Sunday, October 31, 2021

Prototype of the Saved Being (Lectures on Faith 7)

The Effects of Faith in Heaven and on Earth

 

READ LoF 7:1-2

Can you articulate a brief summary of the effects of faith?

All things on earth or in heaven have been, are, and will be accomplished by faith.

Faith is the principle of action and power in all intelligent beings and is how Deity works to create and redeem all creation, including mankind.

What does the phrase “nor has there been a change or a revolution in any of the creations of God but it has been effected (or caused) by faith” imply?

That the atonement and resurrection of man (a “change” or a “revolution” if there ever was one) was accomplished by faith – the faith that the Father had in Jehovah, and the faith that Jehovah had in the Father.

Implied is that the Father would have felt comfortable giving this critical task to Christ based on Christ’s performance in a prior “estate” or “first place” where He showed the Father that He could live a sinless life in a Telestial world (see Alma 13:3-5).

Implied is that while God knows all things, He could not know – before the foundation of the world, at least – that Christ would be successful in His ministry, atonement and resurrection or else He would have had knowledge of it, not faith in it; implied is that God knows all things, at least within a bounded eternity. 

What does the phrase “faith as it existed in himself or in some other being” imply?

When one progresses to become as the Father is and as Christ is now, as a result of having overcome all things, including death and hell, by abiding completely and precisely by the fullness of eternal law in heaven (a celestial eternity) and on earth (a telestial probation), one acquires life in themselves and, by so doing, faith in Themselves, as they have omnipotence, omniscience and omnipresence (and all of the characteristics and attributes of God we have discussed in these lectures) as a result of the fullness of intelligence, light and glory they have gained.

Having faith in oneself means to be a God - to command the elements and they obey; not because you are a servant or Son of God but because you are a God yourself – one with all others who are Gods; having faith in oneself as a God means having faith in all the Gods you are one with – it means having faith in Yourselves.

 

READ LoF 7:3-5

What does it mean that faith is exercised by words or mental exertion?

Words (if they are spoken in truth and from the heart) are an articulation of the desires or intent of a person.

But just articulating one’s intent is not enough if it is unaligned with eternal law or light; as light cleaves to light, one’s intent must be aligned with light and then it will be honored by the light or energy or elements which comprise the cosmos (and proceed from God).

However, even alignment with truth and light is not enough, as Joseph called out by using the phrase “mental exertion”; the individual exercising faith must use a tremendous amount of focus or intent to comprehend and then command the elements to her/his (or God’s, if s/he is working on behalf of God) will.

If faith is about mental exertion instead of physical force, what is implied regarding how the cosmos was framed and continues to exist from moment to moment?

The Gods are the only ones with the capability to align with a fullness of light (attracting the intelligences or elements of light or energy to Themselves because that is what they are comprised of), to comprehend all of the particles and energy of the cosmos simultaneously, and to be able to focus deeply and long enough to not only command the creation to come into existence but to continue to sustain it (keep it organized) from moment to moment to prevent it from descending back into chaos.

This is the “observer” role in quantum physics at a cosmic level (see Mosiah 2:20-21) – the observer’s will is what directs the “wavicles” that fill the entire cosmos (or immensity of space…) to move from their wave state to a particle form in a specific time and place.

What is implied by the phrase “back to the beginning and carries it forward to the end, or in other words, from eternity to eternity”?

That while there is no beginning and no end to life, there are beginnings and endings from eternity to eternity; or in other words, each eternity is bounded and there are multiple eternities.

 

READ LoF 7:6-8

Why is God pleased by our faith?

His work and glory is our immortality and eternal life (see Moses 1:39).

If we do not have sufficient faith, we cannot lay hold on salvation – we lack the faith to rend the veil and receive a promise of eternal life (being told that our life is according to God’s will).

As God wants us all to be saved, He is deeply saddened when we spurn His gifts to us; by the same token, He has great joy in anyone who comes unto Christ by their faith and is saved (see Hebrews 11:6).

It is not like faith is an arbitrary principle; those who seek it and gain it will rend the veil and know God – they will become like Him.

What is the ultimate “effect of faith”?

Living by faith is what begins to draw mankind near to God – and ultimately into His presence.

The person whose faith is perfected has become like God.

 

 

The Prototype of the Saved Being

 

READ LoF 7:9

How does Joseph Smith know that the doctrine he is teaching here is true?

He has “before seen of the heavenly worlds”; Joseph has “looked into heaven five minutes” or more; he knows of what he speaks by experience; Joseph is speaking from a position of actual knowledge of heaven and is teaching us what he has learned from his experiences, so that we can experience them for ourselves.

Joseph is not a scriptural scholar or philosophical theologian or a Church administrator, he speaks with authority because he has visited heaven and heaven has visited him and he has received messages and insight from God.

This is why Joseph Smith’s testimony and teachings are so important to us – he knew of what he taught; the way to test the truth of his teachings is to follow them with exactness and see if they lead you to have the same experiences with God that Joseph had – the fact that God is no respecter of persons means that you should make the same “glorious discoveries” as he did, unless he was a liar; but you can’t prove that he was a liar unless you walk the same path.

What is the difference between a saved person and one who is not saved?

A saved person must be able to work by faith.

A saved person must be able, by faith, to be a ministering spirit to others who shall also be heirs of salvation.

A saved person must have enough faith to enable them to act in the presence of God.

A saved person must have faith perfect enough to rend the veil and lay hold upon eternal life – which means to receive the Second Comforter and have one’s calling and election made sure by Him (see Ether 3:6-20).

Ultimately, a saved person must be precisely like Christ.

What does it mean to act in the presence of God?

The only thing that the natural man can do in the presence of God is flee or wish they were extinct (see Alma 36:14-15; Mormon 9:3-5).

So, to act in the presence of God, you must be redeemed and clean before Him, to enable you to dwell in His presence; this is a prerequisite.

Acting in God’s presence implies that you have and can exercise your agency while in His presence; while we all retain our agency or we would cease to exist (see post on Marriage and Parenthood in Heaven - D&C 132 on August 8, 2021), to be able to freely choose (which requires options and equal opposition) while in God’s presence implies that the individual has risen up to a level that they are co-equal with God or one with God; a child or Son of God.

What is a prototype?

An original or model after which something else is later formed; the pattern, exemplar or archetype (see 1828 Webster’s Dictionary). The first perfectly working model from which other forms or copies are developed.

What does it mean that Christ is the prototype of the saved being?

Christ is the model, exemplar and example of a saved being.

Christ was the first to be saved, the original saved being in this cosmos.

To be saved is to be precisely like the prototype and nothing else – He is the “mold” and we must adhere to His example.

Why can’t two beings who are different both be saved?

Whatever constitutes the salvation of one will constitute the salvation of every creature which will be saved.

Salvation requires a reunion with God; salvation allows for eternal lives and progression.

As God cannot look upon sin with the least degree of allowance (and those who do not resonate at the same frequency cannot abide God’s glory), to be able to abide with Him eternally, one must be like Him.

To not be like Him or to be different from Him is to be damned; damnation or to be stopped in one’s progression is to be separated or alienated from God and this happens when we are not precisely like Him and must leave His presence because we cannot abide it (because light cleaves unto light); it also means that one cannot gain any more light (see Alma 12:11-12).

What does it mean to be precisely like Christ and nothing else?

It means to be precisely like how Christ is now; it is to possess the exact same character traits and attributes, in the same degree of magnitude as Christ does now (i.e. a fullness, see D&C 93:12-14).

It does not mean to be “perfect in Christ”; that is a transitionary state that is needful for us to be saved from this telestial sphere (see Moroni 10:32-33).

It means to be perfect, like Christ is now (after His resurrection), as opposed to when He was in His mortal tabernacle (see 3 Nephi 12:48; Matthew 5:48).

“Precisely and nothing else” is very clear – Christ is the prototype of the saved being and if we hope to be saved, we must become precisely like Christ and nothing else, or we will not be able to abide with God in His glory, which is salvation.

 

 

The Way to Salvation for Mankind

 

READ LoF 7:10-14

What does it mean to be perfect?

To live completely aligned with the fullness of the Eternal Law of light, such that you cannot be separated from God, even if you are physically out of His presence or separated by a veil or telestial tabernacle (body).

To fulfill the measure of your creation; you as the “fruit” are good, ripe and ready for the harvest – the fruit is “perfect” or complete.

Is it possible to keep all of the commandments?

To be precisely like Christ and nothing else, we MUST keep all of the commandments required by the fullness of Eternal Law – Christ showed it was possible to do this in a “tabernacle of clay” or fallen body on a telestial earth separated from God and beset with opposition and temptation.

We are also told that we will not be given a commandment we cannot keep (see 1 Nephi 3:7; 1 Corinthians 10:13); however, that does not mean that we’re being asked to keep all of the commandments required to become like Christ during THIS mortal probation.

In addition, the atonement of Christ enables us to repent and gain forgiveness for the sins we commit in this life; we can be “perfect in Christ” – borrowing His robe of righteousness, if we offer our whole souls – a broken heart and contrite spirit – and turn away from evil, seeking only to do good, because we love the Lord with our whole souls.

So, the answer is yes, it is possible and yes, we must be perfect as Christ is, but not yet.

How can fallen mortals like us become precisely like Christ and nothing else?

By doing precisely the things that Christ did, and nothing else!

By following the path that Christ walked – by gaining light and moving from a small capacity to a great one, from grace to grace, from exaltation to exaltation (see TPJS 391; D&C 93:12-14; Alma 13:3-5).

Christ was speaking literally when He said that those who believe in Him would do the works He had done (live a perfect mortal life, abiding precisely with eternal law and God’s commandments) and would also do the greater works of salvation He has about to perform, including attaining to the resurrection of the dead (see TPJS 390-393).

But it is not all to be accomplished during this mortal life – it cannot be because we lack the capability right now; we must gain all the light we can in this life (see D&C 130:18-21), which will be to our advantage in the life to come.

What does it mean that these deeds are not to be done in “time” but that Christ’s attaining to the resurrection and leaving to reside with His Father will enable you to accomplish them?

Joseph says they are to be done in “eternity”, so it is clear that they are not expected to be done in this life (“in time”) or even in the spirit world associated with this life.

Also, there is no need for anyone else to suffer an atonement or attain to the resurrection in this eternity because Christ has already accomplished this and by His grace, all are saved if they will come unto Him.

Christ’s attaining to the resurrection and ascending to heaven is referring to the fact that Christ will now take the Father’s place in the next eternity (see TPJS 392), but at that time, He will require a “Son of God” to redeem His children that He will send down to another earth that has been created to provide a probationary experience for them.

Christ’s becoming “the Father” enables (one of) us to become a “Son of God” in His next creation; this would not be possible if He continued in His role of Savior, so His leaving for a higher state gives us an opportunity to progress, too.

How does one become one with the Father and what is the Father’s glory?

One becomes one with the Father by receiving from Christ the glory that the Father gave to Him (Christ).

The glory of God is intelligence, or light and truth (see D&C 93:36).

So, one becomes one with the Father by receiving God’s glory or intelligence (light and truth) or Spirit or knowledge from Him; it is to be animated by God’s Own Spirit, to have Him in you and for you to be in Him.

 

READ LoF 7:15-16

Why do the Father and Son have the glory they have?

Because they are precisely who and what they are: just and holy beings.

The glory or light or intelligence came to them as they chose to abide by eternal laws of light.

If they were anything different from what they are, they would not have the light they have; and they would not be Gods of Light or be saved.

What is being taught here regarding the relationship between salvation and theosis (becoming a God)?

In the Lectures on Faith, salvation is to become a God; Christ is the prototype of the saved being and anyone who is not precisely like Him is not saved.

Salvation is exaltation; salvation is theosis.

Ultimately, only Gods are saved.

Who makes us a God?

God does.

Our Savior, who is our Father, if we come unto Him to be saved.

But we self-elect to the degree that we choose to believe Him and exercise faith in Him; can we believe that He can do all things, including saving us, which we have now learned requires us to become precisely like Him by following His very footsteps and accomplishing the same things He has done, in a future eternity?  That is a lot of faith and the choice is ours – to believe God’s promise to us or not. 

How does this doctrine make Lucifer’s argument or plan more appealing?

Lucifer is focusing on the risks to you in following God’s plan: what are the chances that YOU can become like Christ, even if you had a million lives to try to develop that kind of capability?

And if you fail to become a God, you are damned (stopped in your progression; not able to live with the Gods; not able to experience a fullness of joy), so the stakes are high.

So Lucifer argues that we should explore other avenues to Godhood (implied though is that God hasn’t thought it through enough – that this is an easier or better way).

 

READ LoF 7:17

What is the connection between acting in faith and being a God?

You must act in faith (in Christ) to become like God, which is salvation.

As Gods work exclusively by faith, to be a God is to have a perfection of faith or to have a fullness of faith – in yourself and in the Gods with whom you are one.

Does everyone receive according to their faith or according to their obedience to eternal law?

Everyone receives light according to the faith they exercise to seek after it (light).

Faith and obedience are interconnected.

Ultimately, we receive a fullness only if we are precisely like Christ (which means becoming a being of light and glory, which happens through obedience to eternal law) but one will never seek after such laws or persist in abiding by them (particularly in the face of opposition) unless one exercises faith to come unto Christ – and faith that Christ will help us to walk His path and become like Him (i.e. completely obedient to eternal law).

Why do those with true faith receive the many spiritual blessings and manifestations listed?

Because they no longer doubt in the existence of God or His willingness or ability to rend the veil and show them the spiritual realm.

They can no longer be kept within the veil – and it holds no more value to them; that part of their probationary test is over (see Ether 3: 19-20).

 

READ LoF 7:18-20

Does God want us to know “all other things which pertain to life and godliness” or are seeking for these things “looking beyond the mark”?

True faith leads naturally to knowing God Himself (which Joseph explains is NOT the same thing as believing in Him), which implies more than just exercising faith.

Knowing God leads naturally to knowing all things which pertain to life and godliness (see Either 3:25-26).

And as knowing God is eternal life (and not knowing God is spiritual death or separation and alienation from Him), and the knowledge of life and godliness comes from knowing God, then this knowledge IS very much THE MARK itself or the reason for which we have come down to this telestial sphere to receive.

Exaltation consists of knowing these things – we must learn to be Gods ourselves (see TPJS 391).

How can you tell that you really have faith?

You will be a prophet – one who communes with God, is a witness of Him and His resurrection, and is used as His messenger to help others to repent and come unto Him, too (but this is not a “capital P Prophet” – it is not a calling in a Church).

You will experience the attendant spiritual gifts or “fruits” of your faith: revelations, visions, dreams, miracles, healings, tongues.

You will be told regarding your standing before God – He will minister to you and make your calling and election sure – you will know God, which is eternal life, and receive a knowledge of life and godliness.

 


Sunday, October 24, 2021

Prototype of the Saved Being (Lectures on Faith 7) QUESTIONS

The Effects of Faith in Heaven and on Earth

 

READ LoF 7:1-2

Can you articulate a brief summary of the effects of faith?

What does the phrase “nor has there been a change or a revolution in any of the creations of God but it has been effected (or caused) by faith” imply?

What does the phrase “faith as it existed in himself or in some other being” imply?

 

READ LoF 7:3-5

What does it mean that faith is exercised by words or mental exertion?

If faith is about mental exertion instead of physical force, what is implied regarding how the cosmos was framed and continues to exist from moment to moment?

What is implied by the phrase “back to the beginning and carries it forward to the end, or in other words, from eternity to eternity”?

 

READ LoF 7:6-8

Why is God pleased by our faith?

What is the ultimate “effect of faith”?

 

 

The Prototype of the Saved Being

 

READ LoF 7:9

How does Joseph Smith know that the doctrine he is teaching here is true?

What is the difference between a saved person and one who is not saved?

What does it mean to act in the presence of God?

What is a prototype?

What does it mean that Christ is the prototype of the saved being?

Why can’t two beings who are different both be saved?

What does it mean to be precisely like Christ and nothing else?

 

 

The Way to Salvation for Mankind

 

READ LoF 7:10-14

What does it mean to be perfect?

Is it possible to keep all of the commandments?

How can fallen mortals like us become precisely like Christ and nothing else?

What does it mean that these deeds are not to be done in “time” but that Christ’s attaining to the resurrection and leaving to reside with His Father will enable you to accomplish them?

How does one become one with the Father and what is the Father’s glory?

 

READ LoF 7:15-16

Why do the Father and Son have the glory they have?

What is being taught here regarding the relationship between salvation and theosis (becoming a God)?

Who makes us a God?

How does this doctrine make Lucifer’s argument or plan more appealing?

 

READ LoF 7:17

What is the connection between acting in faith and being a God?

Does everyone receive according to their faith or according to their obedience to eternal law?

Why do those with true faith receive the many spiritual blessings and manifestations listed?

 

READ LoF 7:18-20

Does God want us to know “all other things which pertain to life and godliness” or are seeking for these things “looking beyond the mark”?

How can you tell that you really have faith?

Sunday, October 17, 2021

Knowledge Through Sacrifice (Lectures on Faith 6)

An Actual Knowledge of Your Standing Before God

 

READ LoF 6:1-2

What is an “actual knowledge”?

Actual knowledge comes from having real experiences.

An actual knowledge means that one’s faith is dormant, in that specific area of knowledge (see Alma 32:33-34); you don’t need faith because you know the truth from your past experience.

What is the difference between having an “actual” knowledge that one’s course of life is according to the will of God and “having faith” that it is?

Having an actual knowledge from God that one’s life is acceptable to Him means you have received a declaration from God Himself that the course of your life is pleasing or according to His will; and since He is a god of truth and cannot lie or He will cease to be God, you can believe His statement to you.

“Having faith” that you know your course in life is according to God’s will is another way of saying you “believe” your life is in line with God’s will (but don’t know for a surety…) and based on that belief, and your understanding of the promises Christ makes in scripture to those whose lives are in accordance with His will, you “have faith” that you are acceptable to God and “have faith” that God will honor His promise; the problem is, that if you’re wrong about your standing, you are in big trouble because your assumption will not motivate you to the further repentance He requires of you to actually qualify for and receive that promise (see Matthew 7:21-23); and the other problem is that just because someone in the scriptures received a promise, and God wants to extend these promises to His children generally, doesn’t mean that you will receive such a promise; and until you have received such a promise from God Himself, you’ve really have nothing that will save you.

When Christ gives you an actual knowledge that the course of life you are pursuing is in accordance with His will, what is really happening?

In the context of this Lecture, it means that you have reached a definitive point in time where Christ makes you a promise of salvation, based on the course of your life.

He’s not just stopping by to tell you, face to face, that you’re “doing good, just keep it up…!”

This promise is what is referred to as having your calling and election made sure.

It is “made sure” (even though it has still not occurred in linear time) because He is a god of truth and cannot lie.

 

READ LoF 6:3-6

What happens after one has received this “actual knowledge” from God regarding their standing?

This promise or hope from Christ’s lips is an actual knowledge; however, it sets up the next trial of faith, which is to believe in and act in accordance with the actual knowledge that you will be saved, despite all your imperfections and current propensities for sin.

Your faith will be tested again – this time it will be your faith in the promise you received from God.

Satan will be allowed to really turn up the heat on you in direct opposition and magnitude to the promise you have received from God, up to and including death in its most horrid forms.

How do those who have received this actual knowledge from God react to the tribulations they are faced with?

Due to their knowledge from God regarding their standing before Him, they will suffer it all willingly, in fact, joyfully – because of the perspective this knowledge has given them; their paradigm of reality has shifted completely.

Like the character Neo in the movie “The Matrix”, they have finally seen through the “simulation” element of this probationary state and know it for what it is; while all of the effects of suffering and pain are real in this sphere, they are actually just an amazingly detailed live simulation; at the end of the simulation or probationary experience, Christ will dry the eyes of those who suffered and they will receive the light and rewards they have been blessed with through His mercy and grace; but if one were to “wake up” to the simulation while they were still in it (and this is what the ministry of Christ and His promise to you should do – the Second Comforter and having one’s calling and election made sure), any further trials or pain, although “real” in this sphere, are not “really “ real outside of this sphere, and this perspective should make it easier to abide with grace through the trials and pain you are called to go through – up to and especially including death, because that will be the absolute end of the simulation (but in a good way, for you because it means you have completed this level and are done with the trial).

What happens if we do not receive an actual knowledge from God regarding our standing before Him?

We will not be able to generate the faith necessary to receive salvation.

We will continue to be tested and tried – sometimes as a direct result of our sins, but many other times as a result of the use of others’ agency, and sometimes just an act of God to remind us to repent but we may lack the faith to trust God or repent; the more light we acquire, the more pointed and extreme the afflictions become at the hands of those who hate the light. 

We will grow weary in our minds and faint.

We will be overcome by the world because we lacked the faith to face and see the world’s terrible persecutions for what they are – a “real simulation” bounded in time.

Why will the worldly always persecute those who know Christ personally and are filled with His light?

Light cleaves to light (D&C 88:40) but it repels darkness – darkness cannot abide where light is present, it must flee away.

Those who do not believe Christ have hard hearts and darkened minds; they will not let light or love penetrate their hearts.

Darkness hates the light because it is blinding to it; light vibrates at such a higher frequency than darkness, and heat warms up what was cold, “slow” darkness; if one prefers darkness and if they are composed of it, they will feel threatened by the light and heat; they will fear it, they will hate it, and they do not comprehend it; they will either fight it violently to try to stop it or “put it out” or they will flee from it to attempt to escape it; that fighting or fleeing from includes those who have that light within them – not just the light itself.

Christ and those who know Him are filled with this light, to one extent or another – and the world (which is a cold, dark place with people who are comfortable here) will persecute those who threaten them with light.

What does the Lord ask us to lay down?

Our “all” or whole soul (see Omni 1:26).

Our character, our reputation/good name, our honor and the applause of men; this is what happens when a nobody like you or me says to the world “I saw a light, and in that light I saw two personages, and they did in reality speak to me…”

Our material possessions – lands and houses and savings accounts.

Our family members and loved ones (this doesn’t mean to abandon them if they don’t share your beliefs – in fact, it means to serve them even more – but not to chose them over Christ; in fact we chose Christ by loving and serving them).

Our own lives.

We must lay down anything that we have placed between us and Christ; following anyone or anything but Christ Himself (His doctrine and His words to you – see 2 Nephi 31-32) cannot save you.

We ought to fear God more than we fear man – even if we are ostracized; we ought to love God more than we fear the loss of anything that is down here; we must know that when these sufferings are ended, we will enter into eternal rest – this requires more than mere belief or supposition but requires the same conditions be met for all who receive that knowledge.

Why is this the case?

In a way we do not fully understand now, none of those other things are important in the eternal scheme of things compared to coming unto Christ.

It is all just a “real simulation” – real, but a simulation that is all put right again by virtue of Christ’s atonement.

The fact that family members are on this list is a very interesting thing given the Church’s doctrine of sealed, eternal families.

 

 

Obtaining That Knowledge Through Sacrifice

 

READ LoF 6:7

How does one obtain the knowledge that the course s/he is pursuing in this life is according to the will of God?

ONLY by the sacrifice of all things (or all earthly things).

With this sacrifice you are trading the things of most value to you in this life (earthly things you have already gained or the “glory” you have obtained here) for blessings you might receive in the next life – you are exercising faith.

The sacrifice is also a show of your love for the Lord – you are trusting Him and showing Him that you believe He has your best interest at heart and loves you, so much so that you are willing to give up all earthly security and control and submit your whole soul completely to Him.

Once you have made this required sacrifice, you will acquire the desired knowledge, in the Lord’s time; if you have not yet received the knowledge, either you have not truly made the sacrifice or you are waiting patiently on the Lord.

Why is sacrifice required to obtain this knowledge or promise of eternal life from God?

God does not require pain – this is not about God saying “if you sacrifice all things and suffer, I will give you the promise of eternal life you seek”.

This level of sacrifice is required to produce the necessary magnitude of faith in the person making the sacrifice; it is like how Cortes burned his ships when he invaded Mexico, you have no way to escape or back down from your choice and can only go forward in your resolve; the message from the sacrifice is to YOU, not to God; you are trying to gain sufficient faith because you are the barrier to that faith!  Sacrifice helps you to overcome your barrier.

The sacrifice of all things shows to God and to yourself that nothing is even close to being as important to you as He is; it also shows one’s extreme faith in God – that He truly does embody the character and attributes we’ve described in Lectures 3-4, including unconditional love for us, no respecter of persons or player of favorites, the omniscience to know how to save us, and the omnipotence to be able to save us – in the next life, for certain, and in this life if it is His will; this level of faith says “I am willing to lose my life if it is your will because I trust you, that you have my best interest first and foremost in your heart”.

Does the religion require this sacrifice?

In this case the word “religion” is being used to describe a system of beliefs, not an institution or organization.

In reality, it is the Lord who requires this sacrifice, because He knows it is only through this level of sacrifice that sufficient faith can be generated to rend the veil and obtain the audience with the Lord needed to receive the promise or knowledge of salvation from Him.

To the degree that your system of beliefs has been directly revealed to you from God, then it is fair to say that the religion, or revelations regarding what must be believed and accomplished to be saved, requires this sacrifice.

While it is possible that a religion of man also requires the sacrifice of all things (in the name of God but without His sanction), that sacrifice will not enable the necessary faith because it is, by definition, built on an incorrect or false understanding of God (i.e. that God cannot do His own work but has given His power to men to act as a mediator, see 2 Nephi 28:5-6).

What if you “believe” you were called to make a specific sacrifice of this nature by God but you were mistaken?

You cannot merely believe – you must be sure; this must be a matter of direct, unmistakable revelation.

You must be called by God Himself to make the sacrifice; God will not just honor your sacrifices or consecrate them to your gain if He did not ask you for them.

As this sacrifice leads directly back into the presence of God, you must receive an invitation from Him; we have all received a general invitation via the scriptures, but the specifics of what the Lord will ask of each of us is up to Him alone to know and tell us, as is the timing (see 2 Nephi 32:6).

Proactively (steadying the ark) or mistakenly (a lack of discernment) making up your own sacrifices is frowned on by God (see Genesis 4:1-7; Moses 5:16-27; Isaiah 24:5-6); it shows either a lack of faith that God will speak to you, a lack of ability to receive His will, a lack of discernment regarding the source of a revelation, a lack of patience or putting your timetable, will and wisdom before God, or an ulterior motive where are trying to manipulate God or your fellow men to your own ends.

 

READ LoF 6:8-12

Why is it vain to fancy ourselves “safely dead” after this life because we have remained active in the Church, if we have not offered our all in sacrifice and know that the sacrifice was accepted by receiving the sure knowledge of our standing before God?

Because only God can promise us our salvation.

And each of us are on our own journey – we each come with an individual amount of light and must learn certain things to gain more, much less to be sealed up to eternal life.

While the scriptures explain God’s promises to mankind and detail the experiences of certain individuals who have obtained those promises from Him as examples, the promises given to another in an “old book” will not save you if God has not made a “new” and everlasting covenant with you, personally (see TPJS 79-80).

While God desires to save all mankind – as many as will come unto Christ – “odds are (NOT) that we will be exalted” if we do not have sufficient faith to rend the veil and enter into God’s presence and receive such a promise from Him during this mortal life, and that level of faith requires the sacrifice of all earthly things.

If you have not made such a sacrifice (which is not the same as promising to make such a sacrifice in the future, if called upon), it is vain (and dangerous) to assume that you will merit the same reward as those who have – you have no grounds upon which to assume it other than your own conjecture as to your standing before God, which is faulty.

What is the difference between making a covenant “to sacrifice” and making a covenant “by sacrifice”?

Making a covenant “to sacrifice” is the promise we make in the Temple endowment – that we will use everything God has given us to build up the Church and the Kingdom of God; it is to promise a sacrifice in the future, if called upon; these covenants are based on future faithfulness.

Making a covenant “by sacrifice” means to make a covenant at the time of the sacrifice; this is what the Lord requires as it is only through actually sacrificing that it is possible for the Lord to make a covenant with you; the sacrifice symbolizes the shedding of the blood of the Savior and that act sanctifies or makes holy or sets apart from the profane, the covenant that has been entered in to, and also seals that covenant or makes it efficacious or in effect (not to be confused with sealing the end result of the covenant because all of the terms have been met – this “sealing” means that the covenant is “live” or in effect; it is more than the promise of a future covenant).

What we sacrifice shows us where our true treasure lies; when we make that sacrifice holy through covenant by sacrificing whatever it is the Lord requires of us personally, that gives us faith unto salvation.

Who does God use to gather His saints unto Him?

He uses his angels.

This sacrifice (of all things) and knowledge is what the 144,000 High Priests after the Holy Order of the Son of God must offer in order to be gathered and sealed by His angels (see D&C 77:11).

Why will one who has not received an assurance or promise from God regarding their acceptance lack the faith to be saved?

Regardless of how righteous you think you are or how merciful you believe the Lord to be, unless you have made an acceptable sacrifice, which produced the faith necessary to hear from the Lord Himself of your standing before Him, it is still a matter of doubt in your mind.

And if there is even an ounce of doubt and fear, you cannot have unshaken confidence and your faith will be too weak to endure the opposition that you will encounter.

Where doubt, uncertainty and fear exist, faith cannot; it is like light and darkness in reverse; in a dark room, if you turn on the light, the dark flees; but with faith, if you have any uncertainty, doubts or fears, your faith will be reduced by that same degree.

This is why the Fullness of the Gospel begins with faith, repentance and a baptism of water and fire, and ends with receiving the Second Comforter and having Him make your calling and election sure – this is THE message of the Book of Mormon.

 

Sunday, October 10, 2021

Knowledge Through Sacrifice (Lectures on Faith 6) QUESTIONS

An Actual Knowledge of Your Standing Before God

 

READ LoF 6:1-2

What is an “actual knowledge”?

What is the difference between having an “actual” knowledge that one’s course of life is according to the will of God and “having faith” that it is?

When Christ gives you an actual knowledge that the course of life you are pursuing is in accordance with His will, what is really happening?

 

READ LoF 6:3-6

What happens after one has received this “actual knowledge” from God regarding their standing?

How do those who have received this actual knowledge from God react to the tribulations they are faced with?

What happens if we do not receive an actual knowledge from God regarding our standing before Him?

Why will the worldly always persecute those who know Christ personally and are filled with His light?

What does the Lord ask us to lay down?

Why is this the case?

 

 

Obtaining That Knowledge Through Sacrifice

 

READ LoF 6:7

How does one obtain the knowledge that the course s/he is pursuing in this life is according to the will of God?

Why is sacrifice required to obtain this knowledge or promise of eternal life from God?

Does the religion require this sacrifice?

What if you “believe” you were called to make a specific sacrifice of this nature by God but you were mistaken?

 

READ LoF 6:8-12

Why is it vain to fancy ourselves “safely dead” after this life because we have remained active in the Church, if we have not offered our all in sacrifice and know that the sacrifice was accepted by receiving the sure knowledge of our standing before God?

What is the difference between making a covenant “to sacrifice” and making a covenant “by sacrifice”?

Who does God use to gather His saints unto Him?

Why will one who has not received an assurance or promise from God regarding their acceptance lack the faith to be saved?

Sunday, October 3, 2021

The Godhead (Lectures on Faith 5)

A Correct Idea of the Godhead

 

READ LoF 5:1-3

Why does Joseph Smith say there are “two personages” who constitute the supreme power over all things?  Aren’t there three personages - what about the Holy Ghost?

Joseph Smith knew, from first-hand experience, how many personages constitute the supreme power over all things – he saw them in the Sacred Grove, in countless visions in heaven including D&C 76 and in the School of the Prophets in Kirtland; if his knowledge continued to expand past 1835 (when the Lectures on Faith were canonized), he had opportunities to update this scripture based on new revelation but he never did and we have no information suggesting that he ever considered it.  So the question really could be – did Joseph Smith understand the government of heaven or not?  And if not, which subsequent Church leaders/prophets understood it so much better?

The Holy Ghost is not a “personage of spirit” in the way we have been taught (see discussion of Orson Hyde’s doctrinal error in the post on D&C 130 – July 25, 2021 post “Question and Answer Session with Joseph Smith”).

When Joseph created what we now call the temple endowment ceremony and performed it with select individuals in the Red Brick Store, he did not introduce a character named the Holy Ghost but instead featured Michael/Adam, who was symbolic of all mankind; Michael is not the Holy Ghost as we would think of the HG (in the same way that Jehovah was born as Jesus of Nazareth), but Michael had the opportunity, through sanctification, to become holy as God is holy – to be one with God and a joint heir with Christ; he was given the promise that his spirit or ghost could become holy like Christ’s is; and we are all to consider ourselves as if we were Adam and Eve – so we should all be seeking to become holy and one with God.

If God the Father was once a Savior on another planet (see TPJS 390-392; John 5:19), how can Joseph say that the Father and Son are the supreme power over all things and have created all things throughout the immensity of space, as the Father must have been a Son to another God?

They are the supreme power in this cosmos and eternity; within the dimension and epoch that we exist, there are none greater!

However, since becoming a God requires being one and co-equal with all other Gods, the fact that other Gods exist in other cosmoses and eternities means that while none are greater than the Father, they are all equal to Him (see LoF 3:19).

With regards to the progression of mankind and the building and redeeming of earths and the children of God who come to reside on them for a season, there are always “two” personages – a Father and a Son; that is not to say that there are only two Gods in all the dimensions of the heavens but that there are only two who constitute the supreme power over all things in that cosmos, dimension and eternity in which any given probation will take place; in the heavens where the Gods dwell in everlasting burnings, there are many mansions – many Gods and Sons of God.

What does it mean that the Father is a personage of spirit, glory and power, possessing all perfection and fullness but is not a personage of tabernacle?

There is no such thing as immaterial matter - all spirit is matter but it is more fine or pure and can only be discerned by purer eyes (D&C 131:7) - so the Father’s body is composed of physical matter.

However, that matter is so refined - is resonating at such a high frequency and is composed of element or energy so glorious and powerful, that it would dwarf the sun billions of times over in its intensity.

He is an inseparably connected soul or spirit and body; they are one entity now – He does not live in a temporary abode or tabernacle of clay. 

What does it mean that the Son is described as a personage of tabernacle?

A tabernacle was a temporary structure; it was a portable “temple” and was required for worship in the wilderness but not when the Israelites finally arrived at their destination, the promised land.  In the same way, these mortal bodies are temporary abodes or “tabernacles” while we reside in the wilderness that is this fallen, mortal sphere.

Christ came to earth to inhabit a temporary structure - a mortal body of corruptible element or “clay” - to do a job.

When He was resurrected, His physical body could pass through the ceiling of an upper room in Jerusalem and could ascend to heaven through a conduit of light!  But could also be handled by mortals and eat fish - it is a “physical” body now but not like ours.  It is not bound by the laws governing a mortal tabernacle.  Again, it is made of more refined matter; for additional scriptures, see: Mosiah 3:5; Alma 7:8; D&C 93:4 & 35.

Why are the bodies of the Father and the Son compared in this way?

What is being laid out here is the difference between a god who has previously attained to the resurrection of the dead and a fullness of glory (the Father or Ahman) and a “Son of God” whose mission it was to attain the resurrection of the dead and a fullness of glory during this eternity (the Son or Jehovah/Jesus).

To us in this eternity, the Father is the “personage of glory” while the Son is the one who left His glory in heaven and condescended to earth to live in a mortal “tabernacle” so He could work out the atonement.

Since the Father loves the Son with a perfect love and because a God of Light will always sacrifice to save His children, the fact that the Father sent the Son to be sacrificed implies that the Father could no longer perform that specific role – He could no longer lay aside His glory to condescend to take upon Himself a tabernacle of clay; since we know He (the Father) had previously attained to the resurrection of the dead Himself (see TPJS 390-393), we can imply that once a God attains to this level of glory via this kind of infinite and eternal sacrifice, that they can no longer lay aside their glory (their body), even if they wanted to because their spirits and bodies are permanently welded together (see D&C 93:33); within this context it makes sense to describe the Father as a personage of “glory” and the Son a personage of “tabernacle” (see Mosiah 3:5; Alma 7:8).

What did Christ do before the foundation of this world to qualify to perform the role of Savior here?

Christ had proved Himself able to work out the atonement and attain to the resurrection in some “first place” before this world was ever designed, let alone created (see Alma 13:3-5) – and because of this, He was ordained to be called a Son of God.  That being said, He’d never performed the work as He was expected to do here (which might be why He asked the Father to remove the “cup” from Him, when it came down to the moment He had to actually perform it – but to His everlasting credit, He did it regardless).

He had already become a God – in the express image or likeness of the Father, through His obedience to God’s commandments or eternal law, up to that point; implied is that there are various levels of godhood.

He had gained the ability to suffer all that a god can suffer, even though He had not yet done it.

What did Christ’s role as the Son of God require of Him?

To descend below all things or experience more suffering and temptation than any mortal man could experience and live (while being mortal Himself).

While keeping the Law of God/Eternity and remaining without sin.

To show that it is possible to condescend to leave heaven, take upon oneself mortality, alienation, and the fall of man with its veil of forgetfulness and corruption (the flesh) and still remain connected to heaven by keeping ALL of the eternal laws of the universe (God’s commandments) perfectly.

To set the standard of judgement against which all the rest of mankind will stand condemned.

And THEN, to suffer the guilt of all the sins and afflictions of the world and die unjustly (as death is the wage of sin, and yet He was sinless), to win the victory over death and save all who would come unto Him.

When did Christ receive a fullness of the glory of the Father and what does this mean?

After He had overcome all things in this world and attained to the resurrection of the dead (see D&C 93:12-14; 3 Nephi 12:48; Matthew 5:48).

Christ now possesses all the fullness of the Father or the same fullness with the Father; Christ is one with the Father and shares a fullness of His (the Father’s) intelligence (mind or Holy Spirit or glory or light), character and attributes.

He received this after He had performed or experienced the eternal and infinite atonement and attained to the resurrection of the dead Himself, as His Father had done before Him (see TPJS 390-393).

What is the Holy Spirit?

The “mind of God”.

The “Spirit of the Father”.

The intelligence, light, glory, truth or Spirit of God; it is part of God and extends from Him to fill the immensity of space; it is the “unified field” of super-refined energy which is in and through all things and holds them together because it is the energy or element of which all things are created.

It is not a personage – of spirit or anything else (see post on D&C 130:22-23).

If the Holy Spirit is not a personage but is the mind or intelligence or light of God, why does Joseph Smith describe these “three” as composing the Godhead?

The godhead is composed of the Father, the Son, and any who accept their invitation to rise up and reconnect with them as a god themselves via receiving a fullness of the mind of God or Holy Spirit -to become Holy, a “Holy Spirit” or “Holy Ghost” or a Holy Personage with a celestialized body of spirit, power, and glory.

This is the “great secret” = that we can become gods ourselves, part of the (or a…) Godhead.

If we keep God’s commandments (abide by eternal law – i.e. become precisely as Christ is), we have the opportunity to rise up and, by that same Spirit, be partakers of the same fullness and enjoy that same glory.

We can become one with the Father and the Son as they are with each other; possessing the same mind, being transformed into the same image or likeness, even the express image.

Our spirits or “ghosts” can become holy like Christ’s is; and the Holy Spirit (which is the light and glory of God which fills the immensity of space) is the element that binds us all together if we will welcome it into our bodies and become one with it in our spirits.

We can become part of the “Godhead” by submitting completely to the mind of God or Holy Spirit, so that it truly becomes our mind; this is not a matter of assimilation and loss of identity but of transformation so that through understanding the will and mind of God, one agrees with it so completely that they adopt it – it becomes their way of thinking and being; at that point it is not submission to a higher power but rather choosing to be perfectly aligned because you ARE perfectly aligned – it that makes sense.

Why is the Lord, through Joseph Smith, going to the trouble of describing doctrines which most people feel are unnecessary for our salvation?

Because we cannot exercise faith unto salvation in a God that we do not correctly understand; you can’t have saving faith in something that is not true; so in other words, understanding these things IS necessary to our salvation, whether most people understand that or not.

If we don’t know who we really are and where it is God would have us go and be, we will never consider taking the journey which leads to true salvation.

Joseph is laying out how it was that Christ (and God the Father Himself) came to be God; when we get to section 7 we will learn that to be saved we must be precisely like Christ; and in section 6 we learn that we must sacrifice all things to transcend this earth and be one with God (doing the same things that those who came before us did, see TPJS 390-393); Joseph is giving us a hint of who we really are and what the path is to fulfill the measure of our creation; and when he says we must descend below all and ascend to the highest heaven, he wasn’t using hyperbole – you think you have to exercise faith now, think about what it will take for sinful, weak you to become precisely like Christ!  If Christ makes you a promise of your exaltation, He is promising you that, as crazy as it sounds now, you will accomplish the climb back to heaven to become as God is – that is exercising faith in Christ and His promises.

How do we become One with the Father and the Son?

We become one when we receive the Holy Spirit or mind of God, the record of heaven, the Comforter, the truth of all things, that which quickens all things, and has all power

Receiving a fullness of the Holy Spirit means being transformed into the same image or likeness, even the express image - it is the Holy Spirit that does this – sanctification (see Moses 6:61).

But remember that it already abides in you; the kingdom of God is within us – we must tap in to and embrace the light that is already there – and be open to receiving more and more until we receive it all.

What should you do if you are confused by the doctrine taught by Joseph here (who had seen the Father and the Son AT LEAST twice by this point, and more likely many more times) when compared with the doctrine taught other places (D&C 130:22) or over the pulpit in General Conference?

Find out for yourself FROM GOD! This is a perfect opportunity to go to God to understand something that He said is critical to our exercising faith unto salvation!  He wants you to know the truth and will make Himself known unto you (see LoF 2:54-56).

Or be damned by our careless indifference (2 Nephi 32:4 and 7).

 

The Return to Israel & the Second Temple (Ezra, Nehemiah, Haggai) QUESTIONS

Returning to Israel Background: The temple of Solomon was destroyed by the Babylonians in 587 BC, when they sacked the city, killing or ta...