Deep Waters: What would have happened if Lucifer had won the vote?

In our pre-mortal existence, we took sides as to who we would follow, Jesus or Lucifer. Two-thirds of us went with Jesus, while one-third went with Satan. Jesus had accepted the plan of the Father, while Satan had sought to amend it. The amendment was sufficiently attractive that one-third of us went with it. I’ve never been in a meeting that has fully discussed the ramifications of a winning vote by Lucifer (other than with what4anarchy.) I intend to publicly discuss this topic now in this post.

The universe consists of a family of gods, with angels attending them and other lesser creations. Each individual that achieves godhood, does so through the laws of the universe, which operate on the principle of agency, not coercion.

“The powers of heaven cannot be controlled nor handled only upon the principles of righteousness….When we undertake … to exercise control or dominion or compulsion upon the souls of the children of men,…the heavens withdraw themselves; the Spirit of the Lord is grieved; and when it is withdrawn, Amen to the priesthood or the authority of that man.” (D&C 121: 36-37)

“No power or influence can or ought to be maintained by virtue of the priesthood, only by persuasion, by long-suffering, by gentleness and meekness, and by love unfeigned; by kindness, and pure knowledge, which shall greatly enlarge the soul without hypocrisy, and without guile—reproving betimes with sharpness, when moved upon by the Holy Ghost; and then showing forth afterwards an increase of love toward him whom thou hast reproved, lest he esteem thee to be his enemy; that he may know that thy faithfulness is stronger than the cords of death.” (D&C 121: 41-44)

The above principle is heavenly and applies equally to God as it does to man. God cannot use coercion ever, or he will cease to be God.

Each exalted individual in the family of gods was guaranteed their godhood forever. Should a single one of these gods lose his or her godhood, in other words, should any of them cease to be a god, all of them cease to be gods together. It is a domino chain that is only as strong as its weakest member. As there are no weak members, the chain remains strong forever. They remain gods because they desire to remain gods. And thus it is.

Nevertheless, there is a risk to godhood. Satan sought to exploit that risk. The family of gods work by the principle of agency, not by coercion. Contrary to what you may believe, God the Father accomplishes all things through free agents. Compulsion is anti-god, so to speak, as is lying, etc. So, if Satan can make any of the gods lie or commit anything contrary to their own laws, they all cease to be gods and the universe loses faith in them, stops honoring them, and all creation reverts back to what it was prior to creation, returning to outer darkness from which we all came.

But no god freely will commit an act that causes them to lose their power, which is understandable. So, the risk is minimal. Nevertheless, as they operate on the principle of agency, Satan sought to force the hand of God by taking advantage of the law of common consent. The law of common consent is a heavenly law, not an earthly invention. We voted for Jesus to be our Savior, after he was called of God to that holy office. God never forces anyone to do anything, so Jesus was not forced upon us. We could accept him or reject him. Satan understood that if the vote went his way, if 51% of us voted for him (Lucifer), that the plan of the Father would have been frustrated. So, there was a possibility that the Father could be frustrated, through the common consent of his children. God allows for this possibility and so God the Father and all other gods had their godhood put at risk during this voting time.

Satan didn’t want to just be the Savior, suffering for the sins of mankind. His intention was to do away with agency altogether. If agency were to be done away with, as it is guaranteed by God to all created things in the universe, it would have meant that God would have ceased to be God, as he would have been caught in a lie. All creation would have lost respect and honor for him. The God that promised heavenly Father his eternal exaltation would also cease to be a god, and a chain reaction would result, all gods losing all power. The result would have been the dissolution of the created universe. (See 2 Ne. 2: 13. If there is no God, all things must vanish away.) Everything in it would have returned into that lake of fire and brimstone, or what we now call outer darkness, only then it wouldn’t be an outer darkness, as there would be no inner light (the created universe) to distinguish between the two locations.

A common misconception that LDS have is that when Satan said, “wherefore, give me thine honor,” that he merely wanted the power of God. But it wasn’t like that, at all. Satan didn’t want the universe, all the gods, and everything else (including himself) to return to outer darkness. Yet, his amendment, had it been approved by vote, would have had that very result. And he knew this and so did we. So, he added a requirement to his amendment that was needed to make it work: he required that God worship him (honor him.)

If God worshiped Satan, then Satan beats God. The honor of all creation which is directed at God, the greatest of all, now becomes directed at the individual that beats God. So, when the amendment is enacted, agency becomes suspended, coercion rules, and God and every other member of the family of gods cease to be gods, the universe still has faith in one individual: Satan, the being who conquered all of god-dom.

Satan’s cunning plan wasn’t in that he would rule over this particular God (our heavenly Father,) but that the whole family of gods would be disintegrated and return to the lake of fire and brimstone. The created universe would still remain created, under a new system, a new principle, the principle of coercion, with only one single god, Lucifer, ruling everything. The universe would be reorganized according to Lucifer’s vision of an ideal universe.

So, it wasn’t that Lucifer wanted the honor of God, it was that he needed it to make his plan work. Without the honor of God, all created things revert back to that state prior to creation, including Lucifer himself.

The appeal of Lucifer’s plan was that no one, not a single particle, would return to outer darkness, from whence we all came prior to creation. The only victims in this plan would be the gods, who, through agency, allowed for the possibility of souls returning to outer darkness in misery. His selling points probably were that although God is loving, etc., it is not fair that a single soul should return to outer darkness, therefore, they (the gods) deserve this fate, as they have assigned this very fate to others. Or, he may have justified his amendment to the Father’s plan by saying that we would go into outer darkness and re-create the souls of the former gods, bringing them back into the universe so that they didn’t suffer for all eternity, though they would not obtain their former glory.

So, in our vote between Jesus and Satan, outer darkness and who would be cast into it played a big part of our decision-making process. In the Father’s plan, only sons of perdition would return to outer darkness, of their own agency, not being willing to repent. In Satan’s amendment to the plan, only the gods of the universe would return to outer darkness, having lost all power and being compelled to go, and not a single soul or particle (other than the family of gods) would go back into those outer regions.

We already know what happened. God the Father and the family of gods were before us, we could see them and know of their love for us, of their qualities, yet despite that tremendous influence, one-third of us sided with Satan and rebelled when the vote went in favor of Jesus and the Father’s plan of agency.

There is one more aspect of this topic that I will address in a follow-up post.

Next Deep Waters article: Deep Waters:Lehi’s model of the universe

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Deep Waters: How many wives? How many husbands?

Jesus said, “He that receiveth me receiveth my Father; and he that receiveth my Father receiveth my Father’s kingdom; therefore all that my Father hath shall be given unto him.” (D&C 84:37-38.)

Simple logic deduces that the Father has more of everything than any one of his children, or than all of them combined. (The Lord explained this principle in Abraham 3: 19, using intelligence as an example.) So, if Brigham Young had 56 wives, the Father has more. If Solomon had 300 wives, the Father has more.

We are taught that there never was a time when there was no God; that God the Father had a Father and so did he, and so on throughout eternity. I ask, then, can any of this infinite number of gods have more than our heavenly Father? Of course, not. “It is not given that one man should possess that which is above another” (D&C 49: 20) is a heavenly principle. So, if a god has x-amount of wives, so do all gods have x-amount of wives. It is likewise a principle of the heavens that they have “all things common.” (See Acts 4: 32; 3 Ne. 26: 19; 4 Ne. 1: 3.)

Godhood can be defined as receiving all there is to receive. So, how many wives does God have? He has as many wives as there are goddesses in the heavens. How many is that? An infinite number that continues to grow as more women become exalted.

Now let’s talk about husbands. If there is at least one goddess in heaven that has more than one husband, all the goddesses must have more than one husband. No goddess can have more or less than any other goddess. They must all be “equal in the bonds of heavenly things” (D&C 78: 5), including the marital bonds. The scriptures explain that polyandry (one wife with multiple husbands) is part of the law of the Lord. (See D&C 132: 41.)

So, it becomes apparent that the heavens are made up of gods and goddesses who are all married to each other. (They have “all things common.”) This is why we read that early GAs, during the time of Brigham Young, etc., referred to the practice of plural marriage as being a requirement of exaltation. It most definitely is. We are not required to live it now, but we will be required to live it then.

So, to answer the question, how many wives will a man receive when he enters his exaltation? He will receive all the wives there are and all the wives there will be in the heavens, without limit. And how many husbands will a woman receive when she enters into her exaltation? She will receive all the husbands there are and all the husbands there will be in the heavens, without limit. Each man or woman must be willing to share what they have with all the others and to receive what all the others have. They must enter into the state of having all things common.

This is my understanding of the doctrine of the Lord, as revealed in the scriptures.

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The law of tithing (part four)

Continued from part three.

Inevitably, when talking about the blessings that come from paying tithing, a speaker will quote the following scripture:

Will a man rob God? Yet ye have robbed me. But ye say, Wherein have we robbed thee? In tithes and offerings. Ye are cursed with a curse: for ye have robbed me, even this whole nation. Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the LORD of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it. And I will rebuke the devourer for your sakes, and he shall not destroy the fruits of your ground; neither shall your vine cast her fruit before the time in the field, saith the LORD of hosts. And all nations shall call you blessed: for ye shall be a delightsome land, saith the LORD of hosts. (Malachi 3: 8-12)

In fact, so pervasive is the use of this scripture, that I’ve heard tithing talks where it is the only scripture used. It is practically a guarantee that these verses are quoted, even if D&C 119 is never mentioned, at all. We are taught on every level, that Malachi contains the expected blessings that come from paying tithing. But does it?

Normally, the Lord puts the blessings that come from obedience to a law in the same area as where the law is stated. For example, the modern charge to keep the Lord’s day (Sunday) holy is found in D&C 59: 9-14. Then in verses 15-19 of the same section the Lord details the expected blessings to be received upon obeying this law:

And inasmuch as ye do these things with thanksgiving, with cheerful hearts and countenances, not with much laughter, for this is sin, but with a glad heart and a cheerful countenance—verily I say, that inasmuch as ye do this, the fulness of the earth is yours, the beasts of the field and the fowls of the air, and that which climbeth upon the trees and walketh upon the earth; yea, and the herb, and the good things which come of the earth, whether for food or for raiment, or for houses, or for barns, or for orchards, or for gardens, or for vineyards; yea, all things which come of the earth, in the season thereof, are made for the benefit and the use of man, both to please the eye and to gladden the heart; yea, for food and for raiment, for taste and for smell, to strengthen the body and to enliven the soul. (D&C 59: 15-19)

Likewise, the Word of Wisdom, written in D&C 89, contains the promised blessings that will be received, blessings that are enumerated in the very same section:

And all saints who remember to keep and do these sayings, walking in obedience to the commandments, shall receive health in their navel and marrow to their bones; and shall find wisdom and great treasures of knowledge, even hidden treasures; and shall run and not be weary, and shall walk and not faint. And I, the Lord, give unto them a promise, that the destroying angel shall pass by them, as the children of Israel, and not slay them. Amen. (D&C 89: 18-21)

The revelation on tithing, section 119, follows the same pattern. Written in the 6th verse of the revelation are the promised blessings that come from obeying this particular law:

And I say unto you, if my people observe not this law, to keep it holy, and by this law sanctify the land of Zion unto me, that my statutes and my judgments may be kept thereon, that it may be most holy, behold, verily I say unto you, it shall not be a land of Zion unto you. (D&C 119: 6)

The purpose and blessing of living the law of tithing, then, is to sanctify the land of Zion (or stake of Zion) unto the Lord, that his statutes and his judgments may be kept on the land, and that it may, indeed be a land of Zion (or stake of Zion) unto us. That is the stated blessing. That is the stated purpose. Sanctification of the land upon which we live.

Additionally, the Lord mentions two penalties for not living the law of tithing. One is mentioned above in verse 6, namely, that the land of Zion upon which we live (or the stake of Zion to which we pertain, see verse 7) will not be a bona fide land of Zion and will not be a bona fide stake of Zion. In other words, it will be the land of Zion in name only, having no sanctification and hence no power. “They draw near to me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me, they teach for doctrines the commandments of men, having a form of godliness, but they deny the power thereof.” (JS—H 1: 19.) And the unsanctified stake of Zion in which we live will also be a stake of Zion in name only, with no godly powers attending it.

The second penalty for not living the law of tithing is mentioned in verse 5:

Verily I say unto you, it shall come to pass that all those who gather unto the land of Zion shall be tithed of their surplus properties, and shall observe this law, or they shall not be found worthy to abide among you. (D&C 119: 5)

There are only two punishments a religious society can inflict upon its members: disfellowship or excommunication. (See D&C 134: 10.) Regardless of whether this particular penalty means excommunication or disfellowship, we currently inflict neither penalty upon non-exempt people who do not pay tithes.

All of this brings me to the following questions: Why do the leaders never mention the Lord’s stated purpose and blessing of the law of tithing, found in D&C 119? Why do the leaders never enact the penalties associated with non-payment of tithes for those who are not exempt? And why is Malachi 3: 8-12 the scripture of choice when talking about the importance of tithing and the promised blessings upon the people who obey this law?

I have my own ideas as to why I think the leaders speak the way they do in relation to tithing. But they are only ideas, speculation. I do not know the real answer, but I still find it awfully strange that this section is virtually avoided.

Now, one last thing. Malachi 3: 8-12 is talking about a different law of tithing, which existed under the Mosaic law, which has absolutely no relation and nothing to do with our present law of tithing, found in D&C 119. This was a tithing known as the “whole tithe,” which in our KJV of the Bible is translated “all the tithes,” which was collected once every three years, stored at home, and used to feed the Levites and the poor. For a detailed understanding of Old Testament tithing, visit the following online web page:

The Truth About Tithing—Old Testament Perspectives

The blessings associated with that particular law of Moses were specific to that people, just as the blessings associated with our D&C 119 law of tithing are specific to our people. Why the mix-up by our priesthood leaders?

Admittedly, the language of Malachi 3: 8-12 is so powerful, that it is natural for a person (who wants to instill a desire in people to pay tithing) to lay hold on it and assume (and teach) that it applies equally to the law of tithing stated in D&C 119. In my own opinion, though, I find the blessing of D&C 119: 6 quite appealing, as I desire that my land is sanctified.

In conclusion, I want to bring one more thing to your attention. I quoted Malachi 3: 8-12 and D&C 59: 15-19 in their entirety because both promised blessings appear similar and I wanted to show the similarities. The Lord promised his latter-day saints “the fulness of the earth” for keeping his day holy. He essentially promised the same thing to the ancient Jews for paying the mosaic “whole tithe” law. Why do we need to resort to a law of Moses blessing when we have already been promised the same things for fulfilling a law of Christ? It is strange, indeed.

Previous Tithes and Offerings article: The law of tithing (part three)

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The law of tithing (part three)

Continued from part two.

“And after that, those who have thus been tithed shall pay one-tenth of all their interest annually; and this shall be a standing law unto them forever, for my holy priesthood, saith the Lord.” (D&C 119: 4)

Only First Presidency statements can officially interpret scripture and only those interpretations are binding upon the church, even as binding as the scriptures themselves. The First Presidency has already interpreted the meaning of the word interest in a letter written on 19 March 1970. Here is the quote of that letter dealing with tithing:

What is a proper tithe?

For your guidance in this matter, please be advised that we have uniformly replied that the simplest statement we know of is that statement of the Lord himself that the members of the Church should pay one-tenth of all their interest annually, which is understood to mean income. No one is justified in making any other statement than this. We feel that every member of the Church should be entitled to make his own decision as to what he thinks he owes the Lord, and to make payment accordingly. (First Presidency Statement, 19 March 1970)

The above quote is found in the Church General Handbook. Go up to your bishop and ask to see the section on tithing. It quotes from this First Presidency Statement. Those who understand the doctrine, such as the prophet, merely re-iterate this same statement:

President Gordon B. Hinckley said, “The Brethren have interpreted the word interest to mean income. Beyond that they have not given interpretation.”

The word income, however, is open to interpretation. Who decides what it means? You do. It could mean gross income or net income, after expenses. It could mean profit, surplus or bank interest, etc. During the time of Brigham Young it was defined as increase. Get out your Teachings of the Presidents of the Church: Brigham Young manual and search out what he said about tithing.

Once or twice a year, a GA or two will speak on tithing. Occasionally, they will define the word interest beyond what the First Presidency has stated. Don’t take it as gospel. It’s merely their opinion, and their hope that you will interpret the word interest the same way as they do.

My personal opinion is that interest (income) means surplus. I have come to this conclusion for the following reasons:

  • JST Genesis 14: 39 states, “Wherefore Abram paid unto him tithes of all that he had, of all the riches which he possessed, which God had given him more than that which he had need.” Abram paid tithes on his surplus.
  • The saints are to pay tithing annually. Not monthly, not weekly, not whenever they get more gross income. When you pay tithing annually, the reason must be because you are doing an accounting of what came in, what went out, what was consumed and what is now left over (the interest, increase, income, surplus.) At the end of the year, you can make a determination of how much surplus you have and then give the tenth-part to the Lord.
  • Webster’s 1828 dictionary defined interest as “5. Any surplus advantage.” Webster’s 1828 dictionary defined advantage as “7. Interest; increase; overplus.” Both of these definitions equate to surplus. D&C 119 came out in 1838, so this was the dictionary in use at the time.
  • The RLDS (now Community of Christ) church defines it as surplus. They tithe after deducting their living expenses.
  • The law of tithing is not meant to oppress the poor. The scriptures define poor as anyone who has no surplus, yet has sufficient for their needs. (See Mosiah 4: 24.) Those who don’t have sufficient for their needs are also considered the poor.
  • When you make your tithing declaration at the end of the year, you can declare yourself a full tithe payer, a partial tithe payer, or exempt. Obviously some people can justifiably declare themselves exempt. Who are they? They are the poor, as defined by scripture, meaning those who have no surplus.

When interest is understood to mean surplus, the law of tithing becomes exceedingly easy to obey. Nevertheless, this interpretation is just my opinion and belief. As the First Presidency stated, You are “entitled to make [your] own decision as to what [you think you owe] the Lord, and to make payment accordingly.”

There is more to come in part four.

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Daily repentance

Whenever I am in a church setting and the topic of repentance comes up, inevitably someone will state that we should be repenting all of the time, or every day, etc. The comment is always met with agreement by those who hear it. It appears to be a generally accepted understanding that as we are not perfect, we are prone to sin and error and must repent of our sins from day to day. The expression is not just confined to the general membership, but the leaders use it often, too. Living a life free of sin is generally thought to be impossible. But is this what the Lord teaches in his gospel?

Every time I hear these expressions, the following scripture comes to my mind:


King Benjamin said, “And again I say unto you as I have said before, that as ye have come to the knowledge of the glory of God, or if ye have known of his goodness and have tasted of his love, and have received a remission of your sins, which causeth such exceedingly great joy in your souls, even so I would that ye should remember, and always retain in remembrance, the greatness of God, and your own nothingness, and his goodness and long-suffering towards you, unworthy creatures, and humble yourselves even in the depths of humility, calling on the name of the Lord daily, and standing steadfastly in the faith of that which is to come, which was spoken by the mouth of the angel. And behold, I say unto you that if ye do this ye shall always rejoice, and be filled with the love of God, and always retain a remission of your sins; and ye shall grow in the knowledge of the glory of him that created you, or in the knowledge of that which is just and true.” (Mosiah 4: 11-12)

My understanding is that when we come into the fold of God and receive the Holy Ghost, we receive a remission of our sins, becoming justified (guiltless.) We no longer desire to sin and we desire to do good continually. In such a state, by nurturing our faith in the above ways, we can always retain a remission of our sins and stop sinning forever more.

In our religion, 1 Nephi 3: 7 is one of the most quoted scriptures:

Nephi said, “And it came to pass that I, Nephi, said unto my father: I will go and do the things which the Lord hath commanded, for I know that the Lord giveth no commandments unto the children of men, save he shall prepare a way for them that they may accomplish the thing which he commandeth them.” (1 Ne. 3: 7)

We quote the scripture and believe the scripture, but not when it applies to altogether ceasing to sin. Yet, the Lord on multiple occasions has commanded to “sin no more.” Just look at the following:

“Afterward Jesus findeth him in the temple, and said unto him, Behold, thou art made whole: sin no more, lest a worse thing come unto thee.” (John 5: 14)

“She said, No man, Lord. And Jesus said unto her, Neither do I condemn thee: go, and sin no more.” (John 8: 11)

“Behold, I do not condemn you; go your ways and sin no more; perform with soberness the work which I have commanded you.” (D&C 6: 35)

“Nevertheless, thou art not excusable in thy transgressions; nevertheless, go thy way and sin no more.” (D&C 24: 2)

“Behold, verily, verily, I say unto you, that at this time your sins are forgiven you, therefore ye receive these things; but remember to sin no more, lest perils shall come upon you.” (D&C 29: 3)

“And now, verily I say unto you, I, the Lord, will not lay any sin to your charge; go your ways and sin no more; but unto that soul who sinneth shall the former sins return, saith the Lord your God.” (D&C 82: 7)

“Nevertheless, let it be read this once to her ears, that I, the Lord, have accepted of her offering; and if she sin no more none of these things shall come upon her; and I will bless her with blessings, and multiply a multiplicity of blessings upon her, and upon her generations forever and ever, saith the Lord your God. Amen. (D&C 97: 27-28 )

So, what do you believe? Can we always retain a remission of our sins? Is it possible to sin no more?

Next Repentance article: Are we commanded to confess to ecclesiastical authorities without witnesses?

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Deep Waters: Disclaimer

I’m creating a new category called Deep Waters. It is where all the really deep doctrinal discussions will go. I’m sure everyone understands that all of my posts are my own, personal opinions and beliefs and not the official doctrine of the church, but I want to warn you all that the Deep Waters section is enter-at-your-own-risk. Each subject will be preceded with the heading Deep Waters: [and then the subject.] This is so that when you see it, you can skip over it, if you want. If I could, I would put all the Deep Waters posts in the Deep Waters category’s page only, but Word Press will not allow me to do that. Everything automatically gets posted on the front page, too, so just be aware of this.

Update: I’m going to try to password-protect the Deep Waters posts, so that only those who really want to read them will be able to do so. The password will be:

Deep Waters

The password is case sensitive, so make sure you type it in exactly as written above.

2nd update: As of today, 1 October 2010, I have removed the password protection from all the Deep Waters posts.  You can now read these articles without entering a password.  I have done this because I am no longer certain that the Deep Waters section is any more controversial (or any “deeper”) than the rest of the blog.

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Are there Clergy Response Teams in the LDS church?

On 24 May 2006, Paul Joseph Watson of Alex Jones’ broke a story about Clergy Response Teams, a “nationwide FEMA program which is training Pastors and other religious representatives to become secret police enforcers who teach their congregations to ‘obey the government’ in preparation for the implementation of martial law, property and firearm seizures, mass vaccination programs and forced relocation.”

Then on 16 August 2007, Watson ran another story on the same subject, this time posting evidence that their story had been confirmed by a KSLA 12 news report.

What I wonder is if this program has been implemented among the LDS leadership. I do not know. If any bishops or stake presidents or anyone else who would be privy to such information could please post a comment here and let us know if the LDS Church is involved in this program, it would be much appreciated.

Next Secret Combinations article: Is the topic of “secret combinations” taboo in the LDS church?

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The law of tithing (part two)

Continued from part one.

The Lord, when talking about who is required to pay tithing, speaks of three groups of people. Those who already are in the land of Zion, those who are gathering to the land of Zion and those who are in the stakes of Zion:

“…my church in Zion.” (D&C 119: 1)

“…those who gather unto the land of Zion…” (D&C 119: 5)

“And this shall be an ensample unto all the stakes of Zion.” (D&C 119: 7)

The law of tithing has only two parts to it. The first part requires the donation of our surplus property:

“I require all their surplus property to be put into the hands of the bishop…and this shall be the beginning of the tithing of my people.” (D&C 119: 1, 3)

“Verily I say unto you, it shall come to pass that all those who gather unto the land of Zion shall be tithed of their surplus properties…” (D&C 119: 5)

The second part requires the payment of one-tenth of our interest (income) annually:

“And after that, those who have thus been tithed shall pay one-tenth of all their interest annually…” (D&C 119: 4)

The second part is known as the standing law:

“And after that, those who have thus been tithed shall pay one-tenth of all their interest annually; and this shall be a standing law unto them forever…” (D&C 119: 4)

“Verily I say unto you, it shall come to pass that all those who gather unto the land of Zion shall be tithed of their surplus properties, and shall observe this law…” (D&C 119: 5)

Only those who pay the first part are the ones who pay the second part:

“And this shall be the beginning of the tithing of my people. And after that, those who have thus been tithed shall pay one-tenth of all their interest annually…” (D&C 119: 4)

Both the first and second parts must be paid:

“Verily I say unto you, it shall come to pass that all those who gather unto the land of Zion shall be tithed of their surplus properties, and shall observe this law, or they shall not be found worthy to abide among you.” (D&C 119: 5)

All of the above requirements apply equally to the saints who live in the stakes of Zion.

“And this shall be an ensample unto all the stakes of Zion.” (D&C 119: 7)

It appears to me that we LDS are not fully complying with the law of tithing. Even those of us who give 10% of their income annually are not fulfilling the requirements set forth above by the Lord. Tithing is begun with a donation of one’s surplus properties, but we don’t do this.

I’ve been taught that when section 119 was first received and presented to the saints, that hardly anyone donated their surplus and so the leaders just stopped asking for that part of tithing and instead focussed on the standing law, which is 10% of interest (income) annually.

Now, some people are fine with giving only what the leaders are asking for (the 10%,) but I have a hard time pushing aside the rest of this revelation and feeling good about myself. The revelation is, after all, still canonized and therefore binding upon us. So once I realized that tithing came in two parts, that the leaders had been ignoring the first part for decades and that I had been paying only the second part since my baptism (as that was what I was taught to pay by my leaders,) I made a personal correction and began paying tithing as the revelation defines it. In other words, I took an inventory of my surplus property, converted it into cash (the Church will not accept payment in kind anymore,) and anonymously donated that to the church as tithing.

Some might consider this unnecessary, but I’m not so sure. The Lord requires both the letter and spirit of the law. If he didn’t require the letter of the law, why even have section 119 written before us? Why even give the definitions of the law of tithing that he did? If the first part of the law of tithing wasn’t important, why even mention it in the first place?

My feeling is that the Lord will deal with his priesthood leadership in his own due time. If they are not doing a proper regulation of the church and teaching the doctrine he has revealed and canonized, they will be corrected by him when he is ready to clean up the church and leadership. But we members do not covenant to follow every whim of the leadership. We covenant to obey the commandments of God, which laws are written and canonized in the scriptures.

I’d rather use the CYOA* principle of the gentiles and follow the letter of the law, as that is what the letter of the law is for. (It is written down so that we can follow it.) Only if we don’t have that law before us are we not required to follow it. I just don’t know that the excuse of “I was just following the orders and counsel of my current priesthood leadership and since they never said I had to pay the surplus, I never paid it!” is going to be sufficient to justify my ignoring the written law in section 119.

I suspect that at the last day (the day of judgment) the Lord is going to point to section 119 and ask me if I followed his words as they were written there. I am reminded of 2 Kings 18 when the book of the law was discovered (verse 8.) When the book was read the king rent his clothes (verse 11) because he realized that God was angry with his people because his written words found in the book of the law had not been followed to the letter.

So, I ask the reader, since the leaders have stopped even mentioning the surplus part of tithing, are we off the hook in paying it? Or, is the fact that the revelation is still canonized going to condemn us at the last day, despite the fact that the leaders don’t care whether we are complying with the first part of tithing or not? What do you think?

I, personally, believe that the Lord is going to use the Standard Works to measure both us and the leadership. And if we are found to be partially complying, it will be the same as not complying, at all. The truthfulness of our answer to the temple recommend question of, “Are you a full tithe payer?” will be judged by the Lord according to whether we complied with the entire section of 119, and not just a portion of it.

That is my opinion. What’s yours?

There’s more to come in part three.

*Note: CYOA=Cover Your Own A__

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LDS make the best anarchists

On 22 October 2007, David posted an article on his Life, etc. blog entitled, Am I an anarchist? I’ve read a few articles written by anarchists, but his, which ponders whether he is becoming one, cuts right to the heart of the issue. I don’t know if he’s just a good writer, or if he’s inspired of the Holy Ghost, (probably both,) but he said things better than I’ve heard non-LDS anarchists say them. In fact, I’d say he said them even better than I could.

Just read this gem of an excerpt:

Even if I were to believe that a person lives in sin, it is not God’s way for me to try and force that person, through legislation or other “legal” means, to live as I believe. Now I can however share my beliefs in a loving manner and I might even call them to repentance, but NOWHERE in the scriptures am I commanded to become that person’s ruler because of their views.

We LDS have a very unique doctrine and perspective. Our doctrine unfolds the principle of free agency more so than any other religion. Free agency is cherished by the saints and they are (or should be) passionate about it, both in promoting it and preserving it. Couple this passion with the gift of the Holy Ghost and the LDS should be the most convincing anarchists around.

I mean, it is not just that we LDS love (or should love) freedom of choice, because there are lots of people in this world who love it, too. But we differ from others in that all of our doctrine is based upon free agency. Free agency is our religion. Jesus wanted to preserve our free agency. Lucifer wanted to coerce us, taking it away. We followed Christ and still do here on Earth. It is natural for us to align ourselves with anarchy, as anarchy represents free agency and co-operation, not coercion.

But more than that, we possess the gift of the Holy Ghost, and with the reception of the Spirit, the anarchies we could make would be the best of them all. And when we undertake to explain the principle of anarchy, which is essentially the principle of free agency, no one does it better than us LDS. David just proves my point. Here he is, a relative newbie to anarchic thought, but due to his restored gospel background, his knowledge of the scriptures, and his gift of the Holy Ghost, he immediately can make the connections and expound the principle better than non-LDS anarchists!

Now, I do not mean to brag. That is not my intention. Nevertheless, I know the doctrine of this church. And I have received the manifestations of the Holy Ghost. So, I know just how deeply the Holy Ghost can take one’s mind in understanding the additional knowledge we LDS have. It is that additional knowledge (4 canonical works, not just 1 like the Christians) that allows us to have additional insights. Plus we’ve got the all important gift of the Holy Ghost. We have the potential to understand things deeper than those who don’t have or don’t receive this knowledge and gift. So, it is my opinion that once a LDS finally makes those connections between the gospel and anarchy, and considers themselves an anarchist, that they become the very best type of anarchist possible and the staunchest supporters of it.

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Anarchy does not require perfect people

“Given any level of morality, a society will function less smoothly if shackled by government. The more moral the populace, the better, but this is a different matter altogether.” – Bob Murphy (who was probably quoting Mises or someone else)

This contradicts the state propaganda machine, which routinely spits out that anarchy cannot work without perfect people, because without the restraints of the state, people would murder, rape, rob, pillage, lie and cause widespread wickedness, creating chaos and terror. The state’s logic goes, then, that since people aren’t perfect, anarchy is the worst environment for mankind and that a state, any state, is always necessary and better than anarchism because it restrains wickedness. But is the state propaganda the truth?

A state creates a division among the people of those who rule and those who are ruled. Anarchy, on the other hand, has no rulers, but all men are equal and get through life co-operating with each other. According to Patricia Neill, the Webster’s 1847 edition of the dictionary gave the definition of the word anarchism as meaning private rule. So, anarchy can mean that all mankind rule equally, privately, with no class division.

The question then really is, in anarchy, are there constraints to wicked acts? The answer is yes. Virtually our entire lives are lived in anarchy. All our private dealings, social functions, and intimate affairs between friends, family and associates are anarchic experiences. The rules we function under are rules of friendship, rules of brotherhood, rules of etiquette. These are private rules, not public laws. In these anarchic interactions, where the government laws have no jurisdiction over us, are there constraints upon our behavior made by those around us? Of course, there are.

We see the constraining influence in families, where one child who misbehaves (when not in the presence of the parents) is chided by another child to behave. Children who play among other children will constrain the behavior of each other as one day “so-and-so is my friend” and then, due to misbehavior, “so-and-so is not my friend,” only to find a little while later that “so-and-so said he was sorry and is now my friend again.”

Private affairs naturally tend towards constraining wickedness. In fact, it might be said that private affairs is the only thing that constrains wickedness, as the fear of the law does not often deter those who are determined to commit crimes, but the word of a mother or friend can melt a criminal’s heart into repenting of the intended deed.

Adults, like children, have their own private rules whereby they deal with each other, and these rules constrain wickedness. For example, lying is a sin, but even for those who do not believe in sins, lying is wrong. An adult caught lying brings upon him or her an enormous shame and loses the trust of those around them. This is a private constraint to tell the truth. There is no law against lying, unless it is a particular type of lying, such as perjury. Yet, people are constrained against doing it, for private reasons.

The truth of the matter is that the state, instead of constraining wickedness, actually fosters it, to a greater or lesser degree. Wicked people are naturally drawn to the state, as it contains positions of power whereby they can rule over their fellowmen with the cloak of legitimacy. (The state considers all its many methods of coercion to be the only legitimate use of force.) A murderer at heart can join a state military and kill his fellowmen with legitimacy. An extortionist at heart can join the IRS. Anybody at all who has the desire to “lord it over another” can find a government position of power that allows them to do just that with legitimacy.

The state itself is the biggest (fill in the blank) of all. It is the biggest thief of all as it steals people’s money through taxes. Taxes are not, after all, charitable donations. If you don’t pay, you go to jail. It is the largest counterfeiting operation as it creates money (through the private Federal Reserve) with printing presses, backed by nothing except its good faith and credit, depreciating people’s purchasing power, which is a form of secret theft. And with these unlimited created-out-of-thin-air and extorted tax monies, wicked rulers can command armies to murder, rape, pillage and persecute on a scale that cannot be done by individual criminals living in anarchy. Therefore, a state facilitates the committing of crimes on a much larger scale than if there were no state.

(Note: as the state defines what is and what is not a crime in its laws that it alone legislates, judges and executes, what the state does is always considered to be legitimate, moral, just and not a crime. Legalized murder and plunder become defined as war, or defending one’s country; legalized extortion and theft become taxes, etc.)

Due to the tendency of the state to attract “king-men” to fill its various positions, regardless of the purity or justness of the laws, the Lord has said that “when the wicked rule, the people mourn.” (D&C 98: 9) Therefore, in order for a state, any state, to not become oppressive and tyrranical, only just and moral men and women must be the rulers. In other words, statism does require perfect people! Also, as soon as these wicked people get into office, the tendency of them (and they usually come in groups, with their accomplices) is to corrupt the laws, that they may more easily perform iniquity.

As if corrupt, wicked rulers and corrupt laws were not bad enough, the Book of Mormon seer, king Mosiah, taught that wicked rulers also lead their people into sin! (Read all about it in Mosiah 29: 16-24.)

In direct contrast to the iniquitous tendencies of statism, in clannish or tribal anarchy there exists the greatest constraints of all against wickedness, as the weight that a clan or tribal family carries upon an individual is greater than all other allegiances or ties he may have. This is why even among an exceedingly wicked people who murdered whatever prophet came among them, as recorded in 3 Nephi 7, the Nephites living in tribal anarchy still had peace and order among themselves.

In conclusion, anarchy tends to constrain wickedness, whereas statism tends to expand it (hence our current need for more and more prisons.) Therefore, the initial quote at the top of this article is correct. Given any level of morality, anarchy makes for a more ordered and peaceful society than a state does.

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