There is a new video about the restoration that is linked below:
The Christian Restoration: Part 4.
It is the fourth installment of a planned seven-part series on the restoration of the gospel.
There is a new video about the restoration that is linked below:
The Christian Restoration: Part 4.
It is the fourth installment of a planned seven-part series on the restoration of the gospel.
Today Denver answers this question, ” As we celebrate Christ during this season, what should we know about Him today?”
I hate this subject. I hate that is it necessary to discuss such indignities. There is so much that needs to be taught and learned. It perplexes me why it is necessary to address so basic and obvious an evil to people who say they want to follow God.
Among us are those whose aggressive preaching of evil sexual practices provokes the Lord to reiterate to us the words of Jeremiah:
My heart within me is broken because of the prophets, all my bones shake, I am like a drunk man and like a man whom wine has overcome, because of the Lord and because of the words of his holiness. For the land is full of adulterers, for because of swearing the land mourns, the pleasant places of the wilderness are dried up, and their course is evil and their force is not right. For both prophet and priest are corrupt, yea, in my house have I found their wickedness, says the Lord. Wherefore their way shall be unto them as slippery ways in the darkness, they shall be driven on and fall therein for I will bring evil upon them, even the year of their visitation, says the Lord. And I have seen folly in the prophets of Samaria: they prophesied in Baal and caused my people Israel to err. I have seen also in the prophets of Jerusalem a horrible thing: they commit adultery and walk in lies, they strengthen also the hands of evildoers that none does return from his wickedness. They are all of them unto me as Sodom and the inhabitants thereof as Gomorrah. (OC Jeremiah 8:18)
It does not matter if this sin is advocated under a new name. No change of vocabulary will justify this sin. Calling it celestial does not make it less hellish. Teaching it is no sin to engage in adultery because you and your victim were bonded to one another before the foundation of the world is a lie designed to seduce the foolish.
The restoration began with the Lord offering to extract us from this perversity. In the first message to Joseph Smith Christ quoted language from scripture to describe the world. The rest of Paul’s passage from which Christ’s words were taken declares that people are, “lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God, having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof. From such turn away, for of this sort are they which creep into houses and lead captive silly women loaded with sins, led away with diverse lusts, ever learning and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth.” (NC 2 Tim. 1:8) Diverse lusts can be given any name a clever man or woman chooses, but it does not improve the sinful and destructive nature of the failure.
There are many ways to prevent Zion. One of the most successful tools to bar individuals from rising up to Zion is to have them defile the marriage relationship through sexual sin. Having sexual relations outside the marriage covenant is unholy, ungodly and designed to create so corrupt a people that they will be barred from God’s presence.
There is a great mountain to climb. A beast guards the passageway. That beast takes many forms. Sexual sin is one of its forms. Do not let it destroy you.
There are false teachings advocated in secret by people who are either deceived by a false spirit or willingly sinful. These false teachings include such notions as: It is not a sin to have sexual relations outside of marriage if both participants are unmarried. This, of course, is false, and the scriptures condemn such fornication and sexual impurity. “As touching the gentiles who believe, we have written and concluded that they … keep themselves from things offered to idols, … and from fornication.” (NC Acts 12:9) “Now the body is not for fornication, but for the Lord, and the Lord for the body. And God has both raised up the Lord and will also raise up us by his own power. Do you not know that your bodies are the members of Christ? Shall I then take the members of Christ and make them the members of a harlot? God forbid. What? Do you not know that he who is joined to a harlot is one body? For two, says he, shall be one flesh. But he that is joined unto the Lord is one spirit. Flee fornication. Every sin that a man commits is against the body of Christ, and he who commits fornication sins against his own body.” (NC 1 Cor 1:23) “Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are: adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, envyings, murders, drunkenness, revelings, and such like; of the which I tell you, as I have also told in time past, that they who do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.” (NC Gal. 1:21)
Fornication will prevent you from inheriting the kingdom of God. It is as offensive as adultery, and often condemned in the same statement alongside adultery.
Those who teach this evil often conceal their teachings from the public, choosing to do so in secret. They teach it secretly because they are ashamed of this false, repugnant idea. Teaching in secret is an indication they recognize what they teach is false.
By concealing their sin, they hope their lies will protect them. The scriptures make it clear this will do them no good. “Last of all, these all are they who will not be gathered with the saints, to be caught up unto the church of the Firstborn and received into the Cloud. These are they who are liars, and sorcerers, and adulterers, and whoremongers, and whoever loves and makes a lie. These are they who suffer the wrath of God on the earth. These are they who suffer the vengeance of Eternal fire. These are they who are cast down to Hell and suffer the wrath of Almighty God” (T&C 69:27).
Part of the success of such false teachings comes from carefully keeping it hidden. Hiding their false teachings only makes them liars who love and make a lie to advance their adultery and whoredoms.
From all such teachings and teachers you should flee. Their teachings are calculated only to corrupt, deceive and destroy.
There is a reason why such a serious sin as adultery ought to be avoided altogether, even if it is only as a foolish temptation contemplating the possibility of a plural wife. We all need greater light and knowledge. The only way it can be acquired is by heed and diligence to the commandments of God. Any other path is a diversion, intended to waylay you and prevent you from developing as God intends.
Peter urged in his second letter: “And besides this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue, and to virtue knowledge, and to knowledge, temperance, and to temperance, patience, and to patience, godliness, and to godliness, brotherly kindness, and to brotherly kindness, charity. For if these things be in you and abound, they make you neither barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.” (NC 2 Peter 1:2) Peter explained the required steps for our progression. As soon as you acquire the faith to act, you next must add virtue. Virtue in turn leads to knowledge, because it is only through heed and diligence we gain knowledge.
As the people of King Benjamin demonstrated by their conversion to the truth, and their covenantal commitment to obey the truth, they gained the strength to do good. They no longer had any desire for evil: “Yea, we believe all the words which thou hast spoken unto us! And also, we know of their surety and truth because of the spirit of the Lord Omnipotent, which has wrought a mighty change in us, or in our hearts, that we have no more disposition to do evil, but to do good continually.” (NC Mosiah 3:1) A person who has the disposition to do evil and commit adultery is NOT yet converted. They are NOT yet redeemed. They still must repent and turn to God.
Joseph Smith explained that the gospel path requires us to increase in obedience to God. There is nothing static or stationary about the gospel. We must increase our obedience to participate in gospel conversion, “We consider that God has created man with a mind capable of instruction, and a faculty which may be enlarged in proportion to the heed and diligence given to the light communicated from heaven to the intellect: and that the nearer man approaches perfection, the clearer are his views, and the greater his enjoyments, till he has overcome the evils of his life and lost every desire for sin; and like the ancients, arrives at that point where he is wrapped in the power and glory of his Master and is caught up to dwell with Him.” (TJPS p. 51) If you remain attracted to adultery and fornication, you have not yet lost every desire for sin. Your views of right and wrong cannot be clear if you fail to see the evil in such disobedience.
There is a revelation for our day that says, “And that which does not edify is not of God, and is darkness. That which is of God is light, and he that receives light and continues in God, receives more light, and that light grows brighter and brighter until the perfect day.” (T&C 36:4) Light grows if you are in the gospel path. It grows brighter and brighter only when you forsake sin and give heed and diligence to the commandments. Adultery destroys that progress and robs you of light.
Alma explained, “[H]e that will harden his heart, the same receiveth the lesser portion of the word. And he that will not harden his heart, to him is given the greater portion of the word, until it is given unto him to know the mysteries of God, until they know them in full. And they that will harden their hearts, to them is given the lesser portion of the word until they know nothing concerning his mysteries; and then they are taken captive by the Devil and led by his will down to destruction. Now this is what is meant by the chains of hell.” (NC Alma 9:3)
Those who think they can follow God and yet commit adultery are deceived and giving heed to a false spirit. It is impossible to be both on the path to greater light and also engaged in such a serious sin.
Add to your faith virtue. It is perilous to do otherwise. You open yourself to deception and being led by false spirits and false prophets when you choose to ignore the commandment “Thou shalt not commit adultery.”
Adultery has been a plague on the restoration beginning while Joseph was still alive. Nauvoo was filled with adulterers. Once John Bennett was exposed in 1842, Joseph Smith brought charges before the Nauvoo High Council against any of those he learned were involved.
As part of the many High Council proceedings Joseph brought, when men or women confessed and named others, those others were also charged before the High Council.
From 1842 till his death, Joseph publicly and privately condemned adultery. Despite all Joseph said to oppose it, the formal practice of that abomination was adopted by the highest levels of the church as a sacrament as soon as Joseph and Hyrum were killed.
In March 1844 Hyrum wrote a letter explaining that the false teaching of adulterous men using lies about some ‘higher priesthood’ were altogether false. His letter is part of the new volume of scripture, the Teachings and Commandments, as section 152. It reads in relevant part: “some of your elders say that a man having a certain Priesthood may have as many wives as he pleases, and that doctrine is taught here at Nauvoo: I say unto you that that man teaches false doctrine, for there is no such doctrine taught here, neither is there any such thing practiced here. And any man that is found teaching privately or publicly any such doctrine is culpable, and will stand a chance to be brought before the high council, and lose his license and membership also Therefore, he had better beware what he is about.” (T&C 152:1)
Hyrum’s letter accurately described what Joseph was doing: bringing adulterers who took plural wives before the High Council to be cast out.
That false idea is still propounded by the same false spirit that derailed the restoration at the beginning. Today there are still false claims of ‘higher priesthood’ with the ability to violate the commandment against committing adultery. That spirit appeals to the pride and vanity of the foolish and gullible. No one ought to be taken in by it.
Consider what the effect would be on a society that welcomed and practiced such an abomination. It would destabilize families, produce broken homes, leave children victims of their parents selfishness and betrayal, and foster such widespread disunity and division it would be impossible to become of one heart and one mind.
The very purpose of the temptation to adopt adultery as a sacrament is the destruction of Zion. Adulterous people cannot be part of Zion. Their abomination is contrary to the very idea. That sin is urged by a false spirit. It has succeeded in preventing Zion before, and must not be permitted to do so again.
Today, Denver addresses the question, “What are ordinances, and why do we need them?”
Citations for this episode:
Adultery is such a significant sin and so destructive to society that it is prohibited in the Ten Commandments: “You shall not commit adultery.” (NC Exo. 12:10)
In answer to a question from Peter, Christ explained about the evils in the heart of men: ” out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adultery, fornication, thefts, false witness, blasphemy. These are things which defile a man, but to eat with unwashed hands defiles not a man.” (NC Matt. 8:10)
A short time after this a group of both Pharisees and Sadducees came to demand a sign be given to them by Christ. These two groups normally conflicted with each other over religious beliefs. However, they came together to confront Christ, unified in the question they posed. Christ not only refused, but gave a principle or key it is important to understand: “A wicked and adulterous generation seeks after a sign, and there shall no sign be given unto it, but the sign of the prophet Jonah.” (NC Matt 8:15)
This key given by Christ is reliable. One of the effects of an adulterous heart is the inability to accept truth without a sign. But signs do not produce faith. Signs cannot produce faith. “And he that seeks signs shall see signs, but not unto salvation. Verily I say unto you, There are those among you who seek signs, and there have been such even from the beginning. But behold, faith comes not by signs, but signs follow those that believe. Yea, signs come by faith, not by the will of men nor as they please, but by the will of God. Yea, signs come by faith unto mighty works, for without faith no man pleases God.” (T&C 50:3)
Those with adulterous hearts require something coarse to convince them because they lack faith. When they obtain a sign and follow after it, they still do not have faith, because signs cannot produce it.
Joseph Smith commented on sign-seeking: “When I was preaching in Philadelphia, a Quaker called out for a sign. I told him to be still. After the sermon, he again asked for a sign. I told the congregation the man was an adulterer; that a wicked and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign; and that the Lord had said to me in a revelation, that any man who wanted a sign was an adulterous person. ‘It is true,’ cried one, ‘for I caught him in the very act,’ which the man afterwards confessed when he was baptized.” (TPJS, p. 278, DHC 5:268; Feb. 9 1843.)
When signs attract followers, the resulting congregation of followers are all vulnerable to the sin of adultery. This is one of the reasons why so many were adulterers in Nauvoo, and later in Utah, and today among various splinter groups. It is a plague that can only be avoided by removing adulterous thoughts from the heart.
As Christ explained to Peter, it is from the heart that the evil of adultery and fornication originates. It interferes with the light required to have faith. I have consistently warned against this sin. A revelation to Joseph Smith warned: “And verily I say unto you, as I have said before, He that looks on a woman to lust after her, or if any shall commit adultery in their hearts, they shall not have the Spirit, but shall deny the faith and shall fear.” (T&C 50:4)
No adulterer is fit for Zion. The nature of that sin is to destroy families, create conflict, inspire violence, and prevent the Spirit of God from holding influence over the victims. When put outside that influence, these victims of their own lusts are open to the influence of other, false spirits. False spirits gladly minister to sign-seekers.
I got emails and phone calls asking about Christ’s statement in 3 Nephi: “there shall be no disputations among you, as there hath hitherto been, neither shall there be disputations among you concerning the points of my doctrine, as there hath hitherto been. For verily, verily I say unto you, he that hath the spirit of contention is not of me, but is of the Devil, who is the father of contention; and he stirreth up the hearts of men to contend with anger, one with another.”
I replied that you can disagree without an angry disputation. You can have good humor even while you detect a false spirit and reject it. You can wish people well as they go on their way, while altogether condemning their message as originating in a malignant source.
It is not required that you attempt to persuade every person of their errors. If you make it clear you do not want to participate in their errors, that is enough.
And you can do all those things without ever becoming angry and allowing your heart to become stirred up to contention and argument.
If you refuse to make your rejection of false spirits clear, then you are contributing to evil. It is impossible to stand for the truth without rejecting errors and false spirits when they come to confront you. Christ expected us to do that. He even rebuked Peter, telling him: “Get thee behind me, Satan” when Peter opposed the will of the Father. Yet the same Christ announced the doctrine that we are not supposed to “contend” in “anger” with one another. The only conclusion we can reach is that Christ followed the principle He taught, and we can do so also while standing firm and detecting a false spirit when confronted by it.
Two emissaries from a Canadian fellow who I’ve been informed is an advocate of plural wivery, just left my office. They delivered a written message from Joseph Rockwell and Dean Taylor. Joseph Rockwell was the author of the “Escape to Polygamy” website. On that site on September 5, 2010 he wrote a post titled “Engagement” in which he said his wife wanted him to take another wife and so he was now engaged to marry again. Another post on September 11, 2010 “Into the Light” wrote about the “deep longing to bring more wives into our family and have our family grow.” So he’s an adulterer.
The message is couched in “Thus Saith the Lord” and commands me to not fight against the work of some “Father” that Rockwell submits to obey. The whole contains a spirit that I recognize. It is false. It seeks to portray wickedness as righteousness, and to gain control and authority over others.
I am now commanded by this false spirit to “repent” and not fight against this Rockwellian foolishness. I don’t intend to obey.
I’m not supposed to “seek to destroy that which the Father has commanded.” But, since I have no part in obedience to this deceiving “Father” I plan to give it no heed.
It occurred to me that, for whatever entertainment value this has, I would put this note up on my website.
I’ve been invited to speak in South Carolina at a conference being organized there to take place January 12th and 13th. I plan to attend and talk. An announcement about the details will be made soon through the event calendar on the Restoration Archives site. I wanted to make it known as early as possible.
I also plan to give a talk in Centerville, Utah sometime in February.
This is the second half of Denver’s address given at Graceland University yesterday, November 10th 2018. In this installment Denver addresses the following: In 1820, God told Joseph Smith not to join any church, because they all “have a form of Godliness, but deny the power thereof”. How do churches today still deny the power of Godliness, and how is God working to help us grasp the depth of our awful situation?