Category: atonement

Christ Alone Saves

The atonement is our rescue. Christ alone performed it and He has proclaimed that He alone has accomplished it:
Isaiah 63:3: “I have trodden the winepress alone; and of the people there was none with me[.]”

In modern revelation, He has reiterated that He alone performed the atoning sacrifice required to save us from judgment and condemnation:
D&C 133:50: “I have trodden the wine-press alone, and have brought judgment upon all people; and none were with me;”

He saves us through the atonement because He paid the price of the wrath of Almighty God for all sin:
D&C 76:107: “I have overcome and have trodden the wine-press alone, even the wine-press of the fierceness of the wrath of Almighty God.”

Paul explained that through the original disobedience of Adam, a sentence of death was imposed on mankind, but that sentence was reversed and many will be made righteous by the sacrifice of Christ. (See Romans 5:12-19.)

It is Christ alone who will keep the way. He will allow those who have believed in Him, obeyed Him, kept His commandments and thereby walked in the path of His righteousness (to become righteous) to enter:
2 Nephi 9:41: “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.”

It is Christ and His name alone which will provide salvation for mankind:
Mosiah 5:8 “And under this head ye are made free, and there is no other head whereby ye can be made free. There is no other name given whereby salvation cometh; therefore, I would that ye should take upon you the name of Christ, all you that have entered into the covenant with God that ye should be obedient unto the end of your lives.”
John 14:6: “Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.”

There are many others in heaven. God the Father and Christ are not alone. There is an entire host of beings with them:
Neimiah 9:6: “Thou, even thou, art Lord alone; thou hast made heaven, the heaven of heavens, with all their host, the earth, and all things that are therein, the seas, and all that is therein, and thou preservest them all; and the host of heaven worshippeth thee.”

Some of the hosts are righteous, align with God, and follow His will:
D&C 88:112: “And Michael, the seventh angel, even the archangel, shall gather together his armies, even the hosts of heaven.”

Angelic hosts are on both sides, some on God’s right hand and others on His left:
2 Chronicles 18:18: “Again he said, Therefore hear the word of the Lord; I saw the Lord sitting upon his throne, and all the host of heaven standing on his right hand and on his left.”
1 Kings 22:19: “And he said, Hear thou therefore the word of the Lord: I saw the Lord sitting on his throne, and all the host of heaven standing by him on his right hand and on his left.”

But angelic hosts retain the right to choose. It is possible for them to rebel and fall short. It is possible for angelic hosts to be cast down from heaven:
D&C 29:36: “And it came to pass that Adam, being tempted of the devil—for, behold, the devil was before Adam, for he rebelled against me, saying, Give me thine honor, which is my power; and also a third part of the hosts of heaven turned he away from me because of their agency;”

Faithful members of the heavenly hosts can further God’s work, and cooperate with Him in assisting mankind:
D&C 84:42: “And wo unto all those who come not unto this priesthood which ye have received, which I now confirm upon you who are present this day, by mine own voice out of the heavens; and even I have given the heavenly hosts and mine angels charge concerning you.”

We cannot be saved by an angel. Nor can we trust any angel, even from heaven, to be the object of worship or adoration. That must be reserved for Christ and His Father alone:
Galatians 1:8: “But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed.”

Even if an angel were to give you a covenant, promise or assurance; or a man were to “seal you up to eternal life,” unless it comes by and through Christ alone, it will be of no value in the afterlife:
D&C 132:12-13: “I am the Lord thy God; and I give unto you this commandment—that no man shall come unto the Father but by me or by my word, which is my law, saith the Lord. And everything that is in the world, whether it be ordained of men, by thrones, or principalities, or powers, or things of name, whatsoever they may be, that are not by me or by my word, saith the Lord, shall be thrown down, and shall not remain after men are dead, neither in nor after the resurrection, saith the Lord your God.”

Those who worship angels, men, or institutions instead of Christ risk becoming subject to a fallen angel:
2 Nephi 9:8: “O the wisdom of God, his mercy and grace! For behold, if the flesh should rise no more our spirits must become subject to that angel who fell from before the presence of the Eternal God, and became the devil, to rise no more.” (See also D&C 76:98-105.)

One of the adversary’s pretensions is to claim that he is “the son of God” or the “Only Begotten,” thereby hoping to mislead people to worship him instead of the Lord. (See Moses 1:19; D&C 128:20.)

Before accepting a message as truth, you ought to know the scriptures well enough to test the message against the words of Christ, His unwaivering voice from the time of Adam until the present, and the prophets. It should not be difficult to determine if some new thing is true or just vanity, without power, and offensive to God. You should be careful about allowing any angel or man to pretend to “seal you up” to some eternal reward. You may find yourself subject in the afterlife to a vile spirit who will claim the right to rule over you. There are pretenders, even among the hosts of heaven. Joseph Smith cautioned, “A man is saved no faster than he gets knowledge, for if he does not get knowledge, he will be brought into captivity by some evil power in the other world, as evil spirits will have more knowledge, and consequently more power than many men who are on the earth. Hence it needs revelation to assist us, and give us knowledge of the things of God.” (DHC 4:588.)

Believe in Christ, trust in Him, and seek salvation through Him alone.

A Gospel of Christ

Joseph Smith wrote or spoke on different occasions describing the First Vision. This has become a source of criticism from some and doubt for others. The question at hand is why he would tell the story differently, using different words on two or more occasions?

I think the criticism is unwarranted. But I have taken note of it and intend to make different mistakes.  I have written only one account of my testimony, witness and gospel (announcement of “good news”) of Christ, and published it in the book Come, Let Us Adore Him. To avoid the inevitable criticism I would receive if I were to use a different pronoun, adverb or adjective by giving a second account, I intend to leave the account in that book to stand as the only statement I will make about those visits from the Lord.

He took some patience over a number of visits to help me understand His suffering in the atonement. Then He showed me His resurrection. The account of Gethsemane and the resurrection in Come, Let us Adore Him are consolidated into one narrative, although it required a number of visits for me to understand. It is written in the third person, imitating the Apostle Paul in 2 Cor. 12:2-5.

The Lord wanted my testimony of what He suffered to be public. The book has not been widely read, and I do not think that it needs to be. Those who are interested in His great condescension for our sake can seek it out. It was meant for them. For that reason I have never repeated it.

There have been other encounters between the Lord and me, including a first one that conveyed interesting information about His return in glory. I believe He will want that one to be made public at some point, but He will have to determine whether and when that will happen. I have no intention to go beyond the specific direction He gives.

Mosiah 3: 7

This verse is the greatest summary of what the Lord would suffer in atoning for man’s sins given before His mortality. King Benjamin is given this instruction because God wants all mankind to understand the great sacrifice made by the Lord Omnipotent.

Christ suffered “even more than man can suffer, except it be unto death” as part of the burden He bore. (Mosiah 3: 7.) What was the burden?

First on the angel’s list is “temptations.” Isaiah would call it “our griefs” and “our sorrows” and “our transgressions” and “our iniquities.” (Isa. 53: 4-5.)  Alma would call it “afflictions and temptations of every kind.” (Alma 7: 11.) Paul explained how He “who knew no sin” was made “to be sin” for our sake. (2 Cor. 5: 21.) In other words, though Christ was not personally responsible for any transgression, He was made accountable for every one of all our transgressions. He was made “to be sin” and to feel the loathsome filthiness of our unworthiness before God.

Mormon had been in the Lord’s presence. He knew how painful it was to be before God in our fallen and guilty state. Mormon explained how terrible it is to bring the weight of your own sins into God’s holy presence. He describes it as “under a consciousness of your guilt” and “a consciousness of guilt that ye have ever abused his laws” and “more miserable to dwell with a holy and just God, under a consciousness of your filthiness before him, than ye would be to dwell with the damned souls in hell.” (Mormon 9: 3-4.) He explains that in God’s presence “ye shall be brought to see your nakedness before God” and it “will kindle a flame of unquenchable fire upon you.” (Mormon 9: 5.) Since Mormon had been there, and knew what it was like to behold God’s holy presence, he understood the great challenge we all face if we do not repent.

When the prophet Isaiah was brought into God’s presence he collapsed in guilt and anguish, proclaiming, “Woe is me! for I am undone; because I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips: for mine eyes have seen the King, the Lord of Hosts.” (Isa. 6: 5.)

Beholding God brings with it the keenest appreciation of your own unworthiness before Him so it is possible to understand He is a “just and holy Being” in whom there is no darkness.

Christ succumbed to no temptations. Yet He was made to feel the guilt and misery of all mankind’s great surrender to sin. Christ explained what that involved when He declared: “repent, lest I smite you by the rod of my mouth, and by my wrath, and by my anger, and your sufferings be sore–how sore you know not, how exquisite you know not, yea, how hard to bear you know not. For behold, I, God, have suffered these things for all, that they might not suffer if they would repent; But if they would not repent they must suffer even as I.” (D&C 19: 15-17.) Christ, looking back on His atonement, called the pain of it “exquisite” and “hard to bear” from a distance of two millennia.

The scriptures tell us how His suffering was accomplished. As He knelt in prayer, He was visited by a “just and holy being” to borrow Mormon’s words. (Luke 22: 43.) There, in the presence of the Father, Christ struggled through all the guilt, sorrow, nakedness, consciousness of guilt, and torment of being sinful, unworthy, unclean, and having ever transgressed the law of God. It was an unquenchable fire of emotion and pain, torment of mind, and recognition of failure before God. He, like all the wicked, “trembled because of pain” and “shrank” away from God in horror at His condition. (D&C 19: 18.)

Abraham was on the mount with the knife in his hand at the sacrifice of Isaac, and God the Father was present at the sacrifice of His Son. Indeed, Christ’s sufferings required the Father to be present in order to reconcile man to the Father. It was the presence of the Father that made the suffering possible. Therefore, we know the identity of the unnamed angel in Luke. (Luke 22: 43.) Christ could not have suffered the guilt of all mankind in the presence of a just and holy God, unless during this moment of torment His suffering was before that very Being.

Forsake, come, call, obey, keep, see, and KNOW

I had a discussion about the difficulty of rising above the sins of this world. It was provoked by the recent post on adultery. It has in turn led to these additional thoughts.
 
It is impossible to become altogether clean in this fallen world. We can do our best, but in the end we’re going to find we are lacking. The scriptures admit this. The proposition is so fundamentally understood among most saints that it goes without saying. We’re all in need of redemption from an outside power, someone with greater virtue and power than we have, who can lift us from our condition into something higher, cleaner, and more godly. This is the role of Christ. His atoning sacrifice equipped Him to accomplish this.
 
The atonement, however, is not magic. Through it, Christ accomplished some very specific things, and has the power to lead us all back to the presence of God, the Father. The process was difficult for Him and is necessarily difficult for us.
 
Christ participated in the ordinance of the atonement to acquire two things. First, knowledge. (Isa. 53: 11.) It is through His knowledge He is able to “justify many.” The knowledge was acquired through His suffering the pains of all mankind. That allowed Him to know exactly what weaknesses afflict mankind, and how to overcome them. This allows Him to succor, or relieve, or teach mankind how to overcome every form of guilt, affliction, and weakness. (Alma 7: 11-12.) This knowledge was gained by suffering guilt and remorse for sins He did not commit exactly as if He were the one who committed them. He performed this great burden before His Father, who would never leave Him; even in His hour of temptation, despite the fact that all His followers would abandon Him. (John 16: 32.) When He suffered the guilt of all mankind, it was necessary for His Father to draw near to Him. (Luke 22: 42-43.) This was required because it is impossible for Christ to know how to redeem mankind from the guilt and shame of sin unless He experiences the pains of uncleanliness before God the Father, as mankind will do if they are unclean in the day of judgment. (Mormon 9: 4-5.) Unlike all of us, however, Christ knows how to overcome this shame because He has done so.
 
Second, Christ acquired the keys of death and hell by suffering, reconciling, dying, rising, and reuniting with the Father. (Rev. 1: 18.) Because the keys of death and hell belong to Him, He has the power of forgiveness. He can forgive all men all offenses. But He requires us to forgive others. (D&C 64: 9-10.)  If we fail to forgive others, we cannot be forgiven. (Matt. 6: 15.)
 
We do not move from our state of evil to redemption by Christ’s sacrifice alone. It is required for us to follow Him. (John 10: 27.) We follow Him when we allow Him to succor us, to impart knowledge to us, and to forgive others through His knowledge gained from the atonement.
 
Through the keys of death and hell, Christ’s atonement cleanses us from our errors, our failings, and our deliberate wrong choices. He provides cleansing from those failings. But His atonement does not change our character unless we follow Him. The atonement, if properly acted upon, frees us to develop character like His, unencumbered by the guilt of what we’ve failed to do. He removes our guilt. But developing character like His is our responsibility.
 
We cannot be passive and obtain what He offers. We are required to actively pursue the redemption we seek through Him. When the sin is removed from us, we are free to pursue virtue without the crippling effects of remorse which He removes from us. (Alma 24: 10.) When freed from the guilt of sin, the past mistakes no longer haunt us. Our sins are no longer remembered by the Lord, and we are free to confess and forsake them. (D&C 58: 42-43.) The reason we can publicly confess them is because they are no longer us. They do not define us. It is no longer our sin, nor our character. We have chosen to follow Him into a new life.
 
The development of a godly character happens in stages, gradually. We are forgiven in an instant, suddenly. (Alma 36: 18-20.) When forgiven we necessarily turn to a new life, in which sharing the joy of forgiveness and the joy of redemption through Christ is our abiding desire. (Alma 36: 24.) The mind changes in proportion to the joy found in the new life. (Romans 8: 5-6.) Such new people are no longer the sons of men, but they become the sons of God. (Romans 8: 14-17.) They know the joy of having the voice of the Father declare to them that they have been begotten by the Father and are the sons of God. (Psalms 2: 7.) 
 
Remaining mired in the flesh is evidence a man has not been redeemed, not been succored by Christ, not accepted the saving knowledge which He can impart, and has not risen up to receive salvation. The atonement is not active in such lives. The fullness of the atonement is the fullness of knowledge, which comes by following Him and abiding the conditions. No one can receive what He offers unless they conform to the conditions He has established for redemption. (D&C 93: 27-28.)
 
This is the Gospel of Christ. This is the news which comes from the Lord – the Messenger of Salvation. Those who know Him will declare these things in unmistakable words to allow others to come and partake of the same fruit of the tree of life. All the other vitrues, causes, programs and, “inspirational stories” are distractions which, if indulged in to the neglect of these other things, will damn you. 
“Verily, thus saith the Lord: It shall come to pass that every soul who forsaketh his sins and cometh unto me, and calleth on my name, and obeyeth my voice, and keepeth my commandments, shall see my face and know that I am; And that I am the true light that lighteth every man that cometh into the world; And that I am in the Father, and the Father in me, and the Father and I are one—The Father because he gave me of his fulness, and the Son because I was in the world and made flesh my tabernacle, and dwelt among the sons of men.” (D&C 93: 1-4.) 
 
I am not that Light. But I have seen that Light and can testify He lives, and His atoning work continues today among all of those who will receive Him. If you will receive Him, He will not leave you comfortless, but He will come and take up His abode with you. (John 14: 18.) Not only Him, but the Father also. (John 14: 23.) This is literal, and the idea this is only an abode “in your heart” is false; for they will come and make themselves known to you. (D&C 130: 3.) Eternal life is to know Him. (John 17: 3.) This means to come into His presence again. (Ether 3: 19.)
 
These things are the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Anyone who teaches otherwise is in error and a deceiver.

Easter

I was the speaker in my ward on Easter Sunday. Although the talk was not written I’m going to try to summarize what was said. (I never “write” a talk. Just take a list of scriptures with me, which on this occasion I never used.)

In the months before I entered law school, I worked in Provo alongside a fellow named Jay Wirig. Jay had been a missionary in the 70’s in Hong Kong. While there, he suffered a collapsed lung. He was diagnosed and then sent by the doctor to see a specialist to be treated. His companion took him to the specialist’s office, which was up a flight of stairs. That isn’t much of a problem unless you have a collapsed lung.
When he arrived in the office, an unpretentious, elderly, Chinese fellow – in a spartan office- used a stethoscope to listen all about his chest and back. Then the fellow got out a tool that looked like a phillips-head screw driver, but had four razor tips on the end. Without warning or anesthetic the doctor stabbed him in the upper chest. It hurt. Then he fished a tube in the hole he’d just made, attached the tube to a suction bottle, and within a short while the lung re-inflated and pain went away – except for the wound on the upper chest. The doctor has no bedside manner, did not bother explaining what he was going to do or why. He just proceeded without regard to the patient’s feelings to administer what would cure the ailment.
When Jay returned to home after the mission ended, he suffered recurring collapsed lungs. Eventually, they recommended surgery. The surgery required them to enter his chest cavity through his underarm. When you open on the side, rather than through the solar plexus, the rib spreader crushes cartilage, pulls muscles and ligaments, and inflicts a great deal of trauma. He was kept in the same post surgical ward as the heart patients. The much older heart patients had their chests opened through the far less traumatic means of opening and spreading at the solar plexus. Therefore, the elderly patients were feeling quite well post-surgery, while Jay was in agony. He took some grief from the older patients, because here was a 20-something year-old young man complaining while they were not.
Poor bedside manner by physicians can make the patients they treat feel anxious and alienated, even if the medical treatment they provide is curative. Even if they ultimately do what is right, good and healing, doctors can leave the patient feeling victimized rather than cared for.
Similarly, lawyers can be insensitive to client’s feelings, becoming far more attentive to legal principles, theories and arguments than the underlying people affected by the dispute. When I was in law school, I co-authored a book on family law. Because of that, I wanted to practice family law when I graduated. In Utah that means primarily divorces, although it includes the occasional adoption and guardianship. I took divorce cases for about three years before I just could not stand that area of law any longer. It was too bitter, too divisive and too inadequate. It would take another three years before I finished all the cases I had pending, but when finished, I stopped practicing family law. Although I got good results for my clients, I was unable to identify with their emotional needs.
Some years later, after my own divorce, I saw this in a whole different light. As a result of going through the legal process for my own divorce, I concluded the law should not be used to deal with family dissolution. It should be handled by mental health counselors, who have adequate sensitivity for the horror and pain experienced any time a family is broken apart by divorce.
We have a ward infested with lawyers and doctors.  I would venture, perhaps every one of us can look back and see those we have helped professionally, but who we have failed inter-personally. We may have solved the legal or medical problem, but at the price of injuring the spirit of those we helped.
When Christ suffered, He gained knowledge. His knowledge is not limited to the physical cure, but includes the spiritual and mental anguish of our disappointments, losses, failures, illnesses, injuries and limitations. He said very little about what He went through. The longest single explanation given by Him is in D&C 19. There He states:
 15 Therefore I command you to repent—repent, lest I smite you by the rod of my mouth, and by my wrath, and by my anger, and your sufferings be sore—how sore you know not, how exquisite you know not, yea, how hard to bear you know not.
Now this sounds like the Old Testament God. However, this is a warning based on the established laws by which all things operate. Sooner or later, all of us will come back into the presence of God. When we do we will either have repented and be prepared to be in His presence, or we will not have repented and we will withdraw in shame and agony. This is explained in Mormon 9: 3-5:
 
3Do ye suppose that ye could be happy to dwell with that holy Being, when your souls are racked with a consciousness of guilt that ye have ever abused his laws?
 4 Behold, I say unto you that ye would be more miserable to dwell with a holy and just God, under a consciousness of your filthiness before him, than ye would to dwell with the damned souls in hell.
 5 For behold, when ye shall be brought to see your nakedness before God, and also the glory of God, and the holiness of Jesus Christ, it will kindle a flame of unquenchable fire upon you.
Joseph Smith said a man is his own tormentor and accuser. That is, when we see ourselves as we truly are, and can reckon our own unworthiness from the presence of a “just and holy being,” we will recoil in horror at our filthiness. We will see how vain we have been.
It is this problem Christ is warning us to guard ourselves against. It is a plea from Him to repent, so we may remove from ourselves this burden of guilt. This is the greatest gift of the Atonement. All other benefits of His suffering pale in comparison with this compassionate result of His suffering for our sins.
Section 19‘s explanation continues:
 16 For behold, I, God, have suffered these things for all, that they might not suffer if they would repent; 
 17 But if they would not repent they must suffer even as I;
 18 Which suffering caused myself, even God, the greatest of all, to tremble because of pain, and to bleed at every pore, and to suffer both body and spirit—and would that I might not drink the bitter cup, and shrink—
This is describing a specific event and time.  The only Gospel which records the event is Luke.  Luke 22 tell us:
 
41 And he was withdrawn from them about a stone’s cast, and kneeled down, and prayed, 
 42Saying, Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from me: nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done.
 43 And there appeared an angel unto him from heaven, strengthening him.
 44 And being in an agony he prayed more earnestly: and his sweat was as it were great drops of blood falling down to the ground.
For Him to suffer as we will if we choose not to repent, He was required to assume our sins, feel our anguish and unworthiness in the presence of a “just and holy God,” and then come back into harmony with Him. Hence the need for the “angel” to appear to Him from heaven. Unless He confronted exactly what we are called on to confront, He could not minister to us. He could not heal us. He could not take upon Him our sins.
And so He became as unworthy as any of us. No matter what malignant thing you have suffered, who you have abused or neglected, or what harm you have caused or endured, Christ has felt the anguish of that while in the presence of a “just and holy being.” He knew His sheep would flee while He suffered. But He also knew the Father would never leave Him:
John 16: 32: Behold, the hour cometh, yea, is now come, that ye shall be scattered, every man to his own, and shall leave me alone: and yet I am not alone, because the Father is with me.
Suffering the guilt of filthiness in the presence of His Father, He overcame and subdued all enemies to righteousness. He felt shame, but returned it to compassion. He felt agony and rejection, but overcame it with charity. By this means He gained the knowledge necessary to heal all our sins, remove all our guilt, and subdue all our anxieties in the presence of holiness. 
Isaiah says this:
Isa. 53: 11… by his knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many; for he shall bear their iniquities.
By bearing or taking upon Himself the guilt which divides us from the Father, Christ knows perfectly how to conduct you safely back to the Father’s presence.  As Christ explains in D&C 19, it requires us to “repent” — because if we fail to repent we must suffer, just as He did. Except our own suffering for our own sins is not curative. It is not redeeming. It is only justice. For us, we seek to claim mercy. Mercy comes from Christ’s Atonement which can and does render those who take part in it altogether clean.
His explanation in Section 19 continues:
19 Nevertheless, glory be to the Father, and I partook and finished my preparations unto the children of men.

He has prepared it for us. But it is our choice to take hold upon it. For that, our personal decision to repent remains at the core.

Christ’s capacity to heal us was gained through the Atonement. He possesses compassion in another measure beyond us. For Him the power of His compassion exceeds mere sympathy. It is a power to heal. His compassion removes from us the burdens we feel.
Joseph Smith wrote from Liberty Jail about the injustice of the Saints’ suffering from the Missouri mob attacks. As he listed his complaints, and clamored for justice against his enemies, his mind became a blur of emotion and events. With “the avidity of lightening” his mind turned over and over again the injustice of it all. Then, when his mind could take it no more, Joseph fell into a detached state of profound openness to God’s voice. Then the voice of inspiration came to him and said:
 
7 My son, peace be unto thy soul; thine adversity and thine afflictions shall be but a small moment;
 8 And then, if thou endure it well, God shall exalt thee on high; thou shalt triumph over all thy foes.
On the other side of this statement from God, Joseph was still in jail, under the same horrid conditions, with the same captors. But having heard the voice of God declaring, “peace be unto thy soul,” the compassion of Christ removed the pain of suffering. Now the conditions of his lamentable imprisonment became tolerable. For Christ’s compassion removes, empowers, enables, and enlivens. It frees us from the torments we suffer. Through Him we can bear all things.
Of all the Lord provided, an escape from our torments crowns His Atoning sacrifice. It empowers Him to liberate us from all our burdens. His compassion is a power, not a sentiment.

3 Nephi 12: 8

3 Nephi 12: 8:

“And blessed are all the pure in heart, for they shall see God.”
This is a remarkable promise. Would you like to see God? Then first purify your heart.
Notice this is not just ritual purity, which had been the focus of the Law of Moses. Christ is replacing earlier ritual based purity with internal purity. 

He speaks about the heart, rather than the hands and feet. Christ is speaking about beholding God, unlike the retreat Israel took from the offered opportunity at Sinai. (See D&C 84: 22-25.) He is returning to the time of Moses, when a higher way might have been chosen.

Purity of the heart is a borrowed benefit from the Savior. Man cannot become clean before God without the necessary offering of a sacrifice. The Law of Moses taught this, but Christ would actually bring it to pass. (See, e.g., Alma 34: 36.)
Christ’s atonement cleanses us. (Alma 13: 11; Ether 13: 10.)
When we repent we turn to Christ and listen to and follow Him. Until then, we are not even facing the right direction in life.  
Some reminders of how the heart may be purified:
-Let virtue constantly prevail in your thoughts. (D&C 121: 45.)
-Pray to the Father with a devoted heart. (Moroni 7: 48.)
-Repent and call upon God with a contrite spirit, asking the atonement to be applied to your sins. (Mosiah 4: 2.)
-Fast and pray often, that you may become humble. (Helaman 3: 35.)
-Follow what light you have to receive more light, until you have the “perfect day” in which you are a vessel of light. (D&C 50: 24; D&C 93: 28.)

It is also interesting that what must be “pure” is the “heart.” There are so many other things one might measure. But what the Lord looks upon to determine purity is the “heart.”

I’ve said that there is almost nothing about us that can become perfect in this life. The only thing that can approach perfection, however, is our intent. We can mean to follow God at all times. Even if the dilemmas of life make it impossible to actually do so, we can still intend to follow Him. We may not even know if what we are doing pleases Him, or how to resolve conflicting interests or commandments. We may even be making a mistake, but if our intent is right, our hearts may be pure.
This is also one of the reasons we cannot judge another. They may be weak, foolish and error prone, but if they intend to be doing the right then God alone can measure their heart and decide whether they are approved. It would take a God to know if the person’s life, training, understanding and intent are pure before Him. I suspect there are those we look upon as deluded and even evil but the Lord views them with compassion and understanding. He may find their hearts to be perfect even before the heart of the proud who claim they have and follow the truth. Though a person may misunderstand a great deal, still if they have love for their fellow man, relieve suffering where they can, give patience to the foolish and water to the thirsty, they may be perfect before God. (Luke 18: 9-14.)
There are so many illusions here. Some who are regarded as high and lifted up by God, temperate in their conduct, studying how they are seen by others before acting; are in fact wretched, miserable, poor and naked. (Rev. 3: 14-17.) I say with authority that there are some regarded as the very chiefest of the righteous among the Latter-day Saints who are before God wretched, miserable, poor and naked. They cannot survive even a glance from His all seeing eye. Yet they pretend they share in His vision, when they do not.

How few hearts are pure before God. How rare a thing it is to contemplate such a person. How few we produce in this restoration of the Gospel. We remain as a people too low, too mean, too vulgar, too condescending to be called of God. No wonder we stumble and fall backward and many are taken in snares. (Isa. 8: 11-17.)

3 Nephi 12: 4

3 Nephi 12: 4: 

“And again, blessed are all they that mourn, for they shall be comforted.” 

This is unconditional. “All” are included. “All they that mourn” will be blessed.

Between sessions of conference Saturday I attended a friend’s funeral. Mourning because of death is the first cause we associate with this promise. Over death, however, He has gained the victory. It was His mission and ministry to bring about victory over death. “And he will take upon him death, that he may loose the bands of death.” (Alma 7: 12.) This done now, though death continues to claim all of us. We know we will have part in His victory. Comfort from that victory will come to us all.

Death is not the only cause of mourning, however.  We all experience afflictions, troubles, temptations, and pains while mortal. He has gained the victory over all of these also: “And he shall go forth, suffering pains and afflictions and temptations of every kind; and this that the word might be fulfilled which saith he will take upon him the pains and the sicknesses of his people. And he will take upon him death, that he may loose the bands of death which bind his people; and he will take upon him their infirmities, that his bowels may be filled with mercy, according to the flesh, that he may know according to the flesh how to succor his people according to their infirmities. Now the Spirit knoweth all things; nevertheless the Son of God suffereth according to the flesh that he might take upon him the sins of his people, that he might blot out their transgressions according to the power of his deliverance; and now behold, this is the testimony which is in me.” (Alma 7: 11-13.)

Do you mourn because of afflictions? Temptations?  Pains? Sickness? Infirmities? The troubles of the flesh? Sins and transgressions? It does not matter the cause of your mourning, Christ has suffered all these things so that He may understand the troubles of the flesh and, by understanding them to overcome them all. By overcoming them all, He then in turn can share the victory.

Your failures are not going to be reason to punish you. If you repent, they will be lessons from which to learn. The guilt will be removed, you will be comforted, and the lessons will remain. Your mortal trials will confer upon you the taste of the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil. (Gen. 3: 17-19.)  You will have learned from what you suffer the difference between the two, and have the benefit of Christ’s atonement to remove all guilt. (2 Nephi 2: 26.)

All will be comforted from every offense they have ever suffered. All that remains will be the choices you have made. (Moroni 7: 16-17.) The offenses you suffered at the hands of others will be made up to you. All infirmities you have been plagued with while mortal will be removed. (Alma 40: 23.) Only your choices will remain as either a continuing blessing or continuing affliction. But that is your choice. (Alma 41: 13-14; Moroni 7: 18-19.)



Earth’s valuable lessons will remain with you, and inform you eternally with knowledge of good and evil. In this you will have become like God. (Gen. 3: 22.)  But the experiences you suffer, which are the means of learning good from evil, will all be removed. You will no longer “mourn” for anything. You will, however, remain accountable for your choices.

This is the perfectly balanced experience. Through it we learn and gain experience (Abr. 3: 25-26), but we are only burdened by what we voluntarily impose upon ourselves through our choices. (1 Nephi 15: 32-33.) The promised “comfort” against our mourning will be complete if we have chosen to follow Christ, and incomplete if we have chosen to reject Him. Because He can only remove all the burdens of nature and mortality imposed as a condition of life here, He cannot remove those voluntarily assumed by wrong choice while living here. (Mosiah 16: 8-13.)

The balance between necessary experience and accountability is maintained. Through Christ are all things made possible.

3 Nephi 11: 40

 
“And whoso shall declare more or less than this, and establish it for my doctrine, the same cometh of evil, and is not built upon my rock; but he buildeth upon a sandy foundation, and the gates of hell stand open to receive such when the floods come and the winds beat upon them.”
 
Here is Christ’s explanation of why we must focus on these doctrines to be saved. I’ve heard more words of caution about speaking “more” than I’ve ever heard cautioning about “less.” Both are a problem. It is more fashionable today to speak less about Christ’s doctrine, or to circumscribe it into so narrow a meaning as to render it powerless in effect.
 
First, as to “more.” When we “declare more” we are getting ahead of the process. We aren’t to worship the “hosts of heaven,” nor a heavenly mother. Despite all we may know about Her, that knowledge won’t save. Other personages or ministers cannot save either. Gabriel will not. Enoch will not. Michael will not. Only the Son will save; and the Father will bear testimony of Him. Interesting stories about individual spiritual encounters or experiences will not save. They are evidence that heaven is still attending to us, but the details are for the individual. The experiences that will save have already been recorded in scripture for our general instruction. Outside of scripture those individual experiences are only useful to the extent they shed light upon scriptural accounts. If a person can help you understand Daniel’s visionary encounters by what they have been shown, then their personal experiences are not as important as the light they may shed upon Daniel’s prophecy. Similarly what I’ve written is helpful only to understand scripture, and not otherwise. Even the account of Gethsemane is anchored in scripture and useful only to the extent it sheds light upon what has been given to us in the New Testament Gospels, Nephi’s prophecy, Alma’s testimony and D&C 19. I do think my account goes further to explain what occurred than any other writing which has come to my attention. Nevertheless the scriptures are needed as the primary tool for understanding our Lord’s atonement. So the definition of “more” would include such things that supplant scripture or suggest anything is more important than the Father, Son and Holy Ghost; but things as may shed additional light on the meaning of scripture. 
 
Interestingly enough, when we “declare less” we are also condemned.  It works both ways. It’s a two-edged sword. Not “more nor less” is permitted. We sometimes greet preaching “less” with applause, because we want less. But that is no better than missing the mark while preaching “more.” Perhaps it is worse, because it represents a rejection of truth. It is active suppression of what needs to be proclaimed.
 
All of us must be concerned about declaring less. Deleting or omitting is as serious a matter as adding. Either will allow the gates of hell to prevail.
 
When you adopt creedal Historic Christianity and amalgamate the Father, Son and Holy Ghost into a single cosmic siamese-triplet construct, you are declaring them as less. The disembodiment of God the Father was a lie to supplant and replace Him by another disembodied pretender claiming to be the god of this world.

Christ’s teaching here is preliminary to the Sermon that follows. In the coming Sermon we will read a better preserved version of the Sermon on the Mount from Jerusalem, called here the Sermon at Bountiful. But this explanation of doctrine is given by Christ first. The foundation of doctrine of the oneness of the Father, Son and Holy Ghost, the conferral of power to baptize, and manner of baptism come before the great Sermon. First we receive the instruction to avoid disputes. These disputes lead to contention that lays the foundation for anger between men. This doctrine is so foundational that Christ covers it before any other teaching. Therefore, you should realize its importance.

We will be captured by hell if we do not understand and follow these teachings. Though they are Christ’s very first instructions, we almost never discuss them. You may want to re-read these verses again, and realize their fundamental importance.

Christ is saying it is “evil” to do more or less with His doctrine. It surely is, for ignoring, altering, omitting or enlarging leads to evil.

3 Nephi 11: 35

3 Nephi 11: 35:

“Verily, verily, I say unto you, that this is my doctrine, and I bear record of it from the Father; and whoso believeth in me believeth in the Father also; and unto him will the Father bear record of me, for he will visit him with fire and with the Holy Ghost.”
Belief in Christ necessarily means belief in the Father. To believe Christ is to accept His message of the Father’s primacy and authority.
You see in these three members of the Godhead a full establishment of interconnected roles and responsibilities.

The Father ordains the plan. It is He who presides.

The Son implements the plan. It is He who makes the required sacrifice to save us.
The Holy Ghost activates the plan. It is the “fire” of the Holy Ghost which makes new, cleanses and perfects the man’s understanding.
These three are “one” and united. They provide mankind with the possibility for salvation and exaltation.

Christ “bears record of it from the Father.” This means that Christ is the Father’s messenger announcing the Father’s plan. What of the need for two witnesses? (Matt. 18: 16.) One of the criticisms of Christ’s message was the absence of additional witnesses. (John 8: 13-14.) Is Christ doing that same thing here with the Nephites? Does His announcement that He speaks for the Father constitute one, or two witnesses? The Father first bore witness of Christ (3 Nephi 11: 6-7.) Now Christ bears witness of Him.

The Father’s testimony always affirms the status of the Son as His Beloved, and of our need to “hear Him.” (See e.g., Matt. 17: 5; JS-H 1: 17; see also Matt. 3: 17.) The Father can, and does, acknowledge others as His. (Psalms 2: 7.) But, unlike the Son who has repeatedly visited this earth, walked upon it (Luke 24: 15-16), been handled by people (Luke 24: 36-39; 3 Nephi 11: 14-15), and eaten here (John 21: 13), the Father does not come into contact with this earth in its fallen state (Matt. 17: 5; JS-H 1: 17). The only time the Father had contact with this earth was before the Fall, in the Paradisiacal setting of Eden–which was a Temple at the time (Gen. 3: 8). Whenever there has been contact with the Father thereafter, He has been at a distance from this earth. (Moses 7: 24; 1 Nephi 1: 8; Alma 36: 22.)

There is a formality with the Father that does not exist with the Son. For example, the Son has eaten with mortal man while He was immortal, both before His ministry in the flesh (Exo. 24: 9-11) and after (Luke 24: 41-43). As our Redeemer, He is directly responsible for us and has contact with us to perform His redemptive service. The Father, on the other hand, is different in status, responsibility, glory and dominion. The Son can appear to mortal man without showing His glory or requiring any alteration of the mortal who beholds Him. (See, e.g., John 20: 15-17.) To behold the Father, to endure His presence, one must be transfigured. (Moses 1: 2.) Mortal man cannot behold the Father’s works while mortal, for if you comprehend them you cannot afterward remain mortal in the flesh. (Moses 1: 5.)

The primary means to learn of Christ for mortal man is the Holy Ghost. It is this means which brings all things to your remembrance (John 14: 26). Once the learning has culminated in preparation of the individual, then the Savior has a continuing ministry. (John 14: 21.) The Savior’s ministry is to bring the person redemption.

When this process is complete, then it is the responsibility of those who have been redeemed to cry repentance to their neighbors. (D&C 88: 74, 81.) Indeed, the desire to bring others to receive redemption becomes their primary concern. (Mosiah 28: 3.)

The process then produces those who bear testimony of the Son. If they are called of God, they will use scriptures to testify of Christ. This has always been the pattern ordained by God. (Jacob 7: 10-11.) They may understand the scriptures more clearly, because they have seen the same things as earlier prophets. (JS-H 1: 74.) But their testimonies will draw from the scriptures and the words of their brothers in Christ who went before as they testify of Him.

It is through such signs as these you know the Father and Son are one, and the Holy Ghost and the Son are one, and the messengers sent by them will testify of the Father, Son and Holy Ghost. These three are the ones in whom faith must be focused for salvation. Though the heavens may include hosts of others, saving faith must be focused in the Father, Son and Holy Ghost alone. Whenever attention and worship moves from the Father, Son and Holy Ghost, the result is invariably apostasy and false beliefs. (1 Cor. 8: 5-6; Deut. 16, 17, 18 & 19; 2 Kings 17: 13-16.)

The doctrine of Christ is to be strictly followed. It alone delivers from destruction. All other paths lead to error, foolishness and the dark, where you will perish. (Deut. 8: 19.)

From following this process we obtain the necessary “fire and the Holy Ghost” which redeems, purges, purifies and changes us into a new creature in Christ.

I have said very little of my personal experiences because of how quickly people turn from following Christ to following men whenever attention is drawn to a man. Mankind is inclined toward idolatry. The church has become a great idol. I do not intend to supplant the Lord, nor to call attention to myself, nor to offer myself as an idol for others. I cannot save anyone. If not for Christ and His atonement, I would have only dread for my eternal state. The doctrine of Christ is what the Father ordained as the means for salvation. Anyone who interferes with the process, or offers another means for salvation, cannot deliver. (Mosiah 3: 17.) Whether it is an institution or an individual, no one other than Christ can save. Hence His title as Savior. For some reason mankind is so prone to error, so quick to leave the path, and so vulnerable to being deceived, that focus must remain on the Son, as empowered and sent by the Father, through the witness of the Holy Ghost, or we go astray. Joseph cautioned: “How much more dignified and noble are the thoughts of God, than the vain imaginations of the human heart! None but fools will trifle with the souls of men.”  (TPJS p. 137.)

3 Nephi 11: 31-32

3 Nephi 11: 31-32:

“Behold, verily, verily, I say unto you, I will declare unto you my doctrine. And this is my doctrine, and it is the doctrine which the Father hath given unto me; and I bear record of the Father, and the Father beareth record of me, and the Holy Ghost beareth record of the Father and me; and I bear record that the Father commandeth all men, everywhere, to repent and believe in me.”
When the Lord proclaims there is a “doctrine” belonging to Him, it is important to take note. As He begins His doctrinal statement, He first reminds us again of the unity between Himself, His Father and the Holy Ghost. This reminder of unity has followed the admonition to avoid contention and anger – things which prevent our becoming one with each other.
To understand His doctrine you must first know and understand that the doctrine originates with the Father. Christ has completely accepted and advocates the doctrine. Moreover He embodies it.

The Father’s doctrine is that “all men, everywhere, [must] repent and believe in [Christ].” This is what the whole of creation hangs on: the atonement of the Son. It is through the Son’s sacrifice that the Father’s plan became operational. Now, to return to the Father all must do so in reliance upon the merits of the Son. (John 3: 16.)

The Son preaches the doctrine of, and bears witness of the Father. The Father bears witness of the Son.  The Holy Ghost bears record of the Father and Son.
When did the Father bear record of the Son?  Did you notice that? The FATHER bears record of the Son! I’m not talking about Matthew or Luke’s testimony that the Father bore record of the Son, because that is Matthew’s and Luke’s testimony. I’m not talking about Joseph Smith’s record of the Father’s testimony of the Son. I’m talking about the Father’s testimony. When did you hear the Father bear record of the Son?

The Father does bear record of the Son. But you must go through the Son to get to the Father. When you do, acting in faith according to the conditions established for your salvation, then you will receive the Father’s testimony or record of the Son for yourself. But implicit in this statement is the fact that access to the Father is possible by the means provided through the Son. That is a ratification of the fullness of the Gospel. It is an invitation to return to heaven and obtain from the Father a confirmation of your salvation.

The Father’s testimony is that our salvation comes through Christ. For us the Father has provided a Savior. If we repent, we can come back into the presence of God and enter into our salvation and exaltation. But it is through the means provided for us: A Savior, who is Christ the Lord.
We are commanded to:
1.  Repent.
2.  Believe in Christ.
To repent is to turn again to Him. To follow Him and leave behind your sinful ways. To abandon the world and worldliness and to choose to always remember Him, that you may have His spirit to be with you always.

To believe in Him is to accept, study, contemplate and ponder His teachings. It is not to just go along with a herd, but to rise up from your position and awaken from your slumber. It is to grow into knowledge about Him. Belief leads to faith and faith to knowledge. But the process is initiated by your belief (correct understanding) of His teachings.

The doctrine continues…

Alma 13:12

 
“Now they, after being sanctified by the Holy Ghost, having their garments made white, being pure and spotless before God, could not look upon sin save it were with abhorrence; and there were many, exceedingly great many, who were made pure and entered into the rest of the Lord their God.”
 
If the earlier verse were not clear enough, the point is reiterated again here.  These people are “sanctified by the Holy Ghost” as a result of “having their garments made white.” They are “pure and spotless before God!”
 
This is the reason they can enter His presence.  He has accepted them because just like Him, they are without sin. They were not perfected by their own acts. The earlier reference to their repentance makes that clear. They become pure and spotless before God because they have done what was asked of them to become clean. They have repented.
 
Now, measure the effects of their repentance.  It has been so complete, so heartfelt, and deeply prized that they “could not look upon sin save it were with abhorrence.” It is this notion that underlies the mistaken idea that once someone’s calling and election has been made sure they are required to suffer for their own sins, because they have knowledge they are redeemed.  This is a twisted view, designed by the adversary to discourage those who might otherwise seek and find.

It is not that the atonement ceases to operate for the redeemed. The atonement continues to cover the on-going sins of these redeemed souls which arise from their foolishness, mistakes, errors of comprehension, and the things they don’t understand yet. Christ does not require them to do what they don’t know is a requirement yet. As the gentle and kind Lord, He will forgive all they do that is wrong, while He reveals through greater light and knowledge a higher path.  As He unfolds to their understanding more light, they can measure their conduct according to that greater light.

 
As they gain greater truth and light they see things how they really are.  Right and wrong are seen differently. What once was “right” is now wrong as greater light and truth is received.  What was once “wrong” is now seen clearly, without all the errors of understanding held before. 
 
The spotlessness is because their heart is right. They WANT to please their Lord. They WANT to be like Him. Sin is not tempting because it is contrary to Him whom they love.
 
The abhorrence they feel at sin is not within them.  It is not the temptations they struggle against. That is not the meaning at all.  It is what they see all about them. The lost souls are the object of their compassion and care. They WANT to have others redeemed and saved from this lost and fallen world. The fruit they tasted is something they desire to share. They WANT many, an exceeding many, to share with them in the hope that can be won by repentance.
They would shout “flee from Babylon” if they thought it would do any good. But shouting does no good among a darkened and benighted people. They may speak the words of an angel to others, but it is up to others to decide whether they will listen. It will be a still, small, quiet pleading they make to others. Within their entreaties will be found the Master’s words.
 
Many may claim to speak in His name, but only these few have the ability to speak with His approval. These are holy men, possessing words of eternal life. In them will be found truths that come from eternity and that will save to all eternity.
 
Only a few will listen. That won’t detract from the power of the message delivered by those who are after the holy order of the Son of God, for their words can save any who will listen.
 
What an interesting chapter we have found here. And we are only a dozen verses into it!  We should press on.

God is no respecter of persons

I am surprised by how people regard me as something special.  I have been blessed by the Lord to be able to write some books and put some information on this blog. However, if you were raised LDS and put forth some nominal effort to living your religion, you have lived a better life than I have. I wasn’t raised LDS and had no understanding of the Gospel, or the underlying reasons for the commandments.  Therefore, I never obeyed even a fraction of the commandments that you have grown up following.
 

I am absolutely convinced that any one of you is a better candidate than I was to receive an audience with the Lord.  The wonder of this process is not that someone has done it, but that so few have.  Given that I am probably the least qualified, the point should not be lost on you.  If it has happened to me, then it absolutely can and should happen to you.
God is no respecter of persons.  All are alike to Him.  Qualifications are based upon the behavior and faith of the person, not on their status or past mistakes.
You probably think your errors are more serious an impediment to God accepting you than He ever has.  He doesn’t want to judge you, He wants to heal you. He wants to give you what you lack, teach you to be better and to bless you.  He doesn’t want to belittle, demean or punish you.  Ask Him to forgive and He forgives.  Even very serious sins.  He does not want you burdened with them.  He wants you to leave them behind.

His willingness to leave those errors in the past and remember them no more is greater than you can imagine.  It is a guiding principle for the Atonement. Asking for forgiveness is almost all that is required to be forgiven.

What alienates us from Him is not our sins.  He will forgive them.  What we lack is the confidence to ask in faith, nothing doubting, for His help.  He can and will help when you do so.
The sins that offend Him are not the errors, weaknesses and foolishness of the past.  He is offended when we are forgiven by Him, and then return to the same sin. That shows a lack of gratitude for His forgiveness.  Even then, however, there are addictions, compulsions and weaknesses that we sometimes struggle with for years, even decades.  When the sin is due to some difficulty based on biology, physiology or  an inherent weakness that we fight for years to overcome, then His patience with us is far greater than our own.  He will help in the fight.  He will walk along side you as you fight.  He does not expect you to run faster than you have strength.  When, at last, because of age or infirmity, a troubling weakness is at last overcome, He will readily accept your repentance and let you move forward clean, whole and forgiven.  That is His ministry – to forgive and make whole.

I know all my mistakes.  They are greater than most of yours. I am in awe of His mercy and forgiveness.  I am not at all impressed by my worthiness.  It is nothing.  It consists of borrowed finery from Him who has let me use His great worthiness to cover my own failings.  To the extent that I have any merit, it comes from Him.  I remain astonished that He would condescend for someone like me. 

It is a wonder some think I have an advantage.  I assure you that the promised blessings are available to ALL.  If that were not true then someone as weak, simple and flawed as I am would never have had the hope that I now have in Christ.

What can they share?

I was asked: “For those among us who have had a personal visit with the Lord… what can they share with us that have not ? Can they share what our Lord looked like? His eye color? hair? height? how was he dressed? Is he among us now? How did he sound? Is this too sacred to be discussed openly?”
From the beginning, mankind was told not to make idols and displace their reverence for God by a physical image or talisman.  It has been enshrined in the Ten Commandments (“Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth: Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them:” (Ex. 20: 4-5.)  The commandment extends to the “likeness of anything that is in heaven” and would include the Lord.

The images I have seen of Him are for the most part inaccurate. The reason we don’t have accurate pictures is in all likelihood related to the fact that those who come to see Him would understand the importance of avoiding idols and would question the wisdom of recreating an image of Him that might be used by others to displace their attention and worship.

What is appropriate is to affirm that He is real, that He lives, that He has been resurrected from the dead, and that He came, sacrificed and rose because of His role as the Savior and Redeemer of mankind.  I’ve written as much as I’ve been asked to write about Him by way of testimony in the Appendix to Eighteen Verses, in Come, Let Us Adore Him, and a brief physical description in Nephi’s Isaiah.  However, the brief physical description is not enough from which to reconstruct an image.  It merely refers to some of His physical attributes and then tie them to the scriptural accounts to show why the narrative in the New Testament would read as it does.

The most important understanding of Christ is tied to what He suffered in Gethsemene.  D&C 19: 16-20 and my testimony about Gethsemene are both useful in understanding what He went through and what role our own actions will play in obtaining the benefits of His Atonement.

How beautiful upon the mountains

The feet of those who walk upon the mountains crying peace are beautiful (Isa. 52:7) because they are clean from the blood and sins of their generation.
In the ancient ceremonies involving animal sacrifice, blood was shed upon the ground and the feet of those involved in the rites became bloody.  The blood of the sacrifice upon the feet became a symbol of the sins for which the sacrifice was offered.
The feet of those who walk upon the mountains crying peace are cleansed from that blood.  Christ’s washing of His Apostles’ feet was to symbolize this cleansing which He alone could provide.  He employs no servant to provide such a cleansing. (2 Ne. 9: 41.)  These feet, washed by Him are, therefore, beautiful because they connote the sanctity of the one crying peace.
 
“Crying peace” because the only thing which stills the mind of man, and brings rest from the trouble of this world, is the atonement of Christ.  That is why it is called “the rest of the Lord.”  When cleansed, it becomes the consuming desire of those who are clean to bring others to partake.  Just like Lehi’s dream, when  those who had eaten of the fruit of the tree of life ate, they immediately invited others to come and join them.
“Upon the mountains” because the mountain is nature’s symbol of the ascent to God.  The climb represents repentance and purification of the soul.  When a person stands upon the top of the mountain, she appears to be part of heaven itself and no longer earthbound.  Her profile is with the sky, symbolizing the completion of the ascent back to God.
It is beautiful.  All of it is beautiful.  All of it is a reflection of the purity and intelligence of God, whose ways are higher than man’s ways as the heavens are higher than the earth. (Isa. 55: 8-9.)