Notes for my writing

This blog is made up of notes on the gospel as found in the only true and living church, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. This includes notes that are either excerpts from or ideas for books I either have in draft or may yet write.

Sunday, August 30, 2015

Notes on the spirit world and the judgment.

My wife was answering a friend's question and I made some notes addressing what our doctrine says about an individual who died after receiving the gospel covenants, but then falling into serious moral transgression and subsequently dying while in that state and in particularly what we know about them in the spirit world. 
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The short answer Diane came up with is probably the best answer: the doctrine of Restoration found in Alma, namely, you cannot be restored from wickedness to happiness. Wickedness never was happiness.

More detail doesn't change that. The judgement bar isn't supposed to be a surprise test. Heavenly Father lets us know on what conditions he will give out different judgments because he wants us to receive a good judgement.  So he tells us all about it in advance. I know that some people get all flustered and upset because you are judging if you say that adulterers are going to hell unless they repent just because the scriptures say as much. But the truth is that like Amulek we cannot deny his word - if he says such and such is what happens to adulterers, liars, and whoremongers we have no right to deny such is the case. Our answer should be no different than Amulek's:

Alma 11:36 Now Amulek saith again unto him: Behold thou hast lied, for thou sayest that I spake as though I had authority to command God because I said he shall not save his people in their sins.
 37 And I say unto you again that he cannot save them in their sins; for I cannot deny his word, and he hath said that no unclean thing can inherit the kingdom of heaven; therefore, how can ye be saved, except ye inherit the kingdom of heaven? Therefore, ye cannot be saved in your sins.

If you want more detail about the spirit world just out of pure interest you need to realize some things.

Most particularly, the spirit world is NOT where we return to live with Heavenly Father and Christ. Alma says they return to that God who gave them life, but as Brigham Young points out, that isn't meant to mean they return to where God dwells, and in fact they are in the presence of God in the spirit world in about the same sense we are.

The fact that the spirit world isn't where the Father and the Son dwell, and is therefore not the celestial kingdom we are promised to be rewarded with is in all sorts of scriptures, if just not always spelled out:

1) Both Joseph Smith and Brigham Young said the spirit world is here on this earth
2) D&C 130 points out that the place God dwells is not like this earth but is a giant urim and thummim
3) Christ appears in the spirit world but afterward says to Mary that he has not yet ascended to his Father. By the way, it is also interesting htere that Christ's appearance in the spirit world sounds like an extraordinary event, not like something that was generally the case there any more than it is here. By the way, his appearance there to Adam and his posterity should be compared to his appearance in mortality to Adam and his posterity at Adam-ondi-Ahman.  

There is a Brigham Young talk that gives more detail about the spirit world than any other writing I am familiar with including D&C 138, which focuses on the Savior's visit to the spirit world after his death. You can find a lot the relevant content at:

http://mormonmortal.blogspot.com/2013/11/brigham-young-journal-of-discourses-vol.html

If you read Brigham Young's talk you will notice that the division of the spirit world into spirit prison and spirit paradise is the same division that exists here. It is not a division of physical location as we often imagine it. In fact, in Lehi's dream the same division between wicked and righteous is portrayed as existing here in mortality with a great gulf dividing them. The division portayed in Lehi's dream is very real and is the same division that exists in the spirit world. But it isn't a division of location here in mortality any more than it is in the spirit world.

Priesthood book excerpt - Women may heal the sick or show signs, but that doesn't mean they are ordained to the Aaronic or Melchizedek preisthood

What the priesthood is not: It is not required for someone to have the priesthood for the signs that follow those who believe to be exhibited. Some people may not be familiar with Joseph Smith’s plain teachings about this, but they can be found in Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith which was largely compiled by Joseph Fielding Smith. He does state that the gift of the Holy Ghost is required for those signs to be manifest. But those signs will still follow faithful members who do not have the priesthood. Some apostates have trying to twist these teachings to mean that women should be ordained to the priesthood. But the teachings are plain enough. They are that when we read “these signs shall follow them that believe” then we should realize that those signs are intended to follow all of Christ’s true followers whether male or female, as they do not require the priesthood, only the gift of the Holy Ghost.

First, let us have Joseph Smith’s instructions which are perfectly true as they stand, but sometimes twisted by apostates to try to get the church to ordain women. Here they are as found in Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith:

He said the reason of these remarks being made was, that some little foolish things were circulating in the society, against some sisters not doing right in laying hands on the sick. Said that if the people had common sympathies they would rejoice that the sick could be healed; that the time had not been before that these things could be in their proper order; that the Church is not fully organized, in its proper order, and cannot be, until the Temple is completed, where places will be provided for the administration of the ordinances of the Priesthood.

President Smith continued the subject, by quoting the commission given to the ancient Apostles in Mark, 16th chapter, 15th, 16th, 17th, 18th verses, "Go ye into all the world, and preach the Gospel to every creature. He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned. And these signs shall follow them that believe: In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues; they shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover."

No matter who believeth, these signs, such as healing the sick, casting our devils, etc., should follow all that believe, whether male or female. He asked the Society if they could not see by this sweeping promise, that wherein they are ordained, if it is the privilege of those set apart to administer in that authority, which is conferred on them; and if the sisters should have faith to heal the sick, let all hold their tongues, and let everything roll on.
  
Respecting females administering for the healing of the sick he further remarked, there could be no evil in it, if God gave His sanction by healing; that there could be no more sin in any female laying hands on and praying for the sick, than in wetting the face with water; it is no sin for anybody to administer that has faith, or if the sick have faith to be healed by their administration. (TPJS page 224)

Later in the same address we read:

President Smith then gave instruction respecting the propriety of females administering to the sick by the prayer of faith, the laying on of hands, or the anointing with oil; and said it was according to revelation that the sick should be nursed with herbs and mild food, and not by the hand of an enemy. Who are better qualified to administer than our faithful and zealous sisters, whose hearts are full of faith, tenderness, sympathy and compassion. No one. Said he was never placed in similar circumstances before, and never had given the same instruction; and closed his instructions by expressing his heartfelt satisfaction in improving this opportunity. (TPJS page 229)

Having recalled Joseph Smith’s teachings that the signs that follow those that believe do not require the priesthood but are available to both men and women, let us also recall his teachings that those signs DO require the gift of the Holy Ghost.

Cornelius received the Holy Ghost before he was baptized, which was the convincing power of God unto him of the truth of the Gospel, but he could not receive the gift of the Holy Ghost until after he was baptized. Had he not taken this sign or ordinance upon him, the Holy Ghost which convinced him of the truth of God, would have left him. Until he obeyed these ordinances and received the gift of the Holy Ghost, by the laying on of hands, according to the order of God, he could not have healed the sick or commanded an evil spirit to come out of a man, and it obey him; for the spirits might say unto him, as they did to the sons of Sceva: "Paul we know and Jesus we know, but who are ye?" It mattereth not whether we live long or short on the earth after we come to a knowledge of these principles and obey them unto the end. I know that all men will be damned if they do not come in the way which He hath opened, and this is the way marked out by the word of the Lord. (TPJS page 199)


[Note regarding the twisting of Joseph Smith's words to argue that women were ordained to the priesthood in his day: We have come to use certain words in very specific ways, but they were not always as settled in their meaning in older days. Joseph Smith said here it was by this sweeping promise that the sister’s were ordained. That is what “wherein” means. “Could they not see by this sweeping promise wherein they were ordained” means “can’t you see by this promise which ordains you”. Using “wherein” means that it was bestowed on them by the promise. And to what does the promise ordain them? To all the signs that follow them that believe. He was saying that promise made by Christ gave them authority to heal in and of itself. But the priesthood is not bestowed by a promise. He was not saying they had been ordained to the priesthood. Now let’s recall the whole sentence: “He asked the Society if they could not see by this sweeping promise, that wherein they are ordained, if it is the privilege of those set apart to administer in that authority, which is conferred on them; and if the sisters should have faith to heal the sick, let all hold their tongues, and let everything roll on.” The statement “if it is the privilege of those set apart to administer in that authority, which is conferred on them” refers to the authority bestowed by the Savior’s promise, not to being ordained to the priesthood, as that is the only authority he referred to previous to this in this paragraph. In the authority of the Savior’s promise the sisters found themselves “set apart to administer in that authority, which is conferred on them”. Referring again to the only authority he has mentioned here: the authority of the Savior’s promise. They were set apart from the world along with “all of those that believe” by that promise. That includes even children and indeed Melchizedek had signs follow him while he was still a child. And if, in the authority of that promise, which authority was conferred upon all to whom Christ’s words applied, they had faith to heal the sick, then let all hold their tongues and let everything roll on.

Now there would be a fuller meaning of that ordination when the temple was completed and sisters could be washed and annointed and participate in prayers for the sick in the temple. But it was not an ordination to the Aaronic or Melchizedek priesthood then any more than it is now.

Joseph Smith’s statement that “that the time had not been before that these things could be in their proper order; that the Church is not fully organized, in its proper order, and cannot be, until the Temple is completed, where places will be provided for the administration of the ordinances of the Priesthood” refers to prayers for those on the temple prayer roll which are done by both male and female.]

Our multitudes are silenced by the guilty feelings of a few

Christ speaks of those that love a family member more than him. He says such people are not worthy of him.

In these days our multitudes are silenced because to speak out would hurt some friend or family member. Imagine what would have happened if Lehi had been afraid to speak out because it would offend Laman and Lemuel. Or if Alma had been hesitant to speak out because of Corianton.

We must decide our love for the Lord and his truth is greater than our misplaced concern for the guilty feelings of friends and family. We are losing our country and society because we are more worried about offending our neighbor and our family member than we are worried about offending our God.

We must do better. We must decide that truth matters more to us than the guilty feelings of transgressors and apostates.

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Be true to the revelations

Joseph Smith taught this as an important key: "do not betray the revelations of God, whether in Bible, Book of Mormon, or Doctrine and Covenants, or any other that ever was or ever will be given and revealed unto man in this world or that which is to come".

I think there are a number of ways in which we are very fond of taking the revelations and adding personal footnotes and appendixes that come from our culture our personal inclinations and have absolutely no basis in the revelations or the scriptures.

One of these is in the various scriptures about judgment and damnation. If someone even reads one of these scriptures there are all sorts of ideas appended that are really nothing more nor less than non-scriptural alterations of God's own revelations. We are offering our own translation of the scriptures. We have an article of faith that says that bible is the word of God insofar as it is translated correctly. Joseph Smith spoke of men altering the words of the prophets so that the bible text was changed to fit mens ideas without any authority.

We should not be guilty of doing the same thing ourselves when we teach from the scriptures.

For instance. Alma says that men will not be restored from wickedness to happiness. But in order to make a nicer sounding story and a better scripture we like to find all sorts of ifs, ands, and buts tot append to that teaching that have no basis in scripture whatsoever.

When we teach the scriptures, do we translate them according to our own prejudices and teach that instead.

Why can't we just follow Amulek's example. He said that men can't be saved in their sins. He didn't append a whole lot of expectations to that. Because he hadn't the right to do so. Here are his words when Zeezrom challenged him for "commanding God" by stating what God would do at the judgment bar.

Alma 11:36 Now Amulek saith again unto him: Behold thou hast lied, for thou sayest that I spake as though I had authority to command God because I said he shall not save his people in their sins.
 37 And I say unto you again that he cannot save them in their sins; for I cannot deny his word, and he hath said that no unclean thing can inherit the kingdom of heaven; therefore, how can ye be saved, except ye inherit the kingdom of heaven? Therefore, ye cannot be saved in your sins.

Note that Amulek says he isn't commanding God by simply standing by God's own revelations about salvation and judgement. Instead, he is being true to them by doing so. Amulek says "I cannot deny his word, and he hath said that no unclean thing can inherit the kingdom of heaven;...Therefore, ye cannot be saved in your sins."

Now it must also be added that we are to teach by the Holy Ghost. We can speak as inspired by the Holy Ghost. The only way to understand the revelations we have been given is to gain more revelation. And the door to understanding is the door of revelation. After all, Amulek also says

Alma 11:21 And this Zeezrom began to question Amulek, saying: Will ye answer me a few questions which I shall ask you? Now Zeezrom was a man who was expert in the devices of the devil, that he might destroy that which was good; therefore, he said unto Amulek: Will ye answer the questions which I shall put unto you?
 22 And Amulek said unto him: Yea, if it be according to the Spirit of the Lord, which is in me; for I shall say nothing which is contrary to the Spirit of the Lord. ...

But there is a marvelous difference between teaching by the power of the Holy Ghost and simply altering the scriptures to fit our natural inclinations.

Feminism and pride

Ezra Taft Benson pointed out that one of the great messages of the Book of Mormon is a warning against pride. He pointed out that the scriptures state:

Moroni 8:27 ... Behold, the pride of this nation, or the people of the Nephites, hath proven their
destruction except they should repent.

The Nephites did not repent and were destroyed. It was, as President Benson pointed out, their pride that destroyed them.

Rather than learning the lesson we ought we are teaching our daughters to be proud and our sons to support and endorse this pride. We are teaching it to them practically constantly. They turn on a movie and they see women and girls showing "attitude" toward men. A proud answer, a haughty answer, from a woman toward a man is almost always portrayed as a virtue in the woman who gave it.

Women are portrayed as smart and men as dumb buffoons. Women are frequently portrayed as powerful, and the men that accompany them are buffoons useful only for comic effect. This carried over to even the most ridiculous of cases, where women are constantly showing much greater physical prowess than men in television and movies. The male warrior may be tough, but the woman warrior is tougher.

How many commercials do we see portraying the smart woman and the clueless buffoon man? She knows he is a buffoon but tolerates his foolishness with knowing condescension.

How many different times do we have to see a man praise a women in movies or television and a woman give a haughty response about how she really is superior to him?

And our society treats this haughty attitude as a virtue. It constantly encourages women to be proud and haughty toward men.

And what are our boys learning from this. Heavenly Father gives boys a natural interest in leadership. He calls boys to lead his church. He sets the father as the head of the home. These aren't arbitrary. They go with the nature of being a boy as much as nurturing children goes naturally with the nature of being a girl. But where are our boys left with this? The heroes on television aren't boys. In order to promote the new equality with a heavy hand, our media constantly teaches boys that they are inferior to girls.

This is feminism. It is destructive pride pretending to be virtue. Women of the church who study the scriptures still laugh away the bits that don't agree with feminism. They are proud. And they are even proud that they are proud.

Feminism is diabolical teaching.

It was pride that destroyed the Nephites. And it is our pride that is destroying our nation. We are teaching it ourselves. We are openly endorsing it and defending it.

Feminism is thinly masked pride. It is animosity at its core, which President Benson said was the root of pride. It is animosity which pits women against men and wives against husband. It strikes at the most sacred of human relationships, that of husband and wife, placing a wedge in a woman's heart. Rather than teaching her that desires should be toward her husband as the scripture teaches. It teaches her that selfishness and pride are righteous, by calling them feminism. We endorse, defend, and openly teach pride and animosity toward men under the name of Feminism. In doing so we are teaching our posterity to choose destruction.

Can a branch of the church make laws not specified in any revelation.

Ah how I love Joseph Smith. I just read this quote from him:
"Can a branch of the Church make by-laws on the principle of
expediency, which are not specified in any revelation?
Answer: Yes, if they wish, they may make laws to stick their fingers into their eyes; but it is like the man who habituated himself to sticking his fingers into a knot-hole in a board partition every morning, until custom compelled him to do it; for having omitted it one morning he felt so curiously at the breakfast table, that he could not eat. He then bethought himself, went and put his finger into the knot-hole and returned with a good appetite, and ate a hearty breakfast."

Friday, August 28, 2015

Short post - Can fame or good fortune bring joy like little children? Then why do we limit our children?

I do not believe fame, or good fortune has the power to please a soul like the smile of your own one year old child. How have so many of us been duped into delaying marriage and subsequently limiting our posterity? The great gift of a mortal body is its ability to marry and create a family of our own. It is the gift we won for our faithfulness in the premortal life, and in his jealousy (for Satan's punishment is that he cannot have a body, he cannot experience marriage and family) the adversary loves to put our hearts on other treasures that moth eats and rust corrupts until we have moved on to the next life and can only look back with unimaginable regret at the past days of opportunity and only look forward with fear and trepidation that, having taken the gift so lightly in the days of probation it will not continue eternally.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Concerning near death experiences and other spurious prophets

Truth about life after death has an appointed means to come to man, and we really ought to know that. If they speak not according to the law and the testimony it is because there is no light in them. In case the referenced scripture isn't clear enough, by saying the law and the testimony, it means that if they don't come back testifying of the true church and God's living prophets it is because what they are saying is not real revelation. And if it isn't real revelation, then it isn't real revelation.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

No safety in rote quotations in place of the Holy Ghost

Those who want to turn gospel teaching into academic style teaching where quotations are the measure of truth instead of the Holy Ghost are in an interesting conundrum. They believe that by insisting on that they are offering safety. Interestingly, every one of the major Christian religions backs its doctrine with extensive quotations from such figures as Christ himself and the original twelve.

Without the Holy Ghost being the key to both learning and teaching, there is no safety in quotations no matter the source.

Any doctrine that casts out the Holy Ghost as the means by which we learn and by which we teach casts out the lifeblood of truth.

After all, can we gain a testimony except by revelation through the Holy Ghost? If beginning of the path is marked out by revelation, in the form of gaining a testimony, do we really believe that the path itself is to be traveled by some other means.

In D&C 50 we learn that gospel teaching is teaching by the Holy Ghost, where the learner is learning by the Holy Ghost. Interestingly, no mention of authoritative quotations is made.

If God's description of how his gospel is to be taught in the last days requires the Holy Ghost but makes no mention of authoritative quotations, isn't that enough of an authoritative quotation for us to throw out the requirement of authoritative quotations and replace with God's own required method: that it be taught and received by the Holy Ghost.

Why don't we believe D&C 98?

Why does nobody believe D&C 98? We read the scriptures in the new testament all the time as if we don't have a section of the doctrine and covenants with Christ himself speaking that significantly alters the meaning of the relevant new testament verses. Why is that?

In the new testament there plenty of discussion about heaven and hell. When the vision of the degrees of glory came around it threw far more light on the topic and we have rightly incorporated this greater light and knowledge into our teaching and conversation. We speak of the celestial kingdom more than we use the term heaven. 


But with D&C 98 we haven't taken the additional light and knowledge there and made it part of our understanding of what Christ requires of his followers. We still cite the new testament verses it enhances without so much as nod toward it. 

I could get into Heaven if only somebody would foot the bill

I have noticed that one of the images that is conjured up by those who are teaching false, and destructive doctrines about the atonement is the imagery that to get into heaven we need someone to pay the price. Since we can't pay the price, then Christ paid the price. The bill now being settled, there is really nothing we need to do but show due gratitude and practice for our arrival.

But that is not what the atonement is about. It is true that Christ suffered for our sins. It is true that because of that, we can be forgiven of our sins, and not have to suffer for them. The scriptures put it this way:

D&C 19:15 Therefore I command you to repent—repent, lest I smite you by the rod of my mouth, and by my wrath, and by my anger, and your sufferings be sore—how sore you know not, how exquisite you know not, yea, how hard to bear you know not.
 16 For behold, I, God, have suffered these things for all, that they might not suffer if they would repent;
 17 But if they would not repent they must suffer even as I;
 18 Which suffering caused myself, even God, the greatest of all, to tremble because of pain, and to bleed at every pore, and to suffer both body and spirit—and would that I might not drink the bitter cup, and shrink—
 19 Nevertheless, glory be to the Father, and I partook and finished my preparations unto the children of men.
 20 Wherefore, I command you again to repent, lest I humble you with my almighty power; and that you confess your sins, lest you suffer these punishments of which I have spoken, of which in the smallest, yea, even in the least degree you have tasted at the time I withdrew my Spirit.

Thus Christ made it possible for us to have our sins remitted. That is wonderful. But it is different than simply paying an entrance fee.

The difference is that the celestial kingdom is not a place we can go without first learning of its laws and being prepared to keep all of them. This was explained very nicely by Joseph Smith. He said that one could travel to the United States and live here without having to first learn its laws, but we can't do that with the Celestial Kingdom. We must learn its laws and live them before we can live there. Joseph Smith also taught that living the whole law would be required. 

So entering heaven is not as simple as paying an admission fee.

But then how can we be saved?

By grace. But not by grace as the modern prophets of born again baptist Mormonism (Stephen Robinson and Brad Wilcox) would have you believe.

It is by the grace of God that we can become the sort of beings that can live in a celestial kingdom. God's grace means nothing more nor less than God's generous and merciful gifts. Those gifts that provide us greater spiritual strength and sight allow us to behave better than we could if left to our own devices.

Now there are two important lessons about how the grace of God relates to our works.

The first is plainly stated in the scriptures. It gives the conditions on which we can gain access to the marvelous grace that God is willing to pour out:

D&C 130: 20 There is a law, irrevocably decreed in heaven before the foundations of this world, upon which all blessings are predicated—
 21 And when we obtain any blessing from God, it is by obedience to that law upon which it is predicated

On what terms is this grace imparted to man?

By his works.

That is the first great lesson about how grace and works are related. We gain access to any spiritual blessing by obedience to that law upon which it is predicated. We gain access to God's grace by our works.

The second lesson is also plainly stated in the scriptures. If grace is going to save us at the judgement bar, then it had better come into play when we are judged. And how will we be judged?

From the Book of Mormon we read:

... must be judged of their works (1 Nephi 15:32)
... must be brought to stand before God, to be judged of their works; (1 Nephi 15:33)
... all men shall be judged of their works (2 Nephi 9:44)
... they shall be judged, every man according to his works (Mosiah 3:24)
... stand before God to be judged according to the deeds which have been done in the mortal body (Alma 5:15)
... stand before God, and be judged according to their works. (Alma 11:41)
... to be judged according to their works, whether they be good or whether they be evil. (Alma 11:44)
... stand before God to be judged according to their works (Alma 12:8)
... all men shall stand before him, to be judged at the last and judgment day, according to their works. (Alma 33:22)
... stand in the presence of my God, to be judged of my deeds. (Alma 36:15)
... stand before God, and be judged according to their works. (Alma 40:21)
... men should be judged according to their works; and if their works were good in this life,
 and the desires of their hearts were good, that they should also, at the last day, be restored unto that which is good. And if their works are evil they shall be restored  unto them for evil... (Alma 41:3-4)
 ... they are restored into his presence, to be judged according to their works (Alma 42:23)
 ... all people, all kindreds, and all nations and tongues shall stand before God, to be judged of their works, whether they be good or whether they be evil (3 Nephi 26:4)
 ... be judged according to your works (Mormon 3:18)
 ... to be judged according to your works (Mormon 6:21)
If grace is going to save us, it had better affect our works. Because it is by our works that our final judgement will be made.

And indeed saving grace does affect our works. It flows to us conditionally based on our works, and in turn, it has power to transform our works.

That is the second great lesson about how grace and works are related. Grace which does not change our works has no power to save us at the judgement bar because the scriptures teach over and over that it is by our works that our final judgement will be made.

Some explicit examples of this can make a world of difference:


The light of Christ is a saving grace
-----------------------------
The light of Christ is a merciful gift from God. Man has no power to impart it to himself, it is simply and generously given to him by God and is therefore part of the grace of God, for that is what God's grace is: God's merciful and generous gifts to his children.

Is the light of Christ a saving grace? Does it affect our works? Yes. It can hardly be overstated how crucial it is to our salvation. Without the light of Christ to guide us we would be little more than brute beasts regarding good and evil. The light of Christ is our conscience, it lets us know basic right from wrong. Without it all mankind would be completely adrift. Indeed, it is by grace we are saved, and the light of Christ is a saving grace.

So the light of Christ affects our works profoundly. Put differently, the grace of God affects our ability to even do the least righteous works.

But also, the more we hearken to the light of Christ, the more clearly we can discern it. With the additional light and spiritual strength we gain by learning to hearken to the light of Christ we are more capable of sensing the light of Christ, and also more strong in obeying it. So our access to this grace is conditional upon our obedience. The more we hearken to it, the more we can perceive it. The less we hearken, the less we sense it. In the New Testament we learn that some were so sexually immoral that it was as if they seared their conscience with a hot iron, giving way to homosexual acts. Our access to this grace is conditional upon our works.

So there is one example. The light of Christ is a saving grace. We could not possibly be saved without it. It profoundly affects our works. Our ability to gain the benefits of this grace is conditioned upon our works.


Forgiveness from sin
----------------------------
Another saving grace is the forgiveness of sins made possible by the atonement. This one is so familiar I will be brief. It is the one everyone already knows about. But without it, we could not possibly be saved. It is granted to us conditionally upon our works.


The Holy Ghost as a saving grace
----------------------------------
Another saving grace is the gift of the Holy Ghost. The same remarks that were made about the light of Christ apply equally well to the gift of the Holy Ghost. It profoundly affects our works as we grow into it. It is a merciful gift from God, not something a mortal can simply bequeath upon one's own self. Our ability to receive the benefits of it depend upon our works. The better we are living, the more we have it. The more we have the Holy Ghost, the better we are capable of living.

As we grow into the gift of the Holy Ghost in time it will testify of the Father and the Son as taught by Christ to the Nephites. Christ's intention in saying the Holy Ghost would bear record of him and of the Father was not that these Nephites needed the Holy Ghost to affirm to them that Christ existed, as he stood directly before them. What they needed was for it to be revealed to them who Christ was - what sort of being he was. Even with him present they could only gain a glimpse of that knowledge without the Holy Ghost. They needed to become one with him, as he was one with the Father. And the primary mechanism for that in mortality is the gift of the Holy Ghost. Without that grace of God, they could never become one with the Father and the Son in the way that is necessary for them to enter Zion or the Celestial Kingdom. It simply wouldn't matter what habits they developed, what scriptures they read, what service they rendered; without the Holy Ghost to bear record of the Father and the Son, to be a living witness of God as he is in their own hearts and minds they could never become one with the Father and the Son in the sense needed to become part of the Celestial paradise of God. In the Celestial Kingdom, all are united so perfectly that the scriptures say that the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost are one God. Without that saving grace, salvation is impossible.

And on what condition is that grace granted? It is granted conditionally upon our works.

And does that grace change our works? From the scriptural account we see that it fundamentally transforms them in a way that no amount of simple human good behavior can approach. Our ability to do God's work and to stand firm in his truth is greatly magnified as we learn to receive the Holy Ghost.

The same is true of some measure of God's own glory which Joseph Smith pointed out that Christ bestowed upon his disciples. To what end? That they could be one as he is one with the Father. That oneness is not within natural human realms. It requires the grace of God. But that grace is conditioned on our works, and it also fundamentally transforms them so that we may receive a good final judgement.

"The Savior surely intended to be understood by his disciples: and he so spake that they might understand him; for he declares to his Father, in language not to be easily mistaken, that he wanted his disciples, even all of them, to be as himself and the Father: for as he and the Father were one, so they might be one with them. And what is said in the 22nd verse is calculated to more firmly establish this belief, if it needs any thing to establish it. He says, And the glory which thou gavest me, I have given them, that they may be one, even as we are one. As much as to say, that unless they have the glory which the Father had given him, they could not be one with them: For he says he had given them the glory that the Father had given him, that they might be one; or in other words, to make them one." (Lectures on Faith, 7:13)

In the end, the grace of God is the only way that each member of the church can stand, as will be necessary for exaltation, before the judgment bar and say "I am in the Father, and the Father is in me, and the Father and I are one."

Sunday, August 23, 2015

And upon my house shall it begin

I knew there were a couple of scriptures that stated that the vengeance of the Lord in the last days would begin at his own house. I finally found one of them. Notice the phrase "And upon my house shall it begin" at the beginning of verse 25.

D&C 112: 23 Verily, verily, I say unto you, darkness covereth the earth, and gross darkness the minds of the people, and all flesh has become corrupt before my face.
 24 Behold, vengeance cometh speedily upon the inhabitants of the earth, a day of wrath, a day of burning, a day of desolation, of weeping, of mourning, and of lamentation; and as a whirlwind it shall come upon all the face of the earth, saith the Lord.
 25 And upon my house shall it begin, and from my house shall it go forth, saith the Lord;
 26 First among those among you, saith the Lord, who have professed to know my name and have not known me, and have blasphemed against me in the midst of my house, saith the Lord.

God's own children and animals are different

In response to someone comparing the fight against abortion to "protecting innocent animals" because in both cases one is "protecting innocents"
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When we stand before our creator we will know that his children are his own children and he values them differently than animals. By God's own mouth we know we are allowed to eat animals, though we should eat meat sparingly, and that animal sacrifice was a constant part of the law of Moses. He even calls the doctrine of refusing to eat meat "a doctrine of devils" in both the

Look at your own little children and ask yourself whether you don't value them differently than you value animals. Because people are God's children, and infants are his little ones. These are the same ones Christ gathered round his knee and blessed. Christ, who feasted on a lamb each year at passover, did not see animals as being in any way like the little children he blessed even though he was so exhausted his disciples wanted to send them away.

When we stand before him, and we see his children, and know that they are his children just as much as any child ever had a parent, I don't think we will wonder whether he considered the abomination of killing little babies in the womb to be different than sacrifice of animals, which he instituted personally as a constant part of the law of Moses.

Our desparate need for wisdom

The Lord speaks in the scriptures of the world in very clear terms. Sadly now church members now find it offensive if his words are used in regular conversation like they really mean something. I think that means our faith in the scriptures is seriously lacking. We push what is taught there about the world aside.

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We need to recognize that those involved in perverse immorality are not our bestest friends.

Our enemies are circling us like wolves and we are refusing to realize they lust to devour us. Instead, we think they are angry and offended because we hurt their feelings. Anxious to mend the breach we want them to have "good faith discussions", give us high fives, and hope they will invite us to their birthday parties. We don't recognize how they lust for our destruction. We have forgotten that when men sin, it gives the adversary power over them, and he will certainly drive them to destroy us no matter how friendly we are to them in return. It isn't hurt feelings, it is the power of the adversary inspiring wicked men against the power of God. No attempt on our part to calm them will really change their inner turmoil toward us. And no kindness on our part will stay their hunger to destroy any vestiges of God's true faith. Each advantage we give them out of kindness will be turned against us and our posterity. We must wake up to our circumstances and "oh, be wise".

In his mortality, the Lord made no apology in his statements of who was against him and how brutally they would act given the opportunity. When Peter said "surely not so", the Lord responded fiercely stating that in saying that Peter was an offense to him because he savored not the things of God, but those that be of men. Christ expects us to be discerning. When it comes to preserving our right to worship him, and our children's right to worship him after us, our discernment is not just a matter of wisdom, but salvation.

Feminism - destroying the family in time and then in eternity

What philosophical movement has brought more tears to our little children in the church than feminism?

Feminism places a wedge between husband and wife by pitting them against each other. It poisons the ties between husband and wife with a layer of animosity toward men in general and specifically toward man's role as the head of the home. It poisons the relation between mother and child by teaching her that they are keeping her down, keeping her from real fulfillment, or alternatively, teaches her own children that they are second to her job, her career, her education, because those are the things that are most fundamental to her fulfillment.

Oh how thoughtlessly feminist women envy their husband and suspect his role of oppression and suspect their own children, and especially their capacity to bear more children, of being bondage.

I think they will find themselves free of such oppression and bondage in the eternities.

D&C 76:32 And they who remain shall also be quickened; nevertheless, they shall return again to their own place, to enjoy that which they are willing to receive, because they were not willing to enjoy that which they might have received.
 33 For what doth it profit a man if a gift is bestowed upon him, and he receive not the gift? Behold, he rejoices not in that which is given unto him, neither rejoices in him who is the giver of the gift.

If we cannot rejoice in the gift of eternal family, do we think it will be forced on us? If the last thing we want is never ending children, do you think the Lord force it on us?

Can we think of a more fitting description of femism than "They rejoice not in the gift of being a wife and mother, nor in Heavenly Father who gave them that gift"? Instead of rejoicing they are troubled and unhappy by the Lord's divine family pattern. Rather than rejoicing in his words, there are parts of it they won't even read aloud, because they hate those parts.

This is not rejoicing in the gift. This is not rejoicing in the giver of the gift. And so, they will return to what they would receive, because they were not willing to enjoy what they might have received.

Ezra Taft Benson "Strengthening the Family" October 1970

According to Ezra Taft Benson's biography, after this general conference Elder Harold B Lee told Ezra Taft Benson this was the most important talk given during that general conference.

Strengthening the Family
Elder Ezra Taft Benson
Of the Council of the Twelve
Ezra Taft Benson, Conference Report, October 1970, pp. 21-25

As a people, we have three great loyalties: loyalty to God, loyalty to family, loyalty to country.
I come to you today with a plea to strengthen our families.

The family unit

It has been truly stated that "salvation is a family affair . . . and that the family unit is the most important organization in time or in eternity."

The Church was created in large measure to help the family, and long after the Church has performed its mission, the celestial patriarchal order will still be functioning. This is why President Joseph F. Smith said: "To be a successful father or a successful mother is greater than to be a successful general or a successful statesman . . . ," and President McKay added: "When one puts business or pleasure above his home, he, that moment, starts on the downgrade to soul weakness."

And this is why President Harold B. Lee said only yesterday, "The Church must do more to help the home carry out its divine mission."

Temptations and pitfalls

President Joseph Fielding Smith has stated that never "in the history of the Church have there been so many temptations, so many pitfalls, so many dangers, to lure away the members of the Church from the path of duty and from righteousness as we find today." (Take Heed to Yourselves. p. 127.) And he has also said: "This world is not growing better . . . wickedness is increasing." (Ibid., p. 207.)

Never has the devil been so well organized, and never in our day has he had so many powerful emissaries working for him. We must do everything in our power to strengthen and safeguard the home and family.

The adversary knows "that the home is the first and most effective place for children to learn the lessons of life: truth, honor, virtue, self-control; the value of education, honest work, and the purpose and privilege of life. Nothing can take the place of home in rearing and teaching children, and no other success can compensate for failure in the home." (President David O. McKay, in Family Home Evening Manual, 1968-69, p. iii.)

Undermining of home

And so today, the undermining of the home and family is on the increase, with the devil anxiously working to displace the father as the head of the home and create rebellion among the children. The Book of Mormon describes this condition when it states, "And my people, children are their oppressors, and women rule over them." And then these words follow—and consider these words seriously when you think of those political leaders who are promoting birth control and abortion: "O my people, they who lead thee cause thee to err and destroy the way of thy paths."  2 Ne. 13:12 And let me warn the sisters in all seriousness that you who submit yourselves to an abortion or to an operation that precludes you from safely having additional healthy children are jeopardizing your exaltation and your future membership in the kingdom of God.

Responsibility of parents

Parents are directly responsible for the righteous rearing of their children, and this responsibility cannot be safely delegated to relatives, friends, neighbors, the school, the church, or the state.

"I appeal to you parents, take nothing for granted about your children," said President J. Reuben Clark, Jr. "The great bulk of them, of course, are good, but some of us do not know when they begin to go away from the path of truth and righteousness. Be watchful every day and hour. Never relax your care, your solicitude. Rule kindly in the spirit of the Gospel and the spirit of the priesthood, but rule, if you wish your children to follow the right path." Permissive parents are part of the problem.

False educational ideas

As a watchman on the tower, I feel to warn you that one of the chief means of misleading our youth and destroying the family unit is our educational institutions. President Joseph F. Smith referred to false educational ideas as one of the three threatening dangers among our Church members. There is more than one reason why the Church is advising our youth to attend colleges close to their homes where institutes of religion are available. It gives the parents the opportunity to stay close to their children; and if they have become alert and informed as President McKay admonished us last year, these parents can help expose some of the deceptions of men like Sigmund Freud, Charles Darwin, John Dewey, Karl Marx, John Keynes, and others.

Today there are much worse things that can happen to a child than not getting a full college education. In fact, some of the worst things have happened to our children while attending colleges led by administrators who wink at subversion and amorality.

Said Karl G. Maeser, "I would rather have my child exposed to smallpox, typhus fever, cholera, or other malignant and deadly diseases than to the degrading influence of a corrupt teacher. It is infinitely better to take chances with an ignorant, but pure-minded teacher than with the greatest philosopher who is impure."

Vocational education, correspondence courses, establishment in a family business are being considered for their children by an increasing number of parents.

Propagation of atheism

The tenth plank in Karl Marx's Manifesto for destroying our kind of civilization advocated the establishment of "free education for all children in public schools." There were several reasons why Marx wanted government to run the schools. Dr. A. A. Hodge pointed out one of them when he said, "It is capable of exact demonstration that if every party in the State has the right of excluding from public schools whatever he does not believe to be true, then he that believes most must give way to him that believes least, and then he that believes least must give way to him that believes absolutely nothing, no matter in how small a minority the atheists or agnostics may be. It is self-evident that on this scheme, if it is consistently and persistently carried out in all parts of the country, the United States system of national popular education will be the most efficient and widespread instrument for the propagation of atheism which the world has ever seen."

After the tragic prayer decision was made by the Court, President David O. McKay stated, "The Supreme Court of the United States severs the connecting cord between the public schools of the United States and the source of divine intelligence, the Creator, himself." (Relief Society Magazine, December 1962, p. 878.)

Does that make any difference to you? Can't you see why the demand of conscientious parents is increasing the number of private Christian and Americanist oriented schools?

Today, Brigham Young University is the largest private school in the United States. Parents from far and near are looking to Brigham Young University as never before.

Supervision by parents

Now, whether your child attends this type of school or not, it is important that you stay close to your children, daily review, if possible, what they have learned in school, and go over their textbooks.

President Joseph Fielding Smith has stated that in public schools you cannot get a textbook, anywhere that he knows of, on the "ologies" that doesn't contain nonsense. (Take Heed to Yourselves, p. 32.)

I know one noble father who reviews with his children regularly what they have been taught; and if they have been taught any falsehoods, then the children and the father together research out the truth. If your children are required to put down on exams the falsehoods that have been taught, then perhaps they can follow President Joseph Fielding Smith's counsel of prefacing their answer with the words "teacher says," or they might say "you taught" or "the textbook states."

If your children are taught untruths on evolution in the public schools or even in our Church schools, provide them with a copy of President Joseph Fielding Smith's excellent rebuttal in his book Man, His Origin and Destiny.

Open letter to school principal

Recently some parents paid for space in a newspaper to run an open letter to the school principal of their son. The letter in part stated:

"You are hereby notified that our son, ........................, is not allowed by his undersigned parents to participate in, or be subject to instruction in, any training or education in sex, human biological development, attitude development, self-understanding, personal and family life, or group therapy, or sensitivity training, or self-criticism, or any combination or degree thereof, without the consent of the undersigned by express written permission . . .

"We intend to retain and exercise our parental rights to guide our child in the areas of morality and sexual behavior without any interference or contradiction imposed by school personnel.

"[Our son] has been taught to recognize the format of sensitivity training, group therapy, self-criticism, etc., as it is being broadly applied, lowering the standards of morality and replacing American individual responsibility with the dependency on, and conformity to, the 'herd consensus' concept of collectivism.

"He has been instructed to promptly remove himself from any class in which he is exposed to the aforementioned indoctrination and to report to us any such disregard of this letter."

Home evening program

The Lord knew that in the last days Satan would try to destroy the family unit. He knew that by court edict, pornography would be allowed to prosper.

How grateful we should be that God inspired his prophet over half a century ago to institute the weekly home evening program. This is the vanguard for getting parents to assume the responsibility of instructing their children. An increasing number of faithful Saints are holding more than one home evening a week and are adding to or deleting from the home evening manual as the Spirit dictates.

Designed to strengthen and safeguard the family, the Church home evening program (one night each week) is to be set apart for fathers and mothers to gather their sons and daughters around them in the home. Prayer is offered, hymns and other songs are sung, scripture is read, family topics are discussed, talent is displayed, principles of the gospel are taught, and often games are played and homemade refreshments served.

Now here are the promised blessings for those who will hold a weekly home evening:

"If the Saints obey this counsel, we promise that great blessings will result. Love at home and obedience to parents will increase. Faith will be developed in the hearts of the youth of Israel, and they will gain power to combat the evil influences and temptations which beset them." (First Presidency, April 27, 1915,Improvement Era, vol. 18, p. 734.)

Demoralizing entertainment

Now what of the entertainment that is available to our young people today? Are you being undermined right in your home through your TV, radio, slick magazines, rock records? Much of the rock music is purposely designed to push immorality, narcotics, revolution, atheism, and nihilism, through language that often has a double meaning and with which many parents are not familiar.

Parents who are informed can warn their children of the demoralizing, loud, raucous beat of rock music, which deadens the senses and dulls the sensibilities—the jungle rhythm which inflames the savagery within.

Said President J. Reuben Clark, Jr.:

"I would have you reflect for a moment upon the fact that a tremendous amount of the modern art, of the modern literature and music, and the drama that we have today is utterly demoralizing—utterly . . . Your music—well, I do not know how far above the tom-tom of the jungle it is, but it is not too far . . .

"These things you must watch. They all have their effects on the children. Make your homelife as near heaven-like as you can." (Relief Society Magazine, December 1952, p. 798.)

Holding aloft of standards

Youth leaders, are you holding aloft our standards or have you compromised them for the lowest common denominator in order to appease the deceived or vile within the Church? Are the dances and music in your cultural halls virtuous, lovely, praiseworthy, and of good report, or do they represent a modern Sodom with short skirts, loud beat, strobe lights, and darkness?

Will our youth leaders accept the standards set for young John Wesley by his mother? Hear her sound counsel:

"Would you judge of the lawfulness or unlawfulness of pleasure? Take this rule: Now note whatever weakens your reason, impairs the tenderness of your conscience, obscures your sense of God, takes off your relish for spiritual things, whatever increases the authority of the body over the mind, that thing is sin to you, however innocent it may seem in itself."

Have we, as Moroni warned, "polluted the holy church of God?"  Morm. 8:38 The auxiliaries of the Church are to be a help, not a hindrance, to parents and the priesthood as they strive to lead their families back to God. Do any of us wear or display the broken cross, anti-Christ sign, that is the adversary's symbol of the so-called "peace movement"?

Lack of knowledge

"My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge," lamented Hosea.  Hosea 4:6 Today, because some parents have refused to become informed and then stand up and inform their children, they are witnessing the gradual physical and spiritual destruction of their posterity. If we would become like God, knowing good and evil  Gen. 3:22 then we had best find out what is undermining us, how to avoid it, and what we can do about it.

It is time that the hearts of us fathers be turned to our children and the hearts of the children be turned to us fathers, or we shall both be cursed.  Mal. 4:6The seeds of divorce are often sown and the blessings of children delayed by wives working outside the home. Working mothers should remember that their children usually need more of mother than of money.

Family solidarity

As conditions in the world get progressively worse, it is crucial that the family draw closer together in righteousness and that family solidarity be established. As one has said, "There are too many pulls away from the home today. We should seriously consider whether or not too many activities and other interests take too much time and attention from our families, from our children, from those whom the Lord God gave us to love, to nourish, to teach, and to help through life."

 The stick-together families are happier by far
Than the brothers and the sisters who take separate highways are.
The gladdest people living are the wholesome folks who make
A circle at the fireside that no power on earth can break.
And the finest of conventions ever held beneath the sun
Are the little family gatherings when the busy day is done.
There are rich folk, there are poor folk, who imagine they are wise.
And they're very quick to shatter all the little family ties.
Each goes searching after pleasure in his own selected way.
Each with strangers likes to wander, and with strangers likes to play.
But it's bitterness they harvest, and it's empty joy they find,
For the children that are wisest are the stick-together kind.
There are some who seem to fancy that for gladness they must roam,
That for smiles that are the brightest they must wander far from home.
That the strange friend is the true friend, and they travel far astray
And they waste their lives in striving for a joy that's far away,
But the gladdest sort of people, when the busy day is done,
Are the brothers and the sisters, who together share their fun.
It's the stick-together family that wins the joys of earth,
That hears the sweetest music and that finds the finest mirth;
It's the old home roof that shelters all the charm that life can give;
There you find the gladdest playground, there the happiest spot to live.
And, O weary, wandering brother, if contentment you would win,
Come you back unto the fireside and be comrade with your kin.
    (Adapted from a poem by Edgar A. Guest.)

Strengthening the family

And so let's strengthen the family. Family and individual prayer, morning and evening, can invite the blessings of the Lord on your household. Mealtime provides a wonderful time to review the activities of the day and to not only feed the body, but to feed the spirit as well, with members of the family taking turns reading the scriptures, particularly the Book of Mormon. Nighttime is a great time for the busy father to go to each child's bedside, to talk with him, answer his questions, and tell him how much he is loved.

In such homes there is no "generation gap." This deceptive phrase is another tool of the devil to weaken the home and family. Children who honor their parents and parents who love their children can make a home a haven of safety and a little bit of heaven.

Does this poem describe your family gatherings?

We are all here:
Father, mother,
Sister, brother,
All who hold each other dear.
Each chair is filled, we are all at home.
Tonight, let no cold stranger come;
It must be often thus around
Our old familiar hearth we're found.
Bless, then, the meeting and the spot,
For once be every care forgot;
Let gentle peace assert her power,
And kind affection rule the hour.
We're all—all here.
    (Adapted from a poem by Charles Sprague.)

God bless us to strengthen our families by avoiding the crafty designs of the adversary and following the noble ways of the Lord, so that in due time we can report to our Heavenly Father in his celestial home that we are all there, father, mother, sister, brother, all who hold each other dear. Each chair is filled, we are all back home.

In the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.

Saturday, August 22, 2015

D&C 76 on telestial kingdom

The doctrine in D&C 76 on the telestial is plain enough, but not often taught:

D&C 76:98 And the glory of the telestial is one, even as the glory of the stars is one; for as one star differs from another star in glory, even so differs one from another in glory in the telestial world;
99 For these are they who are of Paul, and of Apollos, and of Cephas.
100 These are they who say they are some of one and some of another—some of Christ and some of John, and some of Moses, and some of Elias, and some of Esaias, and some of Isaiah, and some of Enoch;

I remember an instructor at BYU who understood those verses, but didn't dare actually state their meaning. He only made reference to it. But they are pretty clear. When it says "these are they who are of Paul, and of Apollos, and of Cephas,... some of one and some of another,...." it is specifically referring to the many different Christian religions. It is saying that the various Christian religions are, speaking as a group, heading toward the telestial kingdom.

Not terribly popular I admit, but, come on. It is pretty plain.

101 But received not the gospel, neither the testimony of Jesus, neither the prophets, neither the everlasting covenant.

The testimony of Jesus here is the testimony of Christ as he is. It is a testimony of the true church. That is why it goes hand in hand with receiving the prophets. Those who receive his servants receives him. That is also why it is equated with receiving the everlasting covenant. The testimony of Jesus goes hand in hand with a testimony of his gospel.

 102 Last of all, these all are they who will not be gathered with the saints, to be caught up unto the church of the Firstborn, and received into the cloud.
 103 These are they who are liars, and sorcerers, and adulterers, and whoremongers, and whosoever loves and makes a lie.

If we know someone who is a liar, a sorcerer, an adulterer, a whoremonger do we expect they will not receive the telestial kingdom? Of course they will receive exactly what the Lord has stated unless they truly repent. Saying that is not taking judgement from God, it is leaving judgement in his hands instead. It is simply having faith in his word, and no one is condemned for believing him, but they are condemned for unbelief. Amulek put it well:

Alma 11:36 Now Amulek saith again unto him: Behold thou hast lied, for thou sayest that I spake as though I had authority to command God because I said he shall not save his people in their sins.
 37 And I say unto you again that he cannot save them in their sins; for I cannot deny his word, and he hath said that no unclean thing can inherit the kingdom of heaven; therefore, how can ye be saved, except ye inherit the kingdom of heaven? Therefore, ye cannot be saved in your sins.

Continuing with the vision of the Telestial:

D&C 76:104 These are they who suffer the wrath of God on earth.

This is a fascinating teaching. We know the telestial suffer the wrath of God in hell, but do we realize they suffer the wrath of God on earth? When men and women are immoral do we realize the Lord is angered by that and they will not escape until they have paid the uttermost farthing? Are we willing to accept that the telestial suffer the wrath of God on earth, as well as in the spirit world?

And rightly so, because wicked men suffer his wrath, but that wrath may in time bring them to repentance. Isn't it wise that God punishes the telestial during the days of their probation?

105 These are they who suffer the vengeance of eternal fire.
106 These are they who are cast down to hell and suffer the wrath of Almighty God, until the fulness of times, when Christ shall have subdued all enemies under his feet, and shall have perfected his work;

Not only is God's wrath on earth used to bring men to repentance, but that it is applied until they are brought to repentance in the afterlife. That is what it means that they "suffer the wrath of God until Christ shall have subdued all enemies under his feet". They suffer the pains of hell until they have fully repented and have paid in a measure for their own sins. When they have repented, when the cup of suffering is full, then Christ will have subdued all enemies under his feet.

And this is an important point. They suffer until they have repented and paid for their sins and that is related to the phrase "and [Christ] shall have perfected his work" that finishes the verse. The point is that at the end of that they will be penetent and willing to accept Christ as their king (otherwise, they have no right in one of his kingdoms). In that state of penitence they can then be baptized in time and receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. Otherwise they could not enjoy the Holy Ghost in the telestial kingdom as God has promised. Without the Holy Ghost, they could not belong to his kingdom for the Holy Ghost can dwell in the hearts of men. Where the Holy Ghost is not, there is no kingdom of God, not even a telestial one, for God cannot dwell in the hearts of men without it. But you cannot gain the Holy Ghost without the ordinance being done for you in this life or the next, and you cannot accept the ordinance without repentance and baptism, be it in this life or the next.

107 When he shall deliver up the kingdom, and present it unto the Father, spotless, saying: I have overcome and have trodden the wine-press alone, even the wine-press of the fierceness of the wrath of Almighty God.

Notice that he presents the telestial kingdom "spotless". How is that possible? Because they have suffered the price for their own sins, they have repented and been baptized and thereby become part of God's kingdom.

108 Then shall he be crowned with the crown of his glory, to sit on the throne of his power to reign forever and ever.
109 But behold, and lo, we saw the glory and the inhabitants of the telestial world, that they were as innumerable as the stars in the firmament of heaven, or as the sand upon the seashore;
110 And heard the voice of the Lord saying: These all shall bow the knee, and every tongue shall confess to him who sits upon the throne forever and ever;

Again, how will they bend the knee? Because they will, after having truly repented of their sins and obtained forgiveness in hell, accept Christ as their Savior and King. Without accepting Christ as king, they cannot become part of any of his kingdom, not even the telestial part.

111 For they shall be judged according to their works, and every man shall receive according to his own works, his own dominion, in the mansions which are prepared;
112 And they shall be servants of the Most High; but where God and Christ dwell they cannot come, worlds without end.

And again, how are they his servants? Because they have been baptized, become part of his kingdom, and received the gift of the Holy Ghost.


The gospel mingled with the business philosphies of men

Looking over the classes that were taught during this last Education Week at BYU I see that l the "gospel mingled with the business philosophies of men" movement is still present. I have always felt like something is not very gospel about this group, like it supplants the gospel with something else. It may well primarily be that they are mingling the scriptures with the business philosophies of men. I think this group got its first big push from "the Seven habits of highly effective people", Franklin planners, the surrounding ideas.

I just think there is something missing from these groups. It is the gospel minus the spirituality part. Not that some individuals who participate wholeheartedly aren't truly good men. My mission president was among them, though his personal goodness seemed to overcome the false tenants of this group, rather than being enhanced by them. Sure, it made him efficient. But was Christ defined by his efficiency?

I think President Uchtdorf's statement describes part of why this group seems to offers a gospel that is vastly less than what the scriptures have to offer:

"Isn’t it true that we often get so busy? And, sad to say, we even wear our busyness as a badge of honor, as though being busy, by itself, was an accomplishment or sign of a superior life.

Is it?

I think of our Lord and Exemplar, Jesus Christ, and His short life among the people of Galilee and Jerusalem. I have tried to imagine Him bustling between meetings or multitasking to get a list of urgent things accomplished.

I can’t see it.

Instead I see the compassionate and caring Son of God purposefully living each day. When He interacted with those around Him, they felt important and loved. He knew the infinite value of the people He met. He blessed them, ministered to them. He lifted them up, healed them. He gave them the precious gift of His time."

Friday, August 21, 2015

The promised blessings at the end of D&C 76

The vision of the three degrees of glory has a profound ending that often goes unnoticed. Do we believe it?

D&C 76:114 But great and marvelous are the works of the Lord, and the mysteries of his kingdom which he showed unto us, which surpass all understanding in glory, and in might, and in dominion;
115 Which he commanded us we should not write while we were yet in the Spirit, and are not lawful for man to utter;
116 Neither is man capable to make them known, for they are only to be seen and understood by the power of the Holy Spirit, which God bestows on those who love him, and purify themselves before him;
117 To whom he grants this privilege of seeing and knowing for themselves;
118 That through the power and manifestation of the Spirit, while in the flesh, they may be able to bear his presence in the world of glory.
119 And to God and the Lamb be glory, and honor, and dominion forever and ever. Amen.

The first of these verses teach things that we might expect. It speaks of mysteries of his kingdom, and of things that are not lawful for man to utter. It says man is not capable to make them known.

Not surprisingly, they are only to be seen and understood by the power of the Holy Ghost. After all, that is how D&C 76 was revealed to Joseph and Sidney in the first place as the beginning of the revelation clearly states, and they were even commanded to write down the revelation while still in the spirit.

But here comes the profound news:

They are to be seen and understood only by the Holy Ghost which God bestows on those who love him and purify themselves before him to whom he grants this privilege of seeing and knowing for themselves.

And moreover, not only does he grant this privilege of seeing and knowing for themselves, but that privilege serves an important purpose. It serves the purpose that through the power and manifestation of the Spirit, while in the flesh, they may be able to bear his presence in the world of Glory The vision of the degrees of glory is more than truth about the afterlife, it lays out the ladder we must climb, the path we must follow, to return from our current fallen state to eventually dwell in the presence of the Father and the Son in everlasting exaltation. But the text is only a hint of the full experience, as we are clearly told in the scripture itself.

We often hear that we live far beneath our privileges. That is not because we simply told Heavenly Father we don't want those privileges, but because we live far beneath his expectations for us. If we lived up to his expection, we would live up to our privileges.

And these verses show us what some of those privileges are:

D&C 76:117 To whom he grants this privilege of seeing and knowing for themselves.

We read with sorrow and astonishment of ancient Israel telling Moses they wanted the Lord to speak with himself, and not with them. They were frightened to speak with the Lord because they knew they were not willing to change, to make the necessary commitments in order to enter the Lord's presence.

When we read these verses in D&C 76, do we not find the same spirit of apathy troubling ourselves? Do we read these verses in D&C 76 and think "I don't care whether the Lord offers to show these things to me, I am doing well enough, and he shows them to the prophets, and that is good enough for me." Truly our minds our darkened indeed if we can't recognize in that the same spiritual apathy that plagued ancient Israel and angered their God.

But if we do see it, let us repent. And when the Lord offers us blessings, be earnestly up and doing his work with an eye of faith that his promises are sure.

Ezra Taft Benson's "The Proper Role of Government"

 The Proper Role of Government

Men in the public spotlight constantly are asked to express an opinion on a myriad of government proposals and projects. “What do you think of TVA?” “What is your opinion of Medicare?” How do you feel about Urban Renewal?” The list is endless. All too often, answers to these questions seem to be based, not upon any solid principle, but upon the popularity of the specific government program in question. Seldom are men willing to oppose a popular program if they, themselves, wish to be popular – especially if they seek public office.

Government Should Be Based Upon Sound Principles

Such an approach to vital political questions of the day can only lead to publications of the day can only lead to public confusion and legislative chaos. Decisions of this nature should be based upon and measured against certain basic principles regarding the proper role of government. If principles are correct, then they can be applied to any specific proposal with confidence.

“Are there not, in reality, underlying, universal principles with reference to which all issues must be resolved whether the society be simple or complex in its mechanical organization? It seems to me we could relieve ourselves of most of the bewilderment which so unsettles and distracts us by subjecting each situation to the simple test of right and wrong. Right and wrong as moral principles do not change. They are applicable and reliable determinants whether the situations with which we deal are simple or complicated. There is always a right and wrong to every question which requires our solution.” (Albert E. Bowen, Prophets, Principles and National Survival, P. 21-22)

Unlike the political opportunist, the true statesman values principle above popularity, and works to create popularity for those political principles which are wise and just.

The Correct Role Of Government

I should like to outline in clear, concise, and straight-forward terms the political principles to which I subscribe. These are the guidelines which determine, now and in the future, my attitudes and actions toward all domestic proposals and projects and projects of government. These are the principles which, in my opinion, proclaim the proper role of government in the domestic affairs of the nation.

“(I) believe that governments were instituted of God for the benefit of man; and that he holds men accountable for their acts in relation to them, both in making laws and administering them, for the good and safety of society.”

“(I) believe that no government can exist in peace, except such laws are framed and held inviolate as will secure to each individual the free exercise of conscience, the right and control of property, and the protection of life…”

“(I) believe that all men are bound to sustain and uphold the respective governments in which they reside, which protected in their inherent and inalienable rights by the laws of such governments; and that sedition and rebellion are unbecoming every citizen thus protected, and should be punished accordingly; and that all governments have a right to enact such laws as in their own judgments are best calculated to secure the public interest; at the same time, however, holding sacred the freedom of conscience.”

The Most Important Function Of Government

It is generally agreed that the most important single function of government is to secure the rights and freedoms of individual citizens. But, what are those right? And what is their source? Until these questions are answered there is little likelihood that we can correctly determine how government can best secure them. Thomas Paine, back in the days of the American Revolution, explained that:

“Rights are not gifts from one man to another, nor from one class of men to another… It is impossible to discover any origin of rights otherwise than in the origin of man; it consequently follows that rights appertain to man in right of his existence, and must therefore be equal to every man.” (P.P.N.S., p. 134)

The great Thomas Jefferson asked:

“Can the liberties of a nation be thought secure when we have removed their only firm basis, a conviction in the minds of the people that these liberties are of the gift of God? That they are not to be violated but with his wrath?” (Works 8:404; P.P.N.S., p.141)

Starting at the foundation of the pyramid, let us first consider the origin of those freedoms we have come to know are human rights. There are only two possible sources. Rights are either God-given as part of the Divine Plan, or they are granted by government as part of the political plan. Reason, necessity, tradition and religious convictions all lead me to accept the divine origin of these rights. If we accept the premise that human rights are granted by government, then we must be willing to accept the corollary that they can be denied by government. I, for one, shall never accept that premise. As the French political economist, Frederick Bastiat, phrased it so succinctly, “Life, liberty, and property do not exist because men have made laws. On the contrary, it was the fact that life, liberty, and property existed beforehand that caused men to make laws in the first place.” (The Law, p.6)

The Real Meaning Of The Separation Of Church And State

I support the doctrine of separation of church and state as traditionally interpreted to prohibit the establishment of an official national religion. But I am opposed to the doctrine of separation of church and state as currently interpreted to divorce government from any formal recognition of God. The current trend strikes a potentially fatal blow at the concept of the divine origin of our rights, and unlocks the door for an easy entry of future tyranny. If Americans should ever come to believe that their rights and freedoms are instituted among men by politicians and bureaucrats, then they will no longer carry the proud inheritance of their forefathers, but will grovel before their masters seeking favors and dispensations – a throwback to the Feudal System of the Dark Ages. We must ever keep in mind the inspired words of Thomas Jefferson, as found in the Declaration of Independence:

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.” (P.P.N. S., p.519)

Since God created man with certain unalienable rights, and man, in turn, created government to help secure and safeguard those rights, it follows that man is superior to the creature which he created. Man is superior to government and should remain master over it, not the other way around. Even the non-believer can appreciate the logic of this relationship.

The Source Of Governmental Power

Leaving aside, for a moment, the question of the divine origin of rights, it is obvious that a government is nothing more or less than a relatively small group of citizens who have been hired, in a sense, by the rest of us to perform certain functions and discharge certain responsibilities which have been authorized. It stands to reason that the government itself has no innate power or privilege to do anything. Its only source of authority and power is from the people who have created it. This is made clear in the Preamble to the Constitution of the United States, which reads: “WE THE PEOPLE… do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.”

The important thing to keep in mind is that the people in mind is that the people who have created their government can give to that government only such powers as they, themselves, have in the first place. Obviously, they cannot give that which they do not possess. So, the question boils down to this. What powers properly belong to each and every person in the absence of and prior to the establishment of any organized governmental form? A hypothetical question? Yes, indeed! But, it is a question which is vital to an understanding of the principles which underlie the proper function of government.

Of course, as James Madison, sometimes called the Father of the Constitution, said, “If men were angels, no government would be necessary. If angels were to govern men, neither external nor internal controls on government would be necessary.” (The Federalist, No. 51)

Natural Rights

In a primitive state, there is no doubt that each man would be justified in using force, if necessary, to defend himself against physical harm, against theft of the fruits of his labor, and against enslavement of another. This principle was clearly explained by Bastiat:

“Each of us has a natural right – from God – to defend his person, his liberty, and his property. These are the three basic requirements of life, and the preservation of any one of them is completely dependent upon the preservation of the other two. For what are our faculties but the extension of our individuality? And what is property but and extension of our faculties?” (The Law, p.6)

Indeed, the early pioneers found that a great deal of their time and energy was being spent doing all three – defending themselves, their property and their liberty – in what properly was called the “Lawless West.” In order for man to prosper, he cannot afford to spend his time constantly guarding his family, his fields, and his property against attach and theft, so he joins together with his neighbors and hires a sheriff. At this precise moment, government is born. The individual citizens delegate to the sheriff their unquestionable right to protect themselves. The sheriff now does for them only what they had a right to do for themselves – nothing more. Quoting again from Bastiat:

“If every person has the right to defend – even by force – his person, his liberty, and his property, then it follows that a group of men have the right to organize and support a common force to protect these rights constantly. Thus the principle of collective right -its reason for existing, its lawfulness – is based on individual right.” (The Law, p. 6)

So far so good. But now we come to the moment of truth. Suppose pioneer “A” wants another horse for his wagon, He doesn’t have the money to buy one, but since pioneer “B” has an extra horse, he decides that he is entitled to share in his neighbor’s good fortune, Is he entitled to take his neighbor’s horse? Obviously not! If his neighbor wishes to give it or lend it, that is another question. But so long as pioneer “B” wishes to keep his property, pioneer “A” has no just claim to it.

If “A” has no proper power to take “B’s” property, can he delegate any such power to the sheriff? No. Even if everyone in the community desires that “B” give his extra horse to “A”, they have no right individually or collectively to force him to do it. They cannot delegate a power they themselves do not have. This important principle was clearly understood and explained by John Locke nearly 300 years ago:

“For nobody can transfer to another more power than he has in himself, and nobody has an absolute arbitrary power over himself, or over any other, to destroy his own life, or take away the life of property of another.” (Two Treatises of Civil Government, II, 135; P.P.N.S. p. 93)

The Proper Function Of Government

This means, then, that the proper function of government is limited only to those spheres of activity within which the individual citizen has the right to act. By deriving its just powers from the governed, government becomes primarily a mechanism for defense against bodily harm, theft and involuntary servitude. It cannot claim the power to redistribute the wealth or force reluctant citizens to perform acts of charity against their will. Government is created by man. No man possesses such power to delegate. The creature cannot exceed the creator.

In general terms, therefore, the proper role of government includes such defensive activities, as maintaining national military and local police forces for protection against loss of life, loss of property, and loss of liberty at the hands of either foreign despots or domestic criminals.

The Powers Of A Proper Government

It also includes those powers necessarily incidental to the protective functions such as:

(1) The maintenance of courts where those charged with crimes may be tried and where disputes between citizens may be impartially settled.

(2) The establishment of a monetary system and a standard of weights and measures so that courts may render money judgments, taxing authorities may levy taxes, and citizens may have a uniform standard to use in their business dealings.

My attitude toward government is succinctly expressed by the following provision taken from the Alabama Constitution:

“That the sole object and only legitimate end of government is to protect the citizen in the enjoyment of life, liberty, and property, and when the government assumes other functions it is usurpation and oppression.” (Art. 1, Sec. 35)

An important test I use in passing judgment upon an act of government is this: If it were up to me as an individual to punish my neighbor for violating a given law, would it offend my conscience to do so? Since my conscience will never permit me to physically punish my fellow man unless he has done something evil, or unless he has failed to do something which I have a moral right to require of him to do, I will never knowingly authorize my agent, the government to do this on my behalf. I realize that when I give my consent to the adoption of a law, I specifically instruct the police – the government – to take either the life, liberty, or property of anyone who disobeys that law. Furthermore, I tell them that if anyone resists the enforcement of the law, they are to use any means necessary – yes, even putting the lawbreaker to death or putting him in jail – to overcome such resistance. These are extreme measures but unless laws are enforced, anarchy results. As John Locke explained many years ago:

“The end of law is not to abolish or restrain, but to preserve and enlarge freedom. For in all the states of created beings, capable of laws, where there is no law there is no freedom. For liberty is to be free from restraint and violence from others, which cannot be where there is no law; and is not, as we are told, ‘a liberty for every man to do what he lists.’ For who could be free, when every other man’s humour might domineer over him? But a liberty to dispose and order freely as he lists his person, actions, possessions, and his whole property within the allowance of those laws under which he is, and therein not to be subject to the arbitrary will of another, but freely follow his own.” (Two Treatises of Civil Government, II, 57: P>P>N>S., p.101)

I believe we Americans should use extreme care before lending our support to any proposed government program. We should fully recognize that government is no plaything. As George Washington warned, “Government is not reason, it is not eloquence – it is force! Like fire, it is a dangerous servant and a fearful master!” (The Red Carpet, p.142) It is an instrument of force and unless our conscience is clear that we would not hesitate to put a man to death, put him in jail or forcibly deprive him of his property for failing to obey a given law, we should oppose it.

The Constitution Of The United States

Another standard I use in deterring what law is good and what is bad is the Constitution of the United States. I regard this inspired document as a solemn agreement between the citizens of this nation which every officer of government is under a sacred duty to obey. As Washington stated so clearly in his immortal Farewell Address:

“The basis of our political systems is the right of the people to make and to alter their constitutions of government. – But the constitution which at any time exists, until changed by an explicit and authentic act of the whole people is sacredly obligatory upon all. The very idea of the power and the right of the people to establish government presupposes the duty of every individual to obey the established government.” (P.P.N.S., p. 542)

I am especially mindful that the Constitution provides that the great bulk of the legitimate activities of government are to be carried out at the state or local level. This is the only way in which the principle of “self-government” can be made effective. As James Madison said before the adoption of the Constitution, “ (We) rest all our political experiments on the capacity of mankind for self-government.” (Federalist, No.39; P.P.N.S., p. 128) Thomas Jefferson made this interesting observation: “Sometimes it is said that man cannot be trusted with the government of himself. Can he, then, be trusted with the government of others? Or have we found angels in the forms of kings to govern him? Let history answer this question.” (Works 8:3; P.P.N.S., p. 128)

The Value Of Local Government

It is a firm principle that the smallest or lowest level that can possibly undertake the task is the one that should do so. First, the community or city. If the city cannot handle it, then the county. Next, the state; and only if no smaller unit can possible do the job should the federal government be considered. This is merely the application to the field of politics of that wise and time-tested principle of never asking a larger group to do that which can be done by a smaller group. And so far as government is concerned the smaller the unit and the closer it is to the people, the easier it is to guide it, to keep it solvent and to keep our freedom. Thomas Jefferson understood this principle very well and explained it this way:

“The way to have good and safe government, is not to trust it all to one, but to divide it among the many, distributing to every one exactly the functions he is competent to. Let the national government be entrusted with the defense of the nation, and its foreign and federal relations; the State governments with the civil rights, law, police, and administration of what concerns the State generally; the counties with the local concerns of the counties, and each ward direct the interests within itself. It is by dividing and subdividing these republics from the great national one down through all its subordinations, until it ends in the administration of every man’s farm by himself; by placing under every one what his own eye may superintend, that all will be done for the best. What has destroyed liberty and the rights of man in every government which has ever existed under the sun? The generalizing and concentrating all cares and powers into one body.” (Works 6:543; P.P.N.S., p. 125)

It is well to remember that the states of this republic created the Federal Government. The Federal Government did not create the states.

Things The Government Should Not Do

A category of government activity which, today, not only requires the closest scrutiny, but which also poses a grave danger to our continued freedom, is the activity NOT within the proper sphere of government. No one has the authority to grant such powers, as welfare programs, schemes for re-distributing the wealth, and activities which coerce people into acting in accordance with a prescribed code of social planning. There is one simple test. Do I as an individual have a right to use force upon my neighbor to accomplish this goal? If I do have such a right, then I may delegate that power to my government to exercise on my behalf. If I do not have that right as an individual, then I cannot delegate it to government, and I cannot ask my government to perform the act for me.

To be sure, there are times when this principle of the proper role of government is most annoying and inconvenient. If I could only FORCE the ignorant to provided for themselves, or the selfish to be generous with their wealth! But if we permit government to manufacture its own authority out of thin air, and to create self-proclaimed powers not delegated to it by the people, then the creature exceeds the creator and becomes master. Beyond that point, where shall the line be drawn? Who is to say “this far, but no farther?” What clear PRINCIPLE will stay the hand of government from reaching farther and yet farther into our daily lives? We shouldn’t forget the wise words of President Grover Cleveland that “… though the people support the Government the Government should not support the people.” (P.P.N.S., p.345) We should also remember, as Frederic Bastiat reminded us, that “Nothing can enter the public treasury for the benefit of one citizen or one class unless other citizens and other classes have been forced to send it in.” (THE LAW, p. 30; P.P.N.S., p. 350)

The Dividing Line Between Proper And Improper Government

As Bastiat pointed out over a hundred years ago, once government steps over this clear line between the protective or negative role into the aggressive role of redistributing the wealth and providing so-called “benefits” for some of its citizens, it then becomes a means for what he accurately described as legalized plunder. It becomes a lever of unlimited power which is the sought-after prize of unscrupulous individuals and pressure groups, each seeking to control the machine to fatten his own pockets or to benefit its favorite charities – all with the other fellow’s money, of course. (THE LAW, 1850, reprinted by the Foundation for Economic Education, Irvington-On-Hudson, N.Y.)

The Nature Of Legal Plunder

Listen to Bastiat’s explanation of this “legal plunder.” “When a portion of wealth is transferred from the person who owns it – without his consent and without compensation, and whether by force or by fraud – to anyone who does not own it, then I say that property is violated; that an act of plunder is committed!

“How is the legal plunder to be identified? Quite simply. See if the law takes from some persons what belongs to them, and gives it to other persons to whom it does not belong. See if the law benefits one citizen at the expense of another by doing what the citizen himself cannot do without committing a crime…” (THE LAW, p. 21, 26; P.P.N.S., p. 377)

As Bastiat observed, and as history has proven, each class or special interest group competes with the others to throw the lever of governmental power in their favor, or at least to immunize itself against the effects of a previous thrust. Labor gets a minimum wage, so agriculture seeks a price support. Consumers demand price controls, and industry gets protective tariffs. In the end, no one is much further ahead, and everyone suffers the burdens of a gigantic bureaucracy and a loss of personal freedom. With each group out to get its share of the spoils, such governments historically have mushroomed into total welfare states. Once the process begins, once the principle of the protective function of government gives way to the aggressive or redistribute function, then forces are set in motion that drive the nation toward totalitarianism. “It is impossible,” Bastiat correctly observed, “to introduce into society… a greater evil than this: the conversion of the law into an instrument of plunder.” (THE LAW, p. 12)

Government Cannot Create Wealth

Students of history know that no government in the history of mankind has ever created any wealth. People who work create wealth. James R. Evans, in his inspiring book, “The Glorious Quest” gives this simple illustration of legalized plunder:

“Assume, for example, that we were farmers, and that we received a letter from the government telling us that we were going to get a thousand dollars this year for plowed up acreage. But rather than the normal method of collection, we were to take this letter and collect $69.71 from Bill Brown, at such and such an address, and $82.47 from Henry Jones, $59.80 from a Bill Smith, and so on down the line; that these men would make up our farm subsidy. “Neither you nor I, nor would 99 percent of the farmers, walk up and ring a man’s doorbell, hold out a hand and say, ‘Give me what you’ve earned even though I have not.’ We simply wouldn’t do it because we would be facing directly the violation of a moral law, ‘Thou shalt not steal.’ In short, we would be held accountable for our actions.”

The free creative energy of this choice nation “created more than 50% of all the world’s products and possessions in the short span of 160 years. The only imperfection in the system is the imperfection in man himself.” The last paragraph in this remarkable Evans book – which I commend to all – reads:

“No historian of the future will ever be able to prove that the ideas of individual liberty practiced in the United States of America were a failure. He may be able to prove that we were not yet worthy of them. The choice is ours.” (Charles Hallberg and Co., 116 West Grand Avenue, Chicago, Illinois, 60610)

The Basic Error Of Marxism

According to Marxist doctrine, a human being is primarily an economic creature. In other words, his material well-being is all important; his privacy and his freedom are strictly secondary. The Soviet constitution reflects this philosophy in its emphasis on security: food, clothing, housing, medical care – the same things that might be considered in a jail. The basic concept is that the government has full responsibility for the welfare of the people and, in order to discharge that responsibility, must assume control of all their activities. It is significant that in actuality the Russian people have few of the rights supposedly “guaranteed” to them in their constitution, while the American people have them in abundance even though they are not guaranteed. The reason, of course, is that material gain and economic security simply cannot be guaranteed by any government. They are the result and reward of hard work and industrious production. Unless the people bake one loaf of bread for each citizen, the government cannot guarantee that each will have one loaf to eat. Constitutions can be written, laws can be passed and imperial decrees can be issued, but unless the bread is produced, it can never be distributed.

The Real Cause Of American Prosperity

Why, then, do Americans bake more bread, manufacture more shoes and assemble more TV sets than Russians do? They do so precisely because our government does NOT guarantee these things. If it did, there would be so many accompanying taxes, controls, regulations and political manipulations that the productive genius that is America’s would soon be reduced to the floundering level of waste and inefficiency now found behind the Iron Curtain. As Henry David Thoreau explained:

“This government never of itself furthered any enterprise, but by the alacrity with which it got out of its way. IT does not educate. THE CHARACTER INHERENT IN THE AMERICAN PEOPLE HAS DONE ALL THAT HAS BEEN ACCOMPLISHED; AND IT WOULD HAVE DONE SOMEWHAT MORE, IF THE GOVERNMENT HAD NOT SOMETIMES GO IN ITS WAY. For government is an expedient by which men would fain succeed in letting one another alone; and, as has been said, when it is most expedient, the governed are most let alone by it.” (Quoted by Clarence B. Carson, THE AMERICAN TRADITION, p. 100; P.P.S.N., p.171)

In 1801 Thomas Jefferson, in his First Inaugural Address, said:

“With all these blessings, what more is necessary to make us a happy and prosperous people? Still one thing more, fellow citizens – a wise and frugal government, which shall restrain men from injuring one another, which shall leave them otherwise free to regulate their own pursuits of industry and improvement, and shall not take from the mouth of labor the bread it had earned.” (Works 8:3)

A Formula For Prosperity

The principle behind this American philosophy can be reduced to a rather simple formula:

Economic security for all is impossible without widespread abundance. Abundance is impossible without industrious and efficient production. Such production is impossible without energetic, willing and eager labor. This is not possible without incentive.

Of all forms of incentive – the freedom to attain a reward for one’s labors is the most sustaining for most people. Sometimes called THE PROFIT MOTIVE, it is simply the right to plan and to earn and to enjoy the fruits of your labor.

This profit motive DIMINISHES as government controls, regulations and taxes INCREASE to deny the fruits of success to those who produce. Therefore, any attempt THROUGH GOVERNMENTAL INTERVENTION to redistribute the material rewards of labor can only result in the eventual destruction of the productive base of society, without which real abundance and security for more than the ruling elite is quite impossible.

An Example Of The Consequences Of Disregarding These Principles

We have before us currently a sad example of what happens to a nation which ignores these principles. Former FBI agent, Dan Smoot, succinctly pointed this out on his broadcast number 649, dated January 29, 1968, as follows:

“England was killed by an idea: the idea that the weak, indolent and profligate must be supported by the strong, industrious, and frugal – to the degree that tax-consumers will have a living standard comparable to that of taxpayers; the idea that government exists for the purpose of plundering those who work to give the product of their labor to those who do not work. The economic and social cannibalism produced by this communist-socialist idea will destroy any society which adopts it and clings to it as a basic principle – ANY society.”

The Power Of True Liberty From Improper Governmental Interference

Nearly two hundred years ago, Adam Smith, the Englishman, who understood these principles very well, published his great book, THE WEALTH OF NATIONS, which contains this statement:

“The natural effort of every individual to better his own condition, when suffered to exert itself with freedom and security, is so powerful a principle, that it is alone, and without any assistance, not only capable of carrying on the society to wealth and prosperity, but of surmounting a hundred impertinent obstructions with which the folly of human laws too often encumbers its operations; though the effect of these obstructions is always more or less either to encroach upon its freedom, or to diminish its security.” (Vol. 2, Book 4, Chapt. 5, p. 126)

But What About The Needy?

On the surface this may sound heartless and insensitive to the needs of those less fortunate individuals who are found in any society, no matter how affluent. “What about the lame, the sick and the destitute? Is an often-voice question. Most other countries in the world have attempted to use the power of government to meet this need. Yet, in every case, the improvement has been marginal at best and has resulted in the long run creating more misery, more poverty, and certainly less freedom than when government first stepped in. As Henry Grady Weaver wrote, in his excellent book, THE MAINSPRING OF HUMAN PROGRESS:

“Most of the major ills of the world have been caused by well-meaning people who ignored the principle of individual freedom, except as applied to themselves, and who were obsessed with fanatical zeal to improve the lot of mankind-in-the-mass through some pet formula of their own….THE HARM DONE BE ORDINARY CRIMINALS, MURDERERS, GANGSTERS, AND THIEVES IS NEGLIGIBLE IN COMPARISON WITH THE AGONY INFLICTED UPON HUMAN BEINGS BY THE PROFESSIONAL ‘DO-GOODERS’, who attempt to set themselves up as gods on earth and who would ruthlessly force their views on all others – with the abiding assurance that the end justifies the means.” (p. 40-1; P.P.N.S., p. 313)

The Better Way

By comparison, America traditionally has followed Jefferson’s advice of relying on individual action and charity. The result is that the United States has fewer cases of genuine hardship per capita than any other country in the entire world or throughout all history. Even during the depression of the 1930′s, Americans ate and lived better than most people in other countries do today.

What Is Wrong With A “Little” Socialism?

In reply to the argument that a little bit of socialism is good so long as it doesn’t go too far, it is tempting to say that, in like fashion, just a little bit of theft or a little bit of cancer is all right, too! History proves that the growth of the welfare state is difficult to check before it comes to its full flower of dictatorship. But let us hope that this time around, the trend can be reversed. If not then we will see the inevitability of complete socialism, probably within our lifetime.

Three Reasons American Need Not Fall For Socialist Deceptions

Three factors may make a difference. First, there is sufficient historical knowledge of the failures of socialism and of the past mistakes of previous civilizations. Secondly, there are modern means of rapid communications to transmit these lessons of history to a large literate population. And thirdly, there is a growing number of dedicated men and women who, at great personal sacrifice, are actively working to promote a wider appreciation of these concepts. The timely joining together of these three factors may make it entirely possible for us to reverse the trend.

How Can Present Socialistic Trends Be Reversed?

This brings up the next question: How is it possible to cut out the various welfare-state features of our government which have already fastened themselves like cancer cells onto the body politic? Isn’t drastic surgery already necessary, and can it be performed without endangering the patient? In answer, it is obvious that drastic measures ARE called for. No half-way or compromise actions will suffice. Like all surgery, it will not be without discomfort and perhaps even some scar tissue for a long time to come. But it must be done if the patient is to be saved, and it can be done without undue risk.

Obviously, not all welfare-state programs currently in force can be dropped simultaneously without causing tremendous economic and social upheaval. To try to do so would be like finding oneself at the controls of a hijacked airplane and attempting to return it by simply cutting off the engines in flight. It must be flown back, lowered in altitude, gradually reduced in speed and brought in for a smooth landing. Translated into practical terms, this means that the first step toward restoring the limited concept of government should be to freeze all welfare-state programs at their present level, making sure that no new ones are added. The next step would be to allow all present programs to run out their term with absolutely no renewal. The third step would involve the gradual phasing-out of those programs which are indefinite in their term. In my opinion, the bulk of the transition could be accomplished within a ten-year period and virtually completed within twenty years. Congress would serve as the initiator of this phase-out program, and the President would act as the executive in accordance with traditional constitutional procedures.

Summary Thus Far

As I summarize what I have attempted to cover, try to visualize the structural relationship between the six vital concepts that have made America the envy of the world. I have reference to the foundation of the Divine Origin of Rights; Limited Government; the pillars of economic Freedom and Personal Freedom, which result in Abundance; followed by Security and the Pursuit of Happiness.

America was built upon a firm foundation and created over many years from the bottom up. Other nations, impatient to acquire equal abundance, security and pursuit of happiness, rush headlong into that final phase of construction without building adequate foundations or supporting pillars. Their efforts are futile. And, even in our country, there are those who think that, because we now have the good things in life, we can afford to dispense with the foundations which have made them possible. They want to remove any recognition of God from governmental institutions, They want to expand the scope and reach of government which will undermine and erode our economic and personal freedoms. The abundance which is ours, the carefree existence which we have come to accept as a matter of course, CAN BE TOPPLED BY THESE FOOLISH EXPERIMENTERS AND POWER SEEKERS. By the grace of God, and with His help, we shall fence them off from the foundations of our liberty, and then begin our task of repair and construction.

As a conclusion to this discussion, I present a declaration of principles which have recently been prepared by a few American patriots, and to which I wholeheartedly subscribe.

Fifteen Principles Which Make For Good And Proper Government

As an Independent American for constitutional government I declare that:

I believe that no people can maintain freedom unless their political institutions are founded upon faith in God and belief in the existence of moral law.
I believe that God has endowed men with certain unalienable rights as set forth in the Declaration of Independence and that no legislature and no majority, however great, may morally limit or destroy these; that the sole function of government is to protect life, liberty, and property and anything more than this is usurpation and oppression.
I believe that the Constitution of the United States was prepared and adopted by men acting under inspiration from Almighty God; that it is a solemn compact between the peoples of the States of this nation which all officers of government are under duty to obey; that the eternal moral laws expressed therein must be adhered to or individual liberty will perish.
I believe it a violation of the Constitution for government to deprive the individual of either life, liberty, or property except for these purposes:(a) Punish crime and provide for the administration of justice;(b) Protect the right and control of private property;
(c) Wage defensive war and provide for the nation’s defense;(d) Compel each one who enjoys the protection of government to bear his fair share of the burden of performing the above functions.
I hold that the Constitution denies government the power to take from the individual either his life, liberty, or property except in accordance with moral law; that the same moral law which governs the actions of men when acting alone is also applicable when they act in concert with others; that no citizen or group of citizens has any right to direct their agent, the government to perform any act which would be evil or offensive to the conscience if that citizen were performing the act himself outside the framework of government.
I am hereby resolved that under no circumstances shall the freedoms guaranteed by the Bill of Rights be infringed. In particular I am opposed to any attempt on the part of the Federal Government to deny the people their right to bear arms, to worship and pray when and where they choose, or to own and control private property.
I consider ourselves at war with international Communism which is committed to the destruction of our government, our right of property, and our freedom; that it is treason as defined by the Constitution to give aid and comfort to this implacable enemy.
I am unalterable opposed to Socialism, either in whole or in part, and regard it as an unconstitutional usurpation of power and a denial of the right of private property for government to own or operate the means of producing and distributing goods and services in competition with private enterprise, or to regiment owners in the legitimate use of private property.
I maintain that every person who enjoys the protection of his life, liberty, and property should bear his fair share of the cost of government in providing that protection; that the elementary principles of justice set forth in the Constitution demand that all taxes imposed be uniform and that each person’s property or income be taxed at the same rate.
I believe in honest money, the gold and silver coinage of the Constitution, and a circulation medium convertible into such money without loss. I regard it as a flagrant violation of the explicit provisions of the Constitution for the Federal Government to make it a criminal offense to use gold or silver coin as legal tender or to use irredeemable paper money.
I believe that each State is sovereign in performing those functions reserved to it by the Constitution and it is destructive of our federal system and the right of self-government guaranteed under the Constitution for the Federal Government to regulate or control the States in performing their functions or to engage in performing such functions itself.
I consider it a violation of the Constitution for the Federal Government to levy taxes for the support of state or local government; that no State or local government can accept funds from the Federal and remain independent in performing its functions, nor can the citizens exercise their rights of self-government under such conditions.
I deem it a violation of the right of private property guaranteed under the Constitution for the Federal Government to forcibly deprive the citizens of this nation of their nation of their property through taxation or otherwise, and make a gift thereof to foreign governments or their citizens.
I believe that no treaty or agreement with other countries should deprive our citizens of rights guaranteed them by the Constitution.
I consider it a direct violation of the obligation imposed upon it by the Constitution for the Federal Government to dismantle or weaken our military establishment below that point required for the protection of the States against invasion, or to surrender or commit our men, arms, or money to the control of foreign ore world organizations of governments. These things I believe to be the proper role of government.
We have strayed far afield. We must return to basic concepts and principles – to eternal verities. There is no other way. The storm signals are up. They are clear and ominous.

As Americans – citizens of the greatest nation under Heaven – we face difficult days. Never since the days of the Civil War – 100 years ago – has this choice nation faced such a crisis.

In closing I wish to refer you to the words of the patriot Thomas Paine, whose writings helped so much to stir into a flaming spirit the smoldering embers of patriotism during the days of the American Revolution:

“These are the times that try men’s souls. The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will in this crisis, shrink from the service of his country; but he that stands it NOW, deserves the love and thanks of man and woman. Tyranny, like hell, is not easily conquered; yet we have this consolation with us, that the harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph. What we obtain too cheap, we esteem too lightly; ‘tis dearness only that gives everything its value. Heaven knows how to put a proper price upon its goods; and it would be strange indeed, if so celestial an article as FREEDOM should not be highly rated.” (THE POLITICAL WORKS OF THOMAS PAINE, p.55.)

I intend to keep fighting. My personal attitude is one of resolution – not resignation.

I have faith in the American people. I pray that we will never do anything that will jeopardize in any manner our priceless heritage. If we live and work so as to enjoy the approbation of a Divine Providence, we cannot fail. Without that help we cannot long endure.

All Right-Thinking Americans Should Now Take Their Stand

So I urge all Americans to put their courage to the test. Be firm in our conviction that our cause is just. Reaffirm our faith in all things for which true Americans have always stood.

I urge all Americans to arouse themselves and stay aroused. We must not make any further concessions to communism at home or abroad. We do not need to. We should oppose communism from our position of strength for we are not weak.

There is much work to be done. The time is short. Let us begin – in earnest – now and may God bless our efforts, I humbly pray.