I’ll start this post off with an Apology to the Church™. In the past I’ve been judgmental about the church for not allowing members to go through the temple without a tie. But this last Friday my wife and I went to the temple. I changed in the changing rooms and took the white tie out of my temple bag and promptly stuffed the symbol of Babylon into the locker. As I went through to the waiting area and through the endowment, not one person took notice to the fact that my “flaxen cord” was missing. I went through the whole temple from entrance, to endowment, to exit and my missing tie didn’t even get a passing glance. So I apologize for my condemning attitude in thinking that I would have to wear a tie to go through the temple.
Along this same vein I want to tell you that this trip to the temple was the best I’ve ever had. I was taught many more things this time around. The first thing I was taught was more like an reaffirmation. It was that when we obey those things God has given us then we will reveal more. And then if we are obedient to that, we will get more. What this means to me is that in many other blogs people are making comments about conspiracies to kill Joseph Smith, or Joseph Smith didn’t practice Plural marriage. But what I was taught is that as long as I am obeying what I have currently been given then eventually those questions will be answered. Eventually as we become more perfect in obedience to God he will reveal those mysteries to us.
The next thing I was taught is about the tokens, and signs we receive in the Temple. I was taught that the tokens and sign are not handshakes or gestures. But they are keys. We are presented imagery of Adam looking for messengers from God. Satan comes among Adam and Eve and offers them religion and philosophies of men mingled with scripture. These tokens and signs are ways to determine who are true messengers of God. Not handshakes but keys. I don’t know exactly what they are yet but that’s what I have so far.
The third thing was about the Law of Consecration. In the temple we covenant to obey the Law of Consecration AS GIVEN IN THE DOCTRINE AND COVENANTS. We covenant to give our time talents and EVERYTHING with which the Lord has or will bless us to the church(for me this does not mean the Church™) and to build Zion and God’s kingdom. I noticed that this covenant doesn’t say, obey the Law of Consecration after you have been obedient to the “preparatory law” of Tithing. Nor does it say obey the Law of Consecration when Brother Thomas tells us to. No! It tells us to obey it. Plan and simple. Cut and dry! Anyone who has been to the temple and covenanted to obey the Law of Consecration is not obedient if they are not living it right now. I took this covenant back in 2003. Now, a bit more than seven years later, I stand guilty before God for not obeying the Law of Consecration! But what can we do when the very Church™ that encourages us to make this covenant CONDEMNS those who try and practice it?! From this moment forward I will study out the Law of Consecration as contained in the Doctrine and Covenants. And then I will find a way to live this Law. I don’t know how yet, but I will.
The prayer circle was the best I have been in, I really felt a spirit of friendship. My wife also commented on how uplifting the Prayer Circle was.
Now let’s fast forward to today in Church. During sacrament meeting we had one little boy get up and start his testimony with, “Once upon a time…” His father who was there corrected him and dictated a testimony in the boy’s ear. Later a sister stood up and thought how wonderful the “heartfelt” testimonies of the young children were. I wonder, were they heartfelt? I can’t say if they were or weren’t. But in my observation it seems as though these young children’s “testimonies” were more earfelt. Seeing as how they were just repeating what their father told them to say. Can something be heartfelt if you are simply repeating what someone else wants you to say?
Moving on to Sunday School. Brother J taught our lesson again. It was very good but there were a few things that were inconsistent. I’ll talk about those in a bit. I didn’t give any comments because what I was going to say didn’t quite fit in with what was being discussed. But I probably should have opened my mouth.
We talked about when Christ went before the Jews and said he was the Messiah. We were asked if we too would have had a similar reaction if someone we had known their whole life would have made similar claims. My additions would have been that he was not just someone we would have known. But he was that crazy guy that hung out with the drunks and people we thought were sinners.
If Brother Joseph’s son whom we had known since he was young; who we knew hung out with drunks and “bad” people; who wore robes and sandals to church and had a long beard; got up in sacrament meeting and said he was he Son of God, what would we do? I imagine we would just sit quietly and wait for him to get down. Or wait for the Bishop to escort him down from the stand. Then we would just go on our merry way getting a little chuckle out of Brother Joseph’s crazy son. He would probably end up in the Bishop’s office for an interview.
Also I was going to comment about how today we probably reject many messengers of God because they don’t come from the church hierarchy. Just like Christ who came from outside the Church™ hierarchy, who committed blasphemy because he claimed to be the Messiah, are there others today who come from outside the Church™ who are sent by God? Modern day Samuel the Lamanites who stand on the outskirts of our church™ organization and warn us of our wickedness. I think that just like with the Jews at Christ’s time, the thought is inconceivable.
If you’ll indulge me I want to give another little thought exercise. Pretend it’s fast Sunday and you are sitting in the church quietly waiting for sacrament meeting to start. You see someone new enter the room, a man followed by two women. You wouldn’t have noticed them if not for their old fashioned looking clothes. Sacrament meeting starts and you enjoy a peaceful sacrament. The 1st Councilor the gets up and announces that testimonies may now be shared. He shares his own and then sits down. You feel the butterflies. Should I get up and share? What would I say. Then you see that man you noticed earlier stand up and walk to the pulpit. He adjusts the microphone and then speaks. “Hi everyone. My name is Samuel. My family and I are from Texas. I don’t know why I’m here in your ward today, only that the Lord told me to be here. I didn’t come here to speak my own words but to speak the words of the Lord. The sword of justice hangs over this the Church. And fifty years will not pass away until the sword of justice falls upon you.” The bishopric look at each other in disbelief. “It doesn’t matter how many times you go to the temple, or do hometeaching, only repentance and faith can save this Church. And the Lord says, wo unto the great city of Salt Lake because of the wickedness and abominations which is in her; and behold a curse is upon this people because they refuse to hearken to the Book of Mormon. Wo unto this people because you cast out the prophets, even as they did of old time. If a prophet come among you, and declareth unto you the word of the Lord, which testifieth of your sins and iniquities, ye are angry with him, and cast him out. You will say that he is a false prophet, and that he is a sinner, and of the Devil, because he testifieth that your deeds are evil. But if a man shall come among you, and shall say, Do this, this is the way of the Lord today; do not give head unto the Word of the Lord in the scriptures, but only to my voice, for I cannot not lead you astray. And if a man shall come among you and say this, ye will receive him, and ye shall say that he is a prophet…” It is at this moment that a member of the bishopric gets up and puts his arm around brother Samuel and asks him to sit down.
Now, granted I used some of the words of Samuel the Lamanite here, but what would your reaction be? Now I didn’t mention it but the guy in the example was a polygamist. Would the fact that some such person was committing, what you believe to be, a sin affect your reception of him? Would you roll your eyes at this weirdo? Or would you pray about his words and seek to find out if they were true? Would you completely ignore this wacko because if any warning was to come, it would come through “official” channels? If you think that the Lord will only send His word through his “authorized” servants then you would feel right at home with those who cast out Lehi, Samuel, Joseph Smith, Jesus Christ, and many other true messengers of God.
I said earlier that some of the lesson was inconsistent. This was when we talked about leaving our nets. We discussed Luke Chapter 5 and how Christ told the men who would be his apostles to cast their nets and then they caught fish. After that they left their nets to follow Christ. Brother J asked us what some of our nets that we need to leave should be. There were some good responses. But then after that we went back to them catching tons of fish and their nets starting to break because of how many fish they caught. Then we talked about how, if we will do what God asks, He will bless us with great things. The problem is that we had just finished talking about how are nets were things like the love of money, and other things that tie us to the world; and then now our nets were what the Lord uses to bless us. And what we missed at the end was verse 11. In this verse it tells us that they left everything and followed Christ. This continues in the same line that our nets are things we need to give up. Even though the Lord may bless us with worldly things we are supposed to give all that up and follow Him.
In Elder’s Quorum we had a lesson from Preach my Gospel. We talked about prophets and dispensations. Our Elder’s Quorum President said that the dispensations have always followed a pattern that eventually the people reject the Prophets. I asked if he thought that we were an exception. Or if at some point we too, will reject the prophets.
The responses I got were interesting. One brother commented that it has been prophesied that we will. Another brother said that the scriptures say the priesthood will not be taken from the earth. Another comment was that we are building temples around the world and the gospel is going forth. That shows we are not on the path to apostasy. Lastly one brother said that individuals may apostatize but not the majority of members.
Before finishing this already long post I want to address these comments.
The priesthood will not be taken from the earth.
I found it interesting that this was used as to explain why the church will not go into apostasy. Since the Church and Priesthood are separate entities(if the Priesthood is even an entity). Having the Priesthood on the earth does not mean that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints™ will not go into apostasy. In fact if we look at the scriptures it presents and interesting picture. The verse in question is in Doctrine and Covenants 13:1
1 Upon you my fellow servants, in the name of Messiah I confer the Priesthood of Aaron, which holds the keys of the ministering of angels, and of the gospel of repentance, and of baptism by immersion for the remission of sins; and this shall never be taken again from the earth, until the sons of Levi do offer again an offering unto the Lord in righteousness.
This verse tells us that it is in fact the Aaronic Priesthood that will not be taken from the earth. But even then it will only remain on the earth UNTIL the Sons of Levi offer an offering again in righteousness. After that it will be taken. Also it is the Sons of Levi doing the offering. Which means the Aaronic priesthood will given to people who are not part of the gentile church(L-DS). All in all this seems a pretty weak argument for the church never being in Apostasy.
We are building temples around the world.
While this seems like a great thing there is no scriptural edict to build temples around the world. In fact the only temples we have scriptural direction for are, the Presidency’s Temple in Zion, Kirtland, Far West, Nauvoo, and Jerusalem. The Lord has never commanded His people to build temples around the world. And when we look historically at temples they were all to be built at the center of Cities of Zion(the exception being Jerusalem), not just willy-nilly around the globe.
So if we are building temples contrary to the Word of God would this be an indicator of righteousness or apostasy?
Individuals may apostatize.
I mean no offense to the brother who made this comment but this one blew me away. It seems that this excuse is used to say how many people may apostatize. When we say individuals may apostatize but not the majority of members we are really saying that a small number of people may apostatize but not a large number. But by using the term individuals we skew the whole thing. There is no such thing as mass or group apostasy. All apostasy is done on the individual level. So if apostasy can happen to any person within the Church™ then it is possible that a small or large number of individuals may apostatize. But by saying that the majority will not, we are implying that there is some magic number of people that the Lord will not allow to use their agency to apostatize. He will somehow prevent them from doing so.
It doesn’t matter which way you play it, the “only a small number of people are able to apostatize” card just doesn’t fit with the plan. Sorry brother S but this justification of ourselves just is not viable.
It has been prophesied that we will.
This was the best comment. Why? Because it HAS been prophesied that the latter day gentile church will fall away!
This falling away started as early as 1832.
Doctrine and Covenants 84:54-58
54 And your minds in times past have been darkened because of unbelief, and because you have treated lightly the things you have received–
55 Which vanity and unbelief have brought the whole church under condemnation.
56 And this condemnation resteth upon the children of Zion, even all.
57 And they shall remain under this condemnation until they repent and remember the new covenant, even the Book of Mormon and the former commandments which I have given them, not only to say, but to do according to that which I have written–
58 That they may bring forth fruit meet for their Father’s kingdom; otherwise there remaineth a scourge and judgment to be poured out upon the children of Zion.
It was made worse with the succession crisis of 1844. When the church split apart each following after who they thought was the “rightful” leader. It continues in all branches of the restoration especially in the largest one the L-DS church.
In the Book of Mormon(1830) we read(emphasis mine):
Book of Nephi – Chapter VII
When the Gentiles shall sin against my Gospel, and shall reject the fulness of my Gospel, and shall be lifted up in the pride of their hearts above all nations, and above all the people of the whole earth, and shall be filled with all manner of lyings, and of deceits, and of mischiefs, and all manner of hypocrisy, and murders, and priestcrafts, and whoredoms, and of secret abominations; and if they shall do all these things and shall reject the fulness of my Gospel, behold, saith the Father, I will bring the fulness of my Gospel from among them; and then will I remember my covenant which I have made unto my people, O house of Israel, and I will bring my Gospel unto them; and I will shew unto thee, O house of Israel, that the Gentiles shall not have power over you, but I will remember my covenant unto you, O house of Israel, and ye shall come unto the knowledge of the fulness of my Gospel. But if the Gentiles will repent, and return unto me, saith the Father, behold, they shall be numbered among my people, O house of Israel;
This is also in the modern version of the Book of Mormon, but Im using the 1830 version right now. It tells us that the gentiles(you and me, the L-DS church) will sin against the gospel. The gospel will be taken from us and given to the Israelites. Then if we repent and are righteous we can join the Israelites. So there is another hit against the idea that our church will not go into Apostasy.
Joseph Smith taught(emphasis mine):
“If Zion will not purify herself, so as to be approved of in all things, in His sight, He will seek another people; for His work will go on until Israel is gathered, and they who will not hear His voice, must expect to feel His wrath.”
Brigham Young said:
“The time will come when this people will be led onto the very brink of hell by their leaders, then the one mighty and strong will come to set the house of God in order.”
We cannot keep fooling ourselves. The brother in our class today was right. It HAS been prophesied that our church the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints™ WILL fall away. The gospel will be taken from us. The only way we can not be cast off in the coming cleansing is to live according to God’s commandments. Following the Prophet® and pretending that a bunch of warm fuzzy conference talks are revelation is NOT enough! We must do as the Book of Mormon tells us, REPENT! Only through repenting and turning away from our false traditions can we be numbered among the Children of Israel. The Church™ cannot be saved. It is part of God’s plan that the Church™ will be destroyed. After that it will pave the way for the return of the Tribes of Israel. The times of the gentiles will come to an end and God’s promises will be fulfilled.