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BFHG, Part 2

At the time Joseph and Oliver were baptized, they had no authority from heaven with which to confer the Holy Ghost. (JS-H 1: 70.) They had no ordinance available to them other than baptism. (JS-H 1: 70-71.) They performed the ordinance as instructed. But afterwards, without any authority to confer upon one another the Holy Ghost, they nevertheless had the gift of the Holy Ghost poured out upon them. (JS-H 1: 73.) This was not merely a temporary visit. It lingered thereafter with them so they could understand the scriptures in the manner they were intended to be understood when these scriptures were first inspired by the Holy Ghost in the minds of the prophets who wrote them. (JS-H 1: 74.)

The Holy Ghost can come and visit with a person, but not tarry with them. (D&C 130: 23.) If it comes and visits with them, then it is said the person has “received” the Holy Ghost. This kind of visit is conditional. It is dependent upon the worthiness and desire of the recipient. If they “grieve” the spirit by misbehavior, it will depart from them. If you read general conference talks discussing this issue, you will find this is the form of Holy Ghost received by members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. For the Holy Ghost to become a constant companion which tarries, it is said to be “the gift of the Holy Ghost.” Because the one with this endowment has received a gift from God, and it is given to them by God to be theirs.

The ordinance given when converts are confirmed members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints includes these words: “And I say unto you, receive the Holy Ghost.” This is the formula given in the priesthood manuals of the church, and is included in the General Handbook of Instructions. It is an admonition from the church elder to the convert. The obligation to then search for and obtain a visit from the Holy Ghost is imposed on the convert.

When Christ was speaking of the Lamanites and their baptism of fire and the Holy Ghost (3 Ne. 9: 20), He was speaking not merely of the Holy Ghost descending and not tarrying with them (D&C 130: 23), but of their possession of the gift which endured thereafter. (Hel. 5: 48-50.)

I was baptized on September 9, 1973 at Kittery Point Beach on the Atlantic coast by Elder Brian Black. The service was presided over by Brother Jim Mortenson, a counselor in the Portsmouth, New Hampsire Ward. After baptism, as I knelt on the sand, the missionaries confirmed me a member of the church and admonished me to “receive the Holy Ghost.” The service was in the evening. Just prior to the laying on of hands, Elder Black spoke about the symbols in the sky. The sun was setting, but still visible. The moon was also out, and the first “stars” were also faintly visible. [The “stars” we could see included Venus, hence the quotation marks.] Elder Black remarked that “all the signs of heaven were visible; the sun, symbolizing the Celestial; the moon, symbolizing the Terrestrial; and the stars, symbolizing the Telestial.” His beautiful remarks affected my thinking so much I can still recall them nearly 40 years later.

As the admonition was given to me, I felt a warmth begin at the top of my head where the hands were touching me. It proceeded downward through my entire person as if something was descending and filling me. The North Atlantic water was cold, particularly at that time of year, and the sand I knelt on was also cold. But I felt a warmth which came from within that filled my entire body.

When we finished at the beach, we all went to Jim and Monte Mortenson’s house for a gathering. It was dubbed a “birthday party” in reference to my baptism. When we arrived, Jim asked me to say the “opening prayer” before we ate. I was perfectly willing to say the prayer, but I hesitated for a few moments before doing so because I sensed the “spirit” wasn’t quite right yet. So rather than immediately interrupt the laughter and loud voices, I tried to bring the group spirit around to something more reverent. As I hesitated, I think Jim assumed I was not yet ready to pray in public (as many new converts are), and moved on to ask another to pray. She did, and we ate.

The boisterous spirit was still there after the prayer, and as the group of us sat in the Mortenson’s living room the spirit of the evening became more and more divisive. At a point there was contention between some of the group, and the evening was taking a turn downward, grieving the spirit altogether. At that moment I stood and got everyone’s attention. When silence settled in, I started with one end of the gathering, and spoke in turn to each person there. I began by saying, “whatever ambition the Adversary has for tonight, I intend to resist it.” I then spoke to their hearts, prophesied and let the love I felt within me pour out. The effect upon those who were there softened their demeanor, brought a spirit of friendship back into the gathering, and although none of them may remember it today, it is to me as clear as if it happened minutes ago. Jim Mortenson spoke up when I finished and said he was confident I would one day be a church patriarch– a remark that meant nothing at the time because I knew nothing about such a position.

You must remember that before conversion I was not even a likely candidate to become Mormon. When the elders were teaching me they asked that I read the Book of Mormon. I agreed.  After I had read some of it, they asked me what I thought of it. I replied: “It’s got to be scripture. It’s every bit as boring as the Bible.” I meant it. Neither the Book of Mormon or the Bible meant much to me. I couldn’t sense any Spirit or depth to it. Nothing in it thrilled me or touched my heart.

After baptism, however, it all changed. Like Joseph and Oliver I could say “my mind now being enlightened, I began to have the scriptures laid open to my understanding, and the true meaning of their more mysterious passages revealed to me in a manner which I never could attain to previously, nor ever before had thought of.” (Compare JS-H 1: 74.) What I found was that the scriptures were now written for me. They were the means through which God could lay out His mind and His will and His voice in a way I had never dreamed possible before.

The journey back to Him begins with all He has provided and preserved of His word. It begins for each of us in the scriptures. One of the immediate effects of baptism of fire and the Holy Ghost is to have the scriptures come alive; to have them overwhelm you with revelation, light and truth. It is not you doing this. It is you experiencing it, but the Holy Spirit opening and lighting them so the same Spirit which gave them at first now receives them in you.

This subject (baptism of fire and the Holy Ghost) is variegated. It is important to avoid reducing it to a single, simple explanation and ignore other important features of this great gift from God.

Baptism of Fire and the Holy Ghost

Last week’s discussion leads to this week’s. For the next few days we turn to the matter of “baptism of fire and the Holy Ghost” as a doctrine. The discussion last week will help to set up the framework for understanding this topic. When I mentioned this before on this blog it was in response to a specific question, and did not attempt to lay the matter out.

The most interesting passage referring to this is in 3 Ne. 9. The Nephite destruction has happened, there is darkness covering the land, and Christ speaks to the survivors. He tells them many things, but this is the important statement: “And whoso cometh unto me with a broken heart and a contrite spirit, him will I baptize with fire and with the Holy Ghost, even as the Lamanites, because of their faith in me at the time of their conversion, were baptized with fire and with the Holy Ghost, and they knew it not.” (3 Ne. 9: 20.) This statement from the Lord clarifies that it is possible for the event to occur and those who receive it do not know what it is.

The Lamanite conversion incident referred to by the Lord is not explained. Christ’s words begin in verse 2 of Chapter 9, and deal entirely with the events of that generation leading up to the destruction of the land. Among those who would have been living at the time of the destruction would have been the Lamanites who underwent a conversion to the Gospel through the missionary efforts of Lehi and Nephi. These two were put into prison for preaching (Hel. 5: 21), kept without food for many days (Hel. 5: 22), and when they came to kill them Nephi and Lehi were encircled about by fire (Hel. 5: 23). There was a great earthquake, similar to 3 Nephi when Christ’s voice was heard. There was a great darkness in the prison, similar to 3 Nephi when Christ’s voice was heard. (Hel. 5: 27-28.) These events involving Lehi and Nephi are a type of the events in 3 Nephi when Christ was speaking.

With Lehi and Nephi still in the prision, the Lamanites in the prison experienced the following:

-A voice speaks to them telling them to repent. (Hel. 5: 29; compare with 3 Ne. 11: 3.)
-The voice is not thunderous, but nevertheless pierced them to their core. (Hel. 5: 30; compare with 3 Ne. 11: 3.)
-The voice repeats again a second time. (Hel. 5: 32; compare with 3 Ne. 11: 4.)
-The voice repeats again a third time. (Hel. 5: 33; compare with 3 Ne. 11: 5-7.)
-The communication includes such marvelous information man is unable to communicate it. (Hel. 5: 33; compare with 3 Ne. 17: 16-17.)
-The Lamanite observers saw Lehi and Nephi in a pillar of fire with angels ministering to them. (Hel. 5: 36-37; compare with 3 Ne. 17: 23-25.)

These Lamanites asked how they could be delivered from the darkness and come into the redeeming light as Lehi and Nephi (Hel. 5: 40) and were told they must repent to be delivered (Hel. 5: 41). All of them cried out to the Lord, and were delivered from darkness (Hel. 5: 42-43). They then were filled with joy and found themselves likewise encircled with that same fire in which Lehi and Nephi previously stood (Hel. 5: 43-45.)

After last weeks’ posts, the following statement should now alert you to something: “And behold, the Holy Spirit of God did come down from heaven, and did enter into their hearts, and they were filled as if with fire, and they could speak forth marvelous words.” (Hel. 5: 45.) Once again, it is the “Holy Spirit” which causes the effect. The effect upon them is called the “Holy Ghost” by Christ (See 3 Ne. 9: 20).

The reason these recipients “did not know” it was “the Holy Ghost” now within them was because they did not know the vocabulary, nor understand the process. But there was an experience, and the result was conversion and a new life thereafter. (Hel. 5: 46-50.)

This is one instance of the baptism of fire and the Holy Ghost.

Ill-Prepared Readers

It is apparent from comments there are many who have been studying their scriptures and who can benefit from this blog. Their diligence has prepared their minds and their hearts.

It is also apparent that some who read are ill-prepared for the content here. This material is more confusing than edifying. They should turn off their computers and take up their scriptures. They should spend their time studying the scriptures and not devote any more time to this blog. It will not do such readers any good at all.

If this edifies you, then you belong here. If you are confused, then study scripture and leave this site alone. The process of developing understanding begins with the scriptures. No matter how much you believe you understand, the scriptures will always have language that can be adapted to set out the truth. The difference between seeing what is there and being blind to the words of prophecy consists primarily in how diligent you have been in preparing your mind through study of scripture. Do that first.

For the ill-prepared, I apologize for being unclear. However, I cannot discuss some topics in any other way. Therefore, I cannot make it clear to you. You will have to search through these things yourself. But if you are sincere, the Lord will help you get there. You must take the scriptures seriously. They will tell you how to lay down your prejudices, ignorance, traditions and errors, and repent. Repenting is to turn and face God. Until you face Him, the direction you are headed will never bring you to understanding.

God’s Many Works, Conclusion

Perhaps what we have been discussing should be understood in a different context than the one we normally use. What if instead of viewing it as a description of something outside or external, you view it as something internal or inside you. Perhaps the kingdom of heaven is within us after all. (Luke 17: 21.)

From that vantage point can it be said:
-If you ignore the presence of this Spirit you still receive the Holy Spirit, or Light of Christ because that is what allows you to live, move, breathe and exist. It is a gift from God to everyone.
-If you allow this Spirit to enter into your thoughts from time to time you “receive” the Holy Ghost within you. It has affected your thoughts. It has been “received” into your conscience.
-If you allow this Spirit to continually guide you, then you have the “gift” of the Holy Ghost. It has become your companion.
-If you open yourself to receive the visions of heaven, and behold the Father and Son, then you have received the Holy Spirit of Promise.

This last Holy Spirit of Promise is given its name because when you have received the Father and the Son you become Their child of Promise, the inheritor of all the Father has, a member of His family. To reject this, as Joseph described it, is to deny the sun at noon day. For to have been given the Holy Spirit of Promise you have seen God and received from Him a Promise. [There is always more to a subject, but for the present, I’ll leave it there.]

If God sustains everything through His Holy Spirit, which is also sometimes called the Light of Christ, then is it not already within you? If it is already within you, then you can decide to “receive” it by opening yourself up to its influence. If you decide to “receive” it by opening yourself up to its influence, then you may be able to take it into yourself as a gift from God? If that gift becomes a permanent source of influence within you, then have you received the “gift of the Holy Ghost?” If this is within you, then is it your own? If your own, then do you have the Holy Ghost as your constant companion?

When you have received this, are you in touch with God? If you are in touch with God, are you also able to become “one” with Him? Is this what Christ was teaching in John 17: 20-23?

With this in mind, consider what this passage from Deuteronomy tells us:
9 And the Lord thy God will make thee plenteous in every work of thine hand, in the fruit of thy body, and in the fruit of thy cattle, and in the fruit of thy land, for good: for the Lord will again rejoice over thee for good, as he rejoiced over thy fathers:

 10 If thou shalt hearken unto the voice of the Lord thy God, to keep his commandments and his statutes which are written in this book of the law, and if thou turn unto the Lord thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul.
 11 For this commandment which I command thee this day, it is not hidden from thee, neither is it far off.
 12 It is not in heaven, that thou shouldest say, Who shall go up for us to heaven, and bring it unto us, that we may hear it, and do it?
 13 Neither is it beyond the sea, that thou shouldest say, Who shall go over the sea for us, and bring it unto us, that we may hear it, and do it?
 14 But the word is very nigh unto thee, in thy mouth, and in thy heart, that thou mayest do it. (Deut. 30: 9-14.)
If your spirit has become sanctified, and you have received the presence of both the Father and the Son such that you (as Joseph described it) stand in the “noon day sun” in your understanding, then you have received the Holy Spirit of Promise. Does this mean that your own spirit reflects the promise of eternal life? Are you then a Spirit of Promise, assured of eternal life? If so, then does “denying the Holy Ghost,” as Joseph described it, actually involve taking what has become sacred within you and polluting it with deliberate rejection of the God you have received and who now dwells within you?

Related to this are many questions that have come in from readers during this week. One of the greatest impediments for some people is that they rely on the explanation given by Cleon Skousen about “intelligences” and how the universe is organized using this building block. You cannot reconcile his views with scripture. Therefore, if you choose to accept Skousen’s definition of “intelligences” as the building blocks of all creation, you will not understand the subject. If that is your framework, you will need to discard what the scriptures teach.

[Please understand I am not condemning Cleon Skousen. He was a good man. But I believe he erred in this subject. He confuses “intelligenceS” in the plural with the “intelligence” in the singular, from which man was organized. The plural of the word refers to organized spirits. They, organized spirits, have been created and exist as beings. (Abr. 3: 22-23.) Man (or the spirit within him) was organized from “intelligence” which is singular. It is co-eternal with God. It is called “intelligence” and also “light and truth.” (D&C 93: 29.) It is also called “the glory of God.” (D&C 93: 36.) Cleon Skousen supposed that man was made from something else called “intelligences” when, in fact, once intelligence or light and truth is organized into a being and assumes a separate existence it is called “intelligences” which is plural and refers to spirits. Until then, it is only “intelligence” which is singular. Read the beginning of Beloved Enos where I have tried to explain this subject. I think it will help.]

The scriptures have a lot to say about this matter. I’ve only put together a sketch. Look at the scriptures and sort through it. I’ve tried to give only a skeleton. The whole picture can be hung on that skeleton. You need to do the work of finishing the search. I don’t want to rob you of that wonderful experience. Let the scriptures speak to you without you bringing an interpretation with you in advance.

Christ said His words were “Spirit.” (John 6: 63.) What does this mean? How can Christ’s words, whether spoken by Him or given to another to speak on His behalf, be “Spirit?” If you can answer that you are in possession of a great truth.

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In response to several questions, I’ll add the following to conclude this week’s posts:

At one time the Father was called “a Spirit” by Joseph, and at another time He was said to “have a body as tangible as man’s.” Similarly, Jesus Christ was resurrected and unquestionably had a tabernacle consisting of “flesh and bone” which could be handled. (Luke 24: 39-40.) He ate fish and broke bread with His disciples. (Luke 24: 42-43; John 21: 9-14.) These were physical acts. Yet He also appeared in the upper room on the day of His resurrection without entering through the shut door. (John 20: 26.) He ascended into heaven (Acts 1: 9-11) and then descended from heaven in the sight of a multitude (3 Ne. 11: 8). These are not typical of physical bodies as we encounter them. When it comes to resurrected and glorified beings, the bodies are not the same as our own physical, coarse constitutions. Nevertheless, God is composed of matter: “There is no such thing as immaterial matter. All spirit is matter, but it is more fine or pure, and can only be discerned by purer eyes; We cannot see it; but when our bodies are purified we shall see it is all matter.” (D&C 131: 7-8.) Therefore, it is equally true that God is a Spirit, and that He also possesses a body “as tangible as man’s.” How “quickened” is the body when He shows Himself? Or, in this coarse environment, how great a glory has He set aside to show Himself here?

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God’s glory exceeds man’s comprehension. We can see Him in His glory only if we are transfigured. (Moses 1: 14.) Even then we cannot behold all of His glory unless we become like Him.  (Moses 1: 4-5.) Therefore, to behold Him in His glory while we are mortal, we must be transfigured, but the full measure of God is not given for mortal man to behold.

God’s Many Works, Part 5

The power of God and His many methods of accomplishing His will are not conveniently reduced to a simple vocabulary. The Father and the Son are clearly able to accomplish all their works using the power which originates from the Father, in the midst of eternity, to build all creation. Not only to build, but to sustain all creation. It is the power which causes creation to exist in an organized and functioning order.

But when it comes to identifying something by the title of “the Holy Ghost” or “the Holy Spirit” or “the Holy Spirit of Promise” there are underlying concepts associated with each of these. Titles and proper nouns are inadequate.

For example, look at the following statement from Alma as he recounts the many blessings the Nephites had received in their generations: “Having been visited by the Spirit of God; having conversed with angels, and having been spoken unto by the voice of the Lord; and having the spirit of prophecy, and the spirit of revelation, and also many gifts, the gift of speaking with tongues, and the gift of preaching, and the gift of the Holy Ghost, and the gift of translation.” (Alma 9: 21.) According to Alma, these many blessings come from “the Spirit of God” and include “the gift of the Holy Ghost.” What are these two different blessings? Why does Alma see them as distinct enough to mention them separately and by different names? Is the “Holy Ghost” a function or part of “the Spirit of God?” Can Alma accurately describe it in this manner? If he can, then what is the underlying truth that connects them together?

Why is the “Holy Spirit of Promise” the topic Joseph Smith had in mind as he described the sin of “denying the Holy Ghost?” Is there a relationship between the Holy Spirit of Promise and the Holy Ghost? Are they the same? Are they different? Do they both come from the Holy Spirit of God? If so, then are they different in nature or only different in degree? Can something be different in degree and be called by a different name?

It should be clear to you that the use of the terms are in some respects inexact, even in scripture. They are referring to ideas. You need to understand the underlying concepts rather than to focus on just the words. If you are going to understand exactly what is being discussed, then relying only on vocabulary will be insufficient.

What, then, does “baptism of fire and the Holy Ghost” consist of? The effect (fire purges and removes sin) is to permit you to speak with the “tongue of angels.” (2 Ne. 31: 13.) But Nephi also cautions that once this gift has been conferred, if you then “deny Christ” you would be better off having never known Him. (2 Ne. 31: 14.) This process will come to you after repentance, baptism, and comes to “show all things” and to “teach the peaceable things of the kingdom.” (D&C 39: 6. Compare to Moses 6: 61.) These scriptures, baptism of “fire and the Holy Ghost” teach you and show you things, just like Joseph’s remark that the Holy Ghost is a revelator and you cannot receive it without also receiving revelations. But to “speak with the tongue of angels” means you are elevated, your knowledge and your inspiration reckons from heaven itself. You have been elevated by “fire” which purges sins and purifies. In effect, you receive holiness through the sanctifying power of the Holy Spirit. This in turn makes your own spirit holy. Your spirit or your ghost is within you, connected to heaven to such a degree through this process that you are in possession of a “holy spirit” or a “holy ghost” within you.

Does this “baptism of fire” come from a personage, or from the “mind of God the Father and Christ,” or from the “light of Christ,” or the “Holy Spirit” or some source you can clearly define or describe. Or does it come from God, sitting in the midst of eternity as He sustains all His creations through His power? And if that is the source, can it be described in a specific term? What is the name of that term?

What do these terms mean:
-Holy (Who provides this to man?)
-Spirit (Whose? Yours? God’s? Both?)
-Promise (What promise? Given by Whom? Who recieves this promise?)

We need to consider language and terms, but more importantly we need to think about concepts that words alone can never convey adequately. Move beyond the limits of vocabulary and try to find a connection to the underlying concepts these words are attempting to convey. For in these are found connections which run from inside you back to the presence of God Himself. Or, more correctly, the Gods Themselves, for the Father and the Son are two distinct beings. They are sustaining you from moment to moment right now. You are more directly connected with Them than you can imagine. You are borrowing their power to exist at present.

God’s Many Works, Part 4

Peter explained the means by which Old Testament prophets received messages from God: “For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.” (2 Peter 1: 21.) This Holy Ghost has been with mankind since the time of Adam: “And in that day the Holy Ghost fell upon Adam, which beareth record of the Father and the Son, saying: I am the Only Begotten of the Father from the beginning, henceforth and forever, that as thou hast fallen thou mayest be redeemed, and all mankind, even as many as will.” (Moses 5: 9.)

Adam prophesied that the same Priesthood which he received from God in the beginning of the world would again return to the earth at the end of the world. (Moses 6: 7.) This prophecy was given through the power of the Holy Ghost. (Moses 6: 8.)

From Adam till Christ, the Holy Ghost was the primary voice by which revelation was delivered from God to mankind. It is active and has been active in delivering the words of prophecy to “holy men” throughout history.

Then what is this voice of truth? Joseph Smith said, “No man can receive the Holy Ghost without receiving revelations. The Holy Ghost is a revelator.” (TPJS, p. 328.)

He also said “The Holy Ghost is a personage, and is in the form of a personage.” (TPJS, p. 276.) He also said “the Holy Ghost has not a body of flesh and bones, but is a personage of Spirit. Were it not so, the Holy Ghost could not dwell in us.” (D&C 130: 22.)

He also taught that “All sins shall be forgiven, except the sin against the Holy Ghost; for Jesus will save all except the sons of perdition. What must a man do to commit the unpardonable sin? He must receive the Holy Ghost, have the heavens opened unto him, and know God, and then sin against Him. After a man has sinned against the Holy Ghost, there is no repentance for him. He has got to say that the sun does not shine while he sees it; he has got to deny Jesus Christ when the heavens have been opened unto him, and to deny the plan of salvation with his eyes open to the truth of it; and from that time he begins to be an enemy.” (TPJS, p. 358.)

This last quote is very helpful to understand the concept of the Holy Ghost. It equates this kind of knowledge and experience with having the heavens opened, knowing God, and seeing the sun shine with the Holy Ghost. In another place Joseph’s revelation explained that heirs of Celestial glory will be sealed up to eternal life “by the Holy Spirit of Promise.” (D&C 76: 53.) These individuals who receive this “seal” are those who received from Jesus the testimony that He has saved them. (D&C 76: 51.) They have become part of “the Church of the Firstborn” as a consequence of promises given to them by the Father and the Son. (D&C 76: 54-57.) They have become “sons of God” by the decree of the Father. (D&C 76: 58-59.)

These individuals have received the testimony of Jesus, and the promise of eternal life which is the Holy Spirit of Promise. (D&C 88: 3.)

So we now have several different concepts found in scripture and Joseph’s teachings:
-A power which sustains all of creation.
-A “light of Christ” which is given to all mankind.
-A power which animates the sun, stars and even this earth.
-A power which lets man live, breathe and move, which sustains man from moment to moment.
-A source of revelation.
-An open vision of God the Father and His Son, which includes the promise of eternal life.
-A light or intelligence which proceeds from God’s Throne.

These are two distinct beings who are responsible for these various sources affecting mankind for the good: Christ, who has descended and then ascended throughout all of creation to bring the light to everything and everyone. The Father, who is the source from whom flows the power which Christ has brought into creation.

In addition to these two distinct beings, we also have something that can be called:
-“the record of heaven;”
-“the Comforter;”
-“the peaceable things of immortal glory;”
-“the truth of all things;”
-“that which quickeneth all things, which maketh alive all things;”
-“that which knoweth all things, and hath all power according to wisdom, mercy, truth, justice and judgment.”
(Moses 6: 61.)

Therefore, it can be truly said, just as Joseph Smith taught in the Lectures on Faith, that the Holy Ghost represents the “mind of the Father and the Son.”

I had hoped to finish this tomorrow. However comments have made it apparent I will need to take two more days to complete this. So there are two more installments left in which we will draw together some of these various truths found in scripture.

God’s Many Works, Part 3

This brings us to King Benjamin’s explanation of our relationship with God. He explained our utter dependence in these words:

I say unto you, my brethren, that if you should render all the thanks and praise which your whole soul has power to possess, to that God who has created you, and has kept and preserved you, and has caused that ye should rejoice, and has granted that ye should live in peace one with another— I say unto you that if ye should serve him who has created you from the beginning, and is preserving you from day to day, by lending you breath, that ye may live and move and do according to your own will, and even supporting you from one moment to another—I say, if ye should serve him with all your whole souls yet ye would be unprofitable servants. (Mosiah 2: 20-21.)
Is God the one who “created you?” If He “created you” then what of mankind is co-eternal with God? (D&C 93: 29; see also TPJS p. 353: “The mind or intelligence which man possesses is co-equal with God himself.”) But what is “intelligence” or the mind of man? Intelligence is co-equal with the Father because it flows from Him in His exalted state. It is His glory. “Intelligence, or the light of truth, was not created or made” because it exists as a part of the Father’s existence. (D&C 93: 29.)

Intelligence is God’s glory or His power. “The glory of God is intelligence.” (D&C 93: 36.) This glory is also called “light and truth.” (Id.) Or, in other words, light and truth emanates from God the Father, and is co-extensive with Him. This light and truth is also called intelligence. This is what conscience is made from. This is the power by which man comes into existence. It is as eternal as the Father Himself because it exists as part of His glory.

According to King Benjamin, God the Father created you “from the beginning.” What does it mean to have created you “from the beginning?” Whose beginning? Ours? What does it mean that He has “kept and preserved you?” What does it mean that He has “granted that ye should live?” Without the Father’s power would we no longer live? 
What does it mean that God is “preserving you from day to day, by lending you breath?” Could we not breathe without borrowing the power to do so from God?
What does it mean that we are able to “live” because of God’s power? How dependent on God are we if we use His power to “live and move?” How utterly reliant are we on His power if it is Him who is “even supporting you from one moment to another?”
What is this relationship between God’s power, which proceeds forth from Him, and sustains not only planets, stars and our sun, but also us so that we live?
This power is:
-preserving us,
-comes from the Father, and
-causes everything to exist by its power.
Therefore, the “light of Christ,” which is in and through all things, is co-extensive with the Father’s “glory,” or “intelligence,” or in other words “light and truth.” (D&C 93: 36.)
This “light of Christ” or Holy Spirit, or intelligence, or glory of God, or power, or light and truth, or mechanism is important to recognize. But until you recognize it is the power by which you exist, that sustains you from moment to moment and lends you the power to live and breathe, you haven’t yet appreciated the concept you are trying to assign a word. It is only vocabulary. The underlying idea remains hidden even if you have a vocabulary for it.
Coming next is the other part of the equation.

God’s Many Works, Part 2

Section 88 continues the explanation with the following:

And the light which shineth, which giveth you light, is through him who enlighteneth your eyes, which is the same light that quickeneth your understandings; (D&C 88: 11.)

This is not just environmental. This is now touching you. It is the “light of Christ” which “enlighteneth your eyes.” What does that mean? Could you see if this were withdrawn?

What does it mean that the “light of Christ” is what “quickeneth your understandings?” Without the light of Christ would you be able to understand anything? How intimately are you connected to the “light of Christ?” How dependent are you on His light?

It continues:

Which light proceedeth forth from the presence of God to fill the immensity of space— The light which is in all things, which giveth life to all things, which is the law by which all things are governed, even the power of God who sitteth upon his throne, who is in the bosom of eternity, who is in the midst of all things. (D&C 88: 12-13.)

We have been reading about Christ and the “light of Christ” which empowers all of this creation. But now the source from which it proceeds is being identified. This “proceedeth forth from the presence of God.” Who is this referring to? Is this Christ still?
Who “sitteth upon his throne, who is in the bosom of eternity?” Who “is in the midst of all things?” Is this still Christ? 
Steven saw Christ in heaven standing beside the Throne of the Father. (Acts 7: 56.) Joseph and Sidney saw Christ on the Father’s right hand. (D&C 76: 21.) John received the testimony of Jesus where Christ affirmed that all who overcome will be able to also sit on the Father’s Throne, just as He (Christ) had overcome and could sit on the Father’s Throne. (Rev. 3: 21.) If Christ had to first “overcome” and complete the descent and ascent, then whose throne (the Father’s or Christ’s) is referred to in D&C 88 verses 12-13 above?
Assuming it is the Father’s Throne, and the Father is the one who has been sitting on it from the beginning, then what harmony is there between Christ and the Father? How can the Father’s power proceed forth in all directions, but Christ be the one who is “the light and life of the world?” How complete is the harmony found in the relationship between Christ and the Father if the power originates from the Father, but is given to the Son to become “the light and life of the world?”
What does it mean that this light “giveth life to all things?” How dependent are you on this “light” for your own life? What does it mean that “Man was also in the beginning with God. Intelligence, or the light of truth, was not created or made, neither indeed can be.” (D&C 93: 29.) If “the light of truth” cannot be made or created, then what does it mean that the light “proceeds forth from the Throne of God?”
What source flows from God and proceeds throughout all creation? What is the “power” behind all creation?
If this power bestows “life” upon its recipients, then can it also bestow something else?

God’s Many Works

When trying to understand how God touches us, it is better to start with His many works instead of a vocabulary. In fact, we often are misled into believing that once we know a vocabulary term we then understand what the term means. Last week the “Holy Spirit” and the “Holy Ghost” were used both in selected scriptures and in my comments. Forget for a moment what term applies to what attribute, and focus on attributes first.

God’s many works are held together and organized by His power. A description of this is given in Section 88, which states the following about Christ:

He that ascended up on high, as also he descended below all things, in that he comprehended all things, that he might be in all and through all things, the light of truth; Which truth shineth. This is the light of Christ. As also he is in the sun, and the light of the sun, and the power thereof by which it was made.  As also he is in the moon, and is the light of the moon, and the power thereof by which it was made;  As also the light of the stars, and the power thereof by which they were made; And the earth also, and the power thereof, even the earth upon which you stand. (D&C 88: 6-10.)
This describes Christ. He both ascended and descended to enable Him to be “in all and through all things.” What does that mean? Why would He necessarily need to ascend above and then descend below in order to be “in all and through all things?” How is this related to being Christ? How does this activity stretching Him above and below relate to Him becoming “the light” to all?
How does this description relate to Christ’s introduction of Himself (containing His definition of who He is) to the Nephites, which states:
Behold, I am the light and the life of the world; and I have drunk out of that bitter cup which the Father hath given me, and have glorified the Father in taking upon me the sins of the world, in the which I have suffered the will of the Father in all things from the beginning. (3 Ne. 11: 11.) Is there a direct relationship between ascending, descending, and becoming “the light and the life of the world?” In other words, must Christ move into all the realms to bring the truth throughout in order to become the “light and life” throughout? 
Is there a connection between these requirements and Christ becoming “the power thereof by which it was made?” The things listed above in Section 88 are physical objects. The sun and its power, the moon and its power, the stars and their power and the earth upon which we stand are all physical things. These things rely on Christ’s “power” to have been “made.” If Christ’s stewardship required Him to be above and below, and throughout all in order to become “the light” unto all, then does Christ’s “power” extend beyond just redeeming them all? How does Christ’s ministry also relate to the “power” to bring these things into existence? How does Christ become “the light of Christ” which spreads throughout all creation? If His power extends to make the sun, moon, stars and the earth, how far does the “light of Christ” extend? Is it merely a moral force for good? Does it also include physical creation and power? What does the “light of Christ” have to do with “the power of the sun?” How dependent is all life, including plant, animal and human, upon the power of the sun? Without sunlight, what happens to this world?
How literally should we take “the light of the sun” to be a product of Christ’s light? What does it mean if Christ is “the power of the sun?” 
We tend to view “the light of Christ” as a moral source. That is, the “light of Christ” is most often spoken of as a moral conscience. From these verses, however, that view is too limited for this force or power. It is something much greater.