The previous post addressed multiple examples of people living in states of apostasy and being corrected and called to repentance by God and His servants. Some repented, exercised faith by facing God and obeying His Word, and participated in the ordinance of baptism / re-baptism. This ordinance was the required sign God asked as a sign of repentance. Further, the post ended by posing questions with regard to your true state and standing with God. Is your baptism current? As of today, from God's perspective, is your baptism sufficiently valid to qualify you to be spared for the Lord's 2nd coming?
This is where it gets somewhat interesting. Who was it that was spared when Christ came to the Nephites in America? Who is it that will be spared in our day, just prior to His return? Could it be possible that the qualifications Christ required of those to be spared for His 1st coming are the same qualifications He requires of us today to be spared for His 2nd coming? What kind of individuals were able to remain until Jesus came to minister unto them? What type of individuals must we be in order to remain until Jesus comes to minister unto us? What characteristics, beliefs, faith, actions, or ordinances were common among those who were spared? How about us, here and now? What did/does it take for an individual to be prepared to receive the Lord?
Surprising, startling, astonishing, amazing … Can you believe it? The ones spared were they who identified, recognized, and received true messengers and obeyed the Word of God. “... it was they who received the prophets and stoned them not; and it was they who had not shed the blood of the saints, who were spared.” (3 Nephi 10:12-13)
Do you suppose the ones spared for His 2nd coming will be those who have received (or will soon receive) prophets and stone them not; and it will be they who do not shed the blood of the saints? If this is in fact the case, wouldn't it be helpful to know who the prophets are and what they say? For goodness sake, wouldn't it be wise to identify the Word of God and His messengers? Does it seem reasonable to search and find the genuine, authentic, and reliable witnesses of Christ, who have received the testimony of Jesus, which is the spirit of prophecy? (Revelation 19:10)
Would you be interested in knowing priests of the Most High God, after the order of Melchizedek, which was after the order of Enoch, which was after the order of the Only Begotten Son? Does it seem important for you to find such a servant of God, who seeks the welfare of zion and points in the right direction without expecting a “red seat”, money $$, stipends, benefits, or the praise of men? Would you consider proceeding further ahead to find a servant, who teaches the Word of God, warns, calls repentance, prophesies, knows what he is talking about, and clearly declares the message exactly as God directs, without freelancing and sending you an invoice or “expected donations”? Do you have a desire to know God and to embrace His undiluted truth?
Do you find the answers to these questions to be important, needed, and necessary, or is it just a waste of time to seek such redundant and foolish things? From your point of view, is it necessary to find God and His message to you? Is it required? Critical? Crucial? Essential? Pivotal? Indispensable? If there is a true prophet with a distinct message directly from God, would it be wise to have an ear to hear? Would it seem logical to give heed to the message? If in fact it is the same, whether it is delivered by His own voice or by the voice of His servants, would it, therefore, seem beneficial to believe and obey God's instructions and give heed to His Word delivered through His servants?
Or does it, perhaps, appear to be a strange thing in the land, a wild man, who has come among us?! (Moses 6:37-39) Is this state of affairs “out of order”? Dangerous? Unsafe? Speculative? Risky? Has apostasy encroached upon us? Does this message seem almost insane, beyond irritation, and something you had never previously considered nor participated in? Is this coming from God or a crazy lunatic? Is it worth considering and asking God about it or would you be better off to get rid of this “deceived unbalanced mad man”, reject the message, and stone him? (defame, denigrate, cast out, excommunicate, reject, and curse him?)
What about doing similar actions to the saints who receive the prophet, believe the Word of God, and act upon the message delivered? Will our individual choices made in these matters determine our situation and outcome in the impending forthcoming destruction? Would it be worth it to hear His Word and act upon it? If you fail to give heed to and act upon His Word, will your soul be in jeopardy? Would you potentially be forfeiting your salvation and be facing the risk of destruction?
At the time of Christ, the Jews were in apostasy. The Scribes and the Pharisees, who sat in Moses’ seat (Matthew 23:2), were the General Authorities of the church, controlled the temple, corrupted the kingdom of the Jews, led the people astray, and later condemned, sentenced, and crucified Christ.
In that day, John the Baptist “was ordained by the angel of God at the time he was eight days old unto this power, to overthrow the kingdom of the Jews, and to make straight the way of the Lord before the face of his people, to prepare them for the coming of the Lord, in whose hand is given all power.” (D&C 84:28)
Similarly, could it be possible for our society and churches to be in deep apostasy, and therefore, God deems it necessary to send a messenger with a message that invokes a call of repentance to the leaders, the kingdom, and the people? What could be expected if a gentile nation, while living in the promised land today, denounced and rejected the God of this land? What if modern churches apostatized from God, falsely claimed His authority, modified church laws and protocols, preached alternative commandments, changed the ordinances, used His name in vain, and led the people astray and away from God?
In his youth, Joseph Smith was unsure about religions, asked God questions, and received answers to his prayer in 1820. In part, here it is: 'I was answered that I must join none of them, for they were all wrong; and the Personage who addressed me said that all their creeds were an abomination in his sight; that those professors were all corrupt; that: “they draw near to me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me, they teach for doctrines the commandments of men, having a form of godliness, but they deny the power thereof.” ' (Joseph Smith History 1:19) Could this verse, pronounced nearly 200 years ago, perfectly be describing and reflecting today's condition and state of affairs.
If that is actually the case in our day, would you find it reasonable to be expecting to encounter another messenger sent from the presence God and ordained with power to overthrow the apostate kingdom of the Gentiles, and to make straight the way of the Lord before the face of his people, to prepare them for the coming of the Lord? In our day, could we sensibly and intelligently expect His servant to be much like John the Baptist, who “wrested the keys, the kingdom, the power, the glory from the Jews, by the holy anointing and decree of heaven"? (Joseph Smith, History of the Church, 5:260-261)
Presently, in our day, if God has ordained a servant with power to overthrow the kingdom of the Gentiles, and to make straight the way of the Lord before the face of his people, would that mean that ALL churches, even though each possesses some truth, are corrupt and abominable in His sight, and therefore, God will choose to make straight His way, correct the errors of men, prepare those who hear His voice, and call repentance to all earthly religions, churches, institutions, and groups, including Catholics, Mormons, Protestants, Methodists, Islams and the rest, not to exclude those with titles such as Presidents, Governors, Popes, Priests, Kings, Leaders, Officers, Representatives, Prophets, Apostles, Bishops, Guides, Guardians, Escorts, Protectors, Lawyers, Judges, Advocates, Advisers, Trustees, Professionals, Ministers, Clergymen, Reverends, Pastors, Teachers, Evangelists and so forth. All are guilty; All are being called to repentance today.
Now, I am not highly familiar with most religions of the world, their claims, teachings, or codes of conduct. Nevertheless, I believe they are among those that are wrong, possess creeds that are an abomination in God's sight, and “they draw near to me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me, they teach for doctrines the commandments of men, having a form of godliness, but they deny the power thereof.”
However, being a current member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, being very familiar with their tenets, beliefs, and rules, and being an eyewitness of significant changes in LDS church curriculum, beliefs, dogmas, and ordinances over the last 40 + years since I was first baptized, I am going to pose some questions to you that I have asked myself while I have been learning more.
Would you consider it as a possibility that the Church of Christ in 1831, under the direction of Christ Himself through the prophet Joseph Smith, who communed with Jehovah, was indeed “the only true and living church upon the face of the whole earth, with which I, the Lord, am well pleased, speaking unto the church collectively and not individually”? (D&C 1:30) As time passed and significant changes occurred, does the status of the church remain the same with God? By coming under condemnation in 1832 (D&C 84:54-57), loosing the fullness of the priesthood (D&C 124:28), rejecting God's offer (D&C 124:28-48) (to come personally and restore that which was lost and protect the saints from being moved out of their place), and witnessing the death of both Joseph and Hyrum Smith on June 27, 1844, I submit that the church is no longer considered by the Lord to be “the only true and living church upon the face of the whole earth, with which I, the Lord, am well pleased”. Has this result come about because the church's connection to God was essentially cut off at Joseph's death? Has this actually occurred? Is it accurate to say that much was lost, and therefore, the LDS church possesses less light & truth, decreased revelations, and lower priesthood power than beforehand. Is it reasonable to seriously consider this possibility?
On the other hand, the Catholics claim receiving power and authority from Peter and the LDS church claims receiving the fullness of the priesthood from Joseph. Did that really happen? Is it sensible to consider this possibility? Catholics claim power from Peter and Mormons claim priesthood from Joseph, but the succeeding popes and prophets of these two churches do not claim coming into the presence of God and being ordained by God himself. Joseph taught, “All prophets [after Moses] had the Melchizedek Priesthood and were ordained by God himself”. (TPJS, p. 181) Joseph communed with Jehovah and testified of personally conversing with the Lord through the veil (D&C 76:14) and being ordained by God himself. (D&C 132:45-50) If, from God's point of view, the state and condition of the LDS church has in fact changed, what does that mean to you today?
Are you aware of anyone, during the God-given “window of opportunity” (Opening January 1841 and closing in June 1844), who rose up and claimed possession of God's offer? Is there any record or definitive declaration whatsoever of such a claim or restoration of the lost priesthood? During the 3 ½ year “sufficient time”, is there any evidence that God's offer was fulfilled or priesthood restored by God, Himself? If no one took God up on His offer or received it and there is, in fact, absolutely no record or testimony of anyone regarding the fullness of the priesthood being restored, what does that suggest to you?
If God no longer claims the LDS church to be “the only true and living church upon the face of the whole earth, with which I, the Lord, am well pleased”, is the LDS church true and living today? Partly true? Partly living? Or mostly false and dead? What does that mean? Are LDS creeds an abomination in His sight? Are Mormon professors, authorities, and organizations corrupt? Do “they draw near to me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me, they teach for doctrines the commandments of men, having a form of godliness, but they deny the power thereof”? Is the church still under condemnation today? How could the church and it's members be redeemed from this on-going and perhaps increasing condemnation? (D&C 84:54-57) (President Benson Conference talk)
Could you, perhaps, accept the fact that the LDS Church in 2015 and the restoration through Joseph Smith are almost complete polar opposites and are progressively becoming less in harmony with decreasing congruence? Would you be willing to consider the possibility that you have gone astray, have been led by dishonest institutions and corrupt deceiving religious leaders, and have wrongly followed men who claim to be His prophets, seers, and revelators, but have seen nothing!? Have these false seers seduced the people, saying, Peace; and there was no peace? Have they spoken a vision of their own heart, and not out of the mouth of the Lord? “. . . in the latter days ye shall consider it perfectly. I have not sent these prophets, yet they ran: I have not spoken to them, yet they prophesied” (Jeremiah 23:20-21)
Are you able to recognize and acknowledge that the rich, attractive, charismatic men and the bonafide, convincing, business-like quorum of the twelve, and even Thomas Monson, president and principle head chief top-dog leading sole all-inclusive “keyholder” of the LDS church, do not possess the keys to your salvation, but instead, they attempt to position themselves between you and Christ (the keeper of the gate - 2 Nephi 9:41), sell their purported “keys” for money, and practice priestcrafts in the church and among the people?
What is God's perspective of the church hierarchy and LDS authorities practicing priestcraft by preaching and setting themselves up for a light unto the world, that they may get gain and praise of the world; but they seek not the welfare of Zion? (2 Nephi 26:29) Would it surprise you to witness upcoming changes in the LDS church in an effort to appear as another mainstream religion? Would you be startled or disturbed by uncovering persuasive new information and discovering undeniable facts that point directly to the progressive acceleration of LDS Church apostasy? What consequences will likely follow? Is this something to seriously consider?
… to be continued