Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Live By Every Word (part five)

In the School of The Prophets taught in Kirtland, Theology was considered a science (see Lectures on Faith, lecture one, the first question and answer at the end of the lecture).  In the preceding discussions on Living By Every Word the Lord is revealing the science of how things work in our world. 

In my opinion, one of the most important revelations on the nature of man and his potential is D&C 93. 

In this revelation the Savior is presented as a perfect model of the Father. 

D&C  93:3-5
 3 And that I am in the Father, and the Father in me, and the Father and I are one--
 4 The Father because he gave me of his fulness, and the Son because I was in the world and made flesh my tabernacle, and dwelt among the sons of men.
 5 I was in the world and received of my Father, and the works of him were plainly manifest.

The Savior is presented as being in the beginning before the world was. 

D&C  93:7-8
 7 And he bore record, saying: I saw his glory, that he was in the beginning, before the world was;
 8 Therefore, in the beginning the Word was, for he was the Word, even the messenger of salvation--

Now we are told that Christ was the light and the Spirit of truth. That Spirit of truth came and dwelt in the flesh among men.

D&C  93:9-11
 9 The light and the Redeemer of the world; the Spirit of truth, who came into the world, because the world was made by him, and in him was the life of men and the light of men.
 10 The worlds were made by him; men were made by him; all things were made by him, and through him, and of him.
 11 And I, John, bear record that I beheld his glory, as the glory of the Only Begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth, even the Spirit of truth, which came and dwelt in the flesh, and dwelt among us.

Christ came through the veil and had to grow from grace to grace until he obtained the fullness of the Father.

D&C  93:12-14
 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;
 14 And thus he was called the Son of God, because he received not of the fulness at the first.

The fullness is explained as being the fullness of the glory of the Father and all power both in heaven and on earth.

D&C  93:16-17
 16 And I, John, bear record that he received a fulness of the glory of the Father; 17 And he received all power, both in heaven and on earth, and the glory of the Father was with him, for he dwelt in him.

Now this revelation takes an important turn.  The focused is changed from being on the Savior to being focused on us, God's children here on earth.  It must be remembered when this revelation was given the doctrine of pre-earth life for man had not been clearly taught in the Church at this point in it's history. 

D&C  93:18-19
 18 And it shall come to pass, that if you are faithful you shall receive the fulness of the record of John.
 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 fullness.

So the whole purpose of this revelation is to help us understand how to worship and to know what we worship.  So far we know we are worshiping a God who sent his Son to be a perfect model of the Father.  We now know how to worship.  That worship involves following the Son to receive a fullness of the Father. 

The problem with that concept is that the early saints had no idea about their pre-earth life and their nature in that pre-earth life.  Of course this revelation will now address those concerns.

D&C  93:20-23
 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. 21 And now, verily I say unto you, I was in the beginning with the Father, and am the Firstborn;
 22 And all those who are begotten through me are partakers of the glory of the same, and are the church of the Firstborn.
 23 Ye were also in the beginning with the Father; that which is Spirit, even the Spirit of truth;

What an earth shattering revelation.  Man did not begin at birth but was in the beginning with the Father just as the Savior was.  And just like the Savior, man was the Spirit of truth.  Therefore, any objections that man might have as to why he could not be like the Savior is wiped away with this revelation.  Even to the point where man can become a Firstborn by being born again by being begotten through the Savior and become partakers of the church of the Firstborn. 

This revelation now explains that man has the capacity to receive all truth and to be glorified in truth and know all things.  Also, not only was man the Spirit of truth but he was the light of truth.  The revelation continues - the intelligence or the light of truth is uncreated.  Therefore, there is an eternal nature of man. 

D&C  93:28-29
 28 He that keepeth his commandments receiveth truth and light, until he is glorified in truth and knoweth all things.
 29 Man was also in the beginning with God. Intelligence, or the light of truth, was not created or made, neither indeed can be.

This revelation is one of the most powerful expositions on the nature of man that exists.  It paves the way for man to see himself in a new light with greater beginnings and a magnificent end.  These are some of the doctrines that should distill upon our souls as the dews of heaven. 

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Live By Every Word (part four)

I want to write some about the Liahona as a type of the Light of Christ.
The qualities of the Liahona are given as such:
1 Ne  16:10
 10 And it came to pass that as my father arose in the morning, and went forth to the tent door, to his great astonishment he beheld upon the ground a round ball of curious workmanship; and it was of fine brass. And within the ball were two spindles; and the one pointed the way whither we should go into the wilderness.
1 Ne  16:26-29
 26 And it came to pass that the voice of the Lord said unto him: Look upon the ball, and behold the things which are written.
 27 And it came to pass that when my father beheld the things which were written upon the ball, he did fear and tremble exceedingly, and also my brethren and the sons of Ishmael and our wives.
 28 And it came to pass that I, Nephi, beheld the pointers which were in the ball, that they did work according to the faith and diligence and heed which we did give unto them.
 29 And there was also written upon them a new writing, which was plain to be read, which did give us understanding concerning the ways of the Lord; and it was written and changed from time to time, according to the faith and diligence which we gave unto it. And thus we see that by small means the Lord can bring about great things.
  1. It was a round ball
  2. It was made of brass
  3. Inside the ball was two spindles
  4. one spindle pointed the way to go into the wilderness
  5. There was writing on the ball
  6. The pointers worked according to faith and the diligence they gave in following its direction
  7. The pointers also had writing on them which changed from time to time
  8. The writing changed also according to the faith and diligence given to their instructions
  9. The whole process was considered "small means"
  10. Great things can come from following the information that came from the ball
Latter in the Book of Mormon Alma gives us the name of this ball and gives further information about it:
Alma  37:38-47
 38 And now, my son, I have somewhat to say concerning the thing which our fathers call a ball, or director--or our fathers called it Liahona, which is, being interpreted, a compass; and the Lord prepared it.
 39 And behold, there cannot any man work after the manner of so curious a workmanship. And behold, it was prepared to show unto our fathers the course which they should travel in the wilderness.
 40 And it did work for them according to their faith in God; therefore, if they had faith to believe that God could cause that those spindles should point the way they should go, behold, it was done; therefore they had this miracle, and also many other miracles wrought by the power of God, day by day.
 41 Nevertheless, because those miracles were worked by small means it did show unto them marvelous works. They were slothful, and forgot to exercise their faith and diligence and then those marvelous works ceased, and they did not progress in their journey;
 42 Therefore, they tarried in the wilderness, or did not travel a direct course, and were afflicted with hunger and thirst, because of their transgressions.
 43 And now, my son, I would that ye should understand that these things are not without a shadow; for as our fathers were slothful to give heed to this compass (now these things were temporal) they did not prosper; even so it is with things which are spiritual.
 44 For behold, it is as easy to give heed to the word of Christ, which will point to you a straight course to eternal bliss, as it was for our fathers to give heed to this compass, which would point unto them a straight course to the promised land.
 45 And now I say, is there not a type in this thing? For just as surely as this director did bring our fathers, by following its course, to the promised land, shall the words of Christ, if we follow their course, carry us beyond this vale of sorrow into a far better land of promise.
 46 O my son, do not let us be slothful because of the easiness of the way; for so was it with our fathers; for so was it prepared for them, that if they would look they might live; even so it is with us. The way is prepared, and if we will look we may live forever.
 47 And now, my son, see that ye take care of these sacred things, yea, see that ye look to God and live. Go unto this people and declare the word, and be sober. My son, farewell.
Just as the Liahona was designed to aid Lehi and his followers to the land of promise, which was a type of entering into the Celestial Kingdom, the light of Christ/words of Christ are designed to lead us into the real Celestial Kingdom.  The only thing it took to get the Liahona to work was to believe that it would point the way and it was done.  All we have to do is believe that the light of Christ will direct us and it will be done.  The problem with this process is that it is deceptively simple and easy.  Therefore, Lehi/Nephi treated it lightly and forgot to use it, therefore they did not progress as they should and wandered longer than they should have and went through more afflictions than they needed to.  Also, notice that when they were paying attention to the Liahona they had miracles daily.  So also, when we follow the light of Christ that is in us, we were meant to have miracles daily.  When they forgot to pay attention to the Liahona the miracles stopped.  The same thing will happen in our own lives when we take the light of Christ for granted and get sloppy in following it's directions. 
Alma point out that it was easy to work just as is the words of Christ/light of Christ.  Great things will come out of following the light of Christ.  The pattern of the Lord is that our of small things will proceed that which is great.  (D&C 64:33)
In creating the Liahona the Lord, in a sense, was reaching inside of each one of us and made a visual model of the Light of Christ so that we could see and know how it works.  Then He allows us to watch Lehi and his followers and their successes and failures with the Liahona so that we will learn from them. 
Remember what Nephi told us about his journey:
1 Ne  1:20
 20 And when the Jews heard these things they were angry with him; yea, even as with the prophets of old, whom they had cast out, and stoned, and slain; and they also sought his life, that they might take it away. But behold, I, Nephi, will show unto you that the tender mercies of the Lord are over all those whom he hath chosen, because of their faith, to make them mighty even unto the power of deliverance.
These stories are designed to be an example for us as to how the Lord will make us mighty unto the power of deliverance if we use them correctly and derive the correct lessons from them.

Monday, January 7, 2013

Live By Every Word (part three)

More on revelation and how it works, in the Doctrine and Covenants the Lord explains the process. Here are two very important verses to help us to understand the importance of keeping the commandments and living by every word that comes from God:

 D&C  130:18-19
 18 Whatever principle of intelligence we attain unto in this life, it will rise with us in the resurrection.
 19 And if a person gains more knowledge and intelligence in this life through his diligence and obedience than another, he will have so much the advantage in the world to come.


D&C  93:36
 36 The glory of God is intelligence, or, in other words, light and truth.

And again,

D&C  84:44-46
 44 For you shall live by every word that proceedeth forth from the mouth of God.
 45 For the word of the Lord is truth, and whatsoever is truth is light, and whatsoever is light is Spirit, even the Spirit of Jesus Christ.
 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.

 These are very important principles to help us understand the "physics" of the Spirit and revelation. 

It appears that everything that God reveals to us has light attached to it or associated with it.  When the Spirit prompts us and we follow that prompting we will end up with more light.  Studying the scriptures with the Spirit will bring greater light into us.  At this time the light is hidden and not detected because of the gross nature of our physical telestial bodies.  Nevertheless, it is there and as long as we are in harmony with the laws of God our spirits and bodies will hold onto and retain this light.  In the end our glory becomes whatever degree of light and truth we allowed into our systems and will rise with us in the resurrection.  Every commandment we keep, every prompting of the Spirit we obey will bring us greater light and truth and glory in the resurrection. 

Pay close attention to these instructions of the Lord:

 D&C  93:23-37
 23 Ye were also in the beginning with the Father; that which is Spirit, even the Spirit of truth;
 24 And truth is knowledge of things as they are, and as they were, and as they are to come;
 25 And whatsoever is more or less than this is the spirit of that wicked one who was a liar from the beginning.
 26 The Spirit of truth is of God. I am the Spirit of truth, and John bore record of me, saying: He received a fulness of truth, yea, even of all truth;
 27 And no man receiveth a fulness unless he keepeth his commandments.
 28 He that keepeth his commandments receiveth truth and light, until he is glorified in truth and knoweth all things.
 29 Man was also in the beginning with God. Intelligence, or the light of truth, was not created or made, neither indeed can be.
 30 All truth is independent in that sphere in which God has placed it, to act for itself, as all intelligence also; otherwise there is no existence.
 31 Behold, here is the agency of man, and here is the condemnation of man; because that which was from the beginning (light and truth) is plainly manifest unto them, and they receive not the light.
 32 And every man whose spirit receiveth not the light is under condemnation.
 33 For man is spirit. The elements are eternal, and spirit and element, inseparably connected, receive a fulness of joy;
 34 And when separated, man cannot receive a fulness of joy.
 35 The elements are the tabernacle of God; yea, man is the tabernacle of God, even temples; and whatsoever temple is defiled, God shall destroy that temple.
 36 The glory of God is intelligence, or, in other words, light and truth.
 37 Light and truth forsake that evil one.

So, we have been taught by the Lord that we were in the beginning and we are the Spirit of Truth and the Light of Truth.  Therefore, we are capable of receiving light and truth until we have received it in full.  That then becomes our glory in the resurrection.  Keeping the commandments puts us in some kind of harmony or resonance with light and truth therefore we hold onto it and retain it.  Sin causes a loss of light as well as rejecting light when it is offered to you by way of prompting, revelations, commandments, etc. 

D&C  93:39
 39 And that wicked one cometh and taketh away light and truth, through disobedience, from the children of men, and because of the tradition of their fathers.

Therefore, we lose light by disobedience and by accepting false doctrine and false traditions.  That is why Satan is so interested in corrupting the education system and true history.  That we he can keep even good people from accepting light and truth by corrupting the system that delivers truth. 

Notice verses 31 and 32 above.  When men do not receive the light it becomes their condemnation. 

Even treating truth lightly brings darkness to our minds which becomes our condemnation because we have lost the light that goes with it, as the Lord pointed out in these next verses:

D&C  84:54-57
 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--

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Live By Every Word (part two)

One of the most important revelations given on the spirit of revelation was given to Hyrum Smith (D&C 11).  It is very important to note that the Lord teaches at the end of that revelation, "Behold, I speak unto all who have good desires, and have thrust in their sicle to reap." (D&C 11:27)
Because we were also in the beginning the "Spirit of Truth" (D&C 93:23) and from the beginning (pre-earth life) so much of what the Lord has said unto one He can say to all.  Why?  Because we all came her for the same purposes - to cast out Satan and to help the Lord turn the earth into a Celestial Kingdom (D&C 88:17-20).  Yes, each one of us is different and we all have different talents and ways to use those talents, however, at the same time our ultimate goal is the same. 
Notice that Hyrum is told to put his trust in "That Spirit."
D&C  11:12-15
 12 And now, verily, verily, I say unto thee, put your trust in that Spirit which leadeth to do good--yea, to do justly, to walk humbly, to judge righteously; and this is my Spirit.
 13 Verily, verily, I say unto you, I will impart unto you of my Spirit, which shall enlighten your mind, which shall fill your soul with joy;
 14 And then shall ye know, or by this shall you know, all things whatsoever you desire of me, which are pertaining unto things of righteousness, in faith believing in me that you shall receive.
The reason that the Lord has to tell him to trust that Spirit is because everyone gets those feeling to do good, to do justly, to walk humbly and to judge righteously but they do not trust it and therefore they do not act upon that Spirit.  Here the Lord identifies "That Spirit" by saying, "THIS IS MY SPIRIT."
The Lord explains as in D&C 8:2 that this Spirit communicates to your mind and your soul/heart.  By using this Spirit the Lord can reveal "all things . . . pertaining unto things of righteousness." 
Elder Heber C. Kimball made his calling and election sure by trusting in this Spirit and writing down what this Spirit told him to write,
"My family having been gone about two months, during which time I heard nothing from them; our brethren being in prison; death and destruction following us everywhere we went; I felt very sorrowful and lonely. The following words came to my mind, and the Spirit said unto me, 'write,' which I did by taking a piece of paper and writing on my knee as follows: 
"FAR WEST, April 6th, 1839. 

"A word from the Spirit of the Lord to my servant, Heber C. Kimball: 
"Verily I say unto my servant Heber, thou art my son, in whom I am well pleased; for thou art careful to hearken to my words, and not transgress my law, nor rebel against my servant Joseph Smith, for thou hast a respect to the words of mine anointed, even from the least to the greatest of them; therefore thy name is written in heaven, no more to be blotted out for ever, because of these things; and this Spirit and blessing shall rest down upon thy posterity for ever and ever; for they shall be called after thy name, for thou shalt have many more sons and daughters, for thy seed shall be as numerous as the sands upon the sea shore; therefore, my servant Heber, be faithful, go forth in my name and I will go with you, and be on your right hand and on your left and my angels shall go before you and raise you up when you are cast down and afflicted; remember that I am always with you, even to the end, therefore be of good cheer, my son, and my spirit shall be in your heart to teach you the peaceable things of the kingdom. Trouble not thyself about thy family, for they are in my hands; I will feed them and clothe them and make unto them friends; they never shall want for food nor raiment, houses nor lands, fathers nor mothers; brothers nor sisters; and peace shall rest upon them forever; if thou wilt be faithful and go forth and preach my gospel to the nations of the earth; for thou shalt be blessed in this thing: thy tongue shall be unloosed to such a degree that has not entered into thy heart as yet, and the children of men shall believe thy words, and flock to the water, even as they did to my servant John; for thou shalt be great in winning souls to me, for this is thy gift and calling; and there shall be no gift withheld from thee, if thou art faithful. Therefore, be faithful, and I will give thee favor in the eyes of the people; be humble and kind and you shall obtain kindness; be merciful and you shall obtain mercy; and I will be with you even unto the end. Amen." 
   (Orson F. Whitney, Life of Heber C. Kimball, p.241-242) (emphasis added)
This revelation came to him on one of the worst days of his life.  Joseph Smith was in Liberty Jail, Brigham Young was in Illinois trying to get the saints settled there because they were being driven out of Missouri.  It was Heber C. Kimball's responsibilty to get the rest of the saints out of Missouri.  It was cold the weather was bad and he had not seen nor heard from his family for over two months.  He had put them in a wagon and sent them out of Missouri with no place to go.  He had no idea if they were alive, had a roof over their heads, or had clothing or health, etc.  It was under these circumstances that this Spirit spoke to him. 
I ask, what if he had not trusted that Spirit and did not write down what it said?  How often does this happen to many of this world who do not trust that Spirit, what great blessings are they missing?
These are important revelations to help guide us through our foreordained missions.