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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.

 

Christ the Father

After Christ redeems the brother of Jared from the fall (Ether 3:13), He explains to the brother of Jared the doctrine of Christ’s Fatherhood. The doctrine is simple. It is an elaboration on what Christ taught in the New Testament.

Here is the doctrine: “Behold, I am he who was prepared from the foundation of the world to redeem my people. Behold, I am Jesus Christ. I am the Father and the Son. In me shall all mankind have life, and that eternally, even they who shall believe on my name; and they shall become my sons and my daughters.” (Ether 3:14). In other words, because of our sins and the fall we have experienced, our relationship as sons and daughters of the Father cannot be restored without an intermediary who is willing to cleanse us and to accept us as His son.

This is what Jesus had reference to in John 14:6 when He declared: “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” If you find yourself in the circumstance that a voice from heaven declares unto you that you are a son of God because this day He has begotten you (Psalms 2:7) that voice will be Christ’s, your Father will be Christ, and you will understand that Christ is the Father and the Son.

An unknown piece of music

Sunday night I was up late praying and thinking about many things. Sometime shortly after midnight I quieted down and began listening carefully to KBYU FM (classical 89.1) which had been playing in the background. As I listened, they played a piece that sounded to me like it was played on a french horn. Most of the piece was a solo. The piece was delicate, despite the instrument, and it soared and delivered runs of delicate notes. It was astonishing that these notes could come from such a limited instrument. Now I know that there are competent french horn players, and that with practice it is possible to acquire this kind of skill and delicacy with a somewhat cumbersome instrument.

When the piece ended, the KBYU announcer, Peter Van de Graff, informed me that this piece had been played on the tuba. This stunned me. I have never met nor heard any one who can take that heavy, cumbersome and relatively inarticulate instrument and turn it into something that can play music wihch can soar into the skies and dance about like a piccolo. Here are a couple of examples: Baaddsvick and Marshall. The tuba is primarily a percussion instrument. It is like a bass guitar in a rock and roll band. They both thump out a foundation upon which the rest of the orchestra or rock band build melodies. While they exist, there are comparatively few bass guitar solos in rock music. The bass player for Primas, Les Claypool, is a rare exception, but even his amazing gift is mostly percussion. Moving them out of that role is akin to asking Andre the Giant to perform ballet.

As I pondered this, it struck me how very like the heavy, inarticulate, restricted instrument mankind is. But a skilled musician took the very same thing which in normal use gives merely a pounding back beat and brought it front and center in a solo that soared to heaven. If such skill can bring the tuba into submission, then with practice, diligence, desire and the help of God, we can likewise bring ourselves into harmony with God. All things typify Christ and the Gospel. Even that wonderful piece played on a tuba.

My vision of how high man can soar was ratified anew in the testimony of that skilled musician. I believe once we find it is possible to delicately soar in concert with heaven and enjoy the thrilling harmony in God’s creation, that alone should help us rise up. May we each have the humility and the patience and undertake the long-suffering to change our clumsy efforts into a delicate symphony, even so amen.

The Equinox

This coming weekend will mark the final Equinox of the year. One in the spring, marking the change from winter to spring, and this one marking the change from summer to fall. Apart from separating our designation of the seasons, these times also represent the most colorful times of the year. New and colorful life in nature stirs with the promise of fruit, flowers and planting. In contrast, the coming event marks the harvest when nature’s bounty is gathered. In an agrarian society it is a time to enjoy the fruit, work is reduced, and the brilliant colors of a season well spent in growth shows its retirement for a time.

The fall Equinox is the time when, year after year, the Angel visited with Joseph. It is also when the plates were turned over to Joseph in that final year. This may not be mere coincidence. Every Equinox marks the balance of light and dark all over the world. From the North Pole to the South Pole, every place is in harmony with the sun. Wherever man lives, they receive the light equally; twelve hours of light and twelve hours of dark.

Joseph trusted in the power of that time, and perhaps waited to inquire as to his standing before the Lord specifically trusting that day would produce an answer.(JSH 1: 29) I also believe the balance of light has spiritual meaning.

Days and seasons do not control angelic visitations. They happen without regard to the calendar, but according to the will of God. However our faith matters. If we have great confidence, like Joseph, then marking your submission to heaven and desire to know your standing before the Lord may well be aided by such confidence.

I must confess, although I have had a number of visits, none have been calendar related so far as I can tell. There are many scriptural records of visitations that appear to have nothing to do with the dates on the calendar. They appear to me to be based on circumstances and our needs here, or upon the will of God. Therefore, I do not believe anyone is precluded from a visit at any time of the year.

Having said all that, I do not think the Equinox should go unnoticed. And, Joseph was alone when he was visited.

Edit: A worthy cause

A CPA in our ward has been working with the Kunz family to straighten out the donation account. There was an account that was being used (an already existing account), that has now been closed. There is a new donation account with the last four digits 7987.

We would like to thank all of you for your generosity in donating, or trying to donate.  The Kunz family is deeply appreciative, as are we.

“Keys” as Challenge

What if “keys” are better viewed as a signal, or a sign post along a pathway? Instead of “I hold ‘keys’ and so I hold something of value.”

The better view might be “I have been told one ‘key’ to my calling is to have angels minister to men. Therefore, I know this is a critical matter, or a key to search into.”

What if “holding a key” is better viewed as being given a strong guide or route to take? It points you to something you need to obtain. You have a “key” and now need to discover what it is that must be unlocked.

A “key” is something used to open a lock. It is also something that is “important” or “central in importance.” A “keystone” is the point in an arch that fits in the center, holding the arch together. Upon it all else rests.

If the word is viewed using these meanings, it suggests that holding a “key” implies using it in action. The First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve use their key positions to manage and maintain the worldwide church organization. If not for that constant oversight, the organization of the church would lapse into disorganization. Their “keys” are indispensable to hold the entire structure together. Without them at the center, like a “keystone,” the “building” would collapse. But the Gospel (and the church) is not a spectator sport. Even if fifteen presiding authorities waste and wear out their lives keeping the church organized, no one will be saved by observing them. It devolves upon us, each one, to obtain the keys of our own salvation by a covenant with God.

Offices belonging to others are their responsibility. For you, there are “keys” which come to us in our own sphere. We are all asked to rise up in testimony and knowledge until, at last, we arrive at “the perfect day” of understanding. (D&C 50: 24.) We are all invited to come to know the Lord, see His face, and know that He is. (D&C 93: 1.)

Can you imagine what a different church it would be if we were all able to say we know for ourselves, nothing doubting, our Lord? Can you imagine how all the problems we now face would evaporate overnight, if our quest was to grow from grace to grace until we too receive of the Father’s fullness? (D&C 93: 20.) Most of what now afflicts us would become trivial, left behind as we grow in light and truth. (D&C 50: 23-25.)

Our temple rites symbolize the trek back to the presence of God. All of us, male and female, receive the same ceremonial blueprint to build upon. Every person within the church should obey and sacrifice (for God and not man), then learn through service, the Gospel of Christ by walking in His footsteps.You agreed to undertake obedience and sacrifice before committing to following His Gospel. This order is critical. Without it, you could err in thinking the Gospel will come to you without sacrifice.

From the Lectures on Faith, Lecture 6:

7. Let us here observe, that a religion [meaning true religion, no matter what another may say or do that tempts you to depart from it] that does not require the sacrifice of all things, never has power [forget about office or position or authority to conduct a meeting, and realize this is the power to obtain eternal life] sufficient to produce the faith necessary unto life and salvation; for from the first existence of man, the faith necessary unto the enjoyment of life and salvation never could be obtained without the sacrifice of all earthly things [meaning your own reputation, your standing, and any praise you may hope to gain from others– all must be laid upon the altar even if your fellow Latter-day Saint falsely accuses you]: it was through this sacrifice, and this only, that God has ordained that men should enjoy eternal life; and it is through the medium of the sacrifice of all earthly things, that men do actually know that they are doing the things that are well pleasing in the sight of God [because God will make that known directly to you and you will know, nothing doubting]. When a man has offered in sacrifice all that he has, for the truth’s sake, not even withholding his life, and believing before God that he has been called to make this sacrifice, because he seeks to do his will, he does know most assuredly, that God does and will accept his sacrifice & offering, & that he has not nor will not seek his face in vain. Under these circumstances, then, he can obtain the faith necessary for him to lay hold on eternal life.

8 It is in vain for persons to fancy to themselves that they are heirs with those, or can be heirs with them, who have offered their all in sacrifice, and by this means obtained faith in God and favor with him so as to obtain eternal life, unless they in like manner offer unto him the same sacrifice [which you learn in the temple rites and which you have covenanted to do], and through that offering obtain the knowledge that they are accepted of him.

This outlines the “keys” for your own salvation. Seek for these for they belong to each of us. Do not be jealous of church positions, they do not matter and are not necessary. One thing is necessary; therefore choose the better part. (Luke 10: 39-42.)

Keys of Ministering of Angels

The Aaronic Priesthood has the “keys of the ministering of angels.” (D&C 84: 26.) This raises these questions:
-Do the “keys of ministering of angels” guarantee the holder he will entertain angels?
-Does the ministry of angels depend entirely on possession of these keys?
-Does the appearance of an angel necessarily mean the one to whom the angel appears holds the Aaronic Priesthood? Even in the case of a woman, such as Mary? (Luke 1: 26-27.)
-If the appearance of an angel does not equate with holding of the Aaronic Priesthood, then does it equate with holding the keys of ministering of angels?
-Can the keys of ministering of angels be separated from the Aaronic Priesthood, or are they entirely confined to this priesthood?
-If the keys can be separated from the priesthood, then what is priesthood and what are “keys?”

We tend to gloss over a great deal and have too little curiosity about important questions. In The Second Comforter, I explained part of being “childlike” is to possess relentless curiosity about things you do not understand. We should try to get every answer to every question we can obtain from God. First through the scriptures. Then through prayer and inquiry.

What if “keys to the ministering of angels” are not coequal with the Aaronic Priesthood? Who or under what circumstances could angels minister in the absence of Aaronic Priesthood? Are there “keys” conferred whenever an angel ministers to a person, any person? If an angel appears to a woman in Tibet, does that appearance give her the “keys of ministering of angels” even if she is not Mormon? If so, what is meant by “keys of ministering of angels?”

If an angel has appeared to someone outside the church, and if, because of that, the person does hold some “keys” because of an actual appearance, what of the Mormon priest who has never had an angel appear to him? If he has never had an angelic visitor, does he still hold the “keys of the ministering of angels?”

Do “keys of the ministering of angels” guarantee angels will appear? If not, then what do the “keys” entail? What do they confer? Must an angel minister to the key holder if he demands it? Are angels subject to the keys or not? If not, then how should these “keys” be understood:
-As a right?
-As a privilege?
-As an invitation?
-As a matter to inquire into until you have understanding?

What is Meant by Keys

There are many different ways in which the words “key” or “keys” are used in scripture. It is an interesting topic to research. President John Taylor was so interested in the word that he did a study he titled, “The Book of Keys” wherein he attempted to reconstruct the topic in whole. So far as I have been able to learn, that book no longer exists.

In Temple Recommend interviews you are asked to acknowledge the current church president “holds all the keys” and “is the only person authorized to exercise them” on the earth today. This is a question we all answer. But in discussions with bishops, stake presidents, religion professors, friends and mission presidents, I’ve never been able to determine, nor has anyone been able to explain what is included. Below is the answer given in The Encyclopedia of Mormonism, (entry written by Alan Perish):

The keys of the priesthood refer to the right to exercise power in the name of Jesus Christ or to preside over a priesthood function, quorum, or organizational division of the Church. Keys are necessary to maintain order and to see that the functions of the Church are performed in the proper time, place, and manner. They are given by the laying on of hands in an ordination or setting apart by a person who presides and who holds the appropriate keys at a higher level. Many keys were restored to men on earth by heavenly messengers to the Prophet Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery.
The keys of the kingdom of God on earth are held by the apostles. The president of the church, who is the senior apostle, holds all the keys presently on earth and presides over all the organizational and ordinance work of the Church (D&C 107:8-9, 91-92). He delegates authority by giving the keys of specific offices to others (D&C 124:123). Only presiding priesthood officers (including General Authorities, stake presidents, mission presidents, temple presidents, bishops, branch presidents, and quorum presidents) hold keys pertaining to their respective offices. Latter-day Saints distinguish between holding the priesthood and holding keys to direct the work of the priesthood: one does not receive additional priesthood when one is given keys (Joseph F. Smith, IE 4 [Jan. 1901]:230).
The Prophet Joseph Smith taught that “the fundamental principles, government, and doctrine of the Church are vested in the keys of the kingdom” (TPJS, p. 21). “The keys have to be brought from heaven whenever the Gospel is sent”; they are revealed to man under the authority of Adam, for he was the first to be given them when he was given dominion over all things. They have come down through the dispensations of the gospel to prophets, including Noah, Abraham, Moses, Elijah; to Peter, James, and John; and to Joseph Smith and the designated prophets of the latter days (HC 3:385-87). Keys to perform or preside over various priesthood functions were bestowed upon Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery by John the Baptist (see Aaronic Priesthood: Restoration), by Peter, James, and John (see Melchizedek Priesthood: Restoration of Melchizedek Priesthood), and by Moses, Elias, and Elijah in the Kirtland Temple (see Doctrine and Covenants: Sections 109-110).
Many types of keys are mentioned in the scriptures of the Church (see MD, pp. 409-13). Jesus Christ holds all the keys. Joseph Smith received the keys pertaining to the restoration of the gospel of Jesus Christ (D&C 6:25-28;28:7;35:18), and through him the First Presidency holds the “keys of the kingdom,” including the sealing ordinances (D&C 81:1-2;90:1-6;110:16;128:20;132:19). Specific mention of certain keys and those who hold them include the following: The Quorum of the Twelve Apostles exercises the keys “to open the door by the proclamation of the gospel of Jesus Christ” in all the world (D&C 107:35;112:16;124:128). Adam holds “the keys of salvation under the counsel and direction of the Holy One,” and “the keys of the universe” (D&C 78:16; TPJS, p. 157); Moses, “the keys of the gathering of Israel” (D&C 110:11); Elias, the keys to bring to pass “the restoration of all things” (D&C 27:6); and Elijah, “the keys of the power of turning the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the hearts of the children to the fathers” (D&C 27:9). Holders of the Melchizedek Priesthood are said to have “the keys of the Church,” “the key of knowledge,” and “the keys of all the spiritual blessings of the church” (D&C 42:69;84:19;107:18), while belonging to the Aaronic Priesthood are “the keys of the ministering of angels, and of the gospel of repentance, and of baptism by immersion for the remission of sins” (D&C 13:1;84:26). All these stewardships will eventually be delivered back into the hands of Jesus Christ (TPJS, p. 157).

As far as it goes, I think this is a good attempt. But when church members are asked if the church president holds “all the keys” I cannot be certain the above definition is what is meant. Here is the clearest way I think it is illustrated:

From the smallest branch to the largest ward, through all the areas, missions, stakes, wards and branches of the church, there is not a single place in the church where President Thomas Monson would not be recognized as the presiding authority in any meeting he attended. He could go anywhere, in any location, in any meeting, and he alone would be the final authority. While a bishop presides and has the keys over his ward, and in that ward can call or release anyone to any position, President Monson would preside over that bishop if he were to attend the ward. No one would doubt or question whether President Monson could release and call a replacement bishop in that, or any, ward. The same is true of any stake president, or any mission president or any area authority, or any general authority. There is simply no one other than President Monson alone who holds the keys to put the church in order. Period.

I think this is the best definition of “all the keys.” 

Bearing Testimony v. Presiding

When Mary Magdalene, and Joanna and Mary and other women saw the angels in the empty tomb, and then testified of what they saw and knew, were they disrespecting the proper authority? (Luke 24: 1-10.) Was there something improper about them knowing something that the Lord’s Apostles did not know yet? (Luke 24: 11-12.)

Was there something wrong with the Lord appearing to, and speaking with Mary on the morning of His resurrection, even before He returned to His Father? (John 20: 11-17.)

Was there something improper, too sacred, or too private in these events to prevent these witnesses from testifying of them? Isn’t everyone required to bear their testimony of the Lord? If those who can read the Lord’s revelation are required to testify they have “heard his voice” (D&C 18: 35-36) how much greater an obligation is imposed upon those who have seen Him?

Testimony of Christ is not co-equal with presiding. All who can do so should testify. Presiding, however, is based on the common consent given exclusively to those who are in the church’s hierarchy. Unless sustained to such presiding positions, no one has the right to such office. (D&C 26: 2; 28: 13.)

A Worthy Cause

A family in my ward lost their father in a one-car accident on Tuesday, August 14. He leaves behind a family in need. There is a fund established to help the family members at Wells Fargo Bank. If any of you have the means and would like to do so, donations can be given at any Wells Fargo Bank to: The Todd Kunz Family Memorial Fund.

I have home taught this family for many years. His wife is a wonderful woman left now to care for the family alone. There are two grandchildren belonging to the oldest son and his wife. I’ve followed their son’s missionary work in Kenya and seen the faithfulness of this good family. Another son just finished high school and isn’t old enough for a mission yet. Their youngest daughter is the same age as one of my daughters.

Todd was a gentle, decent and caring man. He did volunteer work at the Utah State Prison, and helped others in need. Circumstances combined to take his life at this moment leave his family in need of help. If you can assist, it will go directly to the fund. Only his family can access the account.

UPDATE: Last four digits of the account for verification purposes 4899