The 40 Years in Mormonism talks available on this site are being put onto YouTube as well. They will be available there and remain available here. At this moment, the first two of them have been put up.
David was a man “after the Lord’s own heart.” (1 Sam 13:14; Acts 13:22.) But David “hath fallen from his exaltation[.]” (D&C 132:39.)
If A=B then B=A. Therefore it can be likewise said that Christ was a man “after David’s own heart.”
Was the Lord considering David’s situation when He refused to use power given Him to satisfy His hunger? (Matt. 4:3-4.) Was David on the Lord’s mind when He instructed those He healed to “tell no man?” (Matt. 8:3-4; Mark 7:32-36; Luke 8:54-56.) Did the Lord know admiration and praise had been toxic to David and would likewise be toxic to Him?
Was the Lord thinking of David when He refused “all the kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them?” (Matt. 4:8-10.) Was David on the Lord’s mind when He declared His “kingdom was not of this world?” (John 18:36.) Did He remember David when He explained His example of servitude after kneeling and washing His followers’ feet? (John 13:4-16.)
Christ knew and stated He was “greatest of all.” (D&C 19:18.) He has explained He is “more intelligent than they all.” (Abr. 3:19.) Yet He came without crown, wealth, or earthly power. He was “meek and lowly of heart.” (Matt. 11:29.)
Did Christ know if He were made great by men He, like David, could be drawn away into the same sad end? He was tempted, as all men are. But He prevailed because He “gave no heed unto them.” (D&C 20:22.)
Did Christ remember David when He rebuked a man who praised Him and called Him “good.” He retorted, “Why callest thou me good? There is none good but one, that is, God.” (Matt. 19:16-17.)
If our Lord refused honor, acted as if a servant, and rejected praise from others, shouldn’t we also? How can anyone “aspire to the honors of men” or hold any “vain ambition” or seek to exercise “control or dominion or compulsion upon” others or claim to have “power or influence… by virtue of their priesthood”? (D&C 121:37-41.)
Christ behaved wisely and meekly. If He is the prototype of the saved man, who among us can be great without kneeling, serving, persuading, enduring with long-suffering, and relying on gentleness to bring others to come to Christ? Who would want to place themselves above their fellow-man, when the Lord knelt to wash men’s feet?
We should weep over our plight, and deal in kindness toward each other in our lost and fallen state. I hardly have the strength to speak when I consider what confronts us in this dark place. I think of David and the Son of David and fear for my own weaknesses, foolishness and pride.
Joseph Smith wrote this counsel in a letter to the church in March 1834:
[T]he commandments of our Lord, we hope, are constantly revolving in your hearts, teaching you, not only his will in proclaiming his gospel, but his meekness and perfect walk before all, even in those times of sever persecutions and abuse which were heaped upon him by a wicked and adulterous generation. Remember, brethren, that he has called you unto holiness; and need we say, to be like him in purity? How wise; how holy; how chaste, and how perfect, then, you ought to conduct yourself in his sight; remember too, that his eyes are continually upon you. ( JS Papers, Documents, Vol. 3, p. 474.)
This is consistent with his many other letters and public sermons. He denounced sexual impurity and promoted chastity in word, deed and thought.
In that same letter he wrote:
[T]hough we cannot claim these promises which were made to the ancients …we can approach the Father in the name of Christ as they approached him, and for ourselves obtain the same promises. These promises, when obtained, if ever by us, will not be because Peter, John and the other apostles, with the churches at Sardis, Purgamos, Philadelphia, and elsewhere, walked in the fear of God and had power and faith to prevail and obtain them; but it will be because we, ourselves, have faith and approach him in the name of his Son Jesus Christ, even as they did; and when these promises are obtained, they will be promises directly to us, or they will do us no good; communicated for our benefit; being our own property, (through the gift of God,) earned by our own diligence in keeping his commandments, and walking uprightly before him. (Id., pp. 483-484, italics in original.)
This explanation is consistent with Lectures on Faith. He urged us, like the ancients, to all approach God. He believed the religion of antiquity could be lived again by us.
In 1839, the Lord predicted the following regarding Joseph: “fools shall have [him] in derision, and hell shall rage against [him]; While the pure in heart, and the wise, and the noble, and the virtuous, shall seek counsel, and authority, and blessings constantly from under [his] hand.” (D&C 122:1-2.)
More than two centuries after his birth, he remains controversial and misunderstood. Even those who acknowledge him to be a prophet fail to understand the man. His legacy was entrusted to a group of people in Nauvoo. In his last general conference, April 1844 he said this about the members in Nauvoo:
You don’t know me; you never knew my heart. No man knows my history. I cannot tell it: I shall never undertake it. I don’t blame any one for not believing my history. If I had not experienced what I have, I could not have believed it myself. I never did harm any man since I was born into the world. My voice is always for peace. …When I am called by the trump of the archangel and weighed in the balance, you will know me then. (TPJS, pp. 361-362.)
If those he lived among never knew him, then what they bequeathed to us only makes our challenge to understand him even greater. Many people, even believing Mormons, attribute to him the worst of malignant conduct. They believe him to be morally corrupt, lacking virtue, an egomaniac and a liar. Can anything good come from a man such as that? Fools hold Joseph in derision still.
Recently, I was asked, “What would you change in your writings if you had it all to do again?”
If I were writing The Second Comforter: Conversing With the Lord Through the Veil today, I would write it differently. But I do not regret having written it in its present form, and will not go back and edit it to change the content. It is an accurate book for the moment in time it was written. It is important to preserve that moment in time.
When I wrote it, I was an active, faithful member of the LDS Church. The book was written inside that environment and represents a triumph of the faith. The triumph was achieved inside the institution. For that reason, the book continues to remind me, and every reader, that it is possible to devote yourself to Christ under challenging circumstances.
Nephi’s Isaiah is also a book I would not change, because it likewise demonstrates that an active, faithful LDS Church member can awaken to the terrible circumstances of our plight. It is a key book. It shows a pattern: God passes information forbidden to be revealed as a new, original revelation, and leaves Nephi to the task of teaching by using earlier writings. Nephi used Isaiah, Zenos and Zenok to deliver new revelation using old, familiar scripture. It is a key to understanding Nephi; and a key to understanding a modern burden I carry.
Things are changing rapidly. The books I have written reflect changes underway. Circumstances changed affecting the content of later books. The changed conditions and changed response are chronicled in the series of books. It is important to leave them as they are, reflecting the different moments in time.
As things continue to change, what I write will reflect the events taking place. Nothing is static. Everything is in motion.
I want to reiterate what was said at the end of the ten lectures (as it has been edited for the forthcoming book). Below is an excerpt dealing with the problems I warned were coming:
There are so many potential mistakes we can make we ought to remember the early problems in Kirtland. D&C 50:2-25. “Behold, verily I say unto you, that there are many spirits which are false spirits, which have gone forth in the earth, deceiving the world. And also Satan hath sought to deceive you, that he might overthrow you. Behold, I, the Lord, have looked upon you, and have seen abominations in the church that profess my name. But blessed are they who are faithful and endure, whether in life or in death, for they shall inherit eternal life. But wo unto them that are deceivers and hypocrites, for, thus saith the Lord, I will bring them to judgment. Behold, verily I say unto you, there are hypocrites among you, who have deceived some, which has given the adversary power; but behold such shall be reclaimed.” [This is not referring to the hypocrites, because He will not reclaim them. But He will reclaim those who are deceived by the hypocrites.] “But the hypocrites shall be detected and shall be cut off, either in life or in death, even as I will; and wo unto them who are cut off from my church, for the same are overcome of the world. Wherefore, let every man beware lest he do that which is not in truth and righteousness before me. And now come, saith the Lord, by the Spirit, unto the elders of his church, and let us reason together, that ye may understand; Let us reason even as a man reasoneth one with another face to face. Now, when a man reasoneth he is understood of man, because he reasoneth as a man; even so will I, the Lord, reason with you that you may understand. Wherefore, I the Lord ask you this question—unto what were ye ordained? To preach my gospel by the Spirit, even the Comforter which was sent forth to teach the truth. And then received ye spirits which ye could not understand, and received them to be of God; and in this are ye justified? Behold ye shall answer this question yourselves; nevertheless, I will be merciful unto you; he that is weak among you hereafter shall be made strong. Verily I say unto you, he that is ordained of me and sent forth to preach the word of truth by the Comforter, in the Spirit of truth, doth he preach it by the Spirit of truth or some other way? And if it be by some other way it is not of God. And again, he that receiveth the word of truth, doth he receive it by the Spirit of truth or some other way? If it be some other way it is not of God. Therefore, why is it that ye cannot understand and know, that he that receiveth the word by the Spirit of truth receiveth it as it is preached by the Spirit of truth? Wherefore, he that preacheth and he that receiveth, understand one another, and both are edified and rejoice together. And that which doth not edify is not of God, and is darkness. That which is of God is light; and he that receiveth light, and continueth in God, receiveth more light; and that light groweth brighter and brighter until the perfect day. And again, verily I say unto you, and I say it that you may know the truth, that you may chase darkness from among you; He that is ordained of God and sent forth, the same is appointed to be the greatest, notwithstanding he is the least and the servant of all.”
This is how we should edify one another, how we should be preparing our children. This is what we should seek: truth, light, understanding, knowledge of the principles of truth by the power of the Holy Ghost.
False spirits will come among you. Prideful and pretentious people will ask you to give them honor. Honor God instead. Do not let a personal revelation displace your attention from the scriptures. Our scriptures are sufficient for our day. I hope this new book demonstrates that. I have expounded the scriptures as Moroni did to Joseph, and as Christ did on the road to Emmaus the day of His resurrection. We must first remember and observe. Preserving the restoration requires us to be very familiar with the scriptures of the restoration. At present we should fear most our ignorance of them.
I had the following brought to my attention by an email this morning. It was written in January, but the content of this is so worthwhile I post a link to it below.
I was very encouraged by the discussion identifying false and deceiving spirits. Then the discussion about the limits and responsibilities within a sharing, cooperative community was insightful and instructive. I do not know who wrote this, and have not had time to read any other post on that blog, but this post was instructive and worth everyone’s time to read.
Whether we welcome or oppose it, the truth is going to win. Monuments and cultures erected on lies will weaken and fall to the dust. But truth has a strength that does not decay. Lies cannot defy it, greed cannot corrupt it, lust cannot tempt it, and wicked men cannot for long successfully imitate it.
The times of the gentiles is ending, and truth has begun to break forth; just as Christ explained to His disciples while living among them (and then repeated to Joseph in 1831):
And when the times of the Gentiles is come in, a light shall break forth among them that sit in darkness, and it shall be the fulness of my gospel; But they receive it not; for they perceive not the light, and they turn their hearts from me because of the precepts of men. And in that generation shall the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled. And there shall be men standing in that generation, that shall not pass until they see an overflowing scourge; for a desolating sickness shall cover the land. But my disciples shall stand in holy places, and shall not be moved; but among the wicked, men shall lift up their voices and curse God and die. (D&C 45:28-32.)
When it is evening, ye say, It will be fair weather: for the sky is red. And in the morning, It will be foul weather to day: for the sky is red and lowering, O ye hypocrites, ye can discern the face of the sky; but can ye not discern the signs of the times? (Matt. 16:2-3.)
The Lord described our day. But we live in it and do not see it right before our eyes.
Brian Hales has responded. His response misstates my position, teaching, testimony and message, but it is nevertheless his response. For those interested you can find it at:
His biggest error in the response is to cite as authoritative a number of sources I would question. Brigham Young’s ability to ignore revelations of others does not contribute to whether the revelations of others should be ignored.
The sharp differences in views are useful. I leave it to the reader to sort out the truth from error.