Wednesday, June 28, 2017

As They Suppose

Behold, there are many Called, 
 but few are Chosen. 
And why are they not Chosen?

Because their hearts are set so much upon the things of this world, 
 and aspire to the honors of men, 
That they do not learn this one lesson—
 that the rights of the priesthood 
 are inseparably connected with the Powers of Heaven, 
and that the Powers of Heaven cannot be controlled nor handled 
    only upon the principles of righteousness.
 
That they may be conferred upon us, 
 it is true; 
but when we undertake 
 to cover our sins, 
 or to gratify our pride, 
 our vain [excessively prideful] ambition [desire for achievement], 
 or to exercise control 
 or dominion 
 or compulsion upon the souls of the children of men, 
 in any degree of unrighteousness, 
Behold, the heavens withdraw themselves; 
 the Spirit of the Lord is grieved; 
And when it is withdrawn, 
 Amen to the priesthood or the authority of that man.1
Behold, ere he is aware, 
 he is left unto himself [disconnected from heaven], 
 to kick against the pricks, 
 to persecute the saints, 2
 and to fight against God.
We have learned by sad experience 
 that it is the nature and disposition of almost all men, 
 as soon as they get a little authority, as they suppose, 
 they will immediately begin to exercise unrighteous dominion.
Hence many are Called, 
 but few are Chosen.

No power or influence can or ought to be maintained 
 by virtue [quality] of the priesthood, 
Only:
 by persuasion, 3
 by long-suffering, 
 by gentleness and meekness [submission of our will to the Lord's], 
 and by love unfeigned;
 By kindness, 
 and pure knowledge, 
Which shall greatly enlarge the soul 
 without hypocrisy, 
 and without guile [cunning & deceitfulness]—
Reproving betimes [in short time] with sharpness [clarity], 
 when moved upon by the Holy Ghost; 
and then showing forth afterwards an increase of love 4
 toward him whom thou hast reproved, 
 lest he esteem thee to be his enemy;
That he may know that thy faithfulness 
 is stronger than the cords of death.

Let thy bowels also be full of charity towards all men, 
 and to the household of faith, 
 and let virtue garnish thy thoughts unceasingly; 5
then shall thy confidence wax strong in the presence of God; 
 and the doctrine of the priesthood shall distil upon thy soul 
 as the dews from heaven.
The Holy Ghost shall be thy constant companion, 
 and thy scepter an unchanging scepter of righteousness and truth; 
 and thy dominion shall be an everlasting dominion, 
 and without compulsory means it shall flow unto thee 
 forever and ever.

1 What, then, causes someone who has a little authority "as they suppose" (they don't really have it, you see), to attempt to use that pretense to control and dominate others? The answer is contained in revelations already in print. It is their pride, their insecurities, the need to control, to be praised and celebrated, the need to gratify their vain ambition. These are character flaws. They cover up these flaws by claiming to have priestly authority from God

2 The caution in Section 121 about abuse is directed in whole at The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Among other things, it is warning the LDS Church not to persecute the Lord's Saints, and thereby fight against God. It has been traditionally interpreted by the LDS Church to the complete contrary. The LDS teaching turns the warning on its ear, and reads it to mean that you shouldn't fight against the LDS Church! The warning, however, is addressed to the Church and warning it to exercise caution, least they find themselves fighting against the Lord's Saints, and thereby in turn fighting against the Lord. Read it carefully. It is not a caution to you or me, but a caution to the LDS Church itself. It means that there may be Saints of God who are at times at odds with, or critical of the LDS Church. When that happens, the LDS Church is warned to refrain from persecuting them, or else they may find themselves fighting against God. It is an unnoticed warning because the traditional interpretation is used to give the LDS Church protection against criticism.

3 It is always best to "control" as little as possible and to interfere with development of separate ideas as little as necessary. This is true of government, and it is true of rearing children [after you have instructed them in the foundational truths], as well. It is also true of churches, civic organizations and any cooperative human endeavor. Cooperation through persuasion, meekness, kindness, pure knowledge and love unfeigned works, whenever it is tried.

4 Most of the stuff we concern ourselves with is meaningless and time wasting. What matters are the principles and ordinances of the Gospel; and more important still, the underlying charity or pure love of Christ. Everything is attempting to get you to love your fellow man. Not in the sappy sentimental way we associate with "loving" someone. Because sometimes the most charitable thing you can do is rebuke someone, as we see from Nephi. Sometimes a sharp word comes from being moved upon by the Holy Ghost. But in the end the person rebuked should still feel they are loved and the reason for the rebuke was the concern held for them.

5 We should guard our thoughts as we guard the lives of our children. Our thoughts hold the key to everything else.

This is so important a matter that the Lord tied knowledge of priesthood itself to the thoughts we entertain in the privacy of our minds. Only when our thoughts are worthy are we able to bear the presence of God.

You should let your thoughts be such that you will be confident in His presence.

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