BOWbutton

This button is a resource to link those desiring baptism with those having authority to baptize. More information can be found here.

 

Preserving the Restoration is now available.

PtR_front_1

 

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

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

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

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

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

Pretensions of Public Piety

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Second Comforter

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

FAIR Conference

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

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

Margaret Barker: The Mother in Heaven and Her Children.

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

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

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

James D. Gordon III: Faith and Scholarship.

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

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

Michael R. Otterson: Correcting The Record.

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

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

Stephen Webb: Why Mormon Materialism Matters.

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

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

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

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

Baptism is Mandatory

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Genocide

Genocide has become a tool of modern governments to achieve political control and eliminate unwanted populations. The most horrific recent examples include:

China, under Mao’s rule, killed at least 49 million of its citizens.

Under Stalin, the Soviet Union killed 20 million.

Adolf Hitler killed approximately 6 million in concentration camps and 12 million in the war.

In the Congo, King Leopold killed approximately 8 million.

The Khmer Rouge killed an estimated 2.4 million.

The Armenian genocide killed as many as 1.5 million.

All of these are exceeded by the United States’ government sponsored killing of unborn children. Abortion was decreed a Constitutional right in the opinion written by Harry Blackmun in 1973. In the decades following his decree, an estimated 55 million have been murdered. Most of these have been paid for by taxpayer money allocated for that purpose. The United States has murdered more than Mao, Stalin, Hitler, King Leopold, the Khmer Rouge and the Ottoman Empire. At the present rate, in a few more decades, the United States will have killed more than all of them combined. These other genocidal governments targeted political opponents and consolidated their power to govern by killing. The United States has killed primarily in support of sexual gratification, hedonism and as an accepted form of birth control. Every one involved will be held to account for killing.

“Inasmuch as ye do it unto the least of these, ye do it unto me.” D&C 48:38.

“Thou shalt not …kill, nor do anything like unto it.” D&C 59:6.

“why call ye me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say?” Luke 6:46.

answer to an email:

I got an email asking about different answers received by different people to their prayers on the same subject. Two of the subjects were multiple mortalities and plural marriage. In response I wrote an email back that stated the following:

__________________________________________

 

Probably would be better as a discussion rather than an email. It is worth taking some time to run through the issue and the way it manifests itself in scripture.

Briefly:
-An answer to prayer is often based on the question asked and the frame of reference in which the question is framed. Oftentimes we do not yet know enough to frame the right question.
-God deals with each of us where we are at the moment we approach Him. He does not always tell us something we haven’t yet prepared our minds and hearts to receive. So when He gives an answer to a partial, incomplete, and unfocused inquiry, while the answer will be “true” it is an answer inside a context.
-At one point in life we want to know what we should be doing as a first priority and we are told “get a spouse.” Well that answer might be a good one when you are unmarried and young, but if you take that as the continuing, enduring and last commandment from God on the subject you may decide you need to be acquiring a second spouse, then a third, and so on.
-Often God speaks in symbols, not in definite meanings. For example the vision or dream of Lehi concerning the tree, pathway, iron rod and building filled with mockers. If you read his vision you may get any number of meanings from it. Nephi asked for the same thing, and although there was a tree, fruit, iron rod, pathway and building there was also so much more and different than what his father saw that you could easily conclude it was a very different answer. If you were to decide Lehi and Nephi conflicted, and then developed an argument to prove they disagreed it could easily be done. But that would be contrary to what Nephi’s record stressed.
-If you read the talk from Ephraim about Christ as the prototype of the saved man you will see that there are many stages of development required before anyone attains to the resurrection. These are called “estates” in scripture. The phrase “multiple mortalities” is non-scriptural. The concept of reincarnation was denounced by Joseph as a false doctrine. But there is something true about the doctrine of “estates” in which we are able to be “added upon.”  I think a discussion about the subject requires a great deal more care and understanding than the scriptures presently outline. On subjects like this because the scriptures are so inadequate to make it clear it is dangerous to fill in the missing details with what someone said years following Joseph Smith’s death about what they thought he taught in private to a few individuals. To take those statements and put together additional elaborations made by the “insiders” expounding their own thoughts or worse still, a third-hand exponent elaborating on what must be true invites error. It invites speculation and conclusions which are not supportable from the clear statements of scripture. When it comes to this subject, the greatest difficulty I see is that it distracts from the test presently underway. When you take all of it together ask yourself: “So what?” If it is all absolutely true, “so what?” How does that help you pass the test of this estate presently underway? How will it rescue your soul in the challenge faced and the peril of this mortal sojourn? Assuming the insight you gained about being an ancestor who died young is true, so what? How does that rescue your soul? How does knowing that change what you need to do to get through the challenges of this afternoon?
-I know of no way to receive light and truth from heaven but by patient, obedient and disciplined living by everything God has said, commanded or instructed. It is as the Lord told His disciples, some things are not overcome “but by fasting and prayer.” A haphazard inquiry from a proud and hard hearted soul will not likely receive an answer from the same Lord who spent entire nights alone in solitary prayer. Our Lord’s prayers were so private that His own disciples needed to ask Him to teach them how to pray, because He did not display it for them to learn from by overhearing. He went alone, apart and in private, and then prayed for hours, oftentimes overnight. This was Christ. This was He who is “more intelligent than them all.” Yet people expect then can ask in haste about something that shatters their paradigm and, in their pride expect to have everything they always believed be ratified to their satisfaction and what annoys them to be denounced. Until the heart is broken and willing to accept the sad news that they are wrong and God is going to correct them they are not likely to get an answer other than they are right. In fact they’ve been right all along. Answers from a meek and lowly Lord come with the greatest accuracy to the meek and lowly inquirer. There are but few of those living.
It is a big subject. It can’t be covered in a few brief statements and probably not suited at all for email. But I hope these ideas are of some value to you.

Predicting the Unpredictable

The Lord keeps His counsel close to Himself. Although prophets have given us His promises about the last days, the promises will be fulfilled by God in His own way, His own time, and according to His determination. (Isa. 55:8-9.) Even when He discloses what He is doing to a prophet, the words spoken by His messengers are not frequently accepted, much less understood.

Men may ruminate, speculate and pontificate about what God WILL do, or what God CANNOT do, but they will only know what God did after it has been done. The topic of the “remnant” occupies the attention of Latter-day Saints, and their offshoots. I don’t think the reservation wards of the US Government will one day break free from that ingrained social arrangement to build a self-sustaining, independent Zion which can exist independent of every other creature under heaven. (See D&C 78:14-it is improbable people content to remain dependent on government support will abruptly decide to “stand independent above all other creatures beneath the celestial world” and build Zion.)

In a recent study of racial composition in the US by the Pew Institute, they made this interesting observation:

The number of people who identify themselves as multiracial is growing three times faster than the population as a whole, according to a new report that explores the latest nuances and contradictions of racial identity in a society that has sometimes seen itself as a melting pot.

And the largest group of mixed-race people include those who have been here the longest: whites and Native Americans. They make up half of of the mixed-race population in the United States but are also least likely to think of themselves as multiracial. (See The Washington Post, Pew: Multiracial population changing the face of the U.S., June 11, 2015.)

The Lord may well decide to use “the mixed-race population” which “are also least likely to think of themselves as multiracial”–or the largest mixed race group in the US. The mixture of whites and Native Americans may have been foreseen (2 Ne. 30:6).

As the report states, “the largest group of multiracial people, those with white and American Indian ancestry, have only a faint connection to their indigenous heritage.”

Looking for the “remnant” will not fulfill prophecy if the Lord intends to fulfill it in His own way, time and manner. We should do what we are asked, when asked, in the way we are asked to do it, and leave it to the Lord to vindicate His word. He will accomplish it in a way that will cause men (as Christ put it) to “shut their mouths; for that which had not been told them shall they see; and that which they had not heard shall they consider.” (3 Ne. 21:8.)

Sunstone 2015

Today at 5:00 I will speak as part of a panel discussion at the 2015 Sunstone Symposium in Salt Lake City. The panel will examine “The Mormon Legal Mind.”

It doesn’t sound like a particularly interesting subject, but it is. LDS Mormonism is now subject to corporate organization and legal construction. There is really only one LDS Mormon, one member and one owner. It is the single individual who is the senior-most tenured member of the church’s 12 apostles. He owns everything, including the religion.

To make the legal construction understandable, an example shows how LDS Mormonism is the property of one individual: If instead of staying away from church, the roughly two-thirds of the baptized members were to come to General Conference and unanimously vote out the Church President, First Presidency, Quorum of Twelve, Seventies, and all other General Authorities as presently constituted–literally vote every one of them out and elect an entirely new slate of officers, this would be what happened:

The Corporation of the First Presidency, sole, could tell all LDS Mormons everywhere in the world that they could no longer use any LDS chapel. He could tell them to stay out of his temples because he was locking the doors. He could keep Deseret Book, Deseret Management Corporation and all its assets, all the church welfare farms, all its intellectual property including copyrights, its offices, condominiums, Temple Square, the Conference Center, Brigham Young University, BYU Hawaii, and all other church colleges, all the thousands of acres of property in Missouri, Florida and Hawaii, the Polynesian Cultural Center, City Creek Mall, and everything else. The entire LDS empire would remain his sole property, and the “church” would have no legal right to use or keep any of it. They wouldn’t even have the right to use the name “The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints” because it is a registered mark owned by one man.

So the legal construct of LDS Mormonism is a topic worth at least learning something about. The panel today will discuss it at 5:00 p.m.