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

 

Agreement Through Spirit

Any true doctrine or principal can be used for evil, oppression and excess.  To rightly give measure to the matter in your own life you must be guided by the Spirit of the matter, not the mere letter of the doctrine. Each life is different. Each of us have our own responsibilities to our families, neighbors and communities. A true principal in operation in your life may look very different from its operation in mine.

Truth may be absolute, but lives are variegated and are lived in context. Hence the absolute requirement for individual revelation to guide each of us. And as a result we are all pathetically situated to judge one another, but ideally situated to show one another compassion.

We are only authorized to rebuke “when moved upon by the Holy Ghost” and then “showing forth afterwards an increase of love toward him whom thou hast reproved.” (D&C 121: 43.) Given how little we should want to rebuke others, it should be a profound spiritual moment when it is required of us by the Lord. Though, in truth, even then we should take little delight in dispensing rebukes.

Church Discipline Top-Down

The LDS Church issued the following statement posted on its website. I have copied and pasted as it appears in the original:

SALT LAKE CITY — 

The Church issued the following statement today in response to questions from the news media regarding Church discipline:
“The Church is a family made up of millions of individuals with diverse backgrounds and opinions. There is room for questions and we welcome sincere conversations. We hope those seeking answers will find them and happiness through the gospel of Jesus Christ.
“Sometimes members’ actions contradict Church doctrine and lead others astray. While uncommon, some members in effect choose to take themselves out of the Church by actively teaching and publicly attempting to change doctrine to comply with their personal beliefs. This saddens leaders and fellow members. In these rare cases, local leaders have the responsibility to clarify false teachings and prevent other members from being misled. Decisions are made by local leaders and not directed or coordinated by Church headquarters.
“Actions to address a person’s membership and standing in their congregation are convened after lengthy periods of counseling and encouragement to reconsider behavior. Ultimately, the door is always open for people to return to the Church.”
It is not true that discipline involving controversial members is exclusively the responsibility of “local leaders” acting independent of influence from the hierarchy. The hierarchy imposes their will from the top-down by instructing the local leaders on what they must do. In my case the news came directly from Elder Russell M. Nelson of the twelve, who presides over the Strengthening the Members Committee. Usually the news comes through Elder Whitney Clayton, one of the seven presidents.  He was also involved in my case, but the original pressure came through Elder Nelson directly.
The assertion by the church in their press release that “Decisions are made by local leaders and not directed or coordinated by Church headquarters” is false. In the case of public, controversial members, it is a lie.

I am far more disappointed the church would lie about what they do than I am at their inappropriate top-down behavior. The reason they lie about it is because they are violating the scriptural pattern for discipline. LDS scripture requires discipline to be local. It isn’t, so they lie to make it appear that way. Morally, lying to cover up their wrong doing is worse than admitting they manipulate local leaders. Now they are responsible for doing both. They should be more honorable.

History of D&C Section 27

Joseph Smith received a revelation on August 28th, 1830. When it was originally received, here is how it read in the first handwritten version (Revelation Book 1):

A Revelation to the Church given at Harmony sesquehann County State of Pennsylvania given to Joseph the Seer at a time that he went to punch wine Sacrament & he was stopped by an angel & he he spoke to him as follows Saying
Listen to the voice of Jesus Christ your Lord your God & your Redeemer whose word is quick & powerful for Behold I say unto you it mattereth not what ye shall eat or what ye shall drink when ye partake of the sacrament if it so be that ye do it with an eye single to my glory Remembering unto the father that my Body which laid down for you & my blood which was shed for you the Remission of y sins Wherefore a commandment I give unto you that ye shall not Purchase Wine neither strong drink of your enemies Wherefore ye shall partake none except it is made new among you yea in this my Fathers Kingdom which shall be built up on the earth Behold this is wisdom in me Wherefore marvel not for the hour cometh that I will drink of the fruit of the Vine with you on the Earth & with those whom my father hath given me out of the world Wherefore life up your hearts & rejoice & Gird up your loins & be faithful until I come even so amen.

The first time it was put into print WW Phelps was the editor in Missouri. The paper was The Evening and Morning Star. He edited it and the version he printed read as follows:

A COMMANDMENT GIVEN SEPTEMBER 4, 1830
LISTEN to the voice of Jesus Christ, your Lord, your God, and your Redeemer, whose word is quick and powerful.
For behold I say unto you, that it mattereth not what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink, when ye partake of the sacrament, if it so be that ye do it with an eye single to my glory; remembering unto the Father my body which was laid down for you, and my blood which was shed for the remission of sins:
Wherefore a commandment I give unto you, that you shall not purchase wine, neither strong drink of your enemies:
Wherefore you shall partake of none, except it is made new among you, yea, in this my Father’s kingdom which shall be built up on the earth.
Behold this is wisdom in me, wherefore marvel not, for the hour cometh that I will drink of the fruit of the vine with you, on the earth, and with all those whom my Father hath given me out of the world: Wherefore lift up your hearts and rejoice, and gird up your loins.

This printed version was from the Missouri press a mob destroyed. Some few copies still exist. But the press was destroyed and the effort had to be made again to publish the document. In Kirtland a new version was printed in the renamed paper. Whereas before it was THE Evening and Morning Star, in Kirtland the paper was titled: “Evening and Morning Star” (no “The” in the title of this newspaper). This version was edited and updated by Oliver Cowdery. He made additions to many of the revelations “to reflect current organization, doctrine, and practice, which had continued to develop side the revelations were first dictated.” (Joseph Smith Papers, “Revelations and Transcriptions,” Vol 2, p. 199.) Below is the version Oliver Cowdery printed (which subsequently became the source from which the 1835 edition of the D&C was taken):

REVELATION
Given September, 1830
Listen to the voice of Jesus Christ, your Lord, your God, and your Redeemer, whose word is quick and powerful.
For behold I say unto you, that it mattereth not what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink, when ye partake of the sacrament, if it so be that ye do it with an eye single to my glory; remembering unto the Father my body which was laid down for you, and my blood which was shed for the remission of your sins:
wherefore a commandment I give unto you, that ye shall not purchase wine, neither strong drink of your enemies:
wherefore you shall partake of none, except if is made new among you, yea, in this my Father’s kingdom which shall be built up on the earth.
Behold this is wisdom in me: wherefore marvel not for the hour cometh that I will drink of the fruit of the vine with you on the earth, and with Moroni, whom I have sent unto you to reveal the book of Mormon, containing the fulness of my everlasting gospel; to whom I have committed the keys of the record of the stick of Ephriam; and also with Elias, to whom I have committed the keys of bringing to pass the restoration of all things, or the restorer of all things spoken by the mouth of all the holy prophets side the world began, concerning the last days: ale also John the son of Zacharias, which Zacharias he (Elias) visited and gav promise that h should have a son, and his name should be John, and he should be filled with the spirit of Elias; which John I have sent unto you, my servants, Joseph Smith, jr. and Oliver Cowdery, to ordain you unto this first priesthood which you have received, that you might be called and ordained even as Aaron: and also Elijah, unto whom I have committed the keys of the power of turning the hearts of the fathers to the children and the hearts of the children to the fathers, that the whole earth may not be smitten with a curse: and also, with Joseph, and Jacob, and Isaac, and Abraham your fathers; by whom the promises remain: and also with Michael, or Adam, the father of all, the prince of all, the ancient of days.
And also with Peter, and James, and John, whom I have sent unto you, by whom I have ordained you and confirmed you to be apostles and especial witnesses of my name, and bear the keys of your ministry; and of the same things which I revealed unit them, unto whom I have committed the keys of my kingdom, and a dispensation of the gospel for the last time; and for the fulness of times, in the whih I will gather together in one all things both which are in heaven and which are on earth: and also with those whom my Father hath given me out of the world:
wherefore lift up your hearts and rejoice, and gird up your loins, and take upon you my whole armor, that ye may be able to withstand the evil day, having done all ye may be able to stand. Stand, therefore, having your loins girt about with truth; having on the breastplate of righteousness; and your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace which I have sent mine angels to commit unto you, taking the shield of faith wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked; and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of my Spirit, which I will pour out upon you, and my word which I reveal unto you, and be agreed as touching all things whatsoever ye ask of me, and be faithful until I come, and ye shall be caught up that where I am ye shall be also.  Amen.

I will not type the version now in your D&C. Nor will I contrast these versions with each other. It should be apparent, however, that the version given originally and what the editors did with it has been a “growing concern.” The 1835 D&C took the last version and edited it. Joseph Smith was on the editorial board for that version, however, Joseph spent his efforts editing the Lectures on Faith, to be part of the book. He “apparently relied on others to do the actual typesetting and printing and possibly the bulk of the editing, arranging, and other intellectual work needed to prepare the revelations for print.” (Joseph Smith Papers, “Revelations and Transcriptions,” Vol. 2, p. 305.) Therefore we do not know what Joseph thought of the editorial alterations made to Section 27.

Details For Ephriam, June 28th

The seventh talk in the series will be on June 28th at Snow College in Ephriam, Utah.

Eccles Performing Arts Center
Concert Hall (seats 700)
Center Street and 300 East
Parking across the street
Opens at 8:30 a.m.  Talk begins at 9:30 a.m.

Requests

I get lots of requests for endorsements, recommendations, for reviews, etc. Here is a recent one:

________________________________________________

Denver,
I’ve found that the word “restoration” is a double-edged sword. The Book of Mormon uses it to mean a sort of “karma,” that what we send out ultimately comes right back to us. In our modern-day vernacular, however, we define it as what Joseph brought back. In other words, he “restored” the opportunity for man to touch heaven and visa-versa. I believe, however, that we can get into trouble using this term, because we are confused about exactly what is being restored. The modern-day Church tells us that it’s the “keys” and authority which are restored to us, but many reject that, saying that Joseph took the power with him to the grave, and we have been lost ever since. These “purists” I’ll call them (not going to say fundamentalists) look at everything that happened until Joseph’s death and seek to “restore” whatever it was that existed in that day (tithing, Word of Wisdom, etc.)
The question which keeps coming back to me is this: Why do we insist on restoring something that history proves did not work? We don’t know how long after the “Book of the Lamb” came out of the “mouth of a Jew” that it became corrupted. It seems, though, that it wasn’t much longer than a single generation. Yet, the Church insists that something called The Apostasy came along and merely put “the true church” on ice for 1700 years or so, and now we are just picking up where they left off. But if it didn’t work for them and was perverted so quickly, why would it work for us? Likewise, if we attempt to restore ourselves to what Joseph had in mind, isn’t it likely that we will fall into the same trap? While I have no doubts that Joseph was trying to tell us something important, how is it that we will come to understand it using the same failed approach? If we think we can know Joseph’s mind based on the tampered records we have, aren’t we going to repeat what happened with the “primitive church”? What’s to stop a recurrence of that history? Are we so much more enlightened and special than those in Christ’s or Joseph’s day?
I would even suggest that we cannot rely completely on the model given us in the Book of Mormon after Jesus’ death. Yes, the people had Zion on earth for three to four generations, but with that light came a higher degree of accountability, and ultimately they failed to the point that their whole culture was obliterated. So are we better than those Nephites, who had the pure record of the Brass Plates as well as (presumably) the extended words of Christ given in Bountiful AND the three who tarried (actual witnesses to the events of Christ’s day)?
If, as you say, “Mankind gets it wrong all the time. The great challenge is to finally get it right,” (which I believe is true), then why do we insist on “restoring” the thing which experience has proven wrong? If you believe the prophecies of the Book of Mormon, the Gentiles will eventually succeed to the point that they will be forever brought out of “captivity.” Sooner or later, they will take this “standard” to the rest of Israel, who will never again be “confounded” because of what the Gentiles teach them. I think that in order for these prophesies to be fulfilled, there needs to be innovation on the part of the Gentiles. I realize that this, too, can be a dangerous path to walk because the tendency is to become proud, puffed up, and to set ourselves up as a light. But I don’t see that it can be done without using our creativity to form a vessel that the Lord can finally fill. Will there be failures with this course of action? Yes, of course. We should expect and even welcome them, because it is by seeing our weaknesses that they become strengths.
Thankfully, we have been given some excellent guidelines to keep us from going off-track. I think the best ones were given by the Savior Himself at the Sermon in Bountiful when He sums up “perfection” as things like blessing those who curse you, walking a mile with those who ask, and looking past the performances of The Law and into our own hearts. We know that the Spirit of Christ is given to every person so that they may know good from evil, and anything that invites and persuades to “believe in Christ” is approved of God. Since we have an outline of what it means to believe Him, it is very helpful. Surely, there is a lot of wiggle room in our efforts to “finally get it right.” I believe we should be more afraid of not trying than of failure, because doing nothing means stagnation while failure gives us experience.
It is with this in mind that I would like to invite you and anyone else to participate in an “experiment” with me. Over the course of the last seven years, I have received a series of visions. In the process of searching to understand the meaning, I have developed a hypothesis of how the Lord manifests His heavenly gift to the world, and specifically how the Spirit has been “poured out” to the Gentiles. For the next 3 months, I will share what I have experienced with anyone who cares to read, at the following url: www.12visions.blogspot.com. I do not expect you or others to believe anything about what I have learned or what I share. In fact, I would like to remain anonymous and let the content speak for itself. On June 1, it will be exactly seven years since I received the initial vision, so that will be the day I post it.
The Book of Mormon tells us that someday the Gentiles and all the world will read a book containing the “words which were sealed…upon the house tops; and they shall be read by the power of Christ…” I wonder, what is this “power of Christ” which will give people the ability to comprehend something that had previously been “hid from the eyes of the world”? In my opinion, the only way to find out is to experiment until something sticks. While we should not and cannot innovate God’s word, perhaps there are ways of seeing and understanding it that we have not tried. I hope that you are open to exploring the possibilities with me.

_________________________________________________________
I cannot be responsible for what anyone says other than myself, or what others believe. Therefore I do not visit other sites, review other blogs, or read other writers when they are advancing new doctrine. I study history, and read a good deal of historical works. I read all the Joseph Smith Papers volumes as they come out. My wife keeps me informed about things on the Internet, when she believes I should hear about them. But I have little time to keep up with all I must do. Therefore I doubt I will ever see this, or any other website discussing new doctrinal thoughts. I’m focused on a return to the beginnings of Mormonism.

Christ’s Sacrament

Christ instituted the sacrament during the Passover meal. (See Matt. 26: 26-28; Mark 14: 22-24; Luke 22: 19-20; John gives no description in his account.) It was His “last supper” with His closest followers. All the accounts agree on the purpose: to remember the body and blood He would sacrifice on our behalf.
When the Lord appeared to the Nephites, He proclaimed He had fulfilled the law. (3 Ne. 15: 5-8.) All the rites and sacrifices added through Moses pointed to His great sacrifice of His body and blood.
Christ blessed the sacrament many times in His appearances to the Nephites. (3 Ne. 18: 3; 3 Ne. 20: 3-8; and 3 Ne. 26: 13.) Just like the descriptions given in the New Testament, no prayer is recorded in the Book of Mormon accounts. But in both the New Testament and Book of Mormon, the purpose is the same: to remember His body and His blood, which were shed as a sacrifice for His followers.
The sacrament prayer is not recorded in any of our scriptures until Moroni chapters 4: 3, for the bread, and 5: 2, for the wine.
Mormon and Moroni lived four hundred years after Christ appeared to the Nephites. However, they learned from first-hand participants in Christ’s sacrament. Three of the Disciples taught by Christ lived to minister to Mormon and Moroni. (Mormon 8: 10-11.) Therefore, Moroni’s account is taken from the very witnesses to whom Christ gave instructions regarding the sacrament prayers. There is only one blessing to be given for the bread, and one to be given for the wine. The prayers, like all the scriptural accounts, focus on Christ and His great sacrifice on our behalf. 
The purpose of the sacrament is to remember Christ. It is to remind us of His body which was broken to fulfill the required sacrifice. It is to remind us of His blood which was shed for our redemption.
It is not an ordinance intended to:
-Praise us
-Assure us we are “chosen”
-Flatter us
-Make us feel we are better and more holy than others. These are corrupt ideas, coming from a false spirit intending to supplant Christ as the object of devotion and worship. They are, in a word, anti-Christ.
Any man claiming to have authority to change the sacrament through a higher revelation given to him is deceived, or a liar. There is no such thing. Nor did the Lord offer three different “levels” of sacrament when He appeared to the Nephites. Remember there were different people there the second day than the first. If He changed the ordinance the second day, then those newcomers would have heard a different version than the day before. Christ would have introduced confusion and division as people debated among themselves which was approved. Basing the claim to have a new, higher “level” of sacrament because of the silence in the Book of Mormon regarding the words of the sacrament prayer, is foolishness and error. All confusion should be removed when Moroni recorded the prayers.

In our day the sacrament prayers were given to us in a new revelation. Those words are identical to those recorded by Moroni. (See D&C 20:77, 79.) Only a fool will trifle with the souls of men. 

Can It Be Done, Lord?

Enthusiasm can lead to impatience. Impatience causes those who ought to await direction from the Lord to charge ahead and be destroyed.

But it is better for the impatient to be drawn away than gather to destroy the work of God.

A strait and narrow way will be found by only few. (Jacob 6: 11-12.) To find it the few will confront dozens of voices imploring them to diverge from what God has underway (2 Ne. 2: 11), crying “Lo, Here!” and “Lo, There!” (JS-H 1: 5.) It is required for the few to reject false offers of salvation, purported higher knowledge, pacifying doctrines, flattery and errors coming from teachers who command people to hearken to their precepts. (2 Ne. 28: 20-32.)

How the Lord can accomplish His work in this fallen place will be a wonder to behold. None in this generation seem to have the patience to allow Him to do as He has promised.

Can it be done, Lord?
________________
Fear not… “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand. My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father’s hand. I and my Father are one.” (John 10: 27-30.)

Themes From Email

I have been answering emails and I detect some themes. Apparently enthusiasm abounds and there are people who desire to lead others. Here are some thoughts:

Teaching your own revelations to others is easy. But that will produce vanity and pride in the teacher, and the student is prone to be misled and likely to displace worship of God to the teacher. (See D&C 76: 99-103.) I confine what I do to expounding the scriptures. There is never any reason to notice the teacher if attention is focused on the scriptures which bear testimony of Christ.

Revelations come from many sources, only one of which is steadfast and true. (D&C 46: 7-9.) Just because you receive a revelation does not mean it comes from God. You must labor even after you receive revelation to determine if what has been received comes from the right source. The scriptures are the best way to measure such things.

The result of faith in Christ should be that we are better servants to our fellow-man. (Mosiah 2: 17.)
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Since I have never attended a Jedi class, I cannot comment on them.

Doug Mendenhall’s work in arranging events, scheduling rooms, and recording and distributing CDs enables me to come and talk and not worry about the logistics of the lecture. He pays his way, provides the recording equipment and fulfills deliveries. I pay for rental of the site.
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The ordinances are eternal. They do not and cannot change. When changed, the covenant is broken. God cannot and does not change His word. When men change it, they break the covenant and have no promise. (Isa. 24: 5-6.) [The addition of outward observances in the Law of Moses were merely added, and then fulfilled in Christ’s coming and sacrifice. Then, having been fulfilled, they were no longer necessary to observe. (3 Ne. 12: 17-18.) When, however, they were being observed, they did not change. From Moses to John, they were unchanged.]

Any time a teaching, doctrine or precept appeals to the vanity or pride of the audience, it should be questioned. Flattery is of the Devil. (2 Ne. 28: 9-12; Jacob 7: 2.) On the other hand, if it brings you down into the depths of humility, provokes repentance and an abandonment of sin, it is from God.

The requirement for discernment is imposed on all of us. If you continue to follow a man who changes the ordinances, his teachings will eventually reach a point where he will demand you obey his revelations and submit to his will. Eventually you will have witness enough of where you are carefully being led.
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I do not think it essential to understand “the manner of prophesying among the Jews.” (2 Ne. 25: 1-2.) Nephi lived about a century and a quarter after Isaiah. He was informed by the visions of heaven. He saw what Isaiah saw. Therefore, he could interpret Isaiah’s prophecies from a higher source. If a technical understanding could provide an advantage, then the Jews would have avoided their Old Testament troubles and converted en-mass during New Testament times. I think Joseph was right: “Could you gaze into heaven five minutes, you would know more than you would by reading all that ever was written on the subject.” (TPJS, p. 324.)

Prophecy does not give us the details beforehand. We can only know the “season” of the times. (Matt. 16: 2-3.) When the events are upon us, we will know how God intends to fulfill His promises.
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If your search does not include your spouse, you are leaving behind the very means by which God exalts mankind. (1 Cor. 11: 11.) You will not gain entry.

Excommunication Does Not Remove Priesthood

Excommunication does not remove priesthood. When excommunicated the church requests that priesthood not be used during the period of exclusion from church membership. But priesthood itself is not and cannot be removed by an excommunication proceeding.

Priesthood can and is removed by God. He removes it when men who have been ordained use their authority to “cover [their] sins, or to gratify [their] pride, [their] vain ambition, or to exercise control or dominion or compulsion upon the souls of the children of men” at which point “behold, the heavens withdraw themselves; the Spirit of the Lord is grieved; and when it is withdrawn, Amen to the priesthood or the authority of that man.” (D&C 121: 37.)

So if a man has not lied, nor cheated, nor committed adultery, nor violated his covenants with God, but is excommunicated because he thinks something the church does not want him to think, it is possible priesthood may be forfeited if this man is excommunicated, but this would not be the man targeted for excommunication. Such a church court would exercise the control, the compulsion, and the dominion against the man. He is not and cannot be responsible for wrongly using priesthood to control another, for he is not seeking to force others to think like he does.

If, therefore, excommunication affects priesthood, the way that would manifest itself is in the members of the court/council forfeiting their priesthood by their wrongful acts. Similarly, other priesthood authorities who participated, encouraged, ratified and sustained the court’s wrongful deed would share in the responsibility and be similarly responsible for the abuse.

In every case of excommunication, the one on trial is not regarded by the church as losing their priesthood. They are instead requested to temporarily stop using it. Inside the church itself, they are not permitted to use it. But it is up to the individual to decide whether or not to use it in other circumstances. Before annotations were made to church membership records, the way excommunication was apparent was by comparing the date of baptism to the date of ordination. If a member had been ordained before their baptism, then it was apparent they had been excommunicated.

Orson Pratt was ordained an Apostle as one of the original Twelve on April 26, 1835.  He was excommunicated August 20, 1842. He was reinstated on January 20, 1843. He was never re-ordained an Apostle when reinstated. However, his “seniority” in the Quorum of the Twelve was reckoned from the date of his readmission in January 1843 and therefore he moved down in seniority and Brigham Young became his senior.

Every other Apostle who was excommunicated was similarly readmitted without being re-ordained.

No one is re-ordained when re-baptized. Their original ordination stands.

Excommunicants are only requested to not use their priesthood. But they still possess it.