The faith of God, part ten: The relationship of faith to agency (power)


Continued from part nine.

Faith is not power

In part two, I erroneously wrote “faith is power” in one of the sub-headings. After catching the error, I decided to leave it up as a teaching point.

Many people equate faith with power, just as they equate faith with hope. Part two explained that faith is not hope and that hope comes after one has faith. The present article (part ten) seeks to likewise explain that faith is not power and that power comes after one has faith.

Two types of power

Free agency is one of the two types of power. Agency is the ability to act and not to be acted upon. (See 2 Nephi 2: 26.)

The other type is the ability to act upon something/someone against its/his/her will. There is no scriptural name (that I know of) for this kind of power, but we use descriptive words such as coercion, compulsion, force, enslavement, control, domination, manipulation, captivation, enchainment, etc., to describe its exercise. I suppose it can be termed “anti-agency” as it is diametrically opposed to an individual’s agency, but I will refer to it as coercion.

Coercion and agency both accomplish work or get things done, but free agency is only obtained through faith, whereas coercion is experienced in the absence of faith or with the permission of the free agent.

Another purpose of this article

When I wrote The role of free agency in political systems, I talked about the link between faith and agency (power) in two small paragraphs, which I hope to expound upon in the present article:

The precursor to agency is faith, another gift of God. It is faith that allows agency to be possessed, even faith centered in God. The more faith we possess, the more agency is granted, the less faith possessed, the less agency. If we lose all faith, we lose all agency and thus become like Satan, who is devoid of both faith and agency. If we gain all faith, we gain all agency, and thus become entirely like God.

Faith and agency are heavenly principles and the entire kingdom of God operates on them. This is why all things are done (the action or power to do being agency) according to the faith of men and why God works (the action or power to work being agency) according to the faith of the children of men. (The role of free agency in political systems)

However, before talking of faith, I must expound upon agency.

Free agency alone is the power of God

One of the common misconceptions among LDS is that God, our heavenly Father, uses the principle of coercion to accomplish certain things, such as punishing the wicked. The truth of the matter is that he doesn’t. Coercion is the power under which Satan operates. Free agency alone is the type of power that God, Jesus and the Holy Ghost use.

There are scriptures (see D&C 19: 1-20 and especially verse 7) that conjure up visions of God forcing men to do certain things that they don’t want to do, but these scriptures are written “more express to work upon the hearts of the children of men.” For example:

Wherefore, because that Satan rebelled against me, and sought to destroy the agency of man, which I, the Lord God, had given him, and also, that I should give unto him mine own power; by the power of mine Only Begotten, I caused that he should be cast down; and he became Satan, yea, even the devil, the father of all lies, to deceive and to blind men, and to lead them captive at his will, even as many as would not hearken unto my voice. (Moses 4: 3-4)

LDS are often quick to point out that Jesus (the Father’s Only Begotten) was the champion of free agency, whereas the devil wanted to destroy it and force us to obey his will, but they don’t bat an eye when they read the above scripture and think that Jesus used the satanic principle of force to cast Lucifer down out of heaven. As a people, we have conditioned ourselves to believe that coercion is okay if God does it, but evil when used by Satan. In other words, that force is merely a tool, it is neither good nor evil, but can be used for good in the hands of God and for evil in the hands of Satan. They will often quote the following scripture with emphasis on the words in bold:

That they may be conferred upon us, it is true; but when we undertake to cover our sins, or to gratify our pride, our vain ambition, or to exercise control or dominion or compulsion upon the souls of the children of men, in any degree of unrighteousness, behold, 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: 37)

Had the verse merely said, “in any degree” there would have been no further discussion, but as the modifier “of unrighteousness” was added, many LDS think that this means that when it comes “to exercising control or dominion or compulsion upon the souls of the children of men,” there are both righteousness and unrighteousness degrees. Therefore, by their interpretation of this scripture in this way, there is a way to righteously exercise dominion, compulsion and control upon men.

In this line of thinking, if God or his servants are doing it, it is righteous. If Satan or his servants are doing it, it is unrighteous. The rules of English grammar do, in fact, allow this interpretation and as long as you eliminate the following verse in the same section, it might make sense:

The Holy Ghost shall be thy constant companion, and thy scepter an unchanging scepter of righteousness and truth; and thy dominion shall be an everlasting dominion, and without compulsory means it shall flow unto thee forever and ever. (D&C 121: 46)

However, when the two verses are taken together, they paint a proper (and different) picture, namely that the righteous dominion of God is based upon free agency, not coercion, whereas unrighteous dominion is based upon control or compulsion. Leaving mortal humans out of the equation, who routinely compel their fellows and/or allow freedom of choice by turns, and addressing only God himself, the Father’s everlasting dominion flows unto him without any compulsory means. In fact, the very reason why the scepter of God is righteous is because no one is compelled to obey him. All are given free agency. So, as it applies to God, there is no such thing as righteous compulsion. That would be a contradiction in terms.

God uses free agents

When Nephi was commanded to slay Laban, the Spirit said to him, “The Lord slayeth the wicked to bring forth his righteous purposes.” Yet, who slew Laban, Nephi or the Lord? Nephi did. And also the Lord, vicariously, through Nephi, one of His free agents. Did Nephi have to slay Laban? Was he forced to do it? Of course not. The Lord gave Nephi the law written in D&C 98: 23-32, which has a spare clause: “and then if thou wilt spare him, thou shalt be rewarded for thy righteousness; and also thy children and thy children’s children unto the third and fourth generation” (verse 30). Nephi chose to use his free agency to justifiably slay Laban, but he could have equally spared him.

The power of Jesus Christ is free agency

In Moses 4: 3-4, quoted above, when the Lord says, “by the power of mine Only Begotten, I caused that he should be cast down,” the power being referred to is free agency. Jesus used free agency to “cast Lucifer down.” He did not use coercion or force. Jesus, like the Father, both has free agency and also works through free agents.

When LDS hear the words “cast down” they envision a forceful banishment, using coercion. But D&C 121: 37, quoted above, states that exercising compulsion causes “the heavens ” to “withdraw themselves.” It doesn’t state that it causes the individual to be banished from the heavens. Yet, the heavens moving or changing location, from where you are to a location above and beyond your reach, has the same result as if you were cast down or fallen from heaven. Again, these scriptures are written more express.

All of the saints and prophets of God are free agents of Jesus Christ. They voluntarily obey his will. As does all the spirit and physical matter that make up the created universe. It is through free agency and free agents alone, that Jesus accomplishes his work.

The power of the Holy Ghost is free agency

The power of the Holy Ghost, likewise, is free agency. The Holy Ghost forces no one to convert to the Lord. The Holy Ghost forces no one to believe. Those who desire to believe on the word of God invite the Holy Ghost to come and deposit the gift of belief. Those who believe on the word of God invite the Holy Ghost to come and deposit the gift of faith. Those who exercise that gift of faith invite the Holy Ghost to come and deposit other gifts and powers, such as sanctification, purification, justification, wisdom, knowledge, visions, prophecies and the like. Nothing is ever forced. Everything is done according to the desires of the children of men, according to their beliefs, according to their faith, they being free agents capable of choosing to invite the Spirit in. When faith is manifest, the Spirit brings additional manifestations of its power, meaning that the individual receives greater free agency. Remember, the scriptural definition of free agency is the ability to act and not to be acted upon, therefore, for example, a person with the gift of tongues has an additional ability to act (greater free agency) than one who doesn’t possess that gift. The same can be said of all other gifts, powers, fruits and signs of the Holy Ghost. They are all abilities to act and not to be acted upon in certain ways, meaning, they are all manifestations of greater free agency (the power of God) bestowed upon the individual.

Faith determines agency

Again, keep in mind that agency is the ability to act and not be acted upon. The greater your agency, the more ability you have to act and also the less you can be acted upon by others. It is the amount of faith you possess that determines how much agency you possess. If one has sufficiently great faith, nothing can act on you without your say so. The following scriptural examples demonstrate this principle.

Ammon could not be acted upon—due to faith

Now Ammon seeing the Spirit of the Lord poured out according to his prayers upon the Lamanites, his brethren, who had been the cause of so much mourning among the Nephites, or among all the people of God because of their iniquities and their traditions, he fell upon his knees, and began to pour out his soul in prayer and thanksgiving to God for what he had done for his brethren; and he was also overpowered with joy; and thus they all three had sunk to the earth. Now, one of them, whose brother had been slain with the sword of Ammon, being exceedingly angry with Ammon, drew his sword and went forth that he might let it fall upon Ammon, to slay him; and as he lifted the sword to smite him, behold, he fell dead. Now we see that Ammon could not be slain, for the Lord had said unto Mosiah, his father: I will spare him, and it shall be unto him according to thy faith—therefore, Mosiah trusted him unto the Lord. And it came to pass that when the multitude beheld that the man had fallen dead, who lifted the sword to slay Ammon, fear came upon them all, and they durst not put forth their hands to touch him or any of those who had fallen; and they began to marvel again among themselves what could be the cause of this great power [which is agency], or what all these things could mean. (Alma 19: 14, 22-24)

Alma and Amulek could not be acted upon—due to faith

When the saints were being burned by fire in front of them, Amulek turned to Alma and said something remarkable:

And when Amulek saw the pains of the women and children who were consuming in the fire, he also was pained; and he said unto Alma: How can we witness this awful scene? Therefore let us stretch forth our hands, and exercise the power of God [which is free agency] which is in us, and save them from the flames. (Alma 14: 10)

Amulek’s words indicate that he knew he and Alma had power to act (agency) to save the saints. Alma’s words also indicate that he knew he had such power:

But Alma said unto him: The Spirit constraineth me that I must not stretch forth mine hand; (Alma 14: 11)

In addition to ability to act, Alma and Amulek also had the ability not to be acted upon. After allowing the Amalekites to afflict them for many days, they finally decided to use their agency and stop their persecutors from acting upon them.

And it came to pass after they had thus suffered for many days, (and it was on the twelfth day, in the tenth month, in the tenth year of the reign of the judges over the people of Nephi) that the chief judge over the land of Ammonihah and many of their teachers and their lawyers went in unto the prison where Alma and Amulek were bound with cords. And the chief judge stood before them, and smote them again, and said unto them: If ye have the power of God [which is free agency] deliver yourselves from these bands, and then we will believe that the Lord will destroy this people according to your words. And it came to pass that they all went forth and smote them, saying the same words, even until the last; and when the last had spoken unto them the power of God [which is free agency] was upon Alma and Amulek, and they rose and stood upon their feet. Alma cried, saying: How long shall we suffer these great afflictions, O Lord? O Lord, give us strength according to our faith which is in Christ, even unto deliverance. And they broke the cords with which they were bound; and when the people saw this, they began to flee, for the fear of destruction had come upon them. And Alma and Amulek came forth out of the prison, and they were not hurt; for the Lord had granted unto them power [which is free agency], according to their faith which was in Christ. (Alma 14: 23-26, 28 )

You know the rest of the story. The chief judge, teachers and lawyers all thought their power of coercion (forcibly imprisoning Alma and Amulek and torturing them) was greater than the power of agency. It wasn’t. Agency is a greater power than coercion, but agency only exists where there is faith.

Abinadi could not be acted upon—due to faith

And now when the king had heard these words, he said unto his priests: Away with this fellow, and slay him; for what have we to do with him, for he is mad. And they stood forth and attempted to lay their hands on him; but he withstood them, and said unto them: Touch me not, for God shall smite you if ye lay your hands upon me, for I have not delivered the message which the Lord sent me to deliver; neither have I told you that which ye requested that I should tell; therefore, God will not suffer that I shall be destroyed at this time. But I must fulfil the commandments wherewith God has commanded me; and because I have told you the truth ye are angry with me. And again, because I have spoken the word of God ye have judged me that I am mad. Now it came to pass after Abinadi had spoken these words that the people of king Noah durst not lay their hands on him, for the Spirit of the Lord was upon him; and his face shone with exceeding luster, even as Moses’ did while in the mount of Sinai, while speaking with the Lord. And he spake with power [which is free agency] and authority from God; and he continued his words, saying: Ye see that ye have not power to slay me, therefore I finish my message. Yea, and I perceive that it cuts you to your hearts because I tell you the truth concerning your iniquities. Yea, and my words fill you with wonder and amazement, and with anger. But I finish my message; and then it matters not whither I go, if it so be that I am saved. (Mosiah 13: 1-9)

Although the text doesn’t specifically say that Abinadi obtained the Spirit of the Lord through faith, other scriptures teach this principle. (For example, see D&C 42: 14.) Despite having the power to resist these men, Abinadi later allowed them to slay him.

Now Abinadi said unto him: I say unto you, I will not recall the words which I have spoken unto you concerning this people, for they are true; and that ye may know of their surety I have suffered myself that I have fallen into your hands. Yea, and I will suffer even until death, and I will not recall my words, and they shall stand as a testimony against you. And if ye slay me ye will shed innocent blood, and this shall also stand as a testimony against you at the last day. (Mosiah 17: 9-10)

Jesus could not be acted upon—due to faith

I am the good shepherd, and know my sheep, and am known of mine. As the Father knoweth me, even so know I the Father: and I lay down my life for the sheep. And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold: them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one fold, and one shepherd. Therefore doth my Father love me, because I lay down my life, that I might take it again. No man taketh it from me, but I lay it down of myself. I have power [which is free agency] to lay it down, and I have power [which is free agency] to take it again. This commandment have I received of my Father. (John 10: 14-17)

All, therefore, that happened to Jesus was allowed by him to happen, as he had a fullness of free agency and thus none could act upon him unless he allowed it.

Enoch and Melchizedek could not be acted upon—due to faith

Now Melchizedek was a man of faith, who wrought righteousness; and when a child he feared God, and stopped the mouths of lions, and quenched the violence of fire. And thus, having been approved of God, he was ordained an high priest after the order of the covenant which God made with Enoch, it being after the order of the Son of God; which order came, not by man, nor the will of man; neither by father nor mother; neither by beginning of days nor end of years; but of God; and it was delivered unto men by the calling of his own voice, according to his own will, unto as many as believed on his name. For God having sworn unto Enoch and unto his seed with an oath by himself; that every one being ordained after this order and calling should have power [which is free agency], by faith, to break mountains, to divide the seas, to dry up waters, to turn them out of their course; to put at defiance the armies of nations, to divide the earth, to break every band, to stand in the presence of God; to do all things according to his will, according to his command, subdue principalities and powers; and this by the will of the Son of God which was from before the foundation of the world. And men having this faith, coming up unto this order of God, were translated and taken up into heaven. (JST Genesis 14: 26-32)

Translation is the ultimate manifestation that great power not to be acted upon (free agency) has been bestowed, due to one’s faith, as the coercion of death itself is broken. Not every prophet or saint that reaches that level, though, is translated. Some, like Abinadi, choose to allow themselves to be killed, to seal up their testimony in the blood of the innocent.

The Three Nephites could not be acted upon—due to faith

Others choose translation. No matter how much coercion the wicked used against the Three Nephite disciples of Christ, it had no effect on their agency, because of their faith.

Therefore they did exercise power [coercion] and authority over the disciples of Jesus who did tarry with them, and they did cast them into prison; but by the power of the word of God, which was in them, the prisons were rent in twain, and they went forth doing mighty miracles among them. Nevertheless, and notwithstanding all these miracles, the people did harden their hearts, and did seek to kill them, even as the Jews at Jerusalem sought to kill Jesus, according to his word. And they did cast them into furnaces of fire, and they came forth receiving no harm. And they also cast them into dens of wild beasts, and they did play with the wild beasts even as a child with a lamb; and they did come forth from among them, receiving no harm. (4 Nephi 1: 30-33)

And they were cast into prison by them who did not belong to the church. And the prisons could not hold them, for they were rent in twain. And they were cast down into the earth; but they did smite the earth with the word of God, insomuch that by his power they were delivered out of the depths of the earth; and therefore they could not dig pits sufficient to hold them. And thrice they were cast into a furnace and received no harm. And twice were they cast into a den of wild beasts; and behold they did play with the beasts as a child with a suckling lamb, and received no harm. (3 Nephi 28: 19-22)

Agency is the supreme power, which trumps or frees one from the power of all other things, including the power of death, if one’s faith is sufficient. This is one of the reasons why it is called free agency, because it gives you freedom or liberates you from the power of coercion. It gives you the power to choose life (translation and exaltation) or death (physical and spiritual death.) Those who obtain enough faith, are given by God the agency to overcome all things, including death, meaning that nothing can act upon them without their say so.

And now behold, as I spake concerning those whom the Lord hath chosen, yea, even three who were caught up into the heavens, that I knew not whether they were cleansed from mortality to immortality—but behold, since I wrote, I have inquired of the Lord, and he hath made it manifest unto me that there must needs be a change wrought upon their bodies, or else it needs be that they must taste of death; therefore, that they might not taste of death there was a change wrought upon their bodies, that they might not suffer pain nor sorrow save it were for the sins of the world. Now this change was not equal to that which shall take place at the last day; but there was a change wrought upon them, insomuch that Satan could have no power over them, that he could not tempt them; and they were sanctified in the flesh, that they were holy, and that the powers of the earth could not hold them. (3 Nephi 28: 36-39)

How this relates to God’s faith

The scriptures teach that agency alone is the power of God; that coercion is the power of the devil; that agency is greater or more powerful than coercion; that agency is granted only when faith is present; that agency and coercion cannot co-manifest in the same circumstance, either coercion exercises its power to the reduction of agency (or with the permission of the free agent who chooses not to exercise his agency), or agency exercises its power to the elimination or reduction of coercion; that agency is linked to faith; that faith precedes agency; that agency comes of faith; that the amount of agency possessed is determined by the amount of faith possessed; and that if one loses faith, agency is also lost (see Matthew 14: 25-31 for Peter’s faltering faith.)

As we know that God is omnipotent (all-powerful), meaning that he has a fullness of agency, he must have gotten his agency through the only mechanism given in the scriptures for obtaining it: faith. And as God remains almighty, he must not have lost one iota of his faith, for to do so, according to the scriptures, would remove a portion of his agency. Therefore, it is reasonable to conclude, based upon these scriptural evidences and teachings of the relationship of faith to agency, that God does, indeed, possess faith.

Next Faith of God article: The faith of God, part eleven: Why knowledge doesn’t save

Previous Faith of God article: The faith of God, part nine: the ingredients of faith

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Extended fasting: a cure for all spiritual AND PHYSICAL ailments


Fasting is a faith amplifier or multiplier. By voluntarily reducing our bodies’ reliance upon food, we increase its reliance upon Spirit. We can then increase our portion of the Spirit by coupling it with prayer and righteous living. This can lead to a greater probability of receiving whatever spiritual blessing we are seeking.

Spiritual blessings are essentially spiritual remedies for spiritual ailments. For example, the spiritual gift of belief cures the spiritual condition called doubt. The spiritual gift of charity cures the spiritual condition known as fear. And so on and so forth.

When we are afflicted with spiritual ailments, sometimes mere prayer, scripture study, and other typical activities of LDS are simply not enough. However, the Lord, in his mercy, has given us yet another tool, fasting, to use in our search for healing.

When the scriptures talk of fasting, they say that the saints of former dispensations “fasted much and prayed much” and “fasted often.” But these are relative terms. How often is “often?” How much is “much?” Different people will give different definitions. Proper frequency and proper length will vary according to person and circumstance.

One thing we do know is that the most spiritual people ever to exist on this planet engaged in extended fasting. For example, Moses engaged in a fast of 40 days and 40 nights without any food or water. (See Ex. 34: 28 and Deut. 9: 9.) Jesus likewise engaged in a fast of 40 days and 40 nights. (See Matt. 4: 2 and Luke 4: 2.) And Alma said that he fasted “many days” to gain the spiritual gifts he ended up possessing. (See Alma 5: 46.)

It is instructive that of the three persons mentioned above, two of them ended up getting translated. If translation isn’t evidence of how far advanced your spiritual state is, then I don’t know what is.

We LDS are accustomed to think of fasting as producing spiritual blessings, but physical blessings also accompany its practice. In fact, the Lord has given us at least three means to overcome physical ailments: the gifts of healing, herbs and mild food, and extended fasting.

Think about it. Whenever you get sick, your body’s first or initial reaction is to reject food. You stop eating because fasting is a mechanism of healing. What most people, including LDS, don’t know is that extended fasting heals just about anything. To demonstrate this principle, I quote in its entirety a newspaper article on the healing effects of extended fasting:

Soviet Cure-All: Eat Nothing for 30 Days

By Murray Seeger

Times Staff Writer

MOSCOW—Vladimir Leshkovtsev had the flu and was sore all over. The doctors he saw told him he had infectious metabolic polyarthritis.

The doctors treated Vladimir for six weeks but he felt no better. He decided to be his own doctor and to follow a radical course of treatment he had only heard about.

For 45 days, Vladimir ate nothing. He drank lots of water, but had no solid food. He lost 44 pounds and got rid of his arthritis. And he has not seen a doctor for the last 10 years since then.

The experience of Vladimir Leshkovtsev, a physicist and writer, is only one of thousands of cases of remarkable recoveries claimed in the Soviet Union for what advocates call the “hunger cure.”

Besides arthritis, advocates claim controlled starvation will cure almost everything from eczema to hardening of the arteries. It is recommended for some cases of gallstones and pancreatitis.

The method is used to treat schizophrenic patients and others with less serious neurotic afflictions—fears of crowds, darkness, strangers, infections and sharp objects, and it is effective for people who only think they are sick.

“Leshkovtsev was in great danger of becoming an invalid,” Dr. Yuri Nikolayev of the Moscow Research Institute of Psychiatry observed. “The experiment conducted by him is one of the most successful cases of healing.”

The Soviet Union, which has one of the largest and best organized systems of public health protection in the world, has several clinics devoted to research and practice of the hunger cure.

In the clinic he heads, Dr. Nikolayev specializes in using controlled starvation to treat mental disorders. Another clinic at Patrice Lumumba Friendship University has used the same method to treat psoriasis and at the First Medical Institute hunger is prescribed to cure other skin disorders.

Other Soviet doctors have written papers on their successes in treating metabolism, disorders, bronchial asthma, hypertension, gallstones, tumors, pancreatitis and early forms of artery hardening.

“There is a German saying that ‘the illness which cannot be cured by fasting cannot be cured by anything else,'” Dr. Nikolayev said in a statement in the Moscow News.

The physician traced the origins of hunger therapy to ancient Egypt, Greece and India. Starting in the 18th century, Russian doctors at Moscow University experimented with the treatment, beginning a series of case histories that is still being extended.

“Our innovation,” Dr. Nikolayev said, “is that we initiated the use of controlled hunger for the treatment of psychic disorders, primarily sluggish forms of schizophrenia.

“Particularly good results have been obtained in the treatment of hypochondriac conditions when patients are over-anxious about their health, are likely to greatly exaggerate their existing ailments and believe they are suffering from diseases which they do not have.”

Dr. Nikolayev cautioned that the hunger treatment should be administered only under carefully controlled conditions. The patient and his relatives must approve the procedure and the patient is thoroughly examined before the treatment starts.

Food intake is not halted until the physicians are sure the patient will not have a negative reaction. He receives no drugs during the treatment which lasts from 20 to 40 days.

“Before the commencement of abstinences, the patient’s intestines are purged,” Dr. Nikolayev said.

“He is given a great deal of water, a hydro treatment every morning, general massage and baths. Our patients spend most of their time in the open.”

A patient’s appetite disappears in the first three to five days and he no longer reacts to the sight or smell of food or the rattling of dishes, he said.

“However, pleasant memories of food persist, particularly if the patient is not distracted from such thoughts,” Dr. Nikolayev continued. “This is when the experience of the doctor and psychotherapy help.”

The crisis for the patient comes on the sixth or seventh day of treatment. He begins to feel heavy because his body is switching signals to start consuming stored fat.

After a few more days, the patient passes the crises and gains a feeling of euphoria. The patient’s symptoms begin to disappear and he feels very good, until the stored energy source is consumed.

This occurs after about 30 days, the doctor said. By that time, the patient’s tongue is clean, his skin color is a healthy pink, bad breath disappears and he develops a “wolf’s appetite.”

“This is when the most important process commences—the process of rehabilitation,” Dr. Nikolayev asserted.

Food is reintroduced to the patient slowly. First, he is given diluted fruit juices, then whole juices and grated fruit mixed with yogurt. These are followed by cooked vegetables and boiled cereals. Near the 40th day, normal eating is resumed.

Meanwhile, the patient has lost 15% to 20% of his body weight. If the patient’s ailment is obesity, the weight loss can be even greater.

“For instance, some time ago, two brothers applied to our clinic,” Dr. Nikolayev recalled. “The elder of the two weighed 210 kilograms (462 pounds) and the younger 175 (385 pounds). They could hardly pass through the door.

“Having taken the hunger cure, both patients lost half of their original weight and both feel quite well now.”

The doctor said the hunger treatment gives the entire nervous system and the brain a rest. The body is cleaned of poisons and the tissues and glands renovated.

Resting the brain “forms the basis for the treatment of neuropsychic disorders,” he added.

Why is self-imposed starvation healthful when involuntary starvation is harmful? The difference, Dr. Nikolayev asserted, is that under involuntary starvation the body dies from poisons contained within itself.

“In our case, we try by all means to withdraw endotoxins from the body as soon as possible,” the doctor said.

“Altogether, we have treated some 7,000 patients at our clinic. Our extensive experience enables us to broaden the range of application of this method and to take up the treatment of cases formerly considered hopeless.”

The doctor recalled one patient who was starved for 50 days in order to achieve a cure. Leshkovstev, who starved himself for 45 days, joined the ranks of the “record setters,” the doctor observed.

Since taking the tough, self-imposed cure, Leshkovstev has maintained his health by careful dieting and annual fasts of eight to 10 days.

Dr. Nikolayev acknowledged the success of Leshkovstev’s experiment, but recommended against others trying the same method “without any medical control.”

“A cure by fasting is a very complicated method connected with a profound reorganization of the organism.”

Mon. Apr. 3, 1972

Los Angeles Times

Fasting resources

You can read a free, online book called Fasting, Hydropathy and Exercise by Bernarr Macfadden or you can go to www.fasting.com to obtain extended fasting programs. You may also read my own extended fast journal.

Next Fasting article: My extended fast journal

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Breaking News: Joseph Smith’s Daguerrotype is scanned and uploaded


This is to let all visitors to this blog know that I have come across one of the (supposedly lost) photocopies I made of a possible/probable daguerrotype of Joseph Smith that I discovered around seven years ago. Prior to today, the only LDS who had seen this daguerrotype were myself and the three people I showed it to seven years ago. Spread the word, this may be the missing daguerreotype of the Prophet that was apparently recorded to have been taken of him. You can see the images and read the account of how I discovered it by clicking the following link:

Joseph Smith’s Daguerrotype – An Appeal for Help

Next Joseph Smith article: What if…the Lord brought the Prophet Joseph Smith back from the dead to lead the church?

Previous Joseph Smith article: Romans 13: 1-7 and Joseph Smith

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The role of agency in political systems


The heavenly principle of agency is fundamental to both the plan of salvation and the gospel of Jesus Christ

Agency is the ability to act for oneself1, and not to be acted upon2.

All created things are given agency3, but this article addresses only the agency of man.

The Lord taught that agency was given to man from the very beginning4. In fact, it is the very reason we exist5.

Agency is tied to awareness6. Both light and truth allow us to become aware and the more light and truth we possess, or the more aware we are, the greater agency we have7.

The scriptures indicate that agency was given twice. First, it was given at the beginning8, when we first came into existence or when we first became aware of our existence9. The second time it was given was in mortality10, after we passed through the veil of forgetfulness and became newly aware of our existence, as at the beginning.

Agency is power and, in fact, it is the very power of God, as well as our own power11. It can be increased until one becomes as God is, namely, omnipotent or almighty, or it can be decreased until it reaches zero, in which case, the sorry being who has lost all his agency is acted upon12, instead of acting. (This is what Lehi spoke of when he mentioned that we were created to act and not to be acted upon, except for those who receive the punishment at the last day. This is why some are cast down, or thrust down, or fallen, terms which signify that the agency or power to keep themselves in the presence and kingdom of God is lost, due to their own actions.)

God does all things through agents13. All who possess agency are known as agents14.

Agency, being a gift15 from God, is centered in God, meaning that the more God-like we are, the more agency we possess, and vice versa.

First faith, then agency

The precursor to agency is faith, another gift of God. It is faith that allows agency to be possessed, even faith centered in God. The more faith we possess, the more agency is granted, the less faith possessed, the less agency. If we lose all faith, we lose all agency and thus become like Satan, who is devoid of both faith and agency. If we gain all faith, we gain all agency, and thus become entirely like God.

Faith and agency are heavenly principles and the entire kingdom of God operates on them. This is why all things are done (the action or power to do being agency) according to the faith of men and why God works (the action or power to work being agency) according to the faith of the children of men. (Nevertheless, the link between faith and agency is not the topic of this article and I will refocus my remarks on agency alone.)

Agency’s counter-principle

The power of God, agency, is based upon the actions of agents, which voluntarily cooperate to get things done, with no means of compulsion employed. God has granted that all creation act for itself and not be compelled to do his will. Compulsion, or force, then, is anti-god, or against the nature of God and thus is the opposite of agency.

Satan claims all things diametric to the principles and character of God. The devil works not just on different principles than God, but also on completely opposite principles. He has embraced force and coercion and all things that have his stamp upon them inevitably work to a greater or lesser degree on the principle of compulsion, slavery and bondage. Coercion is as much power as is agency; both principles get work done. Nevertheless, there is a world of difference between doing something voluntarily and being forced to do the same thing. In this way, what is of God and what is of Satan can be easily recognized.

Jesus was for agency, Satan was for force

In the pre-mortal existence, at the council in heaven, both Jesus and Satan desired and offered to become our Savior, the Only Begotten of the Father. The difference in their approach, though, was that Jesus wanted to keep our agency intact, whereas Satan wanted to remove it and replace it with compulsion, making us his slaves. His amendment to the Father’s plan would have changed the state of things entirely and we would have been forced to obey his will.

Rebellious spirits in heaven lost their agency

Agency, as always, was active in the pre-mortal existence and two thirds of the heavenly host supported or sustained the Father’s calling of Jesus as our Savior, whereas one third went with Satan. Due to their rebellion, the one-third lost their agency, something they had sought to destroy anyway, and are now temporarily residing upon this planet under the control of Satan, who uses them to tempt us to commit sin. They have no free will of their own and all of their actions, words and thoughts are done, spoken and thought under duress, which is why all the temptations of these devils are directly attributed by the scriptures to Satan himself. Although these fallen spirit children of heavenly Father have become like the devil in nearly all ways, becoming devils themselves, they are not co-equal with him in his kingdom, but are merely angels to the devil, for they are his slaves.

How Satan destroys agency

It is important to understand that Satan’s heaven-originated plan to destroy the agency of man and compel them to obey him, which was 33% successful in the courts on high, is also used here on earth. I quote one of the paragraphs above to illustrate how this is done:

Agency is tied to awareness6. Both light and truth allow us to become aware and the more light and truth we possess, or the more aware we are, the greater agency we have7.

As Satan cannot compel man in any way, because men who are born on this planet still have their agency, nor can he forcefully take away a person’s agency, his tactic is to deceive men into giving away their agency (to him), thus gaining control over them or compelling them to do his will. If Satan can reduce the amount of light and truth we possess and/or substitute them with darkness and falsehoods, he can succeed in reducing or eliminating our agency.

It is agency that stops Satan from gaining control over us. If you eliminate agency altogether, he gains full control over us. If you reduce agency partially, he gains partial control over us. Whatever happens, one form of power will reside in us: either agency or coercion. If the power is agency, we are in control, meaning we can act and not be acted upon. If the power is coercion, the devil is in control, meaning we act only under duress by the devil, becoming his slaves.

As agency nullifies the power of the devil, it is the major obstacle to Satan’s plan to rule the universe. In heaven Satan could not compel anyone to do his will, nor could he deceive anyone, but on earth the rules are different. Those who come under Satan’s power and influence can use their physical bodies to force others to do things they would not otherwise do. They can also use their influence to spread lies. Thus, Satan’s approach here on earth is two pronged: first, get as many of the children of men sinning through the temptations of devils (his angels), thereby giving up portions of their agency to Satan and making them his servants and slaves, to do his bidding; and secondly, to use these mortal servants to enslave the masses physically and to surround them in an environment of sin and deception, thereby making it easier to destroy the agency of mankind.

Satan got his wish

Satan desired (or sought) the opportunity to destroy16 the agency of man while he still resided in heaven. He effectively destroyed the agency of one third of the children of God, but the other two thirds he couldn’t touch, as they would not follow him. Afterward, he was placed in a position by God whereby he might destroy the agency of the other two thirds. In other words, God granted Satan according to his desire17. He wanted to enslave the children of God and he was given the opportunity to do so. Had Satan and his angels been immediately banished into outer darkness, the spirits who chose Jesus in the pre-mortal existence (the two-thirds) would have come down to earth without a devil to tempt them. This would have been akin to living in the Millennium, whereby infants grow up without sin and live to the age of a tree. It is only because God placed Satan upon the earth that it is possible for agency to be destroyed and for men to become captives18.

A description of the kingdom of heaven

The governments of God and Satan are both called kingdoms. In the case of God, his heavenly government is based upon the voluntary cooperation of his subjects, with himself as their King, their God, their Father, their Judge and their Lawgiver. He holds these titles and positions because his subjects choose him to hold them. He does nothing without the consent of the governed. There is no compulsion, whatsoever, only complete and utter freedom, all things being done by agency and voluntary cooperation. On a political scale, although it would rightly be called a kingdom, it resembles more tribal anarchy, with the tribal Chief being God himself and the tribal or customary law used in the anarchy being given by the tribal chief and voluntarily accepted by the tribal members.

Advancement in the kingdom of heaven is determined by the individual. As all members of the kingdom are given unfettered agency and the possibility and opportunity to possess more of it, or less of it, due to their own actions, each person can, of his own free will, choose to advance to the highest rung in the kingdom by acquiring and exercising great faith, by which they obtain great agency (power.) While others, exercising less faith, obtain less agency. None are constrained in any way to reach the top or stay at the bottom. All are created with an equal footing and all have an equal chance to obtain whatever measure of happiness and joy they so desire.

A description of the kingdom of the devil

Lucifer, in his rebellion, established a new order, setting himself up as king, with the one third who followed him giving up their agency to him, becoming slaves and servants to him, or as the scriptures say, angels to the devil. They are forced to do his will and he is in complete control of his kingdom. This concept is important to understand, as there is a common misconception that the angels to the devil have agency. They don’t. Many have heard of, and perhaps even read, The Screwtape Letters by C. S. Lewis, which is a fictional account about a senior demon advising his nephew demon on how to tempt a Christian. Although it is a fine piece of literature, it is, nonetheless, entirely fictional. The kingdom of the devil belongs solely to the devil, not to any of his angels. They do not decide what they do, how they do it, where they go, etc. All the reigns of control are in the hands of the devil (Lucifer) and he directs his mindless, soulless minions, compelling them to do his will in all things.

Divisions are non-existent, for different reasons

Neither the kingdom of God, nor the kingdom of the devil, is divided. Both kingdoms have kings, both kingdoms have laws, both kingdoms have order, but the difference is that those in God’s kingdom follow him willingly, based on agency and common consent, whereas those in the devil’s kingdom are his captives and slaves and servants and are compelled to do his will. The spirits that followed the devil are called devils themselves, but they are never equated with him, as they are merely angels to a devil. Thus, Satan is the only ruler of his kingdom, not sharing the rule with anyone else. On the other hand, God is willing to bring us all up to his level, so that we become joint heirs with Christ. The one is generous and sharing, the other is stingy and selfish.

In the 1962 film The Manchurian Candidate, with Frank Sinatra, U.S. servicemen were kidnapped and programmed (brainwashed) by the Chinese government, to be later used in a plot to control the United States. The mind-control consisted of hypnosis and was triggered with certain images and code-words, after which the mindless robot of a man would do his master’s bidding without hesitation, no matter what it was. The 2004 remake of the film, with Denzel Washington, had essentially the same plot, although brain and body chip implants (such as the VeriChip) were added to bring it up to technological speed. The recent Jason Bourne films followed the same pattern, except that it was our government creating the mindless assassin. Jason Bourne, in the last film, The Bourne Ultimatum, finds out that he made a choice to give up his agency and to do the bidding of the government, no matter what it was, so that he could more fully serve his country. Once that agency was given over, he became not much more than a programmed robot.

Although these films appear to be science fiction, this is in fact how Satan’s spiritual kingdom functions. All of his angels initially gave up their agency to Lucifer so that he became their master controller. Unlike human brainwashers, who control certain aspects of their victims or only at certain times, such as when the need to control them arises, Satan’s control and programming over his legions is continual and absolute. This is why all of the evil deeds mentioned in the scriptures are directly attributed to Satan only and not to his angels. As they have no agency and are compelled in all things to obey their master, all of their actions are what he would do in that very moment. They do nothing, say nothing, feel nothing and think nothing of their own free will. They are commanded in all things.

(In case there are any questions as to how Satan is able to remotely control these fallen spirits and his mortal servants, the Lord has explained through Amulek that the devil possesses a spirit19 which allows such action at a distance. This “spirit of the devil” is both similar and dissimilar to the Holy Spirit in certain ways. The Spirit of Christ, or Light of Christ, being spirit matter, fills the immensity of space20, governs all the kingdom of God, defines the boundaries of that kingdom and is light itself. The spirit of the devil likewise controls the kingdom of the devil, defines its boundaries and is composed of spirit matter, but it is darkness. Just as in science there is positive and negative (electricity), north and south polarity (magnetism), upspin and downspin (electrons), and glow/arc and dark modes (plasma discharge), so the spirit of the devil is the opposite of the Spirit of Christ.)

Zion and Babylon

The kingdom of heaven and the kingdom of the devil have their counterparts here on Earth. The kingdom of heaven on Earth is known as Zion. The kingdom of the devil on Earth is known as Babylon. When Zion exists on this planet, it exactly corresponds to the kingdom of heaven, whereas Babylon exists wherever Zion does not exist. Zion, then, is a copy of the heavenly kingdom, whereas Babylon does not have to be a replica of the kingdom of the devil. All it need be is the Zion model altered in some way so as to make it not quite Zion. Nevertheless, it is the goal of Satan to destroy agency, so any time Babylon exists, the tendency will be to make it a replica of the spiritual kingdom of the devil, complete with mind-controlled human drones.

The State, a tool of the devil

There are many tools Satan uses to destroy agency: temptation, sin, deception, drugs, technology, etc. But the main instrument used is the State. (By the term “State” I mean a compulsive government, one which uses violence, force, propaganda or threat of violence and force to control the actions, words or thoughts of its citizens.) Only with the inception of a State can Satan duplicate the spiritual kingdom he has set up and control every aspect of those who pertain to it.

Prisons follow the satanic blueprint

The kingdom of the devil is one, gigantic, spiritual prison. The angels to the devil do not possess free will, or freedom of choice (agency), but are compelled to obey the will of Satan in all things. They are prisoners and he is the warden. As all earthly States are inspired by the devil, inevitably, with the establishment of a new State, prisons will start popping up.

It is the doctrine of the devil to imprison everyone; however, he starts with what he can. At first, the prisons are for the law-breakers, meaning those people who violate the laws of the State. But eventually, as the State becomes more centralized and totalitarian, Satan starts inspiring those under his control to make the State resemble ever more closely the spiritual kingdom of the devil. Soon, the State itself is converted into a prison and its geographical boundaries become the walls keeping everyone in. It is the ultimate goal of the devil, though, not to have separate State prisons on this planet, but to merge all States into a single Super-State and convert this world into a prison planet. Nevertheless, way before that ever happens, the handiwork and inspiration of the devil can be seen in the building and use of prisons for law-breakers.

The gospel is “anti-prison”

It is noteworthy that Jesus came to “free the prisoners.” (See D&C 128: 22 and Isaiah 49: 9.) Most of us are conditioned (by State propaganda, which is inspired by the devil) that those who commit crimes should be imprisoned, but we have no evidence that the revealed laws of the Lord ever contained provisions for prisons. Under the Law of Moses, there was no prison system set up, nor is there any evidence of prisons under the full law of Christ (revealed during the Lord’s visit to the Nephites.) However, in virtually every instance of an earthly State, there are always found prisons. Always.

The State: a means to limit and destroy agency

Although Satan owns and controls every State21, none are identical to each other. Each one varies in the degree in which it controls the lives of its citizens. Those that control to a greater degree, are under a greater amount of influence of the devil, while those that control to a lesser degree, have less demonic influence, but all States, even minimalist ones, that exercise any degree of compulsion upon the children of men, immediately come under Satan’s influence22.

In two of the movies I mentioned above (the Frank Sinatra original of The Manchurian Candidate and the last Jason Bourne flick,) it is instructive that the State was responsible for all the mind-control techniques employed which destroyed the agency of the characters of the films. This is because the State is the most natural mechanism of mind control (agency destruction), as its only function is to limit the agency of those who fall under its jurisdiction. Let me say that again: the State’s only function is to limit the agency of those who fall under its jurisdiction. As it already limits agency, the tendency is to limit it even more and eventually to destroy it altogether through mind control, chip implantation, false State propaganda and other brainwashing techniques.

Any search on the Internet or in a good bookstore under brainwashing and mind-control will bring up a plethora of supposed eyewitnesses who testify that these techniques exist and that they are being employed by secretive organizations and governments right now. Whether these witnesses are credible or not is not the point. The point is that we can reliably bet on Satan pursuing technology and methods that allow him to totally control us, whether that be drugs, chemicals and other poisons in the water we drink, genetically-altered food supply, alterations in the medicines we routinely take, chip implants, false propaganda, violence techniques and scare tactics, electromagnetic manipulation, sound, light or other types of devices. We can be assured that if something can be used to limit or destroy agency, Satan is going to use it. His goal, after all, is to make Babylon exactly conform to his spiritual kingdom.

One of the reasons why the State is the preferential device used in the hands of the devil is that the resources of a State are vastly superior to any organization existing within its boundaries. As a State can gain jurisdiction into virtually every aspect of our lives, with the creation of new laws, it can amass money, raw materials, labor and technology very quickly, and perform horrendous things all under the guise of legitimacy.

Anarchy (Agency) is the Antidote

Typically the solution proposed to the problem of the wickedness of Satan, his spiritual kingdom and his earthly kingdoms (States) is restriction of agency. More laws are passed to restrain wickedness and force people to be good. This just plays into Satan’s hands, though, as it feeds or gives power to his main creature of agency destruction, the State.

The real solution is agency, more of it, not less. Unfettered agency nullifies Satan’s power to destroy, to deceive and to cause misery. Politically, only one system is representative of unfettered agency: anarchy.

Anarchy is decentralized power shared by all – Anarchy is based upon the spiritual kingdom of God, in which power (agency) is shared by everyone and not just found in the hands of one individual. It naturally prohibits the concentration of power into one or a few hands, thereby checking all attempts at tyranny.

Anarchy is voluntary – Anarchy is always voluntary. Those who want to participate, do, while those who do not want to participate are not forced to. Like the kingdom of heaven, all things are done according to the desires of the children of men.

Anarchy is ordered – In anarchy, there are private, traditional, customary, tribal or clannish laws that inevitably become established, that allow order to flourish.

Anarchy is mutually beneficial – In anarchy, all have a voice, all have an influence, all have a choice and there is no compulsion. Every decent trait flourishes while wicked ones tend to be naturally restrained. Voluntary cooperation, mutual benefit, compassion, kindness, politeness, common decency, and private, traditional and customary laws: these are the things that attend and make up ordered anarchy.

Anarchy is the political system of agency – As anarchy is based upon voluntary cooperation, freedom of choice and mutual benefit, with no compulsion to obey, anarchy and agency go hand in hand.

I return to the heading at the beginning of this article:

The heavenly principle of agency is fundamental to both the plan of salvation and the gospel of Jesus Christ

As that statement is absolutely true, anything that destroys or limits agency is inspired by the devil, whereas anything that increases it is inspired by God. By using the fundamental principle of agency as a gauge to measure the political systems of the day, we can plainly see that anarchy is the only system that preserves agency in its entirety, all others destroying or limiting it to a greater or lesser degree. Anarchy, therefore, is the only political system that is fully compatible with the gospel of Jesus Christ.

References

1. All truth is independent in that sphere in which God has placed it, to act for itself, as all intelligence also; otherwise there is no existence. Behold, here is the agency of man, and here is the condemnation of man; because that which was from the beginning is plainly manifest unto them, and they receive not the light. (D&C 93: 30-31)

Wherefore, the Lord God gave unto man that he should act for himself. (2 Nephi. 2: 16)

2. And the Messiah cometh in the fulness of time, that he may redeem the children of men from the fall. And because that they are redeemed from the fall they have become free forever, knowing good from evil; to act for themselves and not to be acted upon, save it be by the punishment of the law at the great and last day, according to the commandments which God hath given. (2 Nephi 2: 26)

3. All truth is independent in that sphere in which God has placed it, to act for itself, as all intelligence also; otherwise there is no existence. (D&C 93: 30)

4. Behold, here is the agency of man, and here is the condemnation of man; because that which was from the beginning is plainly manifest unto them, and they receive not the light. (D&C 93: 31)

5. All truth is independent in that sphere in which God has placed it, to act for itself, as all intelligence also; otherwise there is no existence. (D&C 93: 30)

6. Behold, here is the agency of man, and here is the condemnation of man; because that which was from the beginning is plainly manifest unto them, and they receive not the light. (D&C 93: 31)

7. Light and truth forsake that evil one. (D&C 93: 37)

8. And it came to pass that Adam, being tempted of the devil-for, behold, the devil was before Adam, for he rebelled against me, saying, Give me thine honor, which is my power; and also a third part of the hosts of heaven turned he away from me because of their agency; and they were thrust down, and thus came the devil and his angels; and, behold, there is a place prepared for them from the beginning, which place is hell. (D&C 29: 36-38 )

Behold, here is the agency of man, and here is the condemnation of man; because that which was from the beginning is plainly manifest unto them, and they receive not the light. (D&C 93: 31)

Wherefore, because that Satan rebelled against me, and sought to destroy the agency of man, which I, the Lord God, had given him, and also, that I should give unto him mine own power; by the power of mine Only Begotten, I caused that he should be cast down; and he became Satan, yea, even the devil, the father of all lies, to deceive and to blind men, and to lead them captive at his will, even as many as would not hearken unto my voice. (Moses 4: 3-4)

9. The Lord said unto Enoch: Behold these thy brethren; they are the workmanship of mine own hands, and I gave unto them their knowledge, in the day I created them; and in the Garden of Eden, gave I unto man his agency; and unto thy brethren have I said, and also given commandment, that they should love one another, and that they should choose me, their Father; but behold, they are without affection, and they hate their own blood; and the fire of mine indignation is kindled against them; and in my hot displeasure will I send in the floods upon them, for my fierce anger is kindled against them. (Moses 7: 32-34)

10. The Lord said unto Enoch: Behold these thy brethren; they are the workmanship of mine own hands, and I gave unto them their knowledge, in the day I created them; and in the Garden of Eden, gave I unto man his agency; and unto thy brethren have I said, and also given commandment, that they should love one another, and that they should choose me, their Father; but behold, they are without affection, and they hate their own blood; and the fire of mine indignation is kindled against them; and in my hot displeasure will I send in the floods upon them, for my fierce anger is kindled against them. (Moses 7: 32-34)

11. And it came to pass that Adam, being tempted of the devil-for, behold, the devil was before Adam, for he rebelled against me, saying, Give me thine honor, which is my power; and also a third part of the hosts of heaven turned he away from me because of their agency; and they were thrust down, and thus came the devil and his angels; and, behold, there is a place prepared for them from the beginning, which place is hell. (D&C 29: 36-38 )

[God’s power is his honor because all things honor him, or obey him, giving him deference, of their own agency. The great “secret” to God’s power lies in that he accomplishes all things through agents who obey his will. As all things honor him, he has all power. Man’s power likewise comes from the things which honor him, meaning obey him. Man’s honor is obviously less than God’s honor. Agency and honor are both descriptions of the same thing: power. Agency is power because it is the ability to act and it is only increased as the agents that surround an individual heed or obey him (cooperate), allowing further actions to occur. Honor is power in that it is what the agents do towards the one they are honoring, namely, heeding (cooperating with) his instructions. Thus, agency and honor both describe the same power, but from different perspectives.]

12. And because that they are redeemed from the fall they have become free forever, knowing good from evil; to act for themselves and not to be acted upon, save it be by the punishment of the law at the great and last day, according to the commandments which God hath given. (2 Nephi. 2: 26)

13. Wherefore, because that Satan rebelled against me, and sought to destroy the agency of man, which I, the Lord God, had given him, and also, that I should give unto him mine own power; by the power of mine Only Begotten, I caused that he should be cast down; and he became Satan, yea, even the devil, the father of all lies, to deceive and to blind men, and to lead them captive at his will, even as many as would not hearken unto my voice. (Moses 4: 3-4)

14. See D&C 29: 35, 39; 58: 28; 104: 17; Moses 6: 56.

15. Wherefore, because that Satan rebelled against me, and sought to destroy the agency of man, which I, the Lord God, had given him, and also, that I should give unto him mine own power; by the power of mine Only Begotten, I caused that he should be cast down; and he became Satan, yea, even the devil, the father of all lies, to deceive and to blind men, and to lead them captive at his will, even as many as would not hearken unto my voice. (Moses 4: 3-4)

The Lord said unto Enoch: Behold these thy brethren; they are the workmanship of mine own hands, and I gave unto them their knowledge, in the day I created them; and in the Garden of Eden, gave I unto man his agency; and unto thy brethren have I said, and also given commandment, that they should love one another, and that they should choose me, their Father; but behold, they are without affection, and they hate their own blood; and the fire of mine indignation is kindled against them; and in my hot displeasure will I send in the floods upon them, for my fierce anger is kindled against them. (Moses 7: 32-34)

16. Wherefore, because that Satan rebelled against me, and sought to destroy the agency of man, which I, the Lord God, had given him, and also, that I should give unto him mine own power; by the power of mine Only Begotten, I caused that he should be cast down; (Moses 4: 3)

17. I ought not to harrow up in my desires, the firm decree of a just God, for I know that he granteth unto men according to their desire, whether it be unto death or unto life; yea, I know that he allotteth unto men, yea, decreeth unto them decrees which are unalterable, according to their wills, whether they be unto salvation or unto destruction. (Alma 29: 4)

18. Wherefore, because that Satan rebelled against me, and sought to destroy the agency of man, which I, the Lord God, had given him, and also, that I should give unto him mine own power; by the power of mine Only Begotten, I caused that he should be cast down; and he became Satan, yea, even the devil, the father of all lies, to deceive and to blind men, and to lead them captive at his will, even as many as would not hearken unto my voice. (Moses 4: 3-4)

19. For behold, if ye have procrastinated the day of your repentance even until death, behold, ye have become subjected to the spirit of the devil, and he doth deal you his; therefore, the Spirit of the Lord hath withdrawn from you, and hath no place in you, and the devil hath all power over you; and this is the final state of the wicked. (Alma 34: 35)

20. Which light proceedeth forth from the presence of God to fill the immensity of space- (D&C 88: 12. See also D&C 88: 4-13.)

21. And the devil, taking him up into an high mountain, shewed unto him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time. And the devil said unto him, All this power will I give thee, and the glory of them: for that is delivered unto me; and to whomsoever I will I give it. If thou therefore wilt worship me, all shall be thine. (Luke 4: 5-6)

22. Behold, there are many called, but few are chosen. And why are they not chosen? Because their hearts are set so much upon the things of this world, and aspire to the honors of men, that they do not learn this one lesson-that the rights of the priesthood are inseparably connected with the powers of heaven, and that the powers of heaven cannot be controlled nor handled only upon the principles of righteousness. That they may be conferred upon us, it is true; but when we undertake to cover our sins, or to gratify our pride, our vain ambition, or to exercise control or dominion or compulsion upon the souls of the children of men, in any degree of unrighteousness, behold, 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. Behold, ere he is aware, he is left unto himself, to kick against the pricks, to persecute the saints, and to fight against God. (D&C 121: 34-38 )

[When the heavens withdraw themselves, Satan moves into the spiritual vacuum and begins to exercise control over the individual. This is why the man starts exercising compulsion, under Satan’s power and influence, and starts kicking against the pricks, persecuting saints and fighting against God. It is important, also, to understand that the heavens withdraw themselves prior to a man exercising compulsion, not after. It is when a man merely undertakes to exercise compulsion, or starts the planning and process to go about doing it, that the heavens withdraw and the gates of hell enter the picture, as compulsion is jurisdiction of the devil. It is how the devil works and is the power he operates under. Agency (non-compulsion) is the power of God, whereas compulsion (non-agency) is the power of Satan. Keep this in mind to understand these scriptures.]

Next Anarchism/Anarchy article: The anarchic laws of D&C 98

Previous Anarchism/Anarchy article: Is Molly right?

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Thanks to Thailer


Thanks goes out to Thailer for his request that I prepare and submit an article on free agency for publication in The Mormon Worker. I finished the article today, but it consists of 6056 words, so it may get rejected for publication due to its length. At any rate, I will publish it here on this blog, hopefully by tomorrow night. I have asked what4anarchy to review it prior to publication so that I don’t put my foot in my mouth, doctrinally, that is.

On November 10th, 2007, Thailer requested that I write the article, but I couldn’t organize my thoughts well enough to get it done any earlier. I apologize for the delay. It has been sitting in my draft folder for months, with no inspiration to finish it. It wasn’t until the beginning of this month, as I completed the ninth installment on faith and began working on the tenth installment, that I realized that I couldn’t explain the next aspect of faith without talking about free agency. So, I put down the faith article and started working on the free agency document, which, for some reason, I now had the inspiration to complete. Today, as I put the finishing touches on it, I am finally satisfied with it.

I intentionally kept it fairly shallow, addressing only one aspect of free agency, but many other questions and interesting aspects of agency appear without exposition on my part. I intend to explore these other aspects on this blog. As this is my first foray into writing about agency, I again thank Thailer for suggesting this topic, as the research of this subject has enlightened my mind and given me greater vistas of the gospel. Hopefully, I can communicate through these future articles my understanding of agency so that others also learn something new or at least a different perspective about this fundamental topic.

I have also created a new category called Free Agency so that I can fully expound all the aspects of this principle, in depth, according to my understanding. Like the faith articles, I am going to keep it out of the Deep Waters section, as I believe everyone should have a strong understanding of free agency, so no password will be required.

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The faith of God, part nine: The ingredients of faith


Continued from part eight.

The last five articles of this series have been analyzing the three ingredients of faith, which are the word of God, belief on that word and the Holy Ghost, as well as the special role of Jesus Christ and his atonement and prayer and fasting for the generation of faith. Once a thorough understanding of these ingredients is gained, any man, woman or child can obtain unlimited amounts of faith by simply following the “recipe of faith.” There is no mystery involved. Just as a cake is baked to perfection by following simple steps, so faith is generated by following simple instructions. When a very large cake is desired to feed many people, you just take the cake recipe and double or triple the ingredients, following the same instructions. With faith it is the same. Increase the ingredients and follow the recipe, and you get more faith.

The “recipe of faith”

First, mix the word of God in the form of the pure doctrine of the atonement of Jesus Christ and his eternal gospel with absolute belief on that word. The pure, unadulterated doctrine of the atonement can be found in the Holy Scriptures (the Bible, the Book of Mormon, the Doctrine and Covenants and the Pearl of Great Price.) It can also be found in manifestations of the Holy Ghost via direct revelations, prophecies, visions, dreams, ministrations of angels, etc. The more of the word of God obtained, the more faith can be generated, therefore, daily study of the Holy Scriptures and daily seeking of the manifestations of the Spirit will result in obtaining greater faith.

Second, after at least a measure of pure doctrine of Christ and his atonement is obtained, believe it to be true. This will plant the word of God in your heart. Unplanted word of God is the “seed of faith” and is dormant. When planted by belief on it into the heart of man, it can then become growing faith, or what we simply call faith. If belief is not available, having not yet been given by the Holy Ghost, desire to believe on the word of God. Desire is an act of will, or free agency. It is a choice that everyone can make on his own. By desiring to believe, and letting that desire work in you, this will activate the Holy Ghost who will then come and deposit the gift of belief in you, allowing the seed of faith (the word of God) to be planted in your heart. The more belief on the word of God present, the greater the faith that can be generated, so to obtain greater belief, desire to believe and to obtain all of the gifts of the Spirit and all of the rewards offered by God. These desires will, like the gift of belief, activate the Holy Ghost to come and deposit even more belief, which is necessary to obtain the desired gifts.

Third, after belief on the word of God has planted the seed of faith in your heart, relax and passively watch and feel as the Holy Spirit comes in and acts upon the seed to make it grow into faith. If there is no resistance of the Spirit on your part, in other words, if you just allow the Spirit to do its work, your understanding will increase, your mind will be enlightened and your heart will be touched. Once the seed of faith is planted by belief on it, the Holy Spirit immediately enters and starts growing it into faith. This can be startling to some, as the newly generating faith starts changing their very being into something different, what the scriptures call becoming a “new creature.” The important point to understand in this process is that any action on your part, any resistance at all to the Spirit, will stop the process. This is the baking part of the recipe and the Spirit is like the heat of the oven. Like a cake, once it is in the oven, you let it bake. Don’t take it out until it is done. However, unlike an oven in a cake, the recipe for faith makes faith fast or slow depending upon how much heat (the portion of the Holy Spirit) that is present. By increasing the portion of the Holy Spirit, greater faith will be generated faster. To do this, two tools have been provided: the prayer of faith and fasting. By daily prayers of faith to obtain greater portions of the Spirit and frequent and extended fasting, the portion of the Holy Spirit given can be increased without limit.

The above recipe requires no time limit to generate or obtain faith. As soon as belief on the word of God plants it into your heart, the Holy Spirit will immediately generate faith. That faith will grow continually as long as it is kept in the oven (under the influence of the Holy Spirit) and will be increased according to the amounts of ingredients in the mix. Mix in more of the ingredients, you get more faith.

Some things that will ruin the recipe

All three ingredients are absolutely necessary. If you hear or read the word of God, but never believe it, faith will never be generated. If you do not believe the word, but desire to believe it for an instant, the desire won’t activate the Spirit to deposit belief. The desire to believe must be allowed to work in you long enough for the Spirit to deposit belief. If you believe only part of the word, but not the other parts, faith will be limited or hampered. This happens to people who willingly accept the Bible, but reject the Book of Mormon, or to people who accept all the Holy Scriptures, but reject modern manifestations of the Holy Ghost. If you plant the word in your heart through belief, but resist the Holy Spirit when it starts changing you, the generation of faith will immediately stop. If the Holy Spirit is in the process of generating faith in you, but you start to doubt the word, which is the opposite of belief, faith will stop growing immediately. If, when the Holy Spirit is doing its work in you, you act actively, not passively, so that you can “do it yourself” or control the action of the Spirit, this will inevitably turn into resistance and stop the Spirit from working in you. If other seeds are planted in your heart (tares) and the Spirit attempts to yank them out, you must allow the seeds to be removed, otherwise, the tares will grow and choke the good seed, killing it. The seed of faith is the only seed that should be planted in your heart.

Jesus’ parable of the sower

In Matthew chapter 13, the Lord gave the parable of the sower and its meaning. It applies to the recipe of faith.

The Parable: “Behold, a sower went forth to sow; and when he sowed, some seeds fell by the way side, and the fowls came and devoured them up:” (Matthew 13: 3-4)

The Interpretation of the Parable: “When any one heareth the word of the kingdom, and understandeth it not, then cometh the wicked one, and catcheth away that which was sown in his heart. This is he which received seed by the way side.” (Matthew 13: 19)

Such a person plants the word of God (the seed of faith) in his heart by belief on that word, but when the Spirit comes and starts generating faith, which enlightens the understanding (according to Alma in Alma 32: 28), he resists the Spirit, which causes the seed to be cast out. The key to understanding the Savior’s interpretation of the parable are the words “understandeth it not,” which indicates that the Spirit was resisted and also the words “sown in his heart,” which indicates that the word was planted by belief in the man’s heart.

The Parable: “Some fell upon stony places, where they had not much earth: and forthwith they sprung up, because they had no deepness of earth: and when the sun was up, they were scorched; and because they had no root, they withered away.” (Matthew 13: 5-6)

The Interpretation of the Parable: “But he that received the seed into stony places, the same is he that heareth the word, and anon with joy receiveth it; yet hath he not root in himself, but dureth for a while; for when tribulation or persecution ariseth because of the word, by and by he is offended.” (Matthew 13: 20-21)

This person’s heart is stony on the inner parts, soft soil on the outside. He plants the word of God by belief on that word and does not resist the Holy Spirit for a time, but when the Spirit attempts to grow the faith plant’s roots deep into the heart soil, effecting great changes in the individual, he does not allow it to happen and so when the public becomes aware of his acceptance of the gospel and he is exposed to the examinations and opinions of the world (the sun was up) and persecutions and trials start to be heaped upon him because of his acceptance of the gospel, he considers the price of the gospel too high and the plant of faith gets burned up. Such a person does not fully convert to the Lord, but accepts the terms of the gospel as long as things are going good.

The Parable: “And some fell among thorns; and the thorns sprung up, and choked them:” (Matthew 13: 7)

The Interpretation of the Parable: “He also that received seed among the thorns is he that heareth the word; and the care of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, choke the word, and he becometh unfruitful.” (Matthew 13: 22)

This person’s heart is accepting of the seed of faith, allowing it to be planted by belief and not resisting the Holy Spirit, but there are other seeds also planted, specifically, worldly desires for riches and other false seeds, which he keeps in the heart, allowing them to grow side by side with the seed of faith. These other seeds eventually choke the word of God, and the fruits and gifts of the Spirit never become manifest, though he may go through all the outward motions of a saint. People such as these, and there a whole lot of them, never understand that the abundances of the manifestations of the Spirit are only available to them who forsake the riches of the world and who work to make all men temporally equal. (See D&C 70: 14.) Temporal inequalities will always choke the faith plant, killing the abundances of manifestations (the best gifts.)

The Parable: “But other fell into good ground, and brought forth fruit, some an hundredfold, some sixtyfold, some thirtyfold.” (Matthew 13: 8 )

The Interpretation of the Parable: “But he that received seed into the good ground is he that heareth the word, and understandeth it; which also beareth fruit, and bringeth forth, some an hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty.” (Matthew 13: 23)

The key words of this parable are “understandeth it,” which indicates that he does not resist the Holy Spirit’s action, which enlightens the understanding and also “beareth fruit,” which indicate that the powers and gifts of the Spirit attend him, as all men who exercise faith manifest some gifts of the Spirit. However, why do some bring forth different amounts of fruit, some 100, some 60 and some 30? The reason is because the amount of each ingredient of faith determines the amount of faith generated, and the more faith generated, the more fruit it will produce. Some people (the 100 people) seek to get all the word of God possible, including personal visions, revelations, etc., they believe it all, and also engage in daily prayers of faith and many extended fasts, to obtain as much faith as possible. Others (the 60) obtain less of the word and pray and fast less, but still more than the minimum. While the 30 obtain the minimum of the word and engage in the bare minimum of prayer and fasting, believing all that they obtain. The only real difference between the 100, the 60 and the 30, are their desires. Those bearing 100 fruits, desired most, while those bearing 30 fruits desired least. (We know this because God always grants unto men according to the desires of their hearts. See Alma 29: 4.) This also seems to correspond to the three degrees of glory (another topic.)

God possesses these ingredients of faith

Turning my attention back to the faith of God, whether he has faith or not, it is interesting to note that God possesses all of the ingredients of faith in fullness.

He has all of the word of God, he being the lawgiver, or generator of the word. It all comes from him. This goes for all past words he has spoken, as well as all future words. In fact, when we say he has a fullness of the word of God, it doesn’t mean a set amount, but an infinite amount, that never stops growing. The Lord has said, “There is no end to my works, neither to my words.” (See Moses 1: 38.) Also, “My works are without end, and also my words, for they never cease.” (See Moses 1: 4.)

God believes all the words he speaks. It is important here to understand that belief is a component of faith and not faith itself. Everything we see with our eyes must also be believed. Some say, “I’ll believe it when I see it.” Others say, “I see it, but still don’t believe it.” Belief can be present or absent whether something is seen or not seen, whereas faith “is things which are not seen.” The opposite of belief is unbelief, or doubt. God doubts none of his words. If you have no doubts, you have belief, by default. Said the Lord, “What I the Lord have spoken, I have spoken, and I excuse not myself; and though the heavens and the earth pass away, my word shall not pass away, but shall all be fulfilled, whether by mine own voice or by the voice of my servants, it is the same.” (See D&C 1: 38.) This verse indicates that the Lord believes every word he has or will speak.

Finally, the action of the Holy Spirit generates faith where there is belief on the word of God. The Spirit is always called “my Spirit” by the Lord. It is also stated that he possesses a fullness of the Spirit. (See D&C 93, for example.)

So, seeing that when you take these three ingredients and combine them, faith is generated, it becomes apparent that as God possesses all these ingredients in their fullness, he ought to possess a fullness of faith, according to his own scriptures. This presents evidence that God does, in fact, possess faith.

Next Faith of God article: The faith of God, part ten: The relationship of faith to agency (power)

Previous Faith of God article: The faith of God, part eight: the Atonement is the word

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