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Purpose of Teaching

I must clarify something very important for readers:
Giving answers to people apart from teaching how to get answers is wrong.  Wrong because just giving an answer alone creates dependence upon the one answering.  That is not the way in which I have tried to proceed.  Instead, I have tried to teach how to obtain your own answers.  The whole purpose of teaching is NOT to create dependence.  It is to make you independent from me, establish your own capacity to relate to and get answers from God.

I’ve tried to give answers and illustrations inside the greater context of teaching “how.”  The answer is nothing.  It is the “how” that matters.

Some readers on this blog have not read The Second Comforter and presume incorrectly that it is a book about me.  It is not.  It is a book about the reader.  It is an explanation of how the reader can grow into the greater relationship which Christ promised to them.  All the illustrations from my personal experience, with the exception of nine words only, are taken from my mistakes, errors, or setbacks.  The personal accounts of mistakes then are followed by chapters which explain how you can do it right.  That is a teacher’s role: to make the listener understand how they can do something.

It has become apparent that there are questions coming in from people who want answers completely separated from learning “how” to get an understanding of the basic process by which they can do it themselves.  That was never my intention, never asked of me, and not something that I want to start.

Your development is your responsibility.  I am trying to teach from my own experience how to grow.  Some of you have demonstrated a remarkable capacity to grow, and have been directly benefited from my efforts.  I view those people as such a triumph that I will always hold them dear.  I look forward to eternal joy with these people.  There are clearly others who have never realized what it means to be taught or how a true teacher is to proceed.  I can help.  But I cannot properly go beyond helping.  I cannot be your guru, your answer-man, or your leader.  Nor have I been called to preside.  I teach.  You must decide if you want to learn “how” to engage the Gospel of Jesus Christ and its associated blessings.  You must avoid at all hazards becoming dependent upon me, or any man, as your guide.  I am only here to help you in your own growth and development, and I am not here to tell you secrets, or amaze you with recitations of my personal experiences.  That would be wrong for two reasons:  First, it would do you no good, nor equip you with what you need.  Second, it would be both prideful and arrogant, setting myself up as a light instead of pointing you to the True Light.

Questions that change the focus and which prevent me from teaching as a disciple of Jesus Christ cannot be answered.  Therefore, if I cannot change the “question” into something I can use to teach, I will not answer the question.

Two ships pass in the night

Dialogue between two ships passing in the night.  [Intended as humor, because so far as I know ships do not speak with one another]:
 
USS Saint:  “I know the Church is true.”
 
HMS Midevil:  “Beg pardon, how’s that?”
 
USS Saint:  “I know the Church is true.”
 
HMS Midevil:  “Which?  .. or is it all?”
 
USS Saint:  “The Latter-day Saints, of course.”

HMS:  “By that do you mean to suggest that the Printing Services Division of the Materials Management Department is somehow ‘true’ as you say?”

 
USS:  “Um, well, yes I suppose.”
 
HMS:  “In what sense.  ‘True’ meaning that it exists? or ‘True” in some other meaning of the word?”
 
USS:  “I mean led by a Prophet of God, therefore imbued with the will of God Almighty in all respects.”
 
HMS:  “So not that it is ‘True’ in a metaphysical sense of existence on a higher plane, or bearing some corporeality, but somehow inerrant.  Is that what you are saying?  And, if so, does that preclude printing errors?  Because if it means avoidance of printing errors well, then they ought to take a larger role in the publishing industry than simply providing grist for the Materials Management Department.”
 
USS:  “Since a prophet is only a prophet when acting as such, I would not attribute inerrancy to the truthfulness of the Printing Services Division of the Materials Management Department; but I would rather say that what they do is Inspired.  I do suspect, however, there may be occasional printing errors.”
 
HMS:  “Inspired in the sense of the word meaning that it’s output is somehow delightful and uplifting?  Or in the sense of ‘perfection itself’?  But, then again, you’ve conceded the possibility of printing errors, so ‘perfection itself’ seems not to be included then.  So I presume that you mean when you read the output of the printing of this Division of that Department it somehow inspires you to be a better ship, then?  Perhaps somewhat of a worShip?”
 
USS:  “I can see that you are not prepared to grasp the truth of my testimony as yet.  So let me just warn you that you’re going to hell.”
 
HMS:  “Atlantic City, rather.”

USS:  “What?”

 
HMS:  “I’m sailing to Atlantic City.  Though it might be called ‘hell’ with some validity I suppose.”

Eternal life and the covenant marriage

“Eternal life” requires a couple who can have increase, or bear children.  The requirement is that through the continuation of the marriage covenant men and women become exalted.  And without that, they remain separate and single, saved, but not exalted.  D&C 132 explains:
 

  15 Therefore, if a man marry him a wife in the world, and he marry her not by me nor by my word, and he covenant with her so long as he is in the world and she with him, their covenant and marriage are not of force when they are dead, and when they are out of the world; therefore, they are not bound by any law when they are out of the world. 
 

  16 Therefore, when they are out of the world they neither marry nor are given in marriage; but are appointed angels in heaven, which angels are ministering servants, to minister for those who are worthy of a far more, and an exceeding, and an eternal weight of glory. 
 

  17 For these angels did not abide my law; therefore, they cannot be enlarged, but remain separately and singly, without exaltation, in their saved condition, to all eternity; and from henceforth are not gods, but are angels of God forever and ever
 

  18 And again, verily I say unto you, if a man marry a wife, and make a covenant with her for time and for all eternity, if that covenant is not by me or by my word, which is my law, and is not sealed by the Holy Spirit of promise, through him whom I have anointed and appointed unto this power, then it is not valid neither of force when they are out of the world, because they are not joined by me, saith the Lord, neither by my word; when they are out of the world it cannot be received there, because the angels and the gods are appointed there, by whom they cannot pass; they cannot, therefore, inherit my glory; for my house is a house of order, saith the Lord God.

The Celestial Kingdom has three heavens or degrees within it.  To attain the highest, which is the only one in which the marriage covenant exists and continues, a person must have entered into a marriage and been sealed by the holy spirit of promise.  As D&C 131 explains:
 
  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

Exaltation is tied to the marriage covenant and without an eternal marriage there cannot be exaltation.
 
However, (I point out hesitantly) that all these verses are phrased in the masculine.  In most cases the masculine does not matter because the commandment applies to both the man and woman.  That is, when mankind is referred to collectively, it is referred to in the masculine.  For example, the first couple are sometimes referred to collectively as “Adam” when what is meant is Adam and Eve.  Therefore, what I’m going to say is not a universal truism and cannot be applied without regard to context.  Here, however, it can be applied.  Because in this instance, the male’s right to exaltation is utterly dependent upon his successful completion of this requirement as part of this probation.  
 
Women, on the other hand, who would be otherwise worthy (and that involves a great number beyond those who are parties to sealed and worthy marriage), are among those who D&C 137 describes:
 
  7. …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 desires of their hearts.
 
Women have, throughout history, borne their obligation of motherhood and submission to husbands with considerable success.  It is rare, however, when men have been able to retain priesthood.  Apostasy is a male failing, not a female failing.  Nor are the women of the Church responsible for the lack of “power” within the priesthood discussed by Elder Packer in last General Conference.  This is a male failing.  Therefore, when the first two quotes are read above, the significance of the masculine phrasing ought not be overlooked.  The whole subject is tied to a man’s completion of a task required of him in mortality.
 
Women who are good mothers, worthy wives and who keep the faith will suffer no loss because of a failing husband.  HOWEVER, women are required to minister in love and righteousness even to a difficult husband, as did Abigail.  Marriage to a “churlish” man did not stop her from showing her own nobility.  Therefore, it is not enough for a woman to determine her husband is not likely to survive the judgment, give up on him, and await the next life to learn to serve in love and patience.  She has an obligation to begin that service here and now.  Indeed, the worse the man, the greater the opportunity to show Christ-like devotion.  There is no man whose behavior is more offensive than those for whom Christ suffered.  To be like Him, and to live where He lives requires a similar capacity to forgive, love, bless, serve and elevate.

This isn’t easy.  Wasn’t meant to be.  Do you really think any of us are worthy to be called “gods” without first descending below all things so as to be qualified to rise above all things?  Christ is not merely our Savior, He is our example.  We must “follow Him” if we want to be where He is.

Sacred things

I was asked this question:
“What do you say to people who state: ‘I doubt people who’ve had an audience with Christ would be out writing books and blogs about it. We are counseled not to talk about sacred things. (Followed by several GA quotes.)'”
I would say that they should accept counsel from whomever they trust and follow it.  I might add that if they read The Second Comforter: Conversing With the Lord Through the Veil they will get an answer to the question.  But, if they are hostile and offended and ask the question out of fear, I would not add the clarification.

It is not necessary for everyone to be stirred up by argument or persuasion to listen to something they do not want to hear.  What is coming will stir up everyone who has not been already touched by the Spirit.  Patience.  We’re headed somewhere.  The Lord remains in charge and has a plan to cause every knee to bow and every tongue to confess the truth of who He is, what He has done, and what He has been doing.  We shouldn’t rush people forward.

There is more mischief in introducing people to truth before they are ready to comprehend and welcome it than there is in remaining silent.  It is uncharitable to tell someone a great truth which they are unprepared to accept.

Communication from the Lord

I was asked how a witness of the Spirit is felt.  Here are a variety of ways in which we receive communications from the Lord:
 
There was a talk I still recall where Elder LeGrand Richards used the expression “goose flesh.”  He was referring to the feeling he got upon hearing something he knew to be true as soon as it was spoken.  He got “goose flesh” as he listened. That is not a bad way to describe how some people feel the witness from the Spirit.  This form can also be replicated by stirring music, art or other performances.  So if this is how one feels the Spirit, they must distinguish between an emotional outpouring and a manifestation from the Lord.
 
I believe that everyone’s capacity to hear the Spirit bear testimony to them is more or less equal, as all have given to them the “light of Christ.”  (D&C 84: 46; 88: 7; Moroni 7: 19.)
 
How someone recognizes the witness to them is person-specific at the start.  Whether it is Elder Richards’ “goose flesh” or a burst of unmistakable insight coming from beyond, or a warmth in the heart as D&C 9: 8 describes, is based upon individual sensitivities.  How you feel this may differ from how I do.
 
When it has progressed from these initial stirrings to the “voice” which you hear within you, that assumes a more uniform experience.  The “voice” is clearly not your own, and introduces ideas or concepts that are clearly not your own.  You can have a dialogue with this “voice” in which your ideas are juxtaposed with those coming to you.  It is not audible, but you hear it inside.  It is clearly not your own voice, but that of another. 
 
When you have proven yourself faithful and true to all required of you by the “voice” that comes into your mind and heart, then it becomes possible for angels to visit with you.  Angels all come from this earth and have their mortality here.  (D&C 130: 5.)  If they appear as disembodied (not-resurrected) spirits, they may appear only as beings dressed in white.  They will not make physical contact with you.  Satan may attempt to appear as such a being, but since he invariably tries to deceive, if you attempt to make physical contact he will reciprocate as part of his deception.  As a disembodied spirit, however, you can detect his lack of physical presence when such contact is attempted.  A true messenger who lacks a body will not attempt physical contact, but will deliver his message to you.  If a visitor is either resurrected or translated, they may appear without glory, in which case their physical appearance will be as any other person.  The only difference you will likely note is that their countenance is pure and radiates a purity that other mortals rarely manifest.  If resurrected and appearing in glory, they bear unmistakable signs of Celestial Glory.
 
The closest image I have seen to the glory shown by a resurrected, glorified, celestial personage is the upper pattern, in gold, imprinted onto the Dome of the Rock Mosque.  When I saw it for the first time a few months ago, I was startled by the pattern and its radiant glory.  It is the closest earthly pattern I have seen to depicting a Celestial Glory.  I do not know who fashioned the pattern, but they were depicting something that I recognized to be inspired by what lies beyond the veil and patterned after Celestial Glory itself.
 
Beings appearing in Celestial Glory do not show themselves, or in other words, cannot be seen, except by those only who are prepared to behold them.  Others who may be present when they appear will feel a presence that often frightens them, as in the case of Daniel’s companions in Daniel Chapter 10.

The final stage in development requires one to “see” the things that are being communicated.  This happens when the “answer” to the inquiry is opened to view, but only inside the mind. You can actually “behold” something as if it were before you, without actually being there. Such a process is physically demanding, despite the fact it is so intangible a matter as to defy description.  Seeing things by this process is not limited to time, place or location.  A person exercising this gift, for example, may be able to behold Abraham as he receives the box containing the records from his father, who held the box in no particular regard because he could not open it.  

 
When the person has developed the ability to “see,” the answers to inquiries come almost entirely through the exercise of this gift.  Although all these forms of messages and communication from the Lord and His messengers are still available to a seer when conditions or the circumstances warrant it.
 
There are seers among us.  In fact, we “sustain,” institutionally, fifteen men to be such every General Conference.  The development of the gift, however, comes not by consequence of office alone but by the diligence of the individual.  All are on equal footing before the Lord.  Therefore, although it may be conferred upon you or them, the realization of these blessings depends upon their/your faithfulness.  Elder Scott, for example, uses terms in some of his talks which intimate seership.  The Vision of the Redemption of the Dead (D&C 138) has language I recognize as a seer’s.  So does D&C 76.

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.)

Abraham and Sarah

I have been thinking a lot lately about Abraham and Sarah and their relationship. Their story is one of the greatest in history.
Little details in the story are touching.  The “ten years” that Sarah waited (Gen. 16: 3) before urging Abraham to father a child with Hagar is based upon a custom at the time.  Abraham’s willingness to follow the custom was because the Lord promised him children, Sarah could not conceive and Sarah urged him to do so. In fact, of the three, Sarah’s urging was what seems to persuade Abraham.  Her urging is tempered by making it seem she is looking out for her own interests: “it may be that I (Sarah) may obtain children by her.”  (Gen. 16: 2.)  This softens the request, makes it a blessing for Sarah, and casts it in terms which do not belittle or dismiss Sarah.  Then, as the account reads: “Abram hearkened to the voice of Sarai.”  (Gen. 16: 2.)
Abraham was willing to wait on the Lord’s promises of children. He was willing to forego the customs that allowed a man to take another wife.  It was Sarah’s gentle persuasion that convinced Abraham to take Hagar. Sarah was loved by Abraham with his whole heart.  It was this great marriage relationship that allowed the Lord to preserve them as the parents of “all righteous.”  A new Adam for the Lord’s covenant people.  And, of course, there cannot be an Adam without an Eve.  Sarah becomes the “Mother of All Righteous.”
This is more critical than most people recognize.  It was because of this important relationship that the tenth parable in Ten Parables begins with the marriage relationship.  Without this, there was no reason to save the man.
Marriage is separate from its two parties. It has a life of its own.  The husband and the wife may be parties to the marriage, but the marriage itself is a separate and living thing.  It is distinct from the two partners in the relationship, and greater than either of them.  It lives.  It is real.
The only people whose right to eternal life has been secured, to my knowledge, came as a result of the marriage relationship and its worthiness to be preserved into eternity.  Neither is the man without the woman nor the woman without the man in the Lord.  Therefore, if you are interested in eternal life, the very first place to begin is inside your marriage.

A “friend” of God

Here’s a concept to ponder . . .

In the beginning, our relationship with God is rather primitive.  We start out fearing Him and following His “commandments” in the hope of appeasing Him or avoiding punishment.

We later get some insight that allows us to see Him as a more loving God.  As a result of that insight and growth, we begin to view the commandments as warnings and blessings that will benefit us if we heed them.  

Developmentally there is a point somewhere far distant along this path where we become a “friend” of God.  Abraham achieved this.  When he did, the relationship was quite different than what it was in the beginning.
When the Lord requested Isaac be sacrificed, it wasn’t a “commandment.”  The language in the KJV Bible is too coarse to really communicate the idea underlying what happened.  It wasn’t a “commandment” to Abraham.  It was more of a polite suggestion.  It was an expression of the Lord’s preference.  The suggestion was quite gentle. Abraham responded to this polite suggestion from the Lord by proceeding without question.  He was willing to sacrifice his long awaited heir.
Now if you can get your hands around this idea, then you can begin to see the difference between where our relationship with God starts and where it should eventually end.  At the beginning, our relationship with God is quite primitive.  At the end it is a trusted, loving friend in whom absolute confidence resides in the one who has become His friend.
There is such a profound difference between one end of the spectrum and the other that it hinders our understanding of the examples we see in scripture.  We distort things considerably when we view His relationships with others in the scriptures in the same context we relate to Him.  
When a person has become a “friend” of God, they are introduced to another level of language and experience with Him.  When they become a member of His family, they have yet another kind of relationship.  The openness and love that exists, and the accompanying trust that goes with it, is something quite distinct from the coarse beginnings of the path.
The faiths which view our relationship to God as “slave to master” are only in the beginning of the process.  From that end things which seem to be alright (and may even be alright) are different from what is found further along the progression.

Your end is to become part of the household of God, a member of the Church of the Firstborn, and a family member of God the Father.  When that happens, the relationship is considerably more polite and respectful than it is when you are first experiencing awareness of God’s existence and His commandments to bring us light and truth.

Holy Ghost vs. The Holy Spirit

I was asked this question:
 
Can you comment on the Holy Ghost vs. The Holy Spirit and who Jesus is and who the Father is, etc…  Also, is it possible that Jesus is the same Spirit as the Holy Ghost? Moses 5:9
 
This is fraught with debatable language in the scriptures.  There are those who will absolutely disagree with what I have to say.  I can explain how I have sorted it out to my understanding, but you should recognize that there are others who would take a different view of the scriptures and of the definition of these roles of the Godhead.
 
First the clarification:  
The Holy Ghost is a personage.  It is an individual.  It is a Spirit that will dwell inside you.  (D&C 130: 22.)
 
The Holy Spirit is the power of God which fills the immensity of space.  (D&C 88: 12-13.)
 
Now the problem:
Sometimes the Holy Spirit is called the “Light of Christ” rather than the Holy Spirit.  (D&C 88: 7-11.)
 
Sometimes the Holy Ghost is called the Holy Spirit. (Luke 11: 13.)
 
Whether you are reading something about the Holy Spirit or Holy Ghost is something that must be determined by the context, not the language used.
 
The relationship between the Holy Spirit or Light of Christ and every living thing, whether a planet, plant, animal, human or ecosystem is direct, immediate and continual.  They are all borrowing power from the Holy Spirit to live, move breath, remain organized, and do according to their own wills.  (Mosiah 2: 21-25.)  This is the means by which the Holy Ghost, which resides inside of you, receives intelligence from Christ.
 
The Holy Ghost is the “record of heaven” which lives inside you and that you have lost contact with because of the veil.  It is a personage of spirit who resides inside you, and you must “receive” it after baptism by finally listening to that inner “truth of all things” or “record of the Father and the Son.”  (Moses 6: 61, 66.)
 
The Holy Ghost bears record of the Son.  When the Son speaks to you through the Holy Ghost you hear the words in the first-person.  Hence the Holy Ghost speaking that it “is the Son” in Moses 5: 9.
 
I’m keeping this short because the more I explain the more questions will arise.  So clarity on this topic is almost invariably related to brevity.