Thursday, October 2, 2014

An Overflowing Scourge, a Desolating Sickness

It shall cover the land in that generation, according to D&C 45:28-35:
And when the times of the Gentiles is come in,
a light shall break forth among them that sit in darkness,
and it shall be the Fulness of my gospel;
But they [who?] receive it not;
for they perceive not the light, and
they turn their hearts from me
because of the precepts [=authoritative rules] of men.
And in that generation shall the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled. [This is now taking place.]
And there shall be men standing in that generation,
that shall not pass until they shall see an overflowing scourge;
for a desolating sickness shall cover the land. [This is apparently next to occur.]
But my disciples shall stand in holy places, and shall not be moved;
but among the wicked, men shall lift up their voices and curse God and die.
And there shall be earthquakes also in divers places,
and many desolations;
Yet men will harden their hearts against me, and
they will take up the sword, one against another, and
they will kill one another.
And now, when I, the Lord, had spoken these words unto my disciples, they were troubled.
And I said unto them: "Be not troubled, for, when all these things shall come to pass, ye may know that the promises which have been made unto you shall be fulfilled."

"Overflowing": What is it flowing over or out of? How?
"Scourge": What does this mean? What is its purpose?
"Desolating": What will it leave behind or result in?
"Sickness": What will be used to scourge?

Friday, September 19, 2014

The Jew & Gentile Chiasm of the Manifestations of Christ

And the time cometh
     that He shall manifest Himself
     unto all Nations,
Both unto the Jews
     and also unto the Gentiles;
And after He has manifested Himself
     unto the Jews
     and also unto the Gentiles,
Then He shall manifest Himself
     unto the Gentiles
     and also unto the Jews,

And the Last shall be First,
     and the First shall be Last.

    — 1 Nephi 13:42

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Today is a Point of Inflection

An "inflection point" is:
1. A point on a curve that separates an arc concave upward from one concave downward and vice versa.
2. A time of significant change in a situation; a turning point.
In one case, it is an upward curve that has turned downward. In another, it is a downward curve that has turned upward. Either way, it is significant. It is a turning point.

Today is an inflection point. The Spirit has witnessed this to me. A transition is happening. It has been truly historic in the generations of men on this earth. (and I do not use that term lightly, as we commonly do in our general conferences) Until now, the Lord's hand has been manifesting itself quietly, subtly over the past years, preparing those who hear his voice largely in private. Today that feels to have changed. His words have been spoken in plainness, in the open. What the Holy Spirit quietly informed my soul of months ago has now been declared before the world. And the voice of a second witness has also been given. We, individually, are now tasked with choosing to heed the message or not.

I have heard parts of it second-hand and look forward to listening to Denver's talk today and later reading the transcript. It is the capstone segment of the ten-segment talk he has given over the past year. A person needs the context of the rest of the segments to understand its import.

If you have not considered this message, I urge you to study and consider it. The ten parts of the talk are available here for reading or listening. It is a very important invitation, one I would encourage you not to consider lightly. The Lord has confirmed to me by the power of the Holy Spirit that these are His words given through this man. The only credentials the man has is the message. I invite you to weigh it.

I believe the words spoken by Christ in 3 Nephi 21:9-11 are now literally in process of being fulfilled.

The message is not from where Latter-day Saints expect it to originate, but rather as "a voice as one crying in the wilderness". From outside the Church hierarchy, as with John the Baptist. (or Abinadi, or Amos, or Samuel the Lamanite, or Joseph Smith, or Lehi, etc.) It is an ancient and frequent pattern in our scriptures.

In fact, events that almost perfectly mirror what happened with John the Baptist in his role as an Elias (a preparer of the way), as a rightful, divinely appointed usurper of authority from the priestly ruling class, and as one chosen by the Lord to close one dispensation in preparation for a new one. Unlike John's role as foremost in the Aaronic Priesthood, in our day this Elias is one of the Melchizedek Order. It is Denver Snuffer, Jr. And the same sequence has now taken place, except it's the Gentiles this time, not the Jews. The first (Jews) shall be last (coming soon), and the last (the Gentiles) shall be first. (have been for 180 years, but now finishing up the "times of the Gentiles") And once again, mirroring the past in a chiasm of time, just as the Jews largely did not recognize and respond to John the Baptist, so in our day it is the Gentiles that will almost entirely miss and misapprehend the message of this servant.

The events have been and continue to be governed by the Lord's will and direction. It is a resumption of "the restoration" begun by Joseph. It was put on hold by our Gentile rejection of Joseph & Hyrum--and thus our rejection of the Lord's offer through them.

It has been four full generations now since our June 27th, 1844 rejection. Four generations of waiting for the Lord to once again offer salvation to true seekers of redemption. The Lord is once again reaching down to those few who will respond by repenting & reaching upward.

We have a choice before us.

Monday, September 8, 2014

Enduring to the End

I hear it regularly and consistently taught, including yesterday in our Sunday meetings: "endure to the end" means to stick to it, keep doing what you're doing, and make it to the end of this life.  To survive it. To get there. (Although it's never clear where "there" really is. Perhaps somehow a celestial kingdom, despite not having made one's calling and election sure?)

So, what is "the end" we're supposed to endure to? Can the scriptures tell us anything on the subject?

The phrase "endure to the end" occurs many, many times in the scriptures and is associated with receiving eternal life. (see Matthew 24:13D&C 14:7D&C 20:25, 3 Nephi 15:9, 1 Nephi 22:31)

In fact, 2 Nephi 33:4 states that these two are the same thing:
And the words which I have written in weakness will be made strong unto them; for it persuadeth them to do good; it maketh known unto them of their fathers; and it speaketh of Jesus, and persuadeth them to believe in him, and to endure to the end, which is life eternal.
If the "end" we are to endure to is eternal life, then John 17:3 tells us something about that "end":
And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.
That is, to "endure to the end" therefore refers returning to the Father's presence, having first entered into the presence of Christ, which is redemption from the fall. This is explained by the Lord to the Brother of Jared in Ether 3:13:
And when he had said these words, behold, the Lord showed himself unto him, and said: Because thou knowest these things ye are redeemed from the fall; therefore ye are brought back into my presence; therefore I show myself unto you.
The "End" we are to endure to is thus includes a person's receiving the Second Comforter. Then, as Nephi clarifies for us in 2 Nephi 32:6, it is Christ's direct ministry to you that guides you back to the Father (which, of course, requires a spouse, too):
Behold, this is the doctrine of Christ, and there will be no more doctrine given until after He shall manifest himself unto you in the flesh. And when He shall manifest himself unto you in the flesh, the things which He shall say unto you shall ye observe to do.
Going back to "enduring to the end", there are some additional hints regarding the meaning of this phrase from the early 1800's courtesy of the 1828 Webster's Dictionary. Here is one of the first listed meanings for the word "end":
The conclusion or cessation of an action.
When the Lord makes a person's calling and election sure and is able to bring her or him back to the Father, does that not mark the "conclusion" of his testing and proving? Of his probation?

Also, the word "cessation" brings to mind another word that means the exact same thing: the Hebrew word "sabbath" or "shabbat":
Hebrew: שַׁבָּת‎, "rest" or "cessation"
So, perhaps it could have been translated as "endure to the Sabbath" or "endure to His rest".

And if that Sabbath--that "rest" or "cessation"--of the Lord is the goal, does D&C 84:24 not clarify that to "enter into His rest" is to enter "the fulness of His glory"? How many times do the scriptures talk about our need to enter into His rest? (Hebrews 4, Alma 12:34Alma 13:13, etc.)

So could "Enduring to the End" not also be considered to be synonymous with "entering into His rest"? That is, entering into His presence? And that this is what the sabbath day is symbolic of?

That is an entirely different "end" than the one we began with here.

Sunday, September 7, 2014

A Gem for Your English Scripture Study

The 1828 Webster's Dictionary gives insights into the English language as used at the time of the translation of the Book of Mormon and the 1835 Doctrine and Covenants.

It was different in many subtle ways than the English spoken by modern Americans. Words had subtly different meanings, and as a result, when we read the Book of Mormon, the Doctrine and Covenants, the writings of Joseph Smith, the King James Bible (though a little older), and other texts of the period, we often read into them incorrect meaning or "incorrect translations" resulting from our modern definitions.

I have found it indispensable to keep the online version nearby when studying. So many gems when you take the time to ask the questions.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

The Gulf Between Two Views Regarding Mormonism

It is a false dichotomy that forces a Latter-day Saint to either:

  1. Believe & accept that "all is well", that we can fully trust the Brethren to lead us all safely to salvation, and that any questions concerning our history can be safely ignored, or 
  2. Believe that any questions or problems concerning our history must therefore mean that the entire Restoration is counterfeit, all its leaders deceivers, and everything we thought we had, incorrect. 
This false dilemma seems to have led many into what may seem like a trap.

There is, however, another believing position separate from the first, not requiring either the veneration of current leaders nor abandonment of faith in what the Lord was doing through Joseph. I believe is not only more persuasive but also scriptural. But there is admittedly a gulf between these two believing positions:

Friday, August 15, 2014

D&C 121 and a Paraphrase

(The below is also available in PDF format.)

Who is being addressed here? Who claims to have the "rights of the priesthood"? Which men having priesthood would even be in a position to "exercise control ... upon the souls of the children of men" or to "persecute the saints"? Who, "as they suppose", believe they have a "little authority" over the saints? Could they really be those outside the LDS church? Or must they be those inside?

D&C 121:34-36
Paraphrase of D&C 121: 34-46 from Come, Let Us Adore Him by Denver Snuffer, Jr.
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
nor handled
only upon the principles of righteousness.

That they [the Rights of the Priesthood] 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!

Behold, ere [before] he is aware,
he is left unto himself [disconnected from Heaven],
to kick against the pricks,
to persecute the Saints,
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, [do they really?]
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,
By Persuasion,
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
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;

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;
Thy dominion shall be an Everlasting Dominion,
and without compulsory means
it shall flow unto thee
Forever and ever!
Although the Lord invites all to come to Him,
only a few will accept the invitation to come,
You may wonder why;

But it is because men are unwilling to accept what is offered.
They want authority in this world.
They want praise and honor from men.
They cannot accept His invitation until :
They lay all such things aside and
Realize that any honor, any authority, any power comes only from Heaven.
Without a connection to Heaven, there is no power, no authority and no honor.
Heavenly power or authority can only be exercised
by fully mirroring the will of Heaven, and
never by acting independent of that will.
Man's own will cannot, does not, and never will be allowed to govern.

Even though someone may be
ordained to hold priesthood,
called to an office, or
given the right to decide matters in the Church,
That does not empower them to contradict the will of Heaven!
Men cannot substitute their desire for Heaven's!
Because whenever they do that,
The acts they perform while only pretending to follow Heaven will condemn them.
They use the name of God in vain anytime they follow their own desire,
while falsely claiming they are doing Heaven's will.
Men who try to conceal their sins,
who in their pride claim authority over others,
who claim the right to control or manipulate others,
whose ambitions set their agenda,
Cannot and do not conform to Heaven's will.

Heaven itself withdraws from such men! And
When It does,
they have absolutely no priesthood authority or power!

Such men are left to themselves, and
Oftentimes they seek to exercise:
yet more control, more authority, and
more feigned priesthood rights
over the humble who suffer under their claimed presiding authority.
When such ambitious men subjugate these humble Saints,
They are fighting against God.
They will come to learn too late for their own salvation
that they have been on their own errand all along,
and not the Lord's.

Unfortunately almost all men fall victim
to this false illusion of control over others .
As soon as someone believes they have been given the authority of Heaven,
they almost immediately begin to abuse their fellow man!
with claims about the right to control, manipulate or coerce them!

This is why so very few
have ever really accepted His invitation to come unto Him.

There really is no authority in the priesthood He gives to men.
The priesthood is an invitation to come and learn
To persuade others by the power of example,
To convince others by the things which you will endure for their sake,
To show love without pretense
and without calling attention to yourself.
It is an invitation to service.
It is an invitation to seek after Heaven itself.

When someone accepts that invitation,
and meekly submits to the gentle influence of the Holy Spirit,
They will learn more by showing kindness to their fellow man
than they can ever learn through any other means,
Such men will rebuke others only on those occasions when Heaven would rebuke;
but even then they will immediately show increased love.
They will not fail to show Unceasing Love,
even to those who required a sharp word.
Such men always show love to others
as the most important part of their example.
Such men will convince those to whom they minister
that they would give their lives to save them
because their love is so strong.

Anyone who is in contact with Heaven
will love all their fellow men.
They will meditate night and day upon the Things of Heaven.

They will be able to enter into God's own presence
because their lives are so lived that Heaven willingly accompanies them.
They will deserve residence in Heaven,
and therefore Heaven will take up residence with them.
God will be their companion.
Love will be theirs because:
They will never try to control, dominate or subdue others!

Because of their love,
the Power of Heaven (which is love)
will be with them
Forever and ever!

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Isaiah—Key to the Book of Mormon

An adaptation of Avraham Gileadi’s chapter in Rediscovering the Book of Mormon