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.

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Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Restoration Scriptures Announcement - A New Covenant

We have been given a gift this last general conference. God still speaks to men and women, and there is continuing revelation. The Restoration Scriptures are now available for our review. Over time, other revelations will be added to the Pearls of Great Price.  All these scriptures are to be accepted by common consent after we have had a chance to review the submitted material and have our voice heard.  Everyone can be part of this project.  We get five months to read, study, examine the revelations, and give feedback before we accept this New Covenant.  We get to have a real vote where our vote counts. We get to use gentleness, meekness, love, kindness, and pure knowledge to persuade and make sure we have the most correct and complete version of the scriptures possible.  I am so excited and only wish there were more hours in the day to study the Words of God!   
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RESTORATION SCRIPTURES ANNOUNCEMENT
March 18, 2017
Although what is to be announced may be viewed by most people as a modest achievement, I think history will eventually reflect this as one of the greatest steps forward after the deaths of Joseph and Hyrum.
What I’m about to announce will generate a considerable number of questions. To reasonably manage them, we’ve set up an email address where you can send your questions & suggestions. That address is:
RESTORATIONSCRIPTURES2017@GMAIL.COM.
Your questions will be reviewed this evening, and then tomorrow, a number of the major questions will be answered in front of this body. Any that aren’t answered immediately will be replied to after the conference ends.
One of the first ways a dispensation becomes corrupted is by compromising the scriptures used by believers in that dispensation. Therefore when a new dispensation begins, one of the first orders of business for believers is to adopt a new set of scriptures which restore, insofar as it is possible, a correct version of the material they regard as scripture.
Just like the saints of the New Testament adopted a new body of teachings, the Book of Mormon people preserved and added to sacred writings. And while Joseph Smith lived, there were both corrections to old scripture and new scripture was added. Likewise for us, there is a need to remove errors, correct texts, and add to the body of scripture to guide us. This assembly – that is, this worldwide body of believers – must also decide what we accept as scripture. It is our right and sacred responsibility to address this need.
To that end, a new edition of the scriptures is proposed. They are divided into three volumes that have been produced through a unified effort by two independent bodies of volunteers, separately driven to approach the scriptures anew.
Initially the members of these two groups felt individually inspired to revisit the scriptures in an effort to prune away some of the uninspired alterations of man so that they might have a more correct version of scripture for their study. Over time, these individuals were led to one another, combining and harmonizing their efforts. What began as two wholly separate groups, each forming at the same time, both unknown to one another, resulted in separate projects that were completed at the same time, and what was learned from their independent efforts identified issues that needed to be addressed.
On the last day of 2016, less than 2 weeks after discovering each other, these two groups held a meeting, facilitated by Denver Snuffer, and determined to unify their efforts, each bringing to the table differing components for a greater outcome than either project possessed alone. On the first day of the new year, the two became one as work began, preparing what would become this Restoration Edition of the scriptures.
Moving forward, the united team has worked closely with each other, with the Lord, and with His servant, to produce a more accurate record that is true to the Lord’s intent and to the Restoration. We are on His errand, not our own.
In September 1832, the Saints were condemned by the Lord and commanded to “repent and remember the new covenant, even the Book of Mormon and the former commandments which I have given them, not only to say, but to do according to that which I have written.”
We often see this as the Lord rebuking the Saints for failing to do according to that which He had written, yet assume that the Saints had been correctly saying what He had written. But the Saints did not say, and have failed to accurately preserve, what the revelations God provided to them said, because their texts became corrupted. This means that the first step towards emerging from condemnation is to try and do exactly what is being accomplished through this scriptural work now underway. While the full purpose of this project was initially unknown, it has begun a best effort to “repent and remember the new covenant.” If done right, we will at least accomplish the first step: recovering what the Lord provided so we can “say” what He has revealed. Then the challenges increase as we are called upon “to do according to that” which God has revealed.
A future conference must then be held with the intent of approving the final content of the Restoration Edition and sustaining that edition as canon for this assembly.
The following is a summary of what is contained in this Restoration Edition of the scriptures:
ALL THE SCRIPTURAL WORKS SHARE THE FOLLOWING CHANGES:
  • Verse numbers have been eliminated and the text has been formatted into paragraphs. This provides greater context for individual passages and removes the isolation of a statement that is caused by restricting it to a verse. The only exception to individual numbering is in Proverbs where each proverb has been numbered.
  • The chapters have been regrouped based on contextual themes rather than staying as they have existed historically. Our team recognized that since chapters were originally organized by man and not by God, we were free to reorganize them. Some paragraphs in some of the books have been combined or divided as well, based on their context. However, in the Book of Mormon, chapters were designated by Joseph Smith himself and those have been preserved.
  • Very minor standardization and spelling correction has taken place. Care was taken to respect the text.
  • Punctuation can clarify, but it can also restrict. Therefore punctuation has been significantly reduced in all of the volumes in order to free up the text for greater possible interpretation.
INDIVIDUALLY
VOLUME 1 IS THE OLD TESTAMENT
  • Joseph Smith’s New Translation of the Bible (the JST) is the base text.
  • The Song of Solomon had been removed since Joseph indicated that it is not an inspired text.
  • Proverbs now includes Proverbs of Joseph Smith, Jr. and Proverbs of Denver Snuffer,
VOLUME 2 CONSISTS OF THE NEW TESTAMENT AND THE BOOK OF MORMON
  • In a letter to the “brethren in Zion” on 21 April, 1833, Joseph Smith stated, “…it is not the will of the Lord to print any of the new translation in the Star, but when it is published it will all go to the world together in a volume by itself, and the New Testament and The Book of Mormon will be printed together.”
  • Joseph Smith’s New Translation of the Bible is the base text for the New Testament.
  • The 1840 edition of The Book of Mormon is used as the base text and was already formatted into paragraphs. This version was chosen because it contains corrections given by Joseph Smith to what was originally published in 1830 and 1837.
VOLUME 3 CONSISTS OF THE DOCTRINE AND COVENANTS & PEARLS OF GREAT PRICE
  • The new D&C returns the Lectures on Faith to its original place, along with those sections and revelations identified as coming through Joseph Smith. These have been painstakingly compared to the manuscripts found in the Joseph Smith Papers Project:
    • The order of the sections has been restored to thematic groupings rather than simply being presented chronologically. These groupings are: Restoration, Organization and Worship, and Revelations to Individuals.
    • Several LDS sections have been removed for the following reasons:
      • Sections 2 & 13 are extracts from JS-History and are therefore redundant.
      • Section 20 was written by Oliver Cowdery and constitutes church articles and covenants used to begin to structure the early church organization. They no longer apply.
      • Section 101 on Marriage, from the original 1835 Kirtland Edition, is not being reintroduced because it is not a product of either Joseph or Hyrum. However, pertinent points are included in another area.
      • Section 110 is completely unverifiable as a true revelation/vision. The three individuals with some information about the section, Joseph Smith, Oliver Cowdery and Warren Cowdery, left no statement or explanation about Section 110. Further, in listing those who visited with them in their respective testimonies, neither Joseph Smith nor Oliver Cowdery mention Elijah as having come. Finally throughout the Nauvoo time frame, including a month before his death, Joseph Smith spoke of Elijah’s return as a future and not a past event.
      • Section 129 was a struggle. Initially it was revised by taking the shorthand notes from Joseph Smith’s journal and fleshing them out with bridge words and phrases to make them into comprehensible sentences. However, once attempted, that effort was abandoned and the section was completely removed for the following reasons:
        1. The shorthand is just sketchy enough that some of the bridge wording is clearly debatable.
        2. The instruction we have through the Book of Mormon is sufficient on its own to allow us to discern evil spirits.
        3. This section, if relied upon alone, is apparently not sufficient to defend against lying spirits.
      • Section 134 is a declaration on laws & government written by either Oliver Cowdery or Sidney Rigdon, not Joseph Smith.
      • Section 135 is simply the announcement of the martyrdom of Joseph and Hyrum.
      • Section 136 is from Brigham Young.
      • Section 138, Joseph F. Smith’s vision of the dead, is restricted by copyright and cannot be used.
      • Official Declarations 1 & 2 are declarations made by a different church.
  • Several LDS sections have been revised for the following reasons:
    • Section 107 was an amalgamation of content, with only one portion traceable to a revelation before the 1835 publication of the D&C. That portion has been preserved. The 1835 published version bears hallmarks of revisions by the hand of man. Therefore only a portion has been extracted, and then added to by revelation, to explain the establishment of dispensations and reflect the direction of this current dispensation. It is placed as the last section in the new D&C.
    • Sections 121, 122 and123 came from a letter written from Liberty Jail and are presented within the context of the entire letter written by Joseph Smith.
    • Section 132 on celestial marriage is now represented as it is posted by Denver Snuffer on his blog, containing the redactions suggested there to make the document internally consistent and reflect the earliest descriptions of the original.
  • More than 40 new sections have been added for the following reasons:
    • Nearly all of these new sections are verified revelations given through Joseph Smith that simply were never sustained as scripture.
    • Restoration Edition Section 98 is President Hyrum Smith’s epistle to the church.
  • The new D&C also includes an insert in the Appendix called A PROPHET’S PREROGATIVE, an example of an extremely valuable method of comparative study that can significantly help your understanding. The example used is Isaiah 29, and includes an introductory explanation.
  • The Pearl of Great Price – has had its name changed to Pearls of Great Price, reflecting and implying further expansion, and the following portions have been removed, revised or added for the following reasons:
    • (A Proposed Set of) Governing Principles is a rewritten statement of principles and practices – similar to LDS Section 20 – that reflects this assembly’s efforts to preserve the Restoration. This statement is not yet completed. It requires additional inspired input from you.
    • The Articles of Faith have been replaced by The Wentworth Letter that they were copied from, in order to provide context to those articles.
    • Joseph Smith – History has been slightly expanded to the same extent as it was originally published in the Times and Seasons.
    • The Book of Moses and Joseph Smith – Matthew have been removed because they already exist in the New Translation of the Bible and are redundant.
    • The Book of Abraham remains as is.
    • The Revelation of the Testimony of St. John – as given through Denver Snuffer, Jr. – has been added. It will not replace the existing Testimony of St. John found in the New Testament, but will stand as it’s own book.
    • Continuing Revelation – is a section which consists of visions and revelations given through Denver Snuffer, Jr. to be made public. This portion of the Pearls of Great Price is expected to be the place where new revelation will be added as it is received, which, you will see, has already happened.
    • Glossary of Fundamental Terms is at the end of the final volume. Currently it’s blank, except for a single sample definition. We encourage all of you to consider emailing us terms for the glossary using the following criteria:
  1. The definition must be scriptural, not your opinion.
  2. The terms need to be those that are critical to seeing things correctly. LDS and Christian culture have so skewed many religious terms as to render them not just wrong, but spiritually dangerous in that they point people in the wrong direction. This will not become a “bible dictionary,” but is an attempt to explain words as the Lord has intended, not “Gospel speak” or Mormonese.
Given that this body must declare to the Lord what records they intend to hold sacred, a Preview copy of these volumes of the Restoration Edition are available as of right now for download, in PDF, ebook and other requested formats, from www.scriptures.info, an online library that has been established for materials pertinent to the Restoration. There are a number of interesting tools and features that have been developed for this site, but now is not the time to go into them. However, I will say that scriptures.info is specifically built with tools to aid in comparative study. That’s why the Isaiah 29 example is at the back of the D&C – to kickstart you. So take a tour of that important site on your own. Those of you who may have content pertinent to the scriptures that you wish to contribute, those of you who are looking for research material or tools, and those of you who are just curious, be sure to visit the ABOUT page on that site for direction.
A hard copy of each volume is already available for purchase on Amazon.com and Amazon Europe. Search Restoration Scriptures Preview or the title of each work and you should find Vol. 1, 2 and 3. This copy is NOT formatted completely – it still has minor flaws in it. In fact, if you are happy to use the electronic copies that are available, you may want to wait until the scriptures have been sustained and scrubbed before buying a copy, as they may change. A final version will be produced that incorporates any changes sustained by this assembly and has been scrubbed of formatting errors.
Additionally, since Amazon won’t allow us to sell the copies at cost, the minimal royalties from the copies sold will be donated to the temple fund.
A quick side note: The reason the Creative Commons copyright for these scriptures is in my name is only because I am acting as the public face of this project. There are dozens of people that have contributed to it besides me.
A Research version of these scriptures is partially completed and available for download on www.scriptures.info as well. Unlike the printed scriptures, this Research version will remain in electronic form – at least for now – and will differ in the following ways from the print copies:
  • Though retaining the new chapter groupings, all of the books have LDS chapter and verse numbers inserted to allow for easier research and for comparison with other versions of scripture.
  • The JST and D&C include both strikethroughs and additions visible in their original manuscripts.
  • The Book of Mormon footnotes all significant changes from the editions that were published during Joseph Smith’s lifetime. Any editions after his death were not approved by him and therefore have been ignored.
  • Items removed from the printed copy can be preserved in this copy for research purposes, including, for example, section 129.
  • Items of historical or educational significance deemed helpful may be added to this version. Recognize that the Research version is intended to expand details of the sustained scriptures, not supplant them.
We do have plans for a fancier set of scriptures being produced with bible stock paper, leather or faux leather covers, and so forth. That process is already underway, but anyone familiar with the process is invited to email us and lend a hand. I’m not sure of a time frame other than we’d like to have those available by the end of the year. But we won’t print any until after the sustaining conference.
For those who honestly can’t afford around $40 to purchase a set of these scriptures and can’t use electronic copies for now, if you have a local fellowship you meet with, ask them if they can provide you with a set. If they can’t meet your need, please use the email address given to request a set. We have several free sets available for the truly needy that are here at the conference. If there are those in need who could not attend, but would like a copy, please place a request at that same email address and a copy can be sent to you or your local fellowship.
THE NEXT CONFERENCE, which has been mentioned during this announcement, will be held in Boise, ID, Labor Day weekend, September 2-3, with the intent of approving the final content for the Restoration Edition of the scriptures and sustaining that edition as canon for this assembly. Today is the “open to public view” step of the process. Our team simply got the ball rolling. You will now have approximately 6 months to digest, critique and react to what the Lord has offered.
Please carefully consider what is being offered to us. Zion is the Lord’s work. So getting it will not depend on the goodness or desires of men and women, but on their submission to the Lord, who intends to accomplish it. WE can’t force it, cause it, bring it, or hope it into existence. What we can do is submit to the Lord in a way that encourages Him to continue to use us for His purposes. There is no need for an immediate, knee-jerk reaction to this announcement. You will have time to consider all of it before making a decision.
No sustaining or debate of the scriptures will take place during this conference. But your input is necessary and required. An email address has been provided specifically for that purpose. Please use RESTORATIONSCRIPTURES2017@GMAIL.COM to send in questions you have about what has been announced and provided. There likely won’t be enough time tomorrow to answer all the questions that get sent in, but any that aren’t addressed during tomorrow’s Q&A session will be replied to. But there’s no rush. If you have an immediate, burning question, please send it in quickly so that we have time this evening to prepare responses for tomorrow. Also, this same email address will be used over the next 6 months for additional questions and ongoing feedback in preparation for a sustaining conference. So if you don’t have a question or suggestion until June, you can still submit it and it will be addressed. But please refrain from pointing out formatting issues unless it is alarming. We will be combing through the books again to find them all.
If there’s a particular issue in these scriptures that is critical, in your opinion, email your concern and your reasoning to support your argument. It will be posted for others to view and consider. If you think that there is something else that belongs in this edition, feel free to email that suggestion as well. For example you might feel inspired about a principle that needs to be added to the Governing Principles statement. However, realize that what this edition now contains has been under the Lord’s direction for the past year and a half and He has provided, at times, direct input. And there is a rigorous set of questions to assist you in determining whether you should submit new material.
The PRELIMINARY SUBMISSION & CRITIQUE PROCESS works like this:
  1. Questions, suggestions, criticism and requests get submitted to restorationscriptures2017@gmail.com.
  2. From the end of the St. George conference until the 4th of July, a SUBMISSIONS list will be maintained on scriptures.info.
    1. The items on the list will come from emails submitted.
    2. That document will list the specific items that have been pointed out as concerns to be removed, modified or added to the Restoration Edition. The points made by the submitter will also be given. Please be aware that your reasoning will be significantly refined if you submit a long explanation, so keep things brief. And make sure that what you submit is scriptural, not simply personal opinion.
    3. If you have very strong feelings about any of the items on the list, email us and let us know. If you’re fine with what has been proposed today or if you don’t care one way or the other about the items on the list, don’t email us. Only those who are strongly opposed to an existing item or strongly in favor of adding or amending an item should email us during those first few months.
    4. The SUBMISSIONS document will be updated as needed.
  3. As of the 4th of July, a final SUBMISSIONS list will be posted which also includes the total number of emails for/against an item. We will then wipe the slate clean.
    1. From then on, no new items will be added to the list.
    2. People who are strongly advocating or opposing can again email their vote about the item(s).
  4. That new voting period runs from the 4th of July to the end of August.
    1. A final tally will then be taken.
    2. If there is no significant number of emails in opposition of an existing item or advocating a missing item or amendment, that item will be dropped.
    3. And if you email us 6 times, it still only counts as one vote for any item.
Benefits of this process are:
  1. We are using simple, easy to reach technology. Anyone can go online to do this – even if they have to go to a library or a friend to do so. And this can be done from anywhere in the world.
  2. By providing the reason why an item is listed, opposing voices get the chance to be heard and perhaps to persuade.
  3. Doing 2 rounds of voting gives everyone the chance to be persuaded over time and therefore find confidence of their final decision.
  4. Everyone gets an opportunity to be involved if they feel so inclined.
2 CRITICAL POINTS:
  1. Remember that what is important is the message, not the messenger, so focus on the content of this gift, not how it’s delivered.
  2. The most important lesson for our group was expressed in the course of our emailing back and forth. Someone said this: I would rather submit to the decision of the group than insist that my view be followed. For me harmony between brethren is more important than getting what I think best to be followed. I believe harmony can lead to much greater things than can merely enforcement of even a correct view. I know how difficult it is to have a correct view, because of how often I have been corrected by the Lord. Sometimes I am humiliated by my foolishness when the Lord reproves me. Humiliation can lead to humility, but my experience is that the humiliation is accompanied by shame, whereas humility can proceed with a clear conscience. My experience with others leads me to conclude that if we can have one heart first, eventually we can likewise come to have one mind. But if we insist on having one mind at the outset, we may never obtain one heart together.
So I make a request to all of you – from all of us: Kaai sent the team an email 3 weeks ago, just after we had submitted the final volume to our formatter. We had begun to consider this next step. So he wrote: One of the ways to hopefully mitigate the sheer volume of emails will be to encourage fellowships to meet together and come up with a consolidated list of questions/suggestions/ concerns/etc… If there are individuals not associated with a fellowship, then they’ll follow the standard process [on their own]. If they make it a matter of prayer and forethought, first as individuals, then families, then fellowships, and submit in that manner, we may be able to keep the volume manageable. It will allow fellowships to meet together for a directed purpose and importune the Lord for revelation. It will draw them closer together in the bonds of love as indicated in the General Principles preamble and make them accountable to each other for the questions raised. I think it also reinforces the manner in which the Lord would want us to approach any challenge or issue presented.
Please consider these points as you consider what you choose to advocate in the scriptures.
Given the experiences many have had with organized religion, it’s only natural for some people to have an aversion to “official” scriptures. But these volumes are not set in stone; rather, they are presented to you in the appropriate manner, and with sufficient time for the group’s collective review, critique, support, and, possible sustaining. The Lord deals with His people by covenant; accepting these scriptures as comprising the history, teachings, doctrine, and covenants of our faith represents another step in our collective journey towards having our hearts bound together. And this should remain a labor of love and devotion to God. Those involved in this work do not present these volumes with any other expectation than that we are to be called to answer to every principle advanced, and we hope and pray that this continued effort to preserve and honor the word of the Lord will be accepted by Him, and by you.
In closing, I’d like to read a journal entry from one of our team members from Feb 18th:
I checked the scripture email and saw that volume 2 had been formatted and is now ready to print. Upon opening the file and viewing the document I was filled with joy and with the Spirit and was given a prophecy by the spirit saying,
“These scriptures will go to all the world and teach every nation, kindred, tongue, and people, to bring in the children of Israel from the four corners of the earth.”

Friday, March 17, 2017

The Record of Three - Heavenly Fathers (Part 6 of 6)

Heavenly Fathers

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".

Original Version


  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.”
  4. 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.

Conclusion

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

The Record of Three - Sons of God (Part 5 of 6)

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]

Eternal Joy

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

Christs

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?