Using the Word of God as your Tribal Law


When YHVH, the God of heaven and earth, organized for Himself [from among the tribes of humankind] a family-based nation state to call “His Own” — those 12 tribes were given the word of God [now called “The law of Moses“], written on stone tablets, and later on papyrus, to be their customary mores and their common tribal law.  Thus, were any group today endeavoring to establish a gospel-based tribe unto the Lord, that group should use the written “Law of Christ” to build upon.  This is because, when all is said and done, how closely a tribe conforms to the scriptural patterns will be the key variable for determining its long-term success.

The Lord’s people are always judged by the written word:

It is the he written nature of the word of God that makes it what we’ll be judged by.  Meaning, there is a difference between what is spoken and what is written.  And the Lord judges us most according to the words that are written, not spoken.  The first thing Alma did when he escaped from king Noah’s court was write the words of Abinadi.  Why?  Because once written, they became a scriptural canon [or “measuring stick”] by which the people could now be judged.  When the same Alma was again confronted with iniquity in the church — he inquired of the Lord and received a revelation, which he wrote down so that he could judge the people by them [Mosiah 17:4 and Mosiah 26:33].

Nephi wrote:

wherefore
for this cause
has YHVH god promised me
that these things which I write
shall be kept and preserved
and handed down unto my seed
from generation to generation
that the promise may be fulfilled unto Joseph
that his seed should never perish as long as the earth should stand
wherefore
these things shall go from generation to generation
as long as the earth shall stand
and they shall go according to the will and pleasure of god
and the nations who shall possess them
shall be judged of them
according to the words which are written

[2 Nephi 25:21-22]

And YHVH has said:

for I command all people
both in the east
and in the west
and in the north
and in the south
and in the islands of the sea
that they shall write the words which I speak unto them
for out of the books which shall be written
I will judge the world
every person according to their works
according to that which is written

[2 Nephi 29:11]

And Yeshua told the Nephites:

for behold
out of the books which have been written
and which shall be written
shall this people be judged
for by them shall their works be known unto others
and behold
all things are written by the father
therefore
out of the books which shall be written
shall the world be judged

[3 Nephi 27:25-26]

And finally — in the fifth book of Moses, it is written:

and it came to pass
when Moses had made an end of writing the words of this law in a book
until they were finished
that Moses commanded those of the tribe of Levi
who carry the ark of the covenant of YHVH
saying

take this book of the law
and put it beside of the ark of the covenant of YHVH
your god
that it may be there for a witness
against you all

[Deuteronomy 31:24-26]

These sayings show that all people, all nations, the entire world — and more especially the people of the Lord — will be judged by the written word of God.  For this reason, any tribal group should use only the scriptures as their template.  We cannot look to the current, generally-accepted church practices for structure, guidance, and conformity.  Creating a scaled-down version of the same thing that exists in the larger church should not be our goal — rather it should be something that significantly different, yet still totally grounded in the word of God.

Now this doesn’t mean that every tribe that establishes itself according the written word will operate in the same manner or have an identical structure.  Because the gospel is a framework that allows all people within it to exercise their agency in righteousness.  So although it has bounds and limitations, there is a lot of leeway given so that each group can have the variety and diversity required to suit all the conditions and circumstances unique to each tribe.  As long as a tribe stays within the framework of the gospel of Jesus Christ, it will be operating under the principles of righteousness — even though it may function quite differently than another gospel-based tribe.

Following the scriptural patterns is much more important in establishing a gospel-based tribe than following the customs of the modern LDS church today or the country in which you live.  In other words, no one will be judged after death according to how closely they were conforming to what “the Church” was doing and teaching in their day — or by what was “legal” or “illegal” in their day.  Rather, all will be judged by how closely they were conforming to what is written in the scriptures, and what was written on their heart/conscience.  And this principle is the same whether we’re talking about the individual or for the tribe as a group.

In Romans 14, Paul writes:

receive any one who is weak in the faith
without having doubtful disputations
for one believes that he may eat all things
and another
who is weak
will abstain from eating meat
do not let the one who eats meat despise the one that doesn’t
and let not the one who chooses to not eat meat judge him that does eat
for god receives both

who are you to judge another man’s servant
it is by their own master alone that everyone stands or falls
and each shall be upheld
for god is able to make everyone stand

one person esteems one day above another
another esteems all days alike
let everyone be fully persuaded in their own mind
the one who regards the day
does so unto YHVH
a
nd the one that doesn’t
is doing that for YHVH too
he that eats meat
eats it unto YHVH
for he gives god thanks for it
while he that doesn’t eat

abstains for YHVH
and gives the same god thanks

for none of us live unto ourselves
and none of us die to ourselves
for whether we live
we live unto YHVH
and whether we die
we die unto YHVH
whether we live or die
therefore
we belong to YHVH

to this end
the messiah died
rose
and was revived
that he might be the lord of both the dead and the living

but why would you judge your own sister or brother?
or why would you disregard your brother or sister?
for we shall all stand before the judgment seat of the messiah
for it is written

as I live

saith YHVH

every knee shall bow to me
and every tongue shall confess to god

so then everyone of us
shall give an account of own self to god
let us not
therefore
judge one another anymore
but judge this rather
that no one put a stumblingblock
or an occasion to fall
in the way of another
I know
and am persuaded by our master
Yeshua
that there is nothing unclean in and of itself
but to the one that esteems a thing to be unclean
to that person it is unclean
so if your brother is grieved by the eating of meat
walk charitably
and do not destroy a person for whom the messiah died
just because of your diet choices
let not your good be evil spoken of

the kingdom of god is not food and drink
but righteousness
and peace
and joy in the holy ghost
anyone who serves the messiah
in this things
is acceptable to god
and approved among others
let us
therefore
pursue things that make peace
and things wherewith one may edify another

matters of practice
like food choices
do not destroy the works of god
all things indeed are pure
but it is evil for someone who would do something
that would offend their conscience
it is good
to not eat meat or drink wine or to abstain from any other thing
whereby your neighbor would stumble
be offended
or be made weak

do you have faith?
then have it to yourself before god
happy is the one who does not condemn himself
in the things he allows himself to do
it’s the one who doubts that will be damned
if he partakes
because he’s not acting with faith
because whatsoever is not of faith is sin

[Romans 14]

Paul is saying that matters of practice such as:

  • observing holy days (or not)
  • avoiding certain foods or drinks (or eating/drinking whatever)

are not matters that pertain to our walk with God.  Where we will be judged is in our actions towards others (how we acted towards them) and how we acted in relation to our own consciences.

Saints of God may legitimately disagree on certain particulars of religious devotion and on the exact physical form that a life that’s been turned-over to God is “supposed” to take.  The proper response to that variability among believers is not judgement or self-righteously rubbing one’s own divergent practices in the faces of the others — but it is accept that variation with patience and charity and to do all things that foster edification and joy among the differing groups.

“Gospel-based” tribes:

So — when I write about the “GEMTAM” as a model of gospel-based, egalitarian, multihusband-multiwife anarchical tribes — I don’t mean to equate “gospel-based” with “LDS chruch-based”.  And the “anarchy” means that each tribe should be free to work out the details of their own tribe and make modifications to the model as they see fit and as suits their circumstances suit them best.

The main chapters of the GEMTAM book will be written so as to give the principles of the model in a concise manner using the letters in the acronym “GEMTAM” — and to show how each letter is scripturally-grounded.

However, I’d say that the principles of the gospel [upon which an enduring tribe should be based] need not be “LDS church”-principles.  Rather, they’ll be the principles of the gospel upon which any deist, humanist, or non-theist could see the value in:

  • honesty
  • forgiveness
  • love
  • patience
  • meekness
  • kindness
  • fairness
  • sacrifice
  • etc.

And even then — one is still free to build a tribe that is not based on gospel principles if they are so inclined [and I’m sure they’d have success because the other principles like egalitarianism, marriage fidelity, plural kinship bonds, and common consent have such strength that they’d still see success] — it’s just that it’s the establishment of righteous tribes, established on the foundation which is Christ, that we desire for everyone — because I feel that only those such tribes will be everlastingly enduring.

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2 Comments

  1. I really enjoyed this post on the importance and purpose of the written word.

    “It is the he written nature of the word of God that makes it what we’ll be judged by”

    It is interesting how, on the other side of the veil, God simply speaks with power and the elements come together, yet on this side of the veil, the written word becomes extremely important in preserving the integrity of God’s word and commandments in written form, for the children of men over many generations, which would otherwise corrupt through an oral tradition.

    It is also possible that there is a mystical power associated with the written word in this sphere.

    Also-

    “that there is nothing unclean in and of itself
    but to the one that esteems a thing to be unclean
    to that person it is unclean”

    I really like that passage, as it removes judgment from an objective, exterior appearance of reality to the subjective, interior of a person’s inner perception AND conscience.

    I believe Titus 1:15 is a related concept-

    “Unto the pure all things are pure but unto them that are defiled and unbelieving is nothing pure..”

    I find something interesting embedded within this segment of the following passage in your post:

    “walk charitably
    and do not destroy a person for whom the messiah died
    just because of your diet choices
    let not your good be evil spoken of
    the kingdom of god is not food and drink
    but righteousness
    and peace
    and joy in the holy ghost
    anyone who serves the messiah
    in this things
    is acceptable to god
    and approved among others”

    What I am seeing in the above passage is an apparent implication that two people can both be joying in the Holy Ghost and yet have differing opinions about secondary tenets of the Gospel.

    I think that is a profound reality of the sphere we live in.

    In such a case, they can choose to keep joying in the Holy Ghost with each other in a state of non-judgment, or they can focus on their disagreements and allow contention to chase the Holy Ghost away.

    It is a great doctrinal platform for finding common ground with those who view some aspects of the gospel differently.

    Interestingly, it is sometimes our desire and hope to be of “one heart and one mind” NOW, before Zion is brought forth that causes judgment and contention.

    “And the Lord called his people a Zion, because they were of b one heart and one mind, and dwelt in righteousness”

    Perhaps the above state should be anticipated in the future but not expected right now

  2. In the OP, I had written:

    all will be judged by how closely they were conforming to what is written in the scriptures, and what was written on their heart/conscience

    And then OWIW bringing up the scripture:

    and YHVH called his people

    Zion

    because they were of one heart
    and one mind
    and dwelt in righteousness

    both made me think about the “gathering together of all things in one” that is to happen in the dispensation of the restoration of all things.

    Obviously, we know of the coming forth of lost works of scripture — e.g., the brass plates, the sealed portion of the gold plates, the fullness of John’s testimony, records from the people of God in nations we do not yet know about. This gathering together of the various canons used at different times and in different cultures is for the purpose of establishing one common circle or boundary of written law for all of God’s saints.

    for
    as many as have sinned
    outside the bounds of the law
    shall perish outside the law
    and
    as many as did sin
    being inside the law
    shall be judged through law

    for it is not the ones who hear the law that are declared righteous in the presence of god
    but those who do the law are declared just

    for
    when gentiles
    who do not have god’s written law
    do
    by their very nature
    the things inside the law
    they become the boundaries of the law
    unto themselves
    they manifest the word of the law
    written in their hearts

    with their own consciences acting as witness for them
    and their own thoughts either accusing or defending

    [Romans 2:12-15]

    But there’s not only a gathering together of written words — but a gathering together of hearts [family] and minds [shared beliefs].

    In this grand Gathering-Together-Of-All-Things-In-One, the divergent and over-lapping boundaries of the various scriptural canons will be converged into One-Circle — and the law written in the thoughts and consciences of each of us will be brought into conformity with the bounds of that One-Circle. Making the Lord’s people united in the bonds [and bounds] of all things.


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