LDS Apostle Admits the Heavens are Closed

Elder Holland uttered the stunning confession on Nov. 22, 2018 at Oxford University.

Said he:

“I, for one, would feel to walk on hot lava and chew broken glass,” he said, “if I could find a document, any document anywhere, containing any new words of Christ — 50 words, 20 words, one new word from the Son of God — let alone hundreds of pages that record the appearance, teachings, covenants and counsel he gave to a heretofore unknown audience.”

He acknowledges the Book of Mormon as true scripture, and by implication divulges remarkable insights into his belief — that today there are no “new words of Christ”. To accentuate his belief, he said he’d relish even “one new word from the Son of God” IF there was one today.

Such a hope would never be expressed by a man who was a mouthpiece for God.

Can you imagine a true prophet saying what Holland said? Imagine Moses saying, “I’d walk on lava if I could find new revelation.”

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A Movie Made by the Hand of God that Teaches the Way of Salvation

In 1946 before Satan got his iron grip and all-encompassing power over Hollywood, a movie was made that was revealed by God to a man via a dream in the 1930’s.

That man’s name was Philip Van Doren Stern. He actually wrote a 4,000-word short story based on the dream called, The Greatest Gift. He knew he had dreamed something special (I believe the dream was a divine manifestation), and tried to get his story published, but to no avail. So he then made a very fancy Christmas card and mailed it out to 200 of his closest friends and family for Christmas. As fate would have it, one of those recipients passed it along to a movie producer who no doubt was moved by the mind of God to make the movie.

The name of the movie is famous now. It’s ranked as one of the top 10 movies of all time. It’s been dubbed the number one most inspirational American film of all time!

I speak of Frank Capra’s “It’s a Wonderful Life” starring Jimmy Stewart, who claimed later that it was his most favorite movie that he ever acted in.

I believe God had a direct hand in Stern’s dream and in the making of the movie because it painstakingly teaches the clear and unmistakable path to be brought back into the presence of God. It shows how we must live to merit the ministering of angels. It demonstrates how Christ lived on earth, as Jimmy Stewart (playing George Bailey) is a type of the savior, and through the metaphor of George Bailey’s life, shows us the formula for redemption.

It also depicts a council of the Gods in heaven, who are personally and acutely aware of the life of George Bailey, and are intimately involved in his life. After watching him for years, They have deemed him worthy of saving. In this scene, the Gods are depicted as conversing with each other about how to help George.

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At the appropriate time, when George, in the depths of humility, reaches out to heaven, an angel of God condescends, in the form of a stranger, to reach out to him.

Be not forgetful to entertain strangers: for thereby some have entertained angels unawares.

Hebrews 13:2

At first George doesn’t perceive that he’s in the presence of an angel of God, but remains open to the possibility and is kind to the man, and ultimately becomes convinced and knows for himself with a perfect knowledge that God lives and that life has a divine purpose. That purpose is, as Christ himself taught and exemplified while here on earth, to lift and bless others through the medium of sacrifice.

He that findeth his life shall lose it: and he that loseth his life for my sake shall find it.

Matthew 10:39

No greater love hath a man than he that lays down his life for others. George does this literally and figuratively throughout the movie until at last the heavens are parted, the curtains opened and God sends down a heavenly messenger who converses with man through the veil.

The man’s life is changed forever through contact with heaven, and he becomes a witness for the majesty and love of God.

Now I will list, in chronological order, the sacrifices, many of which are extremely significant and courageously and lovingly Christ-like.

The movie depicts one sacrifice after another which brings George Bailey into an association with an angel.

1. George puts his life on the line to save his brother in ice water. He does save him, and gets sick and loses hearing in one of ears.

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2. Wishing for a million dollars. His personal goal from a very young age was to get wealthy. He’s shown here wishing for a million dollars, which he had been doing since a boy. As you will see, he repeatedly puts his dream of wealth on hold, and indeed sacrifices it, to serve others.

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3. He saves money for his dream trip to Europe. But his father unexpectedly dies, just as he was preparing to leave.  So he gives up his trip to Europe to serve on the board of the Building and Loan to help with the business after his father’s death.

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4. Then he plans on college. In a board room meeting, Potter motions, since he is on the board of directors, to dissolve the business. However, the board votes against Potter’s motion, in favor of saving the business provided that George becomes the executive secretary. The scene below shows George’s shock (“oh here were go again!”) at being told he was voted in as the only executive secretary the board would consider, at the very moment he was leaving town for college.

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5. So George not only sacrifices college, but takes the money that he had saved for college and gives it to his younger brother so he can go to school!

6. He works for 4 more years, waiting for his brother to graduate from college, and whom agreed to take over the business.

But his brother, Harry, marries while in college and and his father-in-law offers him a job with a promising future in another town.

So George remains as the only one who can run the family business providing home loans to people in the community. This is the scene where he learns from his sister-in-law, whom he just met unexpectedly at the train station, that his brother is now married and has been offered a job in another town.

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7. George then gets married. He didn’t really want to get married now; as he dreamed of traveling the world still. But he loves Mary and knows he must marry her.

Here he and Mary realize unmistakably they should get married while sharing a phone call with a mutual friend who’s offering them a ground floor opportunity to get in on a plastics company, which George turns down to keep running the Building and Loan.

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They then get married. Literally on the way to the train station to depart on their honeymoon, there is a panic, and run on the bank.

This scene shows the joy of groom and bride as they are in a taxi heading toward the train station to go on a long honeymoon. Mary is holding $2,000 in cash, which was almost George’s annual salary at the time. This is the moment just before the taxi driver and friend points out that there’s a flock of people running toward the bank. George is about to again make a monumental sacrifice; this time sacrificing his honeymoon for the Building and Loan and for the people, who would most assuredly have their homes foreclosed on if he was no longer in the picture running an ethical business.

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He gets out of the car with his bride, and walks through a crowd of people desperate to withdraw their shares from the apparent failing Building and Loan. It’s a dire situation. He enters the building and loan.  He stands in a back office, and glances at the wall and sees these words beneath the picture of his father, Peter.

“All you can take with you is that which you’ve given away.”

He ponders that maxim.

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8. Prompted by his wife who waves a wad of cash, he offers his money, with his wife’s blessing, as a way to satisfy the people who are panicking. He gives away all of the honeymoon money he saved for years ($2,000), save two dollars to people in the community, persuading them to not withdraw all their shares.

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He continues the business, enabling the community to blossom. People who cannot afford homes and who were living in slums or able to upgrade their homes to nice beautiful, small homes provided by the building and loan. The Martini family was one example.

As George and Mary were introducing the Martini family to their home, Sam Wainwright, an old friend appears on the scene and playfully reminds George and Mary that George turned down a ground-floor opportunity to get into plastics where he could have made millions. Sam gets in his fancy car and drives off, leaving George and Mary to get into their old car, to George’s visible disappointment, yet another reminder of the sacrifices George has made.

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9. Potter, with evil designs to buy out and therefore eliminate his main competition, the Building and Loan, offers George an equivalent of $340,000 in today’s money (annual salary) to be the business manager of Potter’s affairs. George was then making an annual $40,000 (in today’s money). So Potter offered to pay him over 8 times what he was making. George was tempted, and began imagining all the wonderful things he could buy for his wife and family, but came to his senses and boldly refused after he realized he was being tempted to do business with the devil.

He sacrificed wealth and status by turning Potter down in this scene. He had just shaken hands with Potter and was disgusted that he touched the man’s evil hands.

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10. Later, a bank examiner comes in for a routine audit, on the same day that George’s uncle lost $8,000 in cash. The uncle accidentally gave it to Mr. Potter unknowingly. Soon George goes to Mr. Potter to beg him for a loan (with his life insurance paperwork in hand as collateral, though it has only accrued $500 in equity), and covers for his uncle and courageously declares that he himself misplaced the money, thereby sacrificing his reputation and taking the consequences for his uncle, which would mean scandal and imprisonment possibly.  Potter tells George he’s worth more dead than alive, and then immediately calls the police to demand George is arrested, for a host of trumped up felonies, full well knowing George was innocent.  George leaves the office in a hurry.

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11. George contemplates suicide while standing on a high bridge. Clarence, the angel, appears, and, to save George, jumps in water, acting like he’s drowning. Again just like George did for his younger brother years ago, he jumps in willing to sacrifice his life to save the stranger in the icy water who’s calling out for help.

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The stranger matter-of-factly states he’s George’s guardian angel. George doesn’t believe initially.

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George thinks Clarence may be an angel, but still doubts. He touches Clarence to see if he’s real. Screenshot_20181207-111304.png

12. After seeing the world in which he was never born, with the world stripped of his influence for good,  and seeing that he’s without loved one and friends, and that his town has become completely carnal in nature with booze and night clubs and girly bars characterizing the town, he begs God to go back and says he doesn’t care what happens to him… yet another huge sacrifice. This gift of seeing the world without him ever being born, “The Greatest Gift”, which is the name of the original short story upon which the movie was based, changes George’s life. George is a type of Christ. If Christ had never come, we would have descended into an abyss of darkness and evil.

George finally awakens, and knows for sure that Clarence is no ordinary stranger, but an angel sent from the presence of God to save him.

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His request is granted, and he goes as a lamb to the slaughter, full well expecting to be arrested and thrown in jail.

But a miracle has happened. The whole town has been praying for George and the word spread far and wide that $8,000 was needed to save George. Everyone pitches in and more than enough money is raised. It was a heaven-sent miracle on Christmas Eve. A throng shows up at his house, bringing money and valuables as willing donations to save George Bailey from jail. He and his wife weep for joy, and the multitude breaks into singing, Hark the Angels Sing, Glory to the New Born King, as Clarence earns his wings and rejoices with other angels in heaven, and along with the Council of Gods who were overseeing the entire event from above.

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The Lectures on Faith teach the essential relationship sacrifice has to salvation, and to knowing God’s will.

It is as if this movie was produced by God’s servant Joseph Smith, who would want to teach through a motion picture, the vital importance of sacrificing to come to know God. It is through the medium of sacrifice that we come to know God.

George Bailey, acting as the Christ figure– the prototype of the saved man — portrays on the big screen the principle of sacrifice as painstakingly taught in the Lectures on Faith.

The result was that George ended up in the presence of an angel sent by God, thus connecting with heaven, and receiving a heavenly gift: personal interaction and association with a heavenly being, and receiving the sure knowledge that God is real and active in our lives.

What a wonderful message to take in during this Christmas season!

What does the “name of Christ” mean?

The fact that we LDS never use the phrase “name of the Lord” or “name of Christ” in our speech, aside from quoting scripture, perhaps reveals that we as a people don’t understand its meaning very well.

What does it mean to you?

The Scriptures make it crystal clear that we must take upon us the name of Christ to be saved! Here are a few examples:

  • 2 Nephi 25:20
  • Mosiah 3:17
  • 3 Nephi 27:5-6

Kind of an important term or phrase to understand, wouldn’t you say?

And yet, it appears there’s an epidemic of confusion on the meaning! It’s used so loosely today in the Church that there are abundant quotes by leaders indicating all Church members have taken upon them the name of Christ, and even speak in His name!

Putting aside whether we actually take Christ’s name upon us at baptism (see this other post for a detailed discussion of that topic), let’s look at what the phrase even means. Understanding this phrase’s meaning will help us understand if we do indeed take Christ’s name upon us at baptism.

I’ve studied the scriptures for many hours and weeks on this subject, specifically looking for “the name of Christ”, or some derivative, and paying heed to how it is used. Many different verbs are used with the “name of the Lord”. Here is a fairly thorough list. As you consider each phrase, what do you think “name of Christ” means?

Call upon the name

Declare thy name

Profane the name

Blaspheme the name

Put my name upon children of Israel

Publish the name

Come in the name

Build an house for my name

In Jerusalem will I put my name

Give unto the Lord the glory due unto his name

Prophesy in the name

They that know thy name will put their trust in thee

His name shall endure forever

Sanctify my name

Gather to the name

Walk in the name

Trust in the name

In thy name cast out devils

Be hated of all men for my name’s sake

Gather together in my name

Baptize in the name

Believe in his name

Believe on his name

Whatsoever you shall ask in my name, that will I do

Father will send Holy Ghost in my name

Believe ye might have life through his name

Miracles and wonderful works performed in his name

There is none other name whereby we can be saved

Teach in his name

Suffer shame for his name

Received permission of sins through his name

Paul did many things contrary to the name of Jesus

Do all in the name

Thou holdest fast my name

Have Father’s name written in foreheads

He cannot be deceived, for the Lord God is his name

Take upon you the name

Worship the Father in his name

Command in the name

Be willing to bear my name

In his own name he doth call you

Speak in the name

Profess my name

That you’re incomings may be in the name

Build a house unto me in the name

Consecrate it unto my name

Magnify my name

The emboldened ones above I think do an exceptional job of communicating the meaning. I really like “hold fast” His name, quoted in Revelation 2. How do you hold on dearly to Christ’s name? Or what do we cling to? What might John’s captors have tried to get him to forsake or disavow while in prison? How might John’s character have been tested? If name refers to God’s love, which I think it does, then God asking us to “magnify His name” is a beautiful phrase. Don’t just show a little bit of love to others. Show A LOT! Magnify His love! Same meaning would explain, “Declare His name!”

A big clue to help us understand the true meaning of “the name of Christ” is found in John 14:

13 And whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son.

14 If ye shall ask any thing in my name, I will do it.

Just ask, and God will dutifully grant your wish. Simple, right? But we know that’s not the way it works. How many times have we asked something, even with sincerity and passion, and not received what we asked for? But this statement in John 14 teaches us something very important:

Clearly, the meaning of asking things in Christ’s name points to nothing less than HAVING CHRIST’S MIND, or being in harmony, or at one with Him. If that is the meaning, then Christ’s promise makes perfect sense. Of course He will do what we ask WHEN IT’S HIS WILL!

And then there are cases where people actually DO incredible things like prophesy or cast devils out of people, or other divers “wonderful works” using Christ’s name.

Matthew 7:

22 Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works?

23 And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.

So what’s this mean? Who gets into heaven then? The mystery is solved in verse 21:

Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.

Let’s assume these people did do Christ’s will at those specific times. That could be a wrong assumption (maybe the “wonderful works” were done by some other power). But it doesn’t matter. The Lord judged them, at the end of the day, as “workers of iniquity” because their life as a whole was judged as one of iniquity. The best case evaluation of these unsaved folks is that they didn’t do the Father’s will consistently enough or perhaps they were just doing things by rote, and not really tuned into the Father’s specific will for them. They key lesson: do the Father’s will. And to do, one must know.

Connecting this lesson to our discussion about the name of Christ, we conclude that one can do things in Christ’s name, and yet not be doing the will of the Father. Perhaps the best example from their lives is that they were doing priesthood blessings, but uttering words that didn’t come from the Father, but rather, they were just their words. Thus Jesus disavows them.

There are many, many verses that deal with the name of Christ. Let’s look at a few more:

Isaiah 48:1

Hear ye this, O house of Jacob, which are called by the name of Israel, and are come forth out of the waters of Judah, which swear by the name of the Lord, and make mention of the God of Israel, but not in truth, nor in righteousness.

Do not Mormons view themselves as Israel? Yet, the Lord says that Israel can use the name of the Lord untruthfully or unrighteously. Our challenge, then, is to use it IN truth and IN righteousness!

Same chapter, Isa 48:10-11

10 Behold, I have refined thee, but not with silver; I have chosen thee in the furnace of affliction.

11 For mine own sake, even for mine own sake, will I do it: for how should my name be polluted? and I will not give my glory unto another.

Christ associates His name with glory. Indeed, “name” has some deep and rich meanings!

Similarly, in John 17, the great intercessory prayer given during Christ’s suffering in Gethsemane, Christ associates the Father’s name with love.

26 And I have declared unto them thy name, and will declare it: that the love wherewith thou hast loved me may be in them, and I in them.

I think Christ is declaring His love. He says “I have declared unto them thy name”. Strange phrase! But packed with meaning, as we are finding out. Here, definitely one of the nuances is LOVE, even perfect, divine love.

The prayer in this chapter has these insights as well:

6 I have manifested thy name unto the men which thou gavest me out of the world: thine they were, and thou gavest them me; and they have kept thy word.

How does one manifest “thy name” unto men? It makes sense if “thy name” means God’s love.

11 And now I am no more in the world, but these are in the world, and I come to thee. Holy Father, keep through thine own name those whom thou hast given me, that they may be one, as we are.

12 While I was with them in the world, I kept them in thy name: those that thou gavest me I have kept, and none of them is lost, but the son of perdition; that the scripture might be fulfilled.

In these usages as well, Christ appears to equate “name” with LOVE. And lest we forget, God’s love is so great that it’s beyond words to even describe with our words. It surpasses all understanding. 1 Cor 2:9:

9 But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.

Perhaps we take the “name of Christ” for granted, and use it too loosely and meanly in our conversations. The meaning is shaping up to refer to the great love, majesty, glory and greatness of God.

Let’s continue to look at how it’s used to see if we can gain greater insight.

2 Nephi 25:16

…and when that day shall come that they shall believe in Christ, and worship the Father in his name, with pure hearts and clean hands…

Here we are supposed to worship in his name. Love appears to be the best synonym. Associated with his name here is “pure hearts and clean hands.”
2 Nephi 27:34

But when he seeth his children, the work of my hands, in the midst of him, they shall sanctify my name, and sanctify the Holy One of Jacob, and shall fear the God of Israel.

Here His name is “sanctified”! Again, associating purity with His name.

Mosiah 26:18

Yea, blessed is this people who are willing to bear my name; for in my name shall they be called; and they are mine.

Here the word “willing” is used. At baptism we must be “willing” to take His name upon us. Same during the sacrament ordinance. Willing to do what? According to this verse, we are willing to bear his name. Then He says the reason: because “in my name” shall they be called if we are His. Bear what? His love. His glory. His mind! We thus must become like Him.

Alma 5:38

Behold, I say unto you, that the good shepherd doth call you; yea, and in his own name he doth call you, which is the name of Christ; and if ye will not hearken unto the voice of the good shepherd, to the name by which ye are called, behold, ye are not the sheep of the good shepherd.

There is great insight to be gained in this one verse. Christ is calling us. What a strange phrase: to call somebody in your name. Have you ever called somebody, but you used YOUR name? Love doesn’t work here as a synonym. Mind does. Thoughts seem to work. In his own thoughts doth he call you. That makes sense. He then connects calling you in his name with hearkening to his voice! So if we’re not good at listening and perceiving and understanding his voice, then how can we be called?! In fact, if we don’t learn this, then he flatly says, “ye are not the sheep of the good shepherd!”

Ether 2:15 indicates “calling upon the name of the Lord” refers to asking for the Lord’s thoughts!

15 And the brother of Jared repented of the evil which he had done, and did call upon the name of the Lord for his brethren who were with him. And the Lord said unto him: I will forgive thee and thy brethren of their sins; but thou shalt not sin any more, for ye shall remember that my Spirit will not always strive with man; wherefore, if ye will sin until ye are fully ripe ye shall be cut off from the presence of the Lord. And these are my thoughts upon the land which I shall give you for your inheritance; for it shall be a land choice above all other lands.

Ether 4

18 Therefore, repent all ye ends of the earth, and come unto me, and believe in my gospel, and be baptized in my name; for he that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned; and signs shall follow them that believe in my name.

19 And blessed is he that is found faithful unto my name at the last day, for he shall be lifted up to dwell in the kingdom prepared for him from the foundation of the world. And behold it is I that hath spoken it. Amen.

Here name appears to mean the thoughts and mind of God. Signs naturally will only follow those whose minds are united with God’s.

Moroni 7:26

26 And after that he came men also were saved by faith in his name; and by faith, they become the sons of God. And as surely as Christ liveth he spake these words unto our fathers, saying: Whatsoever thing ye shall ask the Father in my name, which is good, in faith believing that ye shall receive, behold, it shall be done unto you.

If we are saved by faith in his name, we must be believing in His will, His way, His path, His agenda, His guidance and voice. Thus we are continuing to uncover additional shades of meaning through context.

Now our list includes, in no particular order, the following insights about the meaning of “name of Christ”:

Name = love, glory, purity, mind, thoughts, will, way, path, agenda, and voice, as illustrated below in DC 41:1:

Hearken and hear, O ye my people, saith the Lord and your God, ye whom I delight to bless with the greatest of all blessings, ye that hear me; and ye that hear me not will I curse, that have professed my name, with the heaviest of all cursings.

Name is equated with His voice, or hearing Him! How interesting!

DC 112 warns of the vital nature of understanding what His name means:

25 And upon my house shall it [God’s vengeance] begin, and from my house shall it go forth, saith the Lord;

26 First among those among you, saith the Lord, who have professed to know my name and have not known me, and have blasphemed against me in the midst of my house, saith the Lord.

If you say you know His name, but don’t, you are guilty of blasphemy!

There are many other scriptures that confirm these nuances and meanings, which are nothing less than a fulness of these attributes of Christ’s character:

Love, glory, purity, mind, thoughts, will, way, path, agenda, voice, authority, majesty, and greatness.

With these insights in mind, consider then the literal interpretation most Mormons typically make when hearing the (incorrect) statement, “when you’re baptized, you take upon yourself the name of Christ.”

With this essay in mind, it would be gross hubris to believe somebody / anybody would take God’s love, glory, purity, mind, thoughts, will, way, path, agenda, voice, authority, majesty, or greatness upon them at baptism.

That’s why the Lord says we must be WILLING to take upon us His name at baptism and during the ordinance of sacrament.

…if ye shall follow the Son, with full purpose of heart, acting no hypocrisy and no deception before God, but with real intent, repenting of your sins, witnessing unto the Father that ye are willing to take upon you the name of Christ, by baptism…

2 Nephi 31:13

Nephi plainly teaches we witness we are willing to take upon the name of Christ. We’d all agree that we are willing to take upon us God’s love, glory, purity, mind, thoughts, will, way, path, agenda, voice, authority, majesty, or greatness. That truly is the goal of a converted Christian.

Moroni 4 plainly teaches the same thing in the ordinance for blessing the bread:

…they may eat in remembrance of the body of thy Son, and witness unto thee, O God, the Eternal Father, that they are willing to take upon them the name of thy Son…

It should be quite clear to our understanding now that, generally speaking, we do not permanently take Christ’s name upon us at baptism or when receiving the ordinance of sacrament. Perhaps some can and do take Christ’s character and mind upon them (to some degree) for a fleeting moment, but most of us, if we are honest, are trying to do such.

The charge “be ye therefore perfect” is another way of expressing “take Christ’s name upon you”! As well, it’s exactly synonymous with “receive ye the Holy Ghost”!

Moroni’s last words are a plea to take upon us the name of Christ:

Moroni 10

32 Yea, come unto Christ, and be perfected in him, and deny yourselves of all ungodliness; and if ye shall deny yourselves of all ungodliness, and love God with all your might, mind and strength, then is his grace sufficient for you, that by his grace ye may be perfect in Christ; and if by the grace of God ye are perfect in Christ, ye can in nowise deny the power of God.

33 And again, if ye by the grace of God are perfect in Christ, and deny not his power, then are ye sanctified in Christ by the grace of God, through the shedding of the blood of Christ, which is in the covenant of the Father unto the remission of your sins, that ye become holy, without spot.

Why Mormons Cherish Their “Prophet” So Much

In an act of brutal honesty, I don’t believe the 15 apostles of the LDS Church have demonstrated any evidence they are true prophets (like a Joseph or Noah or Abraham, etc.) in the form of revelations, prophecies, testimonies, or messages.  I know, I know. If you’re a TBM reading this, you’d sharply object with, “You silly, what about every General Conference talk? What about the lowering of the age of missionaries, or reducing the Sunday block from three to two hours?!”

And yet, if you use the smallest bit of critical thinking skill, you would have to concede that virtually ANY member of the Church could deliver a similar G.C. talk or announce a policy change, like minimum age for missionaries, church time duration, home teaching name change to ministering, etc. But to be truly honest, we all know those policy changes don’t remotely rise to the “Thus saith the Lord” revelation.  The G.C. talks may share an inspiring story every now and then, but we all know similar talks are given by rank-and-file members all over the world.

An apostle is one who is truly “sent” from God with a message. That’s what the Greek meaning of “apostle” is. A true apostle would have been in the presence of God or His angel(s) and sent by God by way of commandment to deliver a message to the people so that the people may have faith in Christ.

Almost all Protestants would define getting “sent by God” as having thoughts spoken to one’s mind by the Holy Spirit. And, remarkably, Mormons today almost exactly resemble the typical Protestant belief. Many Mormons today would argue that you don’t need to see angels or be in the presence of God to be a true prophet.

Here’s what the Book of Mormon says:

Moroni 7

31 And the office of their ministry is to call men unto repentance, and to fulfil and to do the work of the covenants of the Father, which he hath made unto the children of men, to prepare the way among the children of men, by declaring the word of Christ unto the chosen vessels of the Lord, that they may bear testimony of him.

32 And by so doing, the Lord God prepareth the way that the residue of men may have faith in Christ, that the Holy Ghost may have place in their hearts, according to the power thereof; and after this manner bringeth to pass the Father, the covenants which he hath made unto the children of men.

Just this last Sunday in Gospel Doctrine class, the Old Testament lesson was on Amos 3:7. The entire class time was spent with the class sharing how they were impacted by teachings of the presidents of the LDS Church (not named Joseph Smith).  None of the cited teachings were true revelations, but everyone spoke as if they were revelations.  Curiously, the “revelation” that blacks were permitted to receive the priesthood and that polygamy was reversed were quoted!   But nobody dared touch the elephant in the room that the original “revelations” to deny the priesthood to blacks or to practice polygamy were simply wrong, i.e., not legitimate.

It got me wondering….why do Mormons have almost a worshipful reverence for a their  “beloved”, living prophet?

I believe, in general, it’s because of the weakness in their relationship to the Savior that drives them to go to the feet of a Church authority for relief. The relief Mormons seek is knowledge that they are saved. They want to know they’re “good with God.”  Not sure which came first….was it the members first ordering the bar of salvation to be lowered?

Streamlining Salvation:

Lower the Bar by Hiraarshad

Or was it the institution (the apostles) lowering the bar and the members cheering on because it was easier than what the Lectures on Faith preached as true doctrine?

Either way, the undeniable fact is that the institution is now teaching a streamlined version of salvation.  In essence: the leaders of the Church are declaring, “follow what we say, we can’t lead you astray. All you have to do is stay in the mainstream of the Church and you’ll be fine!”

On the topic of what is required to be saved, one credible apostle, Bruce R. McConkie, painstakingly taught specifically how to be saved:

We don’t need to get a complex or get a feeling that you have to be perfect to be saved. You don’t… The way it operates is this: You get on the path that’s named the “straight and narrow” … The straight and narrow path leads from the gate of repentance and baptism, a very great distance, to a reward that’s called eternal life. If you’re on that path and pressing forward, and you die, you’ll never get off the path. There is no such thing as falling off the straight and narrow path in the life to come…Now is the time and the day of your salvation, so if you’re working zealously in this life – though you haven’t fully overcome the world and you haven’t done all you hoped you might do – you’re still going to be saved. You don’t have to do what Jacob said, “Go beyond the mark.” You don’t have to live a life that’s truer than true… What you have to do is stay in the mainstream of the Church and live as upright and decent people live in the Church – keeping the commandments, paying your tithing, serving in the organizations of the Church, loving the Lord, staying on the straight and narrow path. If you’re on that path when death comes – because this is the time and the day appointed, this is the probationary estate – you’ll never fall off from it, and, for all practical purposes, your calling and election is made sure.

(From an address by Bruce R. McConkie, “The Probationary Test of Mortality.”
delivered at the University of Utah January 10, 1982)

This teaching — that all you have to do is stay in the mainstream — has been wholesale adopted by the institution. This is the defacto doctrine of salvation now routinely taught in the Church. And interestingly, this heresy directly contradicts several statements found in the Lectures on Faith! One such example is in Lecture 6th, verse 8:

It is in vain for persons to fancy to themselves that they are heirs with those, or can be heirs with them, who have offered their all in sacrifice, and by this means obtained faith in God and favor with him so as to obtain eternal life, unless they in like manner offer unto him the same sacrifice, and through that offering obtain the knowledge that they are accepted of him.

The Lectures on Faith utterly rebuke McConkie’s sentiments above as “vain” to think mainstream Mormons will be joint-heirs with Christ if they don’t offer sacrifice as did those who are joint-heirs.

No wonder the apostles wanted to eliminate the Lectures from our canon! They could not ramp up the making of soothing and flattering promises to the people of the Church until the Lectures were decanonized and in the distant rear view mirror, with most members being unfamiliar with the doctrine!

The question of how to be saved is the question of the ages. Bar none, it’s the #1 priority for all religions. It is essentially the question of:

What is God like - Question of the Ages

Salvation is inextricably connected to what God is like.  Whomever God is, that is the God that will save us. He is the One who decides, though He’s bound by law. If we desire to be with God, then we be like Him by living according to Celestial Laws.

Within Christianity, these questions are answered by each respective denomination. Each denomination, and sometimes ministers within that denomination, will teach their own brand of salvation and what God is like.  The Presbyterians will have their answer, the Methodists their’s, the Baptists and Pentecostals their’s.  Each individual interested in salvation will have to decide for themselves what is correct and true, and discard what they believe is false. All that’s at stake is personal salvation.  Given the grave importance of the question, we must expect the most studied and intense pursuit of the answer to the question of how to be saved.  Thousands of books have been written on the subject.  Persecution has raged against the truth-tellers, and martyrs have died.

Everyone has an opinion about who is God or what He/She is like, and how to be saved. But at the end of the day, how do we know for sure the answer to these questions?

Lectures on Faith (Lecture Second):

Question 144: What testimony have men, in the first instance, that there is a God?

Human testimony, and human testimony only. (2:56)

Question 145: What excited the ancient saints to seek diligently after a knowledge of the glory of God, his perfections and attributes?

The credence they gave to the testimony of their fathers. (2:56)

The ultimate reason we have to believe that God exists is because somebody testified there is a God. Adam walked with God. Adam knew God because he saw Him and knew Him intimately and personally.

In contrast, I, who haven’t seen God, can say, “I know there is a God,” and that would be a true statement.  The Spirit has born witness to my soul that is truth. And yet, I don’t know Him per se. Truth be told, to this point in my life, I have relied on the testimony of those (true prophets) who have seen and met and talked with God.  Indeed, it was Joseph Smith’s testimony that truly excited me to diligently seek after God and my individual salvation.

So it follows naturally that for me to really know the truth about God, I must obtain a manifestation for myself, thereby replacing my foundation of other human testimony, albeit confirmed by the Holy Ghost, with a foundation of my personal, eyewitness testimony and experience.

Question 146: How do men obtain a knowledge of the glory of God, his perfections and attributes?

By devoting themselves to his service, through prayer and supplication incessantly, strengthening their faith in him, until like Enoch, the brother of Jared, and Moses, they obtain a manifestation of God to themselves. (2:55)

Verse 55:  “Let us here observe, that after any portion of the human family are made acquainted with the important fact that there is a God who has created and does uphold all things, the extent of their knowledge, respecting his character and glory, will depend upon their diligence and faithfulness in seeking after him, until like Enoch the brother of Jared, and Moses, they shall obtain faith in God, and power with him to behold him face to face.

In Christianity, the historical debate still rages about how we are saved, by works or by grace/faith. There’s that spectrum, with GRACE at one end, and WORKS at the other end.

Works v Grace

Where is your Church or denomination on the spectrum?  If your brand of Christianity is more works-based, then you should expect a more rigid structure and expectations of certain “works” to be saved. If you brand de-emphasizes works in favor of grace, you’re likely to be free from the tentacles of formality, which typically results in a faith with more expressions of the Spirit.

The LDS version of Mormonism has evolved to be something totally different from what Joseph Smith exemplified and taught. Nowadays it’s at the far right of the spectrum with censorship unmasked, and virtually no freedom of speech because of the culture of fear that’s been rolled out from the Salt Lake City “brethren.

Interestingly, back in Joseph’s time, Mormons would be universally viewed as the so-called charismatic Christians today, where members were prophesying and healing, and saying things as moved upon by the Holy Ghost. Today, the Holy Ghost is quenched by correlation, which is the top-down directives originating from Utah that require conformity to handbooks and manuals.

But what of the question, “How to be saved?”

The Lectures on Faith takes the mystery out of that question, and they spell out the way in a straightforward manner. The answer lies with us individually obtaining the faith by sacrifice to enter into God’s presence.

Sacrifice of All Things

No wonder that priestcraft-practicing men who lust for the praise of the world (to be revered as prophets) wanted to relegate the message of how to be saved (as explained in the Lectures on Faith) to the memory hole!

The spectrum of the Grace v. Works debate is demonstrated by the conversion of a Mormon missionary who converted to the born-again flavor of Christianity.

Last night I discovered on YouTube a 17-minute teary-eyed testimony of an ex Mormon who was not many years removed from his mission. On his mission, Elder Adam Wilder was his name, testified that he eventually became a born-again Christian after meeting with a Baptist minister who converted him and then this young man later converted his parents, one of whom was a BYU professor, and his girlfriend and at least one sibling.

His testimony, to me, appeared to be heartfelt and legitimate. He really was touched by the Savior, and the love of the Savior far surpassed the relationship he had with God that he had developed within the Church on account of teachings he had accepted as true.

He rightly condemned the teaching that we Mormons put a mediator between us and God, when the true and only required Mediator is Christ. He misrepresented Mormonism by saying it teaches that through our own works are we saved. He rightly taught that it is through the grace of Christ that we are saved, which is exactly what the BoM prophets teach. It is true that there’s a tradition in the Church to elevate works to a high level so that focus is often on our works (baptism, temple ordinances/ marriage, magnifying callings, enduring to the end, etc.) instead of seeking Christ’s grace. But that is TRADITION and not Mormon doctrine. Mormon doctrine clearly teaches that there is only one name under heaven whereby man is saved, and that it’s the merits, mercy, and grace of the holy Messiah that we are saved.

2 Nephi 2:8

8 Wherefore, how great the importance to make these things known unto the inhabitants of the earth, that they may know that there is no flesh that can dwell in the presence of God, save it be through the merits, and mercy, and grace of the Holy Messiah, who layeth down his life according to the flesh, and taketh it again by the power of the Spirit, that he may bring to pass the resurrection of the dead, being the first that should rise.

Of course, he completely ignored the BoM though it teaches even more powerfully than the Bible, as a second witness, what he now believes as a Baptist, namely that it is by the grace of Christ we are saved.

The Grace v. Works debate will continue among people who know not God. Those who come to know God through personal manifestations and visions will always be persecuted for their knowledge, leaving the unbelievers to debate freely, unconvinced of the light that has come into the world through chosen vessels.  Some of the unbelievers will lift themselves up as a light and standard (priestcraft), and attempt to gain followers by teaching a gospel that is pleasing unto the minds who want a streamlined, canned version of salvation.

This explains why Mormons so cherish their “prophet”. They want him to teach a watered-down version of salvation. Because the Lectures on Faith have been discarded, the current LDS version is such a gospel.   The LDS Church fulfills this prophecy:

And there shall also be many which shall say: Eat, drink, and be merry; nevertheless, fear God—he will justify in committing a little sin; yea, lie a little, take the advantage of one because of his words, dig a pit for thy neighbor; there is no harm in this; and do all these things, for tomorrow we die; and if it so be that we are guilty, God will beat us with a few stripes, and at last we shall be saved in the kingdom of God.

2 Nephi 28:8

Verse 8 is the doctrine Bruce R. McConkie taught in his quote shown above!

The reason why members of the Church don’t object to such carnal doctrine is because they want to hear it. And the reason they have itching ears for such heresy is because of the weakness in their relationship with Christ. If they were more like Christ, they would find such precepts repugnant, instead of embracing the heresies with comfort.

Lowering the Bar; the REAL Reason the Lectures on Faith Were Removed

In 1835 the Lectures on Faith were written, approved by Joseph Smith, and published as the doctrine of the Church. It teaches us what faith is, how to obtain it, and how to be saved. In short, there is nothing more important than this topic, as the topic of salvation encompasses the very purpose of our lives.

Admittedly, it was a high bar to boldly teach that we must actually become like Christ, and entertain a manifestation of Christ, in order to qualify for salvation. We must be willing to sacrifice all earthly things, and do as the ancients who qualified for salvation. There is no other way. Joseph set the bar high indeed!

Wolf Saying We Will See About That

But the apostles for decades had not been meeting that high bar of expectations. Circa 1921, who among the apostles testified of having a personal audience with the Lord? None. So it’s easy to imagine how insecure men in leadership positions would try to water down the doctrine so it didn’t expose them as leaders who weren’t having any divine manifestations.

By removing key salvific knowledge from the body of the Church, they could better garner respect from the members by virtue of their title and nothing else.

So in 1921, a committee of apostles, some of whom are very famous to this day, unceremoniously decanonized the Lectures on Faith without a Church vote. It was quietly done, with the hope that nobody would pay attention or object about their removal.

Lowering the Bar 2

In 1921, the apostles may have lowered the bar by removing the clarity the Lectures taught on the subject, but the members stood by and allowed it to happen. I know of no controversy resulting from the decision of the apostles to make the removal permanent. There was no mutiny be Church members, nor was there a mass exodus of outraged members for gutting the Church’s doctrine.

At that time, were the members the driving force behind the bar being lowered, or… did the apostles do it on their own, knowing there was apathy about the topic? That may not be clear, but what is self-evident today is that the general membership of the Church WANT to put their faith in a man whom they believe cannot lead them astray. It is the MEMBERS who are asking for the bar to be lowered, and the apostles are more than happy to flatter them with their false doctrines of salvation.

STATE OF THE UNION TODAY:

Lowering the Bar

What the leaders flatteringly assure, and what the members eat up is this “all is well in Zion” message: Repent and get baptized, magnify your callings, receive essential temple ordinances including a temple sealing, sustain your leaders, and endure to the end of this life in good standing in the mainstream Church, and you will be saved.

These teachings are vain and flattering, and exactly follow the popular model of the anti Christs in the Book of Mormon, whose preachings were so popular that they supported the leaders with money.

LDS members do this today. They pay the apostles and other GA’s hefty salaries, and in return they are “repaid” by the Brethren lowering the bar so that every mainstream member qualifies for salvation!

Helaman 13:27-28 says:

27 But behold, if a man shall come among you and shall say: Do this, and there is no iniquity; do that and ye shall not suffer; yea, he will say: Walk after the pride of your own hearts; yea, walk after the pride of your eyes, and do whatsoever your heart desireth—and if a man shall come among you and say this, ye will receive him, and say that he is a prophet.

28 Yea, ye will lift him up, and ye will give unto him of your substance; ye will give unto him of your gold, and of your silver, and ye will clothe him with costly apparel; and because he speaketh flattering words unto you, and he saith that all is well, then ye will not find fault with him.

The Hireling

An arrow launches from your enemy’s bow traveling towards you. You’re an innocent, young child. Your guardian stands just a few feet from you.  Your guardian has the opportunity to jump in front of the arrow to shield you. If you could choose who could be there, who would you trust more to save your life, your mom, or the hired babysitter?

In John 10, Jesus taught us the parable of the Good Shepherd. He contrasted His loving and courageous Shepherdship with those who were thieves and hirelings.

10 The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.

11 I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep.

12 But he that is an hireling, and not the shepherd, whose own the sheep are not, seeth the wolf coming, and leaveth the sheep, and fleeth: and the wolf catcheth them, and scattereth the sheep.

13 The hireling fleeth, because he is an hireling, and careth not for the sheep.

14 I am the good shepherd, and know my sheep, and am known of mine.

Jesus would lay down His life, if need be, to protect His sheep. Your mom or dad would certainly do the same thing. You would do the same as a parent for your kids. But notice what the hireling does when the wolf appears. The employee, the hireling, flees. As Jesus says in verse 13, the hireling doesn’t care about you! He’s there only for the money. He might murmur under his breath as he fled the scene, “Risking my life for you guys isn’t my job!”

Hireling

What is the wolf? Satan in all his arts, manifestations and machinations, such as false doctrines that seek to deceive and destroy and lead astray the flock. Instead of protecting the flock of sheep, the hireling flees, allowing the wolf to catch, scatter, and devour the sheep.

How can you know if you have a hireling as a leader?

If they’re paid, they’re for hire. Simple stuff.  This is another reason to never follow a man, especially a PAID “shepherd”, even a corporate employee.

If a bishop or stake president were getting paid, they’d be a hireling. But they are not getting paid. They’re part of the “lay clergy” of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  Everyone in the stakes of “Zion” that are at the stake president level or below (sans CES employees or maintenathe like), are not compensated for their service. They are legit, as far as not being “hirelings”!  They labor, ostensibly, for the love of people and the love of the Lord.

However, what about the 800-pound gorilla in the room: the Brethren and the fact they are paid? Let’s talk about the fifteen men we call “apostles.” It’s a well-known fact these men are paid a hefty salary. It’s well over six figures, and that doesn’t include their insurance, benefits, and other perks. Can you imagine if your bishop was making, let’s say, $120,000 a year?!  Let that sink in. If your bishop was getting paid over $10,000 a month to serve as your bishop, plus insurance, housing, a company credit card, and other perks, how might your views of his decisions change?

You known darn well that you would look upon his motives with some suspicion. You’d be more inclined to be critical of decisions he made. You’d probably tune in and have an opinion about any sermons he preached or messages he shared. You’d definitely wonder how he was spending his time! Was he “earning” his pay today and every day, or out on the golf course? And when he did do anything recreational, like take a vacation several times a year, this might possibly rub you the wrong way! In short, EVERYTHING would change in how you viewed your “leader.”

And naturally, the fat-cat bishop’s perspective and behavior would also be affected. He’d want to make sure that he remained popular in the eyes of the ward.  He’d be careful to not upset people. If the status quo happened to be positive, he’d labor diligently to keep it that way. He wouldn’t want any members upset and making trouble for him, lest that jeopardize his salary. He’d certainly listen to complaints made to him in private, and if he could keep the complaints from going public, he’d do his best to do that to preserve his reputation.  He might even hire a PR firm to do focus groups to keep his finger on the pulse of what was popular with the people and what was not.

But what about the apostles? Why the heck do we give them a free pass? Why don’t we view them as a paid local bishop? Is it because they’re so far away and we don’t see them at least weekly? And why wouldn’t they behave like a hireling, or just like a paid bishop would?  The answer is…of course they would! Don’t kid yourself.

And obviously, it would be in the apostles’ best interest to keep the flock from asking the hard questions, or from exposing any unflattering deeds the apostles were engaged in. One big thing the apostles would do is desperately prop up the idea in the minds of the people that they are true messengers on the Lord’s errand, even true “prophets, seers, and revelators.” Ever heard them called those holy titles? This would be the #1 deception they would work overtime to ensure was believed by the people, hook, line, and sinker. They would lobby for their authority, “as they suppose” they had, to be viewed as truth, and the reverse idea where truth came as authority, would be branded as heretical.

Next question…To whom is a hireling’s loyalty given?  Answer: the hireling’s boss!

In the case of the apostles, its the corporation. The Corporation of the President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints writes their checks (or some subsidiary of it). Their boss is literally the President of the Church. He owns EVERYTHING. In fact, he’s the only member of the corporation sole (formed in 1923. Look it up!).

So who does the hireling care about? To whom does their loyalty go? It ain’t to you!

It’s TO THE PRESIDENT!  “Follow the Prophet!”  Sing along. He won’t lead us astray. He can’t.

Follow the Prophet

Have you ever wondered why each General Conference there is a love fest with the “prophet” by the other apostles and GA’s? It’s because he’s their boss. He pays them. Kiss the ring baby!

The Brethren spend almost all of their time quoting each other and heaping adoration on the president.  It’s a narcissistic love fest. If you want to see pure priestcraft in action, tune into any General Conference and observe the frequency in which they quote each other, as if they are the only ones worthy of being quoted, and all in the absence of any “thus saith the Lord” revelations! Talk about gaslighting!

And that is exactly it. They believe that, and mean for us to think they are special and that they speak for God. They want us to believe they have the keys and the authority to dispense heavenly gifts and promises.

But alas, they are hirelings, by definition.  Can that be refuted? Their best refutation is to make sure the question is never raised. And the best way to make sure the question is never raised is to create a fearful environment where the members fear they will be excommunicated or branded as unfaithful.  Does such an environment exist. Even think of the last Q&A session you’ve had with a General Authority. All questions are pre-screened, and the answers rehearsed in advance. And most questions are “softball” questions.

If hirelings lead the sheep, we should expect when the wolves of false doctrine approach the flock, that they will not stand up and fight off the wolves. Their loyalty is not to Christ or to the Truth, but its to the corporation, and the only member of the corporation is the president. So oath-like loyalty to him is taught and practiced by the hirelings. Such an unveiled cult teaching was actually spoken recently by Elder Nelson.

“The ways of the Lord are different from the ways of man. Man’s ways remove people from office or business when they grow old or become disabled. But man’s ways are not and never will be the Lord’s ways. Our sustaining of prophets is a personal commitment that we will do our utmost to uphold their prophetic priorities. Our sustaining is an oath-like indication that we recognize their calling as a prophet to be legitimate and binding upon us.”

Russell M. Nelson in Oct 2014 General Conference

The above quote is plain evidence of cult brainwashing.

Leaders must be carefully chosen from a pool of “company men” who pay their tribute (tithing) to the corporation and sing the tune the GA’s want to hear, the tune that we are led by true “prophets, seers, and revelators.”  Over time, as “faithful” leaders are watched and observed and proved and groomed, they are “promoted” to higher positions, until they are brought into the inner circle where they get paid salary and perks, and are allowed in on the secrets of the corporation.

Satan is clever, very clever.  He has created a lay clergy at the stake and ward/branch level where everybody is unpaid, including the leaders, and gets them and the rank-and-file members and missionaries to get out in front of the hirelings at the top to promote the lay clergy idea in proselyting efforts, all while ignoring the paid clergy at the very top, even so much so that the hirelings don’t have to address this topic hardly at all.  Genius.

Philosophically and practically, one could argue that all the “non ecclesiastical” work involved in running a worldwide church (corporation in this case) would justify getting paid a stipend of some kind. Right? I mean, Even Joseph Smith had welcomed getting paid for all the administrative, time-consuming duties devolving upon him. His request was denied by the High Council, and for good reason. No doubt they worried about not just appearance or propriety, but the actual temptation to become corrupt by getting paid. They wanted to keep the labor for Zion completely pure. After all, money often corrupts.  Even though Joseph would never have taken money for acting as prophet, publishing revelations, etc., as that was a separate idea from acting as administrative president (not even of a corporation back then, but of a religious society).

At Baptism, Do We Take Christ’s Name Upon Us?

The stunning answer is, No!

So what happens then?

We in fact actually witness unto the father that we are willing to take upon Christ’s name. Being willing to do something and actually doing it are completely two different things, and yet it seems that we mindlessly conflate the two.

2 Nephi 31:13 says baptism is a means by which we witness something to the Father:

witnessing unto the Father that you are willing to take upon you the name of Christ, by baptism…”

And we’re all very familiar with the first sacramental prayer, which likewise is an opportunity to weekly witness to the Father of our willingness to receive a new name:

“and witness unto thee, O God the Eternal Father, that they are WILLING to take upon them the name of thy Son…”

Clearly, neither at baptism nor during the sacrament ordinance do we actually take upon ourselves the name of Christ. What DOES happen is that we have the privilege of witnessing to the Father that we are WILLING to take His name upon us. In essence we’re proclaiming to the Father, “We want to join Your family!”

The unfortunate reality is that the falsehood that we DO take His name upon us is routinely taught by leadership and teachers throughout the church, and rotely accepted as true.

In support of the vain and popular teaching that we do take Christ’s name upon us at baptism, there are a couple verses that I’ve found in the Book of Mormon which do indicate the name of Christ being taken at baptism (Moroni 6:3 and Mosiah 6:2). These are the only two (that I’m aware of), and there are verses (such as quoted above) which directly contradict these two verses. But I believe these two cases are interchangeable with be willing to take upon Christ’s name, and are actually a challenge to us to receive the name of Christ, much like the challenge to “Receive the Holy Ghost”. Amulek equated receiving the Holy Ghost, in Alma 34:38, with “contend[ing] no more against the Holy Ghost” and with “tak[ing] upon you the name of Christ.”

Furthermore, Moroni 6:3 could be speaking strictly about those people mentioned and not speaking generally. The Mosiah 6 reference was not even referring to baptism. Baptism is not mentioned by King Benjamin in his entire discourse (chapters 2 – 6), and in fact, helpful clarification is given in Mosiah 5:8 on this topic, where King Benjamin exhorts, AFTER stating the people who had entered into a non-baptism covenant (we don’t really know the specifics of the covenant, but can say it wasn’t the baptismal covenant as these people had already been baptized), that those covenant-makers “should take upon [them] the name of Christ.”

Here we see two things of interest:

  1. The people had presumably already been baptized previously at some time, AND
  2. They had just entered into a covenant with God that very day, as they had been spiritually born of God, becoming “children of Christ, his sons, and his daughters; for behold, this day he hath spiritually begotten you…” (Mosiah 5:7)

Meaning, that despite TWO covenants having been made, including being “born again”, King Benjamin STILL admonishes them in verse 8 to “take upon [them] the name of Christ!”

Incorrectly teaching that we do automatically take Christ’s name upon us at baptism is a horrible disservice to us members because it instills complacency by planting the false idea that “All is well in Zion” and that we have “arrived”, and all we have to do now is just endure to the “end”, blindly thinking without basis that the goal (“the end”) means “till death”.

To help illustrate, let’s consider an analogy:

The best way to understand what ‘taking Christ’s name upon ourselves’ means is to think of being adopted into a family. If a family were to adopt you, you would expect to take their family name upon you, right?

Step #1 is to be willing to be adopted and receive a new name.

Step #2 would be the actual, legal adoption where you receive a new name and are thus formally and legally adopted.

2 Steps of Adoption v.2

We can liken the willingness to receive a new name (i.e., get adopted) to two routine ordinances in the Church.

In the ordinances of baptism and the sacrament, there is something about the “taking of a name.” But notice it’s not the actual taking of the name. The Scriptures mention only a WILLINGNESS to take the name of Christ. The scriptures therefore indicate these ordinances are a preliminary step in the direction of actual name-taking. Step #2 would be a future event, contingent upon our 1) being proved by God and 2) the “good pleasure of His will.”

With this new understanding, there is less mystery surrounding the scripture language of being adopted as a “begotten son or daughter” of Christ and therefore becoming a “joint-heir” with Christ in the “House of God” the Father.

Lots of scriptures suddenly have plain meaning:

Biblical research has proven that the Father said this to Christ as His baptism (this is one of the plain and precious truths stripped from the Bible):

I will declare the decree: the Lord hath said unto me, Thou art my Son; this day have I begotten thee.

Psalms 2:7

Even Christ Himself was declared to become the Father’s “begotten” by the voice of God at 30 years of age no less.

This proclamation of the Father was removed because it proves that Christ too was adopted by the Father.

When we are baptized, or when we take sacrament, we are not actually taking Christ’s name. I.e., no adoption is taking place. But something significant does occur. We witness to the Father of our intent, that we WANT and SEEK, that “we are willing” to take Christ’s name upon us. Those ordinances are a way for us to witness to the Father. But until God proves us till He is satisfied, the formal adoption remains a yet-future event.

Imagine asking an orphan if he is willing to be adopted into a new family and to receive a new name.

“Are you willing to join this family and take upon you their name?”

The willing child replies, “YES!”

It is the Father’s and Son’s desire to adopt us, to take us in, and not leave us as foreigners to His family.

Chris says so in John 14:18:

I will not leave you orphans: I will come to you.

The translators of the KJV, in an apparent other attempt to cover-up the idea that Christ wants to adopt us, used the word “comfortless” instead of the direct translation of the Greek word, “orphans”.

Looking at our adoption metaphor, obviously the adoption is never consummated or made legal and official just because the child expresses his or her willingness to be adopted.

There must be a formal and legal adoption ceremony in which God certifies you have been sealed His.

Until God certifies we are stuck in Step 1 above, in the stage of “being willing.”

Adoption Certificate

The above picture of an adoption certificate is an example of what some churches actually hand out to their members upon completion of some rite. Their minister congratulates them on the feat. Likewise, many Protestants memorize the day they were saved, and quote the date “I was saved.” Many if not most Mormons do the same thing by assuming that the reception of certain ordinances guarantees salvation.

But that’s not true.

The real thing is when Christ, the Holy Spirit of Promise, seals you His and gives you a new name and you thereby are adopted into the Father’s family.

This is what it means to become a joint-heir with Christ. This is when we actually take upon ourselves the name of Christ; and even receive a new name. Jacob was named Israel.

Romans 8 says:

“And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together.”

How do we suffer with Him?

Interestingly, King Benjamin talks about the opposite of the natural man in Mosiah 3:19. In that famous verse his use of the word “child” and “father” brings to mind our hoped-for relationship as a “begotten son or daughter of God”:

To qualify for adoption, we must…

“…become as a child, submissive, meek, humble, patient, full of love, willing to submit to all things which the Lord seeth fit to inflict upon him, even as a child doth submit to his father.”

I testify of this truth, spoken by King Benjamin,

“that there shall be no other name given nor any other way nor means whereby salvation can come unto the children of men, only in and through the name of Christ, the Lord Omnipotent.”

I hope that I can prepare to receive Christ’s name, that He will certify me as part of His family in the Book of Life, and grant me residence in His holy city, because this scripture says that having Christ’s name is the only name and way and means whereby salvation comes. We must receive His name. We must be born again, and be adopted by Him, thus becoming begotten sons and daughters of Christ, thus Christ becoming our “Father”, which is why He is known as both the Son and the Father.

The Lord in Revelation 3:12 describes what happens very clearly:

Him that overcometh will I make a pillar in the temple of my God, and he shall go no more out: and I will write upon him the name of my God, and the name of the city of my God, which is new Jerusalem, which cometh down out of heaven from my God: and I will write upon him my new name.

Is there a more effective way to communicate that we are a permanent “fixture”, if you will, in the house of God, than to say we shall be made a “pillar in the temple of …God”? If we overcome, we receive three names: the name of God, the name of our new residence, and a new name, given by God Himself. All of this is what we would expect to happen when we are adopted into a new family. We receive God’s surname that denotes we’re part of His family, a new first name, and we are given the name of the residence in which we will reside with other family members.

Don’t Save the One!

Over the last several years, there has been a steady stream of good, faithful members leaving the Church or being cast out. The Church may in fact have a NEGATIVE growth rate now, with the leadership in full-blown panic mode.

Such casting out was prophesied in the Book of Mormon on multiple occasions (and I’ll handle that in a separate post), but why would the main body want to cast out their “own”?

First, it’s not the “main body” of the saints doing the persecution; it’s the leadership. Prideful leadership hate members who expose their evil actions or teachings which depart from the Gospel. They believe “authority” means it’s their right to control others. So they cast out those they can’t control, being left ultimately with compliant Sheeple.

Interestingly, these gentile members are not welcome once they are known as people who are intent on following Christ. They often mention they are now worshipping Christ, instead of idolizing or “following the prophet”. As seen below, they are willing to leave the “safety” of the boat as they follow the voice of the Good Shepherd.

Good Ship Zion Unbelieving Gentiles

Normally, when a member begins to “go astray”, there’s an effort to reclaim them. The parable of the Ninety and Nine comes to mind. It’s been reported that top leadership, even President Nelson, in private settings with local leaders has instructed them to NOT go after “the one” (who strays from mainstream thought), because that one member may influence others in the group to consider the LDS gentile apostasy, as prophesied clearly in the Scriptures. The leadership doesn’t want members connecting the dots, so these members “coming unto Christ”, are shunned and branded as “apostate”.

Who would have thought that diligent seeking after Christ, and an attempt at real faith and belief in Christ (as Peter boldly attempted by initially walking on the water), is reason for being cast out and shunned by the leadership of the supposed Church of Christ!

And, how ironic in view of the Parable of the Ninety and Nine! The chilling “twist” to that parable very well could be that the ONLY one saved out of the 100 sheep is the one who was found by the Savior.

In Luke 15, the Pharisees were murmuring against Christ because, they said, “This man receiveth sinners, and eateth with them.”

To which Christ addressed a parable to them, referring to the Pharisees as the 99 sheep who weren’t “lost” and had no “need” of repentance.

Luke 15:

What man of you, having an hundred sheep, if he lose one of them, doth not leave the ninety and nine in the wilderness, and go after that which is lost, until he find it?

And when he hath found it, he layeth it on his shoulders, rejoicing.

And when he cometh home, he calleth together his friends and neighbours, saying unto them, Rejoice with me; for I have found my sheep which was lost.

I say unto you, that likewise joy shall be in heaven over one sinner that repenteth, more than over ninety and nine just persons, which need no repentance.

As was frequently the case, this parable probably went right over the prideful heads of the Pharisees. But does it go over our heads too?

Do we think we are safely in the fold if we’re active in the Church, possess a temple recommend, etc.? Do we think the one sheep who’s gone astray and lost in the wilderness are the less-actives?

Jesus says He rejoiced in the repentant sinner — the lost sheep. And He added, almost facetiously it seems, that “the ninety and nine persons…need no repentance.”

If we’re not careful, we may think of ourselves as the 99 who need no repentance. Of course, all of us have gone astray, and all of us need repentance, but it’s the prideful ones who remove themselves from the “need to repent” category. That is a lie. There is no such category!

The point I wish to make here is that modern Church leaders, like the Pharisees who heard the Parable of the Ninety and Nine, look at the “lost sheep”, believing Gentiles seeking after Christ (as Peter approaches Christ on the water) as vile sinners who’ve broken their covenants. Whereas, the parable excoriates them!

As the picture above shows, the lost sheep is looking at the Savior to save him, to rescue him. He’s truly repentant, nigh unto death, with the vultures circling above, and that poor sheep longingly faces Jesus, crying out to Him for salvation. Hosanna!

The same parable is shared in Matthew 15, with some additional insights we can glean. In context of the parable, Jesus teaches:

3 Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven.

So we can infer that one lost sheep had become as a little child.

Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven.

What a reward for true humility, and turning to face God like that sheep in the painting above!

Then, to introduce the parable, Jesus says this:

11 For the Son of man is come to save that which was lost.

He then gives the parable, illustrating whom He has come to save.

Who gets saved? The one?

What about the ninety and nine? They THINK they are saved already.  Going back to Luke 15, the Pharisees didn’t perceive a need to repent and turn to God, because they believed they were in good standing with God.  Their religion taught them this.

 

Joseph Thrown Under the Bus

“The ends of the earth shall inquire after thy name, and fools shall have thee in derision, and hell shall rage against thee;

“While the pure in heart, and the wise, and the noble, and the virtuous, shall seek counsel, and authority, and blessings constantly from under thy hand.”

DC 122:1-2

Church Throws Joseph Under Bus

Who would ever have thought that the Church which Joseph founded would actually become fools having Joseph in derision!?

The reason the Church has to throw Joseph Smith under the bus, the reason the Church cannot side with Joseph Smith and cannot disavow he was a polygamist or a polyandrist is that if they did admit he was innocent and virtuous, that means Brigham Young’s purity would be called into question. Because polygamy would then have originated with Brigham! Any admission that Joseph firmly disavowed this practice would impugn the good name of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

If Joseph had just one wife till his martyrdom, then Brigham Young would be known as the founder of polygamy. He would be exposed as the charlatan and a libidinous sex fiend, instead of the rugged leader who settled the West. Brigham would have been synonymous with the origins of polygamy. What would have been clear for all the world to see was that apostasy occurred AFTER Joseph died.

And in fact, as an investigative historian, if you were to draw a line at June 27, 1844 (the day Joseph died), and only allow quotes as evidence in support of Joseph practicing polygamy PREVIOUS to his death, you would have no evidence. ALL the so-called proof of Joseph’s polygamy is dated AFTER his death with most quotes dated decades after his death, which word contrived to justify the sins of Brigham Young.

So the Church, at all costs, even and especially now has to hold Joseph’s name in derision in order to save its claim to Apostolic Authority. Because IF apostasy did start with Brigham Young, then of course, the Church’s claim to authority would be in jeopardy.

It’s a delicate situation for the Church. It has to testify Joseph was a true prophet, but that he was secretly practicing polygamy and polyandry (as they declare he married another man’s wife, while the other husband was away). What a line the Church must walk; it has to not draw attention to the supposed unflattering things of Joseph, but if confronted and asked if Joseph secretly practiced polygamy, it must quietly make the unsavory confession, thus “having Joseph in derision”!

The Church cannot yield their position that God commanded polygamy (starting with Joseph), and continued it officially until 1890, because to say the practice originated with Brigham would condemn the Church’s frail claim to apostolic authority.

Unwritten Church Policy Invites Pedophiles Into Leadership

In light of the concerns Sam Young has raised in the last several weeks, something just occurred to me. I’ve put two and two together.

  1. There are pedophiles in the Church. They seek out children. Hopefully their numbers are few.
  2. The Church only calls YES-MEN to positions of leadership. If you’re not a “company man”, you will not be called to serve as a bishop or stake president.

What is a “company man”? Somebody who’s active, pays tithing (and a lot of it, relative to others in his local area), who follows their leader, and is PROVED over years to be obedient to the leadership and never buck the Brethren or the sacred Handbook.

Putting the two bits of knowledge together has caused me to discover a terrible insight, and that is that sick pedophiles ALSO know how the Church does things. It’s not like I’m some genius.

They know that “company men” are called to be bishops. So, if they want to have the opportunity to molest children, they need to patiently execute a long-range plan of impressing their leaders, serving in the Church, and paying a generous tithing.  Nominal understanding of the scriptures is required.

Pedophiles are attracted to service in the Catholic Church because they know the perverse pleasure they will get once they get their priesthood. Mormons are different in that we can’t and don’t choose our calling, but rather we “are called.”

But if you know what the stake presidents are looking for, then you can assuredly get your payoff between the age of 30-45 years-old. And what is worse, pedophiles know they are guaranteed FIVE years to carte blanche prey on innocent children, because the Church, in a most bizarre tradition, will never release a bishop before the five years is up, unless of course, he starts bucking the leadership. Insubordination to your leader is how you get blacklisted. But an obsequious attitude toward your priesthood leader will put you on the shortlist of “promotable future leaders”.

If humble, meek followers of Christ who know the Scriptures, who are servants to their fellowmen, who aren’t filled with such vanity as to aspire to the honors of men as to put obedience to man over Christ — if this type were called exclusively as leaders, then the pedophile and child abuse problem would be minimized.

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And, as a reminder, Sam Young will likely be excommunicated three days from now, on Sept 9, 2018, for in part, exposing pedophilia and child abuse in the Church.