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And when It is withdrawn,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!

1 comment:

  1. This is awesome Vaughn! Thank you for posting this chart - it's one of my favorite sections of the D&C!