Category: Thoughts

“this” and “that” Conclusion:

The man was created first for a reason. He was also given dominion and governance over this world for the same reason. This was not for his sake, but to save this creation. The man needed to be accountable and responsible for everything in the creation, and for what would happen here. He had to be given rule so that he would be the accountable party for the fall. This, in turn, results in his redemption also redeeming everything under his dominion also from the fall.

For the woman to be redeemed, God put her under the purview and accountability of the man: “your desire shall be to your husband and he shall rule over you.” (OC Gen. 2:18; see also T&C 110: Lecture 2:16) Paul was explaining this in his letter to the Corinthians: “Be ye followers of me, even as I also am of Christ. Now I praise you, brethren, that ye remember me in all things, and keep the ordinances, as I delivered them to you. But I would have you know that the head of every man is Christ, and the head of the woman, the man, and the head of Christ, God.” (NC 1 Cor 1:44) Although Paul is considered a chauvinist because of his explanation, this was the order established in the beginning by God, not by Paul. Paul wanted others to understand it.

Man cannot change the order ordained by God. Paul’s attempt to explain it does not mean Paul preferred it. He just understood it. He hoped to help others also understand it.

In accordance with the Divine ordination, the temple rites should include the covenant wherein the woman solemnly covenants and promises before God, angels, and witnesses at an altar that she will observe and keep the law of her husband and abide by his counsel in righteousness/or heed his counsel in righteousness. However worded, the covenant must track with the original order established by God for the man and woman.

The objective is unity, or for them to become one. Christ reiterated that God’s decree should be respected, not set aside by men. “Have you not read that he who made man at the beginning made him male and female, and said, For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife, and they two shall be one flesh? Wherefore they are no more two, but one flesh.” (NC Matt. 9:19)

Paul’s teaching to the Corinthians also explained, “every woman that prays or prophesies with her head uncovered dishonors her head, for that is even all one, as if she were shaven. For if the woman be not covered, let her also be shorn. But if it be a shame for a woman to be shorn or shaven, let her be covered. For a man indeed ought not to cover his head, forasmuch as he is the image and glory of God. But the woman is the glory of the man. For the man is not of the woman, but the woman of the man, neither was the man created for the woman, but the woman for the man. For this cause ought the woman to have a covering on her head, because of the angels. Nevertheless, neither is the man without the woman, neither the woman without the man, in the Lord. For as the woman is of the man, even so is the man also by the woman; but all things of God.” (1 Cor. 1:44) This obscure practice Paul refers to is grounded in something other than Paul’s bias. Covering the woman with a veil during prayer has always been part of the correct order. It is a profound and important symbol.

Because the woman’s creation was directly from the Heavenly Mother, as explained in Our Divine Parents, saving the man could not save the woman unless the woman was placed in the role God established. By placing her under his rule, it allowed her redemption. Saving all that was under the rule of the man will also include saving the woman. By God’s decree, salvation was extended to the woman through her husband’s rule. This is the reason temple covenants necessarily put the woman under the rule of her husband.

This is obviously not a license for the man to engage in misrule. To “rule” is to be responsible to teach all those in one’s dominion. A ruler is a teacher responsible for instructing others. Teaching by the ruler is required to be done without any appeal to authority, but by persuasion, meekness, and gentleness, love unfeigned and pure knowledge. (T&C 139:6)

In order to be saved, a woman must be under the dominion of her husband. Paul hoped to teach the Ephesians to follow the Divine order in love and respect. He taught, “Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord; for the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church, and he is the savior of the body. Therefore, as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in everything. Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church and gave himself for it, that he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, that he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that it should be holy and without blemish. So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loves his wife loves himself, for no man ever yet hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it even as the Lord the church; for we are members of his body, of his flesh and of his bones. For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother and shall be joined unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh. This is a great mystery, but I speak concerning Christ and the church. Nevertheless let every one of you in particular so love his wife, even as himself, and the wife see that she reverence her husband.” (NC Eph. 1:20-21)

If husbands reflected the pattern of Christ’s love for His church in cherishing their wives, then submitting or hearkening to the rule of the loving husband would be a light burden. Husbands would elevate and be considerate of their wives. He would cherish her, and there would be no resentment or conflict between them.

The cure for a husband’s failure to cherish his wife is not to rebel against and destroy the order established by God. Doing so brings only condemnation. Isaiah foretold, “The Earth also is defiled under the inhabitants thereof, because they have transgressed the laws, changed the ordinance, broken the everlasting covenant.” (OC Isa. 7:1) There is no honor in destroying the ordinance. That defiles the whole earth, as Isaiah explained. The solution is instead for the ignorant and foolish husband to repent.

“this” and “that” Part 3

In a temple ceremony, a veil is used as a symbol to separate the initiate from the Lord. This is a symbol of the division between heaven and earth, between time and eternity, or between the sacred and the commonplace. Beyond the veil are the angels, gods and spirits (that). Here there are mortals.

Passing through that veil (that) happens in one of two ways. One way is to gain knowledge of God’s mysteries and living true and faithful to them. This is symbolized in the temple ceremony, but that actually happened in the case of the brother of Jared. “And because of the knowledge of this man, he could not be kept from beholding within the veil. And he saw the finger of Jesus, which when he saw, he fell with fear, for he knew that it was the finger of the Lord. And he had faith no longer, for he knew, nothing doubting. Wherefore, having this perfect knowledge of God, he could not be kept from within the veil. Therefore, he saw Jesus, and he did minister unto him.” (NC Ether 1:14) Temple rites explain that anyone who arrives at the veil boundary who has been true and faithful in all things is entitled to converse with the Lord through the veil. Once the Lord is satisfied they possess the required attributes, then they can enter into His presence.

The second way of passing through that veil is explained by Alma, “[B]ehold, it has been made known unto me by an angel that the spirits of all men, as soon as they are departed from this mortal body, yea, the spirits of all men, whether they be good or evil, are taken home to that God who gave them life.” (NC Alma 19:6)

The ceremony employs two veils to symbolize the separation between mortality and eternity, the sacred and the profane. The boundary veil is used during the ceremony to test the initiate before permitting the individual to enter into the presence of the Lord. The second veil is used to symbolize the role of the woman.

Except for what happens in the womb of the woman, everything in mortality is subject to entropy. Women have the ordained power to produce new life. Everything else decays and dies. Her power defies the universal effects of entropy.

The ceremonial boundary veil that acts as the divider between worlds represents when the initiate is tested by heaven. This takes place before they are permitted to pass from earth to heaven, from time to eternity and from the commonplace to the sacred. In direct contrast, the veil of the woman represents the transition of pre-earth eternal spirits into mortality, when the sacred becomes embodied. She, along with God, veils in flesh the spirits from beyond the veil. “You have clothed me with skin and flesh, and have framed me with bones and sinews.” (OC Job 4:10) Therefore, the woman’s veil represents the inverse of the other veil. The boundary veil symbolizes losing the flesh to leave mortality, and her veil endows the immortal spirit with mortal flesh.

Like her heavenly counterpart, the woman represents creation. This process, like that which is beyond the boundary veil, is sacred. Both veils symbolize the sacred.

Woman is veiled to show that in a fallen world, trapped by decay and death, creation continues through her. Life springs anew and what is sacred and pure is born into mortal life. It would not be proper to remove the ceremonial veiling from the woman unless the intention was to abort the symbol of new life and creation. It destroys the symbol of the sacred power given to woman. The destroyer, of course, seeks to end life and impose misrule and death.

Of all the symbols in the temple rites, some of the most important and least understood involve the woman. The role of man is knowledge and the role of woman is wisdom. In the paper Our Divine Parents, pages 35 through 38, there is a discussion about Moses’ parable of the creation of man and woman. The woman had a direct relation to the Heavenly Mother, from whom she obtained the power to produce new life. That power resides with the Eternal Mother, and had to be endowed by Her for the mortal woman to inherit that eternal power. The creation of woman was designed to preserve, despite the fall of man, the Divine Mother’s power allowing life to continue despite the relentless pull of entropy toward dissolution, decay and the grave. This originally elevated the woman.

“this” and “that” Part 2

Like the parables Christ taught, temple rites have always used symbols to use “this” act or performance in order to reveal truths about “that” which is eternal. Temples are a great storehouse of symbolism, or one great parable used to teach truths about God. For example, under the Law of Moses, the rites of animal sacrifice required for various sins and cleansings were used to teach about the future sacrifice of a Redeemer.

The Scribes and Pharisees did not understand Christ’s parables. Those stories meant nothing to them. If it had been left to the Scribes and Pharisees, Christ’s parables would have been discarded. Imagine what Christianity would lack if we did not have the parable of the Good Samaritan, or the mustard seed, or the lost coin, or the Prodigal Son because the Scribes and Pharisees saw no reason to retain them.

When it comes to symbols (this) representing something else (that), the temple clothing given in the initiation is filled with symbolism. Depicted in the beginning of temple ceremony are six days of creation. They include six organizing labors divided into increments called “days.” Day 1: organizing together disorganized material to form a world. Day 2: dividing the water from the land. Day 3: establishing the lights in the firmament as signs. Day 4: placing plant life. Day 5: placing animal life. Day 6: putting man on earth. Despite the interruption, the seventh day was ordained to be a time of rest from labor.

There are also six articles of clothing. Article 1: robe. Article 2: slippers, Article 3: cap. Article 4: apron. Article 5: girdle. Article 6: undergarment. Each of these articles of clothing is worn by the initiate to symbolize, among other things, the creation labors, or one of the six days of creation. The slippers represent to the initiate the second day of creation. Until the dry land appeared, there was no place for man to walk.

The temple clothing symbolizes other things as well. The slippers in particular have an important second meaning; one that is more intimate than the appearance of dry land on the second day of creation. Slippers are removed and then put on again as part of the temple clothing so as to draw attention to them. Unlike the robes, which are changed from one shoulder to another to symbolize progression, nothing is done with the slippers when the robes change shoulders. Once they are donned as part of the temple regalia, they are to remain on the initiate even while other articles are moved. This is because once a soul begins to walk in the path of righteousness they are never to depart from that path.

The journey of the saved soul remains ongoing until we are in the presence of God. The slippers represent staying on the path; having remained true and faithful in all things. This in turn qualifies the individual to converse with the Lord through the veil and receive further light and knowledge. A house of God must symbolize this, as explained by Micah: “Come, and let us go up to the mountain of the Lord and to the house of the God of Jacob, and he will teach us of his ways and we will walk in his paths.” (OC Micah 1:9; see also Isa. 1:6) The symbol of staying on that path is critical because that is the only way to obtain salvation: “none of these can I hope except they shall be reconciled unto Christ, and enter into the narrow gate, and walk in the straight path which leads to life, and continue in the path until the end of the day of probation.” (NC 2 Ne. 15:1) Following this path has been the message delivered by true prophets among the Jews and Nephites. “Cry unto this people, saying, Repent ye, repent ye, and prepare the way of the Lord, and walk in his paths, which are straight[.]” (NC Alma 5:3; see also NC Matt. 2:1)

The slippers and other articles of ceremonial clothing represent one of the days of creation, or symbolize part of the creation itself. Wearing these six symbols means the initiate represents the creation. When the initiate enters through the veil into God’s presence, that entry represents redemption of the initiate, and also symbolizes the redemption of all creation. This means that the creating process continues even if only one couple is redeemed. Through the redemption of the man and woman as one, they will continue to create worlds without end. (See NC Eph. 1:11; T&C 69:28) Christ testified, “Moreover, those who are here on this journey with me will be added upon for evermore if they have faith in me. They will rise up to likewise generate endless lives, worlds without end.” (T&C 171: Chapter 5:16)

The symbolic journey of the initiate is also the symbolic continuation of all creation. There will be other souls created, and other worlds established like the world in which we presently live. Thus the journey on that path continues worlds without end. Taking off the slippers and putting them on again as part of the temple clothing is a profound symbol of eternal truth.

“this” and “that”

Symbolism substitutes one thing to represent another. There is always “this” that stands in the place of “that.” The value of the symbol is in teaching about “that” by employing “this” as a teaching tool.

In temple symbolism, the “this” used has no real value, but “that” holds eternal value. If an unbelieving person obtains access to “this” temple symbol, but fails to understand its relationship to “that” which is eternal, they have nothing of value. Likewise, when the symbol this has no meaning for those who believe in the temple, then it fails to have any value for the believer as well.

God’s highest truths frequently use symbols. Christ used parables to teach about that by using the familiar to substitute as a representation. He explained that this was to prevent those who were unworthy of the symbol from comprehending the truths. Seeing, they “see not” and hearing they “hear not.” (See, NC Matt. 7:2; Mark 2:13.) So we understand that merely getting this without understanding that is worthless.

Temple rites are a gift from God that is filled with this for that. Ignorance leads to apostasy because the ignorant cannot see that this holds powerful value to teach about that. Even the greatest symbols can become nothing when they are not understood and are discarded by the ignorant. Then “they shall return again to their own place, to enjoy that which they are willing to receive, because they were not willing to enjoy that which they might have received. For what does it profit a man if a gift is bestowed upon him, and he receive not the gift? Behold, he rejoices not in that which is given unto him, neither rejoices in him who is the giver of the gift.” (T&C 86:4)

Before the temple endowment was given, God explained what He intended to accomplish through the future rites: “I say unto you that your anointings, and your washings, and your baptisms for the dead, and your solemn assemblies, and your memorials for your sacrifices by the sons of Levi, and for your oracles in your most holy places, wherein you receive conversations, and your statutes and judgments for the beginning of the revelations and foundation of Zion, and for the glory and honor, and endowment of all her municipals, are ordained by the ordinance of my holy house, which my people are always commanded to build unto my holy name.” (T&C 141:12) God intended the symbols to convey glory, honor and a gift or endowment upon the people who received them. The symbols are not the real thing, but they teach and point to the real thing that is required for salvation.

In the temple ceremony there are symbols for certain virtues that are called “keys.” These keys use hand contact and words as the symbol (this) to substitute for the actual virtues of obedience, sacrifice, chastity, gospel and consecration (that).

In the Egyptian ceremonial there was a symbolic weighing of the heart against the Ma’at feather, along with the 42 negative confessions that a person had not sinned, had not robbed with violence, had not stolen, had not uttered lies, had not committed adultery, and so on. These rites were intended to teach the person to avoid bad behaviors and acquire the seven virtues of truth, justice, balance, order, compassion, harmony, and reciprocity.

Like the ceremonies of Egypt, the restored temple rites were also intended to symbolize the acquisition of the virtues of obedience, sacrifice, chastity, gospel and consecration. The ceremony also put the initiate through a symbolic judgment in the presence of a judge who conversed with the initiate through the veil, asking for them to present the symbols (this) to demonstrate they had acquired and were in possession of the required virtues (that).

Anyone can learn of the ceremonial symbols without possessing the required virtues. But to satisfy the God-judge who meets mankind as they pass through the veil at death, the initiate must possess the actual virtues these key words and hand contacts represent. They must have the real thing.

Throughout the restored temple ceremonies the symbols are introduced sequentially, first on the right side. Therefore, interpreting the symbols focuses on understanding the significance of the right side.

To teach Christ’s gospel using symbol, part of the temple ceremony included putting a robe on the left shoulder and tying a girdle around the waist on the right hip. By putting the robe on the left shoulder, the right shoulder was left uncovered. Anciently, clothing was valuable, and most labor was manual. A bare shoulder could become calloused through work, and if scratched or cut, could heal. But a torn robe took effort and time to repair, and any injury to the garment would shorten its life. Therefore, clothing was protected from this daily labor when possible by leaving the weight-bearing shoulder uncovered. Leaving the right shoulder bare in the temple ceremony symbolized that at that stage of the initiation there was still the need to carry a burden on the right side. The work was not done.

The belly is the symbolic center of our appetites and passions. Tying the bow of the girdle on the right side symbolized the need to bind the belly, or control the appetites and passions that so often lead to sin and conflict. The bow symbolized the effort required to conquer the unruly body.

There was also a bow over the right ear for the man, the bow having three loops. Placing these over the right ear symbolized the need to hear, or hearken. The three loops above the ear symbolize first the Godhead who are above. These loops secondly also symbolize the fathers, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob whose names are often used to identify the true God. By obeying the true God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, the person can accomplish the labor symbolized by the bare shoulder and bind the inappropriate appetites and unruly passions portrayed in the knotted girdle on the right hip.

When the individual achieves these required developmental improvements symbolized in this robing, then they remove all these accouterments and put them on again. Removing them was the symbol that all progress made will not be enough if you are unwilling to lay them aside, sacrifice what you have obtained from God, in order to receive more. Nothing can be gained if you are unwilling to change as often as God may require of you. Even if you mourn the loss of what you must lay aside, when God asks it of you it must be done to progress further.

As the symbolic journey continued, the robe and girdle were again donned and changed. This time the robe moved to the right shoulder and the bow is tied on the left hip. Because the symbols are interpreted from the right side, this movement shows that the hard work has been accomplished, and the robe can be safely worn upon the shoulder. The physical battle is over and the body has been controlled. They have won honor through their progression in light and truth. There is no longer a knot or tie on the right hip, but only the smooth girdle surrounding the belly because desires, appetites and passions have been defeated. Progress has been made. This is why they were part of temple worship.

Adultery, Conclusion

I hate this subject. I hate that is it necessary to discuss such indignities. There is so much that needs to be taught and learned. It perplexes me why it is necessary to address so basic and obvious an evil to people who say they want to follow God.

Among us are those whose aggressive preaching of evil sexual practices provokes the Lord to reiterate to us the words of Jeremiah:

My heart within me is broken because of the prophets, all my bones shake, I am like a drunk man and like a man whom wine has overcome, because of the Lord and because of the words of his holiness. For the land is full of adulterers, for because of swearing the land mourns, the pleasant places of the wilderness are dried up, and their course is evil and their force is not right. For both prophet and priest are corrupt, yea, in my house have I found their wickedness, says the Lord. Wherefore their way shall be unto them as slippery ways in the darkness, they shall be driven on and fall therein for I will bring evil upon them, even the year of their visitation, says the Lord. And I have seen folly in the prophets of Samaria: they prophesied in Baal and caused my people Israel to err. I have seen also in the prophets of Jerusalem a horrible thing: they commit adultery and walk in lies, they strengthen also the hands of evildoers that none does return from his wickedness. They are all of them unto me as Sodom and the inhabitants thereof as Gomorrah. (OC Jeremiah 8:18)

It does not matter if this sin is advocated under a new name. No change of vocabulary will justify this sin. Calling it celestial does not make it less hellish. Teaching it is no sin to engage in adultery because you and your victim were bonded to one another before the foundation of the world is a lie designed to seduce the foolish.

The restoration began with the Lord offering to extract us from this perversity. In the first message to Joseph Smith Christ quoted language from scripture to describe the world. The rest of Paul’s passage from which Christ’s words were taken declares that people are, “lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God, having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof. From such turn away, for of this sort are they which creep into houses and lead captive silly women loaded with sins, led away with diverse lusts, ever learning and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth.” (NC 2 Tim. 1:8) Diverse lusts can be given any name a clever man or woman chooses, but it does not improve the sinful and destructive nature of the failure.

There are many ways to prevent Zion. One of the most successful tools to bar individuals from rising up to Zion is to have them defile the marriage relationship through sexual sin. Having sexual relations outside the marriage covenant is unholy, ungodly and designed to create so corrupt a people that they will be barred from God’s presence.

There is a great mountain to climb. A beast guards the passageway. That beast takes many forms. Sexual sin is one of its forms. Do not let it destroy you.

Adultery, Part 4

There are false teachings advocated in secret by people who are either deceived by a false spirit or willingly sinful. These false teachings include such notions as: It is not a sin to have sexual relations outside of marriage if both participants are unmarried. This, of course, is false, and the scriptures condemn such fornication and sexual impurity. “As touching the gentiles who believe, we have written and concluded that they … keep themselves from things offered to idols, … and from fornication.” (NC Acts 12:9) “Now the body is not for fornication, but for the Lord, and the Lord for the body. And God has both raised up the Lord and will also raise up us by his own power. Do you not know that your bodies are the members of Christ? Shall I then take the members of Christ and make them the members of a harlot? God forbid. What? Do you not know that he who is joined to a harlot is one body? For two, says he, shall be one flesh. But he that is joined unto the Lord is one spirit. Flee fornication. Every sin that a man commits is against the body of Christ, and he who commits fornication sins against his own body.” (NC 1 Cor 1:23) “Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are: adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, envyings, murders, drunkenness, revelings, and such like; of the which I tell you, as I have also told in time past, that they who do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.” (NC Gal. 1:21)

Fornication will prevent you from inheriting the kingdom of God. It is as offensive as adultery, and often condemned in the same statement alongside adultery.

Those who teach this evil often conceal their teachings from the public, choosing to do so in secret. They teach it secretly because they are ashamed of this false, repugnant idea. Teaching in secret is an indication they recognize what they teach is false.

By concealing their sin, they hope their lies will protect them. The scriptures make it clear this will do them no good. “Last of all, these all are they who will not be gathered with the saints, to be caught up unto the church of the Firstborn and received into the Cloud. These are they who are liars, and sorcerers, and adulterers, and whoremongers, and whoever loves and makes a lie. These are they who suffer the wrath of God on the earth. These are they who suffer the vengeance of Eternal fire. These are they who are cast down to Hell and suffer the wrath of Almighty God” (T&C 69:27).

Part of the success of such false teachings comes from carefully keeping it hidden. Hiding their false teachings only makes them liars who love and make a lie to advance their adultery and whoredoms.

From all such teachings and teachers you should flee. Their teachings are calculated only to corrupt, deceive and destroy.

Adultery, Part 3

There is a reason why such a serious sin as adultery ought to be avoided altogether, even if it is only as a foolish temptation contemplating the possibility of a plural wife. We all need greater light and knowledge. The only way it can be acquired is by heed and diligence to the commandments of God. Any other path is a diversion, intended to waylay you and prevent you from developing as God intends.

Peter urged in his second letter: “And besides this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue, and to virtue knowledge, and to knowledge, temperance, and to temperance, patience, and to patience, godliness, and to godliness, brotherly kindness, and to brotherly kindness, charity. For if these things be in you and abound, they make you neither barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.” (NC 2 Peter 1:2) Peter explained the required steps for our progression. As soon as you acquire the faith to act, you next must add virtue. Virtue in turn leads to knowledge, because it is only through heed and diligence we gain knowledge.

As the people of King Benjamin demonstrated by their conversion to the truth, and their covenantal commitment to obey the truth, they gained the strength to do good. They no longer had any desire for evil:  “Yea, we believe all the words which thou hast spoken unto us! And also, we know of their surety and truth because of the spirit of the Lord Omnipotent, which has wrought a mighty change in us, or in our hearts, that we have no more disposition to do evil, but to do good continually.” (NC Mosiah 3:1) A person who has the disposition to do evil and commit adultery is NOT yet converted. They are NOT yet redeemed. They still must repent and turn to God.

Joseph Smith explained that the gospel path requires us to increase in obedience to God. There is nothing static or stationary about the gospel. We must increase our obedience to participate in gospel conversion, “We consider that God has created man with a mind capable of instruction, and a faculty which may be enlarged in proportion to the heed and diligence given to the light communicated from heaven to the intellect: and that the nearer man approaches perfection, the clearer are his views, and the greater his enjoyments, till he has overcome the evils of his life and lost every desire for sin; and like the ancients, arrives at that point where he is wrapped in the power and glory of his Master and is caught up to dwell with Him.” (TJPS p. 51) If you remain attracted to adultery and fornication, you have not yet lost every desire for sin. Your views of right and wrong cannot be clear if you fail to see the evil in such disobedience.

There is a revelation for our day that says, “And that which does not edify is not of God, and is darkness. That which is of God is light, and he that receives light and continues in God, receives more light, and that light grows brighter and brighter until the perfect day.” (T&C 36:4) Light grows if you are in the gospel path. It grows brighter and brighter only when you forsake sin and give heed and diligence to the commandments. Adultery destroys that progress and robs you of light.

Alma explained, “[H]e that will harden his heart, the same receiveth the lesser portion of the word. And he that will not harden his heart, to him is given the greater portion of the word, until it is given unto him to know the mysteries of God, until they know them in full. And they that will harden their hearts, to them is given the lesser portion of the word until they know nothing concerning his mysteries; and then they are taken captive by the Devil and led by his will down to destruction. Now this is what is meant by the chains of hell.” (NC Alma 9:3)

Those who think they can follow God and yet commit adultery are deceived and giving heed to a false spirit. It is impossible to be both on the path to greater light and also engaged in such a serious sin.

Add to your faith virtue. It is perilous to do otherwise. You open yourself to deception and being led by false spirits and false prophets when you choose to ignore the commandment “Thou shalt not commit adultery.”

Adultery

Adultery is such a significant sin and so destructive to society that it is prohibited in the Ten Commandments: “You shall not commit adultery.” (NC Exo. 12:10)

In answer to a question from Peter, Christ explained about the evils in the heart of men: ” out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adultery, fornication, thefts, false witness, blasphemy. These are things which defile a man, but to eat with unwashed hands defiles not a man.” (NC Matt. 8:10)

A short time after this a group of both Pharisees and Sadducees came to demand a sign be given to them by Christ. These two groups normally conflicted with each other over religious beliefs. However, they came together to confront Christ, unified in the question they posed. Christ not only refused, but gave a principle or key it is important to understand: “A wicked and adulterous generation seeks after a sign, and there shall no sign be given unto it, but the sign of the prophet Jonah.” (NC Matt 8:15)

This key given by Christ is reliable. One of the effects of an adulterous heart is the inability to accept truth without a sign. But signs do not produce faith. Signs cannot produce faith. “And he that seeks signs shall see signs, but not unto salvation. Verily I say unto you, There are those among you who seek signs, and there have been such even from the beginning. But behold, faith comes not by signs, but signs follow those that believe. Yea, signs come by faith, not by the will of men nor as they please, but by the will of God. Yea, signs come by faith unto mighty works, for without faith no man pleases God.” (T&C 50:3)

Those with adulterous hearts require something coarse to convince them because they lack faith. When they obtain a sign and follow after it, they still do not have faith, because signs cannot produce it.

Joseph Smith commented on sign-seeking: “When I was preaching in Philadelphia, a Quaker called out for a sign. I told him to be still. After the sermon, he again asked for a sign. I told the congregation the man was an adulterer; that a wicked and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign; and that the Lord had said to me in a revelation, that any man who wanted a sign was an adulterous person. ‘It is true,’ cried one, ‘for I caught him in the very act,’ which the man afterwards confessed when he was baptized.” (TPJS, p. 278, DHC 5:268; Feb. 9 1843.)

When signs attract followers, the resulting congregation of followers are all vulnerable to the sin of adultery. This is one of the reasons why so many were adulterers in Nauvoo, and later in Utah, and today among various splinter groups. It is a plague that can only be avoided by removing adulterous thoughts from the heart.

As Christ explained to Peter, it is from the heart that the evil of adultery and fornication originates. It interferes with the light required to have faith. I have consistently warned against this sin. A revelation to Joseph Smith warned: “And verily I say unto you, as I have said before, He that looks on a woman to lust after her, or if any shall commit adultery in their hearts, they shall not have the Spirit, but shall deny the faith and shall fear.” (T&C 50:4)

No adulterer is fit for Zion. The nature of that sin is to destroy families, create conflict, inspire violence, and prevent the Spirit of God from holding influence over the victims. When put outside that influence, these victims of their own lusts are open to the influence of other, false spirits. False spirits gladly minister to sign-seekers.

What about disputing?

I got emails and phone calls asking about Christ’s statement in 3 Nephi: “there shall be no disputations among you, as there hath hitherto been, neither shall there be disputations among you concerning the points of my doctrine, as there hath hitherto been. For verily, verily I say unto you, he that hath the spirit of contention is not of me, but is of the Devil, who is the father of contention; and he stirreth up the hearts of men to contend with anger, one with another.”

I replied that you can disagree without an angry disputation. You can have good humor even while you detect a false spirit and reject it. You can wish people well as they go on their way, while altogether condemning their message as originating in a malignant source.

It is not required that you attempt to persuade every person of their errors. If you make it clear you do not want to participate in their errors, that is enough.

And you can do all those things without ever becoming angry and allowing your heart to become stirred up to contention and argument.

If you refuse to make your rejection of false spirits clear, then you are contributing to evil. It is impossible to stand for the truth without rejecting errors and false spirits when they come to confront you. Christ expected us to do that. He even rebuked Peter, telling him: “Get thee behind me, Satan” when Peter opposed the will of the Father. Yet the same Christ announced the doctrine that we are not supposed to “contend” in “anger” with one another. The only conclusion we can reach is that Christ followed the principle He taught, and we can do so also while standing firm and detecting a false spirit when confronted by it.

Adulterous Pretensions

Two emissaries from a Canadian fellow who I’ve been informed is an advocate of plural wivery, just left my office. They delivered a written message from Joseph Rockwell and Dean Taylor. Joseph Rockwell was the author of the “Escape to Polygamy” website. On that site on September 5, 2010 he wrote a post titled “Engagement” in which he said his wife wanted him to take another wife and so he was now engaged to marry again. Another post on September 11, 2010 “Into the Light” wrote about the “deep longing to bring more wives into our family and have our family grow.” So he’s an adulterer.

The message is couched in “Thus Saith the Lord” and commands me to not fight against the work of some “Father” that Rockwell submits to obey. The whole contains a spirit that I recognize. It is false. It seeks to portray wickedness as righteousness, and to gain control and authority over others.

I am now commanded by this false spirit to “repent” and not fight against this Rockwellian foolishness. I don’t intend to obey.

I’m not supposed to “seek to destroy that which the Father has commanded.” But, since I have no part in obedience to this deceiving “Father” I plan to give it no heed.

It occurred to me that, for whatever entertainment value this has, I would put this note up on my website.

Upcoming Talks

I’ve been invited to speak in South Carolina at a conference being organized there to take place January 12th and 13th. I plan to attend and talk. An announcement about the details will be made soon through the event calendar on the Restoration Archives site. I wanted to make it known as early as possible.

I also plan to give a talk in Centerville, Utah sometime in February.

New Paper

I have put up a new paper that contains the Answer: Build a House and my present initial understanding of the meaning of the Answer. It is on the downloads page and can be reached through this link:

Build a House

My initial interpretation begins following the Answer on page 3 of the document. Of course it is not an attempt to extract all the meaning of the Answer, but only the most obvious initial meaning that is apparent to me.