93: Meekness & Humility, Part 1

This is the first part of a series on Meekness and Humility, which is intended to go deeper than mere words and definitions. The hope is to give you the chance to get a feel for the underlying state of being associated with Meekness and Humility, so you can resonate with these attributes and bring them into your life. We encourage you to pause and ponder on any examples of meekness and humility that come to mind as you listen, including nature, scriptures, and or examples from your own life. We hope these episodes are meaningful and relevant to everyone’s hope and desire for Zion.


Meekness is a difficult attribute to recognize, it is found in the relationship between man and God, not between man and man; to be meek is to follow the Lord’s will, even when one doesn’t want to do so, even when it brings one into conflict with friends, family, or community. Meekness is measured as between the servant and the Lord, not as between the servant and his critics. Meekness, among other things, involves a conscious effort to avoid harming or offending others. It requires an absence of pride or self-will. It is not insistent upon being recognized or applauded. It denotes a willingness to suffer without complaint. Others may never recognize the meek, because meekness does not vaunt itself nor demand notice. There is great freedom in meekness. It relieves the meek from the burden of seeking their acclaim. It gives them the security of feeling God’s approval for their course of living. It is private. Meekness means a person voluntarily restrains himself and uses the absolute minimum control or authority over others. It is related to humility. Humility is voluntary submission to the control or power of God — in other words, obedience. Meekness affects a person’s relationship with his fellow man. There is nothing showy or attention-grabbing about the meek. Instead, they are content to know they have a relationship and power with God. Unless God requires something to be done or revealed, the meek do not voluntarily put this authority on display.

Our Lord was and is meek. When He said: “I am more intelligent than them all,” when He said: I am “the greatest of all”; there wasn’t one whit of arrogance in His announcement of that. What He was saying is: “Please have confidence in me. Please trust what I say to be true. Please recognize I’ve paid a price in order to be able to minister.”

Christ, in Luke 9: 27-31, prophesies: “But I tell you of a truth, there be some standing here, which shall not taste of death, till they see the kingdom of God.” That is the latter-day kingdom. That is the one Christ said was not of this world, but which He will come and inherit at the end. So He says some of you who are alive today will not die until you see Zion. The gymnastics that have gone into trying to explain that by Catholic and Mormon commentators is rather amusing. Let’s keep reading. “And it came to pass about an eight days after these sayings, he took Peter and John and James, and went up into a mountain to pray. And as he prayed, the fashion of his countenance was altered, and his raiment was white and glistering. And, behold, there talked with him two men, which were Moses and Elias: Who appeared in glory, and spake of his decease which he should accomplish at Jerusalem.”

He said some of those living then are not going to die until they see the Kingdom of God to be established at last upon the earth. Then He took those three up the Mount, and they see things not yet fully revealed to mankind. Now turn to D&C 63:20-21: “Nevertheless, he that endureth in faith and doeth my will, the same shall overcome, and shall receive an inheritance upon the earth when the day of transfiguration shall come; When the earth shall be transfigured, even according to the pattern which was shown unto mine apostles upon the mount; of which account the fulness ye have not yet received.” He vindicated His prophecy by showing them the latter-day Zion with the earth’s entire transfiguration. That is His Kingdom. Therefore, there were those standing in that generation who did not die until they first saw the latter-day triumph of the Kingdom of God. He fulfilled His own word. Luke put the Lord’s promise in His gospel immediately before His account of the Mount of Transfiguration for that reason.

It will happen! But it requires an awakening, and it requires an arising. It does not require a “Strongman” leader. A servant may well be necessary, but not a “Strongman” leader. It does not require a President. It requires your common consent by your deeds, not only to say, but to do. It will not be achieved by some “Strongman” in control of a subordinate group. It will not be achieved through coercion. It will not be achieved by force. It will not be achieved because there is some big “Strongman” among you talking to God for you, as in the days of Moses. It will only happen if each of you are strengthened in your faith and know the Lord. It will be achieved by humility. It will be achieved through meekness. It will be achieved by love which is unfeigned; the real thing.

I don’t need or want or even welcome your admiration or your praise. You’re probably more admirable than am I. I’m not telling you these things because I can do these things, I’m telling you these things because this is what the Lord would have us do. He has told us what was on His mind, and here it is, it’s laid out for us. The question is not, “who is great and noble and going to stroll in to Zion?” The question is, “who is meek, who is humble, who is appreciative of their inadequacies, and who is willing to say, ‘When I count up all my foibles and failings, I don’t think I have any ground upon which to criticize anyone else.’”

King Benjamin had something to say about the character of a child, and he gives this in his big talk, beginning in Mosiah where they’re all together for his farewell address. This is Mosiah chapter 3, verse 19: The natural man is an enemy to God, and has been from the fall of Adam, and will be, forever and ever, unless he yields to the enticings of the Holy Spirit, and putteth off the natural man and becometh a saint through the atonement of Christ the Lord, and becometh as a child (see also Mosiah 1:16 RE). Then he elaborates—what it is about the child that is so useful in yielding to the enticings of the holy spirit, putting off the natural man, becoming a saint through the atonement of Christ—all of those are driven by these kinds of characteristics, which are childlike: submissive, meek, humble, patient, full of love, willing to submit to all things which the Lord seeth fit to inflict upon him, even as a child doth submit to his father . Those are the characteristics of a child that manages to change their mind or to facilitate their development.

Well, there was a time— There was a time and it was back here in your life, there was a time when you did not need to go down to the firing range and have a skeet machine firing off a clay pigeon and a 12-gauge [shotgun] loaded with birdshot in it to be able to enjoy yourself. If you had a stick— If you had a stick, it was enough, because your mind was alive with the kinds of things that allowed you to have just as much—if not more—joy pretending, as does the adult with the gun and the ammunition and the skeet range and the machine and the clay pigeon and the thing blowing up in the air, and “Oooo, isn’t that fun, and don’t you wish there was more of that from Hollywood.” Too bad we can’t load blood in clay pigeons; then we’d all be at the firing range.

The idea of submissiveness is another way of reckoning into the idea of openness—the same with meekness; the same with humility and being humble; the same with patience—and we ought to clarify the point about the child and patience, because at first blush, you look at a child, and you say there is nothing less patient than a child: “Can we…? Can we…? Are we there yet? Are we there yet? Can I, can I, can I…? Please! Please! Please! Are you sure? [speaking as a child crying] Aaaahhhh! ( [internal thoughts of the child] Crap, how does this work?) Can I? Can I? Can I…? Okay, what if I give this, can I get that?” See, they go through all of the tantrum stuff until they begin to negotiate, and sometimes that negotiation thing works, particularly if the kids are bright. (And we’ve been playing with really bright kids, so they tend to go and negotiate everything.) They are not patient in that sense. They are— Children are patient in the sense that relentlessly, endlessly they are studying to learn more. They want to know more.

I write a blog, and on it I ask more questions than I give answers, because what people need are not a bunch of answers. And answers end the discussion. Once you’ve got the answer, then that’s the end of that. What you need is a question, and you need a question so that you’ll open your mind. And you need to open your mind so you can become like a child. And you need to become like a child so that you’re a suitable environment in which revelation can take place. And you need to have revelation take place in order for you to reconnect with heaven. And you need to reconnect with heaven so that you get to know who God is.

And you need to get to know who God is so that He can, in turn, make you a member of His own household and redeem you from this current plight in which you find yourself: in darkness and distrust. And what people want from me are answers, and I can hand you an answer and cripple you. Or I can teach you to ask and turn you into, potentially, someone that can make this trek backward, that can make this climb.

Do what God asks: Strip yourselves of jealousies and fears, humble yourselves before God, you are not sufficiently humble! Let’s learn from their failure! Let’s not repeat it! Why do we need to keep plowing the same line over and over, through the same rocky soil, when no fruit has ever come from that barren ground? Strip yourselves! Don’t envy those who sit in the chief seats. They are rather to be pitied. Gain your own grace with God as Moroni asked you to do. God alone decides when, where and how He will reveal Himself to you.

Look at D&C 88 verse 68. “Therefore, sanctify yourselves…” [You have to rise up to accomplish that. Sanctify yourselves by your stripping of jealousies and envies; by your humility before Him. Offer what He asks: a broken heart and contrite spirit. That sanctifies you because you disconnect from this place and connect to heaven.] “… that your minds become single to God…” [“Single to God” means He occupies a place of priority, He is central to you. It does not mean you neglect your family, you can’t do that. Nor should you neglect your labors, you can’t do that.

I should add, some of the people who are driven in desperation to try and improve their circumstances sitting downstairs, if ministered to in a kindly way, some of those people have a heart that is better prepared for receiving the truth, more tender and poignant because of the circumstances of their life, than are the hearts of many of us, who in are plenty. In our conceit about our own goodness, we mistakenly think ourselves better than them. When the truth of the matter is, more than anything else, it is humility that qualifies us before God. More than anything else, it is our sincere apprehension of just how weak, how vulnerable, and how easily distracted we are.

Think about what it means to be given the power of God. Think about what it means for God to be able to do all things, including sustaining you from moment to moment by lending you breath. With that great power, God says to us, “You are free to choose to do whatever it is that you choose.” Think of the patience of our God. Think of the meekness of our God. And think about the test you are presently taking to prove who and what you are. Ask whether or not, in the circumstances of this test, you are proving that you can be trusted to have the meekness, to have the patience, to endure in humility what must be done. Will you endure the abuses God allows to take place in order to permit His children to gain experience? Do you respect God’s plan so that in the long run we can all ultimately know the difference between good and evil? Will we voluntarily choose to love the good and to stay away from the evil.

You generally hail from a tradition that assures you that you’re in the right way. You generally come from a tradition that says you are better than others. You are able to look down your nose at other people who stumble about in the dark, because they don’t have all the great truths you think you have. The fact of the matter is, you generally, not specifically, are not right before God. Of course, there are some to whom this absolutely does not apply, whose hearts are right before God, but there aren’t many.

You have been handed this tradition. Understand, however, the wicked one cometh, and he takes away Light and Truth and he does it because of the false traditions you have been handed. The greatest among us is wholly inadequate. The greatest among us cannot be trusted with the power of God, not yet anyway. The greatest among us is still in need of repentance. Every one of us should walk fearfully before God, not because God is not generous, but because what He offers can turn you into a devil. The only way to be prepared and not fall, is to realize the enormous peril you potentially present to the universe. Before you get in a position to enjoy the status God offers to us all, you need to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, exactly like Paul said. You need to purge, remove, and reprove. This attitude we see in this man in this account (the brother of Jared), this is the man of God! Christ may be the prototype of the saved man, but I know of no record anywhere in all of scripture that exposes the heart of the real disciple of Christ as well as this chapter exposes the heart of this man. This is what we should become. This is why the Lord could open up to him. This is why this man became, in the history of the world, up to that moment, the one God revealed the most about Himself. This is despite the fact the Lord came to Adam in Adam-ondi-Ahman and administered comfort to Adam in the Valley of Adamondi-Ahman. Here He came and showed Himself as He truly was, as a preexistent spirit, possessing a soul as tangible as man’s. Christ ministered to him in a way, which, if you understood what it takes for a quickened being to condescend to show Himself as He does here, you would appreciate this was an enormous sacrifice by our Lord.

Ether chapter 3, verse 18: “And he ministered unto him even as he ministered unto the Nephites; and all this, that this man might know that he was God, because of the many great works which the Lord had showed unto him.” [This is how God is known: by His works. It is not the lightning show, nor the shaking on the mountain, but it is the great works that proceed forth from Him.] Think about what He did when He appeared on to the Nephites. God introduced Him three times before the people who are there were finally able to listen with their ears and hear the introduction. Then after the introduction was given, they still see Him descend dressed in white to stand before them. Despite the introduction, despite His descent, despite Him standing in front of them, all the conclude is, “This must be an angel.”

Clearly He arrived in a way that is extra-human. He manifested Himself as being able to use the law of gravity in a way we can’t. He descended, stood before them, but none of them were overwhelmed. None of them fall down and worship Him. None of them do anything but look at Him. He was so plain, so ordinary, so commonplace in the appearance He made, that when they saw Him, they stood rather like tourists staring at this man dressed in white who appeared to them. Then He spoke and told them who He was. He introduced Himself in 3 Nephi chapter 11 verse 11. Three times, in order for Him to tell who He is, He talks about obeying the will of the Father, suffering the will of the Father in all things, glorifying the Father by taking upon Himself the sins of the world. Even standing in front of them, He bore testimony of someone greater than Him.

It was the humility of the individual standing in front of them, and His introduction in 3 Nephi, that brought them to their knees. They fall down at that point and worship Him. Because when He opened His mouth and they understood what He was, and who He was, and what proceeded forth out of His heart, they knew they were listening and looking at God indeed. Then they fell down and they worship Him.

Look at chapter 4 verse 7. “And in that day that they shall exercise faith in me, saith the Lord, even as the brother of Jared did, that they may become sanctified in me, then will I manifest unto them the things which the brother of Jared saw, even to the unfolding unto them all my revelations, saith Jesus Christ, the Son of God, the Father of the heavens and of the earth, and all things that in them are.” [This is the ministry of the Lord. This is the comfort He promises to bring us.]

This text in Ether chapter 3 is probably the best single text in existence to study about gaining the knowledge of God, and the process by which it is gained. Most importantly, it exposes the attitude possessed by the person who comes back to be redeemed. It tells you, not directly, it tells you indirectly by telling you what the brother of Jared did. Go thou and do likewise. Everything that you have been put through, and every challenge that you have been given, and every weakness that you possess, have all been given to you in a studied way to bring you, hopefully, to your knees. To bring you, hopefully, to feel the chastening hand of God, so that you, in your day, in your circumstance, can look upon it all as a gift, because it surely is.

“I give unto men weakness that they may come unto me, and if they humble themselves and come unto me, I’ll make weak things strong.”55 That is also in the book of Ether. It is an aside in which Moroni was complaining that the Gentiles were not going to believe his book. Moroni feared the Gentiles were not going to believe this record but would notice its weaknesses. 

Ether chapter 12 verse 26: “And when I had said this, the Lord spake unto me, saying: Fools mock, but they shall mourn; and my grace is sufficient for the meek, that they shall take no advantage of your weakness; And if men come unto me I will show unto them their weakness.” [That’s unavoidable. That’s an inevitability. You stand in the presence of a just and holy being, you will realize your weaknesses. You are going to recognize what you lack.]

I give unto men weakness that they may be humble; and my grace is sufficient for all men that humble themselves before me; for if they humble themselves before me, and have faith in me, then will I make weak things become strong unto them.”

How do weak things become strong? Not by fighting a battle you are going to lose. It is by appreciating as the brother of Jared did, the fact that none of us can come into the presence of God without feeling keenly this scripture. “Fools mock, but they shall mourn.” This is Christ speaking. “I give unto men weakness,[for one purpose], I give unto them weakness that they may be strong.”

That anvil you are dragging around was given to you by God as a gift. Don’t curse it. Pray for God to come and lift it. You are never going to be able to get far carrying it anyway. You may not even be able to lift it, but in the economy of God, that is a gift. A gift! Not for you to act upon, nor to surrender to, but for you to fight against in humility and meekness and to say, “I’m not winning. I haven’t won. It goes on and on, and yet still I fight against it.”

When will you finally come to Him and cry out? When, in the bitter anguish of your soul, like Joseph Smith in Liberty jail, will you cry out, “How long must I endure this? How long do I have to suffer from the abuse of the guards? How long do I have to sit inside a gated room, in a dungeon, to hear stories about the rape of the people who followed me? And the murder of the people that believed what I was teaching?”

How long did Joseph’s heart break in Liberty Jail? He emerged from that ordeal a fundamentally different man than the one who went in. People who say, “Oh yeah, in Nauvoo he got carried away with all kinds of things.” We will talk more about that tomorrow. We will talk more about this idea of marriage, and will touch upon the notion of plurality of wives. We’ll brush up against that tomorrow.

Look, these Scriptures, these invitations, these prophecies, and this message that began in Boise and will conclude in Phoenix. This message is inviting you to do what was originally prophesied as this dispensation began. We looked at those prophecies in the beginning in Boise, Idaho. The game’s afoot. The challenge is underway. The opportunity is here. There was a price that had to be paid first involving several generations of delay. We could not kill a man like Joseph through the conspiracy of his followers without forfeiting an opportunity. But that moment has come to an end. And a new moment is upon us. And if you’ll hear it, I can declare to you, in the name of our Lord, that the day of salvation has once again arrived! Have faith! Be believing! He is real! I gave you a description of His demeanor. I gave that last time, and I’m reiterating it again here about some of His attributes. Come to Him! Seek for Him! Have faith in Him! You have more reason to have faith and confidence in Him right now than the brother of Jared did in his day.

There was an incident that I think one word, one word in this incident really explains a great deal of what I have been talking about in this installment. This is an event that occurs within the Book of Mormon that may seem otherwise, quite puzzling. But now that we’ve looked at the Ether chapter 3 material, and we go back to look at the incident, it suddenly begins to have a connection together.

This Alma chapter 22 involving Lamoni’s father, the King. I want you to look at the father beginning in verse 17 of Alma chapter 22: “And it came to pass that when Aaron had said these words, the king did bow down before the Lord, upon his knees; yea, even he did prostrate himself upon the earth, and cried mightily, saying:” [It was not the words of the prayer that provoked the attention of heaven. Although his prayer was in fact needed, relevant, and exactly what the Lord answered. It was what came before.]

This was the King. The King who could have people killed if he chose to do so. This was the one who, like God among his people, exercised the power of life and death. This was the one who could exact taxes from them. This was the one who had absolutely no reason to do what he did here. Look what he did. He prostrated himself on the ground and he “cried out mightily.” He didn’t pray. He mirrored exactly what the brother of Jared did when he approached God. In the depths of humility and in the sincerity of his heart, he showed absolutely an appreciation for the difference between himself on the one hand, and God on the other.

Don’t mistake me, I do not think it is necessary to physically engage in this kind of display. But when the display is an extension of what is in the heart, it is absolutely fine. But when what is in the heart is right, it doesn’t matter how it’s displayed, because God looketh on the inner man.56 This King was so overtaken by what he had heard, that he was not ashamed to prostrate himself in front of the foreign missionaries. He was not ashamed to cry out in the depths of humility. He didn’t care who saw it. He didn’t do this for to be seen. He didn’t care that he was being seen. He did this because at that moment, that was what he was. He was seeking grace from the throne of grace.

Then we read his prayer: “O God, Aaron hath told me that there is a God; and if there is a God, and if thou art God…” [Do you see this? This is someone who isn’t at all certain. This is someone who was convicted of his own inadequacy. It may not be that in your case you don’t know enough, it may actually be that you know too much that is wrong. It may be that what you lack comes from your own false beliefs. It will all be erased and started over anyway, if you happen to gaze into heaven for five minutes, you realize that people who have been writing about this stuff since the beginning of time who have not gazed into heaven, don’t know what they’re talking about. The suppositions and the connections and the ideas that get floated around, are not only false, many of them are offensive to God. They’re not right. The board is going be erased. God’s going to re-order it when He ministers to you. You are going to see things in a completely different light when it happens.]

It is not that you are brilliant and a shining light of knowledge to qualify you to know God. Instead it is what is in your heart. How has your heart been prepared? If your heart is open to receive, because it is broken, and your spirit contrite, then you are ready.

Returning to the king’s prayer: “I will give away all my sins to know thee, and that I may be raised from the dead, and be saved at the last day. And now when the king had said these words, he was struck as if he were dead.”

Look what happens next. When he recovers, because as he was struck as if he were dead, he was converted. The Lord ministered to him!

And in verse 23: “And the king stood forth, and began to minister unto them. And he did minister unto them, insomuch that his whole household were converted unto the Lord.” [This is what happens when you are converted to the Lord. You can’t stand to look about you and see other people left in the darkness. You want to invite them, rather like Nathaniel was invited to, “Come and see for yourself.”60 You come to the Lord, you come and see for yourself. This little bit of skeptical praying, whether there is a God, and “if thou art God, will you make yourself known to me?” That worked! But not because this is a magic incantation, instead because the king cried out with a broken heart and contrite spirit.

The folks who go through religious ceremonies often mistakenly think they have some powerful mojo, some compelling voodoo. But the purpose of ceremony is to teach you some inner precept, a powerful truth. The precept is what you ought to find in your heart. Rites and ordinances are intended to testify to a greater truth. Anciently among the Jews there were Aaronic priesthood rites. But they viewed their ordinances if they were an end. Rites are not an end. They are intended to be a symbol reminding you of some great truth concerning our God.

The capstone of the ceremonies restored through Joseph involves a dialogue between you and the Lord in which you are symbolically brought back into His presence. Then, following that, you are sealed as a married couple for eternity. Those are lofty concepts. They are powerfully portrayed in the ordinances and the rites. They are intended to convey to you the reality that all this is possible, because God does in fact, intend to preserve you, and all those associations that you prize, so long as they are worthy.

Don’t think you lack the faith! If this King, with this prayer, can go to God and ask and receive an answer, your faith is enough. That is not the impediment. The impediment is the pride of your heart, the hardness of your heart, the self-reliance you think you have, the traditions that bind you down, the arrogance of your heart, the unwillingness to cry out mightily to God, and then to be open to receiving an answer. This was enough, and you too, can do enough.

The Lord tells a story in Mark chapter 9, beginning at verse 17. There was a fellow who came to Christ and asks, “Master, I have brought unto thee my son, which hath a dumb spirit; And wheresoever he taketh him, he teareth him: and he foameth, and gnasheth with his teeth, and pineth away: and I spake to thy disciples that they should cast him out; and they could not. He answereth him, and saith, O faithless generation, how long shall I be with you? how long shall I suffer you? bring him unto me. And they brought him unto him: and when he saw him, straightway the spirit tare him; and he fell on the ground, and wallowed foaming. And he asked his father, How long is it ago since this came unto him? And he said, Of a child. And ofttimes it hath cast him into the fire, and into the waters, to destroy him: but if thou canst do anything, have compassion on us, and help us. Jesus said unto him, If thou canst believe, all things are possible to him that believeth. And straightway the father of the child cried out, and said with tears, Lord, I believe; help thou mine unbelief.”

You don’t need more of what you already have. Why are you here? (Well, most of you. Some have come only to criticize and gather information. Some of you in the hardness of your heart are going to come to the point, where, in the day of judgment, you will look back on this moment and realize, “I damned myself by the hardness of my heart and the bitterness of my soul, because I came to judge a man whose heart was right before God, and mine was not.” Your heart will be broken in that day.)

But look at this man whose heart was broken on this day. He cried out. “Lord I believe help thou mine unbelief.” [You have a desire, you have the willingness, but it is so fragile! It is so frail that you don’t think it’s enough! That’s not the problem. Cry out! Ask him!]

Remember His disciples who had been following Him, who were His faithful followers, those disciples couldn’t fix this boy. Those disciples had given up everything to come and follow Him. They knew much more than this man. But their knowledge did them no good. Jesus healed the boy. After the incident the disciples came to Him and said, “Why could we not cast him out?” Christ answered them and said, “This kind can come forth by nothing, but by prayer and fasting.”

Why do you have to be afflicted by prayer and fasting, if you’re a follower of the Lord, in order to get to the point you can accomplish this? Because you don’t fall prostate, crying out with tears from a broken heart and a contrite spirit. If this man, in this condition, can say, “I believe, help thou mine unbelief.” If this man can do this and have the Lord on his behalf work a miracle, you too can believe enough, you too can accomplish what you desire, you too can come to Him. Matthew covers the same incident. This is Matthew chapter 17, beginning at verse 19: “Then came the disciples to Jesus apart, and said, Why could not we cast him out? And Jesus said unto them, Because of your unbelief: for verily I say unto you, If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible unto you. Howbeit this kind goeth not out but by prayer and fasting.”

Faith as a grain of mustard seed is what the Lord said they needed. The defect does not consist in the absence of faith in the Lord. The defect is the arrogance and hardness of the heart that prevents you from crying out, in the realistic and anguish of your heart, looking to God who is trying to bring you to Him. That depth of humility, that status of being someone who is utterly harmless, that condition in which you present no threat to the righteous, you are harmless as a dove, and you seek only the betterment of others. That is who God is, and what you must become in order for God to be able to redeem you to be like Him. That involves you voluntarily changing to be that person, by your submission to Him. Because there is no reason to give to the proud, the vain, and the warlike, the ability to torment and to afflict others because they have authority from God. There is every reason to give authority only to someone who would ultimately be willing to give the rain to fall on the righteous and the wicked, and to make the sun shine on both the righteous and the wicked. They can be trusted with the power of God, because the power of godliness consists in this kind of a heart. And in this kind of heart God, can accomplish anything.

Beginning at verse 10. “Two men went up into the temple to pray; the one a Pharisee, and the other a publican. The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, God, I thank thee, that I am not as other men are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican. I fast twice in the week, I give tithes of all that I possess. And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner. I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other: for every one that exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted.”

God can only exalt the meek, because only the meek can be trusted. This is what it means to sanctify yourself. Our idea of purity and Christ’s idea of purity are based on very different criteria. Why is meekness required of a God, by a God? What would happen if God Himself were not patient, willing to suffer abuse and be rejected? What would happen if God were egotistical? What would happen if God did not return blessings for cursings? What would happen if God were not exactly what He preached in the Sermon on the Mount? What if God did not bless those who despitefully used and abused Him? What would happen if God did not submit Himself to fall into the hands of wicked men to be despised and rejected? And then to be killed in shame, hanging naked on a cross, in full view of the world, while people spit upon Him, and mocked Him and ridiculed Him, and saying, “If you really are what you say you are, come down from the cross, then we will believe.”

Woe unto all those who say, If you really are who you say you are, when the voice of God is sounding in their ears. They would have rejected the Lord as well. They would have crucified the Lord as well. They are not His sheep because they do not hear His voice. If they were His sheep they would hear His voice.

In a letter written August 16, 1834, Joseph Smith expected Zion could be established very soon. He wrote, “we have a great work to do, and but little time to do it in and if we don’t exert ourselves to the utmost in gathering up the strength of the Lords house …there remaineth a sco[u]rge” (JS Papers, Documents Vol. 4, p. 106.) In the same letter he reminded people in his day that, “so long as unrighteousness acts are suffered in the church it cannot [be] sanctified neither Zion be redeemed.” (Id., p. 107.) At the time, he considered the church to be “in a languid cold disconsolate state.” (Id.) It was the opposite of the lively, confident and happy state accompanying righteousness, even when worldly circumstances are direful and the wicked seem to triumph. When doing what the Lord asks, we can be lively because He will accompany our efforts and add His strength to our labor. If we have a hope in Christ, we can be confident. If our sins have been forgiven, we have every reason to be happy.

Virtue and patience are required of us every bit as much as it has been required in every age. We cannot wallow in sin, nor be prideful, and expect to do any better than those who already failed. The best guard against our failure is humility, meekness, longsuffering and patience. We must not charge ahead when the Lord has not prepared the way for us to proceed safely. There is much still to be done. But it must be done when, where and how the Lord directs; and that also not in haste—because haste brings confusion, resulting in pestilence (including violence and jarring contentions). (See D&C 63:24.)

From emails and phone calls I have received since my talk in Moab, it is clear there are those who want to move now, in haste. There are ambitious men who offer to lead others hastily into new paths, claiming to be so mighty and strong that they can offer great rewards in the afterlife in exchange for following them here. I offer you no such thing. You must look to Christ for forgiveness of your sins, and follow His example of self-sacrifice, patience, obedience and virtue. I can only urge you to patiently allow the True Shepherd to guide us all into His pastures—showing Him the respect due to a Redeemer. I mentioned the idea of “kingship” in Moab. Remember the Great King, Christ, came not to be served but to serve. He did not “lord it over” others, but He knelt to elevate them. He came as a meek and lowly servant, and went about doing good. He died to save the lives of others. When He arose from the dead, He went to the Father and advocated forgiveness for those who despised and abused Him.

What kind of “king” would God send? Even if his bowels are a fountain of light and truth, and even if he were to hold the scepter of power in his hand (D&C 85:7), I doubt a king sent by the Lord would be markedly different than our True King. He would endure the abuse of misunderstanding, criticism and mockery from those who refuse to understand. He would serve patiently, never asserting any claim to greatness. Joseph said in this world “the more a man is exalted, the more humble he will be, if actuated by the Spirit of the Lord.” (JS Papers, Documents, Vol. 4, p. 198.)

When such a king dies, and returns to God to report, he will have only kindness for those who opposed him as he served God. WE should ALL be like that. We should all be like our Lord.

Christ’s greatest commandments were simple, and given to every one of us: “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.” (Matt. 22:37.) “Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.” (Matt. 22:39) “Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them: for this is the law and the prophets.” (Matt. 7:12.) If we do these things there is no time to proclaim our greatness, to assert the right to be a leader, or to command others. Servants do not strut, but behave meekly. They only take such acts as the True Master commands.

Turn back to D&C 121, there a couple versus there that I want to call to your attention, particularly if you view the man and the woman together as one. Read these verses as if they describe “the one,” which is you and your wife. This is beginning at verse 40. “Many are called, but few are chosen. No power or influence can or ought to be maintained by virtue of the priesthood, only by persuasion, by long-suffering, by gentleness and meekness, and by love unfeigned; By kindness, and pure knowledge, which shall greatly enlarge the soul without hypocrisy, and without guile.”

Within your family, within your marriage, are you and your wife learning to use persuasion? Within your marriage, are you and your husband learning to use gentleness in dealing with one another? Are the two of you together, facing one another, in all the difficulties that come as a result of being married, are you facing that together in meekness? Do you find that, in all the relationship troubles, turmoil, and challenges, together you face it all with mutual kindness? Is there a search for understanding that results in pure knowledge, when it comes to any dilemma you two confront?

Look at verse 37: “That they may be conferred upon us, it is true; but when we undertake to cover our sins, or to gratify our pride, our vain ambition, or to exercise control or dominion or compulsion upon the souls of the children of men, in any degree of unrighteousness, behold, the heavens withdraw themselves; the Spirit of the Lord is grieved; and when it is withdrawn, Amen to the priesthood or the authority of that man.” [It has been my observation that as soon as the Spirit of the Lord withdraws, that quickly will another spirit step in to assure you that you right, that you should be vindicated, that you ought to proceed on in the arrogance of your heart to feel yourself justified and vindicated. There are false spirits that go about, but there is no better an audience to receive the whisperings of those false spirits, than the abusers of their authority. Those who, having grieved the Spirit and caused it to withdraw, then accept counsel from another spirit saying: “You are right, press on! Well done! You are good and you are doing good using this great authority from God! You will be vindicated. This is all God’s work, and you’re a great man because you are engaged in God’s work! Do not back down, do not relent. Forget about persuasion, you should never be long-suffering, you should make those under your rule suffer if they resist your power. They should yield to your rule. There is no place for meekness. We believe in a God of strength, a God of power, a God whose work can be done despite the frailties of man! God’s work cannot fail, and you are doing God’s work! There is no need for men to be meek. And it’s kind in the end, to punish, and to force, and coerce, because we have a good objective in mind.” This false spirit influences much of what happens today among the Latter-day Saints. It grieves God, and leaves the Saints in a state of confusion.]

All the lies and all the deceit that led to Catholicism falling into the abyss it fell into are presently in play with the Latter-day Saints. Those same deceiving spirits who worked this deception out long ago, are now taking the Restoration of the Gospel as another opportunity for them. And so they once again whisper to the priests and the priests listen. As soon as the Spirit of God is withdrawn, another spirit convinces men they have God’s power, and therefore cannot go astray. So, does your marriage help you avoid covering your sins? You are never going to solve this problem in a community of Zion, until you first begin to solve it the walls within your own home. You are never going to have Zion somewhere in a community, until first that community has been composed of those who have a marriage that is in the image of God.

Does your marriage help you to avoid “gratifying your pride?” Does it help hold down your “vain ambition?” Is your ambition to exalt the two of you, rather than the one of you? Does it bring you time and time again, to not exercise control, but to respect the freedom to choose? Your children will make mistakes. It is not your job to force them to avoid the mistakes. It is your job to counsel them, and to let them have the experience through which your counsel then makes sense, and is vindicated. You hope the mistakes they make are not too serious, but even if they are serious and they involve lifelong struggles, it is their right to choose. It is your obligation to teach and to persuade, and then to rejoice when they return after they are tired of filling their bellies with the husks the pigs are fed. It is your job to go and greet them and put a robe on their shoulder and put a ring on their hand and to the kill the fatted calf. It’s not your job to beat them and chain them to the farm so that they cannot go away and behave foolishly. They need to know that your bonds of love towards them are stronger than death itself. They need to know that they will endure as an object of your love within your heart into eternity. Not only your children, but one another, because we all make mistakes. Do not exercise dominion, do not exercise compulsion; but exercise long-suffering, gentleness, meekness and kindness. Some of the biggest disasters come when you did not give people the right to choose freely, and you attempt to coerce them. Be wise, be prudent, be someone who they would respect and who they would gladly listen to. Your children will correctly measure you in the end, even if they do not do so at the beginning.

Now, it is clear when it comes to the Gospel, there are absolute standards. Doctrine And Covenants 1:31 says: “For I the Lord cannot look upon sin with the least degree of allowance.” And if that is not a troubling enough idea, then remember King Benjamin’s warning in Mosiah 4: 29: “And finally, I cannot tell you all the things whereby ye may commit sin; for there are divers ways and means, even so many that I cannot number them.” So there is an infinite supply of opportunities to commit sin, and God cannot look upon that with any degree of allowance.

This is a formidable challenge for us to consider. But there is a Divine purpose underlying it all. The Divine purpose is to bring us in humility to God, while recognizing there is a gulf between who and what we are, and what is expected of us in order to be truly holy.


The foregoing excerpts are taken from:

  • A Glossary of Gospel Terms, Meekness, Restoration Edition p.160
  • Denver’s talk entitled “Zion Will Come” given near Moab, UT on April 10th, 2016
  • Denver’s 40 Years in Mormonism Series, Talk #6 entitled “Zion” given in Grand Junction, CO on April 12th, 2014
  • Denver’s talk given at the Chiasmus Conference in American Fork, Utah on September 18, 2010
  • Denver’s 40 Years in Mormonism Series, Talk #8 entitled “A Broken Heart” given in Las Vegas, NV on July 25th, 2014
  • Denver’s conference talk entitled “The Doctrine of Christ”, given in Boise, ID on September 11th, 2016
  • Denver’s 40 Years in Mormonism Series, Talk #9 entitled “Marriage and Family” given in St. George, UT on July 26th, 2014; and
  • Denver’s 40 Years in Mormonism Series, Talk #10 entitled “Preserving the Restoration” given in Mesa, AZ on September 9th, 2014