BOWbutton

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

 

Scripture, Prophecy and Covenant

There is a new download titled “Scripture, Prophecy and Covenant” available in the downloads section. It is a brief exposition on accepting scripture as covenant.

The quotes are taken from the Restoration Edition of the scriptures.

Vitality of Ideas

As I have explained, there is no need to organize a formal church. We can believe without compulsion, and regard one another as brother and sister, father and mother, people of one heart, without a Pope or president. Below is a quote from Preserving the Restoration, based on a talk I gave years ago:

 

If Mormonism is to achieve its prophesied success, that future must come through a return to pure ideals. Holy people must practice the religion. To practice within a hostile legal, cultural and social environment requires the religion to assume a non-corporate form. It must become only a shared idea, privately practiced. Ideas cannot be taxed, controlled, organized or compromised by changing leadership. Ideas can stand apart from all commerce and law. The only thing an idea requires for vitality is for someone to give it a voice. Governments and business interests are powerless to seize an idea and corrupt it. Ideas can be opposed, denounced and argued, but ideas remain free from all control. All that is needed for an idea to live is for it to be remembered.

Teaching

While I claim no right to control, manage or command any other person, I do claim the right to teach. Like any other person who believes in something greater than themselves, we all have the right to teach what is important to us and have others consider.

In the history of mankind, there are only two documented successes of establishing a city of peace that was visited by God. In the first, Enoch preached and taught. He assumed only the role of a teacher. People listened, repented, and were able to live in peace with one another. They had one heart and one mind. There were no poor among them. (Moses 7:18-19.)

Melchizedek also preached and taught. His message was for the people to repent. (Alma 13:17-18.) Although called a “prince of peace” and the “king of Salem,” Joseph Smith explained these terms were not because he had kingly rule over any group. But it “signifies king of peace or righteousness and not any country or nation.” (WJS, p. 246.)

When God reveals His mind to me, I have every right to teach and preach repentance and urge people to return to God. There are no active covenant people who can fulfill the prophecies on earth today. There is nothing special about any people yet. But the potential to lay claim on blessings and establish a covenant exists.

In 1832, the incipient restoration movement Joseph Smith was laboring to establish was condemned by the Lord. The nascent Mormonite movement (as it was then called) was rebuked by the Lord. He told them their minds were darkened because they treated lightly what had been given to them. They were plagued with unbelief. He condemned them and warned they would remain under His condemnation until they repented, and not only said but did what the Book of Mormon and other commandments directed them to do. (D&C 84:54-57.) Among other things, they were required to “bring forth fruit meet for their Father’s kingdom.” (Id. v. 58.)

By 1841, the earlier condemnation had not been cured. The Lord threatened them again, warning they would be “rejected as a church, with your dead.” (D&C 124:32.) He gave a sign to them: If they repented, He would come to their planned but unbuilt temple and restore the fulness which they had lost. (Id. v. 28.) He would not let anyone move them out of that place. (Id. v. 45.) But if they would not obey Him, then they would, “by your own works, bring cursings, wrath, indignation and judgments” upon themselves. (Id. v. 48.) They failed to do as He commanded. They were moved out of their place. They failed to receive the fulness from Him. They suffered wintertime expulsion, hunger, famine, pestilence and the judgments of God upon them.

They did not receive the covenant because they were unwilling to accept what was offered by the Lord. He was willing to gather them as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings for protection, but they were not interested.

When the Lord determined to renew His work and allow another people the opportunity to receive a covenant from Him, He spoke to me from heaven and provided instruction. Faithful to those instructions, I have labored for years to prepare the minds and hearts any who wish to receive what is offered by a kind and loving God.

The Book of Mormon is intended to be received as a covenant. The covenant MUST first be delivered to and accepted by the gentiles in order for the gentiles to be numbered among the remnant of God’s people. (3 Ne. 21:22.) The gentiles must have a covenant, or they cannot assist in any way to establish the New Jerusalem. (Id. v. 23.) It will be former gentiles who are called “Ephriam” once restored, to whom all other tribes must come to receive their part in the covenant. (D&C 133:30-34.) This will happen once the gentiles have been given the land as their land of promise, an inheritance from God given only to covenant people. (3 Ne. 21:22.) At present, the gentiles have been condemned and rejected by the Lord. Therefore, some few must repent and return.

In making an offer to establish a covenant, no one is obligated to accept His offer. The presumption is that gentiles will refuse, as they have done for many generations. Any gentile who does not want to obtain the covenant merely needs to refrain from accepting the offer, and they remain exactly as they are now. They do not need to rejoice in the offered gift, nor to even receive it. (D&C 88:33.)

But if even a tiny few gentiles are willing to accept the covenant, God will receive them and accomplish His work through them. It was always the Lord’s expectation that “few” would receive it and walk in a straight and narrow path. Almost all others will reject it and walk in a broad enough path to accommodate every other false religious idea, false promise, incomplete and damning path that competes with the Lord’s invitation to come to Him.

The work of getting an accurate restatement of what the Lord once offered, and what He now offers and instructs, has been underway for more than a year and a half. It has resulted in a preliminary draft of new scriptures now available for anyone to review and comment on as a draft. When the wise input has been gathered, and the text completed to the best of our present ability, it will be prayerfully submitted to the Lord for His approval. He has taken an active role in the project already, providing several additions of importance to Him. They have been added. Whatever man may think of the project, before it is proposed for acceptance as a covenant it will need to be approved and accepted by the Lord. I expect He will do so, because He has already accompanied the work thus far undertaken.

When a conference in Boise takes place this coming September, the completed project will be offered for acceptance. There will be many who will not want it. They needn’t do anything. But if even a few will accept it, those who do will become at that time part of the covenant people of God, numbered with the remnant, and entitled to inherit this as their land. In turn, God will protect them. If they abide the covenant, He will establish a New Jerusalem, a land of peace, a city of refuge. His glory and terror will be there, and the wicked will not come unto it. To it will be gathered from every one of the tribes of Israel, and they will be the only people who are not at war with one another as the final chapter of the world unfolds. (D&C 45:65-71.) The Spirit of God will watch over His covenant people while it withdraws from the rest of the world. In the coming darkness, they will become progressively more warlike and violent, until the earth is filled with bloodshed.

If there are any others who are willing to do so, I intend to join them in accepting the covenant in September. That will allow me to address Christian audiences in California, Texas and Atlanta as a covenant holder offering to them the benefit of accepting what the Lord offers to everyone freely.  Any others who accept the covenant can do likewise.

No one is required to accept the Lord’s invitation. But if accepted, the covenant needs to be kept. No one other than the Lord will enforce the covenant. But He has at His disposal lightning, pestilence, famine and earthquakes. (D&C 43:25.) He has warned of a coming time when there is burning, desolation and lamentation. (D&C 112:24.) He has always planned to have covenant people survive that with His protection.

Anyone who objects to this is free to continue on without accepting God’s offer. They are free to attempt to persuade others to also reject the covenant and remain alone without God’s protection in the coming difficulties. But their opposition cannot prevent it from happening for others who choose to accept the Lord’s offer to gather them as a hen gathers her chicks.

Restoration Scriptures

The following Announcement was read at the Doctrine of Christ Conference in St. George, Utah. I have been asked to post it here:
RESTORATION SCRIPTURES ANNOUNCEMENT
March 18, 2017
Although what is to be announced may be viewed by most people as a modest achievement, I think history will eventually reflect this as one of the greatest steps forward after the deaths of Joseph and Hyrum.
What I’m about to announce will generate a considerable number of questions. To reasonably manage them, we’ve set up an email address where you can send your questions & suggestions. That address is: RESTORATIONSCRIPTURES2017@GMAIL.COM. Your questions will be reviewed this evening, and then tomorrow, a number of the major questions will be answered in front of this body. Any that aren’t answered immediately will be replied to after the conference ends.
One of the first ways a dispensation becomes corrupted is by compromising the scriptures used by believers in that dispensation. Therefore when a new dispensation begins, one of the first orders of business for believers is to adopt a new set of scriptures which restore, insofar as it is possible, a correct version of the material they regard as scripture.
Just like the saints of the New Testament adopted a new body of teachings, the Book of Mormon people preserved and added to sacred writings. And while Joseph Smith lived, there were both corrections to old scripture and new scripture was added. Likewise for us, there is a need to remove errors, correct texts, and add to the body of scripture to guide us. This assembly – that is, this worldwide body of believers – must also decide what we accept as scripture. It is our right and sacred responsibility to address this need.
     To that end, a new edition of the scriptures is proposed. They are divided into three volumes that have been produced through a unified effort by two independent bodies of volunteers, separately driven to approach the scriptures anew.
Initially the members of these two groups felt individually inspired to revisit the scriptures in an effort to prune away some of the uninspired alterations of man so that they might have a more correct version of scripture for their study. Over time, these individuals were led to one another, combining and harmonizing their efforts. What began as two wholly separate groups, each forming at the same time, both unknown to one another, resulted in separate projects that were completedat the same time, and what was learned from their independent efforts identified issues that needed to be addressed.
On the last day of 2016, less than 2 weeks after discovering each other, these two groups held a meeting, facilitated by Denver Snuffer, and determined to unify their efforts, each bringing to the table differing components for a greater outcome than either project possessed alone. On the first day of the new year, the two became one as work began, preparing what would become thisRestoration Edition of the scriptures.
Moving forward, the united team has worked closely with each other, with the Lord, and with His servant, to produce a more accurate record that is true to the Lord’s intent and to the Restoration. We are on His errand, not our own.
In September 1832, the Saints were condemned by the Lord and commanded to “repent and remember the new covenant, even the Book of Mormon and the former commandments which I have given them, not only to say, but to do according to that which I have written.”
We often see this as the Lord rebuking the Saints for failing to do according to that which He had written, yet assume that the Saints had been correctly saying what He had written. But the Saints did not say, and have failed to accurately preserve, what the revelations God provided to them said, because their texts became corrupted. This means that the first step towards emerging from condemnation is to try and do exactly what is being accomplished through this scriptural work now underway. While the full purpose of this project was initially unknown, it has begun a best effort to “repent and remember the new covenant.” If done right, we will at least accomplish the first step: recovering what the Lord provided so we can “say” what He has revealed. Then the challenges increase as we are called upon “to do according to that” which God has revealed.
A future conference must then be held with the intent of approving the final content of theRestoration Edition and sustaining that edition as canon for this assembly.
The following is a summary of what is contained in this Restoration Edition of the scriptures:
ALL THE SCRIPTURAL WORKS SHARE THE FOLLOWING CHANGES:
●      Verse numbers have been eliminated and the text has been formatted into paragraphs. This provides greater context for individual passages and removes the isolation of a statement that is caused by restricting it to a verse. The only exception to individual numbering is in Proverbs where each proverb has been numbered.
●      The chapters have been regrouped based on contextual themes rather than staying as they have existed historically. Our team recognized that since chapters were originally organized by man and not by God, we were free to reorganize them. Some paragraphs in some of the books have been combined or divided as well, based on their context. However, in the Book of Mormon, chapters were designated by Joseph Smith himself and those have been preserved.
●      Very minor standardization and spelling correction has taken place. Care was taken to respect the text.
●      Punctuation can clarify, but it can also restrict. Therefore punctuation has been significantly reduced in all of the volumes in order to free up the text for greater possible interpretation.
INDIVIDUALLY
VOLUME 1 IS THE OLD TESTAMENT
●      Joseph Smith’s New Translation of the Bible (the JST) is the base text.
●      The Song of Solomon had been removed since Joseph indicated that it is not an inspired text.
●      Proverbs now includes Proverbs of Joseph Smith, Jr. and Proverbs of Denver Snuffer, Jr.
VOLUME 2 CONSISTS OF THE NEW TESTAMENT AND THE BOOK OF MORMON
●      In a letter to the “brethren in Zion” on 21 April, 1833, Joseph Smith stated, “…it is not the will of the Lord to print any of the new translation in the Star, but when it is published it will all go to the world together in a volume by itself, and the New Testament and The Book of Mormon will be printed together.”
●      Joseph Smith’s New Translation of the Bible is the base text for the New Testament.
●    The 1840 edition of The Book of Mormon is used as the base text and was already formatted into paragraphs. This version was chosen because it contains corrections given by Joseph Smith to what was originally published in 1830 and 1837.
VOLUME 3 CONSISTS OF THE DOCTRINE AND COVENANTS & PEARLS OF GREAT PRICE
●     The new D&C returns the Lectures on Faith to its original place, along with those sections and revelations identified as coming through Joseph Smith. These have been painstakingly compared to the manuscripts found in the Joseph Smith Papers Project:
○      The order of the sections has been restored to thematic groupings rather than simply being presented chronologically. These groupings are: Restoration, Organization and Worship, and Revelations to Individuals.
○      Several LDS sections have been removed for the following reasons:
■      Sections 2 & 13 are extracts from JS-History and are therefore redundant.
■      Section 20 was written by Oliver Cowdery and constitutes church articles and covenants used to begin to structure the early church organization. They no longer apply.
■      Section 101 on Marriage, from the original 1835 Kirtland Edition, is not being reintroduced because it is not a product of either Joseph or Hyrum. However, pertinent points are included in another area.
■      Section 110 is completely unverifiable as a true revelation/vision. The three individuals with some information about the section, Joseph Smith, Oliver Cowdery and Warren Cowdery, left no statement or explanation about Section 110. Further, in listing those who visited with them in their respective testimonies, neither Joseph Smith nor Oliver Cowdery mention Elijah as having come. Finally throughout the Nauvoo time frame, including a month before his death, Joseph Smith spoke of Elijah’s return as a future and not a past event.
■       Section 129 was a struggle. Initially it was revised by taking the shorthand notes from Joseph Smith’s journal and fleshing them out with bridge words and phrases to make them into comprehensible sentences. However, once attempted, that effort was abandoned and the section was completely removed for the following reasons:
1.     The shorthand is just sketchy enough that some of the bridge wording is clearly debatable.
2.     The instruction we have through the Book of Mormon is sufficient on its own to allow us to discern evil spirits.
3.     This section, if relied upon alone, is apparently not sufficient to defend against lying spirits.
■       Section 134 is a declaration on laws & government written by either Oliver Cowdery or Sidney Rigdon, not Joseph Smith.
■       Section 135 is simply the announcement of the martyrdom of Joseph and Hyrum.
■      Section 136 is from Brigham Young.
■      Section 138, Joseph F. Smith’s vision of the dead, is restricted by copyright and cannot be used.
■      Official Declarations 1 & 2 are declarations made by a different church.
○      Several LDS sections have been revised for the following reasons:
■      Section 107 was an amalgamation of content, with only one portion traceable to a revelation before the 1835 publication of the D&C. That portion has been preserved. The 1835 published version bears hallmarks of revisions by the hand of man. Therefore only a portion has been extracted, and then added to by revelation, to explain the establishment of dispensations and reflect the direction of this current dispensation. It is placed as the last section in the new D&C.
■      Sections 121, 122 and123 came from a letter written from Liberty Jail and are presented within the context of the entire letter written by Joseph Smith.
■      Section 132 on celestial marriage is now represented as it is posted by Denver Snuffer on his blog, containing the redactions suggested there to make the document internally consistent and reflect the earliest descriptions of the original.
○      More than 40 new sections have been added for the following reasons:
■      Nearly all of these new sections are verified revelations given through Joseph Smith that simply were never sustained as scripture.
■      Restoration Edition Section 98 is President Hyrum Smith’s epistle to the church.
○      The new D&C also includes an insert in the Appendix called A PROPHET’S PREROGATIVE, an example of an extremely valuable method of comparative study that can significantly help your understanding. The example used is Isaiah 29, and includes an introductory explanation.
●      The Pearl of Great Price – has had its name changed to Pearls of Great Price, reflecting and implying further expansion, and the following portions have been removed, revised or added for the following reasons:
○      (A Proposed Set of) Governing Principles is a rewritten statement of principles and practices – similar to LDS Section 20 – that reflects this assembly’s efforts to preserve the Restoration. This statement is not yet completed. It requires additional inspired input from you.
○      The Articles of Faith have been replaced by The Wentworth Letter that they were copied from, in order to provide context to those articles.
○      Joseph Smith – History has been slightly expanded to the same extent as it was originally published in the Times and Seasons.
○      The Book of Moses and Joseph Smith – Matthew have been removed because they already exist in the New Translation of the Bible and are redundant.
○      The Book of Abraham remains as is.
○      The Revelation of the Testimony of St. John – as given through Denver Snuffer, Jr. – has been added. It will not replace the existing Testimony of St. John found in the New Testament, but will stand as it’s own book.
○      Continuing Revelation – is a section which consists of visions and revelations given through Denver Snuffer, Jr. to be made public. This portion of the Pearls of Great Price is expected to be the place where new revelation will be added as it is received, which, you will see, has already happened.
○      A Glossary of Fundamental Terms is at the end of the final volume. Currently it’s blank, except for a single sample definition. We encourage all of you to consider emailing us terms for the glossary using the following criteria:
1.     The definition must be scriptural, not your opinion.
2.     The terms need to be those that are critical to seeing things correctly. LDS and Christian culture have so skewed many religious terms as to render them not just wrong, but spiritually dangerous in that they point people in the wrong direction. This will not become a “bible dictionary,” but is an attempt to explain words as the Lord has intended, not “Gospel speak” or Mormonese.
Given that this body must declare to the Lord what records they intend to hold sacred, a Preview copy of these volumes of the Restoration Edition are available as of right now for download, in PDF, ebook and other requested formats, from www.scriptures.info, an online library that has been established for materials pertinent to the Restoration. There are a number of interesting tools and features that have been developed for this site, but now is not the time to go into them. However, I will say that scriptures.info is specifically built with tools to aid in comparative study. That’s why the Isaiah 29 example is at the back of the D&C – to kickstart you. So take a tour of that important site on your own. Those of you who may have content pertinent to the scriptures that you wish to contribute, those of you who are looking for research material or tools, and those of you who are just curious, be sure to visit the ABOUT page on that site for direction.
A hard copy of each volume is already available for purchase on Amazon.com and Amazon Europe. Search Restoration Scriptures Preview or the title of each work and you should find Vol. 1, 2 and 3. This copy is NOT formatted completely – it still has minor flaws in it. In fact, if you are happy to use the electronic copies that are available, you may want to wait until the scriptures have been sustained and scrubbed before buying a copy, as they may change. A final version will be produced that incorporates any changes sustained by this assembly and has been scrubbed of formatting errors.
Additionally, since Amazon won’t allow us to sell the copies at cost, the minimal royalties from the copies sold will be donated to the temple fund.
A quick side note: The reason the Creative Commons copyright for these scriptures is in my name is only because I am acting as the public face of this project. There are dozens of people that have contributed to it besides me.
A Research version of these scriptures is partially completed and available for download onwww.scriptures.info as well. Unlike the printed scriptures, this Research version will remain in electronic form – at least for now – and will differ in the following ways from the print copies:
●      Though retaining the new chapter groupings, all of the books have LDS chapter and verse numbers inserted to allow for easier research and for comparison with other versions of scripture.
●      The JST and D&C include both strikethroughs and additions visible in their original manuscripts.
●      The Book of Mormon footnotes all significant changes from the editions that were published during Joseph Smith’s lifetime. Any editions after his death were not approved by him and therefore have been ignored.
●      Items removed from the printed copy can be preserved in this copy for research purposes, including, for example, section 129.
●      Items of historical or educational significance deemed helpful may be added to this version. Recognize that the Research version is intended to expand details of the sustained scriptures, not supplant them.
We do have plans for a fancier set of scriptures being produced with bible stock paper, leather or faux leather covers, and so forth. That process is already underway, but anyone familiar with the process is invited to email us and lend a hand. I’m not sure of a time frame other than we’d like to have those available by the end of the year. But we won’t print any until after the sustaining conference.
For those who honestly can’t afford around $40 to purchase a set of these scriptures and can’t use electronic copies for now, if you have a local fellowship you meet with, ask them if they can provide you with a set. If they can’t meet your need, please use the email address given to request a set. We have several free sets available for the truly needy that are here at the conference. If there are those in need who could not attend, but would like a copy, please place a request at that same email address and a copy can be sent to you or your local fellowship.
THE NEXT CONFERENCE, which has been mentioned during this announcement, will be held in Boise, ID, Labor Day weekend, September 2-3, with the intent of approving the final content for the Restoration Edition of the scriptures and sustaining that edition as canon for this assembly. Today is the “open to public view” step of the process. Our team simply got the ball rolling. You will now have approximately 6 months to digest, critique and react to what the Lord has offered.
Please carefully consider what is being offered to us. Zion is the Lord’s work. So getting it will not depend on the goodness or desires of men and women, but on their submission to the Lord, who intends to accomplish it. WE can’t force it, cause it, bring it, or hope it into existence. What we can do is submit to the Lord in a way that encourages Him to continue to use us for His purposes.There is no need for an immediate, knee-jerk reaction to this announcement. You will have time to consider all of it before making a decision.
No sustaining or debate of the scriptures will take place during this conference. But your input is necessary and required. An email address has been provided specifically for that purpose. Please use RESTORATIONSCRIPTURES2017@GMAIL.COM to send in questions you have about what has been announced and provided. There likely won’t be enough time tomorrow to answer all the questions that get sent in, but any that aren’t addressed during tomorrow’s Q&A session will be replied to. But there’s no rush. If you have an immediate, burning question, please send it in quickly so that we have time this evening to prepare responses for tomorrow. Also, this same email address will be used over the next 6 months for additional questions and ongoing feedback in preparation for a sustaining conference. So if you don’t have a question or suggestion until June, you can still submit it and it will be addressed. But please refrain from pointing out formatting issues unless it is alarming. We will be combing through the books again to find them all.
If there’s a particular issue in these scriptures that is critical, in your opinion, email your concern and your reasoning to support your argument. It will be posted for others to view and consider. If you think that there is something else that belongs in this edition, feel free to email that suggestion as well. For example you might feel inspired about a principle that needs to be added to the Governing Principles statement. However, realize that what this edition now contains has been under the Lord’s direction for the past year and a half and He has provided, at times, direct input. And there is a rigorous set of questions to assist you in determining whether you should submit new material.
The PRELIMINARY SUBMISSION & CRITIQUE PROCESS works like this:
1.     Questions, suggestions, criticism and requests get submitted torestorationscriptures2017@gmail.com.
2.     From the end of the St. George conference until the 4th of July, a SUBMISSIONS list will be maintained on www.scriptures.info.
a.      The items on the list will come from emails submitted.
b.     That document will list the specific items that have been pointed out as concerns to be removed, modified or added to the Restoration Edition. The points made by the submitter will also be given. Please be aware that your reasoning will be significantly refined if you submit a long explanation, so keep things brief. And make sure that what you submit is scriptural, not simply personal opinion.
c.      If you have very strong feelings about any of the items on the list, email us and let us know. If you’re fine with what has been proposed today or if you don’t care one way or the other about the items on the list, don’t email us. Only those who are strongly opposed to an existing item or strongly in favor of adding or amending an item should email us during those first few months.
d.     The SUBMISSIONS document will be updated as needed.
3.     As of the 4th of July, a final SUBMISSIONS list will be posted which also includes the total number of emails for/against an item. We will then wipe the slate clean.
a.      From then on, no new items will be added to the list.
b.     People who are strongly advocating or opposing can again email their vote about the item(s).
4.     That new voting period runs from the 4th of July to the end of August.
a.      A final tally will then be taken.
b.     If there is no significant number of emails in opposition of an existing item or advocating a missing item or amendment, that item will be dropped.
c.      And if you email us 6 times, it still only counts as one vote for any item.
Benefits of this process are:
1.     We are using simple, easy to reach technology. Anyone can go online to do this – even if they have to go to a library or a friend to do so. And this can be done from anywhere in the world.
2.     By providing the reason why an item is listed, opposing voices get the chance to be heard and perhaps to persuade.
3.     Doing 2 rounds of voting gives everyone the chance to be persuaded over time and therefore find confidence of their final decision.
4.     Everyone gets an opportunity to be involved if they feel so inclined.
2 CRITICAL POINTS:
1.     Remember that what is important is the message, not the messenger, so focus on the content of this gift, not how it’s delivered.
2.     The most important lesson for our group was expressed in the course of our emailing back and forth. Someone said this: I would rather submit to the decision of the group than insist that my view be followed. For me harmony between brethren is more important than getting what I think best to be followed. I believe harmony can lead to much greater things than can merely enforcement of even a correct view. I know how difficult it is to have a correct view, because of how often I have been corrected by the Lord. Sometimes I am humiliated by my foolishness when the Lord reproves me. Humiliation can lead to humility, but my experience is that the humiliation is accompanied by shame, whereas humility can proceed with a clear conscience. My experience with others leads me to conclude that if we can have one heart first, eventually we can likewise come to have one mind. But if we insist on having one mind at the outset, we may never obtain one heart together.
So I make a request to all of you – from all of us: Kaai sent the team an email 3 weeks ago, just after we had submitted the final volume to our formatter. We had begun to consider this next step. So he wrote: One of the ways to hopefully mitigate the sheer volume of emails will be to encourage fellowships to meet together and come up with a consolidated list of questions/suggestions/ concerns/etc… If there are individuals not associated with a fellowship, then they’ll follow the standard process [on their own]. If they make it a matter of prayer and forethought, first as individuals, then families, then fellowships, and submit in that manner, we may be able to keep the volume manageable. It will allow fellowships to meet together for a directed purpose and importune the Lord for revelation. It will draw them closer together in the bonds of love as indicated in the General Principles preamble and make them accountable to each other for the questions raised. I think it also reinforces the manner in which the Lord would want us to approach any challenge or issue presented.
Please consider these points as you consider what you choose to advocate in the scriptures.
Given the experiences many have had with organized religion, it’s only natural for some people to have an aversion to “official” scriptures. But these volumes are not set in stone; rather, they are presented to you in the appropriate manner, and with sufficient time for the group’s collective review, critique, support, and, possible sustaining. The Lord deals with His people by covenant; accepting these scriptures as comprising the history, teachings, doctrine, and covenants of our faith represents another step in our collective journey towards having our hearts bound together. And this should remain a labor of love and devotion to God. Those involved in this work do not present these volumes with any other expectation than that we are to be called to answer to every principle advanced, and we hope and pray that this continued effort to preserve and honor the word of the Lord will be accepted by Him, and by you.
In closing, I’d like to read a journal entry from one of our team members from Feb 18th:
I checked the scripture email and saw that volume 2 had been formatted and is now ready to print. Upon opening the file and viewing the document I was filled with joy and with the Spirit and was given a prophecy by the spirit saying,
“These scriptures will go to all the world and teach every nation, kindred, tongue, and people, to bring in the children of Israel from the four corners of the earth.”

John Calvin Video

A new video about John Calvin has been put onto YouTube and can be viewed below:

 

Christian Rejection

I received an email rejecting a request for a speaking venue. The rejection included the writer’s assessment that I was “not a Christian” because of her narrow, Evangelical interpretation of the word. I responded as follows:

________________________________

As one who, like the Apostle Paul, has stood in the presence of Christ, and likewise been caught up into heaven and been taught unspeakable things, I know from the Lord’s own voice my standing before Him. Whether others regard me as a “Christian,” I know that Christ regards me as His devoted follower and faithful servant.

I likewise comprehend His grace for others, including those who would exclude me from being defined as “Christian,” and therefore exclude me from salvation itself.
 
Rather than debate, deny, or judge the “Christianity” of others using any criteria, Bible verse, or Protestant hope for salvation, I accept any person’s claim to be “Christian” as welcome news. Whether they lived for the first millennium and a half of Christian history when only the Catholic Church existed, or they divide themselves into groups claiming to hold the exclusive qualifications to be saved today.
 
I judge no man. I encourage them all to hold fast to the hope of salvation offered by Christ, even if they hold beliefs by which they judge and reject me as a fellow Christian.
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This intolerant and anti-Christian view rejects as un-Christian all those who think there is a necessary role for works in addition to faith. (See James 2:20 & 26: “Faith without works is dead”.) They ignore two verses penned by James. They reject three chapters of Christ’s teachings. (Matt. 5 through 7.) They reject Christ’s own submission to the ordinance of baptism “to fulfill all righteousness.” (Matt. 3:15.) These dogmatic and blind guides base their entire false construction on Paul’s letter to the Ephesians which states in passing: “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.” (Eph. 2:8-9.) It is a mistake to interpret Paul to be in conflict with Christ’s Sermon on the Mount, and if there is a conflict, we ought to obey Christ.
Paul taught in Ephesus, resided there for a time, and was acquainted with the arguments going on in that community when he wrote his letter to them. The document is literally “reading someone else’s mail” without the benefit of knowing the background of weeks of Paul’s teaching and information related to him from visitors to the city. We cannot now have any confidence that these two verses represent Paul’s understanding or even Paul’s oral teachings.
What we do know for certain, however, is that Christ instructed us to be the salt of the earth (Matt. 5:13) and light of the world (Matt. 5:14). It is anti-Christ to deny the obligation to be salt and to provide light. It is anti-Christ to reject Christ’s admonition to let the world “see your good works” if we are to follow Him. (Matt. 5:16.)
Christ warned us to “keep the commandments.” He cursed those who proclaim we are merely saved by grace and have no obligation to obey His commandments. He declared, “Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.” (Matt. 5:19.)
Christ then elevated the commandment to not kill, by warning Christians to “not be angry” with their brothers. (Matt. 5:21-22.) He explained that His followers would not even engage in Christian giving without first forgiving all those who offended them. (Matt. 5:23-24.)
Christ commanded us to agree with disputants, and not oppose them. We are to give what they demand of us rather than withhold even our cloak. (Matt. 5:25-26; 39-42.)
Christ elevated the commandment against committing adultery by commanding His followers to not entertain “lust in your heart.” (Matt. 5:27-28.)
Christ revoked divorce as an option for His followers, except in the case adultery. (Matt. 5:31-32.)
Christ commanded us to love even our enemies and return good for evil. (Matt. 5:43-47.)
Christ commanded us to “be perfect” as a follower and believer in Him. (Matt. 5:48.)
This is only the first of the three chapters of Christ’s instructions about what following Him requires.
James explained how a Christian is to follow Christ: “What doth it profit, my brethren, though a man say he hath faith, and have not works? can faith save him? If a brother or sister be naked, and destitute of daily food, And one of you say unto them, Depart in peace, be ye warmed and filled; notwithstanding ye give them not those things which are needful to the body; what doth it profit? Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone. Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works.” (James 2:14-18.)

Doctrine of Christ Conference

Doctrine of Christ Conference

A conference for all people seeking to follow the Doctrine of Jesus Christ

March 18th – 20th, 2017 — St. George, Utah, USA

The website with all the details is linked below:

http://www.doctrineofchristconference.com

September 21st California Talk

The plans for the first talk directed to a Christian audience have been finalized. This event is free to the public, and no donations will be solicited from those who attend. It will occur on a Thursday evening in the Los Angeles area at the Cerritos Center for the Performing Arts as described below:

 

Los Angeles, California

September 21, 2017
7:00-8:30pm

Picture

Cerritos Center for the Performing Arts

Sierra Room

12700 Center Court Drive
Cerritos, CA 90703

Directions & Parking

Christian Apostasy

Irenaeus lived approximately 130 a.d. to 202 a.d. The exact dates of his life are not known. Nor is the exact date he wrote his greatest work, a five-book series titled Against Heresies. His outline of heretical teachings is known to have been composed late in the second century. Until the discovery of the gnostic gospels at Nag Hammadi in 1945, it was from Against Heresies that most information about the gnostics was learned.

Irenaeus provides us a glimpse into the state of Christianity less than a century after the death of the apostles. What is revealed through that glimpse, is a bizarre bunch of conflicting views. Many of the teachings he condemned are so alien to today’s Christians that we would regard them as perverse aberrations. Yet they competed in the early Christian market place for converts, and claimed to be a true reflection of Christ’s teachings.

Christ foretold there would be “children of the wicked one” who would be planted among His “wheat” while they both grew together. (Matt. 13:24-30, 36-43.) The apostle Paul was astonished at how quickly the church at Galatia was corrupted with perverse teachings. (Gal. 1:6-7.) He predicted the entire falling away (apostasy) of the Christian church. (2 Thes. 2-3.)

While the apostles were alive and preaching, Christians divided themselves into contentious factions. Some followed one teacher, others another, and they emphasized their disagreements rather than their common beliefs. (1 Cor. 1:11-13.) “Ministers of Satan” were actively teaching inside the earliest bodies of Christians. (2 Cor. 11:13-15.) Paul lamented that “all of Asia” had fallen into error and rejected his teaching. (2 Tim. 1:15.) John warned of false spirits and false apostles who were spreading falsehoods that misrepresented Christ. (1 John 4:1-2.) By Nicaea, 324 a.d., the denial of Christ coming into the flesh was so widely accepted that a newly adopted and false teaching of the “Trinity” completed the overthrow of true doctrine regarding Christ who lived as a man in the flesh among us.

Even if falsehoods supplanted Christianity, John’s vision foretells that God’s patience will finally come to an end and the religions that worship devils, and gold, and silver and idols will be destroyed. (Rev. 9:20.)

If Christians were to examine the history of Mormonism, they would better understand how unclean spirits and false prophets overtook Christianity. (Rev. 16:13; also 2 Tim. 11:13-15.) Joseph Smith began Mormonism under the influence of one spirit, but upon his death, Brigham Young followed under the influence of another.

As a true shepherd would, Joseph gave his life for the sheep. (John 10:11.) Brigham Young declared he would flee and never surrender his life, a sign of a false shepherd. (John 10:12-13.) He proclaimed he was unwilling to lay down his life as Joseph did:

“But woe, woe to that man who comes here to unlawfully interfere with my affairs. Woe, woe to those men who come here to unlawfully meddle with  me and this people. I swore in Nauvoo, when my enemies were looking me in the face, that I would send them to hell across lots, if they meddle with me; and I ask no more odds of hell to-day.” (July 26, 1857.)

“A mob killed Joseph and Hyrum in jail, notwithstanding the faith of the State was pledged to protect them… I have broken no law, and under the present state of affairs, I will not suffer myself to be taken by any United States officer, to be killed as they killed Joseph.” (August 12, 1857.)

“Do you expect to stand still, sit still, or lie still, and untimely let them take away my life? I have told you a great many times what I have to say about that. I do not profess to be so good a man as Joseph Smith was. I do not walk under their protection nor into their prisons, as he did.” (August 9, 1857.)

Brigham Young advocated controlling people by holding economic power over them.  He explained how he envisioned keeping people in line and subordinate to him by getting them to consecrate their property to the church he led:

“If any man is in darkness through the deceitfulness of riches, it is good policy for him to bind up his wealth in this Church, so that he cannot command it again, and he will be apt to cleave to the kingdom. If a man has the purse in his pocket, and he apostatizes, he takes it with him; but if his worldly interest is firmly united to the Kingdom of God, when he arises to go away, he finds the calf is bound, and, like the cow, he is unwilling to forsake it.” (April 6, 1852.)

Brigham Young defied the US Government when its representatives were critical of his authoritarian rule in the Territory of Utah:

“What says the United States? ‘Let us send a governor there; let us send our judges there.’ But what do they cry? ‘We have no influence or power, for there are other men there who rule, and we cannot help it; they have the reins of government and turn the people whithersoever they will, and we cannot help ourselves.’ What did a gentleman say to [US President] Mr. Fillmore? Said he, ‘You need not send anybody there, for Brigham Young is Governor, and he will govern the people all the time; and there is no other man that can govern them.’ If there is any truth in this, it is, he will do so as long as the Lord lets him.” (October 3, 1852.)

On June 9, 1853, he threatened to kill any apostates or non-believers who opposed him in a public discourse. Beginning in 1855, God’s wrath at Brigham Young and his followers became evident in a series of natural disasters that caused famine and severe hardships. In response to these afflictions, Young increased his threatening and began a bloody period known as the Mormon Reformation. The Mountain Meadows Massacre was as a result, at least in part, by the fiery rhetoric Brigham Young preached during the Mormon Reformation.

Like the early Christians who were overcome by deceiving spirits, (Mark 13:5-6; 2 Tim. 3:13; 1 Cor. 15:33-34; Eph. 5:5-6) Mormonism was overcome by the lusts, appetites and ambitions of Young, who was animated by a very different spirit than Joseph Smith. The result of leading by that spirit is aptly described in the Book of Mormon:

“For the time speedily shall come that all churches which are built up to get gain, and all those who are built up to get power over the flesh, and those who are built up to become popular in the eyes of the world, and those who seek the lusts of the flesh and the things of the world, and to do all manner of iniquity; yea, in fine, all those who belong to the kingdom of the devil are they who need fear, and tremble, and quake; they are those who must be brought low in the dust; they are those who must be consumed as stubble; and this is according to the words of the prophet.” (1 Ne. 22:23.)

LDS Mormonism not only has been built up to get gain, but is a a multibillion dollar empire, able to undertake a trillion-dollar development for housing, and employing a population of 500,000 people in Florida on 133,000 acres. The LDS church is only partly religious, and has built a $2 to $5 billion dollar shopping mall-condominium housing-office complex across the street from its Salt Lake City temple. (The total cost depends on whether the retail establishment alone or the entire project is valued.) The LDS corporate church is now completing a similarly ambitious project in downtown Philadelphia adjacent to the temple it completed in September 2016.

Millions of faithful Mormons are entirely oblivious to the dramatic gulf between the scriptures, revelations and teachings of the founder Joseph Smith, and the replacement religion created through Brigham Young. That transition mirrors what happened to early Christianity. By the time only one Christian orthodox faith survived, it was also making merchandise of men’s souls. The description of Babylon the Great whore in John’s revelation accurately describes both the false Christian religious empire founded in Rome in the fourth century and the false Mormon empire founded by Brigham Young in the late 1840s:

“The merchandise of gold, and silver, and precious stones, and of pearls, and fine linen, and purple, and silk, and scarlet, and all thyine wood, and all manner vessels of ivory, and all manner vessels of most precious wood, and of brass, and iron, and marble, and cinnamon, and odours, and ointments, and frankincense, and wine, and oil, and fine flour, and wheat, and beasts, and sheep, and horses, and chariots, and slaves, and souls of men.” (Rev. 18:12-13.)

Christianity did not survive the second century. Mormonism did not survive it’s third decade. The answer to the question ‘why’ is the same: Both became more interested in getting economic gain, power over the flesh, becoming popular in the eyes of the world, and infatuated by the lusts of the flesh and the things of the world, than in practicing and preserving the faith taught by Christ. The Book of Mormon describes the corrupting influences infecting churches.

Christ’s religion requires sacrifice. Its reward is later, after this world. In this world, if we practice the faith taught by Christ, “we are of all men most miserable.” (1 Cor. 15:19.)

How can we support with our donations the false ministers who preach for hire and neglect the poor among us? How can we assume we will be saved by the smooth things we hear from our hireling priests? (Isa. 30:10.) How would we even recognize the truth after being taught lies pretending to define what it means to be “Christian”?