comforter, even upon you my friends, that it may abide in your hearts, even the Holy Spirit of promise.’ So how can it be a false sectarian notion about God the Father and Jesus dwelling in a man’s heart (D&C130:3) and yet a few sections later in the D&C when referring to the second comforter it says contrary.   [Also Eph. 3: 17  says: ‘That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love.’] I at one point saw how this worked — but can’t seem to at the moment.  How do those two seemingly contradictory things work?”
 
My response:
 
To have the promise “abide in your heart” is to keep inside your heart the knowledge there is a promise given by God, who cannot lie about such matters, that you have the promise of eternal life.  This is referring to the promise, and keeping it dear to you, or in your heart.  This, of course, is not the same thing as the appearance of the Son in the form of another Comforter, as promised by Christ in John, Chapter 14, verse 18, where Christ declares:  “I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you.”  It is the promise that the Lord will come or appear or take up His abode with you which Joseph declared to be literal.  He is saying those who believe or teach this to be merely a feeling “in the heart” are teaching an “old sectarian notion” because they deny its literal possibility.  (D&C 130: 3.)
 
The culmination of the Lord’s ministry is the promise of eternal life, as I explained in an earlier post.  But the actuality of that ministry as an appearance to a person is not merely “in the heart.”  When His ministry does culminate in the promise, then the promise should “abide in the heart” of the person to whom the promise has been given.  They ought never let it pass from within their hearts that they have obtained a promise from the Lord assuring them of life eternal.
 
These are two different subjects.  But the question is quite a good one.  Thanks for asking it.  

Isaiah 53:12

 
“Therefore will I divide him a portion with the great, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong; because he hath poured out his soul unto death: and he was numbered with the transgressors; and he bare the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.”
 
Isaiah’s report ends with the Messiah’s triumph.  Hard won as it was to be, it will qualify Him to receive a “portion with the great.”  Although the Messiah may be greater than them all, He is only to receive “a portion.”  For the suffering He endures will be to redeem others and bring them back with Himself.  There is to be no hoarding.  There is to be no selfishness.  Though He may earn it all, He will take only “a portion” and leave a “division” with others who may share in His joy.  He abased Himself, and taught all others to do the same.  (Matt. 23: 10-12.)
 
This is nothing akin to the faithful son complaining about the Prodigal.  (Luke 15: 29-30.)  Christ will not only willingly share with His lesser brothers and sisters, but He will go further and “make intercession for the transgressors.”  He is neither jealous of their sharing in His triumph, nor resentful to “divide the spoil” of His great victory.
 
Here is a Messiah indeed!  Here is a Redeemer indeed!  “Truly, this Man was the Son of God!”  (Matt. 27: 54.)
 
Despise Him and His servants, He will still condescend to succor you so far as you permit Him to do.
 
Turn your face from Him and His servants, He will still plead for you to listen.
 
Forsake and abandon Him and His servants, they will still forgive and make intercession for your errors.
 
Those who follow Him will be misunderstood, reviled, persecuted.  It is in the nature of things for this world.  He anticipated that, and gave instructions to you when you encounter it.  (Matt. 5: 10-13.)  The entire prophecy in Isaiah 53 is a description not only of the Messiah, but also of the Messiah’s children.  They will not be welcome here, for the ruler of this world has nothing for either Him or His children.  (John 14: 30.)
 
Surely Isaiah knew His Lord.