Sunday, June 13, 2021

Know That I Am (D&C 93)

Know That I Am

 

READ D&C 93:1

What promise is being given here?

That if you follow this formula or these precepts, you will see Christ’s face and know that He is.

Who is this promise extended to?

Every soul who follows the formula.

Remember that a soul is a spirit and body together; so, this promise is intended for mortals, not spirits who are dead, and also may apply to any others who are “souls” (i.e. translated beings).

What is the formula by which anyone can part the veil and know the Lord?

Forsake your sins.

Come unto Christ.

Call on Christ’s name.

Obey Christ’s voice.

Keep Christ’s commandments.

What does it mean to forsake your sins?

To repent we must turn from our sins or forsake them.

It is a turning from a sin to God.

It means to forsake all sins all at once, not just one at time; it is the attitude of casting them away from you – “get thee behind me”.

Our sins must go from being a “guilty pleasure” to becoming our fiercest enemy; we must be willing to do whatever it takes to be free from them and be clean.

How do you forsake your sins?

We must turn from sin to face God.

We must put our whole souls on His altar in sacrifice (see Omni 1:26).

We must prefer God over everything else – we must love Him above all things; this will give us the desire and ability to sacrifice the rest of what is required.

We must pray for and experience “godly sorrow” which is the spiritual gift where we see our true standing before God, in our lost and fallen state; we see how desperate our condition is; and we see what the sacrifice He performed to rescue us really cost Him – at least to the degree we can begin to comprehend it.

What does it mean to “come unto me”?

Notice it says “come unto me” not “come closer unto me”.

It means to know Him with a surety (see 3 Nephi 11:14-15).

“Come unto me” is an invitation – and all are invited.

Come unto me is a journey – as in all things in the gospel, it is done by degrees, from one small level to a greater one (see TPJS 391:2-393).

It is the journey or process whereby we are healed, repaired and refined – the darkness or dross is burned away and replaced with more light, until we eventually become precisely as Christ is.

How do you come unto Christ?

It begins with entering in by the Gate through the baptism of fire and the Holy Ghost.

It involves prayer, meditation, seeking and asking – then watching and waiting patiently.

It requires the sacrifice of all earthly things.

It requires the sacrifice of one’s will or “whole soul”.

What does it mean to “call on Christ’s name”?

A deep and meaningful prayer; to call or “cry” out to Him in need.

Can also be used in a meditation context using mantras like “I am” which has a multitude of meanings from Christ’s name (calling to Him to allow yourself to abide with Him; to beg Him to come unto you), to a summary of who He is (the “I am” or He who exists – the God of Heaven who supports us all from moment to moment, whose atonement will redeem us), to a statement about your potential, if you can become precisely as He is, through His grace and mercy (which is His work and glory to do); another is “the Lord is with me; I’m one with the Lord” which speaks to the “entangled” relationship that one can have with Christ; a third is “hosanna” which is a cry of desperation to the Lord to come save you.

We can call on Christ’s name not just with our voices during times of “prayer” but also by our deeds throughout each day as they reflect a preoccupation with receiving and doing Christ’s will from moment to moment; i.e. truly being one with Him and being animated by His Spirit.

How do you call on Christ’s name and how is this different from traditional prayer to the Father, in Christ’s name?

Christ is your Savior and intermediary with the Father and all prayers go through Christ to the Father.

You can beg the Father to send the Son to you, to minister to you, to save you; you can ask the Father to speak with the Son in prayer; you can beg Christ directly to save you (see Alma 36:18); and the Son can take up His abode with you and speak with you in plainness, as one person speaks to another.

What does it mean to obey Christ’s voice?

It is not just keeping the commandments, which is a separate step in this list.

Obeying Christ’s voice means obtaining and following His will for you personally, in the moment.

The guidance He will give to one will be different than the guidance needed by another; this is tailored, customized or personal mentoring by the Lord to you.

Even if His assignments put you in conflict with others or even your own prior knowledge and virtues/values, if you obey His voice or counsel to you He will stretch you so that you can obtain more light.

How do you obey Christ’s voice?

First, you must be able to hear and discern His voice so that you can obtain His will; His sheep hear His voice; you must quiet your mind and will and seek after Him in prayer and meditation – patiently watching and waiting for His voice to speak to you. 

Then, you must exercise faith in what you have been told; by definition, if you are keeping all the commandments you currently know of, then anything He says to you will be at odds with or significantly expand upon (and usually in uncomfortable ways) what you “know to be true”; remember that what we know and comprehend is so much less than what God knows and our perspectives are so limited, but to become precisely as Christ is, we must comprehend all things – we must both descend below all and ascend to the peak of heaven – each of which will cause us pain or discomfort as we see our weaknesses in stark contrast to what is holy.

What does it mean to keep Christ’s commandments and how is that different from obeying Christ’s voice?

The commandments are eternal law codified into different levels of glory – you live the commandments and you receive that level of glory because you can abide in it (see D&C 88:38-39; 22-24, 29; D&C 130:18-21); living true to the law of a specific level means that you can abide the glory or light or intelligence/knowledge of that level and are filled with or quickened by that amount of glory.

Obeying Christ’s voice is more specific to you and where you are today while the commandments are absolute to a certain level of glory (i.e. celestial law vs terrestrial law).

Christ’s goal is your immortality and eternal life so He will always guide you toward that goal, but if you are living a telestial law, then His voice or guidance to you personally will include elements to lead you to live a terrestrial law, although there may be parts of your life which can be celestial (and some telestial), so He will customize His guidance to you; this is one reason why you shouldn’t judge another person.

How do you keep Christ’s commandments?

Obtain them from God; the scriptures are the premier source for this as the Lord has spelled out the differences between the levels in the scriptures (see Matthew 5-7).

Christ will reveal to you the commandments or law you will need to live to go from terrestrial to celestial glory (see 2 Nephi 32:6); part of this is opening your mind to a more complete or advanced understanding what you might have already received.

What does it mean to “know that I am”?

Knowing that “He is” with a surety; for us in this mortal world, knowing with a surety that He is the God of Heaven and was slain for the sins of the world is accomplished by feeling His wounds and looking into His face (see 3 Nephi 11:14-15); the senses are the “currency of proof” in this telestial world, which is why He continues to carry those tokens despite possessing an otherwise perfect, resurrected body.

But to truly “know” Him, you must spend quality time with Him or in other words, He must take up His abode with you so that you can have a constant habitation with Him (see Revelation 3:20; John 14:16-23; Acts 2:25; John 5:19) because you can’t really know a person that you’ve not spent a lot of time with.

To know Him means to have eternal life (see John 17:3).

To truly know Him requires that you must be like Him because you must be able to completely comprehend Him, which is why only the Father knows the Son (see Matthew 11:27); perhaps this is one of the reasons why we must be precisely like Christ if we are also to be saved (see LoF 7:9).

Can you know that Christ “is” without seeing His face?

Well, feeling the tokens in His hands, feet and side with your physical body is how you know with a surety that He lives or exists (“is”) and has done what He says He’s done (see 3 Nephi 11:14-15).

Due to the ceremonial nature of that experience, which includes an embrace and thrusting your hand into His side, at a minimum you will look into His face when He raises you up to embrace Him and while feeling the wound in His side.

While important from a preparatory faith perspective, even seeing the Lord in a dream is not the same as “knowing” that He “is” through a tactile experience.

Reading scriptures and experiencing a positive emotional or even spiritual response is NOT the same as seeing His face and knowing that He is;

While Thomas was chastened because he refused to believe before or until he felt Christ’s wounds, it is not true that “better are those who never know but still believe” because these people’s faith has never born fruit, which leads one to question the power of their faith – particularly in light of D&C 93:1 which says that everyone can experience this knowledge!  The key is to believe or exercise faith in the testimony of others (i.e. act on what is believed) UNTIL you experience the same knowledge of the Lord and can share the same sure witness of His reality and His promise to you of your eventual salvation (see LoF 2:54-56; 3 Nephi 11:14-15; D&C 88:75); with Thomas, it seems that he was making an ultimatum – “I will choose not to believe unless I feel His body for myself” while the better way would be to say “I will choose to believe even if I’ve not seen and felt Him but I am seeking after Him in humility so that I can know with a surety for myself.”  Regardless of that, it is interesting to note that Christ still revealed Himself to Thomas, despite his stance, which should give us all hope that we can receive the same experience. 

Is this a promise intended for mortality or after death?

The promise in this verse refers to mortality.

Redemption from the fall is to know Christ in the flesh – it is to be brought back into His presence, as spiritual death is separation from God and redemption from that death is being reconciled to Him and brought back into His presence (see Ether 3:13-14).

The purpose of the Melchizedek priesthood is to enable one to stand in the presence of God (see D&C 84:19-22) and to warn and encourage everyone else to also “know ye the Lord” unto all shall know Him (see Hebrews 8:11).

To have eternal life, you must know Christ and the Father (see John 17:3; TPJS 245:3-246:1; D&C 132:21-25) and receive the testimony of Jesus of your salvation (see D&C 88:75).

Everyone will “see His face and know that He is” after death when they stand before Him at the judgement bar but it will be too late for those that do not already know Him (see Matthew 7:21-23; Mosiah 26:25-27; Alma 40:11-13; Mormon 9:2-5).

 

READ D&C 93:2-6

What does it mean that Christ lights every one that comes into the world?

Light or spirit is what quickens or makes alive all things.

Everyone who comes into this world is given a body created by elements that Christ has organized, redeemed and continues to maintain.

Our understanding or minds are also “quickened” or enlightened by Christ’s light – both physical and spiritual (both are the same – subatomic energy of various refined states or levels of purity).

If Christ is the “true light”, what is implied?

There are other “lights” which are not true or not completely true; Lucifer means “light bringer”.

It may be difficult to distinguish between true light and false or other kinds or degrees of light, unless you are also filled with the true light (see Moses 1:2-18).

The light that is in Christ is “true” or pure, without darkness or dross (see D&C 88:49-50; Isaiah 1:18-25).

What does it mean that the Father is “in Christ”?

The Holy Spirit is the “mind of the Father” (see LoF 5:2) and Christ was filled with a fullness of that Holy Spirit.

Since the Holy Spirit is the light which giveth life to all things and proceeds from God to fill the immensity of space (down to the subatomic or quantum level, see D&C 88:11-13), and is also the refined matter or energy from which all things in this universe are constructed, when Christ was filled with the Holy Spirit, He was filled with the actual presence of God, as that Holy Spirit is part of God – it is an extension of His actual being or personage – the Father was actually within the Son via that Holy Spirit (see John 14:10-11; 3 Nephi 9:15).

As Christ is our example in all things, the Father being “in Christ” is similar to Christ being “in us”; the sacrament symbolizes Christ in us (mortal men and women); bread and wine symbolize his body and blood (which are the components of His mortal tabernacle or what He condescended to take upon Himself in order to save us = a tabernacle of “clay”) and we must consume them or take them into our bodies as part of the rite – once there they actually “give us life” or nourishment; His Spirit, within us, can quicken or animate us to become precisely like Him – we can share the same “mind”.

What does it mean that Christ is “in the Father”?

When we receive Christ and become one with Him, He is in us (as explained above) but we are also “in Him”; we are one entity, as far as the demands of justice are concerned (“perfect in Christ, see Moroni 10:32-33) – our finite frailties are swallowed up in His infinite perfection.

For Christ and the Father, that oneness is much more complete than it is for us, because they are precisely alike and can fully comprehend each other while we cannot (see D&C 50:40-46; 3 Nephi 9:15); but Christ was not always that way and had to progress to that point, leaning on the Father to redeem Him in a prior eternity.

How are the Father and Christ “one”?

Christ submitted Himself entirely to the will of the Father; He was in every deed, thought and action “the Father”, though He was living among us in a body of flesh and blood – they were one (see John 10:30).

Beholding Christ during His mortal ministry, you were seeing the precise or exact image of the Father (see John 14:9).

Christ submitted Himself to the Holy Spirit or “mind of the Father” which swallowed up His own will into the will of the Father.

The Father gave Christ of His fullness in mortality – He was a mortal with the fullness of the glory of God within Him.

For all intents and purposes, He was “god” – although He had not yet attained to the resurrection of the dead, He had God’s fullness within Him; He was also “god” because He submitted completely to God’s will – if the Father had (been able to…) come down to earth and take upon Himself a mortal body, He would have acted precisely like Christ did (see Mosiah 15:1-7; LoF 5:2; John 8:28-29; John 5:19-21; TPJS 390-393).

How was Christ “in the world” but “received of His Father” and what are the implications for us if we would be like Christ?

Christ rent or parted the veil and in His mortal body “received of His Father” (see Matthew 17:1-9; Luke 9:28-36; 2 Peter 1:16-18).

We must also receive the Father while in this world; this is done as Christ prepares us and is the objective of His further ministrations to us (see 2 Nephi 32:6).

What is the relationship between the works of the Father being plainly manifest in Christ’s mortal life and the fullness of Christ’s glory which John saw and more record of?

Christ was able to do the works of the Father because He had received a fullness of God’s glory in the flesh; this will become important when we look at verses 12-14 and try to understand when Christ received the fullness.

Christ would not have been able to manifest the Father’s works unless He had been filled with a fullness of glory (Matthew 12:22-28; D&C 76:20, 56-58; D&C 132:6).

Doing the works is a proof that the person is filled with God’s glory, and those who are filled with a fullness of God’s glory do the works that Christ did, which are the same works the Father Himself had done in a “first place” (see John 8:28-29; John 5:19-21; TPJS 390-393; Alma 13:3-5).

 

 

The Testimony of Saint John the Beloved

 

READ D&C 93:7-17

How did John see Christ’s pre-mortal glory?

He saw it in vision.

He needed to see that Christ was God before the world was created.

But he also needed to see that Christ had not always been that way.

It was shown unto him so he could learn some things about his own progression path, with Christ as the great example and prototype of salvation.

What did John learn about who Christ was before the creation of the world?

He saw that Christ lived and had glory before He came to earth.

He saw that Christ had the power to create worlds, and did create this world and its universe.

He saw that Christ possessed the glory of the Only Begotten of the Father before He came to dwell in the flesh.

He saw that Christ’s glory was at a completely different level of magnitude than ours, for He “dwelt among us”; implied is that He was different or set apart from the rest of us, although He was still born through natural processes and was mortal (“dwelt in the flesh”).

What does it mean that Christ was “the Word of God”?

He was the embodiment of the Father’s will.

He was the Father’s will come to life on earth.

Everything the Father asked (and He declares what is right and true or eternal law), Christ did it or followed it precisely; this is how He became the Son of God.

Although the question must be asked about when this happened, as He was the Son of God (with its attendant glory) before He was born into mortality as the only begotten son; Christ progressed to become a Son of God by keeping all of the Father’s commandments in a “first place” or a previous probationary state where He could be tried outside of God’s presence (see Alma 13:3-9; TPJS 390-393).

What does it mean that “all things were made by Him, and through Him, and of Him”?

Made by Him = Christ created this universe from the available, unorganized elements.

Made through Him = Christ did not create everything Himself but led or oversaw the creation.

Made of Him = The elements used to create the universe were part of the “unified field” or “sea of energy” which proceeds from God to fill the immensity of space; that energy is actually part of God’s being, as it is His glory or light or intelligence – but it is energy that can be commanded by the “observer” to take upon itself certain properties in a tangible world – but it is still part of God; this world is “made of God” meaning the elements that it is constructed of are actually part of God Himself; and since Christ was God before the foundation of this world and was one with the Father, the energy is also part of His (Christ’s) being as much as it is the Father’s, as they are one.

If John saw Christ before the creation of the world and testified of His glory as the Only Begotten and creator of all things, then what does it mean that Christ “received not of the fullness at the first”?

Christ was not always as He is now.

Christ progressed from “grace to grace” until He received a fullness.

Christ had become “like unto God” before He ever created this earth (see Abraham 3:22-27).

“At first” refers to a “time” before the “beginning, before the world was”; John is shown a vision of Christ before He became the Son of God; this was a vision of a prior eternity – a prior mortal probation (or probations because He went “from grace to grace”).

This does NOT mean that Christ was imperfect at His birth on this earth but became like unto God during His mortal life (or even during this eternity); it can’t mean that because that would imply that Christ had things to repent of (change and become better than); this must have happened in a prior eternity.

How and when did Christ receive a fullness?

During past eternities, Christ went from “grace to grace” or “from one small degree to another, and from a small capacity to a great one” …” from exaltation to exaltation” until He attained to the resurrection of the dead (see TPJS 391:2).

By doing precisely what His Father had done and all other God’s before Him had done (see TPJS 392:1; LoF 5:2); He had to become precisely as His Father is (see LoF 7:9, 15-16) which requires doing precisely what He did.

Ultimately, He received a fullness of the Father’s glory or became precisely like the Father by working out His own salvation before God with fear and trembling and then attaining to the resurrection of the dead Himself, so that He was able to dwell in everlasting burnings with His Father (see TPJS 391).

What does “from grace to grace” mean?

Grace is a blessing which we desperately need but do not deserve.

The ultimate show of grace is the redemption that Christ worked out for us.

To receive or continue “from grace to grace” means to be the recipient of the grace or atonement and resurrection of many Sons of God who have enabled you (and, in this case, even Christ Himself) to have mortal probationary lives without being damned to death and hell by the sins that you might commit there (see D&C 132:21-25); it is referring to “preparatory redemptions” for such people who are seeking to become like God themselves (see Alma 13:3), as no one can rise up to attain to that glory in a single attempt – it is like climbing a ladder, one rung at a time (see TPJS 392:2-393:1).

What does the “and thus” refer to in verse 14, regarding how or why Christ was called the Son of God?

“And thus” could be translated “And in this way He qualified to be called to become the Son of God…”.

“And thus” refers to the process John has just laid out, which Christ followed to become the Son of God and be called by that name or title, going from grace to grace because He did not start with a fullness (see TPJS 390-393).

He was “called” the Son or “called to be” the Son in this eternity because He had not been called that previously – that was not who He was before the call (see Mosiah 15:2-5).

When was Christ called (to be) the Son of God?

Before the foundation or creation of THIS world.

In fact, because the cost of Christ’s failure with regards to the atonement and resurrection was so great for all who were dependent upon Him, after being called the Son of God, it was still a great while before He condescended to redeem His people; He likely had many experiences behind a veil of flesh (mortal lives) after having been initially called to be a Son of God, to progress from grace to grace, enabling Him to be ready to make this universe His creation so that when it fell, He could rescue it with almost 100% surety.

What did the voice of the Father say at Christ’s baptism?

This is my beloved Son (to all who were present, including John the Baptist and John the Beloved, who was one of John the Baptist’s disciples and was there at the Jordan River and witnessed Christ’s baptism; we know this because he is bearing recording to us in D&C 93 of what he heard that day).

You are my Son; this day I have begotten you (to the Lord Himself; see Psalms 2:7).

 

READ D&C 93:18-23

How are we supposed to receive the Father’s fullness?

We must keep the Lord’s commandments.

We must come unto the Father, in Christ’s name or through His enabling power, to receive it from Him in person.

The same way that Christ and all God’s before Him have; we must attain to the resurrection ourselves (see TPJS 390-393) and become precisely like He is by doing His works (see LoF 7:9); this will take “due time” to accomplish.

Receiving His Fullness is not just about a promise received from God’s lips; it is received by access to His presence which requires that we be able to abide in “everlasting burnings”, as His refining glory purges the dross or darkness from your soul (body and spirit) and fills you with light which will stay with you, as He will be one with you and His Holy Spirit will animate you, which Holy Spirit is an element or part of Him – it is how God “dwells” in you (v17).

What sayings has John given us here which are intended to teach us what and how to worship?

Christ received a fullness of God’s glory and power such that He could create the physical universe.

Christ was called to be a Son of God before the creation of this universe and was begotten by the Father to live on this earth so that He could redeem and resurrect us through His merits (works) and mercy.

He did this by becoming the “word of God” or in other words by submitting completely to God’s will and aligning His behavior precisely with eternal law or God’s commandments to the point that He embodied God’s word.

But He was not always as He is now; He progressed from “grace to grace” to enable Him to receive a fullness.

He is our example in all things; He is the prototype of the saved man and we must become precisely like He is or we cannot be saved (see LoF 7:9, 15-16).

These sayings teach us how to worship when we realize that we must do precisely what Christ did to be saved, and being saved is the ultimate form of worship, as God’s work and glory is our immortality and eternal life – so following Christ’s example (from eternity to eternity) is how we must worship the Father, and the Son.

They teach us what to worship when we realize that it is actually possible for us to become like Christ, as crazy as that sounds today – that God is a perfected man and that we should exercise faith in their message - that we can rise up to be like He and Christ are; if don’t understand that God wasn’t always God and that it is within our capability to become like They are “in due time”, we will never exercise the faith required to attempt the journey – we must know who it is we worship.

What does “in due course” and “grace for grace” teach us about when we can receive the Father’s fullness?

It is not all to be comprehended on this side of the veil or in this life; we must progress from eternity to eternity or grace for grace to become precisely like Christ (see TPJS 393:1).

If we think we will magically become like Christ after this life or worse, if we assume that we don’t have to become precisely like Christ is to be saved, we will be very disappointed after death; to become like Christ is, we must do His works – there is no other way – no “fairy dust” which can help us to comprehend the deepest depths or ascend to the highest heights except through experience outside of God’s presence.

And doing His works so that we can become perfect even as He and His Father are perfect will require “eternities” or “exaltations” or “eternal lives” or “multiple mortal probations” to accomplish.

It will be a great work over a great while to learn and comprehend your salvation and exaltation (see TPJS 393:1).

Christ is promising us that we will be the beneficiaries of the atoning and resurrecting works of further “Sons of God” on future mortal planets in future eternities, until we will be finally responsible for attaining to the resurrection ourselves and saving all those who are dependent upon us – all of those we have been “given” by our Heavenly Father(s) to save.

What is the relationship between keeping the commandments and receiving the Father’s fullness – and is it really this simple?

Yes, it is really that simple: if you keep the Father’s commandments, you will receive the Father’s fullness.

However, keeping the Father’s commandments really does mean “keeping all of them, all the time” or in other words, being precisely like the Lord is – being perfect even as He and His Father are perfect.

This will take many eternities to accomplish.

What does it mean that Christ was in the beginning with the Father – what beginning?

The beginning of this eternity – Christ had risen up to be like unto God from before the beginning of the creation of this world, enabling Him to be called to be a Son of God and be tabernacled in clay or condescend to come to this earth as a mortal to enact the atonement and resurrection – something that the Father can no longer do, as He has already attained to the resurrection Himself and His body and spirit are inseparably connected.

In another way of thinking, Christ (and us) have always been with the Father, when you think about the fact that spirits or intelligences have always existed – that they cannot be created or made, only organized and given guidance to enable their progression into beings of even more light and knowledge and power, through the use of their agency.

But if we have always existed, there was never a “beginning”; it is like Joseph Smith’s analogy of the ring – if it has an ending it must have had a beginning, but if it has no end, it also had no beginning; this does not mean that each being has always been how they are now, or that they will remain how they are now in future eternities, just that they have always existed in one form or another.

What does it mean to be “begotten through Christ”?

Through His atonement and resurrection, of which we are beneficiaries, Christ becomes the Father of our spiritual rebirth or our redemption (see Mosiah 5:2-15).

Christ becomes our “Father in Heaven”, as He is our Way to the Father (see John 14:6); He is the embodiment of the Father for us – as He has become precisely like the Father (see John 14:7-11).

Who are the Firstborn and what is the Church of the Firstborn?

The Firstborn are those who have been spiritually begotten by Christ; they are the Sons and Daughters of God.

They received in the flesh and were valiant to the testimony of Jesus (regarding the promise of their salvation, see D&C 88:75), they kept the commandments and overcame by faith and have been given all things by the Father (see D&C 76:50-70, 94-96).

They are those that will follow Christ’s example and condescend to a mortal earth in a tabernacle of clay to save their brethren as a “firstborn in the flesh” or only begotten Son and as a “firstborn from the dead” (see Romans 8:9-29; Colossians 1:18-20).

 

 

A Fullness of the Spirit of Light and Truth

 

READ D&C 93:24-26

What is truth?

Things as they really are, were and will be.

How is the truth manifested?

Only through the Spirit (see Jacob 4:13).

The Spirit only speaks truth.

How is Christ the “Spirit of Truth”?

Christ received a fullness of the Holy Spirit, which is truth or light.

The Holy Spirit is the mind of God (see LoF 5:2).

Christ was one with or filled to a fullness with (or filled with a fullness of…) the mind of God, which is the Spirit of Truth; Christ was animated by the Spirit of Truth or Holy Spirit; so Christ IS the Spirit of Truth – Christ’s own spirit is completely holy or precisely like His Father because they share the same mind or Holy Spirit (of Truth).

What might be “more or less” than the truth?

Anything more or less than the truth (things are they really are, were and will be) is a lie or untrue or darkness, as nice as it might sound.

Anyone who augments or takes away from or distorts the truth is not aligned with God; they are filled with darkness (to some degree, at least) because truth is light and they will not accept all of it, so what is left in its place is darkness or misalignment with eternal law; they are filled with fear of what the world might think; or they are trying to win over people to their way of thinking (which is not true) to gain power over them (as a god – this is Satan’s objective).

 

READ D&C 93:27-28

When one aligns their life and behavior with truth (i.e. “keeps the commandments”), what do they receive?

They receive additional light and glory (see D&C 88:34; D&C 130:18-21).

They receive more commandments to keep, until they are perfect in keeping all of the commandments all the time.

What do those who do not live the truth (or a fullness of the truth) receive?

A lesser degree of glory (see D&C 88:21).

Or no glory at all.

What is the relationship between eternal law, fullness of truth, degrees of glory, and kingdoms of heaven?

Each kingdom of heaven has a degree of glory naturally associated with it and a certain level of eternal law with bounds and conditions that must be lived to abide there (see D&C 88:36-38).

Glory is received by adherence to levels of eternal law or “commandments” – this is what sanctifies (see D&C 88:21).

The eternal law in a particular kingdom has a level of truth associated with it.

The more truth or the greater fullness of truth, the more glory or light is associated with it, because the light of truth is intelligence, and the glory of God is intelligence, so light and truth are intelligence (see D&C 93:29, 36).

The fullness of truth requires living the fullness of eternal law; it is associated with God’s presence and glory, and the highest kingdom of heaven.

What is implied about the law or degree of truth associated with the Celestial Kingdom?

It is to be one with the truth – to live one’s life completely aligned to truth or light or things as they really are.

It is not only to be filled with truth (because one’s capacity might not enable them to comprehend all truth, see Moses 1:5) but to have the capacity to be filled with a fullness of truth (to have attained to the capability of a god), which capacity is gained by living that truth in an environment of opposition.

To be able to live all truth in an environment of opposition is exactly what Christ did when He condescended to leave behind all of the glory He had previously accumulated to be born in a tabernacle of clay (mortal body) on a Telestial earth; He had attained to the capacity of a God (see Abraham 3:24) through His prior obedience in a “first place” or places (see Alma 13:2-9) and could now be born as the Son of God or Only Begotten because He could keep all of the commandments or refrain from sin or live a fullness of celestial truth in a mortal body on a telestial sphere (which is not to say it was easy, just possible) – which would enable Him to perform an atonement and then die an unjust death, having never sinned but receiving the wages of sin (death) and then winning the victory over death and save all of us who were depending upon Him for salvation.

So, what is implied about the law or degree of truth associated with the Telestial kingdom (or the world in which we now live)?

It is to lie (see D&C 78:103).

It is the opposite of truth – it is the opposite of things as they really are – it is things as they are not, but pretend to be.

The great majority of those who live in a kingdom of lies are lightless souls, without glory, who love and make lies.

To be successful in this world of lies which runs contrary to truth or things as they really are, you must embrace the lies and live them; otherwise you will be hated and cast out.

Satan uses the senses – what we see, hear, feel, taste and smell to deceive us; we think we see and understand truth, that it is independent in the sphere in which God has placed it and only needs to be discovered or observed, but Satan is more clever than we are; there is much going on that our senses can’t pick up as things in the spiritual realm are too refined and things at the quantum level are too small for the mechanism of our mortal bodies to observe or too complex for our minds to comprehend (because of the level of darkness and lies we adhere to); we must rely on God to help us discern truth but those in the Telestial world do not do that, by definition or they would progress beyond it – at a minimum being translated to a Terrestrial level, even if assigned to reside here for now (see 2 Nephi 9:39).

Telestial churches teach activities that are lies – in other words, they say they will lead you to God to be saved but they do not; those who spend their time in these activities are ever learning but never come to a knowledge of the truth (see 2 Timothy 3:7) or the revelation of Jesus (see Galatians 1:2), which is God revealing Himself to a person (see John 14:18) that they might know Him and have eternal life (see John 17:3); they spend their spiritual capacity and mortal time on means that can never bring them to God (see 2 Nephi 9:51).

 

READ D&C 93:29-30

How was man in the beginning with God, if God created man?

God did not “create” mankind in the sense that God predated us (or existed before mankind existed) and created us out of nothing or even out of raw materials (like with our physical bodies on this earth); as God was once a man like us, He never had the power to create himself (see TPJS 397:1-4).

While God did create our physical, mortal “tabernacles” or bodies, and also facilitated our progress in the world of spirits (He “fathered” or organized or enabled our development), He did not create our spirits out of nothing because we are co-equal or co-eternal with God (see TPJS 396:2-398:1).

We have always existed, just as God has always existed, because we are cut from the same cloth, so to speak; the difference is that God has progressed so much faster and farther along the Way than we have (see Alma 13:2-9) and we have need of much help if we are to follow God.

So, man was in the “beginning” with God (if you can even say there ever was a beginning – see Joseph Smith’s analogy of the ring, TPJS 397:2) and God created our bodies to enable us to come to earth, but He did not and could not create us – our spirits.

What is intelligence?

Intelligence is the glory of God; intelligence is light; intelligence is truth (see D&C 93:36).

Intelligence is co-equal, including with God Himself, and is immortal and eternal – it has never had a beginning or an end but has always existed; God cannot “create” the spirits of man, as God could not create Himself (see TPJS 396-398).

Intelligence = existence or consciousness; things to act or have agency; it cannot be created or made; it is independent in the sphere in which God has placed it.

But just because God can’t create another spirit or just because all intelligence has always existed doesn’t mean that all aren’t able to be enlarged (see TPJS 63:2) to the point that it has life in itself or a fullness of light; God, finding He was in the midst of spirits and glory that He was more intelligent than, instituted laws (or revealed the way, because He had traveled it Himself), whereby the rest could have a privilege to advance like He/They had.

God is a self-existent being and man exists upon the same principles; but this is not the same as “having life in oneself” i.e. having attained to the resurrection oneself (see TPJS 205:3-206:1; TPJS 390-392); however, all must eventually attain to this state if they are to be saved (see LoF 7:9, 15-16).

Why can intelligence or the light of truth not be created or made?

Intelligence is eternal and exists upon a self-existent principle; the fact that God is self-existent and that we are cut from the same cloth, means that we are self-existent, too (see TPJS 396:2-397:1).

Joseph Smith used the analogy of a ring to describe this (see TPJS 397:2); a ring has no beginning and no end; if you were to create a “beginning”, the only way to do that would be to cut the ring but if you did that, you’d be introducing an “end”, too; so, if the spirit of mankind is eternal or immortal from a future perspective, then it must be eternal from a past perspective – it is “one eternal round”.

Intelligence or light is energy; the law of conservation of energy states that the total energy of an isolated system remains constant or “conserved” over time – energy can neither be created nor destroyed; it can only be transformed from one form to another, of which “quickening” is an example.

What does it mean that if there was no agency, there would be no existence?

Agency is a core principle in the existence of a sentient being or a being with “intelligence”; without the ability to make choices, one cannot be said to be conscious or to exist as a being separate from one’s creator (like a puppet or doll is not separate but a child is); this is the difference between those that act and that which is acted upon.

If you were to completely take away someone’s agency, they would cease to exist as a sentient being – they would only exist to be acted upon – they would become a puppet or doll.

Together, Heavenly Father and Heavenly Mother “facilitated” our development into sentient or “spirit beings” with the ability to act and not just be acted upon as material element, by coming together to “dwell” or focus upon us each as individuals; the analogy here is that of a puppet or doll – if just one person is “pulling the strings” or acting out the actions of the doll, then the puppet or doll has no say in the matter – they are “acted upon” completely; but if two people are interacting with the doll or puppet, there will be more than one possible choice – and the “puppet” or “doll” or in our case, the “intelligence,” gets the opportunity to exercise their own agency and act for themselves because no single God/Being is controlling their destiny.

Even material element seems to have “agency”; it chooses to follow God, however (see Helaman 12:7-17).

 

READ D&C 93:31-32

What does it mean that God “places” truth or intelligence to act for itself, otherwise it would not exist; how can this be if intelligence is co-equal with God Himself and is immortal and eternal?

The word “Elohim” is translated as “God” in the scriptures, but it is actually a plural word and refers to Heavenly Father and Heavenly Mother who are “one God” but two personages with different but complimentary roles and capabilities – that is why mankind or the “family of Adam” was made in God’s image, male and female (see Genesis 1:26-27).

Intelligence or truth or light or spirit has physical properties – it is co-equal with God (Elohim) as it is a part of God and proceeds from God to fill the immensity of space (see D&C 88:12).

But when God (Elohim or Heavenly Father and Mother) “places” truth or intelligence or spirit in a situation for it to act for itself – see the thoughts on the puppet/doll vs the child above – it becomes able to act and not just be acted upon; the word “places” describes the “facilitation” or “focus” or “conception” process that God (together) performs to enable the transition process of “intelligence” or light into a “spirit” with agency to act and not just be acted upon.

Whether it is “an intelligence” (or maybe just “intelligence”) and actually part of God or it has progressed to be a spirit (which is or needs to be more a part of God than we realize – see the “paradox” question below), it always “existed” in some form or another and was always “co-equal” or “co-eternal” with God, by one definition or another.

What is the paradox of the agency of man?

The paradox of the agency of man is that to obtain the best outcome for yourself (to “maximize your utility”), you must use your agency to choose to submit completely to God’s will. 

While you never lose your agency, you must choose to become one with God (not a law unto yourself) and thus filled with His Spirit that your spirit might become Holy (a Holy Spirit or Ghost), that you become precisely as He is.

You must become part of God or an extension of God or “one” with God as you were as “intelligence” before you were organized into a spirit entity or personage.

But God will never force you to submit – you have to offer your whole soul to God willingly – in fact, it has to be the deepest desire of your heart to submit…to become precisely like He/She is, animated completely by the same (Holy) Spirit, burning the dross of what you want (which is contrary to God’s will or eternal law) out of your system.

What is the condemnation of man?

You have the truth – we all do – it is plainly manifest to us all and all mankind were born with light within us (it is what gives us life and sustains us from moment to moment – and it quickens our minds) and the ability to recognize it (see John 1:9; D&C 84:46; D&C 93:2; D&C 88:11).

But those who receive not the light or reject it, are then condemned for not receiving what was freely offered (although at a great price to Christ) but was spurned; condemnation is a natural consequence of spurning the gift of light.

 

READ D&C 93:33-40

What does it mean that “every man is spirit”?

Every person born into this world lived as a spirit before they came here.

Every person born into this world is a soul – a spirit encased in a mortal “tabernacle” or body which enables them to interact in this physical, fallen, telestial sphere (see Abraham 5:7-8; D&C 88:15).

Every person will die or their spirits will separate from their physical bodies at some point (even translated beings will go through a change); the body will decompose as it is element (specifically our bodies here are made from telestial or corruptible element) but our spirits will continue to exist, as they always have, in one form or another.

God the Father, who has attained to the resurrection Himself as Christ has more recently done (see TPJS 391:1, TPJS 392:1) is described as a “personage of spirit, glory and power, possessing all perfection and fullness” (see LoF 5:2); so if Christ has the same power, light and body as the Father has, and Christ’s body could be felt by mortals (see Luke 24:39; John 20:19; 3 Nephi 11:14-15) but also had the ability to descend from heaven (see 3 Nephi 11:8) and walk through walls (see Luke 24:36-37) while also being referred to as “physical” – it is clearly not the same kind of “physical” body that we have; it has been perfected, quickened and refined – it is a “spiritual body” made of element; all spirit and element is matter, but “spirit” is more refined than mortal element (see D&C 131:7-8), as is element that has been inseparably connected to that perfected spirit; so if God is a “spirit” in this sense, then so are we.

What is the difference between “spirit” and “element”?

Spirit is intelligence, light, truth, glory (see D&C 93:23-24, 36).

Spirit is matter but more refined (see D&C 131:7-8; TPJS 235:2).

Spirit or intelligence is what animates – it is eternal or “co-equal with God”; it is what “acts” rather than being “acted upon”.

Element is matter, of which “physical” bodies are created to house a spirit (v35).

Element is also eternal (v33).

Element begins as unorganized or “chaotic” matter or energy (see TPJS 395:3) and is “acted upon” by “the Observer” or God to create the physical universe, after which it will either become unorganized again or inseparably connected with Spirit to form an immortal soul or creation (v33).

Spirit and element all seem to begin as energy or light or intelligence or God’s glory (the “unified field”), proceeding from God to fill the immensity of space (see D&C 88:12); but it seems like some of it becomes more refined (and is differentiated as “spirit”) through either obedience (in which it would gain more light, see Alma 13:2-9) or through some kind of “birthing” process that we touched on earlier, in which it gains a degree of agency that element doesn’t seem to possess; the implications are amazing and highly speculative – something to obtain more light and knowledge from God about.

Why does spirit and element have to be inseparably connected to receive a fullness of joy and what is implied?

A fullness of joy is only enjoyed by a god (see 3 Nephi 28:10).

Therefore, having one’s spirit inseparably connected with element only happens when one becomes a god.

This is what Christ did when He performed the atonement and attained to the resurrection of the dead for Himself – which also benefited all those who were dependent upon Him (see TPJS 390-393); Gods of light don’t seem to do things that are purely self-serving.

While others may be souls (spirits and element connected, see D&C 88:15; Abraham 3:23-25), they may not be inseparably connected until they become like the Father is; Christ’s spirit and body were not inseparably connected before attaining to the resurrection as He was able to condescend to earth to take upon Himself a mortal body or tabernacle of clay, but He seemed to be able to take upon Him flesh or element prior to His birth (or was comprised of it prior to His birth from a previous eternity and it’s resurrection), otherwise how could He have ministered to Mahonri “like unto the body He showed unto the Nephites” if He was just a spirit? (see Ether 3:17-20; 3 Nephi 11:14-15). However, one possible way this could have happened could be through a different understanding of time than we currently have (for us time is linear but to God it is not as all things are before His face – another thing to inquire of the Lord about).

What is the glory of God?

Intelligence = existence or consciousness; things to act or have agency; it cannot be created or made; it is independent in the sphere in which God has placed it.

Light = enables you to see the truth and judge things correctly as a result.

Truth = things are they really were, are and will be.

How does one acquire “light and truth” or intelligence?

Offering our whole souls – submitting fully to the will of God; being soft-hearted or open to the very real possibility that most of what we “know” and are doing because of it, is wrong.

By repenting of (realizing/admitting/confessing and abandoning) foolish error, vain tradition or false belief and replacing it with truth.

Diligently living obedient to a higher level of law than we currently are (see D&C 130:18-21).

To the point that what was our desire and preferences are no longer attractive to us – our dispositions have changed (see Mosiah 5:2) because we know enough to abandon darkness for light (darkness we mistook for light) and we give temptations that used to trouble us “no heed” (see D&C 20:22); we are filled with the Holy Spirit or mind of God (see LoF 5:2).

What does it mean that Christ is “more intelligent than they all”?

 In the “beginning,” all intelligences were on the same standing but some excelled beyond their brethren by choosing good and exercising exceedingly great faith in God (see Alma 13:3-5).

Christ was more intelligent or had more light and truth within Him because He fully submitted to eternal law (embodied in God’s commandments) and obeyed it until He had aligned Himself perfectly with it; He did this at a much greater pace than did all the rest (see Abraham 3:19; Alma 13:3-5).

Some people speculate that Christ was “more intelligent than all of the other spirits put together”; this is very possible if the other spirits are bounded to those children of Elohim for whom this creation was designed; in the context of all of the intelligence, spirits, souls and Gods that exist, Christ is not more intelligent than all of them – put together or otherwise (as His Father has more glory than Christ does, even now that Christ has risen up – see TPJS 392:1).

Why does light and truth forsake the evil one?

Light cleaves to light (see D&C 88:40).

God has a fullness of light, truth and glory; He is a being of light and dwells in everlasting burnings.

The evil one was a liar from the beginning (of this world, although he had previously held authority in God’s presence, meaning that he had been a legitimate being of light, too); he had lost his light through hardening his heart and rejecting truth or embracing lies (see D&C 93:25; Alma 12:10-11).

What does it mean that every spirit was innocent in the beginning?

Those who have yet to be tried in a mortal probation but choose to participate in one (unlike those who follow Satan) are innocent in the beginning before they descend to earth; it does not mean that they are perfect or like Christ, just that they are innocent or blameless (see Abraham 3: 21-26).

In the “first place” all the spirit children of God were on the “same standing” with each other or “innocent” before God and able to dwell in His presence, while not being nearly as evolved as He was (see Alma 13:5).

All those who are redeemed through a “preparatory redemption” in a previous mortality are declared “innocent” of the sins of that generation, so they are innocent before God at the beginning of the next creation (see Alma 13:3-5; D&C 88:75).

How does the wicked one take away light and truth?

He does it through tempting people to disobey God’s commandments – to act unaligned with eternal truth; he lies to them.

When they act unaligned with the laws of eternal truth (because truth is actually light or intelligence or knowledge of things as they really are), they replace light with darkness; (see Alma 12:10-11).

If they continue to do this, they will have no light within them – and this will actually effect their cognitive function (see D&C 88:11; Isaiah 6:9-10); they will think good is bad and bad is good; they will think truth is false, and falsehoods are true (see 1 Corinthians 2:9-14; 2 Nephi 9:28; Matthew 13:19; D&C 84:50-57).

This will enable evil spirits to enslave them while they are on earth and keep them enslaved after their deaths (see TPJS 246:1; 2 Nephi 28).

How are we to bring up our children in light or truth, which is the glory and intelligence of God?

We cannot force them or anyone to believe or abide by truth.

We can only entice or persuade, using our personal witness (from our experience) and the principles of the gospel (that we have used to actually find the Lord ourselves) as the points of the argument or the reasons for investigating the truth we have shared with them for themselves (see LoF 2:54-56).

 

Question and Answer Session with Joseph Smith (D&C 129-131)

Discerning Heavenly Messengers and Revelation READ D&C 129:1-9 What kinds of messengers will be sent from heaven to minister to yo...