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.


Friday, July 31, 2015

The Followers of Christ Were Baptized Again (Part 3)

If, in the past, some level of apostasy has occurred over and over again, and God has repeatedly corrected and called repentance to His people, and He has consistently given to His servants the authority to baptize and He continually commanded His people to come unto Him and be baptized / re-baptized, could that pattern be repeating itself once again today? Could all this really be happening all over again? As it was with those in the past and as apostasy progressively increases today among ALL churches, would it seem reasonable that, in our time, we have need to repent and face God?

All are guilty of sin and error; All need repentance; And God requires all to receive an acceptable, authorized, and authoritative baptism in order to survive His return.

Would you be willing to read, hear, and learn about God's call of repentance to you? Would you be willing to partake of a rite designed by God to show that you have repented? Whether or not you have been previously baptized, would you be willing to consider receiving baptism / re-baptism today? Would it be valuable for you to have your name on record testifying that you recognize the Word of God, accept His current instructions, are receiving and applying them through repentance, and have been baptized as He advised? Would you be willing to acknowledge baptism as a required sign God has asked us to perform as a witness of our repentance?

The Lord gave us a serious warning: “I say, hearken unto my voice, lest death shall overtake you; in an hour when ye think not the summer shall be past, and the harvest ended, and your souls not saved.” (D&C 45:2.)

Whether you are Catholic, Mormon, Protestant, Methodist, Islam, Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist, Atheist, or any other, would you be willing to learn, believe, and act according to the doctrine of Christ? Referring only to the doctrine of Christ, which He declared, would you consider becoming “one” with Christ and each other, independent of religion, and receiving the baptism now being offered? Would you be interested in reading and considering His Word, understanding more fully the doctrine of Christ, learning more about His offer and commandment of baptism, and being baptized by one, who has authority given him of Jesus Christ?

If you are interested, here is some information that may be helpful:

  • Doctrine of Christ
      3 Nephi 11:31-40
      2 Nephi 31:5 through 2 Nephi 32:6
      D&C 10:67-68
      Moses 6:50-68

  • Learn more about the baptism now being offered, for which the Lord vouches:
  • Receiving baptism by one, who has authority given him of Jesus Christ:

      Almost 41 years ago, I was baptized in the LDS church by my father and the words of the baptismal prayer were, “Having been commissioned of Jesus Christ, I baptize you ...”

      Recently, I was able to identify, recognize, and receive His Word delivered by a true messenger from the presence of God. A servant, for whom the Lord vouches, teaches the truth with power, knows what he is talking about, and clearly declares the message as Christ directs it, which is independent of churches, religious authorities, public opinions, and “politically correct” views.

      In our society, the Word of God is almost always unpopular, criticized, and rejected. When I was being taught about some of my abominations, iniquities, and misunderstandings, I was surprised when I learned what I needed to do to repent. After receiving communication from God and having a few “scales of darkness” fall from my eyes, I saw that I had things upside down and backwards. I could see why Nephi would say, “Wo unto them that call evil good, and good evil, that put darkness for light, and light for darkness, that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!” (2 Nephi 15:20)

      I was called to repentance and instructed to be re-baptized by one with authority.

      Recognizing that apostasy in the LDS church had reached a point, which was unacceptable to God, and acknowledging the fact that my baptism, from the Lord's point of view, was no longer considered sufficient, the necessity to be re-baptized became extremely clear to me. I sought out and found an individual, who had authority given him of Jesus Christ, to baptize me using the words that Jesus instructed in 3 Nephi 11:25. During the month of September of 2014, I was re-baptized. My friend, calling me by name (my first name, or the name by which I am best known by my closest friends, not including my middle or last name) and saying, “Having authority given me of Jesus Christ, I baptize you ...”, immersed me in the water, and I came forth again out of the water. This is what I recorded after my baptism:

      For the last two days, Satan has worked hard on me. He did not want me to be re-baptized. I felt extremely “blah” and weak. He attempted to persuade me that my new baptism wouldn't count. I cast out evil entities and told Satan to depart, and his influence was not welcome. As time drew nearer, I felt terribly disturbed, frustrated, and agitated. I refused to succumb to the Satanic stupidity and moved forward anyway. Contrary to my experience, my family members all seemed very excited and at peace about going to be re-baptized. It was very difficult for me, even as I was entering the water, but I continued believing the truth, cast out falsehood, and trusted in God. When I came up out of the water, I felt extremely happy and pleased and at peace, especially so after feeling an evil presence the previous two days. I am very satisfied and feel that my baptism by water is complete. I came out of the water full of joy, smiling and looking to heaven. I saw with my eyes clouds and a beautiful overcast sky, but felt and said out loud, “God is here”. I am not a man of many words, but God was with me and completely reversed my inside feelings from extreme “blah”, sadness, hopelessness, and doubt to extreme happiness, peace, faith, gladness, and hope. From the time of entering the water to the time I came out of the water was like night and day. What a change!!

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

The Followers of Christ Were Baptized Again (Part 2)

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)

Apostasy occurred among the Jews, the Jaredites, the Nephites, the people under the reign of king Noah and a number of others throughout history. Could apostasy happen among us today? Is it possible for destruction to fall upon us, the United States, all Gentile nations and religions, and every unrepentant soul, who rejects the Word of God? (3 Nephi 21:20-21; 29:1-9)
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

Sunday, July 26, 2015

The Followers of Christ Were Baptized Again (Part 1)

Reading from the Book of Mormon, let's take a closer look at the Nephite society just prior to Christ's ministry among the people. Let's observe the changes that occurred over a short period of time and the resulting outcomes. Take note of what was manifested, their social characteristics, values, beliefs, and common every day living. It is interesting to observe their levels of faith exercised and manifested by their works performed and spiritual assignments completed …. or not. Notice any ordinances performed and their significance and meaning. (See 3 Nephi 6,7)

  • 28th year: Continual peace. Life seems stable and happy.
  • 29th Year: Disputings, pride, boastings, exceedingly great riches, great persecutions, many merchants, lawyers, and officers, distinguished by ranks according to their riches and their chances for learning, some lifted up in pride, others were exceedingly humble, railing, persecution, all manner of afflictions, church began to be broken up. (3 Nephi 6:9-14)
  • 30th Year: Church was broken up in all the land save it were among a few of the Lamanites who were converted unto the true faith. Satan had great power to stir the people: iniquity, pride, seek power, authority, riches, vain things of the world, lost peace, state of awful wickedness, did willfully rebel against God (3 Nephi 6:14-18) Men inspired from heaven sent forth preaching, testifying boldly of the sins and iniquities of the people. Many people angered exceedingly against the messengers of God, but chiefly the chief judges, high priests, and lawyers. God's messengers were accused, judged, and secretly put to death contrary to the laws of the land. Secret combinations of friends, kindreds, and almost all the lawyers and high priests did unite and covenant, which covenant was given and administered by the devil, to combine against all righteousness and to deliver the guilty murderers from the grasp of justice. And they set at defiance the law and rights of their country. (3 Nephi 6:19-30) Murdered the chief judge. The people separated into tribes. The government and the regulations of the government were destroyed. Great contention reigned and few righteous men remained among them. Jacob, who became a king over this wicked band, was one of the chiefest who had given his voice against the prophets who testified of Jesus. Jacob and the wicked band did take flight out of the land (3 Nephi 7:1-13)
  • 31st Year: They were divided into tribes, every man according to his family, kindred and friends. Not united as to their laws and their manner of government. Strict laws that one tribe should not trespass against another. Their hearts were turned from the Lord their God, and they did stone the prophets and did cast them out from among them. Nephi, having been visited by angels and also the voice of the Lord and having had power given unto him that he might know concerning the ministry of Christ, began to testify boldly repentance and remission of sins through faith on the Lord Jesus Christ. And Nephi did minister with power and with great authority. The people were angry with him, even because he had greater power than they, for it were not possible that they could disbelieve his words, for so great was his faith on the Lord Jesus Christ that angels did minister unto him daily. And in the name of Jesus did he cast out devils and unclean spirits; and even his brother did he raise from the dead, after he had been stoned and suffered death by the people. And the people saw it, and did witness of it, and were angry with him because of his power; and he did also do many more miracles, in the sight of the people, in the name of Jesus. And it came to pass that the thirty and first year did pass away, and there were but few who were converted unto the Lord; but as many as were converted did truly signify unto the people that they had been visited by the power and Spirit of God, which was in Jesus Christ, in whom they believed. (3 Nephi 7:14-21)
  • 32nd and 33rd Years: Devils cast out, many healed of their sicknesses and their infirmities, wrought upon by the Spirit of God, miracles among the people. Nephi did cry unto the people and did preach unto them repentance and remission of sins. There were none who were brought unto repentance who were not baptized with water. Therefore, there were ordained of Nephi, men unto this ministry, that all such as should come unto them should be baptized with water, and this as a witness and a testimony before God, and unto the people, that they had repented and received a remission of their sins. Many were baptized unto repentance during the 33rd year. (3 Nephi 7:22-26)
  • Take note that early during Nephi's ministry, few were converted unto the Lord, but toward the end of the “window of opportunity” many repented and were baptized with water, as a witness and testimony before God that they were willing to keep His commandments. The people, who were converted, recognized the true messenger as he delivered the Word of God. He called repentance and spoke regarding their wickedness and abominations, the hardness of their hearts, and the blindness of their minds. God's message also denounced their disputings, pride, exceedingly great riches, persecutions, afflictions, and being distinguished by ranks according to their riches and their chances for learning. Not only did they recognize and acknowledge their wickedness and errors, but they changed their ways, repented, faced God, and witnessed obedience by baptism.

Approximately two years later, Christ visited these same people, who had earlier accepted the Word of God delivered through a true messenger. These people had previously repented, faced God, and were baptized, but now the previous dispensation was closing and Christ was opening the new. For years, Nephi had been testifying boldly, preaching the doctrine of Christ, ministering, and baptizing. Yet, when Christ appeared and gave further instructions, the authoritative baptisms done earlier by Nephi and others were no longer sufficient, therefore, they were to be baptized again. Jesus Christ gave Nephi and others power to baptize in the new dispensation. The same individuals who had received baptism earlier were re-baptized anew, a sign of belief in Christ and faith in His teachings, instructions, and Word.

Here is the record of Christ's instructions and the words of Christ spoken to Nephi (the same man) : “And it came to pass that he spake unto Nephi (for Nephi was among the multitude) and he commanded him that he should come forth. And Nephi arose and went forth, and bowed himself before the Lord and did kiss his feet. And the Lord commanded him that he should arise. And he arose and stood before him. And the Lord said unto him: I give unto you power that ye shall baptize this people when I am again ascended into heaven. And again the Lord called others, and said unto them likewise; and he gave unto them power to baptize. And he said unto them: On this wise shall ye baptize; and there shall be no disputations among you. Verily I say unto you, that whoso repenteth of his sins through your words, and desireth to be baptized in my name, on this wise shall ye baptize them—Behold, ye shall go down and stand in the water, and in my name shall ye baptize them. And now behold, these are the words which ye shall say, calling them by name, saying: Having authority given me of Jesus Christ, I baptize you in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. Amen. And then shall ye immerse them in the water, and come forth again out of the water.” (3 Nephi 11:18-26.)

Whenever God sends a message, either by His own voice or by the voice of His servants, re-baptism is the precise way to accept the message and, therefore, is a continuing gospel principle to be practiced. The same individuals, who were authoritatively baptized at an earlier date, later received a message from God and were re-baptized to witness to the Father their willingness to accept the message and to obey His commandments. God's work can be seen through patterns.

Another example of this pattern of re-baptism is portrayed through the account of Alma in the courts of King Noah. After hearing God's call of repentance and a warning delivered through His servant Abinadi, Alma, a priest and leader in the religious hierarchy, believed the disturbing prophecy and the testimony of an unknown man, who did not possess church authority, religious credentials, or impressive social status but served as an unpopular messenger of God. Alma heard, received, gave heed to, and wrote the Word of God. His sins were made evident to him and his conscience was pierced with guilt and wickedness. Abinadi had exposed the iniquities and errors of King Noah, his kingdom, and his people. Alma recognized that his own priestly work, adorned with religious authority in the courts of King Noah, was not acceptable to God and would not work. Therefore, he spoke up, pled with the king hoping to save the life of Abinadi, was cast out from among them, witnessed the anger of king Noah, ran for his life, and “got out of Dodge”!

“Alma, who had fled from the servants of king Noah, repented of his sins and iniquities, and went about privately among the people, and began to teach the words of Abinadi” (Mosiah 18:1)
Apparently, Alma had a change of heart and chose to repent and face God, instead of yielding to men and institutions, or succumbing to the attractive offers of the world, including power, authority, influence, prestige, fame, and money. He proceeded by teaching others the message of God, receiving Christ's authority to re-baptize, and then re-baptizing others in the waters of Mormon. (Mosiah 18)

Another example of the baptism / re-baptism pattern shows up in this interesting verse where the Lord is speaking to Mormon. “And it came to pass that the Lord did say unto me: Cry unto this people—Repent ye, and come unto me, and be ye baptized, and build up again my church, and ye shall be spared." (Mormon 3:2 bold, underline added)

Yet another and latter-day example is shown during the early years of the LDS church. Re-baptism was practiced in Mormonism during the time of Joseph Smith as a sign of repentance and acceptance. Re-baptism was further practiced during the leadership of Brigham Young.

This baptism / re-baptism pattern plays out again and again. Every time God sends a message to His people, either by His own voice or by the voice of His servants, re-baptism is manifested and practiced as a sound principle of the gospel. It is God's way for His people to accept His message of repentance. Re-baptism is the action used to manifest recognition of wickedness, error, iniquity, or any sin, of which an individual becomes aware. By accepting God's message and being re-baptized, a person is showing belief in the Word of God and exercising faith in the doctrine of Christ (3 Nephi 11:31-40; 2 Nephi 31:5-21, 32:1-6; D&C 10:67-68). They neither add to it nor take away from the doctrine of Christ. According to scriptural accounts, this pattern of baptism / re-baptism occurs time and time again. In each case, apostasy from God is apparent and His correction and a call of repentance is manifested. The ordinance of baptism / re-baptism is a sign of faith in Christ and the proper way to show acceptance of God's work and His current work and doings in each / this generation.

“Turn, all ye Gentiles, from your wicked ways; and repent of your evil doings, of your lyings and deceivings, and of your whoredoms, and of your secret abominations, and your idolatries, and of your murders, and your priestcrafts, and your envyings, and your strifes, and from all your wickedness and abominations, and come unto me, and be baptized in my name, that ye may receive a remission of your sins, and be filled with the Holy Ghost, that ye may be numbered with my people who are of the house of Israel.” (3 Nephi 30:2)

The Lord clearly states that baptism is necessary in order to be saved. One is not able to enter the kingdom of God without being born of water and of the Spirit (John 3:5, 3 Nephi 11:38) “Therefore come and be baptized unto repentance, that ye may be washed from your sins, that ye may have faith on the Lamb of God, who taketh away the sins of the world, who is mighty to save and to cleanse from all unrighteousness. (Alma 7:14)

The Book of Mormon, which contains “the fulness of the gospel of Jesus Christ” (D&C 20:9), informs us concerning baptism, clarifies what is required by the Lord, explains His commandments to be obeyed, and displays His example to be followed.

“And now, if the Lamb of God, he being holy, should have need to be baptized by water, to fulfil all righteousness, O then, how much more need have we, being unholy, to be baptized, yea, even by water! And now, I would ask of you, my beloved brethren, wherein the Lamb of God did fulfil all righteousness in being baptized by water? Know ye not that he was holy? But notwithstanding he being holy, he showeth unto the children of men that, according to the flesh he humbleth himself before the Father, and witnesseth unto the Father that he would be obedient unto him in keeping his commandments. Wherefore, after he was baptized with water the Holy Ghost descended upon him in the form of a dove. And again, it showeth unto the children of men the straitness of the path, and the narrowness of the gate, by which they should enter, he having set the example before them. And he said unto the children of men: Follow thou me. Wherefore, my beloved brethren, can we follow Jesus save we shall be willing to keep the commandments of the Father? And the Father said: Repent ye, repent ye, and be baptized in the name of my Beloved Son." (2 Nephi 31:5-11)

“Yea, repent and be baptized, every one of you, for a remission of your sins; yea, be baptized even by water, and then cometh the baptism of fire and of the Holy Ghost. Behold, verily, verily, I say unto you, this is my gospel; and remember that they shall have faith in me or they can in nowise be saved;” (D&C 33:11-12)

Therefore, we should have no question about whether or not baptism is fundamentally essential and plays an indispensable part of the gospel of Jesus Christ (D&C 39:6). Christ has repeatedly and unequivocally declared that an individual must repent and be baptized to inherit the kingdom of God.

Thinking or assuming “all is well in zion”, some may say, “I am saved. I have already been baptized by one with authority. No need to worry about me! You should actually go talk with the other guy.” But, what if the Lord sent a recent message? What if a servant of God speaks today? What if apostasy has occurred in a church that once had His authority to baptize? What if the religious organization, in which Christ has previously accepted the ordinance of baptism  has lost connection with God and no longer has His support? What if God no longer vouches for the baptisms performed therein? What if the church is now considered by Christ to be in apostasy, under condemnation, can no longer claim to be His church, and has lost the authority to perform correct, legal, and authoritative baptisms? What would that mean to you?

Therefore, some key personal questions may arise: Have I been baptized unto the Lord according to His current instructions? Is there something going on here? What have I missed? Do I need to update my understanding with God? Today, as the Lord is preparing for His return, does my baptism currently count? Does my baptism sufficiently qualify with the Lord? Here and now in this moment in time, is my baptism sufficent for me to be spared? Or is it necessary that I become acquainted with His latest Word, receive it, repent, and be re-baptized? What is my spiritual state and how do I currently stand with God?

… to be continued

Saturday, July 25, 2015

The Message is in the Symbol

Symbols are a very powerful way to communicate a message. Symbols and parables often make known something that is not spelled out in words.

When I saw the LDS July 2015 New Era cover, a message was communicated to me. The Supreme Court’s landmark decision to make same-sex marriage an equal right set in motion “rainbow everything”.

To see the LDS temples portrayed in a rainbow theme, sends the message that LGBT marriages will soon have equal rights within the LDS temples.

Thursday, July 16, 2015

“Entering the Rest of the Lord” Question

A little over a year ago on Sunday, July 13, 2014, a friend of mine asked a sincere question in Priesthood meeting. It was brushed off rather quickly and was not really answered, at least from my point of view. Here is part of my e-mail response to my friend:

… In our priesthood meeting, we superficially covered some key doctrines of salvation and I’ve been thinking about them. Your question posed, which was something like, “Can a person entering the rest of the Lord happen in mortality or only after death?”, is not only insightful and worth asking, but it is significantly vital to fully understand the gospel of Jesus Christ.

During class we discussed, at least in part, Elder Zwick’s talk entitled, “Enter into the Rest of the Lord”, in which he focused on the teachings of Alma in the Book of Mormon. Reading Alma 13 at face value, a few questions arose that may be worth considering.

Who was it that ordained priests, after his holy order, which was after the order of his Son?

Was it God the Father? Men? Some other source?

For what purpose were they ordained after the order of his Son?

What were the qualifications to be ordained to this order?

Was the foreknowledge of God, on account of their exceeding faith and good works based on superficial hope or on actual witnessed past performance?

If it was past performance, where did it happen? When did it occur?

In what state is it possible to exercise exceeding faith and good works?

Can exceeding faith and good works be manifested and put to test in the presence of God or is mortality behind the veil needed to exercise exceeding faith and good works?

Is sanctification, white garments, and being pure and spotless necessary to enter into His rest?

What is His rest? (D&C 84:24)

Have these chosen ones already entered His rest?

Is entering His rest a requirement to be called by this holy calling, and ordained unto the high priesthood of the holy order of God, to teach his commandments unto the children of men, that they also might enter into his rest?

Holy calling? Who calls?

Holy ordinance? Who ordains?

Holy order? Whose order?

High priests forever, after the order of the Son, the Only Begotten of the Father?

What does it mean that ye should humble yourselves before God, and bring forth fruit meet for repentance, that ye may also enter into that rest?

How did Melchizedek, who was also a high priest after this same order and who also took upon him the high priesthood forever, receive the office of the high priesthood according to the holy order of God? (See JST Genesis 14:25-40)

Did Melchizedek obtain the Holy order from God Himself?

By His own voice?

Is this manner consistent among all those who receive the Holy order?

What order of the priesthood do we possess when we associate with and are ordained by men?

What order of the priesthood do we possess when we associate with and are ordained by angels?

What order of the priesthood do we possess when we associate with and are ordained by Christ?

What order of the priesthood do we possess when we associate with and are ordained by God, the Father?

Is association with men the same order as association with the powers of heaven?

Is there a difference?

Does it matter?

What order of the priesthood do we obtain in the LDS church when we are ordained Deacons? Teachers? Priests? Elders? High Priests? Seventies? Apostles?

Who ordains us?

From which order are we reckoned?

With whom do we associate?

What order of the priesthood do we possess?

Do we hold the priesthood described in D&C 84:19-25 and D&C 107:18-19?

Do we hold the greater priesthood, which administereth the gospel and holdeth the key of the mysteries of the kingdom, even the key of the knowledge of God?

Do we possess the order of the priesthood to see the face of God, even the Father, and live?

Do we have the privilege of receiving the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, to have the heavens opened unto us, to commune with the general assembly and church of the Firstborn, and to enjoy the communion and presence of God the Father, and Jesus the mediator of the new covenant?

If we currently possess this greater priesthood, why do few see the face of God, even the Father, and live?

If this greater priesthood is among us, why do so few have the heavens opened and commune with Jehovah?

Would it be a possibility that almost everyone on earth do not possess the fullness of the priesthood today?

Since the fullness of the priesthood was lost as of January 1841 (See D&C 124:28), is there any record or evidence in the Church today that it has been restored since then?

If it has been restored, where is the proof and how do we know?

If it has not been restored, is that a problem?

What order of the priesthood do we actually possess today?

Is that worth considering and finding the truth?