“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
Paul was describing the apostasy and perilous times of the last days and said, “Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.” 2 Timothy 3:5
Nevertheless, it is encouraging to remember that despite the condemnation, Jesus still claims “The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints” to be his church in the last days, D&C 115:4 I am grateful for the preserved truths still available and the restored gospel offered today. It may call for additional sincere searching to find the original restored gospel and require personal sacrifice to live it. However, His church plays a very important role as the end of the world approaches. He watches over his church and blesses individuals who love Him and keep His commandments.
I am a firm believer of the gospel of Jesus Christ that Joseph Smith restored. When the accounts written prior to Joseph’s death are read, taken at face value, and carefully considered, one begins to realize that the church and its doctrines have changed dramatically.
The outward appearance of the church looks more like mainstream religion, praise and acceptance from the public arena has increased, and some restored key doctrines (i.e., calling and election made sure, receiving the Second Comforter, and individual connection with heaven to obtain power) have been buried and are seldom taught anymore. It may be a surprise and even a bit disturbing to some when they discover that modern Mormonism differs greatly from the church restored through Joseph, the prophet, more than 180 years ago.
Here are just a few of these restored key doctrines:
“The other Comforter spoken of is a subject of great interest, and perhaps understood by few of this generation. After a person has faith in Christ, repents of his sins, and is baptized for the remission of his sins and receives the Holy Ghost, (by the laying on of hands), which is the first Comforter, then let him continue to humble himself before God, hungering and thirsting after righteousness, and living by every word of God, and the Lord will soon say unto him, Son, thou shalt be exalted. When the Lord has thoroughly proved him, and finds that the man is determined to serve Him at all hazards, then the man will find his calling and his election made sure, then it will be his privilege to receive the other Comforter, which the Lord hath promised the Saints, as is recorded in the testimony of St. John, in the 14th chapter, from the 12th to the 27th verses.” TPJS Page 150
“And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever; Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you. I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you. He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him. Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him.” John14:16-18,21,23
“John 14:23—The appearing of the Father and the Son, in that verse, is a personal appearance; and the idea that the Father and the Son dwell in a man’s heart is an old sectarian notion, and is false.” D&C 130:3
“Now what is this other Comforter? It is no more nor less than the Lord Jesus Christ Himself; and this is the sum and substance of the whole matter; that when any man obtains this last Comforter, he will have the personage of Jesus Christ to attend him, or appear unto him from time to time, and even He will manifest the Father unto him, and they will take up their abode with him, and the visions of the heavens will be opened unto him, and the Lord will teach him face to face, and he may have a perfect knowledge of the mysteries of the Kingdom of God; and this is the state and place the ancient Saints arrived at when they had such glorious visions--Isaiah, Ezekiel, John upon the Isle of Patmos, St. Paul in the three heavens, and all the Saints who held communion with the general assembly and Church of the Firstborn.” TPJS Page 150
“That the rights of the priesthood are inseparably connected with the powers of heaven, and that the powers of heaven cannot be controlled nor handled only upon the principles of righteousness.” D&C 121:36
“And thus, having been approved of God, he was ordained an high priest after the order of the covenant which God made with Enoch, It being after the order of the Son of God; which order came, not by man, nor the will of man; neither by father nor mother; neither by beginning of days nor end of years; but of God; And it was delivered unto men by the calling of his own voice, according to his own will, unto as many as believed on his name.” JST Genesis 14:27-29
Does one have to connect with heaven in order to have the fullness of the priesthood? Does one have to be righteous to be able to use the powers of heaven? Where does the fullness come from? Who confers it? God? Angels? Prophets? Men? Others?
Are there people on this earth today that personally commune with heaven? Are there those who have obtained redemption and heavenly promises? Who has received an audience with Jesus Christ? Are there individuals living today that possess the fullness of the holy priesthood as did Joseph Smith, Adam, Noah, Enoch, Lehi, Nephi, Enos, and many others?
How about the rest of us? Do we believe we can see God face to face in mortality? Can this really happen today? Has it happened? Can it happen to common imperfect folk? Even you and me? Is it important to consider this promise from God? Does it matter? If it is available in mortality, how is it accomplished? What sacrifice is required? What is the path to be taken? Does the doctrine of Christ help answer these questions? 2 Nephi 31 How about Nephi’s account of his journey? Does it give additional understanding?
Nephi’s first recorded experience with the Lord is when his heart was softened to believe the Lord’s message Lehi relayed to the family. He didn’t rebel against his father, but went and made known unto his brothers the things which the Lord had manifested unto him by his Holy Spirit. 1 Nephi 2:16-18 Then he received stronger impressions. He listened. He obeyed. His impressions continued. He acted consistent with them. He was able to hear the Lord as he continued on the path. Angels ministered to him and prepared him to receive an audience with the Lord. For a sufficient period of time, he consistently remained true and faithful . After having been prepared and proven, he received an audience with the Lord.
After having experienced what it takes to come into the presence of the Lord, Nephi endeavors to show us the path. At the end of his life, he again teaches the doctrine of Christ 2 Nephi 31. Seeing our response to his words, he is left to mourn and cannot say more. His utterance is stopped because of our unbelief, wickedness, ignorance, and stiffneckedness. 2 Nephi 32:6-7
As I was reading these things, my heart was touched deeper than perhaps ever before. I am persuaded to believe and act in faith upon His promise. He personally ministers to all those who obey the laws required to come into his presence. D&C 130:20-21
Jesus revealed the law, and it pertains to every soul. “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;” D&C 93:1
Anyone can obey His voice and receive the attached blessing to see His face and know Him. It’s just a matter of who truly wants to. Who really desires to make the necessary and acceptable sacrifice of a broken heart and a contrite spirit? D&C 59:8 Who is willing to submit their personal will to obey His will? Luke 22:42 Who has sufficient faith to act upon the laws of God and put his word to the test? Who seeks eternal life and is willing to lay everything required on the altar, watch it burn, be cleansed, not look back, and partake of the Heavenly Gift?