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Philosophies of men

The Gospel of Jesus Christ is a great whole.  It requires an overall harmony between all its parts to be understood.  Without that overall harmony it is jarring and discordant.
The problem with apostasy is that it forfeits truths which are necessary in order to comprehend the majesty of Christ’s teachings.  Those truths which get retained are not kept in balance with the rest.  Simple virtues are kept while overall righteousness is forfeited.
No one can argue with the virtue of tolerance.  But it is constrained and governed inside a larger context that prevents permissiveness and sloth.
No one can argue with the virtue of obedience.  Indeed, obedience is itself one of the bedrock requirements of the Gospel.  But divorced from the other virtues inside of which it is regulated, obedience can become a terrible weapon used to separate people from God’s Holy Spirit and drive them into submission to “Popes and Priests.”  (Any man believed to be incapable of leading you into error is a “Pope.”)
No one can argue against the virtue of patience.  But when it is urged to prevent necessary action to develop a god-like people, then it has become a tool for deception and error and not a virtue at all.

Take any virtue and remove it from its overall context within the great Gospel whole and you see how apostasy can warp a people.  They retain the conviction that they are still God’s chosen disciples, because the virtues they practice are in fact, godly.  However, they have become distorted, bloated and swollen.  They are without harmony, capable of great evil or neglect, all the while celebrating their fidelity to the “truth” as they understand it.

You MUST understand doctrine.  You MUST study the scriptures.  But more important than anything else, you MUST seek to gain further light and knowledge by conversing with the Lord directly.  Harmony of the whole is dependent upon His direct guidance and blessings.  You simply cannot move forward a piece here and a bit there, while neglecting the whole composite picture of the Gospel.  He will open it to your view.  He will show you how one part is related to another, and that to another still, so that it all moves forward together.  It is not to all be comprehended at once.  It is to be gained a little bit of the whole here, a further harmony of things there, until the whole moves forward together.  Always moving in balance, in harmony and as a complete magisterial revelation of God’s will.
Latter-day Saints are not immune from this problem of disharmony.  Indeed, it is the great challenge which we have faced since the time of the First Vision.  Joseph’s recalibrating of his own life was constant.  He wanted to reward Martin Harris for his support, petitioned for permission to let him take the 116 pages of manuscript, and when he was told “no” he persisted.  When he finally got the Lord’s reluctant permission it was not for Martin Harris’ benefit, but for Joseph’s.  Joseph was to learn a hard lesson about disregarding good advice from a superior Guide.  (D&C 3: 1-8.)  This comprehension of the harmony of the whole is what provoked Joseph to teach: “the nearer man approaches perfection, the clearer are his views, and the greater his enjoyments, till he has overcome the evils of his life and lost every desire for sin; and like the ancients, arrives at that point of faith where he is wrapped in the power and glory of his Maker, and is caught up to dwell with Him.”  (DHC 2: 8.)
Choose your teachers carefully.  None of them will neglect to emphasize a virtue.  However, without the whole of the Gospel in harmony in their own lives, they cannot bring it into harmony for you.  Finding that harmony IS the great challenge in this lone and dreary world, filled as it is, with the philosophies of men mingled with scripture.

Go about doing good

You should not look directly into the sun.  Whenever you do, your eyes are unable to adjust to the intensity of the light.  It is possible to even do damage to your eyes by looking directly at the sun.
Everything in mortality is a type or symbol of eternal things.  All things bear testimony of Christ and His great plan.  (Moses 6: 63.)  The sun bears testimony of the Son of God.  It is a great symbol of Him.
Our approach to gaining a relationship with the Son should be like that of our enjoyment of the sun – indirect. That is, entering into His presence is a by-product.  It is as a result of the way you live.  It is not the “goal.”
To approach Him, you must live as He did.  You must “keep His commandments.”  You must love others.  You must live the way He lived.  When you are walking in the same path He walked, you will find that He is walking there still.  He will come alongside you, as you are “in the way” and will open to your understanding all things which He would have you know.  (Luke 24: 13-32.)  I’ve written about this in the talk in the Appendix to Eighteen Verses and will not repeat it here.  But I would remind you that the account of those two disciples is a type of how He appears to those to whom He will minister.  He will see you as you are in the right way, and then join with you.

Go about doing good.  You will find Him as you do.  Do not think you will be able to find Him without setting about to do the things which He bid you to do.  There is a law irrevocably decreed which governs these things.

The Nephites were keeping the appointed times with the Lord in His year-end festivals.  In that process, He came to them.  Set about doing what He bids you to do and He will likewise come to you. (This is described in The Second Comforter: Conversing With the Lord Through the Veil.)  Keep His ways.  He will be able to walk with you as you walk with Him.
One clarification that I think needs to be understood by those who have not read what I have written.  I have never revealed anything sacred that has been revealed to me. I have taught the path.  It is not necessary nor desirable to reveal personal matters, and I have not. It is important to teach the right way.  Read what I’ve written and you will find that nothing improper or even difficult is taught there.  It is taken from the scriptures.  The scriptures are sufficient to teach you the way to eternal life.  I only teach what I find in them.

Qualifying for the blessings under adverse circumstances

I was asked about someone who is an active, faithful man married to a non-member wife.  The issue is their chances to receive all the blessings associated with an eternal family, despite the spouse’s lack of faith.
 
From the question it is apparent that the person has first, has accepted and believes in the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  Second, is living everything they can at present. Third, would gladly take the spouse to the temple if the spouse were willing to go and enter into the covenants there.
 
This, once again, is a Section 137 issue in which the person qualifies for everything which they would have gladly received, had the circumstances permitted it:
 
  6 And marveled how it was that he had obtained an inheritance in that kingdom, seeing that he had departed this life before the Lord had set his hand to gather Israel the second time, and had not been baptized for the remission of sins.

  7 Thus came the voice of the Lord unto me, saying: All who have died without a knowledge of this gospel, who would have received it if they had been permitted to tarry, shall be heirs of the celestial kingdom of God;

  8 Also all that shall die henceforth without a knowledge of it, who would have received it with all their hearts, shall be heirs of that kingdom;

  9 For I, the Lord, will judge all men according to their works, according to the desire of their hearts.
 
By continuing to be loyal to, supportive of, and loving toward the non-believing spouse the husband is living an example which will, in the Day of Judgment, be credited him for righteousness.  This is particularly true when the husband remains loyal and faithful to her when she does not share his faith.  It reflects credit on his character to do so.  I cannot help but believe the Lord is pleased with such a man.
 
Finally, who knows but what the spouse will, at the end, convert and all the blessings be sealed upon them while still here anyway.  Life is not over yet.  There is something compelling and convincing to even a skeptic of the Gospel when they see someone actually live it. 

Conference on Chiasmus

The Conference on Chiasmus originally scheduled for May 15th has been continued to September.  There will be a further announcement on date, time and location once things have been finally arranged. 

Belief becomes knowledge

The post I put up with an excerpt from Lecture 6 a bit ago was deliberately chosen as a foundation for what was put up a few days ago.  That Lecture included the fact that you “know” not merely “believe” that what you are doing is in conformity with God’s will.  A person obtains “actual knowledge” that they are acting in conformity with God’s will.
Kisi asked a question regarding the idea of being asked to do something you regard as “wrong” or perhaps even “evil,” and how can a person avoid deception with such an idea.  The answer lies within the doctrine taught in Lecture 6.  You simply cannot proceed without knowing.  You cannot know without following the correct course.  You must make an acceptable sacrifice to obtain the knowledge.  Without making that sacrifice you cannot obtain that knowledge.  However, once you have possession of the actual knowledge, then it is not a matter of conjecture, or speculation, or desire, or “hope” as the world uses that term.  Rather it is an act in utter righteousness, in strict conformity with the will of God, whose will is known to the person because they have proceeded correctly in obtaining this knowledge.
To gain that knowledge a person keeps the commandments, pays their tithes, does everything they are asked to do to follow the will of God as understood by them.  Such a person will be “firm in their minds” and not weak minded or given to flights of fancy.  (Moroni 7: 30.)  They will have been qualified by the things which they have done in following God to possess this kind of knowledge.

The idea that a person would do something which they regard as “wrong” or to be “evil” is typified in the experience of Abraham (Gen. 22: 2) and Nephi (1 Ne. 4: 10.).  This is what the Lecture is talking about when it says:

“a religion that does not require the sacrifice of all things, never has power sufficient to produce the faith necessary unto life and salvation; for from the first existence of man, the faith necessary unto the enjoyment of life and salvation never could be obtained without the sacrifice of all earthly things; it was through this sacrifice, and this only, that God has ordained that men should enjoy eternal life; and it is through the medium of the sacrifice of all earthly things, that men do actually know that they are doing the things that are well pleasing in the sight of God.”
Now I do not expect anyone to be asked to sacrifice their only child.  Nor to be told to kill someone and take their possession.  What I expect is that in the context of the life someone has lived or is living, they will be asked to do or not do something which is so specific to them that they alone will understand why it is a sacrifice to them.  If asked of another, it may be completely insignificant. But when asked of them, it will be exactly what the person will struggle to lay upon the Lord’s altar.  Hence the term “sacrifice” with its partial meaning of parting with something involving great value to them.  However, it is not possible to rule anything in or out – the Lord alone will know you and what is required for you to obtain this faith.
The terms for obtaining this kind of faith are the same for every man or woman who has ever lived.  Without making the sacrifice it is not possible to obtain the faith.

The process is everything – the answer is nothing

Process is everything.  Answers are nothing.
If you learn the process, you can develop godlike traits.  That is, the very tools that are required for us to develop as disciples of Jesus Christ are, in fact, the tools used by God Himself.

Faith in God is necessary for us to develop. God extends His kingdom by His faith.  Therefore, as we develop faith we are developing a characteristic that is godlike in its form and function.  He knows we are unable to have faith in ourselves right now.  Therefore, it is required for us to have faith in Him.  Indeed at this stage of development it is necessary for us to concentrate all faith in Him because this whole creation belongs to Him.  We are not self-existent yet.  Our organization and continuation is dependent upon Him.  (See Mosiah 2: 20-25.)  

Christ is our great example, and in this He showed the way as well.  While here, mortal, and before finishing the course, He declared: “I can of my own self do nothing.”  (John 5: 30.)  When resurrected, however, He declared “all power is given unto me in earth and in heaven.”  (Matt. 28: 18.)

The rules of Celestial glory are the rules of the Temple.  Obedience, sacrifice, Gospel, chastity and consecration are all the hallmarks of citizenship there.  This is why peace, order, kindness and love prevail in that society.  There is nothing to harm, threaten or break up families.

Why would an answer to a deep doctrinal question help someone who is not prepared to live in conformity with the Celestial standards?  And contrariwise, if they live Celestial standards, how can you keep them from understanding the doctrine?  (John 7: 17.)
Process is everything.  A mere answer will not fill the empty soul. Those who have read my books should understand this.  This blog is for them.  Those who do not have a doctrinal basis to understand what is going on here will not be satisfied by this blog.  It is not meant as a substitute for understanding what I’ve written.  It is only a supplement to it.

That does not mean that you must read what I’ve written to understand the Gospel.  There are many ways to obtain that understanding, the primary one being to study the scriptures.  In my opinion the quality of what we teach now is so diluted, so basic and simplistic. It leaves by the wayside so much of what the Prophet Joseph Smith taught that you either have to read early church materials or else read what I’ve gathered (based primarily on the scriptures and secondarily on what Joseph Smith taught).  If you have been a Latter-day Saint for longer than about 4 years, today’s curriculum, in my view, is not adequate to inform you about the obligations devolving upon you as a disciple of Christ.

I labor to teach process.  I want you independent of me and every other teacher, able to get answers for yourself directly from heaven itself.  I want to avoid today what Joseph cautioned us against in Nauvoo: “[I]f the people departed from the Lord, they must fall – that they were depending on the Prophet, hence were darkened in their minds, in consequence of neglecting the duties devolving on themselves[.]”  (TPJS p. 237.)  Joseph did NOT want you dependent upon him for answers.  He wanted to teach you correct principles and let you govern yourself.

Any man who tries to put himself between you and heaven, claiming that he alone should be the source of your religious beliefs and education, is practicing priestcraft and will in the end lead both himself and you to damnation.

The process is everything – the answer is nothing

Process is everything.  Answers are nothing.
If you learn the process, you can develop godlike traits.  That is, the very tools that are required for us to develop as disciples of Jesus Christ are, in fact, the tools used by God Himself.

Faith in God is necessary for us to develop. God extends His kingdom by His faith.  Therefore, as we develop faith we are developing a characteristic that is godlike in its form and function.  He knows we are unable to have faith in ourselves right now.  Therefore, it is required for us to have faith in Him.  Indeed at this stage of development it is necessary for us to concentrate all faith in Him because this whole creation belongs to Him.  We are not self-existent yet.  Our organization and continuation is dependent upon Him.  (See Mosiah 2: 20-25.)  

Christ is our great example, and in this He showed the way as well.  While here, mortal, and before finishing the course, He declared: “I can of my own self do nothing.”  (John 5: 30.)  When resurrected, however, He declared “all power is given unto me in earth and in heaven.”  (Matt. 28: 18.)

The rules of Celestial glory are the rules of the Temple.  Obedience, sacrifice, Gospel, chastity and consecration are all the hallmarks of citizenship there.  This is why peace, order, kindness and love prevail in that society.  There is nothing to harm, threaten or break up families.

Why would an answer to a deep doctrinal question help someone who is not prepared to live in conformity with the Celestial standards?  And contrariwise, if they live Celestial standards, how can you keep them from understanding the doctrine?  (John 7: 17.)
Process is everything.  A mere answer will not fill the empty soul. Those who have read my books should understand this.  This blog is for them.  Those who do not have a doctrinal basis to understand what is going on here will not be satisfied by this blog.  It is not meant as a substitute for understanding what I’ve written.  It is only a supplement to it.

That does not mean that you must read what I’ve written to understand the Gospel.  There are many ways to obtain that understanding, the primary one being to study the scriptures.  In my opinion the quality of what we teach now is so diluted, so basic and simplistic. It leaves by the wayside so much of what the Prophet Joseph Smith taught that you either have to read early church materials or else read what I’ve gathered (based primarily on the scriptures and secondarily on what Joseph Smith taught).  If you have been a Latter-day Saint for longer than about 4 years, today’s curriculum, in my view, is not adequate to inform you about the obligations devolving upon you as a disciple of Christ.

I labor to teach process.  I want you independent of me and every other teacher, able to get answers for yourself directly from heaven itself.  I want to avoid today what Joseph cautioned us against in Nauvoo: “[I]f the people departed from the Lord, they must fall – that they were depending on the Prophet, hence were darkened in their minds, in consequence of neglecting the duties devolving on themselves[.]”  (TPJS p. 237.)  Joseph did NOT want you dependent upon him for answers.  He wanted to teach you correct principles and let you govern yourself.

Any man who tries to put himself between you and heaven, claiming that he alone should be the source of your religious beliefs and education, is practicing priestcraft and will in the end lead both himself and you to damnation.

I am a fool

Joseph Smith once said about himself that if “he hadn’t lived it, he wouldn’t believe it.”  What insight that provides.
 
I believe in the complete equality of all of us.  God did not love Joseph Smith more than He loved Sidney Rigdon.  Joseph remained true to the end, and Sidney fell away.  That had nothing to do with God’s love for them.  It had to do with their love of God and willingness to sacrifice to have the faith to trust in God.
 
I do not blame anyone who questions my right to give answers.  I renounce any authority over anyone.  Even those over whom I have a position as father are treated with respect and urging, not by demanding they see or do things to please me.
If, however, I have the power to answer a question by the power of Spirit, and the answer seems to you to be filled with light and truth, then it is the Spirit you should thank – not me.  Such an ability will flee the moment I leave the path, seek to control others or become prideful.  You can mark it down as true: No man who has his own self as his concern will be able to declare the truth in purity and with the approval of the Spirit.
I have said before and I repeat it again – I am a fool.  You mustn’t trust me.  If the Spirit does not ratify what I have to say, then I’m not worth the time to even consider.
 
This blog is an attempt to explain what I believe to be true. It is for those who are trying to find truth for themselves.  Hopefully you will become acquainted with enough to begin to trust that God does exist, and that He will answer questions, and that He is no respecter of persons.  Hopefully you will venture into asking and getting answers from Him directly.  Then, when you have begun that process, I hope to encourage you to follow through and receive from Him what He alone can provide to us.  For salvation lies in “knowing the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom He has sent.”  (John 17: 3.)  It does not lie in following other men.  Rather it is to be found as a result of you drawing near to Him. This will in turn cause Him to draw near to you.
 
He lives!
 
He answers prayer!
 
He cares about and loves you as much as He has loved any person who has ever lived on this earth.

Is it your hope to be a part of Zion?

I was asked if I thought it was wrong to own a gun or kill in self-defense.  My response.

I don’t think there is anything wrong with owning firearms, hunting, or self-defense.  But I do think we are too quick to presume we are authorized to take life.  Therefore, I am reluctant to encourage that kind of thinking. I encourage a non-violent, non-confrontational way to solve a problem first, and  violent action as a last resort.  When violence or self-defense is used as the final option, then it is rarely needed. When it is viewed as justified and approved, it gets employed with the kind of recklessness that will condemn a person. 

The Mountain Meadows Massacre is a hallmark event wherein aggressive “self defense” resulted in murder.  No one in the local church leadership involved thought of it as murder at the time.  In hindsight, everyone, even the church’s Assistant-Historian, admits it was murder and that the blame went far beyond John D. Lee.  It is far better to suffer than to react too quickly and to take life. 

This is a separate subject from the creation of Zion.  Currently, as a people, we don’t possess enough basic understanding of doctrine to begin to organize Zion.  Our current models would be warmed over Babylon with new names associated with it.  Rather like the Historic Christian movement adopted “Christmas” to celebrate “Sol Invictus.”  Or the fertility rites of Spring renamed “Easter.”  

Our “Zion” would be a commercial enterprise, with private ownership and capitalist competition to form an economic basis from which to build a strictly regimented and highly controlled people.  Something so foreign to what Zion was meant to be that I rather think it would draw tornadoes in a proportion greater than trailer parks currently do in Mississippi.

Zion will be cooperative, not competitive.  They will be “one” in every sense of the word.  No one will need to say “know ye the Lord” because everyone will know Him, from the greatest to the least.  He will be able to dwell among them because He will have already been known by them.

Collectivist efforts are never going to work.  FIRST, we must become individually the kind of people whom the Lord can visit.  Then, after that, the gathering together of like-minded people will be a gathering of equals.  It will not be an hierarchical gathering of “leadership” and drones.  There won’t be a single drone in Zion.  Everyone will be equal and no one will mind mowing the grass or taking out the garbage.

I envision this scene from Zion:

A man walks down the street early in the morning and notices that the bakery is unmanned.  Its door is open, because there is no need for locks in Zion.  So, on an impulse, he enters, looks about for the instructions left by someone, and begins to prepare bread.  As the morning goes on, a few others join him.  They make bread.  Others come and take the bread to their homes.  At the end of the day, the man goes home.  This was his first time working in the bakery.  He did it because he saw it needed to be done.

He returns to the bakery, because he enjoyed it.  Day by day he works in the bakery for months, perhaps years.  One day on his way, he notices that the grass needs to be cut and the mower has been carefully left beside a tree along the parkway.  So he starts to cut the grass.  He finds he likes it, and this is now what he does this day.  And the next.  And within a month he has cut all the grass needing cutting in his immediate neighborhood and starts over again where he began.  He enjoys it.

Eventually he is asked by someone to help to move clothing and journals from one home to another.  A couple whose children have all moved out no longer have need of the larger home they occupy, and are moving across town.  So he puts the mower carefully beside a tree and begins to help move.  Homes are occupied based upon need, and these people no longer have need of the larger space they once occupied.
Across town he notices that there is a new neighborhood being built. He decides, after finishing the move for the couple, that he will assist at the site.  He returns there for over a year as he provides help with stocking and distributing materials, framing, installing shingles, painting and clean-up.

He has no job. He is never without work.  He asks for no pay, because some labor to feed others.  He has no need for housing, because what is available is shared. 

Before I go on, I feel the need to interrupt:
How on earth is something like this going to work?
What about zoning laws and business licenses?
What about getting a building permit before commencing construction?
What quality control and food-handler’s permits exist which will guarantee the bread the man makes won’t make people sick?
This is chaos.  Disorder.  Anarchy.  In short, how the hell will something like this WORK??!!??
Well, the answer is, of course, it won’t.  Can’t.  Not with the folks we have at present.  We’ll sit around arguing about the rules for establishing Zion and simply never get around to being Zion.  Zion IS.  It can’t be organized, because it requires no organization.  It can’t be controlled because there is no need for control.  It can’t be governed because it is entirely voluntary and self-governing. 
So for us, we imagine Zion to have a completely restrictive set of covenants on housing which will keep out those garish, bright colored stucco houses we see on the “west-side” in oh so many crowded cities.  Right?  We can’t have that.  And we need a code to mandate a common language.  We can’t put up with a polyglot society where we can’t make out what someone is saying, now can we?  And we ought to make sure zoning keeps the commercial stuff on one side and not scattered throughout the neighborhoods.  Crap like that attracts crime.  And crime should require immediate expulsion, right?  Can’t tolerate crime in Zion.  We’ll need law enforcement to make that work, and a fence so the criminals don’t creep back in after dark. And street lights, so we can see what people are up to after dark when they’re lurking about.  And taxes to pay for the public improvements.  And a cap on taxes.  We can’t let taxation become punitive…..
wait – we’re right back in Babylon….
But you say you want to start Zion?  Ok. Go help your neighbor.  This is where our hearts will need to be before the foundation will ever be laid.  Studying so you can justify using violence if the need arises will not get you any closer to Zion.  Nor will developing a street plan for Zion ahead of a heart plan for changing mankind.  Men’s hearts have failed them.  (D&C 45: 26.)