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, February 17, 2017

A Cloud of Deception

At the end of December I felt impressed to be more diligent in teaching our children the Word of God. I also started a blog dedicated to Teaching the Book of Mormon to Children. The children are learning, but I have benefited the most from this exercise in faith. As I seek to find ways to teach the Book of Mormon to each child at their level, I am learning in a new and expanded way. As I study the chapter from a preschool, elementary, teenage, and young adult point of view, I am noticing significant things that I glossed over in my personal study. Many times a post on A Little Peace in Paradise is inspired by the lessons learned while teaching the children.

This post comes from lessons learned while studying Alma 47. Many more questions are asked on the Teenage Challenge Questions – Alma 47 post. If you take the time to read through the teenage challenge questions, this blog post will have more meaning. At least read through and become familiar with the story found in Alma 47 before answering the questions below.

Here is the back-story to Alma 47.

Amalickiah seeks to be king of the Nephites. He is supported by lower judges of the land, who are also seeking for power. Moroni raises the title of liberty. Amalickiah flees with a small number of his men, and goes over and stirs the Lamanites up to anger against the Nephites. (see Alma 46)

Watch how Amalickiah uses anger, fear, flattery, lust for power, and revenge to manipulate the Lamanites and accomplish his design. Because the Lamanites are governed by these emotions, it is easy for Amalickiah to control them. A cloud of deception impairs their vision and they fall for Amalickiah's hypocrisy. There is a powerful lesson for me in this story.

1 Now we will return in our record to Amalickiah and those who had fled with him into the wilderness; for, behold, he had taken those who went with him, and went up in the land of Nephi among the Lamanites, and did stir up the Lamanites to anger against the people of Nephi, insomuch that the king of the Lamanites sent a proclamation throughout all his land, among all his people, that they should gather themselves together again to go to battle against the Nephites.

What would have happened if the king of the Lamanites wasn't stirred up to anger? What would have been the result if the king had not lusted for power over the Nephites?

2 And it came to pass that when the proclamation had gone forth among them they were exceedingly afraid; yea, they feared to displease the king, and they also feared to go to battle against the Nephites lest they should lose their lives. And it came to pass that they would not, or the more part of them would not, obey the commandments of the king.
3 And now it came to pass that the king was wroth because of their disobedience; therefore he gave Amalickiah the command of that part of his army which was obedient unto his commands, and commanded him that he should go forth and compel them to arms.

What emotion was motivating the Lamanite's decision? What would have happened if the king listened to his people and did not seek to control them? Did Amalickiah ignite and sooth the king's wrath by stirring the king up to anger and then providing a solution to the king's problems? While the king was caught in his anger, was he open to Amalickiah's suggestions? Is this how Amalickiah got command of the king's army?

4 Now behold, this was the desire of Amalickiah; for he being a very subtle man to do evil therefore he laid the plan in his heart to dethrone the king of the Lamanites.
5 And now he had got the command of those parts of the Lamanites who were in favor of the king; and he sought to gain favor of those who were not obedient; therefore he went forward to the place which was called Onidah, for thither had all the Lamanites fled; for they discovered the army coming, and, supposing that they were coming to destroy them, therefore they fled to Onidah, to the place of arms.
6 And they had appointed a man to be a king and a leader over them, being fixed in their minds with a determined resolution that they would not be subjected to go against the Nephites.
7 And it came to pass that they had gathered themselves together upon the top of the mount which was called Antipas, in preparation to battle. Alma 47

Why did the Lamanites flee to Mount Antipas? What emotion was guiding them? How determined were they in their resolution not to go against the Nephites to battle? How did Amalickiah get them to change their minds?

[Alma 48]
1 And now it came to pass that, as soon as Amalickiah had obtained the kingdom he began to inspire the hearts of the Lamanites against the people of Nephi; yea, he did appoint men to speak unto the Lamanites from their towers, against the Nephites.
2 And thus he did inspire their hearts against the Nephites, insomuch that in the latter end of the nineteenth year of the reign of the judges, he having accomplished his designs thus far, yea, having been made king over the Lamanites, he sought also to reign over all the land, yea, and all the people who were in the land, the Nephites as well as the Lamanites.
3 Therefore he had accomplished his design, for he had hardened the hearts of the Lamanites and blinded their minds, and stirred them up to anger, insomuch that he had gathered together a numerous host to go to battle against the Nephites.

How did Amalickiah control them? How did he harden their hearts and blind their minds? If they hadn't allowed themselves to be stirred up to anger, would Amalickiah have had any power over them?

[Back to Alma 47]
8 Now it was not Amalickiah’s intention to give them battle according to the commandments of the king; but behold, it was his intention to gain favor with the armies of the Lamanites, that he might place himself at their head and dethrone the king and take possession of the kingdom.
9 And behold, it came to pass that he caused his army to pitch their tents in the valley which was near the mount Antipas.
10 And it came to pass that when it was night he sent a secret embassy into the mount Antipas, desiring that the leader of those who were upon the mount, whose name was Lehonti, that he should come down to the foot of the mount, for he desired to speak with him.
11 And it came to pass that when Lehonti received the message he durst not go down to the foot of the mount. And it came to pass that Amalickiah sent again the second time, desiring him to come down. And it came to pass that Lehonti would not; and he sent again the third time.
12 And it came to pass that when Amalickiah found that he could not get Lehonti to come down off from the mount, he went up into the mount, nearly to Lehonti’s camp; and he sent again the fourth time his message unto Lehonti, desiring that he would come down, and that he would bring his guards with him.
13 And it came to pass that when Lehonti had come down with his guards to Amalickiah, that Amalickiah desired him to come down with his army in the night-time, and surround those men in their camps over whom the king had given him command, and that he would deliver them up into Lehonti’s hands, if he would make him (Amalickiah) a second leader over the whole army.

Why was Lehonti suspicious of Amalickiah until Amalickiah offered him power? Because Lehonti also lusted for power, did he overlook the obvious? Did he know that when he was dead, Amalickiah would take his place? Why did he trust someone who would betray the king's army? Did lust for power cloud Lehonti's senses?

14 And it came to pass that Lehonti came down with his men and surrounded the men of Amalickiah, so that before they awoke at the dawn of day they were surrounded by the armies of Lehonti.
15 And it came to pass that when they saw that they were surrounded, they pled with Amalickiah that he would suffer them to fall in with their brethren, that they might not be destroyed. Now this was the very thing which Amalickiah desired.
16 And it came to pass that he delivered his men, contrary to the commands of the king. Now this was the thing that Amalickiah desired, that he might accomplish his designs in dethroning the king.

Why did the king's army plead with Amalickiah that he would suffer them to fall in with their brethren? Were they afraid? How easy is it for Amalickiah to manipulate a fearful people? What would have happened if they weren't afraid?

17 Now it was the custom among the Lamanites, if their chief leader was killed, to appoint the second leader to be their chief leader.
18 And it came to pass that Amalickiah caused that one of his servants should administer poison by degrees to Lehonti, that he died.
19 Now, when Lehonti was dead, the Lamanites appointed Amalickiah to be their leader and their chief commander.

Because Lehonti died slowly, did Amalickiah's plan go undetected? Can an automatic line of succession be breeding grounds for mischief? How did Amalickiah use flattery to gain favor with the Lamanites? Did the army trust Amalickiah? Why?

20 And it came to pass that Amalickiah marched with his armies (for he had gained his desires) to the land of Nephi, to the city of Nephi, which was the chief city.
21 And the king came out to meet him with his guards, for he supposed that Amalickiah had fulfilled his commands, and that Amalickiah had gathered together so great an army to go against the Nephites to battle.

Did the king trust Amalickiah? Why?

22 But behold, as the king came out to meet him Amalickiah caused that his servants should go forth to meet the king. And they went and bowed themselves before the king, as if to reverence him because of his greatness.

Did the king expect others to reverence him because of his greatness? Did the king even suspect foul play when he saw Amalickiah coming with the army? Why or why not?

23 And it came to pass that the king put forth his hand to raise them, as was the custom with the Lamanites, as a token of peace, which custom they had taken from the Nephites.
24 And it came to pass that when he had raised the first from the ground, behold he stabbed the king to the heart; and he fell to the earth.
25 Now the servants of the king fled; and the servants of Amalickiah raised a cry, saying:
26 Behold, the servants of the king have stabbed him to the heart, and he has fallen and they have fled; behold, come and see.

Is the Lamanite army blind to the obvious? The king's guards are with him most of the time. If they had a plan to kill him, why would they do it in front of the entire army? Were the servants of the king afraid? What would have happened if didn't run away?

27 And it came to pass that Amalickiah commanded that his armies should march forth and see what had happened to the king; and when they had come to the spot, and found the king lying in his gore, Amalickiah pretended to be wroth, and said: Whosoever loved the king, let him go forth, and pursue his servants that they may be slain.
28 And it came to pass that all they who loved the king, when they heard these words, came forth and pursued after the servants of the king.
29 Now when the servants of the king saw an army pursuing after them, they were frightened again, and fled into the wilderness, and came over into the land of Zarahemla and joined the people of Ammon.
30 And the army which pursued after them returned, having pursued after them in vain; and thus Amalickiah, by his fraud, gained the hearts of the people.

How does Amalickiah use retaliation and revenge to further his design? Did the Lamanite army even think through what had happened or were they influenced by the propaganda? What would it mean if they didn't pursue the servants of the king? Would it mean they didn't love the king? Did they have any choice but to invest their hearts in Amalickiah's story and chase after the servants of the king? How did jumping on the bandwagon of revenge cloud their vision?

31 And it came to pass on the morrow he entered the city Nephi with his armies, and took possession of the city.
32 And now it came to pass that the queen, when she had heard that the king was slain—for Amalickiah had sent an embassy to the queen informing her that the king had been slain by his servants, that he had pursued them with his army, but it was in vain, and they had made their escape—
33 Therefore, when the queen had received this message she sent unto Amalickiah, desiring him that he would spare the people of the city; and she also desired him that he should come in unto her; and she also desired him that he should bring witnesses with him to testify concerning the death of the king.
34 And it came to pass that Amalickiah took the same servant that slew the king, and all them who were with him, and went in unto the queen, unto the place where she sat; and they all testified unto her that the king was slain by his own servants; and they said also: They have fled; does not this testify against them? And thus they satisfied the queen concerning the death of the king.

Why did Amalickiah take possession of the city? Why would the Queen need to ask Amalickiah to spare the city if he was the good guy he pretended to be? Why did the Queen believe the witness of the murderer? Did Amalickiah use flattery to gain favor with the queen?

35 And it came to pass that Amalickiah sought the favor of the queen, and took her unto him to wife; and thus by his fraud, and by the assistance of his cunning servants, he obtained the kingdom; yea, he was acknowledged king throughout all the land, among all the people of the Lamanites, who were composed of the Lamanites and the Lemuelites and the Ishmaelites, and all the dissenters of the Nephites, from the reign of Nephi down to the present time.
36 Now these dissenters, having the same instruction and the same information of the Nephites, yea, having been instructed in the same knowledge of the Lord, nevertheless, it is strange to relate, not long after their dissensions they became more hardened and impenitent, and more wild, wicked and ferocious than the Lamanites—drinking in with the traditions of the Lamanites; giving way to indolence, and all manner of lasciviousness; yea, entirely forgetting the Lord their God.

After studying this chapter for two weeks and asking hundreds of questions, I asked myself, “Would I have seen through Amalickiah's deception? Or would I fall into the trap just like the Lamanites?”

I saw that it was anger, fear, flattery, revenge, lust for power and control which blinded the minds of the Lamanites and covered them with a cloud of deception. But what is the lesson for me? I could see this story is a model of the game the adversary plays with me. When I allow these emotions to govern my decisions, I am only a pawn in the devil's game of chess. Ouch!

Every negative emotion that influences my thoughts, words, and deeds can and will be held against me. Look at what happened to the Lamanites. The king was assassinated, Lehonti was murdered, the queen married her husband's killer, and the Lamanites who didn't want to go to war were now marching toward a deadly battle. How could they be so gullible and be controlled so easily? Yet the finger points back at me. Why am I so foolish to give in to the same emotions which led to their downfall?

I've known for a long time that having negative emotion isn't good for me, but after studying this chapter and seeing how those negative emotions are used against me, I desire to make another choice. I am trading my anger for peace, my lust for power for meekness, my fear for faith, my revenge for forgiveness, my people pleasing for an eye single to the glory of God, my envy for kindness, my ignorance for intelligence, my frustration for long-suffering, my vanity for humility, my doubts for belief, my greed for generosity, my hate for love, my captivity for freedom, my jealousy for contentment, and my fear of men for my love of God.

A Tool of Discernment

Because of lessons learned in this story, I have been given a powerful tool to help me recognize deceit. When negative emotions surface, I automatically know I am being deceived. So instead of reacting to the emotion, I take a step back, notice what emotion is being brought to the surface, look behind the curtain, and ask Jesus to show me the deception. What is the devil's plan? What is being hidden from my view? How am I being deceived? What is hiding in plain sight? What is my false belief that brings such misery? “Jesus, show me how to replace my false assumptions with the truth.”

When I choose to believe the truth, peace is restored. And so life continues to unveil one false belief after another. I can now use all of the negativity in my life as a barometer, as a teacher. Instead of engaging in the negative emotion, I get to watch and observe.. It is an opportunity to learn the truth.

The story of Amalickiah has helped me see what the enemy of my soul is doing in my life. My desire to cast off these things has moved to a new level. I choose to act and not be acted upon.

Firm Mind

Great things await those who have a firm mind. What does it mean to have a firm mind? How does feasting on and receiving the pleasing word of God help me develop a firm mind? Why is it difficult to feel His love when my mind is unstable?

O all ye that are pure in heart, lift up your heads and receive the pleasing word of God, and feast upon his love; for ye may, if your minds are firm, forever. Jacob 3:2

If I only allow the things of God to occupy my time, attention, and heart, will my eye be single to His glory? Will darkness flee when I do not allow anger, fear, flattery, doubt, jealousy, revenge, lust for power, etc. to have place in my mind or heart. Will I then see through all of the deceptions of the devil and be able to comprehend all things? When my mind is firm will I be prepared to enter the presence of the Lord?

And if your eye be single to my glory, your whole bodies shall be filled with light, and there shall be no darkness in you; and that body which is filled with light comprehendeth all things. Therefore, sanctify yourselves that your minds become single to God, and the days will come that you shall see him; for he will unveil his face unto you, and it shall be in his own time, and in his own way, and according to his own will. D&C 88:67-68

What is the power of replacing doubt with belief in God? Is He the only One I listen to and obey? Is it possible to exercise faith without a firm mind? Do I put my trust in God continually and lean not to my own understanding but seek Him and His ways? When I exercise faith in God do I reject all the devil has to offer and steadfastly look to Jesus Christ?

And now, their preservation was astonishing to our whole army, yea, that they should be spared while there was a thousand of our brethren who were slain. And we do justly ascribe it to the miraculous power of God, because of their exceeding faith in that which they had been taught to believe—that there was a just God, and whosoever did not doubt, that they should be preserved by his marvelous power. Now this was the faith of these of whom I have spoken; they are young, and their minds are firm, and they do put their trust in God continually. Alma 57:26-27

Do those who have faith in Christ cleave to every good thing and reject every evil thing? Miracles always follow believers. Believers don't need to see to believe; but because they believe, they see heaven manifested here on earth. Why is strong faith and a firm mind in every form of godliness essential?

For he hath answered the ends of the law, and he claimeth all those who have faith in him; and they who have faith in him will cleave unto every good thing; wherefore he advocateth the cause of the children of men; and he dwelleth eternally in the heavens. And because he hath done this, my beloved brethren, have miracles ceased? Behold I say unto you, Nay; neither have angels ceased to minister unto the children of men. For behold, they are subject unto him, to minister according to the word of his command, showing themselves unto them of strong faith and a firm mind in every form of godliness. Moroni 7:28-30


Through the Holy Ghost I am taught the things of God. Jesus is the prince of peace and I receive peace when I follow Him. Why does Jesus tell me “Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.”? Why does He instruct me to leave judgment and revenge alone? Can I have peace when I am caught up in these things?

But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you. Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid. John 14:26-27

Leave judgment alone with me, for it is mine and I will repay. Peace be with you; my blessings continue with you. D&C 82:23

For what purpose does the Lord ask me to keep His commandments? Does it please him to see me happy? Is this why he gives me instructions? Is this why asks me to depart from evil and come unto Him? If I am full of mercy and truth, will I be at peace? When I trust in the Lord with all my heart, is there anything that can destroy my peace?

My son, forget not my law; but let thine heart keep my commandments: For length of days, and long life, and peace, shall they add to thee. Let not mercy and truth forsake thee: bind them about thy neck; write them upon the table of thine heart: So shalt thou find favour and good understanding in the sight of God and man. Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths. Be not wise in thine own eyes: fear the Lord, and depart from evil. Proverbs 3:1-7

What did Melchizedek do to exercise mighty faith? Of what did the people repent? What is the result of Melchizedek's faith? Why is he called the prince of peace? If I exercise faith and reject my fears, doubts, and insecurities will I too obtain peace and become a princess of peace?

But Melchizedek having exercised mighty faith, and received the office of the high priesthood according to the holy order of God, did preach repentance unto his people. And behold, they did repent; and Melchizedek did establish peace in the land in his days; therefore he was called the prince of peace, for he was the king of Salem; and he did reign under his father. Alma 13:18

Working By Mental Exertion and Words

If working by faith is working by mental exertion and words, then to exercise mighty faith must my mind be free of the devil's cloud of deception? Can I be double minded and work by faith? Or in other words, can I succumb to anger, fear, doubt, flattery, and lust, and still work by faith? How do Christ's words make me sure, steadfast, and immovable? How do the devil's words make me unstable? Can I tell the difference between the two voices in my head?

We ask, then, what are we to understand by a man's working by faith? We answer: We understand that when a man works by faith he works by mental exertion instead of physical force: it is by words instead of exerting his physical powers, with which every being works when he works by faith. Lectures on faith 7:3

If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him. But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed. For let not that man think that he shall receive any thing of the Lord. A double minded man is unstable in all his ways. James 1:5-8

If I cry unto Him, will Jesus Christ remove the cloud of darkness that overshadows me? Will he show me my false beliefs and teach me the truth? Is this what it means to repent and have faith in Jesus Christ? When the cloud of darkness is gone, is that when I am at peace with God and men? Do I want my fears, doubts, anger, jealousies, and false beliefs; or am I willing to trade them for unspeakable joy? What is this baptism of fire that fills me with joy to exceed my strength? What did this pleasant voice say to those who were baptized with joy? Is peace always the result of casting away my unbelief, my doubts, my fears, and my anger? How does marveling and doubting get in the way of faith?

And Aminadab said unto them: You must repent, and cry unto the voice, even until ye shall have faith in Christ, who was taught unto you by Alma, and Amulek, and Zeezrom; and when ye shall do this, the cloud of darkness shall be removed from overshadowing you. And it came to pass that they all did begin to cry unto the voice of him who had shaken the earth; yea, they did cry even until the cloud of darkness was dispersed.

And it came to pass that when they cast their eyes about, and saw that the cloud of darkness was dispersed from overshadowing them, behold, they saw that they were encircled about, yea every soul, by a pillar of fire. And Nephi and Lehi were in the midst of them; yea, they were encircled about; yea, they were as if in the midst of a flaming fire, yet it did harm them not, neither did it take hold upon the walls of the prison; and they were filled with that joy which is unspeakable and full of glory. And behold, the Holy Spirit of God did come down from heaven, and did enter into their hearts, and they were filled as if with fire, and they could speak forth marvelous words.

And it came to pass that there came a voice unto them, yea, a pleasant voice, as if it were a whisper, saying: Peace, peace be unto you, because of your faith in my Well Beloved, who was from the foundation of the world. And now, when they heard this they cast up their eyes as if to behold from whence the voice came; and behold, they saw the heavens open; and angels came down out of heaven and ministered unto them. And there were about three hundred souls who saw and heard these things; and they were bidden to go forth and marvel not, neither should they doubt. Helaman 5:41-49

Chains, Iron Yoke, Strong Bands, Handcuffs, Shackles, and Fetters of Hell

Following Jesus is not about being a good boy or girl. It is not about living a certain set of rules so I don't disappoint God. It pleases Jesus that I follow Him because if I am willing, he can bring me out of captivity and fill my life with peace and joy. It pleases Him to see me happy. He knows the way. He is the perfect guide to set the captives free.

I have a choice. I am free to act if only I will. I am free to choose happiness, liberty, and peace; or I can choose misery, captivity, and turmoil. The choice is mine.

And the Messiah cometh in the fulness of time, that he may redeem the children of men from the fall. And because that they are redeemed from the fall they have become free forever, knowing good from evil; to act for themselves and not to be acted upon, save it be by the punishment of the law at the great and last day, according to the commandments which God hath given. Wherefore, men are free according to the flesh; and all things are given them which are expedient unto man. And they are free to choose liberty and eternal life, through the great Mediator of all men, or to choose captivity and death, according to the captivity and power of the devil; for he seeketh that all men might be miserable like unto himself. And now, my sons, I would that ye should look to the great Mediator, and hearken unto his great commandments; and be faithful unto his words, and choose eternal life, according to the will of his Holy Spirit; And not choose eternal death, according to the will of the flesh and the evil which is therein, which giveth the spirit of the devil power to captivate, to bring you down to hell, that he may reign over you in his own kingdom.2 Nephi 2:26-29

Repentance is all about changing my mind and seeing a better way.

For the kingdom of the devil must shake, and they which belong to it must needs be stirred up unto repentance, or the devil will grasp them with his everlasting chains, and they be stirred up to anger, and perish; For behold, at that day shall he rage in the hearts of the children of men, and stir them up to anger against that which is good. 2 Nephi 28:19-20

Anger, lies, oppression, fear, confusion, insecurity, and anxiety have great hold upon me until I see my life in the light.

It is an imperative duty that we owe to God, to angels, with whom we shall be brought to stand, and also to ourselves, to our wives and children, who have been made to bow down with grief, sorrow, and care, under the most damning hand of murder, tyranny, and oppression, supported and urged on and upheld by the influence of that spirit which hath so strongly riveted the creeds of the fathers, who have inherited lies, upon the hearts of the children, and filled the world with confusion, and has been growing stronger and stronger, and is now the very mainspring of all corruption, and the whole earth groans under the weight of its iniquity. It is an iron yoke, it is a strong band; they are the very handcuffs, and chains, and shackles, and fetters of hell. D&C 128:7-8

Amalickiah is described as being cunning.

Yea, we see that Amalickiah, because he was a man of cunning device and a man of many flattering words, that he led away the hearts of many people to do wickedly; yea, and to seek to destroy the church of God, and to destroy the foundation of liberty which God had granted unto them, or which blessing God had sent upon the face of the land for the righteous’ sake. Alma 46:10

What does it mean to be cunning? How are the cunning able to trick and deceive?

Cunning: Art; artifice; artfulness; craft; shrewdness; the faculty or act of using stratagem to accomplish a purpose. Hence in a bad sense, deceitfulness or deceit; fraudulent skill or dexterity.

What is my defense and protection against the enticings of that cunning one? What brings death and misery? Do I want to see through the wiles of the devil? Do I want to perceive his devious and cunning stratagems which he employs to manipulate and persuade me to do what he wants? Am I willing to reject his words?

O, my beloved brethren, remember the awfulness in transgressing against that Holy God, and also the awfulness of yielding to the enticings of that cunning one. Remember, to be carnally-minded is death, and to be spiritually-minded is life eternal. 2 Nephi 9:39

Jesus is very willing and able to teach me, guide me, and lead me out of hell. All mysteries, truth, light, and peace are available to me. Or I can harden my heart, reject the Word, hide in the darkness, and live in captivity.

And therefore, he that will harden his heart, the same receiveth the lesser portion of the word; and he that will not harden his heart, to him is given the greater portion of the word, until it is given unto him to know the mysteries of God until he know them in full. And they that will harden their hearts, to them is given the lesser portion of the word until they know nothing concerning his mysteries; and then they are taken captive by the devil, and led by his will down to destruction. Now this is what is meant by the chains of hell. Alma 12:10-11

Live by Faith That My Burdens May Be Light

And now, my brethren, I desire that ye shall plant this word in your hearts, and as it beginneth to swell even so nourish it by your faith. And behold, it will become a tree, springing up in you unto everlasting life. And then may God grant unto you that your burdens may be light, through the joy of his Son. And even all this can ye do if ye will. Amen. Alma 33:23

What do I desire? Am I willing to cast out the evil word and live by faith? Am I willing to step out of the cloud of deception and live in the light? God Bless Us All

Monday, February 13, 2017

“Measuring Stick” for Faith

I have been reading and reflecting upon the word of God as recorded in Moroni 7:29-39. As a result, a number of questions have come to mind and caused me to more seriously consider His message to me about belief, faith, works, action, repentance, baptism, hope, charity, miracles, angels, and redemption. I felt to share, at least in part, the following:

29 And because he hath done this, my beloved brethren, have miracles ceased? Behold I say unto you, Nay; neither have angels ceased to minister unto the children of men.

Miracles? Angels? Do I see, acknowledge, or experience miracles? What are they? Do angels minister to me? What do angels talk to me about? What do they teach me? What do they claim or assert? What is the message they bring?

What is an angel anyway? Spirit being? Mortal individual with flesh and blood? Resurrected personage with flesh and bone? Translated being? Other? All of the above? Would it seem reasonable to consider the possibility of encountering diverse angels, who come with different characteristics and for various purposes and reasons? Good? Bad? Right? Wrong? Light? Darkness? Truth? Error? Enlightenment? Deception? From Heaven? From Hell? Angels of God with His message of truth? Angels of the Devil with his message of lies? How about the devil deceiving me and appearing to me as an angel of light, but lacking glory? How about the Lord appearing to me as an angel of light with glory?

What would be my experience to look upon Satan in the natural man? Would it be possible to be in the presence of Satan without having glory come upon me and being transfigured before him? Why or why not? On the other hand, what would be the result of looking upon God in the natural man? Would it be possible to look upon God, except his glory should come upon me, and I should be transfigured before Him? Is there a difference between God and Satan? If there is a difference, how is it discerned? How can I accurately distinguish between the two? (Moses 1:13-16)

Therefore, having these extremes placed before us in the scriptures, would it be likely that angels do indeed appear with varying degrees of light, glory, knowledge, authority, and power? If that is in fact true, would it be sensible to correctly identify angels and distinguish between verity and deception. Would it be wise to receive the angels of God, embrace the message, and live according to it? Therefore, should the angels of darkness be dismissed and the attendant lies discarded? 

“And thus the Gospel began to be preached, from the beginning, being declared by holy angels sent forth from the presence of God, and by his own voice, and by the gift of the Holy Ghost.” (Moses 5:58) I think I would be very interested and anxious to hear from an angel like that. If one came along, I think I would want to listen and give heed to His word. Are there any angels available today that fit this description? Where can one be found in these latter days? What does God require of an individual to be such and receive the assignment to be an angel of God sent from his presence? 

30 For behold, they are subject unto him, to minister according to the word of his command, showing themselves unto them of strong faith and a firm mind in every form of godliness.

Angels of God are subject to whom? Angels of God minister according to the word of whose command? To whom do angels of God show themselves? If angels of God appear unto those of strong faith and a firm mind in every form of godliness, what can I do to recognize and receive an angel? If angels, in fact, minister according to the word of His command, do angels of God freelance according to their own agenda? Would they ever teach for doctrines the commandments of men? Do they have a form of godliness, but deny the power thereof? Do they get paid to preach? Are they receiving $$$ in any amount, form, or fashion? Or do angels of God have different motives for teaching the word of God?

Who are the angels of God today? Could a mortal angel of God come in the form of a prophet, seer, revelator, and translator with an authorized message from heaven? Whose message is delivered by angels that come from the presence of God? Does God vouch for His messages sent through His angels? Knowing the message comes from God, should I take the message more seriously? Therefore, would it be highly important for me to find and identify a true messenger sent from the presence of God? Would it be essential for me to heed the message delivered by God's authorized angel? What would be the consequences of giving heed to the message? What if I do not give heed to the message of God delivered through His angel? Does it matter?

31 And the office of their ministry is to call men unto repentance, and to fulfil and to do the work of the covenants of the Father, which he hath made unto the children of men, to prepare the way among the children of men, by declaring the word of Christ unto the chosen vessels of the Lord, that they may bear testimony of him.

What does it mean that the chosen vessels of the Lord may bear testimony of Him? What is the ministry of an angel? Who ministers according to the word of Christ at His command? What do angels do? What do they say? What do they declare? Do they give praise and approval and say smooth things that are pleasing to men? Or do they call repentance with clarity, accuracy, and power? Are they more interested in the salvation of my soul than becoming popular among men? Is an angel sent from the presence of God the same thing as a prophet sent from the presence of God?

Do we find angels, who are true messengers of God, well liked, praised, honored, found on corporate boards, occupying high seats in religious leaderships, or given special treatment and accommodations in our society? Or does the world mistake the true prophets as the false prophets because the guilty “taketh the truth to be hard, for it cutteth them to the very center”? And in turn, does society erroneously view the false prophets as the true prophets because they preach that which is pleasing to the carnal man? 

Although true prophets may be among the most honorable men of the earth, do the children of men almost always cast out true messengers as apostates, while they cherish, honor, and support hypocrites, impostors, and the basest of men? Do men generally enjoy being called to repentance? Why or why not? Do men even see a need to repent? Or do they choose to firmly believe that all is well in Zion and therefore, no change is needed? When an angel preaches repentance with authority, what is the common reaction of the children of men? Do they like it? Or do they firmly conclude that the angel is a stupid idiot? Mad? Unbalanced and crazy? Deluded and deceived? Apostate? A wild man? What is the outcome of failing to recognize an angel from God and giving heed to the message? On the other hand, some few may actually turn and face God, hear the word of Christ with a soft and open heart, recognize the truth, acknowledge personal error, and repent. What would be the result of that?

32 And by so doing, the Lord God prepareth the way that the residue of men may have faith in Christ, that the Holy Ghost may have place in their hearts, according to the power thereof; and after this manner bringeth to pass the Father, the covenants which he hath made unto the children of men.

For what is the Lord preparing the way when He sends an angel with an authoritative message? What is made available? Repentance? Baptism? Receiving the Holy Ghost? Windows of opportunities? In order for the children of men to obtain faith in Christ, is it necessary for a messenger to be sent forth with a true message? Why or why not? Is the Lord preparing the way for covenants to be fulfilled? What else?

33 And Christ hath said: If ye will have faith in me ye shall have power to do whatsoever thing is expedient in me.

If I have faith in Christ, shall I have power to do whatsoever thing that is expedient in Christ? Anything? All things expedient? What things are expedient in Him? What does it look like to have faith in Christ? Is faith something beyond just believing He exists? Does exercising faith in Christ require something more than being slightly familiar with His teachings? Would faith without works be acceptable? What works would be necessary to be accomplished on my part? What actions would be required to show faith in Christ? What efforts must be put forth? Mental? Physical? Other?

34 And he hath said: Repent all ye ends of the earth, and come unto me, and be baptized in my name, and have faith in me, that ye may be saved.

Would it be expedient in Christ that I be saved? Does this verse become a personal commandment from God to me? Is this His invitation to me? If it is, would it seem reasonable for me to repent, come unto Christ, be baptized in His name, and have faith in Him? What does it mean to repent? Could repentance mean to abandon false and vain and foolish traditions of men and turn and face God? Could it mean that any beliefs, traditions, or ways of living found in me, which are contrary to God, must be discarded? Based on my current view and present understanding, what if my beliefs seem to be true but are false? What if I think I am right, but in actuality, I am blinded by the traditions of men and fail to recognize that my practices are done in vain? What if I am unwilling to consider the foolishness of my position? Consequences? Would I be willing to ask God about my paradigms and His perspective and seek to reconcile the two? How about asking for help to correct my misunderstanding and to make the necessary changes in my paradigm to match His?

What if I were told by an angel that baptism, whether Catholic, Protestant, or LDS is not valid and is not accepted by Christ, and therefore, authoritative re-baptism is necessary? If I were clearly instructed by an angel and understood what Jesus really means by saying that “you must be baptized in my name, and have faith in me, that ye may be saved”, what would be my reaction? How does this new information match up with my current beliefs, traditions, and religious practices? Does it matter to me? To God? What shall I do about it?

If the word of God and His instructions delivered by an angel were in obvious and distinct contradiction to my current religious beliefs and traditions, how would I feel? How would I act? What would I do? Would I tend to blow it off? Ignore it? Think about it? Pray about it? Seek and obtain an authorized baptism? Would agitation or anger set in? If so, at whom or what would I be angry? The messenger? The church? God? Myself? Would I demonize the angel, the church, or God? Would I be tempted to cast out the messenger? Stone the prophet? Slander the church? Reject and curse God? What would I actually do? How would I deal with truth that contradicts my current paradigms and ways of life?

If the word of God proves to run contrary to society, religious instruction, and traditions, what should I do? Consider it? Reject it? Which would I reject, and which would I accept? If the word of God, coming through His angel, fails to reconcile with “church doctrine” and does not match or support the teachings of church leadership, what shall I do? Trust God, consider the new paradigm, and act accordingly? Or “sweep it under the rug” and pretend it doesn't exist? Which would be best? Why?

If an angel provided instructions and I obtained assurance by the power of the holy ghost that an authoritative re-baptism is necessary for me to be saved, what should I do? If this commandment of God to me concerning re-baptism contradicts the LDS narrative, which it does, should I still be baptized again? I wonder if those in “my world” would approve of that? How about my family? Friends? Peers? What if I asked questions to my family, peers, and church leaders? Would they entertain my sincere questions about this and other issues, which seem to contradict the teachings I hear at church? I wonder if my religion would approve of that? 

Would my bishop, priest, president or clergyman accept me as I am and consider my sincere questions? Why or why not? Would my religious leaders address my questions by persuasion, by long-suffering, by gentleness and meekness, and by love unfeigned? Or would I be persecuted and cast out in one form or another? Really, how would I deal with the contradictions I find between the word of God and the many institutions, religions, professors, priests, and leaders that “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.”? (JSH 1:19)

Would it be of value for me to correctly identify true messengers, verify the truthfulness of the messages delivered, obtain the word of God, and apply those truths in my life?

35 And now, my beloved brethren, if this be the case that these things are true which I have spoken unto you, and God will show unto you, with power and great glory at the last day, that they are true, and if they are true has the day of miracles ceased?

Great Question !!

36 Or have angels ceased to appear unto the children of men? Or has he withheld the power of the Holy Ghost from them? Or will he, so long as time shall last, or the earth shall stand, or there shall be one man upon the face thereof to be saved?

More key questions worth considering !!

37 Behold I say unto you, Nay; for it is by faith that miracles are wrought; and it is by faith that angels appear and minister unto men; wherefore, if these things have ceased wo be unto the children of men, for it is because of unbelief, and all is vain.

Have miracles ceased in my life? Have angels ceased to appear to me? Or have I ever seen, recognized, or entertained an angel? If I have not witnessed miracles or if miracles have not been wrought as a result of my faith or if angels have not appeared or ministered to me by faith or if angels have not been noticed, recognized, or received by me or if angels have not ministered to me, then what's up? If these things have ceased or haven't even begun, what is the reason? What are the consequences? “Wo be unto the children of men, for it is because of unbelief, and all is vain.” What would that mean regarding me and my state and standing with God? What is unbelief? And how can I discard it?

38 For no man can be saved, according to the words of Christ, save they shall have faith in his name; wherefore, if these things have ceased, then has faith ceased also; and awful is the state of man, for they are as though there had been no redemption made.

This appears very serious to me! If these things have ceased or do not exist in my life, what does that mean concerning my salvation? What does it mean according to the words of Christ? If these things have ceased or do not appear in my life, and therefore, faith has ceased also and awful is the state of man, for they are as though there had been no redemption made, what is my current state and standing with God? Is it awful? Would it be wise for me to remain in an unredeemed state, as though there had been no redemption made? Is this a way to reject Christ's redemptive offering to me? What do you think?

39 But behold, my beloved brethren, I judge better things of you, for I judge that ye have faith in Christ because of your meekness; for if ye have not faith in him then ye are not fit to be numbered among the people of his church.

What is a determining characteristic of those who have faith in Christ? What is meekness? What are some examples of those who possess meekness? Christ? Enoch? Moses? Others? What does meekness look like?

What could make you unfit to be numbered among the people of His church? What is His church anyway? (D&C 10:67-68)

In these few verses, much truth has been revealed about belief vs. unbelief, faith, works, action, repentance, baptism, hope, charity, miracles, the ministry of angels, and our redemption through Christ. We are given a “measuring stick” to measure our faith. Having faith in Christ, we can expect miracles, the appearance of angels, the word of God delivered through true messengers, and to be redeemed from the fall as did the brother of Jared, Nephi, Moroni, and many others as manifested and recorded in the Book of Mormon.

If Christ didn't mean what He said, why did Christ teach and make the promises recorded here in these few verses? On the other hand, if He does indeed mean what He says, vouches for His words with power and authority, and keeps His promises, would it make sense to pay close attention to His words, understand His message, and act upon it with faith? Would it be worth it to precisely obey His directions and thereby claim what He promises?

Friday, February 3, 2017

Calleth on My Name

For almost ten years, I've been praying for the promise in D&C 93:1. I continue to learn what is required to lay hold of this promise.

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

We are told to call on His name, but what does that mean? How do I worship? What do I worship? How do I come unto the Father in the name of Jesus? Fulfilling these five requirements seems simple enough, but there are false notions, false assumptions, and unbelief we must overcome to even know what God is talking about in this verse.

I used to believe Jesus Christ was our older brother. I was taught to pray to the Father in the name of Jesus and this is how that looked, “Dear Heavenly Father, I thank thee . . . I ask for these blessings . . . In the name of Jesus Christ, amen.” But where in scripture do we learn Jesus Christ is our older brother? Where do we find this pattern of prayer in scripture?

The Book of Mormon teaches us to pray unto the Father in the name of Jesus, but it looks different than my tradition. 

And behold, the multitude was so great that they did cause that they should be separated into twelve bodies. And the twelve did teach the multitude; and behold, they did cause that the multitude should kneel down upon the face of the earth, and should pray unto the Father in the name of Jesus. And the disciples did pray unto the Father also in the name of Jesus. And it came to pass that they arose and ministered unto the people. And when they had ministered those same words which Jesus had spoken—nothing varying from the words which Jesus had spoken—behold, they knelt again and prayed to the Father in the name of Jesus. 3 Nephi 19:5-8 [emphasis added]

The disciples and multitude were taught how to pray unto the Father in the name of Jesus. They were taught by Jesus Christ and those who spoke the same words which Jesus had spoken.

And they did pray for that which they most desired; and they desired that the Holy Ghost should be given unto them. And when they had thus prayed they went down unto the water’s edge, and the multitude followed them. And it came to pass that Nephi went down into the water and was baptized. And he came up out of the water and began to baptize. And he baptized all those whom Jesus had chosen. And it came to pass when they were all baptized and had come up out of the water, the Holy Ghost did fall upon them, and they were filled with the Holy Ghost and with fire.

And behold, they were encircled about as if it were by fire; and it came down from heaven, and the multitude did witness it, and did bear record; and angels did come down out of heaven and did minister unto them. And it came to pass that while the angels were ministering unto the disciples, behold, Jesus came and stood in the midst and ministered unto them. 3 Nephi 19:9-15

The disciples received their desires and received the Holy Ghost. They were also ministered to by angels.

And it came to pass that he spake unto the multitude, and commanded them that they should kneel down again upon the earth, and also that his disciples should kneel down upon the earth. And it came to pass that when they had all knelt down upon the earth, he commanded his disciples that they should pray. And behold, they began to pray; and they did pray unto Jesus, calling him their Lord and their God. 3 Nephi 19:16-18

They continue to pray. They have been taught how to pray unto the Father in the name of Jesus. But now we are given a clearer view into what this means. Who are His disciples praying to? What does it look like to pray unto the Father in the name of Jesus?

And it came to pass that Jesus departed out of the midst of them, and went a little way off from them and bowed himself to the earth, and he said: Father, I thank thee that thou hast given the Holy Ghost unto these whom I have chosen; and it is because of their belief in me that I have chosen them out of the world. Father, I pray thee that thou wilt give the Holy Ghost unto all them that shall believe in their words. Father, thou hast given them the Holy Ghost because they believe in me; and thou seest that they believe in me because thou hearest them, and they pray unto me; and they pray unto me because I am with them. And now Father, I pray unto thee for them, and also for all those who shall believe on their words, that they may believe in me, that I may be in them as thou, Father, art in me, that we may be one. 3 Nephi 19:19-23

After His disciples pray unto Him, what does Jesus do ? Why does Jesus need to communicate His disciples' prayers and desires to the Father? What evidence does the Father have that the disciples believe in Jesus? Who gives the Holy Ghost?

And it came to pass that when Jesus had thus prayed unto the Father, he came unto his disciples, and behold, they did still continue, without ceasing, to pray unto him; and they did not multiply many words, for it was given unto them what they should pray, and they were filled with desire. And it came to pass that Jesus blessed them as they did pray unto him; and his countenance did smile upon them, and the light of his countenance did shine upon them, and behold they were as white as the countenance and also the garments of Jesus; and behold the whiteness thereof did exceed all the whiteness, yea, even there could be nothing upon earth so white as the whiteness thereof. And Jesus said unto them: Pray on; nevertheless they did not cease to pray. 3 Nephi 19:24-26

What does Jesus do after he prays unto the Father for His disciples? Who gave them what they should pray? Who filled them with desire? Would it be Jesus who gave them what to pray since they were praying in the name of Jesus?

And he turned from them again, and went a little way off and bowed himself to the earth; and he prayed again unto the Father, saying: Father, I thank thee that thou hast purified those whom I have chosen, because of their faith, and I pray for them, and also for them who shall believe on their words, that they may be purified in me, through faith on their words, even as they are purified in me. Father, I pray not for the world, but for those whom thou hast given me out of the world, because of their faith, that they may be purified in me, that I may be in them as thou, Father, art in me, that we may be one, that I may be glorified in them. 3 Nephi 19:27-29

Who purified the disciples? What did the disciples do to show forth faith? If you have faith on their words, what will you do? Who does Jesus pray for? Who does Jesus not pray for? Who is given to Jesus by the Father? What does it mean to be purified in Jesus? How is Jesus glorified in those who are purified in Him?

And when Jesus had spoken these words he came again unto his disciples; and behold they did pray steadfastly, without ceasing, unto him; and he did smile upon them again; and behold they were white, even as Jesus. And it came to pass that he went again a little way off and prayed unto the Father; And tongue cannot speak the words which he prayed, neither can be written by man the words which he prayed. And the multitude did hear and do bear record; and their hearts were open and they did understand in their hearts the words which he prayed. Nevertheless, so great and marvelous were the words which he prayed that they cannot be written, neither can they be uttered by man.

And it came to pass that when Jesus had made an end of praying he came again to the disciples, and said unto them: So great faith have I never seen among all the Jews; wherefore I could not show unto them so great miracles, because of their unbelief. Verily I say unto you, there are none of them that have seen so great things as ye have seen; neither have they heard so great things as ye have heard.” Nephi 19:30-36

What made the disciples white even as Jesus? Why do the disciples pray to Jesus instead of Jesus' Father? Why must Jesus continue to pray unto the Father for the disciples? Why can't we pray directly to the Father? Why does the Father require us to go through His son to come to Him? Will the Father answer the prayers of those who bypass His son?

Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me. John 14:6

Verily I say unto you, that ye are built upon my gospel; therefore ye shall call whatsoever things ye do call, in my name; therefore if ye call upon the Father, for the church, if it be in my name the Father will hear you; 3 Nephi 27:9

And now I go unto the Father. And verily I say unto you, whatsoever things ye shall ask the Father in my name shall be given unto you. 3 Nephi 27:28

If in our traditions and unbelief we reduce Jesus to the older brother status, we lack knowledge on how to worship or what we worship. How can we call upon His name if we don't even know to whom we pray?

Jesus Christ is our mediator and intercessor with the Father.

And now, my sons, I would that ye should look to the great Mediator, and hearken unto his great commandments; and be faithful unto his words, and choose eternal life, according to the will of his Holy Spirit; 2 Nephi 2:28

Who do we worship?

And now behold, I say unto you that the right way is to believe in Christ, and deny him not; and Christ is the Holy One of Israel; wherefore ye must bow down before him, and worship him with all your might, mind, and strength, and your whole soul; and if ye do this ye shall in nowise be cast out. 2 Nephi 25:29

I started this post with D&C 93:1. In D&C 93:19 we read, “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.” Let's read the verses between these two verses and see what we learn.

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— 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. I 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.

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. 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. 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. D&C 93:2-19

When did the son of God receive a fulness of the glory of the Father? What is the record of John? What did John bear record of? What do we worship? How do we worship? How do we come unto the Father in the name of Jesus?

There may be some confusion when we read scriptures like the one found in Alma 33. Zenos is praying to God or the Lord. The Lord is hearing and answering his prayers. When Zenos speaks to God, he speaks of “thy son”. It would be easy to assume “the son” is personage separate from God. Zenos is speaking about “thy son” to God, so we might come to the conclusion God is the father of the son.

Do ye remember to have read what Zenos, the prophet of old, has said concerning prayer or worship? For he said: Thou art merciful, O God, for thou hast heard my prayer, even when I was in the wilderness; yea, thou wast merciful when I prayed concerning those who were mine enemies, and thou didst turn them to me. Yea, O God, and thou wast merciful unto me when I did cry unto thee in my field; when I did cry unto thee in my prayer, and thou didst hear me. And again, O God, when I did turn to my house thou didst hear me in my prayer. And when I did turn unto my closet, O Lord, and prayed unto thee, thou didst hear me. Yea, thou art merciful unto thy children when they cry unto thee, to be heard of thee and not of men, and thou wilt hear them. Yea, O God, thou hast been merciful unto me, and heard my cries in the midst of thy congregations. Yea, and thou hast also heard me when I have been cast out and have been despised by mine enemies; yea, thou didst hear my cries, and wast angry with mine enemies, and thou didst visit them in thine anger with speedy destruction. And thou didst hear me because of mine afflictions and my sincerity; and it is because of thy Son that thou hast been thus merciful unto me, therefore I will cry unto thee in all mine afflictions, for in thee is my joy; for thou hast turned thy judgments away from me, because of thy Son. Alma 33:3-11 [emphasis added]

Is Zenos praying to the Lord Jesus? Does Zenos understand the different roles God plays? Does he understand that God himself will condescend and come down among the children of men and redeem His people? Does Zenos understand that when God dwelleth in flesh he shall be called the Son of God? Is the Son of God really God in the flesh? Understanding the many names of the Lord Jesus helps us work through the dilemma the previous scripture seems to create.

And now Abinadi said unto them: I would that ye should understand that God himself shall come down among the children of men, and shall redeem his people. And because he dwelleth in flesh he shall be called the Son of God, and having subjected the flesh to the will of the Father, being the Father and the Son—The Father, because he was conceived by the power of God; and the Son, because of the flesh; thus becoming the Father and Son—And they are one God, yea, the very Eternal Father of heaven and of earth. And thus the flesh becoming subject to the Spirit, or the Son to the Father, being one God, suffereth temptation, and yieldeth not to the temptation, but suffereth himself to be mocked, and scourged, and cast out, and disowned by his people. And after all this, after working many mighty miracles among the children of men, he shall be led, yea, even as Isaiah said, as a sheep before the shearer is dumb, so he opened not his mouth. Yea, even so he shall be led, crucified, and slain, the flesh becoming subject even unto death, the will of the Son being swallowed up in the will of the Father. And thus God breaketh the bands of death, having gained the victory over death; giving the Son power to make intercession for the children of men— Mosiah 15:1-8

Who is our Father?

Behold, I am he who was prepared from the foundation of the world to redeem my people. Behold, I am Jesus Christ. I am the Father and the Son. In me shall all mankind have life, and that eternally, even they who shall believe on my name; and they shall become my sons and my daughters. Ether 3:14

And whatsoever thing persuadeth men to do good is of me; for good cometh of none save it be of me. I am the same that leadeth men to all good; he that will not believe my words will not believe me—that I am; and he that will not believe me will not believe the Father who sent me. For behold, I am the Father, I am the light, and the life, and the truth of the world. Ether 4:12

Those who believe on Jesus' name shall become His sons and daughters. Jesus has a Father and He worships and follows Him. We must follow and worship our Father.

And the Father said: Repent ye, repent ye, and be baptized in the name of my Beloved Son. And also, the voice of the Son came unto me, saying: He that is baptized in my name, to him will the Father give the Holy Ghost, like unto me; wherefore, follow me, and do the things which ye have seen me do. Wherefore, my beloved brethren, I know that if ye shall follow the Son, with full purpose of heart, acting no hypocrisy and no deception before God, but with real intent, repenting of your sins, witnessing unto the Father that ye are willing to take upon you the name of Christ, by baptism—yea, by following your Lord and your Savior down into the water, according to his word, behold, then shall ye receive the Holy Ghost; yea, then cometh the baptism of fire and of the Holy Ghost; and then can ye speak with the tongue of angels, and shout praises unto the Holy One of Israel. 2 Nephi 31:11-13

To pray to God the Eternal Father in the name of Jesus Christ, our words must be authorized by Jesus Christ. We see an example of this in the sacrament prayers. When the flesh and blood of Christ is administered precisely according to the commandments of Jesus Christ it is done with authority before God the Eternal Father.

The manner of their elders and priests administering the flesh and blood of Christ unto the church; and they administered it according to the commandments of Christ; wherefore we know the manner to be true; and the elder or priest did minister it—And they did kneel down with the church, and pray to the Father in the name of Christ, saying:

O God, the Eternal Father, we ask thee in the name of thy Son, Jesus Christ, to bless and sanctify this bread to the souls of all those who partake of it; that they may eat in remembrance of the body of thy Son, and witness unto thee, O God, the Eternal Father, that they are willing to take upon them the name of thy Son, and always remember him, and keep his commandments which he hath given them, that they may always have his Spirit to be with them. Amen. Moroni 4:1-3 [emphasis added]

The disciples administered the sacrament according to the commandments of Jesus.

Jesus said unto them: Blessed are ye for this thing which ye have done, for this is fulfilling my commandments, and this doth witness unto the Father that ye are willing to do that which I have commanded you. And this shall ye always do to those who repent and are baptized in my name; and ye shall do it in remembrance of my blood, which I have shed for you, that ye may witness unto the Father that ye do always remember me. And if ye do always remember me ye shall have my Spirit to be with you. And I give unto you a commandment that ye shall do these things. And if ye shall always do these things blessed are ye, for ye are built upon my rock. But whoso among you shall do more or less than these are not built upon my rock, but are built upon a sandy foundation; and when the rain descends, and the floods come, and the winds blow, and beat upon them, they shall fall, and the gates of hell are ready open to receive them. Therefore blessed are ye if ye shall keep my commandments, which the Father hath commanded me that I should give unto you. 3 Nephi 18:10-13 [emphasis added]

Yet, who is God the Eternal Father?

Now Zeezrom saith again unto him: Is the Son of God the very Eternal Father? And Amulek said unto him: Yea, he is the very Eternal Father of heaven and of earth, and all things which in them are; he is the beginning and the end, the first and the last; And he shall come into the world to redeem his people; and he shall take upon him the transgressions of those who believe on his name; and these are they that shall have eternal life, and salvation cometh to none else. Alma 11:38-40

Teach them that redemption cometh through Christ the Lord, who is the very Eternal Father. Amen. Mosiah 16:15

Jesus is the Father and He has a Father. This is not a difficult concept for us to understand. In our human families, fathers are also sons. Notice how Jesus uses the words “my Father” and “the Father” in John 14. Does he speak of the same Father?

Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also. And whither I go ye know, and the way ye know.

Thomas saith unto him, Lord, we know not whither thou goest; and how can we know the way? Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me. If ye had known me, ye should have known my Father also: and from henceforth ye know him, and have seen him.

Philip saith unto him, Lord, shew us the Father, and it sufficeth us. Jesus saith unto him, Have I been so long time with you, and yet hast thou not known me, Philip? he that hath seen me hath seen the Father; and how sayest thou then, Shew us the Father?

Believest thou not that I am in the Father, and the Father in me? the words that I speak unto you I speak not of myself: but the Father that dwelleth in me, he doeth the works. Believe me that I am in the Father, and the Father in me: or else believe me for the very works’ sake. Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father. And whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If ye shall ask any thing in my name, I will do it. If ye love me, keep my commandments. John 14:1-15 (You can read the rest of the chapter in the Bible.)

To do anything in the name of Jesus Christ, it must be done precisely as he instructs. Doing anything more or less than what he commands and saying it in the name of Jesus Christ would be taking His name in vain. It would be like saying, “I come in the name of the King with a message” when the message is not the King's message but your own message.

We randomly and carelessly close our speeches and prayers in the name of Jesus Christ without receiving His words, declaring His words, and receiving authority from Jesus. To pretend to have authority and freelance all in the name of Jesus is taking the Lord's name in vain.

Wherefore, let all men beware how they take my name in their lips— For behold, verily I say, that many there be who are under this condemnation, who use the name of the Lord, and use it in vain, having not authority. D&C 63:61-62

Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain; for the Lord will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain. Mosiah 13:15

When we pray in the name of Jesus Christ, we come before Him with His words. We call upon Him to fulfill His promises, and thus we pray in His name. Our prayers have power and authority because we are speaking His words. As we come before the Lord, we do so in a spirit of meekness and humility. We see this pattern in the Brother of Jared's prayer to Jesus.

And it came to pass that the brother of Jared, (now the number of the vessels which had been prepared was eight) went forth unto the mount, which they called the mount Shelem, because of its exceeding height, and did molten out of a rock sixteen small stones; and they were white and clear, even as transparent glass; and he did carry them in his hands upon the top of the mount, and cried again unto the Lord, saying: O Lord, thou hast said that we must be encompassed about by the floods. Now behold, O Lord, and do not be angry with thy servant because of his weakness before thee; for we know that thou art holy and dwellest in the heavens, and that we are unworthy before thee; because of the fall our natures have become evil continually; nevertheless, O Lord, thou hast given us a commandment that we must call upon thee, that from thee we may receive according to our desires.

Behold, O Lord, thou hast smitten us because of our iniquity, and hast driven us forth, and for these many years we have been in the wilderness; nevertheless, thou hast been merciful unto us. O Lord, look upon me in pity, and turn away thine anger from this thy people, and suffer not that they shall go forth across this raging deep in darkness; but behold these things which I have molten out of the rock. And I know, O Lord, that thou hast all power, and can do whatsoever thou wilt for the benefit of man; therefore touch these stones, O Lord, with thy finger, and prepare them that they may shine forth in darkness; and they shall shine forth unto us in the vessels which we have prepared, that we may have light while we shall cross the sea. Behold, O Lord, thou canst do this. We know that thou art able to show forth great power, which looks small unto the understanding of men.

And it came to pass that when the brother of Jared had said these words, behold, the Lord stretched forth his hand and touched the stones one by one with his finger. Ether 3:1-6 [emphasis added]

What promise or word of the Lord is the brother of Jared using when praying to Jesus? How is using the Lord's word to come before Him an act of faith? The scriptures are full of the Lord's promises, conditions, and words. And now, whoso readeth, let him understand; he that hath the scriptures, let him search them, and see and behold.

Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me. And ye will not come to me, that ye might have life. I receive not honour from men. But I know you, that ye have not the love of God in you. I am come in my Father’s name, and ye receive me not: if another shall come in his own name, him ye will receive. How can ye believe, which receive honour one of another, and seek not the honour that cometh from God only? John 5:39-44

And it shall come to pass that the time cometh, when the fulness of my gospel shall be preached unto them; And they shall believe in me, that I am Jesus Christ, the Son of God, and shall pray unto the Father in my name. 3 Nephi 20:30-31

Verily, verily, I say unto you, that my people shall know my name; yea, in that day they shall know that I am he that doth speak. 3 Nephi 20:39

Some time before the brother of Jared was brought back into the presence of Jesus, he had an experience where the Lord chastised him. For the space of three hours did the Lord talk with the brother of Jared, and chastened him because he remembered not to call upon the name of the Lord for his brethren. The record shows that the brother of Jared repented and was received by the Lord. We are commanded to call upon the Father in the name of Jesus, with a broken heart and a contrite spirit.

And it came to pass at the end of four years that the Lord came again unto the brother of Jared, and stood in a cloud and talked with him. And for the space of three hours did the Lord talk with the brother of Jared, and chastened him because he remembered not to call upon the name of the Lord. And the brother of Jared repented of the evil which he had done, and did call upon the name of the Lord for his brethren who were with him. Ether 2:14-15

Behold, when ye shall rend that veil of unbelief which doth cause you to remain in your awful state of wickedness, and hardness of heart, and blindness of mind, then shall the great and marvelous things which have been hid up from the foundation of the world from you—yea, when ye shall call upon the Father in my name, with a broken heart and a contrite spirit, then shall ye know that the Father hath remembered the covenant which he made unto your fathers, O house of Israel. Ether 4:15

You can still pray to Jesus using your words, but you would be praying in your name not in the name of Jesus.

As you begin to exercise faith and call upon the name of the Lord, the adversary will bring up doubts and fears to stop you in your progress. Use the Word of God to cast out your doubts and fears. “Look unto me [Jesus Christ] in every thought; doubt not, fear not.” Doctrine and Covenants 6:36 Use the words of Jesus to overcome your doubts. Use the Word of God to overcome your fears. Speak back to those voices in your head using the scriptures to overcome your false beliefs. As your knowledge of the truth increases, your ability to withstand the wiles of the devil will also increase.

And these signs shall follow them that believe—in my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues; they shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick and they shall recover; And whosoever shall believe in my name, doubting nothing, unto him will I confirm all my words, even unto the ends of the earth. Mormon 9:24-25

The Father's sonship is a mystery except to those to whom the Son will reveal the Father.

At that time Jesus answered and said, I thank thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes. Even so, Father: for so it seemed good in thy sight. All things are delivered unto me of my Father: and no man knoweth the Son, but the Father; neither knoweth any man the Father, save the Son, and he to whomsoever the Son will reveal him. Matthew11:25-27

George W. Pace 

As I've been writing this blog post, memories of George W. Pace have come to me many times, so after writing this post, I looked into the controversy surrounding his teachings during the 80s. He was a cheerful man. I remember his excitement and enthusiasm for the gospel of Jesus Christ. In 1981 George wrote a book encouraging others to have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. In March of 1982, Bruce R. McConkie publicly condemned and rebuked George Wendall Pace in a BYU Devotional Talk titled Our Relationship with the Lord.

Although George wasn't named in the devotional, a sentence from his 1981 book What It Means to Know Christ was quoted, brought into question, and seriously criticized. “According to his son, Pace was personally devastated and saw this as a public condemnation and rebuke. He removed his book from the market, lost his church position as stake president, and had a dramatic drop in class enrollment. Pace issued a formal apology in which he stated that his opinions may be misinterpreted, and he was glad that McConkie had clarified the issues. Pace wanted "to stay in the mainstream of the Church" and remain loyal to its leadership. . . After the fallout from the McConkie incident, Pace still retained his BYU religious professorship and served in leadership positions in the church.” Wikipedia

This is the perilous message George W. Pace was teaching 35 years ago, “Because the Savior is our mediator, our prayers go through Christ to the Father, and the Father answers our prayers through his Son.”

As I pondered the church's motive in coming down so hard on George, questions kept coming to my mind: “What is so dangerous about talking to Jesus?  Why is it improper to have a personal and intimate relationship with Lord, Jesus? Why does church leadership not want us to pray to Jesus? Why would the LDS church want to nip this teaching in the bud before it could bloom and grow? What would happen if we realized Jesus Christ is our Father and started praying to Him? What would happen if we knew to whom to pray to receive answers to our prayers? What would happen if a connection is made with heaven because we know how to worship, and know what we worship? What would happen if all those empty prayers are answered because we repent of calling out to Jesus' Father? What would happen if we stopped believing Jesus is our older brother and start believing he is the Father? Would he then claim us as a son or daughter?”

Here are excerpts from Bruce McConkie's speech. I would suggest you read the entire talk and decide for yourselves what think ye of Jesus Christ.

I shall speak of our relationship with the Lord and of the true fellowship all Saints should have with the Father. I shall set forth what we must believe relative to the Father and the Son in order to gain eternal life.

I shall expound the doctrine of the Church relative to what our relationship should be to all members of the Godhead and do so in plainness and simplicity so that none need misunderstand or be led astray by other voices.

I shall express the view of the Brethren, of the prophets and apostles of old, and of all those who understand the scriptures and are in tune with the Holy Spirit.

These matters lie at the very foundation of revealed religion. In presenting them I am on my own ground and am at home with my subject. I shall not stoop to petty wranglings about semantics but shall stay with matters of substance. I shall simply go back to basics and set forth fundamental doctrines of the kingdom, knowing that everyone who is sound spiritually and who has the guidance of the Holy Spirit will believe my words and follow my counsel.

Please do not put too much stock in some of the current views and vagaries that are afloat, but rather, turn to the revealed word, get a sound understanding of the doctrines, and keep yourselves in the mainstream of the Church.

Now, it is no secret that many false and vain and foolish things are being taught in the sectarian world and even among us about our need to gain a special relationship with the Lord Jesus. I shall summarize the true doctrine in this field and invite erring teachers and beguiled students to repent and believe the accepted gospel verities as I shall set them forth.

There is no salvation in believing any false doctrine, particularly a false or unwise view about the Godhead or any of its members. Eternal life is reserved for those who know God and the One whom he sent to work out the infinite and eternal atonement.

True and saving worship is found only among those who know the truth about God and the Godhead and who understand the true relationship men should have with each member of that Eternal Presidency.

It follows that the devil would rather spread false doctrine about God and the Godhead, and induce false feelings with reference to any one of them, than almost any other thing he could do . . .

Thus there are, in the Eternal Godhead, three persons—God the first, the Creator; God the second, the Redeemer; and God the third, the Testator. These three are one—one God if you will—in purposes, in powers, and in perfections. But each has his own severable work to perform, and mankind has a defined and known and specific relationship to each one of them. It is of these relationships that we shall now speak.

Doctrines of Eternal Life

Let us set forth those doctrines and concepts that a gracious God has given to us in this day and which must be understood in order to gain eternal life. They are:

1. We worship the Father and him only and no one else.
We do not worship the Son, and we do not worship the Holy Ghost. I know perfectly well what the scriptures say about worshipping Christ and Jehovah, but they are speaking in an entirely different sense—the sense of standing in awe and being reverentially grateful to him who has redeemed us. Worship in the true and saving sense is reserved for God the first, the Creator . . .

4. The plan of salvation is the gospel of the Father
The plan of salvation originated with the Father; he is the Author and Finisher of our faith in the final sense; he ordained the laws by obedience to which both we and Christ can become like him. . .

Note it, please, the Lord Jesus worked out his own salvation while in this mortal probation by going from grace to grace, until, having overcome the world and being raised in immortal glory, he became like the Father in the full, complete, and eternal sense. . .

We do have a proper relationship to each member of the Godhead, in part at least because there are separate and severable functions which each performs, and also because of what they as one Godhead have done for us.

Our relationship with the Father is supreme, paramount, and preeminent over all others. He is the God we worship. It is his gospel that saves and exalts. He ordained and established the plan of salvation. He is the one who was once as we are now. The life he lives is eternal life, and if we are to gain this greatest of all the gifts of God, it will be because we become like him.

Our relationship with the Father is one of parent and child. He is the one who gave us our agency. It was his plan that provided for a fall and an atonement. And it is to him that we must be reconciled if we are to gain salvation. He is the one to whom we have direct access by prayer, and if there were some need—which there is not!—to single out one member of the Godhead for a special relationship, the Father, not the Son, would be the one to choose.

Our relationship with the Son is one of brother or sister in the premortal life and one of being led to the Father by him while in this mortal sphere. He is the Lord Jehovah who championed our cause before the foundations of the earth were laid. He is the God of Israel, the promised Messiah, and the Redeemer of the world . . .

Our relationship with the Holy Spirit is quite another thing. This holy personage is a Revelator and a Sanctifier. He bears record of the Father and the Son. He dispenses spiritual gifts to the faithful. Those of us who have received the gift of the Holy Ghost have the right to his constant companionship.

And again, if it were proper—and I repeat, it is not!—to single out one member of the Godhead for some special attention, we might well conclude that member should be the Holy Ghost. We might well adopt as a slogan: Seek the Spirit. The reason of course is that the sanctifying power of the Spirit would assure us of reconciliation with the Father. And any person who enjoys the constant companionship of the Holy Spirit will be in complete harmony with the divine will in all things.

[This is the section where the quote in George W. Pace's 
book entitled What It Means to Know Christ is quoted]

Heresies among Us

Now, in spite of all these truths, which ought to be obvious to every spiritually enlightened person, heresies rear their ugly heads among us from time to time. . .
There are yet others who have an excessive zeal which causes them to go beyond the mark. Their desire for excellence is inordinate. In an effort to be truer than true they devote themselves to gaining a special, personal relationship with Christ that is both improper and perilous.

I say perilous because this course, particularly in the lives of some who are spiritually immature, is a gospel hobby which creates an unwholesome holier-than-thou attitude. In other instances it leads to despondency because the seeker after perfection knows he is not living the way he supposes he should.

Another peril is that those so involved often begin to pray directly to Christ because of some special friendship they feel has been developed. In this connection a current and unwise book, which advocates gaining a special relationship with Jesus, contains this sentence:

Because the Savior is our mediator, our prayers go through Christ to the Father, and the Father answers our prayers through his Son. [emphasis added]

This is plain sectarian nonsense. Our prayers are addressed to the Father, and to him only. They do not go through Christ, or the Blessed Virgin, or St. Genevieve or along the beads of a rosary. We are entitled to “come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need” (Hebrews 4:16).

And I rather suppose that he who sitteth upon the throne will choose his own ways to answer his children, and that they are numerous. Perfect prayer is addressed to the Father, in the name of the Son; and it is uttered by the power of the Holy Ghost; and it is answered in whatever way seems proper by him whose ear is attuned to the needs of his children.

The Mainstream of the Church

Now I know that some may be offended at the counsel that they should not strive for a special and personal relationship with Christ. It will seem to them as though I am speaking out against mother love, or Americanism, or the little red schoolhouse. But I am not. There is a fine line here over which true worshipers will not step.

It is true that there may, with propriety, be a special relationship with a wife, with children, with friends, with teachers, with the beasts of the field and the fowls of the sky and the lilies of the valley. But the very moment anyone singles out one member of the Godhead as the almost sole recipient of his devotion, to the exclusion of the others, that is the moment when spiritual instability begins to replace sense and reason.

The proper course for all of us is to stay in the mainstream of the Church. This is the Lord’s Church, and it is led by the spirit of inspiration, and the practice of the Church constitutes the interpretation of the scripture.

And you have never heard one of the First Presidency or the Twelve, who hold the keys of the kingdom, and who are appointed to see that we are not “tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine” (Ephesians 4:14)—you have never heard one of them advocate this excessive zeal that calls for gaining a so-called special and personal relationship with Christ.

You have heard them teach and testify of the ministry and mission of the Lord Jesus, using the most persuasive and powerful language at their command. But never, never at any time have they taught or endorsed the inordinate or intemperate zeal that encourages endless, sometimes day-long prayers, in order to gain a personal relationship with the Savior.

Those who truly love the Lord and who worship the Father in the name of the Son by the power of the Spirit, according to the approved patterns, maintain a reverential barrier between themselves and all the members of the Godhead.

I am well aware that some who have prayed for endless hours feel they have a special and personal relationship with Christ that they never had before. I wonder if this is any or so much different, however, from the feelings of fanatical sectarians who with glassy eyes and fiery tongues assure us they have been saved by grace and are assured of a place with the Lord in a heavenly abode, when in fact they have never even received the fullness of the gospel.

I wonder if it is not part of Lucifer’s system to make people feel they are special friends of Jesus when in fact they are not following the normal and usual pattern of worship found in the true Church.

Let me remind you to stay in the course chartered by the Church. It is the Lord’s Church, and he will not permit it to be led astray. If we take the counsel that comes from the prophets and seers, we will pursue the course that is pleasing to the Lord.

Would it be amiss if I reminded you that Jesus maintained a reserve between him and his disciples and that he did not allow them the same intimacy with him that they had with each other? This was particularly true after his resurrection.

For instance, when Mary Magdalene, in a great outpouring of love and devotion, sought to embrace the risen Lord, her hands were stayed. “Touch me not,” he said. Between her and him, no matter what the degree of their love, there was a line over which she could not pass. And yet, almost immediately thereafter, a whole group of faithful women held that same Lord by the feet, and, we cannot doubt, bathed his wounded feet with their tears.

It is a fine and sacred line, but clearly there is a difference between a personal and intimate relationship with the Lord, which is improper, and one of worshipful adoration, which yet maintains the required reserve between us and him who has bought us with his blood.


Now I sincerely hope that no one will imagine that I have in the slightest degree downgraded the Lord Jesus in the scheme of things. I have not done so. As far as I know there is not a man on earth who thinks more highly of him than I do. It just may be that I have preached more sermons, taught more doctrine, and written more words about the Lord Jesus Christ than any other man now living. I have ten large volumes in print, seven of which deal almost entirely with Christ, and the other three with him and his doctrines.

I do not suppose that what I have here said will be an end to controversy or to the spread of false views and doctrines. The devil is not dead, and he delights in controversy. But you have been warned, and you have heard the true doctrine taught. Those who need to study the matter further would do well to get and study a copy of what I have said when it is published by Brigham Young University.

Let us then end on the note of testimony and of prayer. I bear record of the divine sonship of him whom we have this day spoken. He is or should be our best Friend through whom we can be reconciled to God.

And I pray that the true doctrine of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost, who, as the Book of Mormon says, are one God, may be found in the hearts and souls of all of us. In the name of the Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.

Bruce R. McConkie was a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints when this devotional address was given at Brigham Young University on 2 March 1982.