Comment on T&C 154

Section 154 of the Teachings and Commandments was included in the Scriptures project to preserve some important material that would otherwise be missing. Its content deserves some careful attention.

The material begins with this explanation: ” When God delivers a dispensation of the gospel to the earth, the head of that dispensation is granted the right and privilege of organizing the dispensation. As the head organizes their dispensation according to righteous principles and receives God’s approval of the pattern, the dispensation is established and remains in effect until apostasy necessitates another restoration. Adam was given the first dispensation, and he patterned it after the order of Heaven. Abraham was also given a dispensation, which he patterned after Adam’s dispensation.”

This confirms that from the time of Adam until the time of Abraham dispensations were organized in the same way: After “the order of Heaven”–which means after a family. The generations between them had one designated “father” figure who was the family representative presiding and receiving from God the Father the word of counsel and direction for the family. Their names were Adam, Seth, Enos, Cainan, Mahalaleel, Jared, Enoch, Methuselah, Lamech, Noah, Shem, and then some generations later Abraham was adopted into that line to receive “the blessings of the Fathers, and the right whereunto [he] should be ordained to administer the same.” Which held the promise “to be a Father of many nations, a prince of peace, and desiring to receive instructions and to keep the commandments of God [he] became a rightful heir, a high priest, holding the right belonging to the Fathers.” (T&C 145-BoA 1:1)

But later following apostasy Moses received a new dispensation, but did not reestablish the original Order. Instead, Moses found the hardness of heart of Abraham’s descendants prevented the Order from being established, and so reorganized his dispensation to reflect the challenge of that hardness. “Moses was given a dispensation, but established a different pattern for the children of Israel according to the hardness of their hearts, which dispensation John the Baptist brought to a lawful close.” (T&C 145:4) When Moses was taken, the opportunity for the original Order ended: “Therefore, he took Moses out of their midst, and the Holy Priesthood also. And the lesser priesthood continued, which priesthood holds the key of the ministering of angels, and the preparatory gospel, which gospel is the gospel of repentance, and of baptism, and the remission of sins, and the law of carnal commandments, which the Lord in his wrath caused to continue with the house of Aaron, among the children of Israel, until John[.]” (T&C 82:14)

Jesus Christ organized His dispensation after Abraham’s. (T&C 145:5) Joseph Smith organized an imitation of Christ’s dispensation. (T&C 145:6)

It has always been the obligation and right of Adam, who was given dominion over this creation at the beginning, under the guidance of Jesus Christ to establish each dispensation. “And again, God purposed in himself that there should not be an Eternal fullness until every dispensation should be fulfilled and gathered together in one, and that all things whatever that should be gathered together in one, in those dispensations, unto the same fullness and Eternal glory, should be in Christ Jesus. Therefore, he set the ordinances to be the same for ever and ever, and set Adam to watch over them, to reveal them from Heaven to man or to send angels to reveal them.” (T&C 140: 5-6)

You can know from this that each of these dispensations, however organized by the head, was approved and permitted by Father Adam. Although the original fit a specific pattern, later dispensations were ordered according to the faithfulness, heed and diligence of the respective generations. We have not seen the original Order for millennia. In Adam’s day, “The Order of this Priesthood was confirmed to be handed down from father to son, and rightly belongs to the literal descendants of the chosen seed to whom the promises were made. This Order was instituted in the days of Adam, and came down by lineage[.]” (T&C 154:9)

In the present dispensation we have not yet been organized, and there is a reason for that. If we are not going to accomplish all that needs to be done to vindicate the Lord’s covenants, then having another incomplete organization linger as a dead relic is something I refuse to accept. I will not leave behind an institution to be corrupted by the cares of this world, accumulate wealth, power, influence and popularity, as has been done with each of the prior dispensations as they lapse into apostasy. If all we accomplish is an incomplete gesture, as has always been the case before, then I do not want to usher in such a tool for the adversary to use.

Adam kept a book in which he recorded teachings, testimony and sacred events: ” And a book of remembrance was kept, in which was recorded in the language of Adam, for it was given unto as many as called upon God to write by the spirit of inspiration. And by them their children were taught to read and write, having a language which was pure and undefiled. Now this same Priesthood which was in the beginning shall be in the end of the world also (now this prophecy Adam spoke as he was moved upon by the holy ghost).” (Gen. 3:14) Interestingly, Adam did not record his own baptism in the record he kept. Enoch later recorded that event. But what Adam did record testifies about the “same Priesthood which was in the beginning [that] shall be in the end of the world also.” He wrote that God the Father commanded him (Adam) to, “believe on his Only Begotten Son, even him who he declared should come in the meridian of time, who was prepared from before the foundation of the world. And thus the gospel began to be preached from the beginning, being declared by holy angels sent forth from the presence of God, and by his own voice, and by the gift of the holy ghost. And thus all things were confirmed unto Adam by a holy ordinance, and the gospel preached, and a decree sent forth that it should be in the world until the end thereof. And thus it was. Amen.” (Gen. 3:13)

It was through a “holy ordinance” that the mission of God’s Only Begotten Son that should come in the meridian of time was declared to Adam. The ordinance taught Adam that this Son of God was prepared before the foundation of the world. It instructed Adam in things before the world, and in the creation of the world, and in the redemption of the world, all through “a holy ordinance.”

And, Adam wrote, “this same Priesthood which was in the beginning shall be in the end of the world also (now this prophecy Adam spoke as he was moved upon by the holy ghost).” But whether we see that in our generation or not is completely dependent upon the heed and diligence we give to the Lord.

There is a specific obligation we know is coming, and until that obligation is fulfilled I will not do anything to organize any institution, church, or pattern. The Lord has explained to us: “Whenever I have people who are mine, I command them to build a house, a holy habitation, a sacred place where my presence can dwell or where the Holy Spirit of Promise can minister, because it is in such a place that it has been ordained to recover you, establish by my word and my oath your marriages, and endow my people with knowledge from on high that will unfold to you the mysteries of godliness, instruct you in my ways, that you may walk in my path. And all the outcasts of Israel will I gather to my house, and the jealousy of Ephraim and Judah will end; Ephraim will not envy Judah and Judah will not provoke Ephraim.” (T&C 157:41) We do not yet have a command to build a house for the Lord. There are reasons for that.

If, and when, such a command is given, then the “holy ordinance” with which Adam was endowed will be restored to the state Adam determines should be conferred upon us. It is then, and only then, that an Order can be set up in this dispensation. It will be patterned after the Order of Heaven, which is after the pattern of a family, and it will belong to Adam, and Jesus Christ who presides over Adam, and God the Father, and the Hosts of Heaven. But if we fail in this effort, then I would want all of this to fall to the earth, and dwindle into dust, with no power, influence, dominion, popularity, control, and gathering of wealth to be continued from our failed effort. We already have countless institutions founded by the Lord and then hijacked by the adversary claiming to be God’s church and kingdom. WE should recognize the prophetic counsel of Nephi about the present condition of the world’s various church denominations. WE should abhor doing nothing better than what Nephi foretold would be the sad state of religions today. I set his warning out at some length below:

“For it shall come to pass in that day that the churches which are built up, and not unto the Lord, when the one shall say unto the other, Behold, I, I am the Lord’s — and the other shall say, I, I am the Lord’s — and thus shall everyone say that hath built up churches and not unto the Lord. And they shall contend one with another, and their priests shall contend one with another, and they shall teach with their learning, and deny the holy ghost which giveth utterance. And they deny the power of God, the Holy One of Israel. And they say unto the people, Hearken unto us and hear ye our precept, for behold, there is no God today, for the Lord and the Redeemer hath done his work, and he hath given his power unto men. Behold, hearken ye unto my precept. If they shall say there is a miracle wrought by the hand of the Lord, believe it not; for this day he is not a God of miracles; he hath done his work. Yea, and there shall be many which shall say, Eat, drink, and be merry, for tomorrow we die and it shall be well with us. And there shall also be many which shall say, Eat, drink, and be merry; nevertheless, fear God, he will justify in committing a little sin. Yea, lie a little, take the advantage of one because of his words, dig a pit for thy neighbor, there is no harm in this. And do all these things, for tomorrow we die. And if it so be that we are guilty, God will beat us with a few stripes and at last we shall be saved in the kingdom of God. Yea, and there shall be many which shall teach after this manner false, and vain, and foolish doctrines, and shall be puffed up in their hearts, and shall seek deep to hide their counsels from the Lord. And their works shall be in the dark, and the blood of the saints shall cry from the ground against them.

Yea, they have all gone out of the way, they have become corrupted; because of pride, and because of false teachers, and false doctrine, their churches have become corrupted, and their churches are lifted up; because of pride, they are puffed up. They rob the poor because of their fine sanctuaries; they rob the poor because of their fine clothing, and they persecute the meek and the poor in heart because in their pride they are puffed up. They wear stiff necks and high heads, yea, and because of pride, and wickedness, and abominations, and whoredoms, they have all gone astray, save it be a few who are the humble followers of Christ. Nevertheless, they are led, that in many instances they do err because they are taught by the precepts of men.
O the wise, and the learned, and the rich, that are puffed up in the pride of their hearts, and all those who preach false doctrines, and all those who commit whoredoms and pervert the right way of the Lord, Woe, woe, woe be unto them, saith the Lord God Almighty, for they shall be thrust down to hell.
“Woe unto them that turn aside the just for a thing of naught, and revile against that which is good and say that it is of no worth, for the day shall come that the Lord God will speedily visit the inhabitants of the earth. And in that day that they are fully ripe in iniquity, they shall perish. But behold, if the inhabitants of the earth shall repent of their wickedness and abominations, they shall not be destroyed, saith the Lord of Hosts. But behold, that great and abominable church, the whore of all the earth, must tumble to the earth, and great must be the fall thereof. For the kingdom of the Devil must shake, and they which belong to it must needs be stirred up unto repentance, or the Devil will grasp them with his everlasting chains and they be stirred up to anger and perish. For behold, at that day shall he rage in the hearts of the children of men and stir them up to anger against that which is good. And others will he pacify, and lull them away into carnal security, that they will say, All is well in Zion, yea, Zion prospereth, all is well. And thus the Devil cheateth their souls and leadeth them away carefully down to hell. And behold, others he flattereth away and telleth them there is no hell. And he saith unto them, I am no devil, for there is none. And thus he whispereth in their ears until he grasps them with his awful chains, from whence there is no deliverance. Yea, they are grasped with death and hell; and death, and hell, and the Devil, and all that have been seized therewith must stand before the throne of God and be judged according to their works, from whence they must go into the place prepared for them, even a lake of fire and brimstone, which is Endless torment. Therefore, woe be unto him that is at ease in Zion.
“Woe be unto him that crieth, All is well. Yea, woe be unto him that hearkeneth unto the precepts of men, and denieth the power of God and the gift of the holy ghost. Yea, woe be unto him that saith, We have received and we need no more. And in fine, woe unto all those who tremble and are angry because of the truth of God. For behold, he that is built upon the rock receiveth it with gladness, and he that is built upon a sandy foundation trembleth, lest he shall fall
Woe be unto him that shall say, We have received the word of God, and we need no more of the word of God, for we have enough. For behold, thus saith the Lord God, I will give unto the children of men line upon line, precept upon precept, here a little and there a little. And blessed are those who hearken unto my precepts and lend an ear unto my counsel, for they shall learn wisdom. For unto him that receiveth I will give more; and from them that shall say, We have enough — shall be taken away even that which they have. Cursed is he that putteth his trust in man, or maketh flesh his arm, or shall hearken unto the precepts of men, save their precepts shall be given by the power of the holy ghost.
“Woe be unto the gentiles, saith the Lord God of Hosts, for notwithstanding I shall lengthen out mine arm unto them from day to day, they will deny me. Nevertheless, I will be merciful unto them, saith the Lord God, if they will repent and come unto me, for mine arm is lengthened out all the day long, saith the Lord God of Hosts
.” (RE 2 Ne. 12:1-7)

It is foolish to want to have such vanity follow from our opportunity. If we can not avoid imitating the ruined landscape of religious failure surrounding us, all contending to corrupt and waylay the souls of men, then we should humbly let it end with us. But if we press on, and gain the Lord’s gathering as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, then we should give strict heed and diligence to Him. “Yea, blessed are they whose feet stand upon the land of Zion, who have obeyed my gospel, for they shall receive for their reward the good things of the earth, and it shall bring forth in her strength. And they also shall be crowned with blessings from above, yea, and with commandments not a few, and with revelations in their time, they that are faithful and diligent before me.” (T&C 46:1)

Leave behind your ambitions. Depart from your anger, contention, jealousies, and your uncontrolled worldliness. Be sober minded. Control your appetites. Flee from sin. Subdue the flesh. Become meek as a child, and harmless as a dove. Flee from Babylon and shake its dust from off your feet. Awake and arise.

We can fail. WE can succeed. But we will only succeed by our heed and diligence to the Lord’s commands.