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Wickedness and Destruction

The cycle of wickedness and destruction often includes a complete inability of the wicked to detect their grave errors. They have their religion, and are comfortable with it. They think their pretenses are enough.

Ezekiel saw a vision of the destruction of the “chosen people” beginning at their Temple. The destroyers were told to wait before the slaughter began. First an angel would mark the foreheads of those who “sigh and cry for all the abominations that be done in the midst thereof.” (Eze. 9: 4.) Meaning there were a few among the chosen, who knew their religious practices were used to justify abominable behavior. These few did not just condemn the wicked, they “sighed” and “cried” for their fellow saints. They prayed, made intercession, hoped for more time, and urged repentance.

The larger group, however, were content with their abominations and thought themselves righteous. They were not marked, nor spared. The command was given to slay them all, utterly, and spare none “both maids and little children, and women.” (Eze. 9: 6.)

In the vision Ezekiel saw the destruction begin at the Temple. (Eze. 9: 6.)  It began there because it was the Temple which these corrupt people believed to be proof of their great righteousness and also their favor with God. Therefore the destruction needed to begin there.

The angel faithfully marked only those who were aware of the abominations and who would not join in with it. (Eze. 9: 11.) When the destruction began, the Lord was committed to His judgment, and declared “mine eye shall not spare, neither will I have pity, but I will recompense their way upon their head.” (Eze. 9: 10.)

This is a useful chapter to consider. (Ezekiel Chapter 9.) It reinforces the importance of repentance, when it is offered. When the offering ends, it is followed by judgment and destruction.

How odd it is that the self-proclaimed “righteous” are almost without exception those who are most wicked, fallen, abominable and proud. You rarely encounter a corrupt group in the Book of Mormon who are not also quite involved in a false religion. The false religions in the Book of Mormon frequently teach that the followers are righteous and highly favored of God. (See, e.g., Alma 31: 14-18.)

Wouldn’t it be amazing if this kind of mistake could be made again by people who think themselves holy, better than others who do not enjoy the fullness of God’s favor/Gospel, and destined for salvation while all others were doomed to an inferior kingdom? It’s almost too ridiculous to even consider. Those things are behind us now, aren’t they? Because we are promised salvation, and for us to fail would be for God to fail, and we know He’s not going to do that.

Destination

I was asked at what point a car ceases to be a car. If it runs out of gas and cannot move is it still a car?

What if the engine is broken, and therefore it would not matter if there was gas, once it is broken is it still a car?

What if both the engine and transmission are beyond repair?

What if you cannot even push it because the tires and wheels are gone and it is sitting on blocks beside the road. Is it still a car?

If it bears some superficial resemblance to a car, is it still a car no matter what condition it is in or whether it works or not?

After thinking for a few minutes I responded: It was never meant to be a car. It was always about the destination. When the car stops for whatever reason, you get out and walk toward the destination and have gratitude for how far the car was able to take you before it stopped. It was never about the car in the first place. You must keep moving.

He was grateful.

Out of Season Fruit

I’ve been asked several times about the comment that Adam and Eve partook of the fruit “out of season” in the Elijah Talk.  Since it’s come up more than once, here’s an answer I gave to one of those who inquired:

They would have eventually received the command to partake.  If they had waited for that command, the “fall” would have introduced the kind of opposition experienced during the Millennium rather than the kind we now have.  Opposites only required: 1) change and 2) death.  Both will be present during the Millennium.

The Garden of Eden is an allegory, and we all pass through a “Fall from Eden” to come here.  But there are many other worlds, see D&C 76: 24.  Among these countless others, ours fell the greatest. See Moses 7: 36-37.  We are singular in our fallen state, and qualify as the “most wicked” of any of God’s creations. Here we suffer, but with the opportunity to grow by making sacrifice. We all came here to offer sacrifice. Just being here is a form of sacrifice, and we will all submit to death to leave here.

Answer to Moroni 8: 8

I got asked about Moroni 8: 8 and the issue of “circumcision” posted earlier. Moroni 8 is a letter from Mormon to his son, Moroni. In the 8th verse he (Mormon) quotes the Savior  as having said, in relation to infant baptism, the following: “I came into the world not to call the righteous but sinners to repentance; the whole need no physician, but they that are sick; wherefore, little children are whole, for they are not capable of committing sin; wherefore the curse of Adam is taken from them in me, that it hath no power over them; and the law of circumcision is done away in me.” My response is this:

First, the comment is about “little children” who do not need ordinances. They do not need baptism, and they do not need circumcision. Little children are exempt and the requirements are fulfilled in every respect by Christ’s atonement. Therefore, they needn’t be baptized, needn’t be confirmed, needn’t have circumcision; and they needn’t comply with any of the requirements for salvation because Christ atoned for all sin arising from the Fall of Adam. They, “little children” that is, are not sick and therefore do not need a physician.

The teaching leaves open, however, the question about adults. Originally circumcision was an adult ordinance. When restored through Abraham, it was made an infant ceremony. The Law of Moses kept it something for infants. Christ removed all accountability for any law in the atonement for all infants, through the age of 8, who are not accountable before Him.

The issue, however, is whether this is satisfied for adults as well. Moroni 8: 8 does not address that question. The earlier post does attempt to address it.

Flattery and Repentance

It is the mark of a false message that it relies on flattery. (See Alma 46: 5; 61: 4; Jacob 7: 4; Mosiah 27: 8; 2 Ne. 28: 22.)

It is the mark of a true message that it calls for repentance. (D&C 6: 9; 11: 9; Mosiah 18: 20; 25: 22.)

Christ’s message is always to “repent” and then to “come to Him.” (Moroni 7: 34.)

There has never been a bona fide, reliable, infallible source of truth which cannot be compromised in this world. But there has always been a bona fide, reliable, infallible message of truth which does not compromise. It is the message of repentance.

Sacrifice

This world is the place of sacrifice. We all came here to make sacrifices. We wanted to come here, we knew it would require sacrifice to produce the faith necessary for salvation, and we gladly came.

Christ is the great Prototype of the “saved man” according to the Lectures on Faith.  He came and gave Himself as a sacrifice, and we are to “follow Him” if we are to be saved.

We came here to lay on the altar everything, our desires, appetites, passions, and everything with which the Lord has blessed us. Abraham put his beloved son on the altar, intending to kill him and then burn his remains, because God asked it of him. He did not refuse. However bitter, terrible and painful the request, the Lord asked it of Abraham and he proceeded to offer it.

No one obtains the faith necessary for salvation unless they are prepared to sacrifice all things to God. Faith for salvation cannot otherwise be obtained. Read the Lectures on Faith again. You’ll see it is all set out there.

Cycles of Truth

The ordinances have been the same since Adam, according to Joseph Smith.  He explained that “[Jesus] set the ordinances to be the same forever and ever.” (TPJS p. 168.) Also, “Ordinances instituted in the heavens before the foundations of the world, in the priesthood, for the salvation of men, are not to be altered or changed.” (Id., p. 308.) This is why Joseph “restored” the Gospel, but did not bring anything new. It was a return to the earlier, forgotten truths.

Christ was careful to explain what was “fulfilled” in Him and what remained still intact from His earlier dealings with mankind. He “fulfilled” and brought to an end the Law of Moses. It ended. It was fulfilled. But everything else remained and was still in effect. Part of His explanation was as follows:

And he said unto them: Marvel not that I said unto you that old things had passed away, and that all things had become new.

 Behold, I say unto you that the law is fulfilled that was given unto Moses.
 Behold, I am he that gave the law, and I am he who covenanted with my people Israel; therefore, the law in me is fulfilled, for I have come to fulfil the law; therefore it hath an end.
 Behold, I do not destroy the prophets, for as many as have not been fulfilled in me, verily I say unto you, shall all be fulfilled.
 And because I said unto you that old things have passed away, I do not destroy that which hath been spoken concerning things which are to come.
 For behold, the covenant which I have made with my people is not all fulfilled; but the law which was given unto Moses hath an end in me. (3 Nephi, 15.)
Was Abraham a prophet? Did he live before Moses? Was the covenant with him fulfilled in Christ’s fulfillment of the Law of Moses? If Abraham preceded Moses by more than three centuries, how is the later Law of Moses related to the earlier covenant?
Here is part of the covenant between Abraham and God, to endure throughout all generations of those who claim part of Abraham’s covenant:
 7 And I will establish my covenant between me and thee and thy seed after thee in their generations for an everlasting covenant, to be a God unto thee, and to thy seed after thee.
 And I will give unto thee, and to thy seed after thee, the land wherein thou art a stranger, all the land of Canaan, for an everlasting possession; and I will be their God.
 ¶And God said unto Abraham, Thou shalt keep my covenant therefore, thou, and thy seed after thee in their generations.
 10 This is my covenant, which ye shall keep, between me and you and thy seed after thee; Every man child among you shall be circumcised.
 11 And ye shall circumcise the flesh of your foreskin; and it shall be a token of the covenant betwixt me and you.
 12 And he that is eight days old shall be circumcised among you, every man child in your generations, he that is born in the house, or bought with money of any stranger, which is not of thy seed.
 13 He that is born in thy house, and he that is bought with thy money, must needs be circumcised: and my covenant shall be in your flesh for an everlasting covenant.
Since the covenants between God and man were established in the heavens before the foundations of the world, as Joseph explained, I suspect the covenant of circumcision did not originate with Abraham. I suspect it was restored through him, but came down from the beginning. I believe if we had a full record we would find that originally the covenant was established through Adam. That it was originally intended to be performed by the male in contemplation of marriage. That the covenant of marriage, like all covenants, required the shedding of blood to be in effect. For the man, circumcision sealed with the shedding of blood his covenant to marry. For the wife, the virgin sacrificed blood at the marriage. But those things are now long forgotten, lost to time, and could only be known today by revelation.
If Joseph’s statement is correct, and Adam had the fullness of the Gospel, then every prophet from the beginning has only “restored” lost truth. It has been a search to return to the original truth. After all, Christ came to Adam three years previous to his death and comforted him. (D&C 107: 53-57.) Such an event strongly indicates Adam had the fullness. The Gospel is, therefore, in all likelihood a search into the ancient order of things, not a leap forward into something new. In order to go forward, we will need to go back.
It is an interesting question to contemplate whether the Lord was serious about the token becoming a memorial of His “covenant [which] shall be in your flesh for an everlasting covenant.” Also, although the New Testament debates over “those of the circumcision” determined not to require circumcision of adult converts, they did not have 3 Nephi, Chapter 15 to inform their debate. (For New Testament references, see, e.g., Romans chapters 2 & 4, Galatians chapter 5, among many other places.)
I would doubt there will be any uncircumcised males included in the latter-day Zion. It is, at least for me, an interesting question to contemplate.

The First Three Words

In addition to the Elijah talk recently posted, we have decided to also upload the “First Three Words.” A great number of blog readers have requested this and had it emailed to them, and we are still occasionally receiving requests. Thanks to technology and the internet and all that good stuff we are providing that one as a pdf as well.

We hope you all enjoy and everyone have a joyous Christmas season focusing on Christ.

CM – the moderator

The First Three Words

Elijah

Here is the Elijah talk given at Confetti Books in October.  

Elijah Talk