Sunday, January 17, 2021

Principles of Revelation (D&C 6, 8-9) QUESTION

Commanded to Ask
 
READ D&C 6:1-2
What does it mean to say that God’s word is quick, powerful and sharper than a two-edged sword?
 
READ D&C 6:3-4
What is the relationship between your salvation and “reaping” or harvesting other souls?
 
READ D&C 6:5-9
What are we to ask God about?
What happens if you do not ask or knock?
What happens if we do ask?
In what sense are those with eternal life rich?
Why are we commanded to say nothing but repentance?
 
READ D&C 8:10-12
What ought we not to ask for?
How might we trifle with revelation?
What are we commanded to ask about?
 
READ D&C 6:29-31
Why is it a blessing if they “do” unto you as they did unto Christ; what could be more horrible?
How much comfort does Joseph receive here?
 
READ D&C 6:32, 37
What does it mean that Christ can be in our midst?
What must we do so that Christ will be in our midst?
What is Christ’s admonition to us?
 
READ D&C 6:33-36
Why might one “fear to do good”?
What is He asking us to sow and why?
What does it mean to be built upon Christ’s rock?
What do these verses tell us about the comfort of the Lord?
How does one look to the Lord in every thought? In other words, what is He telling them to do here?
How can we overcome doubt and fear?
 
 
Gifts or Tools to Enable Revelation
 
READ D&C 6:10-12 and D&C 8:6-9
What is the gift referred to here?
What has Oliver been doing with his rod or “gift of Aaron”?
Oliver is being commanded to inquire of God to gain knowledge through the use of his gift; how might he do that?
What is implied by the fact that this kind of gift is sacred and comes from above?
How can our gifts be blessings, when they usually bring obligations?
The word mystery means, literally, “secret.” What are the mysteries the Lord is speaking of here? In what sense or senses are they secret?
Why should Oliver Cowdery keep his gift concealed? What does “of thy faith” mean?
 
READ D&C 6:13
How is the word salvation used here?
Why is salvation the greatest gift?
 
READ D&C 6:14-17
Does this mean that Oliver always has his prayers answered; if so, why?
What is Oliver being taught about how to recognize the Spirit?
Why does the Lord have to witness to Oliver that the words he is writing are true?
What has brought Oliver to where he is?
 
READ D&C 6:22-24
What further witness (beyond Joseph revealing Oliver’s private conversation with the Lord) did the Lord give Oliver?
How is “peace” a witness of the truth of the gospel or can it be imitated by Satan?
 
 
Applying Spiritual Gifts: Oliver and the Translation of the Book of Mormon
 
READ D&C 6:25-28
Did Oliver ask to translate?
Why did the Lord offer Oliver this opportunity, knowing that he would ultimately fail?
How was Oliver told to go about translating?
Why was Oliver not told to translate like Joseph did, using the seer stone or Urim and Thummim?
Can Oliver change his desires?
 
READ D&C 8:1-5
What has Oliver asked for?
By what process will the Lord enable Oliver to translate ancient records?
Does the phrase “spirit of revelation” refer to the Holy Ghost or to something else?
The spirit of revelation is Oliver’s gift; how was he to use it - what does “apply unto it” mean?
 

Oliver’s Failure to Translate: Lessons Learned
 
READ D&C 9:1-6
Did Oliver fail to translate, as per the Lord’s invitation and his own desire?
 
READ D&C 9:7-11
To what is the Lord referring when he tells Oliver of the burning in his bosom?
Must one receive a “burning” to know that something is right?
When was Oliver to receive the “burning”?
What is a stupor of thought and how does the Lord use it with regards to receiving revelation?
Why did Oliver fail to translate?
Why would Oliver have tried to translate without studying it out in his mind first; why would he have changed his translation method?
What are the lessons we should learn from Oliver’s experience with regards to receiving revelation from God?
 
READ D&C 9:12-14
Why was Oliver not condemned by failing to translate?
What is the point of the Lord’s message to Oliver?
 
 
Principles of Revelation
 
What is a testimony?
What is the implication of this initial revelation?
What happens when revelation is taken or absent from a people?
What or who fills the gap left by revelation?
How is truth determined in a society led by scholars instead of revelation?
What is the issue with this?
 
READ JSH 1:11-12
What are we to ask for?
Who is revelation open to?
What can you do to prepare to receive revelation?
 
READ D&C 11:14, 16
What must you do to receive revelation? 
What limits the depth of revelation?
What can you do to guarantee you will always have your prayers answered?
Why is the spirit a “still, small voice?” (D&C 85:6)
I have heard that the Spirit speaks to the heart (demonstrated by weeping or described as a burning in the bosom), is this true?
What does the Brother of Jared’s experience with an “interior lighting problem” teach us about receiving revelation? (Ether 2 & 3)
What are God's answers to prayer quite often like?
What is the Holy Spirit?
Why is recognizing and receiving the Holy Ghost so critical?
How can we recognize the Holy Spirit?


Satan’s Deception: “Feeling the Spirit”

How do we speak about experiencing the Spirit in the LDS Church?
What will a true spirit or revelation do?
What will a false spirit or revelation do?
Is it easy to discern the difference?
Should this stop you from seeking revelation?
How else can people set themselves up to be deceived and what can we learn from this?
Is there ever a time when truth is static? (where we might not be gaining more but we’re also not losing what we have?)

Sunday, January 10, 2021

A Voice of Warning (D&C 1)

The Lord authored Section 1 in November, 1831 to be the Preface to the Doctrine and Covenants.  While it is not the first revelation chronologically, the Lord intended it to be the revelation that gives context to the others, which is why it was made the first revelation in the book (originally following the seven lectures on faith in the D&C until 1921).

 

READ D&C 1:1-2

The Church was barely eighteen months old at the point this revelation was received, so why was this revelation addressed to the world and not the just to the Saints?

The Lord’s work is global – to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of everyone (see Moses 1:39).

He beckons all to come unto Him and be saved – House of Israel, Gentiles, and Heathens. The scriptures are written to all who will “come and see” – all are invited, because at the last day, every knee will bow and tongue confess that Jesus is the Christ (see Philippians 2:10-11) but it is better to have sought Him out and accepted Him in mortality than to wait until that last great day.

Why does the Lord use the metaphor of “escaping” His eye?

People think that because they can’t see Christ looking at them, that He isn’t.

People think they can get out of Christ’s sight; that He’ll “never know” – this comes from unbelief or a belief that there really is no God in Heaven.

What do you make of the fact that no one can escape being seen and that no one can avoid seeing?

We will have to admit, at the last day, that Christ knows all our works and that we also know of our righteousness and wickedness.

No one will be able to say, “I didn’t know that was wrong”; this is because everyone is given the Light of Christ or Holy Spirit with which to judge (see Moroni 7:16-18).

 

READ D&C 1:3

Why does the Lord say “rebellious” here instead of “wicked”?

While “wicked” implies evil or not being aligned with the Lord, “rebellious” implies knowing that you are not aligned with the Lord and choosing to behave wickedly anyway.

If we all have the light of Christ and know good from evil, we are all rebellious (to one degree or another) if we do not choose good.

How will the voice of the Lord pierce the rebellious with much sorrow?

There will be sorrow from being publicly humiliated.

But there will also be sorrow from knowing what one could have had if one had not rebelled.

When does hearing the voice of the Lord reveal our secret acts?

We hear the voice of the Lord as we contemplate an action, sometimes in the very moment.

We hear the voice of the Lord in quiet moments of reflection.

The humility required of confession, coming as a result of repentance and forsaking sin, may make us feel that the whole world knows what we’ve done.

Hearing His voice in our heads and hearts confirms to us that we are not alone and that God knows; and if He knows, everyone else could know and eventually will.

 

READ D&C 1:4-5

Which disciples has Christ chosen in these last days?

Many are called but few are chosen (see D&C 121:34); this implies that the Lord continues to reach out to many more people than we may realize (see 3 Nephi 10:4-7).

Those that are chosen have self-selected because they are the only ones willing to listen to the Lord’s call and repent and live the “principles of righteousness” required to be chosen (see D&C 121:36, 41-42).

 

READ D&C 1:6-10

What does the word “this” refer to in the phrase “this is my authority”?

“This” refers to His right to see and hear all things and penetrate all hearts with the truth.

“This” refers to His right to warn and to carry out the warning – that He is coming back to the earth as the Lion clothed in glory to wrap things up.

He has the authority to penetrate all hearts with the truth, to allow the truth (which is His glory, intelligence or light) to shine forth in the darkness and destroy those who cannot abide it, and to give us all adequate warning that this will take place.

His “authority” is not an arbitrary right to rule like an earthly king who was either born into the role or won it through violence and coercion; God merely “is” and we either can abide His glory or we cannot – that is the “authority” He is referring to. 

The authority of His servants and the revelations only extends to the point that they are representing Him in enabling His work and glory and are true messengers – i.e. they either do what He would do or say what He would say - were He there in person. 

What is this sealing power that the Lord has given His disciples (remember this is 1831 and a decade before sealing power was offered to the Saints in Nauvoo)?

It is the sealing up of the unbelieving and rebellious to their fate.

It is an Aaronic “cursing”; the Aaronic priesthood has the authority to seal people up to their own destruction.

Just as the righteous have their calling and election made sure by the power of the Melchizedek Priesthood, the wicked can also be sealed up to their damnation (as the seal applies to both earth and heaven).

Mankind does not have the power to seal each other up to eternal life, only God can do that.

 

READ D&C 1:10-14

What is the “voice of warning” that all chosen disciples are supposed to raise, and is the purpose of this book of scripture?

Christ is coming in glory and mankind will be judged or measured and recompensed for our work (i.e. the Law of Restoration).

And warn them regarding what will happen to them if they will not hear the voice of the Lord - they will be cut off; “cut off” doesn’t necessarily mean killed, it means cut off from the presence of the Lord.

What is the Lord admonishing us to do to prepare for that which is to come?

Repent of our unbelief and rebelliousness and come unto Him now (as the Lamb).

Because it will be too late to prepare when He comes to us in glory as the Lion.

It is another take on the parable of the ten virgins; collect your “oil” now or come unto Christ when He invites you to come unto Him, as a hen gathers her chickens; because if you wait until that opportunity is over and the “bridegroom comes” and you are not ready (you don’t have oil – you do not know Him, you do not have His Spirit with/in you – you have not been quickened), you will not be permitted to remain with Him…you will be utterly wasted by His glory as a natural consequence of who you have chosen to be vis-à-vis who He truly is.

What does it mean that the Lord is “nigh”?

Nigh = near, not distant or remote; easy to be obtained; closely allied by blood; ready to support or forgive; intimate in relation (1828 Webster’s Dictionary).

He is much nearer to us than we think.

He supports our lives from moment to moment, holding this creation together.

His Spirit is within and through all things, including us.

His presence is close by; whether we can see Him or not, His ministry is to us today.

His Second Coming or coming in glory is near.

What is the standard the Lord will use to judge us?

It is the standard that we individually choose to measure others against; this is due to His merits and mercy.

 Otherwise it would be the standard of Eternal Law – either we are precisely like He is and nothing else or we cannot be saved (see Lectures on Faith 7:9).

 

READ D&C 1:15-16

What have the people done or not done to warrant being cut off?

Strayed from mine ordinances.

Broken the everlasting covenant.

Sought not the Lord to establish His righteousness but everyone walks in their own way – worshipping their own God, who does not exist.

Who is “they” that will be cut off?

Those who will not hear the voice of the Lord.

Those who were given the true ordinances and covenants but strayed from them and broke them

In the latter days, this refers to us, the “Gentile Church” or LDS; in the ancient days, it would refer to the “Historic Christian Church” and all who came after it (Catholics, Protestants, etc.).

How does one “stray” from an ordinance?

Stray = to wander from a path or safe enclosure or proper limits; to deviate or go out of the way; to rove at large; to become lost.

To make small changes at first; then, when the power is gone (which it will if one strays even a little from an ordinance given by God), and the ordinance has already been changed anyway, there is more temptation to accommodate the desires of the people (to make the Church more popular or relevant) or the leaders (to gain more or better control) by making additional changes.

What does it mean to “seek the Lord”?

Seeking the Lord means trying to find Him.

It means seeking to enter into His presence in mortality so that you might know Him and He might cleanse you and the Father might seal you up to eternal life (see D&C 132:21-25; D&C 88:75; 3 Nephi 11:14-15).

Why would Church members and leaders “seek not the Lord”?

They prefer to walk in their own way.

They would rather control their own lives than submit to the will of the Lord.

They don’t believe they need to actually know the Lord personally in this life but that God will save them regardless because of their dead ordinances – not realizing that the ordinances are invitations to experience a real thing; ultimately to pierce the veil and be ushered back into God’s presence. 

Who are they seeking if it is not the Lord?

They have become their own gods by creating gods of their own design, which are after the image or likeness of the world or worldly success.

They cannot even comprehend heaven, so of course their invented god cannot look like He who reigns in the heavens.

Instead, their gods have the substance of an idol or a man-made thing that will become corrupted and fall apart in time; this applies to mankind’s concepts of God as much as a golden idol or magnificent church building.

 

READ D&C 1:17-18

So, knowing these calamities are about to come upon us, the Lord calls Joseph Smith and others to do what?

Proclaim God’s commandments (“how to be” i.e. “be ye therefore perfect, even as I am”), directly from heaven (quotes not summaries), so that we might be safe in the chaos of the destruction that is coming.

To call us to repentance.

To give us knowledge regarding how we must be (i.e. we must have aligned our behavior with God’s commandments) to be able to survive His coming in glory. 

 

READ D&C 1:19-23

Why are we not to counsel our fellows and how can Joseph Smith (and others) speak in the name of the Lord without it being counseling?

Counseling others means that one individual is inserting themselves between the other person and God

Counseling others means telling them what you think they should do; even if it is based on scripture, it is your interpretation unless it is direct revelation (and why would God reveal something to you that He cannot reveal directly to them?)

If that counsel is accepted or invited, it means that the arm of the flesh is being relied on instead of God, with idolatry soon to follow

Joseph Smith was not counseling others with his own wisdom as much as he was sharing direct revelations from God to them/us; which is what is meant by “speaking in the name of the Lord”

What are these commandments intended to do?

So that if we follow them, each of us might “speak in the name of the Lord” – in other words, each of us might have a direct connection with God ourselves and know Him personally because we are like Him (aligned with His commandments and share His mind via His Holy Spirit) so that we aren’t reliant on each other to know God – we have no need to be. 

That faith in Christ might increase.

That the everlasting covenant might be established.

That the fullness of the gospel might be proclaimed.

That there might be a (Zion) people prepared to abide His presence when He comes in glory.

What is implied by the fact that it is the weak and simple who proclaim the Fullness of the Gospel to the world?

The Fullness of the Gospel stretches from faith, repentance and baptism by water and fire to enduring to the End, who is Christ, or being sealed up to eternal life in the flesh by the Second Comforter.

It is with great irony that only the weak and simple or “weak things of the world” will develop the strength and gain the knowledge to be able to navigate this journey and actually come unto Christ!

Only those who have experienced the Fullness of the Gospel will be able to proclaim it with power; for all others it is speculative.

 

READ D&C 1:25-28

Why were the commandments contained in the Doctrine and Covenants given?

That we might know when we have erred.

That we might receive wisdom, if we seek for it.

That we might be chastened and repent when we have sinned.

That we might receive knowledge from on high, from time to time, as we humbly read the book and use it as a “Urim and Thummim”; God uses the scriptures to reveal truth to us, and laboring over them leads to receiving revelation on the topics at hand or anything else the Lord would have us know, once He has our attention and our minds are connected to His Holy Spirit.

 

READ D&C 1:30

How do the commandments contained in the Doctrine and Covenants give power to lay the foundation for the true and living Church?

Obedience to God’s commandments fills one with light and truth as one is aligning their will, mindset and behavior with eternal law (see D&C 93:23-28; Alma 12:9-11; D&C 88:20-22, 36-39; D&C 132:21-25)

Christ’s true and living Church is built upon His gospel and the commandments He has given – whosoever repents and comes unto Christ by following His doctrine is His Church (see 3 Nephi 27:10, 19-21; D&C 10:67-69; D&C 11:16; 2 Nephi 31; D&C 43:2, 8-9)

By connecting people with the Powers of Heaven including the Lord Himself, such that what they do on earth is sealed or continues into heaven and the eternities; this is what makes a church (of people) true and living – and the Powers of Heaven cannot be handled except through the Principles of Righteousness found in the commandments (see D&C 121:36, 41-46; 3 Nephi 12-14; D&C 132:7; D&C 88:75).

What does it mean to say that a Church is “true”?

The doctrines, principles, commandments and covenants that it teaches will actually connect you to heaven (i.e. the Powers of Heaven, including the Lord Himself) in this life.

Church members have received an authorized invitation to come unto Christ through true or accurate ordinances (which point the way to receiving the real thing).

And have been given the requisite knowledge to be able to fulfill the terms of those ordinances, including enough faith in Christ through a correct knowledge of His existence and attributes, to lay hold on the promises extended to you in the ordinances (see LoF 3:2-5) and receive an actual knowledge that the course of life you are pursuing is according to His will.

In other words, the ordinances and teachings of the Church are true, and if followed will save you (see LoF 2:56).

What does it mean to say that the Church is “living”?

To be “living” is to be connected to the “living vine” or Christ; it is to be “alive in Christ” (see John 15:1-6; 1 Corinthians 15:22; 2 Nephi 25:25-26; D&C 88:3-5).

To be “living” is to be spiritually reborn or redeemed or brought back into God’s presence in the flesh, otherwise you are “spiritually dead” or separated from God (see John 3:3-7; Ether 3:13; Mosiah 27:25-26; Moses 6:55, 59; D&C 29:39-41; D&C 67:12; 2 Nephi 9:39; Alma 42:9; Helaman 14:16-17).

To say that a church is “living” is to say that it consists of an association of people, on both sides of the veil, who are spiritually alive because they are connected to Christ (see D&C 107:19).

How do these writings bring the Church out of darkness and obscurity?

Knowledge saves a person; we can only be saved as quickly as we gain knowledge of what is true (things as they really were, are and will be), because otherwise we will be deceived in the darkness because we will not know who can save us and what to do to be saved (see 1 Nephi 8:4-12; D&C 84:53-58; TPJS 246:1).

The knowledge that is most important to gain is the knowledge of Christ – to know Him is eternal life (see 3 Nephi 11:14-15; John 17:3).

Why does the Lord add “speaking unto the Church collectively and not individually”?

At this point in history (1831), the members of the church (collectively) still possessed the “oracles” or revelations of God and access to the high priesthood needed to help anyone to attain to the same knowledge and standing before God that Joseph Smith had attained;

But these had been lost by 1841 and were never recovered, as is evidenced by the cursing the Church received after failing to build the Nauvoo Temple in time, and the death of Joseph and Hyrum Smith (see D&C 124:28, 31-34, 40-50) which meant the loss of the “living oracles” or continuing revelations because no one else were receiving any from God.

Note: in the History of the Church, Joseph Smith called out the experience in June of 1831 at Isaac Morley’s farm where the highest of the three degrees of priesthood (regardless of what you chose to call it – some say it is called Patriarchal and others Melchizedek) was first restored to the earth (see DHC 1:175-177).

The good news is that even if the Church collectively is not “true and living”, individuals can still receive the knowledge of Christ sufficient to be sealed up to eternal life and given sealing power, as Hyrum did in 1841 (see D&C 124:91-95; Helaman 10:4-7).

Does the fact that this verse (as well as from verses 18-30) is written primarily in the “subjunctive mood” (as indicated by the words “might”, “may”, “inasmuch”, “should”, and “that”) change the meaning?

Yes, as the subjunctive mood speaks to what “should be” or what is hoped for, not what “is” (which is what the “indicative mood” speaks to = statements of fact).

The phrase “the only true and living church” is a delayed appositive or noun modifier for the word “it,” nine words earlier… the sentence should be read: “And also those to whom these commandments were given, might have power…to bring the only true and living church forth out of obscurity and out of darkness…”.

The Lord’s message is this: the commandments He gave raise hopes and possibilities; also, He is explaining why He called Joseph Smith and gave commandments to men – that the rest of us might awake and arise ourselves. 

This verse has been uniformly interpreted and used as an indicative statement of what IS, not a subjunctive statement of what might be.

Part of the reason this verse has been misquoted to mean something that it does not is that the Lord switches to the indicative mood when He says “with which I, the Lord, am well pleased”; but a single sentence can include multiple moods (other moods include the imperative or command mood and the interrogative or question mood), of which D&C 7:4 is an example; in verse 30, the Lord was pleased with the collective body of men and women who were the church of 1831 – but even then, the Lord has never referred to His church as we do today (as an organized institution) – His church is ONLY those individuals who have repented and come unto Him (see D&C 10:67-68).

This understanding of the scripture makes sense because less than a year later God declared that the whole church (again, the people not an institution) were under condemnation (see D&C 84:51-54); they had not kept the commandments which would have enabled them to become a “true and living” church – they had not been “true” to the commandments and covenants or laws of the celestial kingdom they were given which would have parted the veil for them, and as a result they were not connected to the true vine because they had not come unto Christ and been received by Him, and they did not know Him, or in other words, they were spiritually “dead” or unredeemed because they had not entered His presence (see 3 Nephi 11:14-15; D&C 105:4-5; D&C 124; Ether 3:13); that condemnation was reiterated by President Benson in 1986.

But as long as we confuse an invitation from God to come unto Christ with an endorsement of our current “true and living church”, we will remain content with the present state and never do what is required to come unto Him and establish Zion.

 

READ D&C 1:31

Is there an absolute standard that God intends to hold us to?

Yes.

God cannot tolerate sin.

We cannot tolerate God in our sinful state (see Mormon 9:2-5).

What does it mean that the Lord cannot look upon sin with the least degree of allowance and what is implied?

He is a just and holy being, a personage of spirit, glory and power, possessing all perfection and fullness (see LoF 5:2).

The glory He possesses is because He is precisely what He is, and if He was lacking in one attribute or perfection, He could not enjoy that glory (see LoF 7:15).

Those who are not precisely like Him cannot be saved because being saved is to enjoy the same level of glory He enjoys (see LoF 7:16).

If those who are not precisely like Him enter His presence, they would desire to flee or face being utterly wasted by His glory (see Mormon 9:2-5; Malachi 4:1; JSH 1:37).

It means that in our sinful state, we cannot reenter His presence, as we cannot undo what we have now done (we have all sinned – see Romans 3:23).

It means that we merit outer darkness, as the wages of sin are death (2 Nephi 9:7-9; Romans 6:23).

Why can’t the Lord look upon sin with the least degree of allowance?

He must live perfectly aligned with Eternal Law or He would cease to be God (see Mormon 9:19; Alma 42:13, 22-25).

HE IS (“I am”) a being of light and cannot or will not change from that state (see Moroni 8:18; D&C 20:17).

 

READ D&C 1:32-33

How does forgiveness make our sinful state acceptable to God and enable us to be in His presence without being perfect like He is?

He is a God of truth and cannot lie; if He declares us clean, we are clean, as sinful as we have been up to that point.

It is not only forgiveness (justification) but also sanctification or being made more like Him through accepting the gift of light that He offers us.

Christ paid the ultimate price for our sins, via His infinite and eternal sacrifice, such that they were paid for and justice was served for us, although it was unjust for Him to suffer as He did not merit death and suffering but merited only life; this gives Him the right to forgive whom He will forgive, as He has won the victory over sin and death by submitting to it unjustly.

Christ claims the repentant sinner and covers them in His perfection, until a time in a far future eternity where they rise up to become precisely like He is themselves. 

How do we repent?

We must confess and forsake our sins (see D&C 58:42-43; Proverbs 28:13).

There is an attitude that must accompany the action for both confessing and forsaking – godly sorrow or an awful awareness of one’s unworthiness and its implications which leads to a complete surrender to God’s will (confession); and a mighty change of heart and desire to turn from all sin and only be righteous (forsake).

Our hearts and behaviors must turn from their current direction (away from God) and turn back to God. 

We must keep or perform the commandments; in other words, we must align ourselves with God’s Eternal Law and become actually like Him.

How does failure to repent rob us of the light we have?

Repentance is a deep heartfelt realization of sin or incongruence with Eternal Law, and a forsaking of sin and turning to God to align with His will and Law (see Alma 36:12-21; Mormon 9:3-5).

Any individual who loves God will seek to please Him by emulating Him and doing His will (both of which are encapsulated in the phrases “keeping the commandments” or “aligning themselves with Eternal Law”; see John 14:15; 1 John 5:2-3; Matthew 25:31-40; 1 Thessalonians 4:1-2; John 21:15).

Individuals who do not give heed and diligence to God are showing Him and themselves that God is far from the thoughts and intents of their hearts; i.e. they do not really love Him or they love other things more (see Mosiah 5:13; Alma 12:9; John 14:24).

Those who love other things more than God really love themselves more than they love God (see Mormon 8:37; Matthew 19:21-30; Matthew 16:25-26).

They prefer to follow their own will and harden their hearts toward God and His will; they do not trust that God has their best interest at heart (see Alma 12:10-11; Isaiah 50:10-11).

In His mercy, God gives them less and less of His word; because they are responsible for what they receive and if they sin against a greater amount of light, they will receive a greater condemnation (see D&C 82:3).

Meanwhile, Satan takes away light and truth from them when they follow their own traditions (unbelief or believing things that are wrong) or are disobedient (fail to align themselves perfectly with Eternal Law) knowingly (see D&C 93:39).

Instead, he binds them with darkness and lulls them to sleep such that they do not even realize that they have lost any light at all (see 2 Nephi 28:21-22; Moses 7:26; 2 Nephi 1:23; Isaiah 6:9-10).

If the Lord’s Spirit won’t always strive with us, what does that imply?

Strive = to make efforts, to endeavor with earnestness, to use exertions, to labor hard; to contend or contest (1828 Webster’s Dictionary).

He is currently striving with us – that is a message of hope.

It highlights His honoring of our agency – He will not compel us but will strive or make efforts to persuade (see D&C 121:41-42; Alma 42:27; Moroni 7:13; Jacob 5:58, 63-66).

We control whether or not the Lord’s Spirit will strive with us by the degree to which we repent and seek out the Lord (see D&C 88:63; Malachi 3:7); at some point He will cease to strive with us because He is honoring our agency in rejecting His efforts to persuade us.

When the Lord ceases to strive with us, we are left to ourselves or cut off from the presence of the Lord to be “driven about as chaff before the wind” (see Mormon 5:16; Moroni 8:28; Ether 2:15); we will see then how much of the light we had was a merciful gift.

 

READ D&C 1:34-36

What does it mean that the Lord is “no respecter of persons”?

Anyone who complies with the commandments will be saved, forgiven, and given more light.

The Lord is willing to make these things known unto all; those who do not comply, regardless of Church calling or other virtues, will lose their light.

Anyone who lives the Law required of a certain blessing will receive that blessing (see D&C 130:20-21).

Any knowledge given to one person can be received by another as soon as they are able to comprehend it – in other words, as soon as they qualify by doing the same things or becoming filled with the same amount of light as the one who first received it (see 2 Nephi 26:33; Alma 19:36; TPJS 170:6).

He is saying that ALL can come unto Him in the flesh and be saved; Church callings are meaningless when it comes to coming unto Christ. 

What does the fact that the Lord is no respecter of persons have to do with the fact that peace will soon be taken from the earth?

If we choose to harden our hearts, we will lose light, He will withdraw Himself or His Spirit will cease to strive with us, and we will be left to ourselves – which will lead to war, famine and disease (see Alma 12:10-11; D&C 121:37-39).

He knows how we will use our agency. 

What is the devil’s dominion and why would he not have power over it (implied is that the Lord is giving Satan dominion in verse 35)?

We are living in the devil’s temporary dominion, as he likes to say he is the “god of this world”.

He has constraints to his power that are set which he cannot cross; so, the only time he is bound or does not have power over “his” dominion is when our righteousness is such that he can have no power over us (see 1 Nephi 22:26; 2 Nephi 30:18; Alma 48:16-17).

When Christ comes in glory to reign on the earth, Satan will lose his “dominion”.

 

READ D&C 1:24, 37-39

What is the Lord doing here in these verses?

He is bearing testimony of the Doctrine and Covenants

He is owning the revelations as set forth in this first edition as His words (remember that the Lectures on Faith were included while several sections, like 132, were not…). 

What is the Lord saying in His testimony?

“Whether you believe it or not, this plan of salvation and everything that I have caused to be written about this probationary state is going to happen - so you have a choice: will you believe me and the words I have given my servants and come unto me in faith or not?”

How do we go about “searching” the commandments in the D&C?

First, you must prepare yourself to “see” what is hidden in plain sight by humbling yourself and asking in mighty prayer for the Spirit to be with you so that you can find the treasure that the Lord has buried in the pages and comprehend it all by being filled with more light than you currently have.

You must make time to discover the commandments by deeply reading the book.

You must ask questions of the book – what do the words and ideas mean and what else could they mean?  How is this doctrine tied to that one and how does one doctrine enlighten your understanding of the next one, or the last one?  What if my understanding of this is completely wrong – what paradigms or constraints am I looking at these words through?  How do these words apply to me?  Do they condemn me and if so, what must I do?

Ask the Lord for your standing before Him and “what lack I yet?”

You must be prepared to receive and live whatever the Lord reveals to you, as difficult as that may be to do.

And then you must go forth and live it – and teach others or testify, as commanded.

How do commandments contain promises?

Commandments are inherently covenants: if you keep them (the “law”), you will receive the promised blessing.

The important thing to realize is that these promises are to you (you are “called” to receive them or He is calling after you, inviting you to live them), not just to people generally or to specific special “prophets”; if you will but decide to live them you will gain the promises for yourself (because you will have “chosen” to rise up and receive them).

Why will His words not pass away?

As God is eternal and cannot die, and as the words He speaks are the truth or He would cease to be God, anything He says will endure forever because all things He says will come to pass or not “pass away” and their impact will be felt forever.

How can a word be fulfilled and how can it be fulfilled by a person speaking?

When God speaks, the words He says are true and will come to pass (see LoF 4:10; 16-17).

God can do all things (see 1 Nephi 7:12).

He waits and watches (in faith) until the words He says come to fruition (see Abraham 4:14-18; 1 Nephi 17:50).

Who are His servants who have the power to proclaim words that shall not pass away in time or eternity?

Only those who have been sealed up to eternal life as “Sons of God” and given the sealing power; who are trusted by God to “ask not amiss” (see Helaman 10:4-10; D&C 77:11; D&C 76:50-70).

If “abide” means “to live or dwell with”, as well as “to last”, what might the word abide tell us about our relationship to truth?

God is the truth and He and His word abides or lasts forever, and to live or dwell with Him is eternal life.

To have that truth within you (truth = spirit, light, glory, intelligence) or to have God’s Spirit within you or to be “one” with God, is to be precisely like God and to know God and to be saved (see LoF 7:9, 15-16).

To last forever we must dwell or live with He who is the embodiment of truth; and to live with Him we must be precisely like Him; and to be precisely like Him is to comprehend the truth of all things.

 

Principles of Revelation (D&C 6, 8-9) QUESTION

Commanded to Ask   READ D&C 6:1-2 What does it mean to say that God’s word is quick, powerful and sharper than a two-edged sword?   READ...