Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Establishing The Kingdom and Freedom

Elder Bruce R. McConkie gave an important talk in Peru that President Kimball requested to be printed in the Ensign.  It is entitled, "Come Let Israel Build Zion."  For the full text of the talk click here.  In this talk he outlined the three phases in which Zion would be built:

“The gathering of Israel and the establishment of Zion in the latter days is divided into three periods or phases. The first phase is past; we are now living in the second phase; and the third lies ahead. . . .

“Phase I—From the First Vision, the setting up of the kingdom on April 6, 1830, and the coming of Moses on April 3, 1836, to the secure establishment of the Church in the United States and Canada, a period of about 125 years.

“Phase II—From the creation of stakes of Zion in overseas areas, beginning in the 1950s, to the second coming of the Son of Man, a period of unknown duration.

“Phase III—From our Lord’s second coming until the kingdom is perfected and the knowledge of God covers the earth as the waters cover the sea, and from then until the end of the Millennium, a period of 1,000 years.” (“Come: Let Israel Build Zion,” p. 115.)

Elder McConkie further explained:

“As of now, the Lord has laid upon us the responsibility to lay the foundation for that which is to be. We have been commissioned to prepare a people for the second coming of the Son of Man. We have been called to preach the gospel to every nation and kindred and tongue and people. We have been commanded to lay the foundations of Zion and to get all things ready for the return of Him who shall again crown the Holy city with his presence and glory. . . .

“Stakes of Zion are . . . being organized at the ends of the earth. . . . A stake of Zion is a part of Zion. You cannot create a stake of Zion without creating a part of Zion. Zion is the pure in heart; we gain purity of heart by baptism and by obedience. A stake has geographical boundaries. To create a stake is like founding a City of Holiness. Every stake on earth is the gathering place for the lost sheep of Israel who live in its area.

“The gathering place for Peruvians is in the stakes of Zion in Peru, or in the places which soon will become stakes. The gathering place for Chileans is in Chile; for Bolivians it is in Bolivia; for Koreans it is in Korea; and so it goes through all the length and breadth of the earth. Scattered Israel in every nation is called to gather to the fold of Christ, to the stakes of Zion, as such are established in their nations. . . .

“That is to say—Israel shall be gathered one by one, family by family, unto the stakes of Zion established in all parts of the earth so that the whole earth shall be blessed with the fruits of the gospel.

“This then is the counsel of the Brethren: Build up Zion, but build it up in the area where God has given you birth and nationality. Build it up where he has given you citizenship, family, and friends. . . . The Saints who comprise [any] part of Zion are and should be a leavening influence for good in all these nations.

“And know this: God will bless that nation which so orders its affairs as to further his work.” (“Come: Let Israel Build Zion,” pp. 116, 118.) 

Tomorrow night (Thursday, October 1) in our Doctrine and Covenants Class we will be discussing Section 98.  The following presentation will be helpful in the discussion.  Please print it and bring it too the class,

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Sunday, September 27, 2009

General Conference and the calling of an Apostle

Next weekend we will be instructed by apostles and prophets at General Conference.   I thought I would center this post on the calling of an apostle.  The apostles are special witnesses of Jesus Christ.  Five years before the apostles were first called in our dispensation the Lord gave some instruction about their qualifications and calling:

D&C  18:26-39
 26 And now, behold, there are others who are called to declare my gospel, both unto Gentile and unto Jew;
 27 Yea, even twelve; and the Twelve shall be my disciples, and they shall take upon them my name; and the Twelve are they who shall desire to take upon them my name with full purpose of heart.
 28 And if they desire to take upon them my name with full purpose of heart, they are called to go into all the world to preach my gospel unto every creature.
 29 And they are they who are ordained of me to baptize in my name, according to that which is written;
 30 And you have that which is written before you; wherefore, you must perform it according to the words which are written.
 31 And now I speak unto you, the Twelve--Behold, my grace is sufficient for you; you must walk uprightly before me and sin not.
 32 And, behold, you are they who are ordained of me to ordain priests and teachers; to declare my gospel, according to the power of the Holy Ghost which is in you, and according to the callings and gifts of God unto men;
 33 And I, Jesus Christ, your Lord and your God, have spoken it.
 34 These words are not of men nor of man, but of me; wherefore, you shall testify they are of me and not of man;
 35 For it is my voice which speaketh them unto you; for they are given by my Spirit unto you, and by my power you can read them one to another; and save it were by my power you could not have them;
 36 Wherefore, you can testify that you have heard my voice, and know my words.
 37 And now, behold, I give unto you, Oliver Cowdery, and also unto David Whitmer, that you shall search out the Twelve, who shall have the desires of which I have spoken;
 38 And by their desires and their works you shall know them.
 39 And when you have found them you shall show these things unto them.

Elder David B. Haight shared with the Church some of the instructions given to an apostle when they are called,

Just as I have been instructed and counseled by President Kimball, others through the years have been so counseled. One hundred forty-six years ago when the Church was restored, the First Presidency instructed Parley P. Pratt, a newly called member of the Twelve: “O, Lord, smile from heaven upon this thy servant; forgive his sins, sanctify his heart, and prepare him to receive the blessing. … Increase his intelligence, communicate to him all that wisdom, that prudence and that understanding which he needs as a minister of righteousness, and to magnify the apostleship whereunto he is called.”

And continuing they said: “You have enlisted in a cause that requires your whole attention. … Become a polished shaft. … You must endure much toil, much labor, and many privations to become perfectly polished. … Your labor must be incessant, and your toil great; you must go forth and labor till the great work is done. … Your Heavenly Father requires it; the field is His; the work is His; and He will … cheer you … and buoy you up. …
“Beware of pride,” they continued. “Beware of evil; shun the very appearance of it. … You will see thousands who, when they first see you, will know nothing about salvation by Jesus Christ. …

“Cultivate great humility. … Beware … the flatterers of the world. … Let your ministry be first. Remember, the souls of men are committed to your charge. …”

They went on to say to Parley P. Pratt: “It is necessary that you receive a testimony from Heaven … so that you can bear testimony to the truth of the Book of Mormon. …

“Strengthen your faith. …

“You are called to preach the gospel of the Son of God to the nations of the earth; it is the will of your Heavenly Father that you proclaim His gospel to the ends of the earth, and the islands of the sea. …

“Be prepared at all times to make a sacrifice of your [life], should God require it. … Be always prayerful; be always watchful. …

“This gospel must roll, and will roll until it fills the [entire] earth. …

“You [will] need a fountain of wisdom, knowledge and intelligence, such as you never had. … [God] can endow you without worldly pomp or great parade. …

“You must proclaim the gospel in its simplicity and [its] purity.”
(Autobiography of Parley P. Pratt, Deseret Book Co., 1961, pp. 119–26.)

Later in his ministry Elder Haight shared a very sacred experience that he has with the Savior.  Click here to read the experience.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Creation - Sacred Geometry - Sacred Architecture

Last night in our Doctrine and Covenants Class we discussed some of the sacred symbolism of temples.  This morning I viewed a video that was brought to my attention by Lee Simons a very good friend that works for the David M. Kennedy Center. To view the video go to the Click here Temple Study Blog and scroll down to "Finding Meaning In Sacred Architecture, lecture by Val Brinkerhoff."

It is very important to understand the symbolism of our God and how he uses symbols, types, shadows, patterns, figures, and likenesses to teach us.  Here are several scriptures where the Lord informs us how he has used these likenesses to teach:

Moses  6:63
 63 And behold, all things have their likeness, and all things are created and made to bear record of me, both things which are temporal, and things which are spiritual; things which are in the heavens above, and things which are on the earth, and things which are in the earth, and things which are under the earth, both above and beneath: all things bear record of me.

2 Ne  11:4
 4 Behold, my soul delighteth in proving unto my people the truth of the coming of Christ; for, for this end hath the law of Moses been given; and all things which have been given of God from the beginning of the world, unto man, are the typifying of him.

Mosiah  3:15
 15 And many signs, and wonders, and types, and shadows showed he unto them, concerning his coming; and also holy prophets spake unto them concerning his coming; and yet they hardened their hearts, and understood not that the law of Moses availeth nothing except it were through the atonement of his blood.

D&C  84:46
 46 And the Spirit giveth light to every man that cometh into the world; and the Spirit enlighteneth every man through the world, that hearkeneth to the voice of the Spirit. (emphasis added)

We understand from the Lord's teachings that so much of what He does must be interpreted.  The above scriptures help us by giving the keys for interpretation.  There is a caution that we need to be aware of.  One symbol may represent many things, therefore, what one sees in a symbol does not eliminate others interpretations that may also be represented in the same symbol.  We know that all truth is integrated into one whole, therefore, some symbols may also overlap and blend into other symbols.  Much symbolic interpretation is personal and does not have to be accepted by others.   Some symbols have meaning in many cultures and may have universal interpretation others do not.

From our own Doctrine and Covenants we learn that the earth is living the law of a Celestial Kingdom (D&C 88:25-26).  What all that entails we do not know.  But, we can see a pattern that was set in creation.  The earth focuses on the sun which the scriptures teach us is a pattern of Christ.  Every twenty four hours she shows us what it is like to live in darkness and invites us to live in the light of the sun (son).  She rotates around the sun every 365 days which gives us four seasons in which we can see a pattern for the fall, death, resurrection, and harvest of souls into the kingdom of God.  At the flood the earth is baptized and at the second coming she receives the baptism of the Spirit.  In D&C 101:23, the Lord refers to the earth as His temple.  Just as temples point us to Christ so does the Lord's temple in its solar setting.  So much of what the Lord has done is a visual aid to help us come unto him.    

The following image is one possible interpretation of being "enlightened through the world" (D&C 84:46).

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Monday, September 21, 2009

The Coming Forth of the Gold Plates

Here is a picture of Moroni being place on the Gila Valley Temple in Arizona.  It took place today, September 22, 2009 in memory of the anniversary of Moroni's appearance to the Prophet Joseph Smith.

It is important to note that the Gold Plates, that contained the writings of the Book of Mormon, were delivered to the Prophet Joseph Smith on Rosh Hashana a Jewish Holiday.  Lenet Hadley Read wrote an article in the Ensign which explained the significance of this event (click here for article). Tomorrow (September 22) is the anniversary of the coming forth of the Gold Plates.   This event has blessed many lives and will yet bless the lives of many more.

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Saturday, September 19, 2009

President Brigham Young Organizes The First Presidency

But business was the first order of the day-councils and conferences to tie up loose ends and determine the immediate future. Through discussions and prayer sessions with the Twelve, it was agreed that Brigham, as President of the Church, had the right to select his counselors, who would then be sustained by the Twelve. Wilford Woodruff's journal recorded his interchange with Brigham, in which he expressed his conviction that "a quorum appointed by revelation . . . would require a revelation to change. . . . [But] whatever the Lord inspires you to do in this matter, I am with you."   
The brethren's faith in Brigham's access to revelation and the integrity of his spiritual guidance seemed absolute. Surely the President himself appeared to feel no doubts or qualms. He expressed his conviction that he had for a long time felt the necessity of organizing a First Presidency, which would then free the Twelve to fulfill their missionary efforts throughout the world. He had waited until the Spirit told him that the Church should be so organized. Now he nominated Heber Kimball as his first counselor, Willard Richards as his second. On Monday, December 27, 1847, the body of Saints from Winter Quarters, Kanesville, and Council Bluffs assembled and sustained Brigham Young as President of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter- day Saints. This action was later ratified by unanimous vote of the Saints in the Salt Lake Valley, and in General Conference held October 8, 1848, when approximately 5,000 people had gathered.   
"The spirit of the Lord at this time rested upon the people in a powerful manner," Brigham wrote to Orson Spencer in England. "Insomuch that the saints' hearts were filled with joy unspeakable; every power of their mind and nerve of their bodies was awakened." A dead silence reigned in the congregation while the President spoke following the vote which had been taken.   
Following the benediction, the congregation shouted three times, "Hosannah, Hosannah, Hosannah to God and the Lamb, Amen, Amen and Amen." As explained in the History of the Church:   
This shout of "Hosanna" is given only on very great occasions. It is usually given three times in immediate succession; and when voiced by thousands and sometimes tens of thousands in unison, and at their utmost strength, it is most impressive and inspiring. It is impossible to stand unmoved on such an occasion. It seems to fill the prairie or woodland, mountain wilderness or tabernacle, with mighty waves of sound; and the shout of men going into battle cannot be more stirring. It gives wonderful vent to the religious emotions, and is followed by a reverential awe-a sense of oneness with God.   
The gathering of the Saints was the first and foremost business at hand. Brigham gave a herald call to the outlying or laggardly Saints to come quickly to the Winter Quarters area and prepare themselves to be able to leave by May. To the converts in the British Isles, he wrote an epistle which sings with eloquence and conviction:   
Let all Saints who love God more than their own dear selves-and no one else are Saints-gather without delay to the place appointed, bringing their gold, their silver, their copper, their zinc, their tin, and brass, and iron, and choice steel, and ivory, and precious stones; their curiosities of science, of art, of nature, and everything in their possession or within their reach, to build in strength and stability, to beautify, to adorn, to embellish, to delight, and to cast a fragrance over the House of the Lord; with sweet instruments of music and melody and songs and fragrance and sweet odours, and beautiful colours, whether it be in precious jewels, or minerals, or choice ores, or in wisdom and knowledge, or understanding, manifested in carved work; or curious workmanship of the box, the fir and pine tree, or any thing that ever was, or is, or is to be, for the exaltation, glory, honour, and salvation of the living and the dead, for time and for all eternity. Come, then, walking in righteousness befoe God, and your labour shall be accepted; . . . for the time has come for the Saints to go up to the mountains of the Lord's house, and help to establish it upon the tops of the mountains.   
By the time May arrived, two thousand people stood in readiness to go. Brigham recorded that he attended meetings each Sunday of the month, and on the 14th "preached at length and blessed the land for the benefit of the saints who should occupy it." On the 26th, his second and last journey across the plains and mountains to the Salt Lake Valley began. "[I left] my houses, mills and the temporary furniture I had acquired during my sojourn there. This was the fifth time I had left my home and property since I embraced the Gospel of Jesus Christ."   
            (Susan Evans McCloud, Brigham Young, A Personal Portrait -)

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Peace I leave with you

For those of you who are in my Doctrine and Covenants night class please click here to review the post on the Word of Wisdom.  Please pay close attention to the chiasm at the end of the post.

John  14:27
 27 Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.

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Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Kirtland Temple details seen in a vision

There is a new and very excellent video that can be used to introduce the Book of Mormon to family, friends, and associates.  It is twelve minute long and focuses on the Book of Mormon as a testament of Christ.  Click here to view the video.

Historical Note. On 4 May 1833 a conference of high preists met in Kirtland, Ohio, to take into consideration the commandment in section 88 to build a house for the School of the Prophets. Hyrum Smith, Jared Carter, and Reynolds Cahoon were appointed by the conference as a committee to obtain subscriptions for the above-named purpose.   
On 1 June 1833 this committe issued a circular in which they urged the Saints to fulfill the commandment of the Lord to build a house wherein they could call a solemn asembly and "treasure up words of wisdom."     

Two days later, 3 June 1833, during another conference of high priests in Kirtland, it was decided that the dimensions of the sacred edifice should be specified. Thereupon the Prophet  
received a revelation on the size of the house the word of the Lord was that it shall be fifty five feet wide and sixty five feet long in the inner court and the conference appointed Bro Joseph Jr Sidney Rigdon and Frederick G. Williams to obtain a draft or construction of the inner court of the house.  
Verse 14 of the revelation directed that the building be erected '"after the manner which I shall show unto three of you." Accordingly Joseph Smith, Sidney Rigdon, and Frederick G. Williams, members of the First Presidency, were privileged to see the house in vision prior to its construction. Concerning this vision, Frederick G. Williams stated,  
Joseph received the word of the Lord for him to take his two counsellors Williams and Rigdon and come before the Lord, and he would show them the plan or model of the House to be built. We went upon our knees, called on the Lord, and the Building appeared within viewing distance: I being the first to discover it. Then all of us viewed it together. After we had taken a good look at the exterior, the building seemed to come right over us, and the Makeup of this Hall seems to coincide with what I there saw to a minutia.  (This statement was made by Frederick G. Williams while he was standing in the entry hall of the Kirtland Temple)   

            (Lyndon W. Cook, The Revelations of the Prophet Joseph Smith: A Historical and Biographical Commentary of the Doctrine and Covenants, p.197-198)

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Keep The Spirit of the Lord

About a month after the Prophet Brigham Young received the revelation now know as D&C 136, he had a dream in which he met with the Prophet Joseph Smith,

In February, 1847, he (Brigham Young) had a dream in which the Prophet Joseph Smith appeared to him. It was a glorious dream. You will find it in the history of the Church written by Brother Cannon.

Brigham Young expressed his sorrow that he was separated from the companionship of President Smith, the Prophet, and asked him why he could not come with him. The Prophet told him he would have to wait awhile.

Then Brigham Young asked him if he had a message for them, and the Prophet stepped toward him, looking very earnestly, yet patiently, and said (I quote from the words of the Prophet in that dream of Brigham Young's):

Tell the brethren to be humble and faithful and be sure to keep the Spirit of the Lord, that it will lead them aright. Be careful and not turn away the still, small voice; it will teach them what to do and where to go; it will yield the fruits of the kingdom. Tell the brethren to keep their hearts open to conviction, so that when the Holy Ghost comes to them, their hearts will be ready to receive it.

That is one way, brethren, to get the spirit of the Lord, and it is one absolute requirement to keep our hearts open to conviction, so that we can hear the word of God and receive the Holy Ghost's promptings when they come. It is a terrible calamity for men or nations to become laws unto themselves. You know, the Lord said: "That which seeketh to become a law unto itself. . . cannot be sanctified by law, neither by mercy, justice, nor judgment, therefore they must remain filthy still."

The Prophet, in this statement to Brigham Young, continues:
They can tell the Spirit of the Lord from all other spirits will whisper peace and joy to their souls; it will take malice, hatred, strife and all evil from their hearts, and their whole desire will be to do good, bring forth righteousness, and build up the kingdom of God. (Elder Marion G. Romney, Conference Report, April 1944, Afternoon Meeting, p.140-141)

Friday, September 11, 2009


Doctrine and Covenants Section 93 is one of the most important revelations revealing that man can become like Christ through progression. We are told that as Christ progressed from grace to grace until he received a fullness of the Father, we can do the same,

D&C 93:19-20
19 I give unto you these sayings that you may understand and know how to worship, and know what you worship, that you may come unto the Father in my name, and in due time receive of his fulness.
20 For if you keep my commandments you shall receive of his fulness, and be glorified in me as I am in the Father; therefore, I say unto you, you shall receive grace for grace.

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The following two verses cause us to ponder their meaning,

D&C 93:12-13
12 And I, John, saw that he received not of the fulness at the first, but received grace for grace.
13 And he received not of the fulness at first, but continued from grace to grace, until he received a fulness;

Kent P. Jackson and Robert L. Millet give us a way to view these verses,

Luke's statement that "Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favour with God and man" (Luke 2:52) speaks volumes. He developed in understanding and intellectual powers. He developed physically, such that his body would prove a benefit and blessing to his work. He developed in his relationship with God, line upon line, precept upon precept. Jesus did not receive the fullness of light and power and glory at the first of his life but received "grace for grace"; that is, our Lord was blessed by his Father as he continually gave of himself to others in service. He thereby progressed "from grace to grace," from one level to a higher, from a lesser spiritual endowment to a greater. (See D&C 93:12-20.) Finally, Jesus of Nazareth developed socially, "in favor with man." Jesus loved people, for people were his reason for being: his work and glory were to "bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man." (Moses 1:39.) (Kent P. Jackson and Robert L. Millet, eds., Studies in Scripture, Vol. 5: The Gospels, p.156)

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

The Power of the Resurrection

The resurrection from the dead is one of the most powerful events in our eternal progression to live with God. Doctrine and Covenants section 88 has some revelatory material that helps us to better understand the order of the resurrection. If you are in my D&C night class it would be helpful to print the two images on the order of the resurrection and bring them to class.

Also, in preparation for the Thursday (September 10) night class it would be helpful if you read the following talk by President Marion G. Romney, "The Light of Christ."
This talk was given at General Conference in April 1977. It will help explain the terms "Calling and Election" and "The More Sure Word of Prophecy."

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Sunday, September 6, 2009

Succession in the First Presidency

In harmony with this weeks Sunday School Lesson #33 on Succession in the First Presidency "President Brigham Young Leads the Saints" there is an important Ensign article written by Brent Top and Lawrence Flake on the subject. Click here for the article.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Elder Marion G. Romney on Socialism and The United Order

I normally do not post whole talks on my blog as I know some are in a hurry and will skip to something else. However, I feel that it is important that the Lord's way is not confused with Satan's way. Elder Romney points out the important differences between the two systems. This talk was given in General Conference and also at the Brigham Young University. In the evening Doctrine and Covenants class that I teach we are leaning about the law of consecration. I ask the students in that class to read this talk.

President Wilkinson, faculty members, students, brothers and sisters all. First I want to thank that choir. I am not sure it isn't a body of angels-I can't see behind this screen. That was a marvelous rendition. This last song (O My Father) is my favorite hymn.

I have been asked to talk this morning about socialism and the United Order. I assure you that I approach this discussion with a great deal of trepidation.

Socialism Defined
Perhaps an appropriate first step in comparing socialism and the United Order would be to define the terms. Webster defines socialism as: A political and economic theory of social organization based on collective or governmental ownership and democratic management of the essential means for the production and distribution of goods; also, a policy or practice based on this theory. (Webster's New International Dictionary, 2nd Ed., unabridged, 1951.) George Bernard Shaw, the noted Fabian Socialist, says that: Socialism, reduced to its simplest legal and practical expression, means the complete discarding of the institution of private property by transforming it into public property and the division of the resultant income equally and indiscriminately among the entire population. (Encyclopedia Britannica, 1943 Ed., p.295.)

George Douglas Howard Cole, M.A., noted author and university reader in economics at Oxford, who treats socialism for the Encyclopedia Britannica, says that because of the shifting sense in which the word has been used, . . . a short and comprehensive definition is . . . impossible. We can only say [he concludes] that Socialism is essentially a doctrine and a movement aiming at the collective organization of the community in the interest of the mass of the people by means of the common ownership and collective control of the means of production and exchange. (The quotations on pages 2, 3, and 4, unless otherwise indicated, are from George Douglas Howard Cole, M.A., and are found in the Encyclopedia Britannica, Vol. 20.)

Socialism arose "out of the economic division in society." During the nineteenth century its growth was accelerated as a protest against "the appalling conditions prevailing in the workshops and factories and the unchristian spirit of the spreading industrial system."
The "communist manifesto" drafted by Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels, for the Communist League . . . in . . . 1848 is generally regarded as the starting point of modern socialism. (Ibid.)

Distinction Between Socialism and Communism
The distinction between Socialism, as represented by the various Socialist and Labour Parties of Europe and the new world, and Communism, as represented by the Russians, is one of tactics and strategy rather than of objective.

Communism is indeed only Socialism pursued by revolutionary means and making its revolutionary method a canon of faith. Communists, like other Socialists, (1) believe in the collective control and ownership of the vital means of production, and (2) seek to achieve, through state action the co-ordinated control of the economic forces of society. They differ from other Socialists in believing that this control can be secured, and its use in the interests of the workers ensured, only by revolutionary action leading to the dictatorship of the proletariat and the creation of a new proletarian state as the instrument of change. (Ibid.)

Major Forms of Socialism

A major rift between so-called orthodox socialism and communist socialism occurred in 1875 when the German Social Democratic Party set forth its objective of winning power by taking over control of the bourgeois state, rather than by overthrowing it. In effect, the German Social Democratic Party became a parliamentary party, aiming at the assumption of political power by constitutional means.
In the 1880's a small group of intellectuals set up in England the Fabian Society, which has had a major influence on the development of modern orthodox socialism.

Fabianism stands "for the evolutionary conception of socialism . . . endeavoring by progressive reforms and the nationalization of industries, to turn the existing state into a 'welfare state.'" Somewhat on the order of the German Social Democrats, Fabians aim "at permeating the existing parties with socialistic ideas [rather] than at creating a definitely socialistic party." They appeal "to the electorate not as revolutionaries, but as constitutional reformers seeking a peaceful transformation of the system."

The differences in forms and policies of socialism occur principally in the manner in which they seek to implement their theories.
They all advocate: (1) That private ownership of the vital means of production be abolished and that all such property "pass under some form of co-ordinated public control." (2) That the power of the state be used to achieve their aims. (3) "That with a change in the control of industry will go a change in the motives which operate in the industrial system . . ." So much now for the definition of socialism.

The United Order Defined

The United Order, the Lord's program for eliminating the inequalities among men, is based upon the underlying concept that the earth and all things therein belong to the Lord, and that men hold earthly Possessions as stewards accountable to God.

On January 2, 1831, the Lord revealed to the Prophet Joseph Smith that the Church was under obligation to care for the poor. (See D&C 38.)
Later He said, I, the Lord, stretched out the heavens, and built the earth, . . . and all things therein are mine. And it is my purpose to provide for my saints, for all things are mine. But it must needs be done in mine own way. (D&C 104:14-16.)

The Lord ' s Way

On February 9, 1831, the Lord revealed to the Prophet what His way was. (See D&C 42.) In His way there were two cardinal principles: (1) consecration, and (2) stewardship.
To enter the United Order one consecrated all his possessions to the Church by a "covenant and deed which" could "not be broken." That is, he completely divested himself of all of his property by conveying it to the Church. Having thus voluntarily divested himself of title to all his property, the consecrator received from the Church a stewardship by a like conveyance. This stewardship could be more or less than his original consecration the object being to make "every man equal according to his family, according to his circumstances and his wants and needs." (D&C 51:3.)

Right to Private Ownership Preserved

This procedure preserved in every man the right to private ownership and management of his property. At his own option he could alienate it or keep and operate it and pass it on to his heirs.
The intent was, however, for him to so operate his property as to produce a living for himself and his dependents. So long as he remained in the Order he consecrated to the Church the surplus he produced above the needs and wants of his family. This surplus went into a storehouse, from which stewardships were given to others, and from which the needs of the poor were supplied.

The United Order and Socialism Compared
These divine principles are very simple and easily understood. A comparison of them with the underlying hallmarks of socialism reveal similarities and basic differences.
The following are similarities: Both (1) deal with production and distribution of goods; (2) aim to promote the well-being of men by eliminating their economic inequalities; (3) envision the elimination of the selfish motives in our private capitalistic industrial system.

Now the differences:
(1) The cornerstone of the United Order is belief in God and acceptance of Him as Lord of the earth and the author of the United Order. Socialism, wholly materialistic, is founded in the wisdom of men, and not of God. Although all socialists may not be atheists, none of them in theory or practice seek the Lord to establish His righteousness. (2) The United Order is implemented by the voluntary free-will actions of men, evidenced by a consecration of all their property to the Church of God. Socialism is implemented by external force, the power of the state. (3) As to property, in harmony with Church belief, as set forth in the D&C, "that no government can exist in peace, except such laws are framed and held inviolate as will secure to each individual the free exercise of conscience, the right and control of property" (D&C 134:2), the United Order is operated upon the principle of private ownership and individual management. Socialism is operated on the principle of collective or governmental ownership and management. Thus in both implementation and ownership and management of property, the United Order preserves to men their God-given agency, while socialism deprives them of it. (4) The United Order is non-political. Socialism is political, both in theory and in practice. It is thus exposed to, and fiddled by, the corruption which plagues and finally destroys all political governments which undertake to abridge man's agency. (5) A righteous people is a prerequisite to the United Order. Socialism argues that it as a system will eliminate the evils of the profit motive.

Socialism Is Not the United Order

The United Order exalts the poor and humbles the rich. In the process both are sanctified. The poor, released from the bondage and humiliating limitations of poverty, are enabled as free men to rise to their full potential, both temporally and spiritually. The rich, by consecration and by imparting of their surplus for the benefit of the poor, not by constraint, but willingly as an act of free will, evidence that charity for their fellow men characterized by Mormon as "the pure love of Christ." (Moro. 7:47.)

No, students, socialism is not the United Order. Distinguishing between these two systems need be no more difficult than solving the problem of the farmer who couldn't tell one of his horses from the other. They weighed the same, pulled the same load, ran at the same speed; from the looks of their teeth they were the same age. Finally, as a last resort, he measured them, and, sure enough, the white horse was six hands higher than the black one.

Socialism Wave of the Present and Future

Notwithstanding my abhorrence of it, I am persuaded that socialism is the wave of the present and of the foreseeable future. It has already taken over or is contending for control in most nations.
At the end of the year [1965] parties affiliated with the [Socialist] International were in control of the governments of Great Britain, Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Israel, and the Malagasy Republic. They had representatives in coalition cabinets in Austria, Belgium, Iceland, Italy, Luxembourg, and Switzerland; constituted the chief opposition in France, India, Japan, the Netherlands, New Zealand and West Germany; and were significant political forces in numerous other countries. Many parties dominant in governments in Africa, Asia, and Latin America announced that their aim was a socialist society. (Encyclopedia Britannica, 1965 Book of the Year, pp. 736.)

The United States Converting to Social Welfare State

We here in the United States, in converting our government into a social welfare state, have ourselves adopted much of socialism.
Specifically, we have to an alarming degree adopted the use of the power of the state in the control and distribution of the fruits of industry. We are on notice, according to the words of the President, that we are going much farther, for he is quoted as saying: We're going to take all the money we think is unnecessarily being spent and take it from the "haves" and give it to the "have nots." (Congressional Record, 1964, p. 6142-White House Speech, March 24, 1964.) That is the spirit of socialism: "We're going to take." It isn't the spirit of "We're going to give."

American Free Agency Abridged

We have also gone a long way on the road to public ownership and management of the vital means of production. In both of these areas the free agency of Americans has been greatly abridged. Some argue that we have voluntarily surrendered this power to government. Be this as it may, the fact remains that the loss of freedom with the consent of the enslaved, or even at their request, is nonetheless slavery.

The Fruits of Socialism

As to the fruits of socialism, we all have our own opinions. I myself have watched its growth in our own country and observed it in operation in many other lands. But I have yet to see or hear of its freeing the hearts of men of selfishness and greed or of its bringing peace, plenty or freedom. These things it will never bring, nor will it do away with idleness and promote "industry, thrift and self-respect," for it is founded, in theory and in practice, on the principles of the evil one.

The Fruits of the United Order

As to the fruits of the United Order, I suggest you read Moses 7:16-18 and Four - 1 Ne. 2, 3, 15, 16. If we had time we could review the history, what little we know, of Zion in the days of Enoch and about what happened among the Nephites under those principles of the United Order in the first two centuries following the time of the Savior.

What We Can Do About It

Now what can we do about it?
As I recently reminded my wife of the moratorium on the United Order, that socialism is taking over in the nations, and that its expressed aims will surely fail, she spiritedly put to me the question: "Well, then, what would you suggest, that we just sit on our hands in despair and do nothing?" Perhaps similar questions have occurred to you. The answer is, "No, by no means!" We have much to do, and the Lord has definitely prescribed the course we should follow, with respect to socialism and the United Order.

The Lord's Prescribed Course
He has told us that in preparation for the restoration of the gospel, He himself established the Constitution of the United States that there might be a government which "according to just and holy principles" would preserve to men their God-given agency. This He did because the whole Gospel of Jesus Christ presupposes man's untrammeled exercise of free agency. Man is in the earth to be tested. The issue as to whether he succeeds or fails will be determined by how he uses this agency. His whole future, through all eternity, is at stake. Abridge man's agency and the whole purpose of his mortality is thwarted. Without it, the Lord says, there is no existence. (See D&C 93:30.)

The Lord so valued our agency that He designed and dictated "the laws and constitution" required to guarantee it. This He explained in the revelation in which He instructed the Prophet Joseph Smith to appeal for help:
According to the laws and constitution of the people, which I have suffered to be established, and should be maintained for the rights and protection of all flesh, according to just and holy principles; That every man may act in doctrine and principle pertaining to futurity, according to the moral agency which I have given unto him, that every man may be accountable for his own sins in the day of judgment And for this purpose have I established the Constitution of this land, by the hands of wise men whom I raised up unto this very purpose (D&C 101:77-78, 80.)

Previously He had said:
And now, verily I say unto you concerning the laws of the land, it is my will that my people should observe to do all things whatsoever I command them. And that law of the land which is constitutional, supporting that principle of freedom in maintaining rights and privileges, belongs to all mankind, and is justifiable before me. Therefore, I, the Lord, justify you, and your brethren of my church, in befriending that law which is the constitutional law of the land; And as pertaining to law of man, whatsoever is more or less than this, cometh of evil. I, the Lord God, make you free, therefore ye are free indeed; and the law [that is, constitutional law] also maketh you free. Nevertheless, when the wicked rule the people mourn. Wherefore, honest men and wise men should be sought for diligently, and good men and wise men ye should observe to uphold; otherwise whatsoever is less than these cometh of evil. (D&C 98:4-10.)

The Constitution a Divine Document

These scriptures reveal the fact that the Constitution is a divine document. They tell us that "according to just and holy principles" "the constitution" and "the law of the land which supports the principle of freedom in maintaining rights and privileges, belongs to all mankind, and is justifiable before" God; that, "as pertaining to the law of man, whatsoever is more or less than this, cometh of evil." They remind us that the Lord has made us free, and that laws which are constitutional will also make us free.

A Warning

Right at this point, almost as if He were warning us against what is happening today, the Lord said: "Nevertheless, when the wicked rule the people mourn." Then, that we might know with certainty what we should do about it, He concluded: "Wherefore, honest men and wise men should be sought for diligently, and good men and wise men ye should observe to uphold."

Seek to Support Wise Men in Government

In its context this instruction can only mean that we should seek diligently for and support men to represent us in government who are "wise" enough to understand freedom-as provided for in the Constitution and as is implemented in the United Order-and who are honest enough and good enough to fight to preserve it.
."Under no other government in the world could the church have been established," said President J. Reuben Clark, Jr., and he continued: . . . If we are to live as a church, and progress, and have the right to worship as we are worshipping here today, we must have the great guarantees that are set up by our constitution. There is no other way in which we can secure these guarantees. (Conference Report, October 1942, p.59.)

What We Should Do About the United Order

Now, not forgetting our duty to eschew socialism and support the just and holy principles of the Constitution, as directed by the Lord, I shall conclude these remarks with a few comments concerning what we should do about the United Order.
The final words of the Lord in suspending the Order were: And let those commandments which I have given concerning Zion and her law be executed and fulfilled, after her redemption. (D&C 105:34.) Further implementation of the Order must therefore await the redemption of Zion.

Here Zion means Jackson County, Missouri. When Zion is redeemed, as it most certainly shall be, it will be redeemed under a government, and by a people, strictly observing those "just and holy principles" of the Constitution which accord to men their God-given moral agency, including the right to private property. If, in the meantime, socialism takes over in America, it will have to be displaced, if need be, by the power of God, because the United Order can never function under socialism or "the welfare state," for the good and sufficient reason that the principles upon which socialism and the United Order are conceived and operated are inimical.

Fast Offering, Tithing, Welfare Activities
In the meantime, while we await the redemption of Zion and the earth and the establishment of the United Order, we as Latter-day Saints should live strictly by the principles of the United Order insofar as they are embodied in present Church practices, such as the fast offering, tithing, and the welfare activities. Through these practices we could as individuals, if we were of a mind to, implement in our own lives all the basic principles of the United Order.

Let me give you some examples-you remember the principles underlying the United Order are consecration and stewardships, and then the contribution of surpluses into the bishop's storehouse-when the law of tithing was instituted four years after the United Order experiment was suspended, the Lord required the people to put "all their surplus property . . . into the hands of the bishop" (D&C 119:1) thereafter they were to "pay one-tenth of their interest annually" (D&C 119:4). This law, still in force, implements to a degree at least the United Order principle of stewardships, for it leaves in the hands of each person the ownership and management of the property from which he produces the needs of himself and family. Furthermore, to use again the words of President Clark: . . . in lieu of residues and surpluses which were accumulated and built up under the United Order, we, today, have our fast offerings, our welfare donations, and our tithing, all of which may be devoted to the care of the poor, as well as the carrying on of the activities and business of the Church.

Furthermore, we had under the United Order a bishop's storehouse in which were collected the materials from which to supply the needs and the wants of the poor. We have a bishop's storehouse under the Welfare Plan, used for the same purpose.
We have now under the Welfare Plan all over the church, . . . land projects . . . farmed for the benefit of the poor. Thus . . . in many of its great essentials, we have, [in] the Welfare Plan . . . the broad essentials of the United Order. Furthermore, having in mind the assistance which is being given from time to time to help set people up in business or in farming, we have a plan which is not essentially unlike that which was in the United Order when the poor were given portions from the common fund. (Conference Report, October 1942, pp. 57-58.)

It is thus apparent that when the principles of tithing and the fast are properly observed and the Welfare Plan gets fully developed and wholly into operation, "we shall not be so very far from carrying out the great fundamentals of the United Order." (Ibid.) The only limitation on you and me is within ourselves.
And now in line with these remarks, for three things I pray: (1) That the Lord will somehow quicken our understanding of the differences between socialism and the United Order and give us a vivid awareness of the awful portent of those differences. (2) That we will here at this University develop the understanding, the desire and the courage, born of the Spirit, to eschew socialism and support and sustain, in the manner revealed and as interpreted by the Lord, those just and holy principles embodied in the Constitution of the United States for the protection of all flesh, in the exercise of their God-given agency. (3) That through faithful observance of the principles of tithing, the fast and the welfare program, we will prepare ourselves to redeem Zion and ultimately live the United Order, in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.
(Elder Marion G. Romney, March 1, 1966, BYU Speeches of the Year, 1966, p.1-12)

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

A Scourge is Coming

D&C 84:54-58
54 And your minds in times past have been darkened because of unbelief, and because you have treated lightly the things you have received--
55 Which vanity and unbelief have brought the whole church under condemnation.
56 And this condemnation resteth upon the children of Zion, even all.
57 And they shall remain under this condemnation until they repent and remember the new covenant, even the Book of Mormon and the former commandments which I have given them, not only to say, but to do according to that which I have written--
58 That they may bring forth fruit meet for their Father's kingdom; otherwise there remaineth a scourge and judgment to be poured out upon the children of Zion. (emphasis added)

In the early history of the Church the saints were chastised by the Lord for not keeping the commandments and for treating the Book of Mormon lightly. A portion of Doctrine and Covenants section 84 was given to warn the saints to repent. As a result Elders Hyrum Smith and Orson Hyde were assigned to write a letter to the saints in Missouri asking them to repent and to read the Book of Mormon and obey it,

From a conference of twelve high priests, to the bishop, his council, and the inhabitants of Zion.

Orson Hyde and Hyrum Smith being appointed by the said conference, to write this epistle in obedience to the commandment, given the 22nd and 23rd of September last, which says, "But verily I say unto all those to whom the kingdom has been given, from you it must be preached unto them, that they shall repent of their former evil works, for they are to be upbraided for their evil hearts of unbelief; and your brethren in Zion, for their rebellion against you at the time I sent you."

Brother Joseph, and certain others, have written to you on this all important subject, but you have never been apprized of these things, by the united voice of a conference of those high priests that were present at the time this commandment was given.

We therefore, Orson and Hyrum, the committee appointed by said conference to write this epistle, having received the prayers of said conference that we might be enabled to write the mind and will of God upon this subject; now take up our pen to address you in the name of the conference, relying upon the arm of the great head of the church.

In the commandment above alluded to, the children of Zion were all, yea, even every one, under condemnation, and were to remain in that state until they repented and remembered the new covenant, even the Book of Mormon, and the former commandments, which the Lord had given them, not only to say but to do them, and bring forth fruit meet for the Father's kingdom; otherwise there remaineth a scourge and a judgment to be poured out upon the children of Zion: for shall the children of the kingdom pollute the holy land? I say unto you nay!
* * *
We have the best of feelings, and feelings of the greatest anxiety for the welfare of Zion: we feel more like weeping over Zion than we do like rejoicing over her, for we know the judgments of God hang over her, and will fall upon her except she repent, and purify herself before the Lord, and put away from her every foul spirit. We now say to Zion, this once, in the name of the Lord, repent! repent! awake, awake, put on thy beautiful garments, before you are made to feel the chastening rod of him, whose anger is kindled against you. Let not Satan tempt you to think we want to make you bow to us to domineer over you, for God knows this is not the case: our eyes are watered with tears, and our hearts are poured out to God in prayer for you, that he will spare you, and turn away his anger from you.
* * *
We now close our epistle by saying unto you, the Lord has commanded us to purify ourselves, to wash our hands and our feet, that he may testify to his Father, and our Father; to his God and our God, that we are clean from the blood of this generation, and before we could wash our hands and our feet, we were constrained to write this letter. Therefore, with the feelings of inexpressible anxiety for your welfare, we say again, repent, repent, or Zion must suffer, for the scourge and judgment must come upon her.

Let the bishop read this to the elders, that they may warn the members of the scourge that is coming, except they repent. Tell them to read the Book of Mormon and obey it; read the commandments that are printed, and obey them: yea, humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that peradventure he may turn away his anger form you. Tell them that they have not come up to Zion to sit down in idleness, neglecting the things of God, but they are to be diligent and faithful in obeying the new covenant.

* * *

(History of Joseph Smith. (continued.), Times and Seasons, vol. 5 (January 1844-January 1, 1845), No. 21. Nauvoo, Illinois, Nov. 15, 1844. Whole No. 105, p.720-722)

In 1986 President Ezra Taft Benson reminded the Church that the condemnation and scourge still are in effect until we use the Book of Mormon as it was intended by the Lord. Click here to read the talk.