Are we the Lord’s Disciples? Many weeks ago I was reading a post over on LDSA about the L-DS Church’s missionary program. Some scriptures were referenced that talked about what attributes and manifestations a missionary should have. At the end of the reference it said:
Doctrine and Covenants 84:91
91 And he that doeth not these things is not my disciple; by this you may know my disciples.
A questioned popped into my head. If the lord has said we are not his disciples if we are not doing these things, are we the Lord’s disciples if we are not doing them? The answer seems an obvious, No. But yet L-DS tradition and policies indicate otherwise. Could tradition be right? I could maybe see that, if this was an isolated scripture. If this was a lone statement and had since been overturned, I could maybe understand that we are exempt. But another thought came to me. What if this is not the only statement of its kind? What if there are many statements of what attributes Christ’s disciples must have. If so, are we meeting them?
And thus began my quest. I set out in search of similar statements in the Doctrine and Covenants, to the one above. My criteria was anything that says, “not my disciple”, or something similar. I’m sure there are MANY more statements of what a disciple of Christ must be, but I have only included those that met my criteria.
While reading these scriptures ask yourself these questions:
Does this apply today?
If no, why, when, and how was it changed?
If yes, are we doing it?
If we are not doing it, and it applies to us, can we then call ourselves Christ’s Disciples?
Obey God’s Law
Doctrine and Covenants 41:1-5
1 Hearken and hear, O ye my people, saith the Lord and your God, ye whom I delight to bless with the greatest of all blessings, ye that hear me; and ye that hear me not will I curse, that have professed my name, with the heaviest of all cursings.
2 Hearken, O ye elders of my church whom I have called, behold I give unto you a commandment, that ye shall assemble yourselves together to agree upon my word;
3 And by the prayer of your faith ye shall receive my law, that ye may know how to govern my church and have all things right before me.
4 And I will be your ruler when I come; and behold, I come quickly, and ye shall see that my law is kept.
5 He that receiveth my law and doeth it, the same is my disciple; and he that saith he receiveth it and doeth it not, the same is not my disciple, and shall be cast out from among you;
Here the Lord tell us that if we receive his law we are his disciple. I interpret this to mean that, not only do we read the law, but God confirms that law unto us. It goes on to say that if we receive the law but do not do it, then we are not His disciples. This seems pretty cut and dry. So what I will focus on here is, What is the law?
I once again scoured the scriptures and here is what I came up with(I’m sure there are many more references than what I have here):
– God’s law is given in the scriptures(D&C 42:28).
– The things which have been given in scripture is Gods law to govern the church(D&C 42:59).
– God’s word is his law(D&C 132:18).
Even with these few references it is clear that God’s law is His Word, which is in the Scriptures. So open up your scriptures. There is God’s law. Anything that is NOT in the scriptures is thus NOT God’s law. I found a conspicuous lack of references stating that First Presidency statements and ensign articles are God’s law. Maybe that is significant.
Now in case you are still a little unclear on what God’s law is, let me use the scriptures to define what the scriptures are:
– The holy scriptures is the Bible(D&C 20:35).
– Scriptures are the revelations given by Joseph Smith, Jr.(Sorry, I lost the reference for this one).
– A fulness of the scriptures is forthcoming(D&C 42:15).
– Whatever elders speak, while preaching the gospel abroad, when moved by the holy spirit, is scripture(D&C 68:4).
So simply put open up your Quad and there is God’s law. This idea was confirmed by Harold Lee:
I say that we need to teach our people to find their answers in the scriptures. If only each of us would be wise enough to say that we aren’t able to answer any question unless we can find a doctrinal answer in the scriptures! And if we hear someone teaching something that is contrary to what is in the scriptures, each of us may know whether the things spoken are false-it is as simple as that. But the unfortunate thing is that so many of us are not reading the scriptures. We do not know what is in them, and therefore we speculate about the things that we ought to have found in the scriptures themselves. I think that therein is one of our biggest dangers of today.
Now comes the challenge. Read your scriptures. The D&C specifically applies to us today, but don’t let that downplay the importance of the Book of Mormon and the Bible. Also remember that more scriptures are coming. The records from the nations of the world, brass plates, etc. are forthcoming and contain God’s law.
When you read God’s law for us today, given in D&C, did you read anything we are not doing today? If so, then we are not obeying God’s law and are thus NOT his disciples.
Care for the Poor and Needy
Doctrine and Covenants 52:40
40 And remember in all things the poor and the needy, the sick and the afflicted, for he that doeth not these things, the same is not my disciple.
In what ways have you helped the poor, the needy, the sick and the afflicted? I can honestly say in my own life I am not doing what I should. If we are not taking care of them, then we are not his disciples.
But here’s a hint, the best way to care for those who are less fortunate than us, is a program the Lord instituted about 180 years ago. It’s name starts with an “L” and ends with an “aw of Consecration”.
Miracles will Follow
A slight side track from the disciple thing, but it is in the same vein. The Doctrine and Covenants give a list of signs that will follow believers. This parallels a list of signs given in Mark 16:17, 18.
Doctrine and Covenants 84:65-73
65 And these signs shall follow them that believe–
66 In my name they shall do many wonderful works;
67 In my name they shall cast out devils;
68 In my name they shall heal the sick;
69 In my name they shall open the eyes of the blind, and unstop the ears of the deaf;
70 And the tongue of the dumb shall speak;
71 And if any man shall administer poison unto them it shall not hurt them;
72 And the poison of a serpent shall not have power to harm them.
73 But a commandment I give unto them, that they shall not boast themselves of these things, neither speak them before the world; for these things are given unto you for your profit and for salvation.
When was the last time you saw a member of the church do many wonderful works? Or cast out devils? When have you seen someone heal the sick(without a priesthood blessing; D&C 42:43, 44)? What about someone who caused a blind person to see or a deaf person to hear(without the aid of technology)? Or cause someone who can’t speak to speak? Have you seen anyone drink poison and not be hurt(Hahaha, sorry, I just remembered that scene in Princess Bride)? Have you seen any member of the Church take a bite from a snake and not be hurt(this may be literal or figurative, but I’ll leave that up to you)?
I can honestly say that I can count the number of times I have seen many of these things on…well…I’ve never seen many of these things. So if these signs accompany believers and I have not seen them in myself and others what does that say? Well the outlook doesn’t look that great for me, at least.
Now I know what you’re saying, of course you haven’t heard of them, these things are too sacred to be shared. But did you read verse 73? These things are given for our benefit. Sure we shouldn’t boast of them before the world, but they should be openly talked about amongst believers.
This presents an interesting parallel though. In my Silent Revelations post I talked about how, since public revelations are not given anymore, the only way for modern revelation to still happen is for it to be mundane boring revelation that is not released publicly. That has become our scapegoat for a lack of revelation. Isn’t it also interesting that since the public manifestation of the Gifts of the Spirit and Signs of Believers has stopped. We have made a scapegoat out of others by saying that these things are too sacred, so one talks about them. It is the only way we can claim these things still occur and explain their lack of public manifestation.
When things stop being manifest the only way we can maintain our belief that we are on the right track is to confine these things to the quiet regions of, other people’s experiences.
But maybe there is anther possibility. Maybe these things are not manifest publically be cause we are not meeting the qualifications of being believers, or Christ’s disciples. Just a thought.
Prepare for Missionary Service
Doctrine and Covenants 84:77-91
77 And again I say unto you, my friends, for from henceforth I shall call you friends, it is expedient that I give unto you this commandment, that ye become even as my friends in days when I was with them, traveling to preach the gospel in my power;
78 For I suffered them not to have purse or scrip, neither two coats.
79 Behold, I send you out to prove the world, and the laborer is worthy of his hire.
80 And any man that shall go and preach this gospel of the kingdom, and fail not to continue faithful in all things, shall not be weary in mind, neither darkened, neither in body, limb, nor joint; and a hair of his head shall not fall to the ground unnoticed. And they shall not go hungry, neither athirst.
81 Therefore, take ye no thought for the morrow, for what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink, or wherewithal ye shall be clothed.
82 For, consider the lilies of the field, how they grow, they toil not, neither do they spin; and the kingdoms of the world, in all their glory, are not arrayed like one of these.
83 For your Father, who is in heaven, knoweth that you have need of all these things.
84 Therefore, let the morrow take thought for the things of itself.
85 Neither take ye thought beforehand what ye shall say; but treasure up in your minds continually the words of life, and it shall be given you in the very hour that portion that shall be meted unto every man.
86 Therefore, let no man among you, for this commandment is unto all the faithful who are called of God in the church unto the ministry, from this hour take purse or scrip, that goeth forth to proclaim this gospel of the kingdom.
87 Behold, I send you out to reprove the world of all their unrighteous deeds, and to teach them of a judgment which is to come.
88 And whoso receiveth you, there I will be also, for I will go before your face. I will be on your right hand and on your left, and my Spirit shall be in your hearts, and mine angels round about you, to bear you up.
89 Whoso receiveth you receiveth me; and the same will feed you, and clothe you, and give you money.
90 And he who feeds you, or clothes you, or gives you money, shall in nowise lose his reward.
91 And he that doeth not these things is not my disciple; by this you may know my disciples.
I apologize for another mission story, but I can recall explaining to people how we as missionaries were not paid to preach the gospel. That we left home without purse or scrip and traveled to their land to preach the gospel. But at the same time, every month, 5600 Philippine Pesos was there in my missionary bank account waiting for we to withdraw it.
At the same time we spent massive study time reading Preach My Gospel to know just what to say to people. That sounds just like the missionaries described in these verses, right?
I’m going to go out on a limb and wager that having family, friends, and a church provide a monthly sum of money to support a missionary is not going without purse or scrip. Rather it is tying the missionary into a massive world wide recruitment program. Section 84 tell us that missionaries are to just leave. You’re not even supposed to take an extra set of clothes. Your family is not to provide for you. Rather the Lord is to provide for you. God’s angels will be there to bear you up. The people who receive you are the one who will clothe and feed you and give you money.
But that’s not really needed. We have a massive church program to pay for missionaries, and pay for their apartments. Just make sure they are dressed in their nicest suit and tie. Nothing says humble servant of Christ like a nice olive suit, white shirt, and tie strolling into a neighborhood where people can’t afford clothes, food, or clean drinking water. And don’t you dare give any of your monthly allowance away to help them!
But wait, there’s that pesky verse 91 again. Using Section 84, which is available in any missionary’s D&C, we can reasonably conclude(now it’s not our place to judge)that not a single missionary, serving in the L-DS Church’s missionary program, is a disciple of Christ. I didn’t make that up or interpret it to fit my views. There it is if a person does not leave without purse, scrip, two coats, etc. then they are NOT His disciples.
Must Receive Inheritance by Consecration
This is one that surprised me.
Doctrine and Covenants 85:3-5
3 It is contrary to the will and commandment of God that those who receive not their inheritance by consecration, agreeable to his law, which he has given, that he may tithe his people, to prepare them against the day of vengeance and burning, should have their names enrolled with the people of God.
4 Neither is their genealogy to be kept, or to be had where it may be found on any of the records or history of the church.
5 Their names shall not be found, neither the names of the fathers, nor the names of the children written in the book of the law of God, saith the Lord of Hosts.
I’ve mentioned this in previous posts But it deserves mention here. If we do not receive our inheritances through consecration our names will NOT be enrolled with the people of God.
Now if you are wondering what an inheritance is, just do a search for it in the Doctrine and Covenants. But simply put an inheritance as a parcel of land that a person receives after consecrating his/her property to the Bishop. It is upon this land that you build your house, grow you garden, raise your family, etc. It is the Lord’s land that He has given to you to be your stewardship. If you look at any of the plats of the cities of Zion you will see they are divided into lots. These are inheritances. This is another reason to gather to Cities of Zion.
Now make a guess as to how many people in the church today have received their inheritances through consecration. My guess is ZERO! Now I could be wrong but, ya know.
As I mentioned earlier these are just four things. There are MANY more in all the scriptures. As I look at these things it strikes me personally that I am not doing ANY of them. I’m trying to, but my trying is not getting very far. It is scary to think that I am not numbered among God’s people. I think this is a fear which resides in a great many members of the church. Down beneath the surface. Beneath the strong front and “solid” testimony.
Here we have God telling us that if we do not do these things then we are NOT his disciples. We as a people either just ignore these things and open up the Ensign; or we confine them to relics of the past; or we find some way to wrest these square pegs into the round holes of our modern traditions and programs.
But perhaps there is another possibility. Maybe, just maybe, there is a small, teensy-weensy, sniggly, smidgen of a little chance, that we are not the Lord’s disciples, because we are not doing what He has commanded.
The thought is scary, I know. But this is a fear that we must embrace. We must grab it by the horns and use it to help us change, and repent. We must use this fear as a motivation to bring our lives into harmony with the Laws of God and the Gospel of Jesus Christ!
Which of these possibilities would be worse?
1. We ignore this fear, reassure ourselves that the Brethren will never lead us astray, continuing on our merry way. And then when the Judgement day comes Christ says to us, “Ye know me not.”
2. We look at this fear and realize that we are not doing what we should. Then we read the scriptures and repent of our wickedness. After that we do what God has commanded, regardless of what friend, neighbor, or Church leader says. And then when that final days comes Christ says unto us, “Well done, good and faithful servant; thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things; enter thou into the joy of thy lord.”
Sorry, but for me option #2 is the best. I cannot, nor will I, allow any person to keep me from God. I don’t care what opinion they have. I don’t care what their title in a corporation is. My salvation rests between me and God alone. I was taught at church to stand for righteousness and to obey God at all costs. Is that now suddenly wrong because God has told be something different that what the Brethen have spoken? I don’t think so!