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


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.

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?

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.

Clarification About Method

For new readers, I want to clarify the methods used in this blog. Comments are for me to read. If they raise a question needing a response, they provoke a response. They are not for dialogue.

New readers can go back to the beginning of the blog and read through the comments when they were posted and included. Whether critical or supportive, they were all put up. The results were distracting, and hindered my intentions. The debates and distractions ultimately proved to be too much, and comments were eliminated altogether.

We recently turned the comment feature back on, NOT to publish comments, but so readers could make comments that I would read. I do read all comments that come in, but they are never posted on the blog, and they won’t ever be posted on the blog. If you are anxious to comment, debate, criticize or offer your own opinions you are welcome to do so. Use the Internet and put whatever you want up for the world to read. This is not the entire universe of opportunity to discuss. It is a small, privately written, publicly viewable blog written to explain what I think important.

Some topics are impossible to explain in this medium. They require much more. As a result there are either books or essays that deal with those topics.

I am interested in doctrine. When I write about history, it is in the context of explaining doctrine. I do not attempt to give a complete history of the restoration. I focus only on those examples taken from our history which illustrate doctrine, or the transition from one understanding of a doctrinal matter early in the restoration  to how the understanding of the doctrine has changed. I provide a guideline or outline, and leave it for historians to work out the details. Almost everything I have written about history has been skeletal, and would require many more words to finish the picture. But once the outlines have been set, any historian can work to fill in the missing details. In my view, what is needed is a new outline. To me, this is for the sole purpose of understanding doctrine.

In Brigham Young’s Telestial Kingdom, as in Passing the Heavenly Gift, if you read it as an exposition about doctrine you will find it more helpful than if you read it merely as history. Nephi explained his method, which was to use examples from history to preserve the truth. (1 Ne. 19: 3-6.) I focus on the doctrine, or sacred teachings in an effort to preserve the memory of the Lord’s original dealings as they relate to the restoration. This will allow those who are interested in understanding the restoration to see again the missing elements.

It is not my desire to debate anyone. I’ve not been asked by the Lord to do that. I’m also not interested in obtaining a following, undermining the church authorities, or to create unease among faithful Latter-day Saints–which I consider myself. What I write is for the sole purpose of preserving what was restored. To do that, like Nephi, it is necessary to touch upon excerpts from our history.

There is no reason for you to read this blog if it upsets or offends you. There are many, many other blogs, books, entertainers, authors and resources where your views can be reinforced.

Next week will be spent dealing with the Holy Spirit, the Holy Ghost, and the different statements made by Joseph Smith on these topics. It was introduced in two posts last Thursday and Friday. That will continue next week. If it interests you, read it. If not, don’t. But there will be no debate. I am not interested in contention.

Finally, my purpose is very limited. I want to discharge an obligation, not entertain. When judged by my words and works, I wish the Lord to vindicate me for having said what needed to be said, rather than to be praised by others. I appreciate contrary views, but that is all. Criticism can help me understand someone’s confusion or opposition, and I read it with that in mind. But if the criticism is merely intended to say there is another way to understand our history and doctrine, then I readily concede much of what I write is different and out of sync with popular opinion in the church today. The mainstream is where I began. I have read and was persuaded by the doctrinal work of President Joseph Fielding Smith and his son-in-law Bruce R. McConkie’s. I was uber-orthodox in the beginning. I continue to read what is put into print by the Brethren. I am an admirer of Boyd K. Packer. I understand the mainstream arguments and teachings, and keep myself informed by them continually. I attend church every week, read the Ensign and Church News, and speak often with people in positions of authority as well as employees inside the Church Office Building. I am as “active” as any faithful Latter-day Saint. I am as informed as you are about any recent talks, issues or concerns propounded by the church. I have an obligation to keep and that is what I work to accomplish.

Finally, I am not concerned about reputation or praise. No one need defend me. If I cared about looking good in the eyes of others, I could never have been trusted by the Lord. Long ago I left that on the altar. Therefore, if I have no need to defend myself from criticism, you need not take up that cause.

Holy Ghost and Holy Spirit

Are the “Holy Ghost” and the “Holy Spirit” the same? When Nephi refers to the “Holy Ghost” in 2 Ne. 33: 1, but then uses “Holy Spirit” in the next verse (2 Ne. 33: 2), does he have two different things in mind?

Joseph Smith defined the “Holy Spirit” as the “mind of the Father and Son” in the Lectures on Faith. Here is an excerpt:

There are two personages who constitute the great, matchless, governing and supreme power over all things–by whom all things were created and made, that are created and made, whether visible or invisible: whether in heaven, on earth, or in the earth, under the earth, or throughout the immensity of space–They are the Father and the Son: The Father being a personage of spirit, glory and power: possessing all perfection and fulness: The Son, who was in the bosom of the Father, a personage of tabernacle, made, or fashioned like unto man, or being in the form and likeness of man, or, rather, man was formed after his likeness, and in his image;–he is also the express image and likeness of the personage of the Father: possessing all the fulness of the Father, or, the same fulness with the Father; being begotten of him, and was ordained from before the foundation of the world to be a propitiation for the sins of all those who should believe on his name, and is called the Son because of the flesh–and descended in suffering below that which man can suffer, or, in other words, suffered greater sufferings, and was exposed to more powerful contradictions than any man can be. But notwithstanding all this, he kept the law of God, and remained without sin: Showing thereby that it is in the power of man to keep the law and remain also without sin. And also, that by him a righteous judgment might come upon all flesh, and that all who walk not in the law of God, may justly be condemned by the law, and have no excuse for their sins. And he being the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth, and having overcome, received a fulness of the glory of the Father-possessing the same mind with the Father, which mind is the Holy Spirit, that bears record of the Father and the Son, and these three are one, or in other words, these three constitute the great, matchless, governing and supreme power over all things: by whom all things were created and made, that were created and made: and these three constitute the Godhead, and are one: The Father and the Son possessing the same mind, the same wisdom, glory, power and fulness: Filling all in all–the Son being filled with the fulness of the Mind, glory and power, or, in other words, the Spirit, glory and power of the Father–possessing all knowledge and glory, and the same kingdom: sitting at the right hand of power, in the express image and likeness of the Father–a Mediator for man–being filled with the fulness of the Mind of the Father, or, in other words, the Spirit of the Father: which Spirit is shed forth upon all who believe on his name and keep his commandments: and all those who keep his commandments shall grow up from grace to grace, and become heirs of the heavenly kingdom, and joint heirs with Jesus Christ; possessing the same mind, being transformed into the same image or likeness, even the express image of him who fills all in all: being filled with the fulness of his glory, and become one in him, even as the Father, Son and Holy Spirit are one. (Lecture 5, Paragraph 2.)

The forgoing was published in 1835.

In a lecture given in 1843, Joseph stated the following (which can be found in D&C 130: 22):

The Father has a body of flesh and bones as tangible as man’s; the Son also; but 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.

If the Holy Ghost is a “personage of Spirit” and it can “dwell in us,” and the Holy Spirit is “the mind of the Father and Son” then are they the same thing?

The scriptures have explained that the “Holy Ghost” which dwells in you – this personage of Spirit – has the following other descriptions, or attributes:
-the Comforter
-the record of heaven
-the truth of all things
-the peacable things of immortal glory
-that which quickeneth all things
-that which knoweth all things
-that which has all power according to wisdom, mercy, truth, justice and judgment.
(Moses 6: 61.)
This is a description of the personage of Spirit which dwells inside you. This is the Holy Ghost. This is something that can be in contact with the Holy Spirit, or the “mind of the Father and Son.”

Perhaps you should look into this topic. Perhaps there is something to be found in this review.

There are many times when the term “Ghost” and the term “Spirit” are used interchangeably. The distinction is not appreciated by some translators. Therefore, if there is a difference between these two, you will need to be careful about trusting different translator’s use of the terms. They may not have any distinction in mind.

If there is a difference, then what does that say about revelation? What does that say about you? And, keeping in mind yesterday’s post, what does that say about 2 Ne. 33: 1-2?

Nephi on Holy Spirit

Nephi explained that many people harden themselves against the influence of the Holy Spirit, and consequently were unable to determine what was worth keeping and what should be cast away. He wrote:

“But behold, there are many that harden their hearts against the Holy Spirit, that it hath no place in them; wherefore, they cast many things away which are written and esteem them as things of naught.” (2 Ne. 33: 2.)

What does it mean to “harden your heart?”
How does “hardening your heart” affect the influence of the Holy Spirit?
Why does the Holy Spirit equip you to decide whether something is to be valued or to be “cast away?”
Can you decide on your own what is of value?
Do you need to receive influence from the Holy Spirit in order to understand something is from God?
To understand something is of value?
What does it mean to “cast away” the things found in scripture?
Can you read them, even associate meaning with them, and still cast them away?
Can you support your own view using scripture and “cast them away” at the same time?
How do you turn scripture into “things of naught?”
Are distracting, inspirational stories that do not teach true doctrine capable of hardening your heart?
Are flattering words that do not call you to repent likely to harden your heart?
Can scriptures which were written under the influence of the Holy Ghost become a “thing of naught” when read by someone who has hardened their heart?
Can true doctrine become a “thing of naught” even if taught by the power of the Holy Ghost, if the listener hardens their heart?

The measure of the importance of this verse is found in a revelation given to Joseph Smith about the destruction of the wicked:

“For they that are wise and have received the truth, and have taken the Holy Spirit for their guide, and have not been deceived—verily I say unto you, they shall not be hewn down and cast into the fire, but shall abide the day.” (D&C 45: 57.)

What is the difference between “taking the Holy Spirit for your guide” and “hardening your heart against the Holy Spirit?”
How does the Holy Spirit guide so you cannot be deceived?
How does a person become “wise” and “receive the truth?”
What does it mean to be “hewn down and cast into the fire?”
What does it mean to “abide the day?”
How does the Holy Spirit figure into surviving the coming judgments of God?

Can you trust your own wisdom, intellect and abilities? Can any person, no matter what their IQ, be guided by the Holy Spirit? Does education, position, social status or qualifications equip you to know as much as the Holy Spirit?