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?
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.