“…and the labor which they had to perform was to look…”


And they journeyed from mount Hor by the way of the Red sea, to compass the land of Edom: and the soul of the people was much discouraged because of the way. And the people spake against God, and against Moses, Wherefore have ye brought us up out of Egypt to die in the wilderness? for there is no bread, neither is there any water; and our soul loatheth this light bread. And the Lord sent fiery serpents among the people, and they bit the people; and much people of Israel died. Therefore the people came to Moses, and said, We have sinned, for we have spoken against the Lord, and against thee; pray unto the Lord, that he take away the serpents from us. And Moses prayed for the people. And the Lord said unto Moses, Make thee a fiery serpent, and set it upon a pole: and it shall come to pass, that every one that is bitten, when he looketh upon it, shall live. And Moses made a serpent of brass, and put it upon a pole, and it came to pass, that if a serpent had bitten any man, when he beheld the serpent of brass, he lived. (Num. 21:4-9)

And he did straiten them in the wilderness with his rod; for they hardened their hearts, even as ye have; and the Lord straitened them because of their iniquity. He sent fiery flying serpents among them; and after they were bitten he prepared a way that they might be healed; and the labor which they had to perform was to look; and because of the simpleness of the way, or the easiness of it, there were many who perished. (1 Ne. 17:41)

And the God of our fathers, who were led out of Egypt, out of bondage, and also were preserved in the wilderness by him, yea, the God of Abraham, and of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, yieldeth himself, according to the words of the angel, as a man, into the hands of wicked men, to be lifted up, according to the words of Zenock, and to be crucified, according to the words of Neum, and to be buried in a sepulchre, according to the words of Zenos, which he spake concerning the three days of darkness, which should be a sign given of his death unto those who should inhabit the isles of the sea, more especially given unto those who are of the house of Israel. (1 Ne. 19:10)

And now, my brethren, I have spoken plainly that ye cannot err. And as the Lord God liveth that brought Israel up out of the land of Egypt, and gave unto Moses power that he should heal the nations after they had been bitten by the poisonous serpents, if they would cast their eyes unto the serpent which he did raise up before them, and also gave him power that he should smite the rock and the water should come forth; yea, behold I say unto you, that as these things are true, and as the Lord God liveth, there is none other name given under heaven save it be this Jesus Christ, of which I have spoken, whereby man can be saved. (2 Ne. 25:20)

And now behold, I ask of you, my brethren of the church, have ye spiritually been born of God? Have ye received his image in your countenances? Have ye experienced this mighty change in your hearts?… I say unto you, can ye look up to God at that day with a pure heart and clean hands? I say unto you, can you look up, having the image of God engraven upon your countenances? (Alma 5:14,19)

And thus, if ye will not nourish the word, looking forward with an eye of faith to the fruit thereof, ye can never pluck of the fruit of the tree of life. (Alma 32:40)

But behold, this is not all; these are not the only ones who have spoken concerning the Son of God. Behold, he was spoken of by Moses; yea, and behold a type was raised up in the wilderness, that whosoever would look upon it might live. And many did look and live. But few understood the meaning of those things, and this because of the hardness of their hearts. But there were many who were so hardened that they would not look, therefore they perished. Now the reason they would not look is because they did not believe that it would heal them. O my brethren, if ye could be healed by merely casting about your eyes that ye might be healed, would ye not behold quickly, or would ye rather harden your hearts in unbelief, and be slothful, that ye would not cast about your eyes, that ye might perish? If so, wo shall come upon you; but if not so, then cast about your eyes and begin to believe in the Son of God, that he will come to redeem his people, and that he shall suffer and die to atone for their sins; and that he shall rise again from the dead, which shall bring to pass the resurrection, that all men shall stand before him, to be judged at the last and judgment day, according to their works. (Alma 33:18-22)

Yea, and cry unto God for all thy support; yea, let all thy doings be unto the Lord, and whithersoever thou goest let it be in the Lord; yea, let all thy thoughts be directed unto the Lord; yea, let the affections of thy heart be placed upon the Lord forever. (Alma 37:36)

O my son, do not let us be slothful because of the easiness of the way; for so was it with our fathers; for so was it prepared for them, that if they would look they might live; even so it is with us. The way is prepared, and if we will look we may live forever. And now, my son, see that ye take care of these sacred things, yea, see that ye look to God and live. Go unto this people and declare the word, and be sober. My son, farewell. (Alma 37:46-47)

And this shall ye do in remembrance of my body, which I have shown unto you. And it shall be a testimony unto the Father that ye do always remember me. And if ye do always remember me ye shall have my Spirit to be with you… And this shall ye always do to those who repent and are baptized in my name; and ye shall do it in remembrance of my blood, which I have shed for you, that ye may witness unto the Father that ye do always remember me. And if ye do always remember me ye shall have my Spirit to be with you. (3 Ne. 18:7,11)

And my Father sent me that I might be lifted up upon the cross; and after that I had been lifted up upon the cross, that I might draw all men unto me, that as I have been lifted up by men even so should men be lifted up by the Father, to stand before me, to be judged of their works, whether they be good or whether they be evil—and for this cause have I been lifted up; therefore, according to the power of the Father I will draw all men unto me, that they may be judged according to their works. (3 Ne. 27:14-15)

Look unto me in every thought; doubt not, fear not. Behold the wounds which pierced my side, and also the prints of the nails in my hands and feet; be faithful, keep my commandments, and ye shall inherit the kingdom of heaven. Amen. (D&C 6:36-37)

What all of this means

Abinadi said to the priests of Noah:

I know if ye keep the commandments of God ye shall be saved; yea, if ye keep the commandments which the Lord delivered unto Moses in the mount of Sinai, saying:

I am the Lord thy God, who hath brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. Thou shalt have no other God before me. Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing in heaven above, or things which are in the earth beneath.

Now Abinadi said unto them, Have ye done all this? I say unto you, Nay, ye have not. And have ye taught this people that they should do all these things? I say unto you, Nay, ye have not. (Mosiah 12:33-37)

If you take a bunch of planets (gods) and line them up, putting one of the largest (Jehovah) out in front and all the others behind it, none of the other planets will be seen, only the one right in front of you. If the first planet is exceedingly close to the point of observation, it will fill up a large portion of the sky, so that it will always be visible, no matter in which direction you are looking. Even when not directly looking at it, our peripheral vision will always have the planet in sight. Only by turning our eyes downward towards the ground (towards hell), will the planet’s image no longer be in sight.

Man is designed to operate with God in our sight. Obviously, we can no longer do that. God cannot be seen with our physical eyes and the planets have all moved so that the heavenly God is no longer in our view, filling up the sky, nor the other gods. But that is okay since we are here to walk by faith, meaning that we are now to imagine God in our heads and to keep the image of God always with us.

The ancients were commanded not to make physical images of God or gods. Instead, they were to use the imagination capacity of their right-brain-heart to create a spiritual image of God which they were to keep always before them in all that they saw. When one converted to Christ, that image now became the image of Christ, which one was to continually look at.

And when my father saw that the waters of the river emptied into the fountain of the Red Sea, he spake unto Laman, saying: O that thou mightest be like unto this river, continually running into the fountain of all righteousness! (1 Ne. 2:9)

Alma taught that there was a two-step process to planting the word, which was the atonement, in one’s heart. You had to create the image of the Son of God in your heart, keeping it there before your sight continually, and you also had to believe in the Son of God. (See Alma 33: 22 above.) All of Christianity understands the part about believing in the Son of God, but we all have misunderstood the part about seeing His image.

Christ on the cross is the image

Jesus Christ upon the cross is the image we are to imagine. This image appeals to both sides of our brains. It is concrete, appealing to the right-brain-heart and it is symbolic, appealing to the left-brain-mind. It represents the atonement, the broken heart and the contrite spirit. It also represents godly sorrow for sin. It contains the body of Christ, which is remembered during the bread portion of the sacrament, and the blood of Christ, which is remembered during the wine portion. It contains the wounds in His side and the prints of the nails in His hands and His feet, per D&C 6:37. It is a lifted up Christ, causing one to look up at Him, putting the one creating the image below Christ, in a position of humility. Also, being raised up, it is an ensign, calling attention, or drawing the attention of men to it.

Physical images are not good enough

Carrying crucifixes and hanging crosses around, as well as other physical images of Christ on the cross, does not have power to generate faith. Faith being a spiritual principle, it requires a spiritual image and effort (or labor) to generate it. The human brain was designed with the capacity to create imaginary images and super-impose them upon all that we see for this very reason, that mankind could have a way to walk by faith on earth, as we walked by sight in the heavens, even with the image of God always, or continually, or continuously before us.

Making God number one

Always remembering Christ on the cross puts God as the number one priority in a person’s life. That simple spiritual labor on our part, combined with belief on the Son of God, another spiritual labor, causes the Holy Spirit to come upon us and work upon our hearts, softening them and creating the broken heart and contrite spirit, giving us sorrow for sin and the accompanying weeping, and allowing us to pray in the Spirit (see D&C 46:28-32.)

Without the image of God continually before us, other images, even physical ones, become the priority. In other words, although physical idolatry may not be committed, spiritual idolatry occurs if other images come before the image of God, so that when we look we do not see God. This is how almost the entire world lives: without seeing God in the world.

The corrective is to begin to “awake and arouse your faculties” (Alma 32:27) and to look “forward with an eye of faith” (Alma 32:40), creating the image of God, even that of Jesus Christ the Son of God hanging upon the cross, through your imagination, and to keep that image always super-imposed on all that you see.

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45 Comments

  1. So is the “fiery serpent” that was lifted on the pole an image of the “dragon” plasma display among the planets? If so — what of the serpent/dragon being associated with chaos and the devil?

  2. I haven’t studied that, so I can’t say for certain, but I would imagine that at some point in the past, and perhaps also in the future, either planets will be configured, with or without plasma interactions, and/or a plasma display between or among close planets would project the image of Christ upon the cross from the vantage point of Eath.

    For example, the planet that makes up the head of Christ could be one with rings, representing the crown of thorns, or it could be a discharging, Venus-like planet, that discharges thorn-like plasma spikes. Or, it could be a ringed planet, such as Saturn, that also discharges thorn-like spikes along its rings (and the rings of Saturn have been photographed before with such spikes.)

    The nails in the hands and the feet could each be smaller planets. The vertical body of Christ, a vertical stack of planets connected by discharging plasma tubes. The blood of Jesus perhaps could be shown by discharging red plasmas at the appropriate locations, the feet, the side, the hands and wrists, the head where the thorns broke the skin, the back and torso, where the scourging took place. Etc.

    When this planetary configuration and plasma display would be viewed from Earth, it would look like a fiery serpent wrapped around a pole and also Jesus Christ hanging on the cross. I give it as my opinion that people would not look and see a dragon, so I think the dragon might be something else.

  3. A few more scriptures for this post:

    For he truly spake many great things unto them, which were hard to be understood, save a man should inquire of the Lord; and they being hard in their hearts, therefore they did not look unto the Lord as they ought. (1 Ne. 15:3)

    Nevertheless, I did look unto my God, and I did praise him all the day long; and I did not murmur against the Lord because of my afflictions. (1 Ne. 18:16)

    And now, my sons, I would that ye should look to the great Mediator, and hearken unto his great commandments; and be faithful unto his words, and choose eternal life, according to the will of his Holy Spirit; and not choose eternal death, according to the will of the flesh and the evil which is therein, which giveth the spirit of the devil power to captivate, to bring you down to hell, that he may reign over you in his own kingdom. (2 Ne. 2:28-29)

    And the Lord God said unto me: They shall be a scourge unto they seed, to stir them up in remembrance of me; and inasmuch as they will not remember me, and hearken unto my words, they shall scourge them even unto destruction. (2 Ne. 5:25)

    A couple of more additions to this post:

    The image of Christ on the cross is of Him dead, not alive, for it is to contain the wounds in His side, which were inflicted upon Him after He died. There may be some who think that remembering Jesus as a clothed, resurrected personage, with the marks in the hands and feet exposed, is good enough, but these are not the instructions that were given to us. A clothed Christ does not show the wounds in his side, therefore the image is of a naked Christ.

    Also, as we partake of the sacrament in remembrance of both His body and His blood and as a testimony to the Father that we always remember Him, the image remembered throughout the week must also contain the blood of Christ. The image of a clothed, resurrected Christ does not contain the elements of blood. Only the dead Christ on the cross contains all the necessary elements to comply with God’s instructions.

  4. Oops. I forgot to mention one more thing… “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting ilife” (John 3:16.) The image of Christ on the cross also represents the love of God, “which sheddeth itself abroad in the hearts of the children of men” (1 Ne. 11:22), the heart being the organ that produces the image. The cross is made of wood, or of a tree, the tree of life symbol also representing the love of God, Christ being the life of the world.

    While I’m at it, Jesus is also the light of the world, a shining beacon or point of light upon which the mind can fixate and look at in the darkness of the heart, which light we are to lift up and put “on a candlestick,” giving light “to all that are in the house,” etc. The representations of Christ on the cross are endless.

  5. Here is another scripture:

    wherefore we would to god
    that we could persuade all men not to rebel against god
    to provoke him to anger
    but that all men would believe in christ
    and view his death
    and suffer his cross
    and bear the shame of the world (Jacob 1:8)

  6. In the OP, you quote:

    and my Father sent me
    that I might be lifted up upon the cross
    and after that I had been lifted up upon the cross
    that I might draw all men unto me
    […]
    and for this cause have I been lifted up
    therefore
    according to the power of the Father
    I will draw all men unto me
    that they may be judged according to their works
    [3 Nephi 27:14-15]

    And you wrote:
    It is a lifted up Christ, causing one to look up at Him, putting the one creating the image below Christ, in a position of humility. Also, being raised up, it is an ensign, calling attention, or drawing the attention of men to it.

    So, I’ve thought this before — and I guess I’ll ask it here and see what someone might think:

    and I
    if I be lifted up from the earth
    will draw all men unto me
    [John 12:32]

    I’ve wondered if the “drawing” of all men unto Christ has a physical manifestation — being something like a gravitational pull that lifts a person up unto Christ to be received by Him when He returns to this solar system.

    Only those who gather under the location His planet is lifted up over — the ones who are drawn to His image in the sky — will be the ones taken, lifted up, and received by Him.

  7. That sounds right.

  8. All of the “eye single to the glory of God” scriptures have taken on a new meaning for me. Jesus glorified God on the cross, or, in other words, Jesus on the cross was the “glory of God.” So, with this in mind, when I now read the following scripture, it seems like the Lord was actually defining the phrase, which thing I had never before considered:

    listen to the voice of jesus christ
    your lord
    your god
    and your redeemer
    whose word is quick and powerful
    for behold
    i say unto you
    that it mattereth not
    what ye shall eat
    or what ye shall drink
    when ye partake of the sacrament
    if it so be
    that ye do it
    with an eye single to my glory
    remembering unto the father my body
    which was laid down for you
    and my blood
    which was shed for the remission of your sins

  9. The first 18 verses of Enos read:

    behold | it came to pass | that i | enos | knowing my father | that he was a just man | for he taught me in his language | and also in the nurture and admonition of the lord | and blessed be the name of my god | for it | and i will tell you of THE WRESTLE | which i had before god | BEFORE i received a remission of my sins |

    behold | i went to hunt beasts in the forests | and the words | which i had often heard my father speak | concerning eternal life and the joy of the saints | sunk deep into my heart | and my soul hungered | and i kneeled down before my maker | and i cried UNTO HIM in mighty prayer and supplication | for mine own soul | and all the day long did i cry UNTO HIM | yea | and when the night came | i did still raise my voice high | that it reached the heavens | and there came a voice unto me | saying |

    enos | thy sins are forgiven thee | and thou shalt be blessed |

    and i | enos | knew | that god could not lie | wherefore | my guilt was swept away | and i said |

    lord | how is it done |

    and he said unto me |

    because of thy faith in christ | whom thou hast never before heard | nor seen | and many years pass away | before he shall manifest himself in the flesh | wherefore | go to | thy faith hath made thee whole |

    now it came to pass | that when i had heard these words | i began to feel a desire | for the welfare of my brethren | the nephites | wherefore | i did pour out my whole soul UNTO GOD | for them | and while i was thus STRUGGLING in the spirit |

    behold | the voice of the lord came into my mind again | saying |

    i will visit thy brethren | according to their diligence in keeping my commandments | i have given unto them this land | and it is a holy land | and i curse it not | save it be for the cause of iniquity | wherefore | i will visit thy brethren | according as i have said | and their transgressions will i bring down with sorrow upon their own heads |

    and after i | enos | had heard these words | my faith began to be unshaken in the lord | and i prayed UNTO HIM with many long STRUGGLINGS | for my brethren | the lamanites |

    and it came to pass | that after i had prayed | AND LABORED WITH ALL DILIGENCE | the lord said unto me |

    i will grant unto thee | according to thy desires | because of thy faith |

    and now behold | this was the desire | which i desired of him | that if it should so be | that my people | the nephites | should fall into transgression | and by any means be destroyed | and the lamanites should not be destroyed | that the lord god would preserve a record of my people | the nephites | even if it so be by the power of his holy arm | that it might be brought forth at some future day unto the lamanites | that perhaps they might be brought unto salvation | for at the present our strugglings were vain | in restoring them to the true faith | and they swore in their wrath | that if it were possible | they would destroy our records and us | and also all the traditions of our fathers | wherefore | i knowing | that the lord god was able to preserve our records | i cried UNTO HIM CONTINUALLY | for he had said unto me |

    whatsoever thing ye shall ask | in faith | believing that ye shall receive | in the name of christ | ye shall receive it |

    and i had faith | and i did cry UNTO GOD | that he would preserve the records | and he covenanted with me | that he would bring them forth unto the lamanites in his own due time | and i | enos | knew | it would be | according to the covenant | which he had made | wherefore | my soul did rest | and the lord said unto me |

    thy fathers have also required of me this thing | and it shall be done unto them | according to their faith | for their faith was like unto thine |

    Okay, so Enos mentioned a wrestle, struggling (singular), strugglings (plural) and also that he labored with all diligence. All of this is talking of the very same thing: looking or keeping the image of Christ on the cross in one’s mind at all times. This is the only labor, wrestle or struggle which is required of us. Also, any time he mentioned crying or praying unto God, it means that he prayed or cried to Heavenly Father while directing his mind’s eye, or the eye of faith, to Christ, by beholding or viewing His death on the cross.

    The reason why no one is manifesting the fruit is because no one is performing this required labor, and those who are attempting to perform this labor are getting distracting by life and thus losing the image. To explain this more fully, I need to open up Alma 32, which I will do in my next comment…

  10. I’ll try to make this brief, as this is a comment… In Alma 32, Alma compares his word, or the the word of God which was in him, to a seed, (which word, he explains in verse 23, is imparted to men, women and children by angels.) To know that his word is true, or a good seed, a man must plant it into his heart by believing it. If the man doesn’t cast it out by his unbelief, Alma’s word-seed, which is the word of God, will begin to grow, enlightening the understanding, expanding the mind, enlarging the soul and starting to taste delicious. At this point, the man will know with a perfect knowledge that Alma’s word-seed is true, or a good seed. Nevertheless, the seed is just beginning to grow and has not yet produced fruit, nor yet taken root.

    Now, notice what it takes to cause this seed to produce fruit and take root:

    and behold | as the tree beginneth to grow | ye will say |

    let us nourish it with great care | that it may get root | that it may grow up | and bring forth fruit unto us |

    and now behold | if ye nourish it with much care | it will get root | and grow up | and bring forth fruit | but if ye neglect the tree | and take no thought for its nourishment |

    behold | it will not get any root | and when the heat of the sun cometh | and scorcheth it | because it hath no root | it withers away | and ye pluck it up | and cast it out |

    now | this is not | because the seed was not good | neither is it | because the fruit thereof would not be desirable | but it is | because your ground is barren | and ye will not nourish the tree | therefore | ye cannot have the fruit thereof |

    and thus | if ye will not nourish the word | looking forward with an eye of faith to the fruit thereof | ye can never pluck of the fruit of the tree of life | but if ye will nourish the word | yea | nourish the tree | as it beginneth to grow | by your faith | with great diligence | and with patience | looking forward to the fruit thereof | it shall take root |

    and behold | it shall be a tree | springing up unto everlasting life | and because of your diligence | and your faith | and your patience with the word | in nourishing it | that it may take root in you |

    behold | by and by ye shall pluck the fruit thereof | which is most precious | which is sweet | above all that is sweet | and which is white | above all that is white | yea | and pure | above all that is pure | and ye shall feast upon this fruit | even until ye are filled | that ye hunger not | neither shall ye thirst | then | my brethren | ye shall reap the rewards of your faith | and your diligence | and patience | and long-suffering | waiting for the tree | to bring forth fruit unto you

    Now, the reason why the good seed does not get any root in us is because we “take no thought for its nourishment.” In other words, in order to nourish this ever-good seed, we must “take thought.” And what is the thought we are to take? Christ on the cross.

    Any Mormon who plants the word of God in his heart, by his belief, but neglects to carry this image before him continually, and cast his eyes upon it continually, and pray continually to God while viewing His Son (praying UNTO God, or towards God, even towards the Son of God), neglects to nourish the seed. It will then begin to wither away until he eventually plucks it out and casts it away. Such a man can never obtain its fruit, because of his own negligence, not understanding what was the required labor to grow the seed into a tree of life with its resulting fruit.

    This is why Alma says, “if ye will not nourish the word | looking forward with an eye of faith to the fruit thereof | ye can never pluck of the fruit of the tree of life.” Every time Alma speaks of nourishment or nourishing the word, it is with the understanding of “looking forward with an eye of faith” to Christ on the cross, for He is the tree of life which bears all of the good fruit. And this is also what it means to be diligent, or to nourish the word “with great diligence.” It means that we are to perform the required struggle continually, always keeping this image in our minds, diligence referring to doing something constantly or with perseverance in performing a labor.

    So, those who obtain fruit (seeing angels, etc.) are those who nourish the word, while those who do not obtain fruit, are those who do not nourish it. And thus we see that God is no respecter of persons. There is no “special calling” unto some men by God, who receive marvelous manifestations and gifts, while others are “called to receive” little to nothing. All things depend upon whether gospel law is complied with in the growing of the seed.

  11. After reading Alma, if you look at Enos’ words again, you see that Enos followed this exact pattern. He said that “the words…which speak concerning eternal life and the joy of the saints,” which are the words of God, “sunk deep into my heart.” So, he first planted the word of his father Jacob, which was the word of God which was in Jacob, into his heart by his belief. His soul then hungered, meaning that he desired to obtain the fruit of the tree of life, or the fruit of the seed of the tree of life, which he had already planted into his heart. Next, he kneeled down before his Maker, having a wrestle before God, and cried unto the Lord for a remission of his sins. In other words, he nourished the seed by his faith in Christ, or to be clearer, by his eye of faith, continually beholding Christ on the cross, believing in Him and believing he was going to receive what he was asking for. He diligently kept up this labor, or effort, or struggle, or wrestle–for although the labor is easy to do, it takes firmness of mind to keep the image of Christ’s death on the cross continually in one’s mind, ignoring all the many distractions of life which vie for our undivided attention–until he obtained what he desired of the Lord.

    When he asked the Lord how it was that he had obtained a remission of his sins, the response was: “Because of thy faith in Christ, whom thou hast never before heard nor seen. And many years pass away before he shall manifest himself in the flesh.” Enos did not see the Christ with his eye of flesh, nevertheless, he saw the Christ with his eye of faith. Faith and seeing with an eye of faith, then, are synonymous, and refer to this labor which must be performed in order to nourish the word so that it gets root and produces fruit.

  12. So in other words our work is:

    Believe in Christ

    but when we read or think that title “Christ” we should remember the words he used to introduce himself to the Nephites and equate them with the word Christ.
    So Christ =
    Behold, I am Jesus Christ,… I am the light and the life of the world; and I have drunk out of that bitter cup which the Father hath given me, and have glorified the Father in taking upon me the sins of the world, in the which I have suffered the will of the Father in all things from the beginning.

    For some it might be a struggle to believe (which to me is to see the thing in my mind’s eye) in the being and mission described. And a lack of fruit would indicate that. But for others it is east to believe and they have the fruit.

  13. Here are some more scriptures that show that this is our labor. The words of Nephi:

    but behold | ye not only deny my words | but ye also deny all the words | which have been spoken by our fathers | and also the words | which were spoken by this man | moses | who had such great power given unto him | yea | the words | which he hath spoken | concerning the coming of the messiah | yea | did he not bear record | that the son of god should come | and as he lifted up the brazen serpent in the wilderness | even so shall he be lifted up | who should come | and as many | as should look upon that serpent | should live | even so | as many | as should look upon the son of god | with faith | having a contrite spirit | might live | even unto that life | which is eternal | (Helaman 8:13-15)

    The words of Alma to Shiblon:

    and now | my son | i trust | that i shall have great joy in you | because of your steadiness | and your faithfulness unto god | for as you have commenced in your youth to look to the lord your god | even so | i hope | that you will continue | in keeping his commandments | for blessed is he | that endureth to the end | (Alma 38:2)

    Concerning this labor, Amulek states:

    for behold | this life is the time | for men to prepare to meet god | yea |

    behold | the day of this life is the day | for men to perform their labors |

    and now | as i said unto you before | as ye have had so many witnesses | therefore | i beseech of you | that ye do not procrastinate the day of your repentance until the end | for after this day of life | which is given us | to prepare for eternity |

    behold | if we do not improve our time | while in this life | then cometh the night of darkness | wherein there can be no labor performed | ye cannot say | when ye are brought to that awful crisis |

    that i will repent | that i will return to my god |

    nay | ye cannot say this | for that same spirit | which doth possess your bodies | at the time that ye go out of this life | that same spirit will have power to possess your body in that eternal world |

    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 seal 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 34:32-35)

    The labor mentioned by Amulek is that labor mentioned in verses 17-27 of that chapter, namely, the labor of beginning to exercise “faith unto repentance” by beginning to always call upon the name of the Lord by “crying unto Him,” or to be plainer in writing, to always pray to God the Father, in the name of Jesus Christ, while viewing the death of Christ. In other words, literally praying towards the image of Christ on the cross in our minds. This is what it means to “cry unto the Lord.”

    Typically, we latter-day saints mix up the labor, pointed out by Alma and Amulek (and other Book of Mormon prophets) as being the acts described in verse 28 of that same chapter, which are the charitable works that a saint does to the poor, needy, sick and afflicted. Nevertheless, these are not the labors Amulek was speaking about. The labors that Amulek spoke of were labors that could not be performed in hell (the night of darkness), but that could be performed in paradise (a place of light.)

    In hell, due to subjection to the spirit of the devil, our capacity to see the image of Christ in our minds will be taken away, or, in other words, the devil will have all power over us, including our minds.

    In paradise, the righteous will “rest from their labors,” meaning that they will no longer need to see with the eye of faith the cross of Christ in their minds, because they will be able to see Christ with their spiritual eyes, or the eyes of their spirit bodies. In other words, the mental exertion required in mortality will no longer be needed for those in paradise, because they will be residing in the bosom of Jehovah, or within the God-planet/sun that is at the center of the Earth. So, they will be viewing with their spirit eyes “the face of Jehovah” at all times, and thus will be at rest from their previous labors.

    The damned souls in hell will remain unable to exercise faith until the spirit missionaries arrive, who will “carry the light of the gospel to them” (D&C 138:30.) This light will allow them, finally, to exercise faith unto repentance and use their minds to see Christ on the cross, freeing themselves, if they choose and have not sinned unto death, from Satan’s grasp and chains and mind control, allowing them to leave hell.

    These same missionaries from paradise, who, while residing in paradise rested from their labors, upon leaving paradise and traveling to hell to preach, now enter, yet again, into “labors” (D&C 138:57.) Again, the labor is always the same, as explained in this post, for now, being in hell, and thus away from paradise, or the face of Jehovah, they need to again constantly visualize the cross of Christ and always pray to God in His name, as they did in mortality, taking up again the same labors, as they preach the gospel to the prisoners.

  14. behold
    it is expedient
    that much should be done among this people
    because of the hardness of their hearts
    and the deafness of their ears
    and the blindness of their minds
    and the stiffness of their necks

    nevertheless
    god is exceedingly merciful unto them
    and has not
    as yet
    swept them off from the face of the land

    Many of the recent comments on this post has expounded on why Jarom refers to the condition of the people as “blindness of the mind” — instead of “of the eyes” — i.e. the labor of keeping the image of Christ on the cross pictured in the forefront of one’s mind, without his physical presence being before one’s eyes.

    But “stiffness of the neck” — also comes along with hard-heartedness and blind-mindedness.

    The OP reads:

    Only by turning our eyes downward towards the ground (towards hell), will the planet’s image no longer be in sight.

    What would make your neck “stiffer” than having your head turned downwards towards the ground (towards hell) all the time?

    Jarom wrote that: “it is expedient | that much should be done among this people” because of their condition. His father wrote down what the prophets, priests, and teachers did among the Nephite church of their day:

    and there were exceedingly many prophets among us
    and the people were a stiffnecked people
    hard to understand
    and there was nothing
    save it was exceeding harshness
    preaching and prophesying of wars
    and contentions
    and destructions
    and continually reminding them of death
    and the duration of eternity
    and the judgements and the power of god
    and all these things
    stirring them up continually
    to keep them in the fear of the lord

    I say
    there was nothing short of these things
    and exceedingly great plainness of speech
    would keep them from going down speedily to destruction

    The “fear of the lord” that the prophets and preachers in Enos’ day kept the people of God in is instilled in a person only when the gospel of Jesus Christ is preached in its fulness and purity — meaning that those parts of the gospel which reveal the power and captivity of the devil ― the reality of death and hell, the chains of hell, the darkness and blindness of minds, the hardness of hearts, the state of wickedness, the fallen, evil nature and nothingness of man, the bands of death, the doctrine of damnation and endless torment, the spirit of the devil, the mists of darkness and temptations of the devil, the veil of unbelief, the wavering state of the mind, the lake of fire and brimstone, the flaming sword of justice, the rivers of filthy water, etc. ― such parts of the gospel sink home into the heart and mind of a man, and this new awareness causes him to fear to die because of the knowledge that the instant he leaves his mortal body he will be “taken home to that God who gave him life” and, being found unclean and possessed by the spirit of the devil [for the chains of hell are still attached], will then be cast off into hell, to be kept in captivity by the devil, because of his sins.

    I believe that the Gentile church of God is in a similar condition of heart/mind as the Nephite church of God in the above scriptures. However, the men we sustain as prophets do not speak with “exceedingly great plainness of speech” — but speak wishy-washy platitudes and vague counsels. They do not use “exceeding harshness | preaching and prophesying of wars | and contentions | and destructions | and continually reminding the church of Jesus Christ of death | and the duration of eternity | and the judgements and the power of god — stirring us all up continually, to keep them in the fear of the Lord.” We never talk of damnation, or captivity, or hell, etc. When we talk of the atonement, we briefly mention sin and death and how the suffering, death and resurrection of Christ liberates us from that and then move on. There is no mention of fear, trembling, eternal damnation and subjugation to the devil, or any other thing that people might consider “too negative.”

  15. I think, perhaps, that that is one of the reasons why the Lord had Joseph bring forth the Book of Mormon as his first assignment. As long as the people have the Book of Mormon, they have access to the gospel preached in its purity, even if “those whom the Lord shall make rulers over his household” do not “give his children their portion of meat in due season” (JST Luke 12:49.)

    I am reminded of Ezra Taft Benson, who taught that the current four-year rotation of scripture study in the church should not be followed on an individual basis, but that all of us needed to study and live the precepts of the Book of Mormon every day of our lives:

    At present, the Book of Mormon is studied in our Sunday School and seminary classes every fourth year. This four-year pattern, however, must not be followed by Church members in their personal and family study. We need to read daily from the pages of the book that will get a man “nearer to God by abiding by its precepts, than by any other book.” (History of the Church, 4:461.)

    Flooding the Earth with the Book of Mormon

  16. Regarding the missionaries visiting spirit prison, who carry to them the light of the gospel, which I mentioned in a comment above:

    This light that they bring is the light of Christ. We are taught that the light of Christ is given to every man. While children, we have no chains of hell attached to us, but the instant we sin, the chains are placed on us. The reason why Satan does not have, in that instant, complete and total control over our minds is because the Lord, through His infinite goodness and mercy, has caused that the light of Christ will strive with mortal man, allowing us to have agency and choose the spirit we desire to obey. As long as the light of Christ is with us, we still have agency, or may still make a choice for good or evil, including the choice to repent and exercise faith. In mortality, it is possible to work such great wickedness that the spirit of the Lord altogether ceases to strive with us. At that point, the spirit of the Lord withdraws, leaving us completely alone to ourselves, at the mercy of the devil and his chains, veil and spirit. The spirit of the devil then takes complete control over us, including our minds. In other words, we, like the angels to the devil, lose all our agency and become mind controlled slaves to him. Prior to that point, while the spirit of the Lord is still striving with sin-filled mankind, Satan cannot directly take complete control of our minds. The best he can do is use the chains attached to us to influence us, not to control our every action and thought.

    We are taught that very few people will reach the state in which the spirit of the Lord ceases to strive with them. (Such people are called the sons of perdition.) This is true only insofar as it pertains to mortality, for while we are in the flesh, the spirit of the Lord protects all of us from the full effects of the chains of hell. However, after a sinner leaves mortality, such protections are removed and Satan is given control over his own dominion. In other words, the spirit of the Lord ceases to strive with all the souls in hell. This means that all the damned souls in hell become mind-controlled slaves, just like the sons of perdition. And they remain in this state until the missionaries carry the light of the gospel to them, at which point they once again may exercise agency, having their minds back, being able to choose again right from wrong, despite the chains of hell attached.

    So, there are three classes of evil spirits. The first class are the one-third of the hosts of heaven, the angels to the devil. These fallen angels are lost. They may be placed in an environment in which there is much light of Christ, such as our mortal environment, and it will not affect them. They will still remain mind-controlled slaves to the devil. The second class are the sons of perdition, who are also lost. Like the angels to the devil, they also can be placed in an environment of light (such as mortality) and they remain unaffected and completely mind-controlled by the devil.

    The third class of evil spirits are those who sinned in mortality, but not unto death, who died in their sins but the spirit of the Lord never ceased striving with them. These spirits, when they enter hell are held in captivity and mind-controlled, in darkness. Such spirits, however, cannot be placed in an environment of light, such as mortality, because the light will give them their minds and agency back, and they will eventually break free of the chains, through their repentance and faith, for none of these spirits, when presented with a means to escape, will choose to stay under Satan’s power.

    Because of the nature of these three classes of evil spirits, the first two classes are used by Satan to tempt, deceive and possess mortal man. This is why the scripture says that Nephi saw “multitudes of people…who were afflicted…with devils and unclean spirits…and the devils and unlean spirits were cast out” (1 Nephi 11:31.) The devils are the angels of the devil and the unclean spirits are the spirits of sons of perdition. These are the only evil spirits that Satan has among mortal men, for these are the only evil spirits that do not break free from his mind-control, despite being in an environment of light (of Christ.) The third class of evil spirits remain bound in hell, and would remain there indefinitely, if not for the missionaries bringing to them an environment of light (of Christ), that they might be liberated from Satan’s grasp.

  17. I feel like expounding more on this subject, so here it goes…

    All of this ties into the second death, which is the spiritual death. There is an idea in the church that only the sons of perdition experience the second death. And this is true, in an eternal sense, meaning that only the sons of perdition remain filthy still after their resurrection, and therefore only they and the devil and his angels will return to outer darkness. Nevertheless, the doctrine of a second death, or of a spiritual death, also applies to those who do not commit the unpardonable sin and therefore are not sons of perdition, yet still die in their sins and are sent to hell. Jacob taught:

    o the wisdom of god | his mercy and grace |

    for behold | if the flesh should rise no more | our spirits must become subject to that angel | who fell from before the presence of the eternal god | and became the devil | to rise no more | and our spirits must have become like unto him | and we become devils | angels to a devil | to be shut out from the presence of our god | and to remain with the father of lies in misery | like unto himself | yea | to that being who beguiled our first parents | who transformeth himself nigh unto an angel of light | and stirreth up the children of men unto secret combinations of murder | and all manner of secret works of darkness |

    o how great the goodness of our god | who prepareth a way | for our escape | from the grasp of this awful monster | yea | that monster | death and hell | which i call the death of the body | and also the death of the spirit | and because of the way of deliverance of our god | the holy one of israel | this death | of which i have spoken | which is the temporal | shall deliver up its dead | which death is the grave | and this death | of which i have spoken | which is the spiritual death | shall deliver up its dead | which spiritual death is hell | wherefore | death and hell must deliver up their dead | and hell must deliver up its captive spirits | and the grave must deliver up its captive bodies | and the bodies and the spirits of men will be restored one to the other | and it is by the power of the resurrection of the holy one of israel |

    All of the spirits in hell are “subject to that angel who fell.” Notice Jacob’s description of what it means to be subject to the devil, namely that our spirits “become like unto him and we become devils,” even angels to him, to partake of his misery, completely shut out from the presence of God.

    Now, the devil is spiritually dead, as well as the one-third who followed him, having committed spiritual suicide in heaven. The sons of perdition are those who commit spiritual suicide in mortality. But there are two ways for a spirit to die, it can take its own life in voluntary spiritual suicide or it may be forcefully killed by the devil through sin. Those who enter hell, who are not the devil, his angels or the sons of perdition, are spirits who have been forcefully killed by the devil’s subjection (which uses the force of darkness to kill.) These spirits in hell, although not sons of perdition, nevertheless suffer a second death, a spiritual death, which is why Jacob calls hell “the death of the spirit” and he also says, “which spiritual death is hell.”

    This is not a figurative death, but a literal death, a forceful death, or a killing of the spirit, for the agency which these people once had is forcefully removed from them by the devil. Remember, it is agency that keeps a spirit alive, or existent.

    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 |

    So, those who die in their sins actually die two deaths. They become spiritual shells, having lost both their physical bodies and also all their agency, the devil completely possessing them, they becoming mindless, or mind-controlled, slaves.

    Alma also spoke of the second death in similar terms:

    and now behold | i say unto you | then cometh a death | even a second death | which is a spiritual death | then is a time | that whosoever dieth in his sins | as to a temporal death | shall also die a spiritual death | yea | he shall die as to things pertaining unto righteousness |

    Thus we see that the second death, or the spiritual death, comes upon anyone, at all, that dies in his sins, not just the sons of perdition. This is because once we are out of our bodies, the chains of hell have power to fully bind us. This is why Lehi taught his sons, “Men are free according to the flesh.”

    Lehi also said to his sons, “I would that ye should look to the great Mediator.” Jesus is the light and the life of the world. He is also the Spirit of truth. The Lord revealed to Joseph Smith that “light and truth forsake that evil one.” So, by continually looking to Christ on the cross, in our minds, we are actually causing the light of the world to shine and dispel the “dark veil of unbelief.” Jesus told the Nephites:

    behold | i am the law and the light | look unto me | and endure to the end | and ye shall live | for unto him that endureth to the end | will i give eternal life |

    So, “look unto me” is a commandment and if we look to Christ and endure to the end, meaning continue looking to Him to the very end, we shall live, so that the second death (hell) will have no hold upon us.

    This, then, is how we overcome the devil. This labor, coupled with constant prayer (see Alma and Amulek’s sermons on how to exercise faith and worship God, which is looking to God always and praying always; see Alma chapters 33 & 34) is what brings us to repentance and faith unto salvation.

    Okay, so now that I stated all of that, let the floodgates be open! Everyone can put me in my place and tell me that people in hell still have their agency, are not spiritually dead, are more like in a spirit school than in a spirit prison, and so on and so forth…

  18. If you take a bunch of planets (gods) and line them up, putting one of the largest (Jehovah) out in front and all the others behind it, none of the other planets will be seen, only the one right in front of you.

    I was thinking about this part of the OP — as it would relate to the saturn configuration [proposed by Dave Talbott and Anthony Larson], which describes an opposite arrangement: i.e., the smallest [Mars] in front, then Venus, then the largest [Saturn] behind — such that “God” becomes the over-all arrangement of three gods in one.

    Meaning the triune deity was the configuration considered as the whole image in the sky — which comprised of the three separate planets Saturn, Venus, and Mars — or Father, Holy Spirit, and Son.

  19. Yea, even the all seeing Eye of God in the sky.

  20. Were there three of four women who stood by the cross of Jesus? I was reading the book of John [John 19:25] — and I wondered if the verse should be read as:

    now
    there stood by the cross of Jesus
    his mother
    and his mother’s sister (Mary the wife of Cleophas)
    and Mary Magdalene

    or

    now
    there stood by the cross of Jesus
    his mother
    and his mother’s sister
    Mary the wife of Cleophas
    and Mary Magdalene

    My first thought was — who’d name two of their daughters “Mary”? So there must be four women listed.

    But the use of only two “and”s makes me read the verse like “Mary the wife of Cleophas” is parenthetically defining who “his mother’s sister” is — since those two aren’t separated by an “and”.

  21. Someone else might have a different insight — but I found this from a Bible commentary:

    Mary the wife of Cleophas:

    She is said, in Matthew 27:56, (see the note there), and Mark 15:40, to have been the mother of James the Less, and of Joses;

    and this James her son is said, in Matthew 10:3, to have been the son of Alpheus; hence it seems that Alpheus and Cleopas were the same person.

    To which may be added, that Hegesippus is quoted by Eusebius, Hist. Eccl. l. iii. c. 11, as saying that Cleopas was the brother of Joseph, the husband of the virgin. Theophylact says that Cleopas, (brother of Joseph, the husband of the virgin), having died childless, his brother Joseph married his widow, by whom he had four sons, called by the evangelists the brothers of our Lord, and two daughters, the one named Salome, the other Mary, the daughter of Cleopas, because she was his daughter according to law, though she was the daughter of Joseph according to nature.

    There are several conjectures equally well founded with this last to be met with in the ancient commentators; but, in many cases, it is very difficult to distinguish the different Marys mentioned by the evangelists.

    Thus, it would appear that she could be:
    (1st) A sister-in-law of Mary (the mother of Jesus)
    and then
    (2nd) A sister-wife to Mary (the mother of Jesus)

    Thus, if [as some traditions hold] Jesus was married to Mary Magdalene — then he was flanked by three Marys at the time of his death on the cross: Mary (his mother), Mary (his father’s second-wife, and his aunt), and Mary (his wife).

  22. I enjoyed reading the article with all the comments. The article has been posted 6 months ago. Has anyone since been performing the labor of beholding Christ on the cross and has anyone had any fruit thereof?

  23. This is mostly just a forum to talk about things and not do anything Gary.

  24. I’ve been working on performing the labor — but I haven’t had anything miraculous or super-natural occur.

  25. Yeah i know everyone has in their own ways been working on performing this labor…sorry for the tone of my comment. I was just passing through some frustrating things. But whenever we find ourselves frustrated with others we are frustrated with ourselves. At least frustration indicates that change is on the horizon and that breakthroughs are soon to come for ourselves and others.

    Here are some things that I pray will help anyone out there actively working to perform this surprisingly simple labor. We can look at it as complicated…but eventually we pass from confusion to a grasping of the whole only attainable through release of and free flow of the various ways…ways of describing the one.

    If we are looking at this image of the crucified Christ on the Cross then we are promised certain results. Its a formula. But be careful about forms that get us stuck halfway or at any point in the formula…causing us to ironically, miss THE point..and therefore fail at achieving the desired outcome. Matter of fact, even that desired outcome can and should be free to take any form WE CHOOSE. So lets remember that it is vanity and foolishness to think that it is one classical or in any particular and un-whole fashion that the representation must be visualized. Even though such thoughts be inspired of the Holy Scriptures. We ought to be aware that the image will tend to transform before our mind’s eye just as it might, in fact more so than it typically would while in the line of sight of any typical set of temporal human eyes.

    But for sake of getting started lets use the image of the Crucified Christ and lets say the desired outcome is an angelic visitation. If we keep looking upward to the top of this image we come across a clue. Topping this image, above all the aforementioned and none the less important details and components of this image…the feet, the pierced side, hands and crown of thorns. At the top of the cross we find a simple reminder of what we are beholding… I-N-R-I.
    “Iesus Nazarenus Rex Iudeorum” (Jesus of Nazareth, King of the Jews) But is this really all we are seeing here? Are we to take the dead words of dead men as gospel? Are we merely seeing one guy from one particular neighborhood of one particular state who is said whether mockingly or genuinely to be one particular thing to one particular people? —Of course not.

    My physical eyes as well as my mind were always drawn to this little sign nailed above the head of the Son of God in depictions I saw as a child. The mind can be distracted or blinded as Justin points out, especially by letters and words. But it can be instructed if it becomes contrite and even distraction or blindness can allow us to bypass the more male chauvinistic and borderline tyrannical aspects of our Left Brain…these vain angels which stand as sentinels there and if allowed to think for one minute. that God is not able to do HIS OWN strange and marvelous work, will sadly, as is true of ‘most men’ per D&C, assume the role of pharissite gate-keepers who do not allow us to go within and neither do they themselves enter the Kingdom of Our Father. Was Rebekah right to trick blind old I-saac (Eyes)sack into ordaining Jacob over Esau? Could not the I N R I just as easily stand for Iaminim (water) Nour (fire) Ruach (air) and Iebschah (earth)? This kind of makes the task of seeing Christ on the Cross in everything a little more plain to our understanding.

    There are other details which may be overlooked in this picture. Look below at the very base of the cruel cross and we invariably will find the Mourning Mary. Fallen at the masters feet but gripping the cross in anguish of soul she forms an ‘L’ shape. This shape is also showing the cross to be raised at a right or square angle. When the Son is lifted up to draw all men unto Him, His mother will certainly be there mourning as she feels intimate connection to His body, which though lifted up, is viewed through a veil of tears in our eyes as meeting with His downfall. This is a natural response to what we are witnessing and should be inseparable from the over-all view. But it does not end here.

    Wherever we find the ‘L’ or Square we will also find the ‘V’ or Compass symbol close at hand. On the LDS Garment they are as close as left and right breast. But with our Left and Right Brains together as a broken heart (picture Mary crying) and contrite spirit (remember that all TRUTH can and ought to be, at least every once in a while, conscribed into one great wHole) we should see that there is a positive and negative to all. We may recognize the rather obvious likeness between the L and the V insigna and the male and female genatalia respectively. But, are we always in tune enough to spot these when they show up in a darker corner of the scene? The ‘V’ for Victory symbol appears in the mistaken albeit assertive reveling of a Lucifer with uplifted and outstretched arms as he prematurely proclaims the “day of [his] great power” supposedly reigning “from the rivers to the ends of the earth.”

    Do not remain forever stuck with that pessimistic outlook inevitably adopted by More-mons, Christ-Shuns, Masons and countless other secret combinations with their accompanying support groups of upholding masses. From ancient Egypt to the Lamanites to the mound builders of today with their pyramid schemes…wickedness never was happiness….wickedness is always stupidity and the end result is always horrible human sacrifice. No happy ending, no triumph over death, just meaningless death for the sake of detacthed/meaningless forms. Aging men and women slaving and wasting away their probationary state as immigrant working class in New York City or as busy-body Senior Citizen, temple worker bees, gathering names to stuff into hexagonal cells…And this is the POLITE side of the cult-sure. Make no mistake the both the black and white sides of these Latter Day Stains will fill the world at once from one moment to the next with either terror or boredom equally deadly. Through the brain stems and ocular buds extending from a house divided only competition and segregation can be conceived. Let it go!

    But enough of these depressing details in the imagery. Why can’t we ever seem to put the L and the V together to form an X? This crux not only helps us to “mark the spot” but to spot the mark. Whereas looking beyond the mark shows us sorrow, seeing the bigger picture brings hope. And only from the all-encompassing perspective of the faithful are we able to properly view the victory as going to the firstborn in the Great Plan of Happiness. So put em all together and we get LVX, Lux or Light. The risen Christ., in deepest eternal reality unscathed but boldly wearing the marks of his martyrdom on the surface level for the overcome world to see and shut up their blasphemous mouths.

  26. Chantdown said, “…the end result is always horrible human sacrifice. No happy ending, no triumph over death, just meaningless death…”

    The labor is to LOOK. If people stepped back from their situation, which is their life, which is their illusion, they would then see truth. But that rarely happens. No wonder Atheists think Christians are loony. They look at professed Christians (Catholic, LDS, Baptist, etc) the same way we look at the Aztecs who sacrificed virgins.

    People don’t really LOOK, they GLAZE at the Jesus sacrifice and belief it is a blessing, something to take advantage of and be thankful that He died. Yet that same being, the Carpenter’s Son taught, “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.” Jesus is our friend. The ideal relationship is friendship, yet we let Jesus die for us. It’s like the people sacrificing people to the volcano Gods, hoping to avoid catastrophe. We do the same thing. Then we still die because we aren’t really looking, we are missing the point because we don’t understand. “No happy ending, no triumph over death, just meaningless death.”We should sacrifice our lives. But most when they think of that, they want human sacrifice again…they miss the point. Rather our sacrifice should be our lives(beliefs, illusions, Babylon). Christ showed us the way, that is what the gospel is, it is Christ’s way and one of the most valuable things we have on record is so simple and shows us what is the labor to perform:

    “Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” Give up all that we have and take his burden which is light. Why is it light? Our burden of illusion is so heavy it kills us literally. That is why we die.

    In the original text or when it was spoken by Jesus, the word light in this phrase might not have been an homonym. But here it works very well. The burden is physically light, as in weight. His way will not weigh down our bodies into the grave as does our present labor. His burden is LIGHT (truth/understanding). The labor Jesus performs and asks us to take upon ourselves is LIGHT (truth/understanding).

  27. So I posted a comment and it didn’t go through…must have been caught in the filter. But then it finally posted. But during that time I tried to rewrite the same idea. So anyone who has the ability can go ahead and erase my comment at 12:14pm.
    Thanks.

  28. I don’t have a testimony that the labor described here is the only labor that God intended us to always be performing. Recently I came to the conclusion that “always remember me” in 3Ne. 18:7 may mean at the most to “often think of me”. How often is up to the individual, of course.
    This is backed up by the fact that Jesus said in 3 Ne.18:12 “if ye shall always do these things”, referring to partaking of bread and water. Certainly one cannot constantly be partaking of the sacrament every minute, but one can do it often.
    So the word “always” is not categorical in that context.

  29. Maybe I said this already somewhere, but I suppose it bears repeating.

    The Savior taught that if we always remember Him, we will always have His Spirit to be with us. Now, when the Spirit is with us, what does She do?

    According to Nephi, the Spirit teaches a man to pray. Nephi goes further than that saying that we must pray always and not faint. And Jesus taught that we must pray to God the Father in His name. So, this is what the Spirit will entice us to do when She is with us, namely, to pray always to God the Father, in the name of His Son Jesus Christ, and not faint.

    So, if we yield to the enticings of the Spirit, we will be constantly looking to Christ and constantly praying to the Father in His name. Now, assuming we are doing this, the Spirit will still be with us (for we are always remembering Christ and we have not offended the Spirit, for we are obeying Her teachings to pray always and not faint.) So, the question then becomes, what else will the Spirit entice us to do?

    The answer is that the Spirit will entice us to repent of all our sins. This is because the Holy Ghost will show and tell us all things that we should do. One of those principle things is repentance, for, according to the words of Jesus, the Father commands that all men, everywhere, must repent and believe in Jesus.

    After repenting, then follows the “coming unto Christ,” remission of sins and all the rest, all of which we will be enticed to do by the Spirit. This yielding to the Spirit puts off the natural man, makes us a saint and causes us to become as a little child again, submissive, meek, humble, etc., even as the angel explained to king Benjamin.

    All that needs to “be done” is to yield to the enticings of the Spirit. The question is, how does a man get the Spirit of the Lord to be with him so that She can start enticing him to do all these things? First the Spirit must be with him before he can start going through all these changes, for it is the power of the Holy Ghost that changes the man into the saint. Man alone cannot do it himself. So, getting the Spirit to be with him is all important.

    The Savior Himself gave us the very key needed to have the Spirit be with us and to start striving with us always, or to have the Spirit start enticing us always, and that is that we must always remember Him. This key gets us the Spirit, which, if heeded, will cause us to pray always, to repent, to come to Christ and to then get the remission of sins, new Christ nature and the gifts of the Spirit.

    The whole thing appears to me to be so exceedingly plain, simple and straightforward. There are only three variables. Nothing else is needed. I don’t have to chant and light up incense, or do yoga or meditation, or cut myself, or purchase things or do any number of other things that other faiths require of their adherents to obtain communion with, and approval of, God. Just three variables is the requirement. You can’t get much simpler than that.

    If I do not look to Christ always, it’s my fault, for this yoke is easy and this burden is light. And if I look to Christ always, but do not pray to God always, again it’s my fault. And if I look always and pray always, but do not yield to the other enticings of the Spirit, once again it’s my fault and I am left without excuse for the simpleness of the way, or the easiness of it. The whole thing is merely an operation upon the hearts and minds of men, meaning that this is an internal process. I don’t need to do anything. (Even repentance is essentially a cessation of doing evil deeds.) I just need to mentally and in my heart pray, mentally look, and yield to the enticings of the Spirit upon my heart.

    So, looking to Christ always is one of the three variables to communing with God. It alone, though, is not enough. Looking to Christ on the cross (always remembering Him) is merely the start of the path to salvation. The other two variables must also be present.

  30. Gary, you stated:

    I don’t have a testimony that the labor described here is the only labor that God intended us to always be performing. Recently I came to the conclusion that “always remember me” in 3Ne. 18:7 may mean at the most to “often think of me”. How often is up to the individual, of course.
    This is backed up by the fact that Jesus said in 3 Ne.18:12 “if ye shall always do these things”, referring to partaking of bread and water. Certainly one cannot constantly be partaking of the sacrament every minute, but one can do it often.
    So the word “always” is not categorical in that context.

    You can take your pick of the four shades of meaning given for always in the 1828 dictionary.

    The 1913 dictionary gives the following shades of meaning:

    1. At all times; ever; perpetually; throughout all time; continually; as, God is always the same.

    2. Constantly during a certain period, or regularly at stated intervals; invariably; uniformly;–opposed to sometimes or occasionally.

    3. In any case; still; however. Obs. or Dial.

    Let me ask you this: if “always remember me” means “often remember me” (and how often is up to the individual), then would you say that the expression “that they may always have his Spirit to be with them” in the sacrament prayers actually means, “that they may often have his Spirit to be with them”?

    Are we given the Holy Ghost so that the Spirit may be with us often, or always?

    Is the gift of the Holy Ghost the right to have the companionship of the Holy Ghost often or always with us?

    If often is the meaning, then what is the big deal about the gift of the Holy Ghost, for unbaptized and unconfirmed persons can have the Holy Ghost come upon them often and leave often, without remaining always or constantly with them?

  31. The same or different Gary said:

    I enjoyed reading the article with all the comments. The article has been posted 6 months ago. Has anyone since been performing the labor of beholding Christ on the cross and has anyone had any fruit thereof?

    I have been actively striving to look as stated in the article. My experience, thus far, has been encouraging as I’ve witnessed the very personal soul-wringing (I will not even begin to explain this!) and heart softening effects it has had on me (and that is saying a lot since my heart has always been exceedingly prideful and hard), but no angel has come down and visited me, as yet. But the Spirit of the Lord is still working upon me and has recently cleared up some confusion I had, so I am more confident than I’ve ever been before concerning this principle.

  32. Over the last few months I’ve been seeking a remission of sins by sorrowing and weeping for my past sins. However, I recently realized that one crucial component was missing – sufficient faith in Jesus Christ. So, I searched the Scriptures on how to “exercise faith” and found Alma 33:22.
    Truth be told, on my own I wouldn’t have figured out the exact protocol that God requires i.e. specifically visualizing a dead Christ on the cross 24/7.
    Im glad I re-visited this post. This doctrine rings true and Im in a position where I can have a lot of undistracted free time.
    So, LDSA, before I plunge in, can you give me an update about the fruitfulness of this method in your life? Do you still stand by it?

  33. I always assumed that what the Israelites had to do was to turn their heads towards the serpent even for a moment and be healed instanty and so I wondered how dumb those Israelites had to be not to perform such a simple task.

    However, now, it seems that what was expected of them was not a mere glance but steadfast looking at the serpent. And so, many “would not look, therefore they perished” may not mean that they refused to even turn their heads, but it may mean they were not looking as diligently as was expected and gave up.

  34. Hey, Justin, I noticed that you also were performing the labor in 2012. Have you stopped since then. You said there had been nothing supernatural. How about a softer heart? Have you developed faith unto repentance since then? (Or in other words have you received a remission of sins by fire?)

  35. So, LDSA, before I plunge in, can you give me an update about the fruitfulness of this method in your life? Do you still stand by it?

    Yes, I still stand by it. And it has definitely been a contributing factor to having the Holy Ghost with me. But no angels have ministered yet.

  36. And so, many “would not look, therefore they perished” may not mean that they refused to even turn their heads, but it may mean they were not looking as diligently as was expected and gave up.

    –>

    But behold, the righteous that hearken unto the words of the prophets, and destroy them not, but look forward unto Christ with steadfastness for the signs which are given, notwithstanding all persecution—behold, they are they which shall not perish. (2 Ne. 26:8)

  37. I love these words which are apropos

    Look unto God with firmness of mind, and pray unto him with exceeding faith
    (Jacob 3:1)

  38. If the true meaning of “always remember Me” is to think about Christ 24/7, then I find a few passages which speak about always remembering other things to be problematic.

    Yea, I have always remembered the captivity of my fathers;
    (Alma 29:12)

    and I have always retained in remembrance their captivity; yea, and ye also ought to retain in remembrance, as I have done, their captivity.
    (Alma 36:29)

    but ye do always remember your riches
    (Helaman 13:22)

    Did they really think about their riches 24/7 ? That seems like too much diligence for a wicked person, doesnt it?

    I would that ye should always remember, and always retain in your minds what those gifts are, that are given unto the church
    (Doctrine and Covenants 46:10)

  39. LDSA, do you have anything to say wrt to my previous comment?

    I have another question in this comment.

    A. Do you agree that the meaning of Jesus’s words when visiting the Nephites

    and they pray unto me because I am with them (3 Nephi 19:22)

    does not mean that the endpoint of their prayer was Jesus Himself, but it means that the endpoint was the Father but since Jesus was physically present, the Nephites did not have to visualize Jesus in their mind hanging on the cross but they could keep their eyes open and channel their prayer directly towards/unto Jesus in the flesh.

    B. If you agree with A then why did the Nephites break the protocol of looking at Jesus dead on the cross and instead were looking at Him resurrected?

  40. Another corroborating passage:

    O foolish Galatians, who hath bewitched you, that ye should not obey the truth, before whose eyes Jesus Christ hath been evidently set forth, crucified among you?(Galatians 3:1)

  41. I would let me attempt to comment the foregoing questions:
    1. Because Our Father in heaven honors Jesus because…and it pleases him that all creations bow down before him. So believers worship Jesus Christ. And they are one God.
    2. From my Institute teacher , as long as Jesus was present physically they can( or must? Not sure) directly pray to him(Jesus).
    3. Endpoint to prayer? I am neither sure, Jesus being Alpha and Omega. As to my viewpoint and humble belief I cannot think of concept or passage (lazy me to read scripture) since I do not know what was going on (the events when the Spirit dictates to them what to pray and to where the prayers flow or to Whom to channel or where to end, passing through a wormhole of an iterative process) between the Nephites and God. They being immersed about by Trinity.
    4. Maybe they have to break the rules of how to looking to Jesus since the Bridegroom is present right before them and they being wise virgins. Or they being more righteous might have looked and viewed his death way before and now being their prize.
    Not so profound reply I guess , because Question A looks difficult. apology for intruding.

  42. jackdale76, A. Jesus’ commandments concerning prayer were the following:

    Therefore ye must always pray unto the Father in my name; and whatsoever ye shall ask the Father in my name, which is right, believing that ye shall receive, behold it shall be given unto you. Pray in your families unto the Father, always in my name, that your wives and your children may be blessed. And behold, ye shall meet together oft; and ye shall not forbid any man from coming unto you when ye shall meet together, but suffer them that they may come unto you and forbid them not; but ye shall pray for them, and shall not cast them out; and if it so be that they come unto you oft ye shall pray for them unto the Father, in my name. (3 Ne. 18:19-23)

    But later, when they did this, and received the Holy Ghost, and Jesus appeared, they were authorized by the Holy Ghost to do something different:

    “And they did pray for that which they most desired; and they desired that the Holy Ghost should be given unto them.” (3 Ne. 19:9)

    “…the Holy Ghost did fall upon them, and they were filled with the Holy Ghost…” (3 Ne. 19:12)

    “And behold, they began to pray; and they did pray unto Jesus, calling him their Lord and their God.” (3 Ne. 19:18)

    “…and they pray unto me because I am with them.” (3 Ne. 19:22)

    And that’s all we know about this situation. Jesus’ standing instructions still apply, but that specific occurrence was an exception to the standing rule, and was fully authorized by the Holy Ghost.

    B. They did what they did under authority, and by the power, of the Holy Ghost. The principle is always the same: whatever the Holy Ghost commands, do, and whatever the Holy Ghost empowers and authorizes, is a holy and justifiable act.

  43. Appreciate your response as always.

    Another question:
    LDSA, you mentioned this verse

    But behold, the righteous that hearken unto the words of the prophets, and destroy them not, but look forward unto Christ with steadfastness for the signs which are given, notwithstanding all persecution—behold, they are they which shall not perish. (2 Ne. 26:8)

    Although it has the words “look forward unto Christ”, doesnt this particular verse speak of something different than viewing His death? Doesnt “for the signs which are given” convey the meaning, “they await His birth and/or His showing Himself to the Nephites and the heaveanly signs connected therewith”?

    Also, please have a look at my comment from October 7, 2016 about “problematic passages”

  44. jackdale76,

    Although it has the words “look forward unto Christ”, doesnt this particular verse speak of something different than viewing His death? Doesnt “for the signs which are given” convey the meaning, “they await His birth and/or His showing Himself to the Nephites and the heaveanly signs connected therewith”?

    Yes, the signs they were to look for were the ones given by Samuel the Lamanite and other prophets concerning His death and resurrection and ministry among the Nephites, but it also encompassed looking to Christ in their minds. So, they were to look to Him and believe in the spirit of prophecy which was manifest among them, which prophesied of all these signs.

  45. jackdale76,

    Did they really think about their riches 24/7 ? That seems like too much diligence for a wicked person, doesnt it?

    Not at all. On my mission there were people who honestly believed that the way to get baptisms was to desire baptisms, think baptisms, speak baptisms, pray baptisms, eat baptisms and so on. Total obsession about obtaining baptisms would bring forth the fruit of baptism. This was how they believed.

    After my mission, I met many entrepreneurs whose philosophy was that to be successful (as in rich) one had to desire money, think about money, speak about money, pray for money and so on. Money had to the driving force in one’s life, according to them, in order to “attract money into one’s life.”

    Concerning the righteous, we are to look to Christ in every thought, praying always, and we are to keep certain things in our remembrance always. Specifically, we are to remember the gifts. In Alma’s time, Alma and those who knew about their captivity and deliverance, were to remember that. How do you keep something always in remembrance? By continuing to speak of it. (To remember = to bring back into one’s mind, or, more literally to a Nephite: “to again make mention of”; which can be done audibly, or inaudibly in one’s mind.) Therefore, in all my prayers I mention of, and thank the Lord for, the gifts. I always remember (make mention of) the gifts in my prayers and thus they are always on my mind. Alma and his contemporaries did the same thing concerning their captivity. But we don’t look to the gifts. There’s nothing to look at. There’s no image of a gift, for they are spiritual. Same with the captivity of Alma’s father. We look to God and remember what He tells us to remember. The wicked did not look to God, nor did they think about God’s deliverance. All they ever thought of was their riches and of getting more of the same and of lording it over others. And, like I said, it is entirely possible. I’ve met many people like this.


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