A witness from God can be relied upon. As you read our thoughts, beliefs, and experiences, we invite you to obtain a witness for yourself. If something we say or imply does not ring true, then you should feel no obligation to accept it. Life is an individual and unique journey with God. Although we can help and encourage each other, we need to be careful not to come between God and another person.
Tuesday, March 21, 2017
Friday, March 17, 2017
Joseph Smith taught that there are Fathers in Heaven. A friend of ours showed me this card. I asked him if I could have a copy of the card. Here is part of the email he sent me. [used with permission]
Joseph knew what he was saying. The LDS church used to give (and maybe still does) church office building employees a nicely bound gospel book each year. My step-father would pass along many of these to me as he was not too interested. Many years ago I kept the card that was included with one of the books because I liked the picture on the front and the quote within. It’s a quote of quotes:
My heart swells with gratitude inexpressible when I realize the great condescention of my heavenly Fathers, in opening the hearts of these, my beloved brethren to administer so liberally, to my wants and I ask God in the name of Jesus Christ, to multiply, blessings, without number upon their heads, and bless me with much wisdom and understanding, and dispose of me, to the best advantage, for my brethren, and the advancement of thy cause and Kingdom, and whether my days are many or few whether in life or in death I say in my heart, O Lord let me enjoy the society of such brethren. [emphasis added]
This quote can be found in the pen of Joseph Smith in his 1835-1836 Journal, as preserved in the JSP project here. Joseph wrote this verse after a number of brethren had come forward to pay off some of his debts (the ledger is included above the quote in the journal). All the LDS church references to this quote make Fathers singular, but you can clearly see JS wrote this word in the plural form when he originally wrote it. I’ve attached a photo of the card — impressively, the church history department stuck with the original “Fathers".
- That quote, the original version, was an entry in the JS Journal from Dec 9th, 1835. You can find it on page 118 of the JSP Journals Vol 1: 1832-1839.
- That quote is NOT SEARCHABLE in the JSP project using the term “my heavenly Fathers” (or any variation of it using CAPS or lower case, with and without the comma, etc), try it here and see if it comes up…it doesn’t. You get 21 other references to “my heavenly father”. The only reason I knew of the existence of that quote was because of that card the Church History department gave to my step-dad. I honestly think, regardless of intent, that someone in the church has blocked the term “my heavenly fathers” from being searchable.
- I don’t know all the details of how the Manuscript History of the Church was compiled, but I do know that there were 6 volumes and volume A-1 was completed prior to the death of JS and it is claimed he edited/reviewed it. However, that volume only went up through Aug 1834, over a year before this quote. Volume B-1 commenced in Oct 1843 and took several years to complete, I believe….and JS wasn’t around to oversee: "Though JS did not dictate or revise any of the text recorded in B-1, Willard Richards and Thomas Bullock chose to maintain the first-person, chronological narrative format established in A-1 as if JS were the author. They drew from a variety of primary and secondary sources including JS’s diaries and letters, minutes of meetings, the first edition of the Doctrine and Covenants, church and other periodicals, reports of JS’s discourses, and the reminiscences and recollections of church members. As was the case with A-1, after JS’s death, Brigham Young, Heber C. Kimball, George A. Smith, and others modified and corrected the manuscript as they reviewed material before its eventual publication.”
- Now, look at this quote (just the first part) in the History B-1: "My heart swells with gratitude inexpressible, when I realize the great condesentions of my heavenly Father in opening the hearts of these my beloved brethren to administer so liberally to my wants…” There it is…changed!
I just find this to be an incredibly interesting quote that was either deliberately or carelessly changed by editors within a couple of years after the death of JS…one of many I’m sure. I wonder for every one gem like this how many others have been totally lost?
Anyway, the original quote conveys both Joseph's close relationships with his Fathers in Heaven and Christ, as well as the beautiful affections he had for his brethren….a fellowship above and a fellowship below. It’s a treasure.
I believe the Doctrine of Christ is the path of ascension. It teaches me who I am and how to follow in the footsteps of my Father. The Father bears record of the Son and the Son bears record of the Father; but they do not bear record of the Holy Ghost because it is still in a state of probation. The Holy Ghost bears record of the Father and the Son by following in the footsteps of the Son, doing His works, thus glorifying the Father and the Son.
I see there is still much for me to learn about the eleven verses in 3 Nephi 11:31-41.
Wednesday, March 15, 2017
Sons of God
Verily, thus saith the Lord: It shall come to pass that every soul who forsaketh his sins and cometh unto me, and calleth on my name, and obeyeth my voice, and keepeth my commandments, shall see my face and know that I am; And that I am the true light that lighteth every man that cometh into the world; And that I am in the Father, and the Father in me, and the Father and I are one— D&C 93:1-3
What are we to understand by these verses?
The Father because he gave me of his fulness, and the Son because I was in the world and made flesh my tabernacle, and dwelt among the sons of men. D&C 93:4
Why is the Lord called the Father? Why is the Lord called the Son? Who are the sons of men?
For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God. Romans 8:14
. . . the testimony of the gospel of Christ concerning them who shall come forth in the resurrection of the just . . Wherefore, as it is written, they are gods, even the sons of God— D&C 76:50,58
Who are the sons of God?
Wherefore teach it unto your children, that all men, everywhere, must repent, or they can in nowise inherit the kingdom of God, for no unclean thing can dwell there, or dwell in his presence; for, in the language of Adam, Man of Holiness is his name, and the name of his Only Begotten is the Son of Man, even Jesus Christ, a righteous Judge, who shall come in the meridian of time. Moses 6:57
Why the name of his Only Begotten the Son of Man? Can I be a son of God and a son of Man?
I've color coded the next several verses to show the connection between God's path and my path. [emphasis added throughout this entire post]
What is the Father? He is a personage of spirit, glory, and power. What is man? Man is spirit. What is eternal? The Father is eternal. The elements are also eternal. Why does God raise up man? For the enjoyment of himself. Why are the spirit and element inseparably connected? To receive a fulness of joy. What is a fulness of joy? What does this say about me? How am I receiving joy?
They are the Father and the Son: The Father being a personage of spirit, glory and power: possessing all perfection and fulness: Lecture 5:2
We believe in God, the Eternal Father, and in His Son, Jesus Christ, and in the Holy Ghost. Articles of Faith 1:1
For man is spirit. The elements are eternal, and spirit and element, inseparably connected, receive a fulness of joy; And when separated, man cannot receive a fulness of joy. D&C 93:33-34
and that when God would undertake to raise up men for the enjoyment of himself Lecture 7:6
Personage of Tabernacle
What is the Son? First, he is a personage of tabernacle. Secondly, he was made or fashioned like unto man. Thirdly, he is also in the likeness of the personage of the Father. What is man? The tabernacle of God. Since the elements are the tabernacle of God and man is the tabernacle of God, what is the relationship between the elements and man and God?
The Son, who was in the bosom of the Father, a personage of tabernacle, made, or fashioned like unto man, or being in the form and likeness of man, or, rather, man was formed after his likeness, and in his image;—he is also the express image and likeness of the personage of the Father: Lecture 5:2
The elements are the tabernacle of God; yea, man is the tabernacle of God, even temples; and whatsoever temple is defiled, God shall destroy that temple. D&C 93:35
Spirit of Truth
The Lord is the spirit of truth. I am also that which is Spirit, even the spirit of truth. Truth is knowledge of things as they are, and as they were, and as they are to come. The Holy Ghost knows more than the whole world, and it dwells in me. How does the Holy Ghost manifest the works of the Father and the Son? How does the Holy Ghost bear record of the Father and the Son?
I [Lord] was in the world and received of my Father, and the works of him were plainly manifest. And John saw and bore record of the fulness of my glory, and the fulness of John’s record is hereafter to be revealed. And he bore record, saying: I saw his glory, that he was in the beginning, before the world was; Therefore, in the beginning the Word was, for he was the Word, even the messenger of salvation— The light and the Redeemer of the world; the Spirit of truth, who came into the world, because the world was made by him, and in him was the life of men and the light of men. The worlds were made by him; men were made by him; all things were made by him, and through him, and of him. D&C 93:5-10
What does it mean “all things were made by him, and through him, and of him”? What is given to abide in me that gives me all truth, knowledge, and power?
Ye were also in the beginning with the Father; that which is Spirit, even the Spirit of truth; And truth is knowledge of things as they are, and as they were, and as they are to come; And whatsoever is more or less than this is the spirit of that wicked one who was a liar from the beginning. D&C 93:23-25
But I am learned & know more than the whole world, the Holy Ghost does any how, & I will associate myself with it. The Words of Joseph Smith compiled and edited by Andrew F. Ehat and Lyndon W. Cook, p 345
Therefore it is given to abide in you; the record of heaven; the Comforter; the peaceable things of immortal glory; the truth of all things; that which quickeneth all things, which maketh alive all things; that which knoweth all things, and hath all power according to wisdom, mercy, truth, justice, and judgment. Moses 6:61
The Lord received not of a fulness at first but continued from grace for grace and until he received a fulness of the glory of the Father. If I keep His commandments, I shall also continue from grace for grace until I receive of a fulness of the glory of the Father. Because sons receive not of a fulness at the first is why they are called sons of God.
And I, John, saw that he received not of the fulness at the first, but received grace for grace; And he received not of the fulness at first, but continued from grace to grace, until he received a fulness; And thus he was called the Son of God, because he received not of the fulness at the first. And I, John, bear record, and lo, the heavens were opened, and the Holy Ghost descended upon him in the form of a dove, and sat upon him, and there came a voice out of heaven saying: This is my beloved Son. And I, John, bear record that he received a fulness of the glory of the Father; And he received all power, both in heaven and on earth, and the glory of the Father was with him, for he dwelt in him. And it shall come to pass, that if you are faithful you shall receive the fulness of the record of John. D&C 93:11-18
If I am faithful, will I see what John saw? Will I see the heavens opened?
I give unto you these sayings that you may understand and know how to worship, and know what you worship, that you may come unto the Father in my name, and in due time receive of his fulness. For if you keep my commandments you shall receive of his fulness, and be glorified in me as I am in the Father; therefore, I say unto you, you shall receive grace for grace. D&C 93:19-20
Firstborns, Begotten Sons, and Glory
By faith Abraham, when he was tried, offered up Isaac: and he that had received the promises offered up his only begotten son, Of whom it was said, That in Isaac shall thy seed be called: Accounting that God was able to raise him up, even from the dead; from whence also he received him in a figure. Hebrews 11:17-19 [emphasis added]
Begotten: Procreated; generated.
Now these are the generations of Ishmael, Abraham’s son, whom Hagar the Egyptian, Sarah’s handmaid, bare unto Abraham:And these are the names of the sons of Ishmael, by their names, according to their generations . . . Genesis 25:12-13
Is Isaac Abraham's only son born to him in the flesh? What does it mean to be begotten? Why is Isaac Abraham's only begotten son? Why isn't Ishmael a begotten son?
For we saw him, even on the right hand of God; and we heard the voice bearing record that he is the Only Begotten of the Father— That by him, and through him, and of him, the worlds are and were created, and the inhabitants thereof are begotten sons and daughters unto God. D&C 76:23-24
What does it mean to be an only begotten? The Lord is the only begotten and the Firstborn; there is also a whole church of Firstborns and begotten sons, and they are partakers of the same glory as the only begotten, firstborn son. The Lord was in the beginning with the Father. I was also in the beginning with the Father.
And I, John, bear record that I beheld his glory, as the glory of the Only Begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth, even the Spirit of truth, which came and dwelt in the flesh, and dwelt among us. D&C 93:11
And now, verily I say unto you, I was in the beginning with the Father, and am the Firstborn; And all those who are begotten through me are partakers of the glory of the same, and are the church of the Firstborn. Ye were also in the beginning with the Father; that which is Spirit, even the Spirit of truth; D&C 93:21-23
Truth, Light, and Intelligence
The Lord is the Spirit of truth. I am also the Spirit of truth. How do I receive a fulness of truth? How am I glorified in truth? How can I know all things?
The Spirit of truth is of God. I am the Spirit of truth, and John bore record of me, saying: He received a fulness of truth, yea, even of all truth; And no man receiveth a fulness unless he keepeth his commandments. He that keepeth his commandments receiveth truth and light, until he is glorified in truth and knoweth all things. D&C 93:26-28
Whatever principle of intelligence we attain unto in this life, it will rise with us in the resurrection. And if a person gains more knowledge and intelligence in this life through his diligence and obedience than another, he will have so much the advantage in the world to come. There is a law, irrevocably decreed in heaven before the foundations of this world, upon which all blessings are predicated— D&C 130:18-20
How is man coequal with God?
Man was also in the beginning with God. Intelligence, or the light of truth, was not created or made, neither indeed can be. All truth is independent in that sphere in which God has placed it, to act for itself, as all intelligence also; otherwise there is no existence. Behold, here is the agency of man, and here is the condemnation of man; because that which was from the beginning is plainly manifest unto them, and they receive not the light. And every man whose spirit receiveth not the light is under condemnation. D&C 93:29-32
The soul the mind of man, whare did it come from? The learned says God made it in the beginning, but it is not so, I know better God has told me so. If you don’t believe it, it wont make the truth without effect, God was a self exhisting being, man exhists upon the same principle. God made a tabernacle & put a spirit in it and it became a Human soul, man exhisted in spirit & mind coequal with God himself The Words of Joseph Smith: compiled and edited by Andrew F. Ehat and Lyndon W. Cook, p. 345- 346
I might say God never had power to create the spirit of man, God himself could not create himself. Intelligence is Eternal & it is self exhisting, All mind that is susseptible of improvement, the relationship we have with God places us in a situation to advance in knowledge. God has power to institute laws to instruct the weaker intelligences that thay may be exhalted with himself this is good d doctrin, it taste good, I can taste the principles of eternal life,so can you, they are given to me by the revelations of Jesus Christ and I know you believe it. All things that God sees fit to reveal to us in relation to us, reveals his commandments to our spirits,and in saving our spirits we save the body, the same as though we had no Body. ibid
How do I grow in intelligence? How do I receive more light? Why am I under condemnation if my spirit does not receive greater light?
That which is of God is light; and he that receiveth light, and continueth in God, receiveth more light; and that light groweth brighter and brighter until the perfect day. Doctrine and Covenants 50:24
Why is the glory of God light and truth? How is God glorified through His sons? How does God grow in light and truth? How do sons of God grow in light and truth? Why is God more intelligent than they all?
For behold, this is my work and my glory—to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man. Moses 1:39
The glory of God is intelligence, or, in other words, light and truth. Light and truth forsake that evil one. Every spirit of man was innocent in the beginning; and God having redeemed man from the fall, men became again, in their infant state, innocent before God. D&C 93:36-38
Howbeit that he made the greater star; as, also, if there be two spirits, and one shall be more intelligent than the other, yet these two spirits, notwithstanding one is more intelligent than the other, have no beginning; they existed before, they shall have no end, they shall exist after, for they are gnolaum, or eternal. And the Lord said unto me: These two facts do exist, that there are two spirits, one being more intelligent than the other; there shall be another more intelligent than they; I am the Lord thy God, I am more intelligent than they all. Abraham 3:18-19
Light of the World
I am the light and the life of the world. I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end. 3 Nephi 9:18
Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be salted? it is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men. Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid. Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven. Matthew 5:13-16
Saviors of Men
For therefore we both labour and suffer reproach, because we trust in the living God, who is the Saviour of all men, specially of those that believe. 1 Timothy 4:10
But verily I say unto you, that I have decreed a decree which my people shall realize, inasmuch as they hearken from this very hour unto the counsel which I, the Lord their God, shall give unto them. Behold they shall, for I have decreed it, begin to prevail against mine enemies from this very hour. And by hearkening to observe all the words which I, the Lord their God, shall speak unto them, they shall never cease to prevail until the kingdoms of the world are subdued under my feet, and the earth is given unto the saints, to possess it forever and ever. But inasmuch as they keep not my commandments, and hearken not to observe all my words, the kingdoms of the world shall prevail against them. For they were set to be a light unto the world, and to be the saviors of men; And inasmuch as they are not the saviors of men, they are as salt that has lost its savor, and is thenceforth good for nothing but to be cast out and trodden under foot of men. D&C 103:5-10[emphasis added]
What does it mean when God decrees a degree? What am I to realize? Why must I hearken to the counsel of my Lord my God? If I hearken to God what will begin to happen? Whose enemies? Do I glorify my God by prevailing against His enemies? If I hearken to observe all the words which the Lord speaks to me, what will happen to the kingdoms of the world? When the Lord decrees it, is there anything except my disobedience that can stop it? How can I be a light unto the world? How can I be a savior of men?
Yea, and from that time even until now, I have labored without ceasing, that I might bring souls unto repentance; that I might bring them to taste of the exceeding joy of which I did taste; that they might also be born of God, and be filled with the Holy Ghost. Yea, and now behold, O my son, the Lord doth give me exceedingly great joy in the fruit of my labors; For because of the word which he has imparted unto me, behold, many have been born of God, and have tasted as I have tasted, and have seen eye to eye as I have seen; therefore they do know of these things of which I have spoken, as I do know; and the knowledge which I have is of God. Alma 36:24-26
What is another name for Christ? When the Lord anoints me, do I become a Christ? Is this what it means to take upon me the name of Christ?
CHRIST: THE ANOINTED; an appellation given to the Savior of the World, and synonymous with the Hebrew Messiah. It was a custom of antiquity to consecrate persons to the sacerdotal and regal offices by anointing them with oil.
What does it mean to called by the name of Christ? Are the children of Christ also Christ's or Christs? Am I born again when I become His daughter? Am I willing to enter into a covenant with our God to do his will, and to be obedient to his commandments in all things that he shall command me, all the remainder of my days? Is this part of being endowed with power from on high? Where is the name of Christ written?
And now, because of the covenant which ye have made ye shall be called the children of Christ, his sons, and his daughters; for behold, this day he hath spiritually begotten you; for ye say that your hearts are changed through faith on his name; therefore, ye are born of him and have become his sons and his daughters. And under this head ye are made free, and there is no other head whereby ye can be made free. There is no other name given whereby salvation cometh; therefore, I would that ye should take upon you the name of Christ, all you that have entered into the covenant with God that ye should be obedient unto the end of your lives.
And it shall come to pass that whosoever doeth this shall be found at the right hand of God, for he shall know the name by which he is called; for he shall be called by the name of Christ. And now it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall not take upon him the name of Christ must be called by some other name; therefore, he findeth himself on the left hand of God
And I would that ye should remember also, that this is the name that I said I should give unto you that never should be blotted out, except it be through transgression; therefore, take heed that ye do not transgress, that the name be not blotted out of your hearts. I say unto you, I would that ye should remember to retain the name written always in your hearts, that ye are not found on the left hand of God, but that ye hear and know the voice by which ye shall be called, and also, the name by which he shall call you. Mosiah 5:7-12 [emphasis added]
What does all this say about those who follow their Lord and Savior?