2 Nephi 31: 18

 
“And then are ye in this strait and narrow path which leads to eternal life; yea, ye have entered in by the gate; ye have done according to the commandments of the Father and the Son; and ye have received the Holy Ghost, which witnesses of the Father and the Son, unto the fulfilling of the promise which he hath made, that if ye entered in by the way ye should receive.”

This is the path to “eternal life.” It is “strait and narrow,” but it is the way to eternal life. What is eternal life?

 
Why is the path “strait and narrow?” Is it to deprive you of something, or is it to direct you toward the only path where abundance can be obtained? If you become connected to the “true vine,” are you then able to “bear fruit?” (John 15: 4-7.) If you bear fruit, what can you ask of Him that He will not give to you? (John 15: 7.) What does that mean? Have you read Beloved Enos? If so you will understand what is being discussed.
 
By doing as the Father and Son have asked, you “receive the Holy Ghost.” What does it mean to have the Holy Ghost dwell within you? (D&C 130: 22.) How does a spirit dwell inside a person? How does that spirit become “Holy” and the third member of the Godhead? If the scriptures say, and Christ taught that those who receive God’s word are gods, what does it mean? (John 10: 34-36.)
 
Did you notice the Father and Son promise the Holy Ghost, and when you receive it the Holy Ghost bears witness of the Father and Son? The first promise to you the last, and the last bears witness of the first. In one eternal round, the doctrine of Christ includes all members of the Godhead combined into a witness that will come to you, take up residence within you, and make you a vessel of the promises  fulfilled. You are to return home, and take your abode again. Or, more correctly, permit Them to take up Their abode with you. (John 14: 23.)
 
You become the record of God’s dealings with mankind. You become the promise of God’s presence, for you fulfill “the promise which He hath made.”
 
You receive the “record of heaven” or, more correctly, the Record of Heaven, for it is a proper name and title. (Moses 6: 61.) When it has come to you, then this Record of Heaven will abide with you. You will be the one who possess the “peaceable things of immortal glory.”  You will know “the truth of all things” for it will reside within you. (Moses 6: 61.) You will understand wisdom, for she will be with you. You will know mercy, possess truth, and be capable of performing judgment, for the judgment you judge will not be yours but will be given to you. (3 Nephi 27: 27.) God will dwell within you.
 
When He appears to you, you will see Him as He is, for you will be at last like Him. (1 John 3: 1-2.) If you can understand this, then you will purify yourself to receive it. (1 John 3: 3.) For the baptism of fire and the Holy Ghost will purge and purify, refining you with that holy fire. (Mal. 3: 2.)
 
This doctrine of Christ will bring you in contact with God. You were meant to return to the Family you came from. It is the homecoming you have always felt was needed. You do not belong here. There is something higher, something more holy calling to you. It is not found in an institution, or program, or award, or office. It is only found in God, who is your home.
 
The doctrine of Christ is the doctrine of God’s return to be with you and abide with you. It is Him coming to sup with you. He has been knocking at the door all these years seeking entry into your life. (Rev. 3: 20.) If you let Him come in, He will prepare a throne for you. (Rev. 3: 21-22.) Only those who have descended will be permitted to rise. Only those who humble themselves can be exalted. (Matt. 23: 12.) While all those who rule rather than serve, will be disappointed. These are they who declare themselves worthy to be followed and insist they can use compulsion. They pretend to be on the Lord’s errand while they are on their own. They crave dominion over others but will be cast down. They will be denied priesthood, and be left begging for water to cool their tongues for the torment of it all. (D&C 121: 37 and Luke 16: 23-24.)
 
How much better is it, then, for us to repent?  It seems foolish to do otherwise. I find I’m persuaded by Nephi.

33 thoughts on “2 Nephi 31: 18

  1. The only explanation of the Holy Ghost I’ve found that makes sense to me is in the Fifth Lecture. A oneness of mind between the Father and the Son. All this talk that this preexistent man volunteered to be the Holy Ghost and he’ll be resurrected last, etc… rings false. We possess the Holy Ghost as we gain the mind of God – it is pure intelligence, not emotional sobbings.

    Anyone else think this way?

  2. Perhaps some assumptions need to be removed before learning the truth about the Holy Ghost (and I don’t know it all, just thinking out loud):

    First we get tied up over the scripture that says: The Holy Ghost has not a body of flesh and bones, but is a personage of spirit.

    -We assume the Holy Ghost can’t have a body of flesh and bones belonging to him at any time. What about when he is not acting as a Holy Ghost? What about the ability of our own selves to leave our bodies and witness things in the spirit and return to our bodies again while the body is preserved?

    -We assume it has to be one individual: what if it is one individual as well as many individuals, as well as ourselves after a certain point, and all three options harmonize?

    -Denver’s explanation rings true because it opens up the possibility that the Holy Ghost is a status that can happen to spirits, even ours. Then why not there be a Holy Ghost that influences our spirits until our spirits are Holy Ghosts are well?

    -I believe opening up more doors like this allows us to understand why a title is used instead of a personal name….if there is place for all of these options, then a personal name wouldn’t accurately describe the whole truth as it was, is ,and will be, even if there is one Arch-Holy Ghost over them all.

    Understanding each scripture about the Holy Ghost, then, would require context. All mysteries make plain and simple sense when understood as a whole. If one piece is missing, it remains a mystery.

    -Brian

  3. Anon @ 8:47 am,

    I had never considered that idea, but as soon as I started reading this post, that was very clearly conveyed to my mind, while only alluded to by Bro Snuffer. I am very compelled to study and ponder this further. It is something I had never considered but makes so much sense. It also makes salvation feel even that much more personal. Wow! I am blown away right now.

  4. As I am pondering all this regarding the receiving of the Holy Ghost through baptism of fire, I have many questions, but will pose only one.

    My understanding of what is being explained at this point is that this baptism of fire purges and sanctifies our own spirit. Which makes us a holy/worthy vessel for the “intelligence” of God to dwell within…or in other words, his light and truth or glory. This literal substance, or intelligence, that makes God omniscient, omnipotent and omnipresent as he possesses a fulness of it, literally dwells within us after it purges us and makes us holy…or a god in part. We then, as sanctified individuals, can then begin to continue to grow in light and truth until we come to a full knowledge of Christ and also become like Him in the process because we obtain a fulness of this glory, also. But this process of walking on this strait and narrow path to become like God is only possible after this baptism by fire, which makes us a vessel (tabernacle) worthy of becoming a Holy Spirit ourselves.

    That is probably off somewhere, but it is the best I can put into words how I am understanding this.

    My question has to do with the sacrament. I believe I am UNDERrestimating the significance of this repeated ordinance. Since Nephi is clearly explaining baptism by water being directly followed by this baptism of fire…and many of us have acknowledged that at our baptisms at 8 years old we did not have the same miraculous purging as Denver experienced…is this one reason the renewal of the baptismal covenant is offered so frequently? Does this offer individuals at varying stages of their complete repentance to eventally experience this baptism of fire when they are prepared sufficiently and yet have it still be in connection with baptism in the form of its “renewal”, since they lacked the experience at their actual baptism? Don’t know if that makes sense, but I just feel there is more going on with the sacrament than I currently see and am wondering if there is a link with these last couple of blogs.

  5. Thanks, Brother Snuffer. Powerful stuff.

    Interesting that as I went to Stake Conference today, and Elder Porter was visiting, he quoted these closing verses of chapter 31, and testifed of what a significant impact they have had in his life.

    He also discussed the correlation committee:-).

  6. Anonymous @ 8:47.

    How does that fit with 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.”

  7. The “Holy Ghost”, priesthood, spirit, and other words has multiple meanings.

    It’s beyond a reasonable doubt that I hold differing views than most here, but the ‘Holy Ghost’ can be

    (1) an office in the Priesthood, viz, a testator.

    (2) a body quorum, in the Priesthood consisting of one testator for each one of the seven dispensations with a president serving the last dispensation

    (3) a level of understanding which changes the natural cognation of an individual, typically securing a particular paradigm for the duration of the life of that individual

    What I see from this discussion and the comments is reference to this third definition but with confusion caused by the attempted application of definition (1) above.

    One, I hold, has the “baptism of fire” when one achieves definition (3)

  8. I have always loved the Master’s answer to Nicodemus when he asked:
    Rabbi, we know that thou art a teacher come from God: for no man can do these miracles that thou doest, except God be with him.

    Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.

    Nicodemus saith unto him, How can a man be born when he is old? can he enter the second time into his mother’s womb and, and be born?

    Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. ( John 5:2-5)

    The baptism of water and the baptism of the Spirit may be closely linked temporally, or they may be separated by many years. They are separate ordinances and both necessary for one to enter into the strait and narrow way.
    Last wk I sat in a meeting of High Priests and heard a lesson wherein we were taught that “almost everyone in the Church is on the strait and narrow by virtue of their baptism”. I felt constrained to withhold any comment. Such seems to be the consensus within the Church these days.
    Jim

  9. Anon @ 12:48…

    Good question. I think Hugh Nibley said something about the Holy Ghost being as close to us as we are to ourselves. This was in a video called The Education of Zion or something close to that. I’ll have to – well, all our VHS machines are gone, so I guess I’ll have to get it converted to DVD format and watch it again.

    I’m not sure how that D&C verse jives with the Lecture on Faith. The word “personage” throws me for a loop because I equate that with meaning “individual.” And an “individual” Holy Ghost throws me for a bigger loop. But maybe I’m looking at “personage” the wrong way…?

    Do you have any ideas?

    -(Anon @ 8:47)

  10. Anonymous said…

    Anon @ 12:48…

    Let us remember the Lectures on Faith are not doctrine, but the D&C is.

    In historical prospective, you can see the shift of thought in Joseph from mirroring mainstream Christianity of the time, to the revolutionary concepts and doctrines of the Nauvoo period.

    It seems the mainstream church loves the pre-1835 doctrines more than the late period. Perhaps it’s because we are becoming “friends” with Christianity? I prefer an excellent exaltation over mere “salvation” any day. I stand with Joshua, “as for me and my house, we stand with the Lord”.

  11. You ask why the path is “strait and narrow?” Is there a difference between a “strait and narrow” path and one that is “straight and narrow?”
    Is this significant or does it really matter? I see it as an iron-rod vs. liahona question and it really matters the way you see things…
    HELP

  12. Steve, the Lectures were taken out of the D&C, hence not doctrinally binding. I use my 1974 edition, they aren’t in there–try as I might to find them.

    The ‘doctrine” espoused in them are fairly mainstream Christian (of the time).

    I have suggested several times that people should get and read “How Greek Philosophy Corrupted the Christian Concept of God”.

    Hopkins devotes a whole book that shows the challenge of the Biblical concept of God, the consummation of the “Christian ideal of God” with Greek philosophy, and the comparison of that union with the revealed knowledge of Joseph (which restores much of the Biblical view).

  13. Just an idea for you to think about–for the sake of argument, let us assume the Holy Ghost is really a quorum of 7 individuals who were the ‘testators’ for their dispensations upon the earth.

    That quorum, under a legal interpretation (DS can comment here) could be a person, hence referencing the body of that person could be a “personage”.

  14. Steve, I think it is good early doctrine, but once Joseph begain to learn more in the Nauvoo days, then he really begain to open up and see things better (thats why he was trying to do what Denver does… trying to get people to understand they can have similar experiences and connection with heaven that he did). Course he had to also live higher things to get there. Like Denver says, he had to learn by experience… be a doer of ALL of the restored gospel, not just a talker.

  15. [Continued from last post]

    So what would the ‘ghost’ or ‘spirit’ be that came from a personage, or the embodiment of several individuals formed into a quorum?

    Wouldn’t it be the “understanding”, “knowledge”, or “wisdom” presented or conveyed by that “personage”?

    And isn’t the above what Joseph taught about intimations of the “Holy Ghost”

    So isn’t “critical mass” of the burning how much you understand, how much knowledge you receive and how much wisdom is obtained when such an experience “burns” it indelibly into your “spirit”?

  16. Watch out for the Lectures, cause they’re not doctrine, but here – read Hopkins, he’s great. Weird.

    I don’t care if it’s from 1835, 2035 or 2035BC if it’s true.

  17. I hope I’m not diving into left field, but I feel I am pretty clearly understanding implications that exactly address an abiding question I’ve had for years; in layman’s terms, whether one definition/part of the Holy Ghost, within the sphere of my personal mortal experience, is actually my own spirit, when it is sanctified. (I also noticed a couple weeks back when Denver mentioned, in response to a comment, that an individual shouldn’t do that which offends their own spirit.) It seems to make such beautiful sense, reflecting the intimate and personal nature of the application of God’s plan in each of our lives, and the relationship we are to have with the Father and Son, and so much more. I’ve never been able to shake the idea, but I’d never really felt safe voicing it either.

  18. Weird? Exactly why was the School of the Prophets established? Wasn’t it to teach the brethren some religion before they contested their new religion in the world? This implies many did not have a systematic theology–so they were trained. Have you been trained? Where? How? Did they have that? So its not too weird to me.

    It was discontinued; later, in the 1880s, it was re-established, I’m pretty sure they discussed the doctrines of the Nauvoo period.

    The Lectures on Faith contain many truths, but were taking out of the Doctrines and Covenants, hence are not doctrine.

    Hopkins shows how the concept that God wound up without body parts or passions (wholly a spiritual concept), outside time and space (created the universe by fiat), and many other things.

    Look, it was a suggestion

  19. Anonymous [ August 30, 2010 1:20 AM ] I have said for years, my Holiest Ghost is my own; and that the “unpardonable sin” against the Holy Ghost (my ghost, or spirit) is to “sin” against the “organization” of my spirit … that leads to the second death, a very literal death of the spirit (not something as taught now-a-days, where you are out of the presence of God); and if your spirit dies, you are no more (does not mean the parts (intelligences) are gone, but the union of those intelligences that make you, you is terminated).

  20. For Anony [ August 29, 2010 9:34 PM ]

    The fact is the Lectures were very mainstream Christian, with a few exceptions, and were used to teach the brethren a bit of religion.

    This is not bad. However, with the coming of the new revelations of the Nauvoo period, much of the lecture material became ancillary. This is why they fell into disuse (and ultimately disfavor and were removed from the D&C).

    With the restructuring of the Godhead and attending doctrines (1890-1930) coupled with the desire to become friends with the world, the Lectures on Faith have now become in vogue again.

    I have said, ans say again, there are many good things, but much I do not hold as doctrine because of the new revelations of the Nauvoo period …. they were stepping stones to greater knowledge; and when people today make them the end of the journey (holding as doctrine) they have damned themselves, IMHO, because the have barred themselves from the greater truths.

    I do not mean this is a harsh way, but more as a statement of fact.

    To me, rearranging or moving doctrines, principles, priesthood laws, etc, without the introduction and assimilation of new revelation, experience, or knowledge is just activity, not progress.

  21. Stone and Everyone:

    John Pratt’s superb expositions on the witness of the constellations revealing the identities of the 7 angels of Revelation may tie in with Stone’s 7-member council. Remember, angels speak by the power of the Holy Ghost. Of particular interest is Joseph Smith as one of them. It has been said that Joseph Smith was not the Holy Ghost, but it was never said that he was not “A” Holy Ghost. Or at least not “THE” Holy Ghost, if there is a main one.

    Seven Trumpets

    Constellations Testify of Seven Angels

  22. On my comment of [ August 30, 2010 9:12 AM ] one can clearly see why, if your own ghost/spirit is your holy ghost, the sin “against the Holy Ghost” is unpardonable. Once you suffer spirit death, you are no longer you, hence “you” are incapable of “repenting”.

  23. Stone, I hope it isn’t too late to comment all the way down here when so many other posts have been made, but I can only catch up on this blog every few days. I think your theory about spiritual death makes a lot of sense, and is really quite simple when you think, not over-think ;), about it. I am inclined to think you are on to something, but I can’t reconcile the Sons of Perdition in this scenario. Do you believe they just cease to exist? I know there is at least Mormon lore out there that suggests Cain will hold more power than Lucifer after all is said and done because of his actually having received a body, but maybe this is just another speculation. Also, would the third part of the host of heaven, at some point, suffer this same fate, where their spirits die and are relegated back to intelligence status? If so, I suppose it will happen at some time after the final battle after the millennium. I am just wondering if I could pick your brain on those thoughts, because besides the fate of those personages, your theory rings true to me.

  24. Sabrina,

    Quick answer: It depends upon when a “son of perdition” is created. Two possibilities of where to become a SOP.

    For the third part of heaven that were to “not” have a body–we have to think in terms of “how long can a spirit body be a ‘spirit body’ without a physical body?”

    (1) wouldn’t these be ‘unembodied’ sons of perdition?

    (2) If the union disintegrates, the “identity” of the spirit body (that would be what makes you, you; me, me) would not longer exist.

    (3) Those intelligences, since they are NOT destroyed could then be part of another organization

    (4) If they become a part of another organization, this would explain the differences between, say the noble and great ones, the good ones, and the not so good ones

    This 3rd part of heaven’s first death is the same as the second death of those whom acquired a body:

    unembodied:

    1st birth = organization of spirit body (birth of identity/character created)
    1st death = disintegration of spirit body (death of indentity/character)

    embodied:

    + 1st birth = birth of spirit body
    |
    | +-2nd birth = birth of physical body
    | +-1st death = death of physical body
    |
    +-2nd death = death of spirit body

    For the other “2” third parts of heaven that were to have a body, my explanation of D&C 76:31-48 is more than comments posted here allow … however … off-blog, I would be willing to email you that explanation

  25. Sabrina,

    Let me correct myself, there are 3 times where it is possible to become a son of perdition.

    (I’m not sure if it was a brain-check, or a fat-finger).

  26. Sabrina,

    To help you grasp my comment, “For the third part of heaven that were to “not” have a body–we have to think in terms of “how long can a spirit body be a ‘spirit body’ without a physical body?”; let me ask you a couple of questions.

    Where is this heaven they are in, is it inside or outside of space and time? Just exactly where is heaven? On this earth? Not on this earth? On Kolob? Near Kolob? Where is Kolob? Inside or outside of space and time? Where does Abraham 3:2-3,9-10 tell us they are?

    If these places are inside of space and time, do you suppose they are subject to the laws of physics etc? Can you be inside of time and space and not be subject, if so, how?

    Where you start is a determining factor of where you end.

  27. Sabrina and Everyone – Have you run across this in your studies. I think it’s pretty interesting:?

    THE FATE OF THE DEVIL AND HIS ANGELS

    But I will quote the Scriptures on this point, and you can make what you please of it. Jesus says, he will DESTROY death and him that hath the power of it. What can you make of this but decomposition, the returning of the organized particles to their native element, after suffering the wrath of God until the time appointed. That appears a mystery, but the principle has been in existence from all eternity, only it is something you have not known or thought of. When the elements in an organized form do not fill the end of their creation, they are thrown back again, like brother Kimball’s old pottery ware, to be ground up, and made over again. All I have to say about it is what Jesus says – I will destroy Death, and him that hath the power of it, which is the devil. And if he ever makes “a full end of the wicked,” what else can he do than entirely disorganize them, and reduce them to their native element? Here are some of the mysteries of the kingdom….
    “Why,” some say, “we thought that the wicked were to be sent to hell to dwell with eternal burnings for evermore. They go to hell and will stay there until the anger of the Almighty consumes them and they become disorganized, as the elements of the fuel we burn are disorganized by the action of fire and thrown back again to their native element.

    The Essential Brigham Young p. 72, 128

  28. Hi krichens:

    I don’t know if you found an answer to your question regarding “strait” and “straight.” I had read recently that the word “strait” does not actually mean “straight” at all, but rather it means “narrow.” And so “strait and narrow” actually means “narrow and narrow.” The point being that there are often twists and turns on the “strait and narrow” path. I liked this thought and hope it helps.

  29. Mike

    I am well aware of this and other statements by Brigham. Best ones are in the JoD.

    Dissolution to native element is nothing more than the destruction of the union of the intelligences, thus ending the “character” of the union. BTW, just what is the nature of this “native element” called “intelligence?”

    This fills justice. How could God be just by punishing someone for the “rest” of eternity for something done in a “slice”? The “punishment” would have to be finite, as the time of mortality is finite, yet have eternal ramifications.

    But you see, this only works when you use the model that a “spirit body” is the organization of x-tillion intelligences that gives rise to “character”.

    I often ask, “How do you organize a unitary object?” Likewise, I ask, “How do you disorganize a unitary object?”

    Under the guise of the “single intelligence” per individual the concept of a “spiritual birth” is rendered superfluous. If one already exists, one needs no birth.

    Just for grins & giggles, when are the 3 times one may become a SOP?

  30. Stone and Mike,

    Thanks for the replies. This all makes so much sense to me. I had never heard or read any of that before, but it makes the concept of the second death much more clear.

  31. Hey Aaron,

    I like the crooked path idea…when the scriptures say “make his paths straight” with the “gh”, could that mean that we are to use the rod of the word of God to straighten out the strait and narrow way so that it can lie in a straight course before our feet?

    2 Nephi 41 “O then, my beloved brethren, come unto the Lord, the Holy One. Remember that his paths are righteous. Behold, the way for man is narrow, but it lieth in a straight course before him, and the keeper of the gate is the Holy One of Israel; and he employeth no servant there; and there is none other way save it be by the gate; for he cannot be deceived, for the Lord God is his name.”

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