Why the Gospel Requires Embodied Proxies


Surfing the Internet back in February, I came across the following three questions on another blog:

“Why do people have to have ordinances performed on physical, mortal bodies, thus necessitating proxies?”

“If the ordinances can transfer to spirits via proxies, why can’t the spirits be baptized?”

“And if there is some reason why they have to be performed on physical, mortal bodies, why can’t this wait until the resurrection?”

The questions intrigued me and I endeavored to answer them. The exercise ended up drawing out new information (new to me, at least), which is why I’m copying it onto this blog. This post contains those comments I left there, but with clarifications, corrections and a little expansion. First, though, here’s a review of two scriptures concerning baptism for the living and dead.

Baptism for the living; vicarious baptism for the dead

We believe that the first principles and ordinances of the Gospel are: first, Faith in the Lord Jesus Christ; second, Repentance; third, Baptism by immersion for the remission of sins; fourth, Laying on of hands for the gift of the Holy Ghost. (AoF 1:4)

And as I wondered, my eyes were opened, and my understanding quickened, and I perceived that the Lord went not in person among the wicked and the disobedient who had rejected the truth, to teach them; but behold, from among the righteous, he organized his forces and appointed messengers, clothed with power and authority, and commissioned them to go forth and carry the light of the gospel to them that were in darkness, even to all the spirits of men; and thus was the gospel preached to the dead.

And the chosen messengers went forth to declare the acceptable day of the Lord and proclaim liberty to the captives who were bound, even unto all who would repent of their sins and receive the gospel.

Thus was the gospel preached to those who had died in their sins, without a knowledge of the truth, or in transgression, having rejected the prophets.

These were taught faith in God, repentance from sin, vicarious baptism for the remission of sins, the gift of the Holy Ghost by the laying on of hands, and all other principles of the gospel that were necessary for them to know in order to qualify themselves that they might be judged according to men in the flesh, but live according to God in the spirit.

And so it was made known among the dead, both small and great, the unrighteous as well as the faithful, that redemption had been wrought through the sacrifice of the Son of God upon the cross. (D&C 138:29-35)

My comments with [clarifications], [corrections] and [expansions] in [brackets]

Why do people have to have ordinances performed on physical, mortal bodies, thus necessitating proxies?

It’s patterned after the way God saves us: through Jesus Christ, a[n embodied] Proxy[, even the Only Begotten Son of God, according to the flesh.]  This points our minds to Christ.

If the ordinances can transfer to spirits via proxies, why can’t the spirits be baptized?

Because they are imprisoned [referring to the bands of death, which prohibit naked spirits from getting their bodies back and being baptized]. We do the work for them because they cannot do the work for themselves.

And if there is some reason why they have to be performed on physical, mortal bodies, why can’t this wait until the resurrection?

Because they [the resurrected, damned souls] are still, technically imprisoned [referring to the chains of hell, not the bands of death]. No one can break the chains of hell without faith in Christ and no spirit in hell can exercise faith in Christ without the ordinances being done in their behalf. A resurrected, unclean spirit cannot be baptized, for they remain unclean, having never exercised faith in Christ [after dying in their sins]. Although they have left the geographical location of hell, they still have the chains of hell upon them and are still subject to the devil. In their resurrected state, having the Lord before them, they cannot exercise faith, for now they have a perfect knowledge. It is faith alone that saves. Therefore, their only hope is through vicarious ordinances performed in their behalf, and missionary proxies preaching [to] them while they are still spirits in prison. If they can exercise faith in Christ while they are there, prior to their resurrection, they can free themselves from their chains and obtain salvation.

So, LDS Anarchist, what you’re saying is: Spirits can’t be baptized because there are no fonts in spirit prison.

No, what I’m saying is that 1) they are still impenitent [referring to the chains of hell] and 2) they are bound [referring to the bands of death]. Whether there is water or not in hell makes no difference, whatsoever. They can’t be baptized because they have no faith nor repentance because they are bound by the chains of hell [as well as by the bands of death]. That’s what chains do, they stop you from doing things you otherwise might do. It’s called prison for a reason.

[In other words, the chains of hell keep them impenitent, or incapable of exercising faith and repentance, which must precede baptism to qualify for baptism, and the bands of death keep them from being baptized because they don’t have a body. The double captivity whammy of sin and death makes it, essentially, impossible to escape hell.]

[You, LDS Anarchist, wrote,]

We do the work for them because they cannot do the work for themselves.

Ironically, doesn’t that sound like Satan’s plan?

I’m not sure what you’re talking about. Satan’s plan was to save man by destroying agency. The Lord’s plan was to save man while retaining agency. Both wanted to be the Father’s proxy (His only begotten Son.) Under the Lord’s plan, there are a multitude of proxies, we [the people of the Lord] acting in the name of the Lord, in behalf of ourselves and others, as “saviors on mount Zion,” while the devil’s plan had only one proxy and savior acting under his own power and authority: him [the devil].

Are you saying they have no agency?

The spirits in hell have no agency. They are subject to the spirit of the devil and are bound in the chains of hell. He is the warden there. It operates according to his destruction-of-agency rules. Spirit missionaries traveling from paradise to hell to bring the gospel light to their darkness would be unable to get anyone to exercise faith in Christ and free themselves, because they cannot be baptized. Proxy baptism opens the way for them to exercise faith and shake off their chains.

And where does it say that there are no fonts in spirit prison?

Fonts in hell would serve no purpose, except to torment people further. Since the devil is a sadist, perhaps he does have fonts there.

One more thing. The ordinance of baptism requires complete immersion (of the soul.) Your physical body is as much a part of you as is your spirit body. So that’s the requirement. All of the fallen man must be immersed. The unbaptized spirits in prison are screwed because they have no power to get their bodies back, thus [they] cannot exercise faith unto salvation. So the Lord provides a way for their escape from prison, by making temple workers proxy souls. The ordinance of baptism, then, is of necessity an earthly ordinance. It must be performed by embodied spirits (souls.)

But what about the souls in spirit prison that have accepted the gospel and are ready to accept the proxy ordinance, but it hasn’t been performed yet…?

The principle of a future savior (on mount Zion) still applies, allowing them to exercise faith and escape. This is how the ancients who lived prior to Christ obtained faith. But if there were never any work done for the dead, none of the dead could exercise faith.

Are you saying that up until the point where the proxy ordinance is preformed they have no faith nor repentance, then as soon as someone performs the proxy ordinance, then they stop being impenitent…?

No. I’m saying that there must be a way for the ordinance to be performed, in order for the commandment to be fulfilled, otherwise no amount of preaching to the dead could allow them to generate faith. They are hopelessly bound by the devil’s chains and also by the bands of death. They have lost all agency, all hope and thus, all faith. The missionaries preaching in prison bring them agency, through the light of the gospel, and hope for escape from hell through the vicarious works and also hope of a resurrection. All of this allows them to begin to exercise faith and repent, which, if they do, shakes the chains off.

Which is it? Spirits in Spirit Prison are physically incapable of being baptized or they lack the faith and repentance to be baptized? Or some combination of the two…?

It is both. Their are two bands or bonds they are powerless to overcome. The first are the chains of hell, which subject them to the devil. To put it in more modern terms, subjection to the devil means that he takes total control over you, so that you become a mind-controlled slave, or a robot, a puppet. The “you” of you ceases to exist. Your will becomes (forcefully) swallowed up in the impenitent will of the devil. You lose all agency and become a thing that is merely acted upon. This is slavery on an absolute level. The second bond are the bands of death, which also provide many limitations.

In mortality, a person (who has not sinned unto death) can exercise faith, repent of all their sins and then fulfill the commandments of baptism, etc., because first, there are no bands of death on them and second, any chains of hell upon them are powerless to drag them down to hell (because of the body) and are also powerless to subject them to the devil. These conditions of mortality allow us to have agency and make choices according to our wills. Once we die, though, the limitations of the chains are removed and if we still have chains attached, all is lost.

Thus, people who die in their sins also die a spiritual death, as Jacob taught. This is also why if there were no resurrection, we would all become angels to the devil, again as Jacob taught. Death and hell present an insurmountable obstacle to mankind’s very existence, for according to the very laws of the universe, the devil must always win. But then the Lord provides the miracle of the atonement, providing a way for our escape.

And it is miraculous, for the spirits in hell have the will of the devil, and so are incapable of repenting or exercising faith. They can no longer choose their own path. They are powerless to get their bodies back. This makes it impossible for them to escape from their spiritual and physical death. But irregardless, the Lord provides a resurrection of the physically dead and a resurrection of the spiritually dead, doing the impossible.

If the missionaries preaching in prison bring them agency — and the hope for possible ordinances allows them to begin to exercise faith and repent, hence shake off their chains — then why can’t the missionaries in prison dedicate a spirit baptismal font and baptize them once they’ve repented?

The ordinance of baptism is a washing ordinance. We are washing “our garments.” You know how in the scriptures it says that many high priests washed their garments in the blood of the Lamb and were made clean? All things from the Spirit have both literal and symbolic meaning. There are no pure symbols in the gospel, but all symbols are based on real, concrete things. A real thing is symbolically called this or that because it reminds one of something else. So, we partake of new wine in the sacrament because wine reminds us of the blood of Christ, because it looks like blood, etc. The wine is a real thing that is used symbolically to represent another real thing: blood. To the prophetic mind, the physical body is a garment, for we put it on at birth and take it off at death, just as we do a cloth garment. Baptism is the ordinance in which we wash our “garment.” A[n] unembodied or disembodied spirit cannot wash his or her garment in baptism, for they are naked spirits, and that ordinance is specifically for the washing of the “garment.” Baptizing a disembodied spirit does not meet the requirements of the ordinance, nor its purposes. Because of this, baptizing spirits is powerless to generate faith. It must be done by embodied spirits.

Alternately, if the spirits of the dead don’t have the agency to repent and stop being mind-controlled robots, then how do they have the faith, repentance, and agency to accept the proxy baptism once it is performed?

The spirits in prison are kept in darkness by the devil. They are spiritually dead. I’ll put it another way: they are dead spirits. The devil is a murderer from the beginning and as soon as they are dragged down to hell, they die. In other words, he kills them. How do you kill an immortal spirit? By taking away their ability to perceive. If you can’t see, hear, or have any other sense, if you can’t even perceive your own thoughts, you will cease to exist as you. You lose your identity, your sense of time and everything else. This is accomplished by the darkness and the chains. Thus, they have no agency or power.

When the missionaries arrive, though, they bring with them light (if not so, the darkness would overpower even them) and this light allows the spirits to perceive once again, granting them agency. They still have to contend with the chains (which are real things that symbolically represent and look like, intertwining chains, and which also look like the tares plant, hence the prophets giving them that name, too) but they are no longer fully subject to the devil and can choose to exercise faith and repent.

Are you saying that the fact of performing the proxy ordinance breaks that spirit’s chains and allows the spirit to develop faith?

The chains of hell (also called the bonds of iniquity, since they proceed from the spirit of the devil) cannot be broken by ordinances. They have to be shaken off or shaken loose in the process of “working out one’s own salvation with fear and trembling before the Lord.” That process requires faith, repentance, and coming to the Lord with a broken heart and a contrite spirit. That process starts with faith, but no faith can be generated if the process is doomed to fail even before it begins. The spirits must be given hope. They must be given good news. If they are told, “You must have faith and repent, but you can’t be baptized nor will you ever be able to,” this would extinguish all chance of them ever attaining faith, for there is no salvation without baptism. This is why we perform baptisms for the dead.

In other words, you seem to be saying that because they died in their sins (and are bound by their chains of unfaithfulness), they can’t be baptized. OK, well then why can they be proxy-baptized? Does the proxy baptism itself somehow grant them agency so that they are no longer mind-controlled slave/robots?

The light the missionaries brings with them grants them agency. Proxy baptism allows them to be able to exercise faith unto salvation. Proxy baptism is permissible in the gospel because it develops faith, as does every other part of the gospel. Unless faith is developed, no salvation is possible. The chains of hell, once attached, are impossible to detach except through faith. In other words, it is faith that saves. Faith is the first principle of the gospel. All the other aspects of the gospel are for faith maintenance or faith development, which also makes them salvific. But nothing in the gospel saves apart from faith. You can go through all the motions you want in the gospel, if you never develop faith the chains are still attached and upon your death you will find yourself in hell, despite all your “gospel living.” So a man cannot go to paradise with chains attached, for they drag him back. A man can’t get a physical, resurrected body with chains attached and expect to be free of them by virtue of his new body. It doesn’t work that way. No, that body is Satan’s. His possession alone. Just as king Benjamin taught, the Lord does not take what belongs to another.

Summarized principles

Those were the comments, which I wrote in February earlier this year.  Now to summarize the principles:

Baptism is ineffectual in the resurrection

To qualify for baptism, faith and repentance must precede it. A resurrected, unclean spirit cannot be baptized, for they remain unclean, having never exercised faith in Christ unto repentance. After leaving the geographical location of hell, through their resurrection, they are brought before the Lord to be judged. They cannot exercise faith in this state, for they will have a perfect knowledge. Because it is faith alone that saves, baptizing them can have no power to save them, for baptism only has power to maintain and further develop the faith that a person already has. It has no power to engender faith in individuals devoid of faith, being a dead work to such people.

Soul baptism (spirit + flesh “garments”) is the ordinance

The ordinance of baptism requires complete immersion of the soul. Your physical body is as much a part of you as is your spirit body, it being the physical “garments” of the spirit. So that’s the requirement. All of the man (spirit + flesh) must be immersed. We are entirely dipped into water, while clothed in flesh, washing our garments in the watery liquid. This garment of flesh is like a physical kabod that covers the anthropomorphic part of us, corresponding to the spiritual kabod that we also have.

Baptizing a naked spirit does not fulfill the ordinance requirements

Owing that naked spirits have lost their physical bodies and have no power to get them back, spirits in hell cannot be validly baptized, nor can the spirits in paradise be baptized in behalf of those in hell, because, they, also, do not meet the requirements of the ordinance, having no physical garment to wash.

There can be no faith without baptism

We teach faith, repentance, baptism and the laying on of hands for the gift of the Holy Ghost as an ordered progression for those who have reached the age of accountability. The commandment is to exercise faith in Jesus Christ, repent of all one’s sins, be baptized in water and receive the Holy Ghost. If you are taught these principles but are unable to be baptized and confirmed by the laying on of hands because you do not have a physical body, you cannot comply with the commandment. It will be impossible, then, for you to exercise faith unto repentance, because you cannot see the commandment to completion and receive the remission of your sins. You cannot fulfill the required baptismal witness. Preaching the gospel requirements (the first four principles and ordinances) to spirits, then, while simultaneously telling them they cannot comply with them, has no power to engender faith in anyone.

Vicarious baptism must, of necessity, be performed by the embodied people of the Lord

Embodied, proxy baptism fulfills the gospel requirements in behalf of disembodied (disrobed) spirits, so that now, when a missionary preaches the gospel to them, they can exercise faith and escape hell, confident that the vicarious baptism has been or will be done in their behalf. Therefore only the embodied people of the Lord, prior to the resurrection, can provide the necessary proxies to save the people in hell by allowing them to exercise faith, which is why temple work must be done on this side of the veil.

One proxy vs. a multitude of proxies

God’s plan calls for a multitude of proxies, all of them becoming saviors on mount Zion, patterned after the embodied Christ who performed the ordinance of atonement in our behalf, whereas Satan’s plan called for just one proxy: himself. (The missionary work done in hell is likewise patterned after the disembodied Christ who traveled to paradise to declare to them the day of their deliverance.)

Spirits in hell can leave on the faith and hope alone of future ordinance work being done

A spirit does not need to wait for his ordinance work to be done, in order to have sufficient faith to leave hell. All he needs to know is that the work will be done at some point in the future. This allows him to have hope and to exercise faith that it will be done. The urgency of ordinance work is not that undone ordinance work prohibits spirits from shaking off the chains of hell and leaving that region of darkness, but that it prohibits a spirit that has already left hell and gone to paradise from entering paradise. They can go to paradise, but cannot enter into it until the work is done, for like all hollow spheres, there is an outer and an inner part. The outer surface is where people wait until the work is done. The inner part is for those who have the ordinances. Those “appointed there” at the gates make sure that no one can pass into the interior of paradise (see D&C 132:18), but once the salvation ordinance work is done, then the people can pass by those “set there” (see D&C 132:19.)

It’s all about engendering, maintaining and developing faith

The first principle of the gospel, faith, is engendered through the atonement of Jesus Christ. All the other principles of the gospel are to maintain that faith and to further develop it. If you exercise faith unto repentance, but afterward return again to your sins, the faith you have engendered is not maintained and you lose it. The commandment to be baptized in water after you have exercised faith and repented of all your sins maintains your faith when you comply with it. The same is true with all the other commandments of God; when you obey them, the faith in you is maintained, and when you disobey them, faith is lost. Everything, then, in the gospel, is an act of faith, either one of engendering, maintaining or developing.

Complete List of Articles authored by LDS Anarchist

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Unity of God


A uni-verse [the One-Story]; a tale being told:

The world does not consist of “things”, but of interactions — and it is the interactions that give the appearance of “things”.  All “things” are fundamentally a verb.  But the base-“stuff” of all creation [at the deep-down and far-in level] — the noun, is the same.  What makes the variety of created things that we can observe in the universe consists of the “verb” the one-thing is doing.

Like a whirlpool, we appear as a static-and-solid form — but what we are is actually quite dynamic-and-fluid.  Your body’s cells are in a constant process of dying-out and replacing themselves:  every  moment, every day, every month — year-by-year.  Most of what you “know” was experienced by cells that have long-since been sloughed and replaced with new ones.

When you eat or breathe — your cells [which are communities of atoms] are designed so that they will be put in close proximity to the food or air [which are also communities of atoms] under conditions conducive enough for the right kind-of chemistry to happen — and allow some of these atoms to trade places.

Your skin does not separate you from the world — it’s the bridge through which the external environment flows into you, and you into it.  Because of your skin, you have a definite form/shape that others can recognize, but [as the whirlpool is a constant flow of water] the whole world is constantly moving through you.  All the cosmic radiation, all the water, food, and minerals, all the air, even the feelings and sensations — are a stream of everything, flowing right through “You”.  And you spin that stream into a constant form — a wave that I can wave to, and call “You”.

This is why you can take the particles of my body, bury them in the ground, and have them go on to become:

  • the fiber of a toadstool
  • the lignin of an oak tree
  • the petals of a dandelion
  • the keratin of the hair of a rabbit
  • starch in a potato
  • O2 for you to breathe
  • and CO2 to buffer your blood

But none of that would cause the “Me” [the stream of consciousness and torrent of particles that you would have seen, experienced, and known as “Me”] to be lost.  When resurrected, I cannot get ALL of the particles that made-up my body — because during the decades of living, there were never any ONE set of atoms that were ever “mine”.

Some of the particles I “had” as a child already went on to become part of something/someone else before I even died.  And some of the atoms that “belonged” to me at the time of death were fertilizing a blade of grass before the time appointed for the resurrection.

“I” am not the particles of my body — I can’t be the “pieces” because those are constantly changing [even right now, at this very moment].  My cells are each a constant flow of atoms and electrons:  from the environment, through me, and back-out again.

“I” am this unique arrangement of nucleotides, amino acids, and minerals — a spell(ing) of alphabetic compounds [A-T-C-G; Met-Lys-Cys-Thr-Arg-Phe; C-H-O-Na-Fe-Ca-P].  The “Me” is the energy that informs [or gives form] to that dynamic stream [or flow] of particles — making them constantly appear as the continuous form everyone perceives and relates to as Me.

The power of the resurrection does not give me the same particles back — because those are irrelevant.  There never were any “specific pieces” that made me, “Me” anyway.  The power of the resurrection is the moment when my unique arrangement of particles is made physical again.

The Supreme Being [the Ultimate Doing], the principle verb:

“Being” is a verb word — and we are Human-beings, and God is the Supreme-Being.  God is that this-or-that one Actor or Actress who is being “God” — rather, God is the “verb” that we can all do [see The Doctrine of Identity].

Those who obtain the ability to do the works of God, to be the Supreme Being — will be the ones who have the capacity to reorganize their physical form and keep it in the kingdom of God.

On the other hand, those who fail to obtain this ability will lose all power to maintain the highly-organized state of “existence”.  Their physical body [the “pieces”] will go on to provide form for other creations, while their spirit/consciousness [the “energy” that informs the pieces] will be lost to entropy, becoming an indistinguishable bit of the cosmic radiation background.

Which category you find yourself in depends entirely upon which “spirit doth possess your body at the time that ye go out of this life,” because that’s the “same spirit will have power to possess your body in that eternal world,” — whether that be

  • the spirit of the devil
  • or the spirit of the Lord

[see Alma 34:34-35 and A person, being evil, cannot do that which is good].

Works/Doings of the Flesh [which will have an end]:

now the works of the flesh are manifest
which are these

  • covenant-breaking
  • sexual misconduct
  • ritual impurity
  • indulging the pleasures of the senses
  • idolatry
  • use or administration of pharmakeia
  • enmity
  • contention
  • jealousies
  • fiery anger
  • partisanship
  • dividing into divisions
  • and sects
  • envyings
  • murders
  • intoxication
  • engaging in revelry and debauchery

and other things of like kind
of which I tell you now
as I have also told you before
that they which do such things
shall not receive inheritance in
the kingdom of god

[Galatians 5:19-21]

and

because their hearts are set
so much upon the things of this world
and aspire to the honors of men
[and] they do not learn
this one lesson —

that the rights of the priesthood
are inseparably connected with the powers of heaven
and that the powers of heaven
cannot be controlled nor handled
only upon the principles of righteousness
that they may be conferred upon us
it is true
but when we undertake to

  • cover our sins
  • gratify our pride
  • gratify our vain ambition
  • exercise control
  • exercise dominion
  • exercise compulsion

upon the souls of the children of men
in any degree of unrighteousness
behold
the heavens withdraw themselves
the spirit of YHVH is grieved
and when it is withdrawn

amen

to the priesthood
or the authority
of that man
behold
before he becomes aware of it
he is left unto himself
to kick against the pricks
to persecute the saints
and to fight against god

we have learned
by sad experience
that it is the nature
and disposition
of almost all men
as soon as they get a little authority
as they suppose
they will immediately begin
to exercise unrighteous dominion

[D&C 121:35-39]

Upon death, we will each of us find that the laws of physics which had [until that point] allowed us to:

  • force air into our lungs by manipulating air pressure differences between our chest cavity and the atmosphere
  • force gases to exchange at our lungs and tissues by taking advantage of the partial pressures of the various gases
  • prevent our bodies from going right through physical objects [including the ground] by relying on the electromagnetic repulsion of the electrons surrounding our body and the electrons surrounding the other objects
  • rob food of its low-entropy/high-energy value by chemically stripping the carbons and the electrons from the fats and starches and giving back out high-entropy/low-energy waste products
  • etc.

will have ceased to work “just so”.

The present, mortal environment does not respond to the informing commands of our spirit out of respect for our level of righteousness.  Rather, in His mercy, the Lord has commanded the physical elements here to allow us to push them around and force them — regardless of righteousness or our lack thereof.

They are presently voluntarily-submitting to God’s request — and this is why we are presently able to manipulate the elements that make up our mortal existence, according to a specific set of laws that we’ve observed, studied, and defined as “The Laws of Physics”  [see The seeds of the powers of godliness].

Upon death — God’s merciful probation with the physical elements ends.  The elements will again respond as they always have — according to the principles of free-agency, consent, and respect.  If we have not learned to command our will in the universe according to the principles of righteousness — then we will find ourselves in an awful situation in the afterlife.  For it will be impossible for your spirit [your “soul” or “consciousness”] to force the elements to do anything against their will.

You will find yourself with an insatiable desire to eat, the feeling of unquenchable thirst, the perpetual sensation of suffocation — but have no way to alleviate the feelings.  You will find yourself pulled-down by gravity into the central portion of the earth’s outer shell — a place of immense heat and crushing pressure, a “spirit prison” or hell [see Teachings on hell and the spirit world].

Once at the center of hell, gravity pushes you equally in all direction.  Therefore, your body will act like an astronaut’s does while in orbit.  You will have no power to move this-way or that-way.  There is nothing your spirit could “act upon” in order to move around.

In fact, the only way you will be able to “move” at all is by Satan moving you around [as he desires you to be moved] by pulling on the chains of hell attached to the base of your head [see How to receive what you ask for].

This makes you entirely subject to him — which is the very definition of “damnation”:

if they be evil
to the resurrection
of endless damnation
being delivered up to the devil
who hath subjected them
which is damnation

[Mosiah 16:11]

Works/Doings of the Spirit [which will continue in perpetuity]:

but the fruit of the spirit is

  • charity
  • joy
  • peace
  • patience
  • gentleness
  • goodness
  • faith
  • meekness
  • moderation and self-control

against such
there is no law

[Galatians 5:22-23]

and

no power or influence
can or ought
to be maintained
by virtue of the priesthood
it can only be by

  • persuasion
  • patience
  • gentleness
  • and meekness
  • and genuine love
  • kindness
  • pure knowledge

[…]
the holy spirit shall be thy constant companion
and thy scepter
an unchanging scepter of righteousness and truth
and thy dominion
shall be an everlasting dominion
and without compulsory means
it shall flow unto thee forever and ever

[D&C 121:41-42, 46]

Divinity is found in being bound to the most, serving the most, and being connected to the most – not vice-versa.  The nature of reality, rather than being monotheistically ONE, is [on its basic, fundamental level] polytheistically MANY.  A plurality of intelligences.

The revelation of God in the scriptures is that the governing Power of existence is a Personage that relates to the universe with [what the Hebrews called] “chesed” – the loving-kindness and compassion of a God who relates to us with the level of intimacy that is only the result of “beriyth” – or a covenant.

God is not self-existent – for He does all things, including creation, through voluntary covenant with free entities.  Creation was an act of council – of covenant between free and independent agents.  This actually means that He is bound to all things.  And a “self-existing” Being is independent and cannot be bound.

This is why God could “cease to be God”.  Our heavenly Father is “God” because of the covenant He has bound Himself into, with us.  His covenant relationship with creation means He exists for/because of us – not Himself.  Likewise, all things exists because they have bound themselves in covenant with God.  That’s why those who breach the terms of this covenant return to “their own place” in outer darkness – where there is no existence.

Neither the elements of the universe, nor God, are self-existing or independent — because the existence of both parties is a covenant relationship with the other.  Both we and God are self-inter-dependent, one with another.

The unity of God, then, comes as a product – not as an ex nihilo starting point — but a result.  Faith, common consent, persuasion, long-suffering, gentleness, meekness, charity, etc. are not some stop-gap measures or some temporary/transient states-of-mind that we can drop once we’re “with God”.

For even the Gods must have and keep faith and must persuade and cooperate – for these things are the very fabric of the trusting engagement and co-valent, covenant relationship between all things [see Deep Waters: What would have happened if Lucifer had won the vote?].  At the very bottom [the root or base], Reality is plural and “God” is the unity, order, and cooperation that emerges from that.

Each of our Stories contributes to the Uni-story — One-verse in a Multi-verse:

The universe is a fragmented web, an ornate arabesque of energy, a flow of information that moves through all the variety of interconnected “things” – as wind or water moves.  And we are sym-phonic beings — and should not be content with mono-tony:  rows-and-rows of uniform, conformed, industrialized, factory-farmed, marketed, commoditzed sameness.

All of our “mono-“s [mono-theism, mono-culture, mono-gamy] share the common feature of being less robust and less diverse caricatures of a natural and diverse state of Reality.  All of our –archy’s and –ism’s are just temporary, arbitrary, and illusionary attempts to control things that are what they are because they are natural, diverse, and without someone to “rule” it all.

Statists want to see God as “ordered”, “ordering”, “imposing”, etc.  They pattern Him after the cosmic monoarch because they arise from cultures that were predominately monoarchy-s — and “chaos” or “undirected activity” is a problem that causes them anxiety and fight-or-flight stress.  But there is nothing to be feared from “chaos” — for it is only the unknown we fear when we look upon chaos, nothing more.

It’s not about a battle between “chaos vs. order” — that’s the wrong debate.  It’s about fearing the chaos or desiring the order — pitting one against the other.

LDS are at a bit of an advantage [theologically-speaking] over other Christians in this regard — because the creation of earth in our mythos is said to be an organization of “matter unorganized“.  Pre-existing material, arranged and put to good use.  In our creation myth — the Gods come into a space of chaos, and give it power — give it a purpose worth fulfilling.

But it’s not about “fighting” chaos with order or about embracing chaos “over” order.  For example, the family is an ordered unit.  The higher entropy [greater disorder, “chaos”] state would be for each of the members to exist as separate ego-islands, unto themselves.  Yet we order ourselves into families — and are protected against the effects of entropy by virtue of our organization as a community [called “family”].

And our brains aren’t active by virtue of having some “King Neuron” who runs the whole show — rather it has its strength according to the number of connections running between all the neurons together.

All enduring communities are organized in a more fractal, nature-like interplay and cooperation between the unique units.

I don’t want not to be “anti-order” — rather anti-archy: the imposed order, force, coercion, or compulsive order.  Any “-archy” is that linear, meccano-like corporate conformity and mono-tonous sameness.  It says to tie-up all your sticks into neater and tighter bundles, making sure they are all the same size and length — it’s strong like a brick-wall is strong.

Any an-archy says, let things organize theirselves as they will naturally tend to when they’re left alone — like the cellular cooperation within and between a body’s organs, like atomic cooperation between fundamental particles.  The life in this universe is absolutely built-upon the enduring qualities of such interactions and communities.

Human interactions, then, become less of an oppressive power-pyramid — and something more like a dance, something that we could imagine to be fun to experience with others [see Gimme some a that Mormon-hippie love, with a side of anarchy].

It works like nature does [which can seem “chaotic”, depending on how you look at it] — without an outside foreman being habitually obeyed by the “underlings”.

The very people who fear chaos and therefore try to use means of imposed order — end-up causing more chaos.  When order is imposed, when interactions are controlled — from above or from outside [out of obligation or “duty”] things get out of a natural equilibrium or balance — and get more out of control.

Until we end-up spending all our energy fighting to control what our attempts at control have caused.  These will always tend to dehumanize the very people it’s seeking to “serve” by “giving them order” — and those it tends to dehumanize most, are the ones who think they lead it.

When fear drives your actions — it doesn’t quite matter what the goal is, how noble or honorable it may be — fear is still driving, and it will lead nowhere worth going.

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Split-brain Model of the Gospel: The Fall of Man


By the transgression of these holy laws:

[God] created man, male and female, after his own image and in his own likeness, created he them;

And gave unto them commandments that they should love and serve him, the only living and true God, and that he should be the only being whom they should worship.

But by the transgression of these holy laws man became sensual and devilish, and became fallen man.  [D&C 20:18-20]

These holy laws” were not given to Adam and Eve while in the Garden of Eden.  The only commandments given to them before their Fall were to not eat of the tree of knowledge of good and evil and for Adam to remain with Eve:

And I, the Lord God, commanded the man, saying: “Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat, But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it, nevertheless, thou mayest choose for thyself, for it is given unto thee; but, remember that I forbid it, for in the day thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.”  [Moses 3:16-17]

and

And the man said:  “The woman thou gavest me, and commandest that she should remain with me, she gave me of the fruit of the tree and I did eat.”  [Moses 4:18]

However, after the Fall, Adam and Eve were given new commandments that pertained directly to the worship of God:

And Adam and Eve, his wife, called upon the name of the Lord, and they heard the voice of the Lord from the way toward the Garden of Eden, speaking unto them, and they saw him not; for they were shut out from his presence.  And he gave unto them commandments, that they should worship the Lord their God, and should offer the firstlings of their flocks, for an offering unto the Lord.

Wherefore, thou shalt do all that thou doest in the name of the Son, and thou shalt repent and call upon God in the name of the Son forevermore.  [Moses 5:4-5, 8]

So, here is where “these holy laws” were given — to Adam and Eve after their partaking of the fruit of the tree of good and evil and their subsequent removal from the Garden of Eden.

At this point, mankind was not carnal, sensual, or devilish because Adam and Eve were obedient unto these commandments [Moses 5:5], and they:

made all things known unto their sons and their daughters. [Moses 5:12]

They brought up their children in light and truth, and were thus innocent before God.  But:

And Satan came among them, saying:  “I am also a son of God”; and he commanded them, saying: “Believe it not”; and they believed it not, and they loved Satan more than God.  And men began from that time forth to be carnal, sensual, and devilish.  [Moses 5:13]

So now we see the transgression of “these holy commandments” spoken of in D&C 20:18-20.  The sin of real idolatry entered in — and so:

Every spirit of man was innocent in the beginning; and God having redeemed man from the fall, men became again, in their infant state, innocent before God.

And that wicked one cometh and taketh away light and truth, through diobedience, from the children of men, and because of the tradition of their fathers.  [D&C 93:38-39]

Paradise:

Man did need to become a kind of animal that had a left-brain concept of a Self as being some separate, skin-encapsulated center of will in the universe.  We had to begin seeing ourselves as something not-God – something fallen away from Him, pretending that we are not one-in-the-same thing.

The Fall brought about by the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil is how we could take this cosmic step back [or away, or down, depending on one’s perspective] and start to look at God from an outside perspective, see what kind of dance it is He’s doing – so we could do it too.

The Self [a left-brain, rational conception of “I”, a persona] is one-step removed from God because, though it represents the human wisdom to conceive of God — in order for humanity to gain that wisdom — they must begin to believe that they are somehow separate from God.  With this word “I”, reality splits – like the human consciousness is split, into the subject and the object, doers and doings, this and that.

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. [John 1:1]

represents the realization of the Word, “I” [who was, in the beginning, both with God and was God], that causes a concept of a separate Self to exist – instead of all things being continuous with God — one continuous happening — or Supreme Being.  The beginning of the human ability to conceive of God comes only when it’s been separated into this-or-that separate Self.

The only way for the mind to understand something is to name it [or to clothe it in language] – essentially taking a step away from it, pretend it’s not you for a moment and simplify it into a model [or personification] of the thing using the intellect.  The universe was created by the utterance of “I am” because this is the beginning of an existence that is separate from God.

So the isolation of the individual as a separate Self is a fiction that mankind has concocted – but then went on to forget that we did so.  It’s a story we’ve all have been telling ourselves – so we can turn around and look at God, as though that weren’t really us.  But this state of individualness is a great fiction – a story each one of us has created as a way to come to understand things by looking at them from the outside, as a way to experience God by pretending that He and us have no relation to each other.

Children and child-like cultures [what we’d label as “primitive” cultures] are still in touch with this paradise to the extent that they have not fully learned the illusion of Persona.

So though mankind did need to “fall” into a conception of their Self as separate existing centers of will surrounded by all of existence [the result of the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil], they have no need to become carnal, devilish, or fallen man [the result of heeding the temptations of the devil, becoming subject to him].  The scriptures have examples of specific people or classes of people who work out their own salvation without sin and without the devil having any power over them:

Mortal children:

But behold, I say unto you, that little children are redeemed from the foundation of the world through mine Only Begotten; Wherefore, they cannot sin, for power is not given unto Satan to tempt little children, until they begin to become accountable before me; [D&C 29:46]

Faithful men and women of God:

Yea, verily, verily I say unto you, if all men had been, and were, and ever would be, like unto Moroni, behold, the very powers of hell would have been shaken forever; yea, the devil would never have power over the hearts of the children of men. [Alma 48:17]

Transfigured believers in Christ:

Therefore, that they might not taste of death there was a change wrought upon their bodies, that they might not suffer pain nor sorrow save it were for the sins of the world.  Now this change was not equal to that which shall take place at the last day; but there was a change wrought upon them, insomuch that Satan could have no power over them, that he could not tempt them; and they were sanctified in the flesh, that they were holy, and that the powers of the earth could not hold them. [3 Nephi 28:38-39]

All people during the duration of the Millennium:

And the earth shall be given unto them for an inheritance; and they shall multiply and wax strong, and their children shall grow up without sin unto salvation. [D&C 45:58]

and

And in that day whatsoever any man shall ask, it shall be given unto him.  And in that day Satan shall not have power to tempt any man.  And there shall be no sorrow because there is no death.  In that day an infant shall not die until he is old; and his life shall be as the age of a tree; And when he dies he shall not sleep, that is to say in the earth, but shall be changed in the twinkling of an eye, and shall be caught up, and his rest shall be glorious. [D&C 101:27-31]

Fallen man became carnal, sensual, and devilish because when we left paradise — we forgot that this whole probation was really just a cosmic game of pretend.  When Satan lured humans into believing that the feeling of a separate Self was in fact the actual state of things — it created isolation, fear, and competitiveness.  We started to be “that guy” who starts taking the game of Monopoly a bit too seriously.  We start acting like life is something that we can master or one-up — like life is a bank that we can rob.  We exalt the Self above all else — we place our first allegiance to a fictitious feeling of Personhood.  We transgress “these holy commandments” because we see God as something “other“, and then try to make our Self love Him above all else.

The purpose of the devil:

And it must needs be that the devil should tempt the children ofmen, or they could not be agents unto themselves… [D&C 29:39]

After Lucifer rebelled against the majority vote against him in the pre-mortal council, he lost all power [agency] and was going to be straight-away removed from the kingdom of God into outer darkness.  He thought up a purpose for himself and those who rebelled against the law of common consent — and proposed that he and his angels instead be cast down to earth to try and tempt the children of men because, as he reasoned:

if they never should have bitter, they could not know the sweet…

As this was the desire of one of His children, God rendered according to that desire and allowed the matter to be voted on by the rest of us.  We used our agency to chose to have an adversary be on Earth to tempt us.

We were “agents unto [our]selves” in heaven and voted to have Lucifer here doing this work among us – we gave him a purpose he wouldn’t have otherwise had.  God always honors the agency of all things [or He would cease to be God], meaning that everything must be done by the common consent of the governed – or in other words, the keys of the heavenly tribe must be honored, which is why “it must needs be that the devil should tempt” us here – otherwise, our agency expressed in the pre-mortal council would have been abridged or over-ridden.

So we have Satan, the great dragon, being:

cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him.  And I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, “Now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of his Christ: for the accuser of our brethren is cast down, which accused them before our God day and night.” [Revelation 12:9-10]

and

…by the power of mine Only Begotten [agency], I caused that he should be cast down; And he became Satan, yea, even the devil, the father of all lies, to deceive and to blind men, and to lead them captive at his will, even as many as would not hearken unto my voice. [Moses 4:3]

Satan and his angels were cast down to the hell here on Earth, instead of straight into outer darkness — not because God needs a Satan-figure to fulfill the plan of salvation, but because God needs Satan here “that we might be agents unto ourselves,” or so that our vote and choice to have the devil here to tempt us would be honored.

Mortality is, for the most part, a hands-off period of examination.  God puts us in a learning environment and then sees what we do with it.  The Lord has stated that:

it is not meet that I should command in all things… [D&C 58:26]

God always prepares for every contingency, so even with Satan here [voted in by us], He prepared a means to save us from Satan’s power, should we have fallen into it – so we could then choose to be liberated by the prepared Savior.  Regardless of what men choose with their agency, the plan of salvation that God has prepared cannot be frustrated, with or without a devil among us.

The fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil:

The primitive , child-like [innocent and unfallen] state of humanity experiences God as essentially all things in existence.  This natural state recognizes human life as something inexorably connected to all other things.  It’s the oceanic feeling that infants and animals [non-rational life] experience – purely right-brain, a divergent view of all things at once, a single spontaneous happening.  This is the right-brain, the mind’s Atlantis, the realm of visions and dreams, the lunatics and werewolves, unconscious, unreason – inspiration.  It is without concept of time, persons, distinctions, and morality.

However, a paradisical state of oneness with nature [and God] does not allow for a concept of God to exist because to be one with something means you cannot know or discern the difference between it and you.  You can’t look in your own eyes, touch your own finger-tip, taste your own tongue, etc.

Per our vote in the pre-mortal councils – it was decided that Satan would be permitted opportunity to try and to tempt mankind while on Earth.  In order for us to be agent unto ourselves, God designated a time in which Adam and Eve would be left unto themselves to allow Satan the opportunity to tempt them to partake of the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil.

This fruit was forbidden by commandment during the duration of time God left Adam and Eve unto themselves to be tempted – to see if they would partake at the direction of Satan or await further instructions from the Lord.

This fruit had no magical properties to it – it was just a bitter fruit in a garden of sweet and pleasant to taste fruits.  Humanity lived in a state of uncontrasted existence.  They had no left-brain vision of contrast, distinctions, and separation.  The purpose of the fruit was to awaken them to an understanding of differentiation between things — to turn on their left-brain and cause it to start dividing the world into man and woman, pleasure and pain, light and dark, life and death, virtue and vice — this and that.

Partaking under the direction of God would have caused the Fall [left-brain consciousness and death] – but not carnality, sensuality, and devilishness.  We would have had death — but not hell.  Death [like apocalypse] seems scary, but it is also natural.  Death, in plainer terms, just means “a change of state“.  It’s the death of the old that births the new — the death of all our earthly ambitions, worldly ideas, and petty emotions so that we can be reborn as the highest manifestation of humanity — God as a human, or Jesus Christ.

You see, the relationship between humans and God is the relationship between humans and the realization of their highest Self.  Meaning that the only difference between God and humans is that humans still see a difference between God and humans [because they are using their left-brains to look].

We can our spend lifetime searching for salvation, enlightenment, the Philosopher’s Stone, the City of Gold, Atlantis, the Garden of Eden, the Fountain of Youth, etc. — when all the time, we carry it around in us:

behold, the kingdom of God is within you. [Luke 17:21]

Partaking, however, under the direction of Satan, caused left-brain consciousness and death, along with carnality, sensuality, devilshness, and hell.  Without God’s further instructions, the left-brain became awakened but then immediately darkened in captivity to the devil.

And if we remain in that state until mortal death — then we are damned, which means to be fully captivated by the power of the devil, fully subject to him — because we yielded in obedience to him:

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 34:34-35]

and

Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness [Romans 6:16]

Instead of being a tool used to take a step-back from a continuous and unified state of existence with God and nature, in order to gain wisdom of Him and the dance He is doing – the left-brain became the tower in which our unconscious, right-brain attention, the moon, and womanhood lay chained — hardened and atrophied.  The female power within every human [the lunatic power of the moon], constrained in the ring of the seven male stars of the classical liberal arts:

  • Arithmetic
  • Music
  • Astronomy
  • Rhetoric
  • Grammar
  • Logic
  • Geometry

Such power – the left-brain system of symbols and images — used to suppress a natural state of mind that had ruled for millions of years – next to the relative short period of man’s 6,000 year reign.  But the masculine pattern of control grows weaker amidst our current tumultuous times — when the right-brain, feminine dynamics may begin to re-emerge.

Redemption:

Whosoever will come after me, let [them] deny [their] self, and take up [their] cross, and follow me. [Mark 8:34]

Redemption from the Fall is about getting over the sensation of being a Self locked out from everything not-Self – of being only one Self who was flung into competition and conflict with every other object it can experience.  Humans have come up with many different systems to accomplish this project:

  • religion
  • psychotherapy
  • Zen meditation
  • yoga
  • hallucinogenic drugs
  • sensory deprivation
  • fasting
  • positive thinking
  • chanting mantras

The problem with every one of these systems is that getting seriously involved in any one of them just further boxes you into another elite group – another Self that sees itself as separate from the rest of everything not-Self.  You didn’t get out of the box, just made another one to jump into.

The out-of-the-box, right-brain consciousness experience of your Self cannot be made to happen by any act of your fictitious will because that perspective only validates the existence of the separate Self [unless of course the repeated efforts to be accidental on-purpose eventually reveal to you the futility of such efforts].  There is no way to internally manifest the will to get rid of the feeling of separateness as a Self.  That would be like trying to go to sleep – for in your trying, you mess the whole thing up.

It’s why moralistic preaching doesn’t work.  Focusing on behavior and doctrine only breeds good hypocrites [good actors] — people sermonized into shame, guilt, or fear – forcing themselves to behave as if they actually believed the things they say they do.  We make disciples by sitting around and talking – and then act surprised when our disciples go on to sit around and talk.

We work at trying to do things that would just be part of our nature [how we are] if we would soften our hearts in repentance.  God’s commandments are not instructions on behavior that will get the Spirit to work on us – they are descriptions of what results once the inner nature of a person is changed by the Spirit.

Churches are a problem too because currently, they aren’t communities.  They are groups of people trying to produce a community.  It’s backwards.  The church gathers because of their changed hearts and their connection to each other – it doesn’t gather in order to make those things happen.  The “ekklesia” was supposed to be the vacation or rest from the world – while we can’t think of anything better to do after three hours of church on Sunday than to get home and rest from it.

So — you can’t get rid of the fallen, left-brain, Self-sensation – so don’t try.  Take it, like any other feeling you have, as a feature of your total process – a wave of hot or cold, angry or sad.  Working to get rid of the Self is the ultimate act of Self-ishness – it simply confirms and strengthens the reality of the feeling.

This is what’s made me reevaluate what prayer is to me.  Any spiritual exercise [be it prayer, meditation, yoga, or whatever], when practiced in order to get some spiritual experience, only strengthens the fallacy that I am my Self.  Speaking “out there” to God as though He was only this separate entity that resides somewhere else in the cosmos just continues the Fallen fiction that my Person is something separate from God.

There is nothing wrong with praying just to pray – in the same way we listen to music just for the music.  You don’t worry about the value of it.  What’s the purpose of prayer – it has no purpose, and that is its purpose.  That may sound like Eastern, paradoxical nonsense – but think about what is the practical application of the universe — of billions of galaxies swirling around?  What’s the use of playing music [or any other art or game]?  If you play music to make money, or outdo another artist, or be a person of culture, etc. – then you aren’t really playing because your mind’s not on the music.  Things like games or art are a waste of valuable time and money that could be put into more practical applications – rather than making elaborate patterns or color or sound.  But what would we think of a society with no room for music and games, dancing and art?  Such a society would be surviving [biologically alive] – but to no end.

  • The universe is, at its core, an illusion [the Latin ludere], a play, or a ludicrous game of pretend.
  • It’s magic – being enchanted [the Latin incantare] by the song of images and measurements.
  • It’s meaningless, meaning it has no point unto itself.  Like a flower is meaningless – it’s all just dancing patterns of light and sound, water and fire, vibrations and rhythm, electricity and space.
  • The world is an amazing [amasian or lost in a maze] arrangement of letters – a spell [the Latin fascinum], or spelled with A-T-C-G, Lys-His-Met-Ala-Pro, C-H-O-N-P-Na-Cl-Au.

All of existence, then, is one thing, one shape, one happening.  Separate persons and events are merely arabesques is an over-all fractal pattern – which is all continuous with the whole created universe — all of it continuous with [or unseparated from] God.  A redeemed sense of reality.

You can return now to your separate moments, separate selves, and separate rooms — and know that separation for the imaginary [or image-based], feeling that it is.  You can go about your practical affairs again – but now with a new sense about it all.  There is no “You” who can get something out of this game – life is not a bank that you can rob.  Your Self is God attempting to look at itself from billions of points-of-view.

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How to receive what you ask for


It is a gospel law that if you ask God for something that is good and right, in the name of Jesus, in faith, believing that you will receive, doubting nothing, you will receive what you ask for.

A new investigation

Lately I have been perplexed by the lack of spiritual best gifts among the church of God. In my interactions with church members, I had come to the conclusion that we do not have the gifts “because [we] ask not, neither do [we] knock” (2 Ne. 32: 4), after all, Jesus said that “every one that asketh, receiveth; and he that seeketh, findeth; and to him that knocketh, it shall be opened” (3 Ne. 14: 8.) Nevertheless, with over 13 million members of record, I found it awfully strange that not even one person sought these gifts. I mean, what are the odds of that?

That got me thinking that in all likelihood the truth was that while the vast majority of the membership no longer sought the gifts, a small minority did. Yet even among them the gifts are absent. I wondered, why haven’t these people received what they are asking for?

Moroni records Jesus as saying, “Whoso shall believe in my name, doubting nothing, unto him I will confirm all my words, even unto the ends of the earth” (Mormon 9: 25.) He also gives his own prophecy, “Whoso believeth in Christ, doubting nothing, whatsoever he shall ask the Father in the name of Christ it shall be granted him; and this promise is unto all, even unto the ends of the earth” (Mormon 9: 21.) God cannot speak a lie and still remain a God of truth. This means that for the entire gospel to be true, all its individual parts must also be true, including this promise, because the principle is that God “never doth vary from that which he hath said” (Mosiah 2: 22; also Alma 7: 20 and D&C 3: 2.)

I decided, then, that I would put Moroni’s promise to the test and follow the prescribed steps so that Jesus would have to confirm His words to me. I believed the word of God to be true and had full confidence that I would receive what I asked for. Specifically, I was going to ask for a spiritual best gift, for the gifts of the Spirit are things that are right and good, which is one of the qualifications necessary for the promise to be fulfilled. (See 3 Ne. 18: 20 and Moroni 7: 26.)

I began my trial sometime between the 19th and 26th of January, 2011, and have continued it to this very day. This post contains what I have so far learned from this ongoing experiment with the word of God.

Ye receive no witness until after the trial of your faith

And now, I, Moroni, would speak somewhat concerning these things; I would show unto the world that faith is things which are hoped for and not seen; wherefore, dispute not because ye see not, for ye receive no witness until after the trial of your faith. (Ether 12: 6)

A trial is a proof. A proof is “any effort, process, or operation designed to establish or discover a fact or truth; an act of testing; test; trial; as to put in proof.” The trial of your faith, then, is the proof of your faith, or an effort, process or operation designed to establish or discover whether or not you have faith.

The “effort, process, or operation” that is used to establish that we have faith is a very specific type of prayer. By praying in a specific way, our faith will be instantly put in proof and we will immediately know whether we have faith.

How to pray, part one

For the purposes of this experiment, we shall attempt to obtain one of the gifts of God. In particular, we will seek a gift that is easily recognizable as having been received. Of the three lists of gifts in the scriptures, the list given to the Lamanites is the only one that contains the gift of the beholding of angels (see Moroni 10: 14 and The role of angels in Nephite preaching.) So, this is the gift we will seek, for once an angel of light appears and is discerned (see D&C 129: 4-9), there is no doubt that the gift has been received.

The instructions of how to ask God for one of His gifts, which were given by Jesus and Moroni (in Mormon 9: 21, 25; 3 Ne. 18: 19-20; and Moroni 7: 26), are summarized in the following manner:

Ask the Father

Ask in the name of Christ

Believe in Christ

Believe in the name of Christ

Ask for something good and right (the gift of the beholding of angels qualifies)

Ask in faith

Believe you shall receive

Doubt nothing

The promise is that if the above steps are followed by anyone, it shall be granted/done/given and Jesus’ words will be confirmed.

Let’s write up a sample prayer based upon the above instructions.

My heavenly Father, your name be blessed. Show mercy upon me and hear my words. Baptize me in the Spirit and cause that I speak the words of this prayer by the power of the Holy Ghost. I thank you for the gospel and your Beloved Son: His life, suffering, death and resurrection. Grant me belief in Him and in His holy name. Give me faith in your Son. Bestow upon me the belief that I will receive what I ask you for in this prayer. Take away my doubt so that I pray, doubting nothing. Confirm Jesus’ words to me. Send your angel to me. Let me behold his face. Allow me to converse with him. Have him declare the word of Christ to me. In the name of Jesus Christ, amen.

A deadline

On the surface, the above prayer seems to serve its purpose of putting our faith in proof. If you have faith, the angel will appear. If you do not have faith, the angel will not appear. What it lacks, though, is an element of time. When does the angel have to appear? The prayer does not specify. The time frame is left up to the Lord. If the Lord decides to send the angel at the end of your life, 60 years from now, how does this tell you now whether or not you have faith? It doesn’t. What if the Lord decides not to send an angel because you didn’t exercise faith, would you know? Nope.

Prayers that don’t have an element of time in them are insufficient to put your faith in proof. A deadline, such as a day and time, must be included so as to make a discovery of faith (or lack thereof.) If the deadline comes and goes, with no result, you didn’t pray in faith. If the deadline arrives with an angel, you now have passed the trial of your faith and have received your witness.

Here is the same prayer altered slightly so that it serves as a trial of faith:

My heavenly Father, your name be blessed. Show mercy upon me and hear my words. Baptize me in the Spirit and cause that I speak the words of this prayer by the power of the Holy Ghost. I thank you for the gospel and your Beloved Son: His life, suffering, death and resurrection. Grant me belief in Him and in His holy name. Give me faith in your Son. Bestow upon me the belief that I will receive what I ask you for in this prayer. Take away my doubt so that I pray, doubting nothing. Confirm Jesus’ words to me. Send your angel to me right now. Let me behold his face. Allow me to converse with him. Have him declare the word of Christ to me. In the name of Jesus Christ, amen.

All things can be asked for

Notice in the above prayers that I asked for everything. I didn’t say, “Give me this according to the faith that I have,” I said, “Give me faith in your Son.” I didn’t say, “I believe that I will receive what I ask you for in this prayer,” I said, “Bestow upon me the belief that I will receive what I ask you for in this prayer.” I didn’t say, “I have no doubts whatsoever,” I said, “Take away my doubts.” The Lord has everything I need to make a prayer work. If I lack anything, He can make up for it, if I ask Him for it.

O then despise not, and wonder not, but hearken unto the words of the Lord, and ask the Father in the name of Jesus for what things soever ye shall stand in need. (Mormon 9: 27)

Different amounts of faith

To move mountains, you need faith the size of a mustard seed. Jesus told Peter that he had little faith. The scriptures speak of having the gift of exceedingly great faith. All of this shows that faith comes in different amounts. Depending on what you are asking for, you will need a greater or lesser amount of faith.

The mere act of asking God for something, believing that you are going to receive, is an act of faith. How much faith? No one but God knows. However, if you ask, believing that you will receive, and do not receive what you ask for—and you know for a fact that you have not received what you asked for because you asked in the manner detailed above, using an element of time so that the prayer creates a trial of faith—it causes you to confront your false beliefs. You must then admit to yourself that the belief that you had that you would receive what you asked for was false. Again, you may indeed have asked in faith, because the very act of asking is an act of faith, but it was of an insufficient quantity to receive what you asked for, therefore your belief that you would receive was false.

When a man is faced with a false belief—not determined by someone else, but determined by the man himself—the natural tendency is to discard the belief. You will no longer wish to follow Jesus’ instructions to believe that you will receive, because your mind, shown by direct evidence, will tell you that that belief is false. The evidence will be incontrovertible. In order for you to pray again, again believing that you will receive, you will have to completely ignore the evidence. You will have to call black white and white black. You will have to act totally irrationally. You will have to step into the unknown. You will have to close your eyes and walk blindly in darkness. You will have to face the fear and trembling spoken of in the scriptures and work out your own salvation under these conditions.

If you are able to get back on your knees and offer another prayer, asking again for something with a deadline, so that the prayer becomes another trial of your faith, and with the (irrational) belief that you will receive, the very act of attempting the experiment again requires more faith than your first attempt.

Each subsequent attempt will again naturally increase your faith. But each time you fail to receive, you will be faced again with a religious crisis that can only be overcome by faith.

The theory in all of this is that eventually, continuing on in this manner, you will finally arrive at the amount of faith required for what you are asking for, and you will then receive the gift you seek, obtaining the witness promised in the scriptures, which comes after the trial of your faith.

The veil of unbelief

The Lord prophesied that the people of our day would have a veil of unbelief, which, unless rent, would keep us in a state of wickedness, blindness of mind and hardness of heart, and He would withhold the greater things from us.

Behold, when ye shall rend that veil of unbelief which doth cause you to remain in your awful state of wickedness, and hardness of heart, and blindness of mind, then shall the great and marvelous things which have been hid up from the foundation of the world from you—yea, when ye shall call upon the Father in my name, with a broken heart and a contrite spirit, then shall ye know that the Father hath remembered the covenant which he made unto your fathers, O house of Israel. (Ether 4: 15)

The purpose of the veil of unbelief is to hide “the great and marvelous things” of God from us. As long as it is upon us, we can pray until we are blue in the face to see angels or obtain the powers and gifts of the Spirit and we will forever remain in the dark about such things, never tasting of the goodness of God, nor feasting upon his fatness. Only those who pray to God “with a broken heart and a contrite spirit” are the ones who rend the veil of unbelief and partake of the greater things, such as the ministration of angels. To all others, the heavens are closed.

God has power to cast away the veil of unbelief from our minds

Now, this was what Ammon desired, for he knew that king Lamoni was under the power of God; he knew that the dark veil of unbelief was being cast away from his mind, and the light which did light up his mind, which was the light of the glory of God, which was a marvelous light of his goodness—yea, this light had infused such joy into his soul, the cloud of darkness having been dispelled, and that the light of everlasting life was lit up in his soul, yea, he knew that this had overcome his natural frame, and he was carried away in God— (Alma 19: 6)

Anyone can ask for the same blessing from the Lord.

It is extremely important that the veil of unbelief be removed, because it will prohibit us from exercising faith.

And the reason why he ceaseth to do miracles among the children of men is because that they dwindle in unbelief, and depart from the right way, and know not the God in whom they should trust. (Mormon 9: 20)

Using disappointment to rend one’s soul

…when ye shall rend that veil of unbelief… (Ether 4: 15)

The disappointment of not receiving what we ask for, as promised in the scriptures, is a heart-wrenching experience. If repeated over and over again, using back-to-back deadline prayers, it feels like your whole soul is being ripped apart. This might be the reason why the Lord chose the word “rend” when speaking of what to do with the veil of unbelief.

To rend means “to part, tear off, or take away, by force.” It also means “to separate into parts with force or sudden violence; to tear asunder; to split; burst; tear; to affect as if tearing asunder; as, ‘powder rends a rock in blasting; lightning rends an oak; a lion rends its prey; to rend one’s garments; the nation was rent by discord; a heart rent with grief.’” So, there is nothing gradual or subtle about rending the veil of unbelief. It is supposed to be done suddenly and violently, creating rapid change in the individual.

What the veil is

Man cannot perceive the veil of unbelief that covers him. The word veil is used to describe it because it feels very much like a thick piece of cloth that envelops the spirit. We can’t see out through it and, in fact, can’t even feel that it is there. However, once a part of the veil is rent, suddenly we can perceive that something real (an actual thing) is covering us, like a cocoon that gets cracked, letting the airy breeze in. The breeze feels good to us and the contrast between the exposed and covered parts (where the veil is still intact) enables us to finally perceive the veil.

The first perception of the veil is an alarming experience. The initial reaction is, “Get this off of me!” It feels like an uncomfortable, alien, spiritual cloth. And indeed it is. The veil of unbelief is Satan’s spiritual garment that he imperceptibly places upon all mankind when they arrive at the age of accountability and sin. Its purpose is to reduce agency, faith, knowledge, wisdom, etc. It allows him to more easily deceive us and lead us to destruction. It is the counterpart of the garment of the priesthood.

The veil of unbelief appears to be an extension of the spirit of the devil and not an individual thing placed upon each person. The result of being subject to it is damnation (see Damnation.) Once you can perceive that it is on you, you want it off of you immediately, because you can perceive that it is not a part of you and that it has been placed there without you even realizing it and that it is stopping you from spiritually progressing. In other words, you can perceive that an enemy put it there.

Even if one goes through all the ordinances of the gospel and wears the physical priesthood garment, etc., as long as Satan’s spiritual garment (the veil of unbelief) is still being worn, spiritual progress will be stunted and the gifts of the Spirit will remain off-limits. The gospel teaches that the proper order is to first rend the veil of unbelief and take it off, and then we are to put on gospel covenants and clothing. But even if things have been done out of their proper order, it is of utmost importance that Satan’s veil be removed.

The chains of hell

The chains of hell are twin filaments of spirit matter (plasma) that twist and revolve around each other in a pattern that looks like the links of a chain.

One end of the chain leads to, and is held by, Satan (see Moses 7: 26.) The other end of the chain leads to the veil of unbelief. It is attached to the veil at the back and base of the skull. One filament is attached to the half of the veil that goes over a man’s left brain hemisphere (the mind) and the other filament is attached to the half of the veil that goes over a man’s right brain hemisphere (the heart.)

There are three modes of plasma discharge: glow, arc and dark. The chains of hell are twin filaments of plasma discharging in dark mode.

The mind operates in arc mode, while the heart operates in dark mode. The mind is designed to believe what it sees, therefore it is designed to be lit up so that it can see everything and thus believe everything. The mind is also designed to be firm or fixed. When illuminated, it clearly can see where everything is and instantly can fixate upon what it sees without any wavering. When minds are darkened, it cannot clearly see things or where things are and must waver in order to try to find its way in the darkness, just as a blind man moves his cane left and right to figure out where things are.

When a chain of hell is attached to a veil of unbelief, the dark mode discharging filament that goes into the half of the veil of unbelief that encases the mind causes the mind to go into dark mode. The mind becomes darkened, and undergoes a state of blindness. It begins to waver. As it cannot see anything or much at all, it does not believe much either, or it begins to doubt or exhibit unbelief. Wickedness is simply a state which goes against the purpose God designed. It is a perversion. The mind was designed to operate in arc mode, in a digital manner. The veil of unbelief causes it to operate in dark mode, in an analog manner. The mind is now in a state of wickedness.

As stated above, the heart operates in dark mode. It is designed to operate in this mode and is designed by God to be soft and malleable, or easily entreated. When the other filament of the chain of hell goes into the half of the veil of unbelief that covers the heart, it cannot change the discharge mode of the heart, because the chain of hell is also in dark mode. However, it does have an effect upon the organ of the heart: it causes the heart to become hard or fixed. So now, instead of feeling its way around its environment like a blind man, as it was intended to do, the heart functions like a mind, fixating on individual emotions, instead of expanding to encompass the infinite gradations of feelings. In other words, the heart is designed to embrace the infinite, or feel an infinite variety of feelings and emotions. When the veil of unbelief, powered by the chains of hell, covers the heart, it becomes selective in what it feels, acting in a digital manner instead of the analog manner it was designed to operate in. It, too, is now in a state of wickedness.

Satan is able to deceive mankind through his chains of hell and the veils of unbelief that are attached to all sinners. Through sin, the veil of unbelief and its chain becomes attached to man around the age of eight. Through continual sin, it becomes increasingly more difficult to be removed.

The chains of hell not only look like chains, but also function as chains. If a man does not, while in mortality, repent and shake off the chains of hell and rend the veil of unbelief that is attached to his mind and heart, when he dies he becomes exposed to the full captivating power of Satan. Satan has power to pull on his chains, dragging the souls down to hell, but he has no power to pull the spirits into hell while they are still in their physical, mortal bodies. Only when the spirit leaves its body can the devil pull the helpless souls into hell. The body serves as a temporary protection from the devil in this manner. Once in hell, the devil can fully subject the spirits to him, through his spirit (the chains of hell and veils of darkness). (See Alma 34: 33-35.)

Having an understanding of these things is extremely important, in order that we can work out our salvation with fear and trembling before God. (See Alma 34: 37.)

A tare sown

The chains of hell and the veil of unbelief, if turned upside down, look like a plant stalk with roots going into the heart and mind of man. This is, in actuality, the tare that is sown by the enemy. The tare seed is planted in the heart of man first (see Moses 6: 55) and then takes root in both heart and mind. In other words, the first plasma filament of a chain of hell first begins its connection to man in the heart, then the second filament connects to the mind, creating the veil of unbelief which encompasses the mind and heart of man.

(Note: the veil of unbelief only covers the heart and mind of man, not any other part of his spirit body.)

Secret works of darkness

Man cannot discover the chains of hell, nor the veil of unbelief that is upon him. If it were not for the word of God, which reveals the secret works of darkness of the evil one, no man would ever know that actual chains of hell exist, nor that veils of unbelief are secretly placed upon all mankind. These invisible plasma filaments (chains of hell) and plasma coverings (veils of unbelief) can only be detected by a manifestation of the gift of the discerning of spirits, for these are extensions of the spirit of the devil.

Satan operates in secret. As long as we have no knowledge of what he is doing to us, or what he has done or plans to do, he can work his destruction upon us with impunity. The word of God ruins his plans, because it fully exposes the danger the devil poses to us. Once a man knows that he is in chains of hell and covered in a veil of unbelief, secretly put there by the devil upon reaching the age of accountability and sinning, man can use his agency to fight it and attempt to get it off of him by calling on the power of Christ to help him. This puts a clog in the works of the devil, so he has always attempted to destroy the scriptures, or corrupt them, or get people to disbelieve them or misinterpret them. For those of us that have uncorrupted scriptures (the Book of Mormon), the devil’s strategy to stop us from liberating ourselves with the power of Christ is to deceive men into believing that all is figurative in the scriptures, or at least the parts that pertain to him. So, the expression “chains of hell” is not considered a real thing that binds man. And the “veil of unbelief” is not considered a real thing that covers the heart and mind of man. They are thought to be just figurative expressions of states of mind, not actual things that must be actively sought to be removed from one’s spirit body.

Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling before the Lord

O then despise not, and wonder not, but hearken unto the words of the Lord, and ask the Father in the name of Jesus for what things soever ye shall stand in need. Doubt not, but be believing, and begin as in times of old, and come unto the Lord with all your heart, and work out your own salvation with fear and trembling before him. (Mormon 9: 27)

Most LDS interpret this scriptural expression as referring to respect. In other words, when we fear God, we don’t actually exhibit fear of Him, meaning that we are frightened by Him, but accord Him the respect that He deserves. However, this expression does not refer to respect. Such an interpretation is a deception of the devil, a snare meant to blind the minds and harden the hearts of the church of God.

What fear in the expression actually means

The word fear in the expression “fear and trembling” signifies actual fear, as in fright or horror. It is the fear of being cast off forever.

And thus did the Spirit of the Lord work upon them, for they were the very vilest of sinners. And the Lord saw fit in his infinite mercy to spare them; nevertheless they suffered much anguish of soul because of their iniquities, suffering much and fearing that they should be cast off forever. (Mosiah 28: 4)

Such fear is instilled in a person when the gospel of Jesus Christ is preached in its fulness and purity (see Alma 16: 21), meaning that those parts of the gospel which reveal the power and captivity of the devilthe 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” (Alma 40: 11) 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 (Alma 40: 13), to be kept in captivity by the devil, because of his sins.

Again, this is according to the power and captivity of the devil, which the Lord respects:

And again, doth a man take an ass which belongeth to his neighbor, and keep him? I say unto you, Nay; he will not even suffer that he shall feed among his flocks, but will drive him away, and cast him out. I say unto you, that even so shall it be among you if ye know not the name by which ye are called. (Mosiah 5: 14)

Satan possesses all who have his chains of hell upon them. We are his property and the Lord respects that and will respect that so long as we have a chain upon us sealing us as the devil’s. This is why we are cast off when we return to that God who gave us life and cannot enter paradise or the gates of righteousness. The chains of hell are still attached to us, the veil of unbelief remains intact and our minds are still in a state of blindness or darkness, or “filthiness” and “uncleanness.” No unclean thing can enter the gates of righteousness, otherwise paradise would also be unclean. So, we are cast off and dragged down to hell.

What trembling in the expression actually means

The trembling is both physical and spiritual, or the trembling of the entire soul when a man is confronted with his deepest, darkest and most horrifying fear, that of being cast off forever. Trembling happens when a man is conscious of his own guilt before God, having transgressed His laws and commandments.

Now Alma, seeing that the words of Amulek had silenced Zeezrom, for he beheld that Amulek had caught him in his lying and deceiving to destroy him, and seeing that he began to tremble under a consciousness of his guilt, he opened his mouth and began to speak unto him, and to establish the words of Amulek, and to explain things beyond, or to unfold the scriptures beyond that which Amulek had done. (Alma 12: 1)

Shaking loose the chains and rending the veil

Fear and trembling before the Lord causes man to be confronted with the realization that he does not have faith unto salvation, unto repentance, unto redemption. It is faith that saves a man from the hell that is prepared for him. The realization that he does not have faith plunges his soul into its own personal hell, where darkness envelops him and hell fires scorch and burn him up, in a process that, if the man learns to trust the Lord, repent of all his sins and continue on through the darkness and fires, will sanctify him, for these are the refiner’s fires, which are meant to consume the impurities found within his heart and mind, his very soul.

The trembling and shaking is not a mental process alone, but also a physical one. When it is discovered that the devil has actual chains upon his spirit, with an actual veil of unbelief upon his mind and heart, the spirit of man reacts violently against the foreign spirit of the devil, of which the chains of hell and veil of unbelief are a part, and attempts to shake it off itself. As the spirit of man is connected to his physical body, when the spirit suffers in anguish because of the awareness of the presence and attachment of the spirit of the devil,―and such suffering is known as “the pains of hell”―and then attempts to shake the chains of hell loose, the physical body likewise begins to shake uncontrollably. (See 2 Ne. 1: 13, 23; 9: 45 and Alma 5: 9-10; 26: 14.)

Faith unto repentance brings relief and liberation

If a man is able to obtain faith unto repentance, by offering to the Lord a broken heart and contrite spirit, the fear of being cast off forever and his trembling under a consciousness of guilt is turned into the joy of the saints, knowing that the Lord has redeemed his soul from hell and forgiven his sins. This happens when the chains of hell have finally been shaken off and the veil of unbelief has been rent by all the fearing, trembling and crying to the Lord with a broken heart and contrite spirit. The man is now free from the power and captivity of the devil and can worship the Lord free from the guilt of his sins, with the understanding that Jesus has taken them away and that should he die this instant, he will go to paradise and not hell.

“O blessed Jesus, who has saved me from an awful hell!” (Alma 19: 29. These were the first words king Lamoni’s wife said, when she arose and stood upon her feet, after having been under the power of God.) The relief of liberation from the devil and deliverance from hell is the first thing on everyone’s mind.

In this state, the man is now justified (guiltless), purified (having no more desire to sin and, in fact, looking upon sin with abhorrence), and sanctified (having desires to do only good continually). He can now ask the Lord for a gift or power of the Spirit, with faith in Christ, believing he will receive, doubting nothing, and the Lord will grant his request.

Fear and trembling, part two

“O blessed God, have mercy on this people!” (Alma 19: 29; which were the second words that king Lamoni’s wife said after arising and standing upon her feet.)

Once free from sin, the liberated man turns his attention to those around him and his now acute knowledge of the power and captivity of the devil, and how narrowly he was able to escape his grasp and hell, causes him to fear and tremble for others. He begins to fear that those around him will be cast off forever and he begins to tremble and quake at the thought that if his fellowmen do not go through the same process that he just did, liberating themselves by faith on the word of Christ, that they will perish.

Now they were desirous that salvation should be declared to every creature, for they could not bear that any human soul should perish; yea, even the very thoughts that any soul should endure endless torment did cause them to quake and tremble. (Mosiah 28: 3)

The man of God, having been born as a new creature, even born of God, now desires that all should have the same privilege. Instead of fearing and trembling before the Lord because of his own sins, he now fears and trembles for the sins of others. If the man’s heart remains broken and his spirit contrite, he will continue in this purified, sanctified and justified state, working tirelessly to save as many souls from hell as he can, by exercising his faith to obtain and use the powers and gifts of God to benefit others and to help them also liberate themselves from Satan’s grasp.

This principle applies even to those who overcome the world and are translated, becoming sanctified in the flesh. Such persons still “suffer…sorrow…for the sins of the world.” (See 3 Ne. 28: 38.)

Fear and trembling, part three

The unrepentant man, whose soul is cast into hell, quickly finds himself in torment, with no apparent means of escape, bound to the devil by the chains of hell, which he can now plainly see are attached to his spirit, along with the veil of unbelief, in an environment of darkness, filthy rivers, magma, mists of darkness, surrounded by souls who are weeping and wailing and gnashing their teeth, in continuous anguish and misery.

He sees his situation as hopeless. Although he walks in every imaginable direction, hell appears to be endless and its gates are all one way. Souls continually enter but none have power to leave. There is no relief to his torment. Not even death can get him out of this prison, for he cannot die. Finding himself literally in hell, which appears to him to be a never-ending prison, he begins to fear and tremble uncontrollably and without cease, which causes him to enter a state of misery and indescribable suffering. The fearing and trembling, however, that the damned soul in hell goes through, is insufficient to shake loose the chains of hell that bind him, because he still has no faith, hope or charity. Unless he is able to obtain the word of Christ and plant it in his heart, and go through the process of repentance, by which he exercises faith unto repentance, he must remain chained as a possession of the devil and be subjected to the devil’s power to make him miserable.

All must fear and tremble

All men who arrive at the age of accountability and have chains of hell placed upon them because of their transgressions must eventually fear and tremble. A man can either do it voluntarily before the Lord during mortality and allow the hellish process to work out his own salvation, purify his heart and shake off the devil’s chains, through faith on the Son of God, thereby causing the gates of hell to be shut before him, or he can be compelled by the devil to fear and tremble while he resides within the confines of hell.

Fearing and trembling before the Lord in mortality is the same process as that in hell, except that you have a physical body. The body makes it much easier and quicker to shake off the chains of hell and rend the veil of unbelief. The fearing and trembling occurs before the Lord, in prayer, as you wrestle with the understanding that there is a satanic veil covering your mind and heart, with a chain attached to it that leads directly to the devil himself. And this veil and chain is causing you to remain in a state of wickedness, blindness of mind and hardness of heart. It is deceiving you and not allowing you to exercise faith. And unless you exercise faith, you aren’t, can’t and won’t be saved. And if you were to die this instant, with this satanic spirit attached to you, this same spirit would possess you and drag you down to hell and cause you to be in subjection to it and all would be lost. (See Alma 34: 34-35.)

These are scary thoughts, the thought that you are unsaved and doomed to hell unless you can rend the veil of unbelief. This fear, when it works its way into a frenzy, causes your spirit and physical body to start shaking uncontrollably.

Again, it is the trembling of the spirit that leads to the veil of unbelief being rent and cast away and the chain of hell being loosened and shaken off. This is how all the ancients worked out their own salvation. It is a personal trip to hell done in the presence of the Lord, where the fires of hell sanctify the person by causing him to fear and tremble, which eventually frees the man from the bonds of hell that held him tight. Mind you, these aren’t the literal fires of hell (magma), but the spirit fires of hell (the twin plasma filaments discharging into our human spirits in dark mode, known as the chains of hell.) Hell, in a very literal way, is already attached to all of sinning mankind, by way of the spirit of the devil (the veil) that is rooted in us. The spiritual fires of hell is the spiritual torment a man feels knowing that he is not saved. It is a reaction by the spirit host (the man) to the alien, devilish symbiote (the veil and chain).

No one, except it be little children, will escape the fear and trembling of hell. When little children die, they go straight to paradise, avoiding hell altogether, and while little children are alive, they are sinless and have no chains of hell placed upon them, therefore they need not go through any fear and trembling. The repentant saints of God, though, must go through hell on earth, by which they work out their own salvation with fear and trembling before the Lord. This allows them to enter paradise when they die, thus avoiding the gates of hell. The unrepentant wicked, on the other hand, do not go through this process on earth, therefore they must go to literal hell when they die, where they do not work out their own salvation, yet still fear and tremble under Satan’s power.

Suffering and sorrow is what it is all about

Suffering and sorrow are the sanctifying, purifying and justifying principles of the gospel. Fearing, trembling and having a broken heart and contrite spirit are the three principles that bring us to the Lord. The fear of being cast off forever, or, in the case of the righteous, the fear of other people being cast off forever, is a form of suffering. Trembling under a consciousness of one’s own guilt, or, in the case of the righteous, trembling under a consciousness of other people’s guilt (because of the knowledge that they will perish unless they repent), is also a form of suffering. And a broken heart and a contrite spirit is sorrow for one’s own sin (demonstrated by uncontrollable weeping), or, in the case of the righteous, sorrow for other people’s sins.

All of this suffering and sorrow is over, or about the consequences of, sin. It is sin-centric suffering and sorrow. If we go through suffering and sorrow about anything else that is not sin-centric, such as an illness, or failure at a relationship, or poverty, etc., none of such things does us any good whatsoever in the process of working out our own salvation. Only suffering and sorrow for sin sanctifies, purifies and justifies.

Deceptions of the devil

It is the intent of the devil to have all mankind fear and tremble in literal hell, under his satanic power, and not in mortality under the power of the Holy Ghost. The doctrine of working out one’s salvation with fear and trembling before the Lord destroys the devil’s captivating power, therefore, he inspires mortal men who are under his evil spirit to preach against this doctrine. One such individual was Nehor.

And he also testified unto the people that all mankind should be saved at the last day, and that they need not fear nor tremble, but that they might lift up their heads and rejoice; for the Lord had created all men, and had also redeemed all men; and, in the end, all men should have eternal life. (Alma 1: 4)

Nehor’s preaching had devastating effect among the church of God, leading many members into sin and many were excommunicated. Since the time of Nehor, however, the devil has changed strategies, but the result is the same. Now, instead of getting the church of God to believe that the doctrine of fearing and trembling before the Lord is false or unnecessary, the devil has caused the church to re-interpret it as something other than what it is. Now the church believes it is merely showing respect towards the Lord by striving to keep His commandments, with no spiritual and physical suffering needed. This new strategy of the devil is more effective, at least for our time, because the church actually believes that they are working out their own salvation with fear and trembling before the Lord, without going through any of the steps of the real doctrine.

Again, although the strategy has changed, the end result is the same. No one goes through the process of fearing that they will be cast off forever. No one goes through the spiritual and physical shaking and trembling under a consciousness of his guilt. And no one manifests the uncontrollable weeping associated with profound sorrow for one’s sins, known as a broken heart and a contrite spirit.

The doctrine of working out one’s own salvation with fear and trembling before the Lord requires that a knowledge of the chains of hell, of death, hell and the devil, of the captivity and power of the devil, and of all things associated with Satan and hell and sin and death be explained to a person. Unless a person understands that he is in the devil’s grasp and is going to hell if he does not repent, he can never fear and tremble before the Lord in mortality, and if he never fears and trembles before the Lord in mortality, he must fear and tremble before the devil in hell.

Owing to the necessity of teaching the doctrine of hell and the captivating powers of the devil as part of the plan of salvation, the devil has enacted a plan whereby he now gets the church of God to avoid all mention of hell, death, the devil, fear, sin, trembling and any other “negative” emotional state. We focus on heaven and salvation and avoid all mention of damnation and hell. Fear is never, ever mentioned, at all, and when it is mentioned, it is immediately struck down as a barbaric relic of old-time religion. (For example, see this comment.)

Nephi saw our day (as well as the days to come) and saw the strategies that would be employed by the devil to emasculate the doctrine of fearing and trembling before God:

For the kingdom of the devil must shake, and they which belong to it must needs be stirred up unto repentance, or the devil will grasp them with his everlasting chains, and they be stirred up to anger, and perish; for behold, at that day shall he rage in the hearts of the children of men, and stir them up to anger against that which is good.

And others will he pacify, and lull them away into carnal security, that they will say: All is well in Zion; yea, Zion prospereth, all is well—and thus the devil cheateth their souls, and leadeth them away carefully down to hell.

And behold, others he flattereth away, and telleth them there is no hell; and he saith unto them: I am no devil, for there is none—and thus he whispereth in their ears, until he grasps them with his awful chains, from whence there is no deliverance.

Yea, they are grasped with death, and hell; and death, and hell, and the devil, and all that have been seized therewith must stand before the throne of God, and be judged according to their works, from whence they must go into the place prepared for them, even a lake of fire and brimstone, which is endless torment. (2 Nephi 28: 19-23)

Nephi said that “the kingdom of the devil must shake.” He understood completely the doctrine of fearing and trembling before the Lord. Also, he foresaw that hell would no longer be considered an actual place (see Teachings on hell and the spirit world), but a state of mind, as if people could release themselves from the misery of hell merely by thinking a different thought. Such deceptions are already upon us, and even greater deceptions are to come.

The gospel has already been compromised

The Book of Mormon preaches the gospel of Jesus Christ in purity. If you look at every preacher found within that book’s pages, you will notice that when they preached Christ, they also preached the devil and hell. When they preached salvation through Christ, they also preached damnation through the devil. When they preached liberation through the Son of God, they also preached captivity through the devil. When they preached of the Holy Ghost, they also preached of the evil spirit of the devil. They preached the gospel in its fulness and purity.

Now compare that to how the Gentile church of God preaches. We leave out fully one-half of the gospel when we preach it. 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, or any other thing that people might consider “too negative.” We focus on the positive and largely discard anything negative from our minds and conversations. As a result, we have stopped preaching the gospel of Jesus Christ, for, like a scale, balanced coverage must be given to both sides in order for a man or woman to repent of their sins.

Truth be told, even the half that we do preach isn’t preached all that much. The vast majority of our conversation is centered on prophets and apostles, obedience to leaders and commandments, blessings of paying tithing, attending church and temple, and every other conceivable topic that has nothing, whatsoever, to do with Jesus Christ’s suffering, death, resurrection and judgment upon all mankind.

Now, I normally put the blame of all things wrong with the church of God on the member’s backs, but this time I point the finger at the church leadership. They are not teaching the gospel and instead of getting the people to repent, they are causing the hearts of the people to become more and more hardened.

The plan of salvation has also been compromised

The Gentile church has likewise modified the scriptural plan of salvation. The plan is, in a word, Christ. It is not a flip-chart with circles representing kingdoms of glory, earth and the Spirit World. Christ is the plan. He was sent to deliver us from death, hell and the devil. Through faith on the power of His deliverance He can blot out our transgressions, all our afflictions, all our pain, take away our temptations and even blot out death, in other words, everything that causes a tear of sadness to fall from the eyes of man. He took all this upon Himself so that He could blot it all out.

Without Christ we are subject to the devil. We are not subject to sin, but to the devil. This is an important distinction to make. Sin and death are but tools of the devil. The real danger is the devil. The plan of salvation is a plan to save us from the devil. For example, death is a problem because

“…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…” (2 Ne. 9: 8-9.)

And sin likewise causes us to become subject to him, so that, were there no plan of salvation, “our spirits must have become like unto him, and we become devils,” even angels to a devil. So, Christ’s suffering, death and resurrection is designed to save us from the devil for he is the one holding all the chains of hell.

When we focus on sin and death and leave out the devil, we destroy the plan of salvation and faith. If sin were just a nebulous concept, without an actual being of power behind it, we could all be Buddhists or of any other religion and not need Christ. But this is not the case. No one can break Satan’s chains of hell. No Buddhist, no Muslim, no religion or philosophy of men. Only faith in Christ can. He, and He alone is the plan of salvation and we need saving from Satan and Satan alone. Christ and Satan must go hand in hand when presenting the plan of salvation, otherwise, it is no longer the plan of salvation and is of none effect to save men.

The Gentile church of God has pretty much divorced sin from the power and captivity of Satan. For example, if you look at the Mormon.org page on “Jesus Christ,” sin is mentioned 24 times with no mention of the devil. (A little better is that site’s page, “God’s Plan of Happiness,” which mentions sin 7 times, with Satan mentioned twice.) As a result, no one can properly exercise faith as a principle of power. Instead, we get hit and miss manifestations and no gifts.

Also, the focus of the plan of salvation is no longer Christ. Now when we think of the plan of salvation, instead of viewing the sufferings, death and resurrection of Christ, we think of three degrees of glory and of exaltation in the celestial kingdom. And we most certainly do not think of the devil and hell. In fact, we don’t even use the word hell anymore, having replaced it with the more politically correct term, “spirit prison.” Yet, even with that term, we do not see it as an actual prison, with real shackles upon a person. All has become figurative states of mind.

All fear is negative and bad and inspired by me,” says the devil

All of this is according to the deceptions, plans and power of the evil one, for it is his intent to remove both Christ and himself from our conversations. As long as he remains out of sight and out of mind, he is free to go about destroying souls.

In this way, the people are deceived and never realize the danger they are in, nor do they learn the process by which to go about removing themselves from that danger. They are deceived into thinking that fear, meaning actual fear, as in fright, is contrary to the gospel, and that fear can only be inspired by the devil. So, they never enter the process by which all the ancient saints went through to shake off the chains of hell and rend the veil of unbelief and save themselves, which is the process of fearing and trembling and crying before the Lord.

Again, what is it that we are to fear in this process? We are to fear being cast off forever. (See Mosiah 28: 4.) It is this fear that causes the body and spirit to tremble. And, why should we fear this? Because as long as the chains and veil are attached to us, we cannot exercise faith, cannot be saved and will be dragged down to hell once we leave our physical bodies, to become subject to, and possessed by, the devil’s spirit. Once people learn of these things, they begin to fear death, while the righteous, who have been liberated from this captivity, have no fear of death.

To be clearer in writing, no one can be saved without faith in Christ and no one can exercise faith in Christ unless they go through the process of fearing, trembling and crying before the Lord. So, to ascribe all fear as inspired of the devil is to commit spiritual suicide, for you will then never be able to exercise faith unto salvation.

The scriptures explain these things in plainness, so that people can understand that they ought to go through this process right now, this very moment, while they are still alive. Such plainness necessitates Satan’s strategy to get us to misinterpret these real things as mere symbols.

The one mighty and strong is a deception

There are many who are waiting for “one mighty and strong” to show up and save the day, performing miracles and wonders and signs. Such a doctrine is inspired of the devil. I’m not saying that there will not be one or more persons arriving who will be mighty and strong and manifest miracles and perform great works. Of course there will be. However, the waiting for such a man or men to arrive is inspired by the evil one, that he might keep all those who believe such a doctrine in the status quo and ever relying upon the arm of flesh and looking for someone to lead them.

The true doctrine of Christ is that every man and woman is to repent of their sins and harden not their hearts, receiving a remission of their sins, and then asking God in faith to obtain the gifts and powers of the Spirit, so as to work miracles themselves, and not to wait for miracle workers to show up. Those who wait for miracle workers to show up, without learning how to work miracles themselves, will end up being deceived, for Satan will send miracle workers with the intent to deceive such people.

We are to obtain the gifts ourselves so that we are not deceived (see D&C 46: 8.) If you do not obtain the gifts, but merely wait for a savior to arrive, you will get a savior, but he will be sent from the evil one.

Pray against the power of the devil

The scriptures indicate that we must pray always and not faint, that we be not led into temptation. In other words, we are to pray against the power of the devil, against his power to tempt and deceive us and others.

Yea, cry unto him against the devil, who is an enemy to all righteousness. (Alma 34: 21.)

The Lord will grant us what we ask for in faith, but if we do not ask for something, He will not grant it. The ancients always prayed against the devil’s power and taught all men to do so. The Gentile church typically neglects this duty.

The ordinance of prayer

Prayer is an ordinance (see New thoughts on prayer) by which we offer a sacrifice to the Lord. He only accepts one type of sacrifice: that of a broken heart and a contrite spirit. A broken heart and contrite spirit is a heart that is inundated with sorrow for sin. Initially, it is sorrow for one’s own sins. Later, when forgiveness through faith on Christ has come, it is sorrow for the sins of the world.

Prayer only works if this sacrifice is offered up. If any man or woman prays to God without presenting before Him the required sacrifice, which is the only sacrifice He will accept, the prayer is counted as evil and profits the man nothing. (See Moroni 7: 6-9.) Just as Cain brought the wrong sacrifice to the Lord and was rejected by Him, while Abel brought the right sacrifice and was accepted, so if we pray to God without a broken heart and contrite spirit, our prayers will not be answered, or will be of no profit to us.

The Son of God is “quick to hear the cries of his people and to answer their prayers” (Alma 9: 26), but only if they offer the required sacrifice. If they go to the prayer altar and offer up nothing, or some substitute sacrifice, they have no such promise.

If you are not weeping, you are not broken-hearted

The Lord has given us a key whereby we might know if we have a broken heart and contrite spirit: the crying of tears of sorrow. When we are crying tears of sorrow for our own sins, or for others’ sins, then we are broken-hearted. If we have not, as yet, reached that point, our hearts are still hard.

Yea, his weeping for Zion I have seen (D&C 21: 8 – The Lord, speaking of Joseph Smith, Jun.)

For I pray continually for them by day, and mine eyes water my pillow by night, because of them; and I cry unto my God in faith, and I know that he will hear my cry. (2 Ne. 33: 3 – Nephi)

There is a reason why the scriptures tell us to “cry unto the Lord.” The word cry can mean “to make a loud call or cry, as in an effort to be heard, in prayer or supplication, in pain or anger, etc.; to call out or exclaim vehemently or earnestly; to shout; to vociferate.” But it can also mean “to utter lamentations; to lament audibly; to express pain, grief, or distress, by weeping and sobbing; to wail; to shed tears with or without making a sound; to weep.” It is the latter type of crying that demonstrates a broken heart and contrite spirit.

When we cry to the Lord, with uncontrollable weeping for our sins, the Lord is “quick to hear the cries.” Only those who have a broken heart and contrite spiritwho are they that are truly penitent and sorry for their sinshave access to the atonement of Jesus Christ, “and unto none else can the ends of the law be answered” (2 Ne. 2: 7.) This means that unless you are brought to tears for your own sins, or for the sins of the world, you are currently in a state of damnation, because your heart is still hard, the veil of unbelief is still intact, the chains of hell are still attached to you and you are still in subjection to the devil, being an enemy to God.

The condition of the heart

It all comes down to our hearts. Our hearts are hard, like a stone. This is the reason, the only reason, why those of us who ask God for a gift of the Spirit, do so in vain. This is the reason why we do not receive.

No one can exercise faith while in a state of damnation. No one can be saved in his sins. He must be saved from his sins. A hard heart is a wicked heart. As long as his heart is hard, a man is still in his sins. The heart must be broken before salvation goes forth. Before Christ can forgive anyone of any sins, there must be the all-important sacrifice of a broken heart and a contrite spirit. Simply saying you are sorry for your sins does not cut it. You must feel sorrow for your sins. And this must be the sorrow unto repentance spoken of in the scriptures. This is sorrow that is accompanied by tears, by uncontrollable weeping. It is this sorrow that causes you to turn from (repent of) your sins.

And for those of us who have turned from our sins without the accompanying sorrow for sin (the weeping of a broken heart), such “repentance” is but a change of lifestyle and profits us nothing in the afterlife. The Lord looks upon the heart. Regardless of how one has stopped using drugs, alcohol, tobacco, and breaking the law of chastity and other laws of God, if the heart is still hard, that man is still in a state of wickedness, with veil of unbelief firmly attached, and has no faith unto salvation, which is why he cannot perform any miracle and will find himself in hell upon his death if he continues in the iniquity of his heart. So, it is sorrow for sin (the broken heart and contrite spirit) that is the first and chief gift of God that one needs to be saved.

But before you can attain to that state of sorrow, you must understand the consequences of sin. You must have a proper understanding of death, hell, and the devil and the captivity of the devil. And this understanding must work in you until you fear being cast off and tremble under a consciousness of your guilt before God. Only then can you come close to obtaining a broken heart and a contrite spirit.

All of this brings us to the role of the Book of Mormon.

The Book of Mormon is the solution

The word of God, found in the Book of Mormon, contains everything necessary to bring people to repentance, to the broken heart and contrite spirit required before miracles can go forth. This volume of scripture is designed to “pull down all the pride” (see Alma 4: 19) of the church of God. The opposite of pride is humility, meekness, lowliness of heart. These words refer to the broken heart and contrite spirit, not to mere “teachableness” as many LDS would interpret them to mean.

The church of God is currently in a rising pride cycle, which means that it does not desire to repent, nor feels the need to. It enjoys the status quo just fine. It resembles the Nehor perversion in certain aspects.

(The order of Nehors created exceedingly hard-hearted people. It was the Nehors of Ammonihah who murdered the women and children believers by fire. See Alma 14. It was also mostly the Nehors who slew the Anti-Nephi-Lehies who were prostrate and praying to God. See Alma 24.)

So, many members no longer care about obtaining the gifts. But even the members that are concerned about the lack of gifts, and that attempt to receive them, are incapable of doing so because they “are led, that in many instances they do err because they are taught by the precepts of men.” In short, the devil has the entire world under darkness, both within and without the church.

The Book of Mormon is the Lord’s solution to this problem. It is intended to give us the word of God in purity so that we can learn everything we need to know about Christ’s atonement and His power of deliverance, as well as the devil’s power of captivity. It continually calls us to repentance and shows us exactly what to do to escape the grasp of the devil and avoid entering hell, how to obtain a glorious resurrection, how to repent and receive forgiveness of sin, and how to obtain any gift or power that God has ever given to any saint of any age. In short, it gives us exactly what we need to gain the victory over the devil and overcome the world by faith.

Enos and Amulek as our models

Enos knelt before his Maker and “cried unto him in mighty prayer and supplication” for his own soul, “all the day long.” And when the night came, he did still raise his voice in prayer. And then the Lord spoke to him and told him his sins were forgiven.

It took Enos less than 24 hours of “crying to the Lord,” or less than the waking hours of a day, before the Lord finally spoke to him and he obtained a remission of his sins. It was accomplished in a single day.

Amulek said:

Yea, I would that ye would come forth and harden not your hearts any longer; for behold, now is the time and the day of your salvation; and therefore, if ye will repent and harden not your hearts, immediately shall the great plan of redemption be brought about unto you. (Alma 34: 31)

Again, the implication is that it takes but one day to obtain forgiveness.

How to pray, part two

Remember the list of steps? Pray to the Father, in the name of Christ, with faith in Christ, believing that we will receive, doubting nothing, for something good and right? Well, if you pray that way without a broken heart and a contrite spirit, you won’t receive a damn thing.

Before approaching the Lord in prayer to obtain the gifts of the Spirit, you must first obtain a remission of your sins, and before that you must first obtain a broken heart and a contrite spirit. And to do that you need to be harrowed up with guilt, you need to tremble and fear before the Lord, and nothing does that like the pure gospel of Jesus Christ, even the word of God as written in the Book of Mormon. The broken heart is the first thing to ask for. With prayer and the word of God, as found in the Book of Mormon, pride will eventually be pulled down and your heart will be softened and the tears will flow for your sins.

At that point, you must pray to God for forgiveness, while in your state of tears, or broken-heartedness, for as long as it takes. As demonstrated by Enos, it won’t take longer than a day, for the Lord is quick to hear the cries of His people. When you finally receive forgiveness of sin and have had your sorrow wiped away and replaced by joy, being full of the Holy Spirit and being baptized with fire, with the ability to speak the tongue of angels, etc., then, and only then, will you be able to ask and receive whatever you want.

Right after Enos received a forgiveness of sins, he got back onto his knees and poured out his whole soul to God for his brethren the Nephites. His broken-heartedness was in their behalf. Again, the Lord spoke to him. Later, he again prayed in this same manner, this time asking for something specific regarding the preservation of their records. He received what He asked for, because once again, he prayed with a broken heart and contrite spirit.

This is the grand key to the doctrine of ask and receive. If you have a hard heart, you receive the lesser portion until you know nothing and are taken captive by the devil. If you do not harden your heart, but keep it broken, you receive the greater portion of the word until you know the mysteries in full. (See Alma 12: 10-11.) Again, the key to know if you have a hard or soft heart is whether you weep over sin.

The Atonement has power to melt hearts

And he shall go forth, suffering pains and afflictions and temptations of every kind; and this that the word might be fulfilled which saith he will take upon him the pains and the sicknesses of his people. And he will take upon him death, that he may loose the bands of death which bind his people; and he will take upon him their infirmities, that his bowels may be filled with mercy, according to the flesh, that he may know according to the flesh how to succor his people according to their infirmities. Now the Spirit knoweth all things; nevertheless the Son of God suffereth according to the flesh that he might take upon him the sins of his people, that he might blot out their transgressions according to the power of his deliverance; and now behold, this is the testimony which is in me. (Alma 7: 11-13)

The suffering that Jesus went through is designed to move the Universe to tears, compassion and forgiveness. All mankind would unavoidably perish were it not for the redemption of Christ, and He came down to save us, not to save Himself, because He loves us and does not want the workmanship of His hands to perish. So, this was a completely selfless sacrifice. Both the reasons for the sacrifice and the intensity of it work on all who plant this word in their hearts.

This means that when we plant this word in our hearts and believe it, viewing the cross of Christ and all the suffering that He underwent, we, too, can be moved to tears, compassion and forgiveness. In other words, the atonement has power to take away our stony hearts and give us a heart of flesh. For this reason, studying the word of God tends to pull down pride and humble us to the dust, making it easier for us to obtain a broken heart and a contrite spirit.

For those of us who find that we cannot cry to the Lord, meaning that we cannot feel the sorrow for sin necessary to obtain blessings from the Lord, because the tears do not come, the Lord, in His infinite foreknowledge and mercy, knowing that the preaching of the word in purity has power to break hearts and that the Gentile church would not preach the word in purity, began the foundation of the church with the Book of Mormon, for the Book of Mormon prophets preached it in purity. In this way, anyone who desired to obtain a broken heart and a contrite spirit, could do so by reading the Book of Mormon with a believing heart. This would be as effective as hearing the pure word preached in power.

A doctrine of two atonements

The process of working out your own salvation with fear and trembling before the Lord, and of calling upon the name of the Lord with a broken heart and a contrite spirit is an atonement. To be saved, two atonements are required. The infinite atonement of Christ in which He feared that we would all be cast off, trembled with a perfect consciousness of all our guilt, and sorrowed under the enormous weight of our sins, was the first one, without which no one would be saved. But a second one, a finite one, in which each person must also go through this process of fearing, trembling and sorrowing, is necessary to activate the first one.

A sense of our own nothingness

Ammon said, “Yea, I know that I am nothing” (Alma 26: 12.) Mormon said, “O how great is the nothingness of the children of men; yea, even they are less than the dust of the earth” (Helaman 12: 7.) And king Benjamin said, “The knowledge of the goodness of God at this time has awakened you to a sense of your nothingness, and your worthless and fallen state” (Mosiah 4: 5.)

The broken heart and contrite spirit is attendant with a sense of our own nothingness. Lehi preached the nothingness of man to his children (see Deep Waters: Lehi’s model of the universe) who then kept up the teaching throughout their generations to the end of their civilization. We are, quite literally, nothing, having come from the nothingness. All that we are and possess has been given to us, or leased to us, by the generosity and charity of God. If we do not turn the lease into a permanent ownership, by filling our hearts with charity, which is the love of God, our lease will end and we will return to the nothingness from whence we came. Just as from dust we are taken and to dust we shall return, so from nothing we come and to nothing we shall return, unless we take advantage of the atonement of Christ.

Even before obtaining a broken heart and a contrite spirit, getting a sense of one’s own nothingness assists in softening the heart, for the contrast between God’s absolute greatness, being a possessor of all things, and our nothingness, causes us to quake and tremble. Shaking, quaking and trembling are helpful in softening the heart. And after the broken heart is received, always remembering one’s nothingness and the greatness of God keeps everything in a proper perspective, so that it becomes that much easier to retain a remission of sin.

Retaining a remission of sins

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

The key to retaining a remission of sins, given by king Benjamin, is to continually perform the ordinance of prayer, offering a sacrifice of a broken heart and a contrite spirit, which is the required sacrifice or atonement that is acceptable to the Lord. Doing so will fill us with the love of God (charity) so that it will be well with us at the last day, for whoever does not possess charity is counted as nothing and must return to the nothingness from whence they came, while those who do possess charity remain in the kingdom and receive an inheritance.

It is imperative, then, that we pray always and do not faint, after the prescribed manner.

There is no going back

To those who wish to use the information in this post, know going into it that once you start the fearing and the trembling, there is no going back. The pure gospel awakens you from the sleep of hell into a state of torment, even the pains of hell. The realization that you do not have faith will torment you as if your soul has been set on fire, for without faith no man can be saved.

One option (temporary at best) is to reject the gospel altogether and to believe that the promises of the Lord are false and thus the plan of salvation is a sham. But that will only work until you die and then you will find yourself in hell, in your unsaved condition. So death does not bring relief from this misery.

If you make an agency choice to continue to believe that what the Lord has promised in the scriptures is true, and that all who ask in faith, believing they will receive, nothing doubting, will indeed receive, then you must remain in your miserable, faithless state until you obtain the promised witness.

The very misery you find yourself in, then, knowing that you have no faith sufficient to save yourself, will either impel you forward to ask again and strive to obtain the witness, or drive you backward to reject the entire gospel. In this way, all who arrive at the trial of faith must make a choice. There is no middle ground. It is all or nothing.

Closing summary: A gospel prescription

Just as one goes to a doctor who then prescribes a medication or procedure to cure the ailment, so we can write a prescription based upon the above information to “cure” the world of a deficiency of gifts and miracles.

There are three steps to receiving what you ask God for. The first is the fear of being cast off forever. The second is a trembling under a consciousness of your own guilt before God. The third is a broken heart and a contrite spirit, which is extreme sorrow for your sins, manifested by uncontrollable weeping.

Once a man has the fear we are speaking of, this automatically leads him to trembling. The fear and trembling, if they are continued through prayer and studying the word of God, will eventually lead to a broken heart and a contrite spirit.

It is the broken heart and contrite spirit that rends the veil of unbelief, shakes off the chains of hell and casts away every doubt. Once a person has a broken heart and a contrite spirit, he can pray to God for forgiveness of his sins and within a single day of prayer become justified, sanctified and purified. This is because God is quick to hear the cries of those that have a broken heart and a contrite spirit.

After his sins are remitted, the man must continue in prayer and fasting, praying against the power of the devil, acknowledging the greatness, goodness and long-suffering of God and His hand in all things, and always remembering his own nothingness, and by so doing, he will always retain a remission of his sins.

Such a man, whose sins are now remitted due to his broken heart and contrite spirit, can ask the Lord for any gift or power of the Spirit and it will be granted him. So long as he remains broken-hearted and with a contrite spirit, he will grow in the knowledge of the glory of God, and partake of as many gifts, marvels, signs, wonders and powers as he asks for.

Now, backing up a bit: the first step is fear. To obtain this fear, a man must have the gospel preached to him in its purity, so that he has a good understanding of the power and captivity of the devil, of hell and of death, and also of the power and deliverance of the Son of God, of heaven and of the resurrection and judgment. The volume of scripture that God has given to us to preach the gospel in purity is the Book of Mormon. Therefore, to all who are serious about obtaining and exercising faith and receiving the gifts and miracles of God into their lives, may I make a suggestion?

Put every other book you are currently reading and studying aside and just read the Book of Mormon, preferably out loud, so that you actually hear it preached. Every available moment that you have, read from its pages, with the above understanding in mind, and allow it to soften and affect your heart, afflict your soul, harrow you up with your sins, instill fear in you and cause you to tremble under a consciousness of your own guilt. This can only be accomplished if you believe everything that you read and apply all the sermons of repentance to you, as if they were spoken directly to you and with you in mind. Do this until your pride has been pulled down by the word of God and you have obtained the broken heart and contrite spirit that you seek.

Also, pray to God in the above prescribed manner, using a deadline so that each prayer becomes a trial of your faith. In this way, you will be able to plainly see that you do not have faith, which will cause you to fear and tremble exceedingly.

Continue on with these prayers and scripture readings, and petition the Lord for the broken heart and contrite spirit and to rend the veil of unbelief and shake loose the chains of hell. Use every available moment to do these things and submit yourself fully to the fearful and trembling pains of hell. Eventually, the Lord will take away your stony heart and replace it with a heart of flesh and you will finally feel the relief that comes from uncontrollably sobbing because of your sins. You will finally be able to feel sorrow for your sins, instead of just saying you are sorry and not really feeling it.

When those tears come, continue crying (with tears) to God, in your broken heart and contrite spirit, asking for forgiveness of your sins until you obtain forgiveness.

Once you obtain forgiveness, you can now ask God to see an angel or a vision or whatever, and it will be given to you. Then go and bear testimony to others of what you have seen so that they can exercise faith to see the same things. This is how it works.

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Teachings on hell and the spirit world


The following is some of what I recently taught my wife and daughter about hell.  For the most part it is a re-hash of things I had learned previously, but it does contain a couple of new concepts (new to me, at least), so I’m putting it on this blog.

The spirit world is the Earth’s spirit

When we speak of the spirit world, we are not speaking of a different planet made of spirit matter, but of the spirit body of our planet Earth. Latter-day saints are taught that “the spirit world is here” because the Earth’s spirit is still attached to its physical body, just as mortal, human spirits are connected to their physical bodies. The Earth’s spirit body, like all spirit bodies, conforms to the configuration of the physical elements that make up its physical body.

How the physical world is configured

The Earth’s physical body (the physical world) is a hollow, spherical shell that has north and south polar openings. The shell has inner and outer surfaces which meet at these two openings. At the exact center of the hollow is another spherical object, which is also a hollow shell that has its own polar openings, but much smaller in diameter than the larger shell that surrounds it. The smaller shell discharges plasma in glow mode, like an inner sun.

In appearance, the Earth is constructed as “a tree yielding fruit, whose seed is in itself”. When the Earth is stacked with other planets, a plasma column connects the planets through their poles, creating a visual display that looks like a tree. The “seed” of this “tree” is the small hollow shell found at the exact center of the larger hollow sphere.

Men live and walk upon the outer surface of the larger shell. They also walk upon the inner surface. Gravity (the Earth’s spirit) pushes all matter towards a point between the two surfaces of the shell. (Everything in the Universe is a push; there is no such thing as a pull.) So, a man walking on the outside of the shell will be pushed inward towards the inner surface; and a man walking on the inner surface of the shell will be pushed outward towards the outer surface. To each of these men, gravity is pushing them “down” even though “down” is in opposite directions for them. Almost all of the physical matter of the Earth is found within the larger shell and this is where most of the gravity is concentrated.

Above each surface side (inner and outer) there is an atmosphere, in which man and other creatures can live and breath. The atmosphere extends upward only to a certain distance. Above that, we find the apparent vacuum of space. In the case of the outer surface, this vacuum is called by us “outer space,” but in the case of the inner surface, the vacuum of space above their heads, it being above the atmosphere, might be termed “inner space.”

The inner sun is held in the very center of the inner space vacuum by gravitation. It is pushed equally in all directions towards the outer shell and thus is held stationary (or fixed) in the center of the hollow of the larger shell. However, just as the outer shell rotates or spins, so does the inner shell, though at a different rate.

To men living on the inner surface of the outer shell, the inner sun appears to be roughly similar in size to how the outer Sun appears to the men living on the outer surface. The outer Sun is exceedingly large, hot and radiant, yet very distant, and so appears kind of small to people on the outside of Earth, whereas the inner sun is miniscule by comparison, but fairly close to the inner surface; and so the inner and outer Suns appear to approximate each other in size.

The inner sun is not as brilliant or as hot as the outer Sun, so that the inner surface of the Earth’s larger shell is not scorched with heat and radiation, but is bathed in amounts conducive to human life.

Limit of gravity field is apparent limit of spirit world

The spirit world proceeds outward beyond the confines of the physical world, just like every other spirit body. The extent of the Earth’s gravitational field is the apparent extent of its spirit body. In other words, once something leaves the confines of Earth’s gravitational field, it has apparently left the confines of the spirit world.

The same principle of spirit encompassing element applies to all spirit bodies connected to physical bodies. The spirit body of a man, for example, contains the physical body of the man within its confines, and extends some distance beyond the physical element. It is incorrect, then, to say that one’s spirit body is entirely within one’s physical body. The reverse is the true nature and pattern of the Universe. Every spirit body surrounds the physical body it is connected to, the spirit matter of the spirit body surrounding each particle of the elements that compose the physical body and moving it around with a push. This is one of the reasons why sometimes people can “sense” the presence of another person without their physical senses apparently being involved (because an outer edge of a person’s spirit has come into contact with an outer edge of some other person’s spirit), or why those who see people’s auras say that they extend beyond the physical body, or how two celestial objects can interact with each other at a distance, etc.

The spirit world is divided into two parts

Just as the physical world is divided into two parts, a large outer shell and a small inner shell, so the spirit world has two parts, spirit prison (otherwise known as hell) and paradise.

Where everything is located

Paradise is located where the inner sun is found. Spirit prison (or hell) is found in the depths of the larger, outer shell. To men walking on the outer surface of the larger shell, as well as on the inner surface, hell is found below them, or below their feet. Hell is also called the underworld because it is underneath the surface of the Earth (deep within the larger, outer shell).

Spirit world hell is patterned after universal outer darkness

Outer darkness is that area outside of the inner sphere of light known as the created Universe. The boundary between outer darkness and the inner sphere of light is a lake of fire and brimstone “which ascended up forever and ever.”

The hell of the spirit world is also called outer darkness because it lies in the larger, outer shell of the Earth. When men die, their spirits go to “that God who gave them life,” meaning that they go to the inner sun (a god-star), which is the location of spirit world paradise. The righteous among them are received into paradise (see the gates of righteousness below), while the unjust spirits are cast out into outer darkness (hell).

Spirit world hell is a place of darkness and powerlessness. Gravity in hell is different than that at the surface, it being either largely reduced or altogether canceled out. Hell is the abode of Satan and his angels and is their base of operations. From there they travel to the two opposing surfaces of the planet where mortal men are found and tempt them to break God’s commandments. The departed spirits of men found in hell are subject to the spirit of the devil, who keeps them miserable like himself.

Hell fire

Spirit world hell is also surrounded by fire and brimstone (magma) or what the scriptures call hell fire or God’s “fiery indignation.” All these terms are descriptions of real things, as well as states of mind and heart.

The gates of hell

The scriptures speak repeatedly of “the gates of hell.” These gates are openings found upon the Earth that lead down to the physical location of hell. They include certain volcanoes, as well as cave systems that seemingly go on and on, and also holes and cracks in the earth that appear to be bottomless pits. They are found in various locations around the planet and are often called by the local population by some name indicating hell, such as Mouth of Hell, etc. No one typically tries to go down these apertures and cavities due to dangerous conditions, such as noxious gases, magma flow, utter darkness, fearful noises (which sound like the screams of the damned souls in hell), etc.

The gates of righteousness

The scriptures also speak of “the gates of righteousness.” These gates are the polar openings found upon the two shells that compose the physical world, or four gates total. Paradise, which is located within the inner sun, cannot be seen by those living on the outside surface of the planet. One would need to enter either the north or south polar opening (gate of righteousness) to view the physical location of spirit world paradise (the inner sun). In the same way, in order to actually enter into spirit world paradise, one would need to go through either the north or south polar opening (gate of righteousness) of the inner sun so as to be on its inner surface, where paradise is found.

The gates of righteousness are, essentially, “narrow gates,” hidden from the view of most people, or unknown or disbelieved to exist by almost all men. Few men find them. The gates of hell, on the other hand, are well-known, documented and often wide gates.

The parable of the rich man and Lazarus

In Luke 16: 19-31 the Savior mentions “a great gulf fixed” between hell and “Abraham’s bosom” (the paradise of the inner sun). No one could pass from hell to paradise, nor from paradise to hell because of this gulf. The gulf is the space that exists between the inner sun and outer shell of Earth.

After Jesus’ death, He went to paradise and “organized his forces and appointed messengers, clothed with power and authority, and commissioned them to go forth and carry the light of the gospel to them that were in darkness, even to all the spirits of men; and thus was the gospel preached to the dead.” (See D&C 138.)  These messengers required power to cross the “great gulf fixed.”

Scriptures are both spiritual and temporal

As the above shows, many of the scriptural terms that we take to have strictly figurative or symbolic meaning also have a literal or physical counterpart. Or, as Nephi told his brothers Laman and Lemuel, the prophets spoke of things both temporal and spiritual.

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Congruence vs. Obedience


Note: I found this essay while surfing the Internet this past week.  I took it from the mormon_anarchy Yahoo group.  Wake_Up posted it there on Sun Oct 8, 2000, as the fourth message and now I’m re-posting it here in a slightly edited fashion (I tried to correct some typos). I have also re-posted three more of his essays.  (See Why Father is an Anarchist, What the Priesthood Is, and Agency: The Single Principle for a Continuous War.)

Please keep in mind that I did not write this article. I tried to contact the author, (whose real name, according to Stirling D. Allen, is Jahnihah Wrede), but my email was returned as “Undelivered Mail Returned to Sender.”  If you want more information about him or his views, I suggest you visit his (now defunct) web site, which you can view by using the Way Back Machine.

Congruence vs. Obedience

It is self-evident to any lover of free agency that obedience to law is wholly Luciferian.

You are wanting to discontinue reading, aren’t you?

It’s totally backwards, right?

It’s so backwards that this is what the definition of something being self-evident means, correct?

That something is so obviously erroneous that to continue to give it space is a waste of time, yes?

It is obvious that if someone came along and proposed a system of governance that required a fabricated punishment beyond the natural consequences for any type of infraction or breach, you would recognize it as being a fraud filled with agony under compulsion and even tending to abusiveness, right ?

It also would be glaringly apparent that if this same fellow proposed such a system no one would volunteer into it, for to force them into such a system would be giving away the true intention and nature of this fellow, OK?

So, to make a statement like the one at the top of this article, it is self-evident WHO the author is, right ?

The author is Jesus Christ Himself and He said it in D&C 121 :34-40 and to Ancient Israel about the 10 Commandments, and most specifically in 1 Timothy 1:9:

“Knowing this, that the law is not made for a righteous man, but for the lawless and disobedient, for the ungodly and for sinners, for unholy and profane, for murderers of fathers and murderers of mothers, for manslayers…”

Breathe Neo, just breathe… Heck of a way to start out, huh ? It’s OK. A very wise man I know and love said,

“Put your preconceived notions on the shelf for a while, and after you have considered this info without bias, if you like you can pick up the old perceptions right back off the shelf where you left them.”

I don’t mean to preach anything new to you. I only wish to clarify something eternal that we somehow allowed to escape our view.

We define different words with their own meanings even though they may be very similar to one another. We might describe someone as ‘eccentric’ and another as ‘insane’; or ‘zealous’ from ‘fanatical’. Indeed it is what the whole of being ‘politically correct’ is founded upon. Most people have a good understanding of what the terms ‘law’ and ‘obedience’ mean, and also of ‘order’ and ‘congruence’.

There is literally a world of difference between ‘law’ and ‘order’, and between ‘obedience’ and ‘congruence’.

Let us take the typical understanding of ‘obedience’ found in the scriptures. Of course, most Christians believe that if you are not obedient, you are going to wind up in Hell, but obedient to what?  The law of God, of course. So, to be obedient, you have to know what God’s law is. Where is the law of God found?

Some Christians believe that the 10 Commandments are the law of God, and others believe that The Beatitudes of Jesus on the Mount of Olives is God’s law, and others say both. I don’t have to convince you one way or the other to make my point. The mere fact is that as long as there is a ‘law’, then it is of NO EFFECT without a consequent punishment. Do the ‘laws’ of God assert a punishment? If you believe God has laws, then you must concede that punishments follow for breaches of the law, and rewards or blessings occur for obedience to the law, right?

Let us review Isaiah for a moment. Isaiah tells us of a War in Heaven that occurred as a result of the Son of the Morning’s plan of salvation through compulsion to save every soul was rejected for Father’s chosen plan of salvation from His other Son to save every soul via free choice. It is self-evident that the single premise for the War wasn’t over going to Heaven or Hell, but over the freedom to choose which plan to be saved under – that of compulsion to do righteousness, or that of freedom to sin and to repent.

In speaking about the ‘authority to act in the name of God’, a.k.a. the Priesthood (PH), Father has said in no uncertain terms that ‘…ANY degree of compulsion is cause for immediate withdrawal of PH.’ and that such a man was ‘…left unto himself… to be an enemy and fight against God.’ It is D&C 121: 34-40.

It seems that as long as you want to infringe on another’s agency in any degree, you are totally out of sorts with the plan of salvation of Jesus Christ, and His PH. How then can we justify ‘obedience’ to ‘law’ when it requires us to exact a punishment upon our fellowman for his ‘disobedience’? Where did we get the idea that ‘obedience’ means what we typically believe it means? Where did we get the idea that ‘law’ was an excuse to exert dominion over another without becoming an enemy to God?

Have we not heard so much of ‘obedience unto God’s law’ that we are all afraid of going to Hell? Lots of people are going to Hell then, huh? In fact we are so afraid of going to Hell, that we blindly obey the law without giving thought for the truth – that God ceases to BE GOD if any degree of compulsion is used to get us sinners to repent, right?

What kind of God would fabricate a law, assert some punishment in addition to natural consequence, and enforce it by compulsion (else the law would be of no effect), and claim to be Just when it contradicts His own explanation of how the Powers of Heaven and the Rights of the PH operate??? A Luciferian ‘god’ would. A light should have just gone on. What was self-evident at the top, is now taking a serious beating in your mind if you are paying attention.

Is it too far fetched to say that God is lawless right now? It would at least keep Him from violating the PH and the Powers of Heaven they are inseparably connected to, huh? But, is God an Anarchist?

Evidently the PH has no beginning of days, or end of days; no mother or no father. In short it is eternal. It also is inseparably connected to the Powers of Heaven, which God obviously has at His disposal provided He doesn’t exercise any degree of unrighteous dominion and fall from Godhood. This means that indeed there is an ‘order’ to everything that is eternal, but it isn’t what we have corrupted into ‘law’, and ‘obedience’ isn’t required, but ‘congruence’ is. Apparently, suffering the natural consequence of being incongruent is enough ‘punishment’ in God’s reality. No fabrication of abusive punishments are required to drive fear into the hearts of men so via this compulsion they ALL are saved.

So, what’s with all the fear about Hell? Let me define ‘Hell’ here as merely ‘separation from Father’ regardless of its degree or the imaginations of men. If one truly loved God, separation from Him is ‘Hell’ just as being separated from a spouse who has died is Hell regardless of the length of time of separation.

In the same manner are we to remain separated from God until we become congruent to His nature and attributes, which doesn’t include exerting laws and punishments via compulsion upon our fellow men, a.k.a.’obedience’. We either are seen as He is seen, and are known as He is known, or we remain separated from Him to some degree regardless of our level of ‘obedience’. As long as we play the part rather than Being true to the core, then we are deceiving ourselves and can only achieve something less than exaltation. It naturally would behoove us to come to a complete understanding of who God is, and what His nature and attributes are so we might KNOW if we could actually be happy living as He lives.  Good thing Joseph gave the King Follett Discourse.

Wake_Up

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Previous Guest Contributor article: What The Priesthood Is

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Damnation


I recently (Sept. 17) had the opportunity to participate in a discussion on The Millennial Star blog.  The topic was on the meaning of the word “damned” in D&C 132: 4-6.  I stopped participating when I realized that I needed more room than a comments section to explain my understanding of damnation.  So, I thought I’d take the topic up in earnest on this blog.

Bible Dictionary definition of damnation

BIBLE DICTIONARY
Damnation
As used in the KJV this word has a wider meaning than is at once apparent from modern usage. Damnation is the opposite of salvation, and exists in varying degrees. All who do not obtain the fulness of celestial exaltation will to some degree be limited in their progress and privileges, and hence be damned to that extent. See Matt. 23: 14, 33; Mark 3: 29; Mark 16: 16; John 5: 29; Rom. 13: 2; 1 Cor. 11: 29; 2 Ne. 9: 24; 3 Ne. 18: 28-29; D&C 58: 26-29; D&C 84: 74; D&C 112: 29; D&C 132: 4, 6, 27.

This is the definition that the modern Mormons have accepted, and which they routinely teach.  According to this interpretation, there are four degrees of damnation:

  • Sons of perdition. These are people who are cast into outer darkness, who inherit the kingdom of the devil.   They receive the full measure of damnation, being fully limited in their progress and privileges.  They are damned in that they do not partake of either the Telestial, Terrestrial or Celestial kingdoms of glory and the happiness which is found therein.  The kingdom of the devil is not a kingdom of glory, but a hell, and all who inherit it are miserable forever.
  • Telestials. These are people who inherit the Telestial kingdom of glory and the happiness found therein.  They escape the misery of outer darkness, but partake of the misery in knowing that they will eternally miss out on the glories of the Terrestrial and Celestial kingdoms.  Although this kingdom of glory is termed a heaven (see the section heading of D&C 76), because of the damnation of these individuals in what they might have received, but did not, they feel regret and longing and are miserable forever.  And thus their kingdom of glory is also a hell.
  • Terrestrials. These are people who inherit the Terrestrial kingdom of glory and the happiness found therein.  They escape the misery of outer darkness and the misery of the Telestial kingdom, but partake of the misery in knowing that they will eternally miss out on the glory of the Celestial kingdom.  Although this kingdom of glory is termed a heaven, because of the damnation of these individuals in what they might have received, but did not, they feel regret and longing and are miserable forever.  And thus their kingdom of glory is also a hell.
  • Celestial angels. These are people who inherit the Celestial kingdom of glory and the happiness found therein.  They escape the misery of outer darkness and the misery of the Telestial and Terrestrial kingdoms, but partake of the misery in knowing that they will eternally miss out on the glory of the exalted, those who are gods in the Celestial kingdom.  Although this kingdom of glory is termed a heaven, because of the damnation of these individuals in what they might have received, but did not, they feel regret and longing and are miserable forever.  And thus their kingdom of glory is also a hell.

Under this model, there is only one type of person that is not damned:

  • Celestial gods. These are people who inherit the Celestial kingdom of glory and the happiness found therein, and who are exalted.  They escape the misery of outer darkness and the misery of the Telestial and Terrestrial kingdoms, as well as the misery of Celestial angels.  This kingdom of glory is termed a heaven, and it verily is to these individuals, because they have no regrets and long for nothing, for they possess all things and thus are not miserable, but have a fulness of joy and happiness.

Salvation, who gets it and who doesn’t

As the Bible Dictionary mentions salvation in its definition of damnation, it might be helpful to give the Mormon understanding of who gets saved.  Specifically, we know of four types of people who receive salvation:

  • Celestial gods. These are people who inherit the Celestial kingdom of glory and the happiness found therein, and who are exalted.  They dwell in the presence of God and Christ and receive that salvation known as eternal life (exaltation), becoming like God.
  • Celestial angels. These are people who inherit the Celestial kingdom of glory and the happiness found therein, but who are not exalted.  They are servants to God and Christ and dwell in their presence, but are not exactly like them.  They are in a saved condition, like gods, but without exaltation.
  • Terrestrials. These are people who inherit the Terrestrial kingdom of glory and the happiness found therein.  They do not dwell in the presence of God, but receive of “the ministration of the celestial.”  Like the Celestials, these people are saved.
  • Telestials. These are people who inherit the Telestial kingdom of glory and the happiness found therein.  They do not dwell in the presence of God, nor receive of the fulness of Christ, but receive of the Holy Spirit through “the ministration of the terrestrial.”  These people are also “heirs of salvation.”

There is only one type of person that is not saved:

  • Sons of perdition. These are people who are cast into outer darkness, who inherit the kingdom of the devil, a kingdom which is not of glory.

Damned and saved at the same time?

The Bible Dictionary model creates a conflict in which it is possible to be damned and saved at the same time, to be eternally happy and eternally miserable at the same time. Despite damnation being “the opposite of salvation,” according to the Bible Dictionary these two opposite conditions will exist in Celestial angels, Terrestrials and Telestials.  This thought goes contrary to the principle of like things cleaving unto like things:

For intelligence cleaveth unto intelligence; wisdom receiveth wisdom; truth embraceth truth; virtue loveth virtue; light cleaveth unto light; mercy hath compassion on mercy and claimeth her own; justice continueth its course and claimeth its own; judgment goeth before the face of him who sitteth upon the throne and governeth and executeth all things.  (D&C 88: 40)

The way around this quandary is to redefine the word damnation (or damned) to mean something other than what it traditionally means.  The Bible Dictionary would have us believe that damnation means “to be limited in one’s progress and privileges” in certain passages of the scriptures, in other words, that “this word has a wider meaning than is at once apparent from modern usage.”

Acceptance of this theory creates an internal conflict of regret and longing, and a judgmental attitude, with comparisons of those “above us” and “below us,” and ultimately will and does lead to depression.  In other words, according to this model, happiness comes from knowing you got more than someone else and unhappiness comes from knowing you didn’t get as much as others.  This is what LDS look forward to in the eternities, having accepted this doctrinal theory, and this is what they routinely display in their mortal lives.

Correcting an error

The redefining of the words damnation and damned to fit certain passages of the scripture, assigning them a meaning of “a limiting of one’s progress and privileges,” has become systemic throughout the church.  Every LDS I know believes the Bible Dictionary assertion.  I do not know how or when it crept into the church, but I am a convert member of some decades and I have never heard another model other than this one since my baptism, so I know it’s been around a long time.

It is a bit embarrassing to admit that I not only accepted it myself from the beginning without question, but also preached it as a missionary to others. It wasn’t until September 17, 2009, that I actually got around to checking to see if the model held up to scriptural scrutiny.  It was then that I discovered that the standard LDS damnation model (of being saved and damned at the same time) is incorrect.  Many thanks go out to JA Benson and his/her Friday Forum post at The Millennium Star blog, as well as the comments of others on that post, for providing me the excuse and impetus to investigate this subject.

Although I don’t know the origins of this particular doctrinal theory, it seems apparent that it was the result of not understanding the scriptures.  So, to correct it, I will attempt to lay out the scriptures to the understanding of the reader and expound the real meaning of the words damned and damnation.  Perhaps with a proper understanding of these words, LDS won’t be such chronically depressed people.

Number of scriptural uses of damned and damnation

Damn In the scriptures, there are ZERO uses of the word damn.

Damning In the Doctrine and Covenants there is but ONE use of the word damning. (See D&C 123: 7Damning in this verse means detestable and so it doesn’t need to be addressed.)

Damned In the New Testament there are THREE uses of the word damned. (See Mark 16: 16; Rom. 14: 23; and 2 Thes. 2: 12.)  In the Book of Mormon there are EIGHT uses of the word damned. (See 2 Ne. 9: 24; Alma 14: 21; Alma 36: 16; 3 Ne. 11: 34; Morm. 2: 13; Morm. 9: 4, 23; and Ether 4: 18.)  In the Doctrine and Covenants there are TEN uses of the word damned. (See D&C 42: 60; 49: 5; 58: 29; 68: 9; 84: 74; 112: 29; and 132: 4, 6, 27.)  And in the Pearl of Great Price there is but ONE use of the word damned. (See Moses 5: 15.)  The total number of scriptural uses, then, of the word damned, comes to 21.

Damnation In the New Testament there are ELEVEN uses of the word damnation. (See Matt. 23: 14, 33; Mark 3: 29; 12: 40; Luke 20: 47; John 5: 29; Rom. 3: 8; 13: 2; 1 Cor. 11: 29; 1 Tim. 5: 12; and 2 Pet. 2: 3.)  In the Book of Mormon there are NINE uses of the word damnation. (See Mosiah 2: 33; 3: 18, 25; 16: 11; Alma 9: 28; Hel. 12: 26; 3 Ne. 18: 29; 26: 5; and Morm. 8: 33.)  In the Doctrine and Covenants there are THREE uses of the word damnation. (See D&C 19: 7; 29: 44; and 121: 23.)  The total number of scriptural uses, then, of the word damnation, comes to 23.

So, there are only 44 verses in the English Standard Works that mention damn or damnation.  It shouldn’t be too hard for us to figure this all out.

1828 Webster’s Dictionary definition of damned and damnation

First let’s establish what people understood these words to mean during the time of Joseph Smith:

DAM’NED, pp.

1. Sentenced to everlasting punishment in a future state; condemned.

2. a. Hateful; detestable; abominable;

A word chiefly used in profaneness by persons of vulgar manners.

(Taken from the damned entry of the 1828 Webster’s Dictionary.)

DAMNA’TION, n.

1. Sentence or condemnation to everlasting punishment in the future state; or the state of eternal torments.

How can ye escape the damnation of hell. Matt. xxiii

2. Condemnation.

(Taken from the damnation entry of the 1828 Webster’s Dictionary.)

From the same dictionary, here are the definitions of the words condemned and condemnation:

CONDEMNED, pp. Censured; pronounced to be wrong, guilty, worthless or forfeited; adjudged or sentenced to punishment.

(Taken from the condemned entry of the 1828 Webster’s Dictionary.)

CONDEMNATION, n.

1. The act of condemning; the judicial act of declaring one guilty, and dooming him to punishment.

For the judgment was by one to condemnation. Romans 5.

2. The state of being condemned.

Dost thou not fear God, seeing thou art in the same condemnation. Luke 23.

3. The cause or reason of a sentence of condemnation.  John 3.

(Taken from the condemnation entry of the 1828 Webster’s Dictionary.)

Okay, so the words damned, damnation, condemned and condemnation all deal with a judicial act of declaring one guilty (no mercy applied) and dooming him to punishment.  In the case of the words damned and damnation, this can refer to either eternal (everlasting) punishment or temporal punishment (condemnation).  Condemned and condemnation usually refer to temporal punishment unless the scriptural text is speaking specifically of the last day (day of judgment) and eternal punishment.  Regardless of which word you use, though, the meaning always is that a judgment has taken place, you have been found guilty because no mercy has been applied and you are to receive a punishment.

To condemn means to damn

In the scriptures, the verb to damn is never used.  Instead, the verb to condemn is used.  This makes sense from an etymological standpoint:

Etymology of condemn: Middle English, from Anglo-French condempner, from Latin condemnare, from com- + damnare to condemn

See that damnare? Damnare means damn, or to damn. So, the verb to condemn is really just the verb to damn with the prefix con- attached to it.

Damned and damnation in Spanish

Remember those 44 total verses listed above?  If you look them up in Spanish, you will find that in 40 of them the word damned is translated as condenado and the word damnation is translated as condenación.  The Spanish word condenado means condemned and condenación means condemnation.  Also, regardless of whether the word in English is damned or condemned, the Spanish word is almost always condenado (condemned). In the same manner, regardless of whether the word in English is damnation or condemnation, the Spanish word is almost always condenación (condemnation). So, in Spanish there is no distinction made between damnation and condemnation and the Spanish speaking population merely allows the context to indicate whether we are talking of temporal or eternal condemnation (judgment, verdict of guilty and punishment).

The other four verses are translated as follows:

Matt. 23: 33 reads in English, “damnation of hell,” but in Spanish it reads, “juicio del infierno” (judgment of hell).

Mark 3: 29 reads in English, “eternal damnation,” but in Spanish it reads, “juicio eterno” (eternal judgment).

1 Cor. 11: 29 reads in English, “damnation,” but in Spanish it reads, “juicio” (judgment).

2 Pet. 2: 3 reads in English, “judgment” and “damnation,” but in Spanish it reads, “condenación” (condemnation) and “perdición” (perdition).

All of this shows that in the scriptures, whenever it speaks of damnation (or condemnation), it is always talking about a judgment being passed, no mercy has been applied, a guilty verdict is the result and punishment is inflicted.  Always.

Abinadi’s definition of damnation

Even this mortal shall put on immortality, and this corruption shall put on incorruption, and shall be brought to stand before the bar of God, to be judged of him according to their works whether they be good or whether they be evil—if they be good, to the resurrection of endless life and happiness; and if they be evil, to the resurrection of endless damnation, being delivered up to the devil, who hath subjected them, which is damnation—having gone according to their own carnal wills and desires; having never called upon the Lord while the arms of mercy were extended towards them; for the arms of mercy were extended towards them, and they would not; they being warned of their iniquities and yet they would not depart from them; and they were commanded to repent and yet they would not repent.  (Mosiah 16: 10-12)

According to Abinadi’s definition, damnation consists of “being delivered up to the devil.”  Those who are damned are subject to the devil. Notice that Abinadi says that there is an endless damnation. There is also a damnation that ends.

Verily, verily, I say unto you, if a man marry a wife according to my word, and they are sealed by the Holy Spirit of promise, according to mine appointment, and he or she shall commit any sin or transgression of the new and everlasting covenant whatever, and all manner of blasphemies, and if they commit no murder wherein they shed innocent blood, yet they shall come forth in the first resurrection, and enter into their exaltation; but they shall be destroyed in the flesh, and shall be delivered unto the buffetings of Satan unto the day of redemption, saith the Lord God.  (D&C 132: 26)

So, we see from this verse that it is possible to be delivered up to the devil for a time, and then be redeemed when repentance occurs.

Two types of damnation

This shows that there are two types of damnation: eternal damnation (that damnation that comes after the resurrection) and temporal damnation (that damnation that comes prior to the resurrection and which has an end prior to the resurrection.)  This is why the scriptures speak of two time frames of forgiveness: this world and the world to come.

But whoso breaketh this covenant after he hath received it, and altogether turneth therefrom, shall not have forgiveness of sins in this world nor in the world to come. (D&C 84: 41)

And now, behold, I speak unto the church. Thou shalt not kill; and he that kills shall not have forgiveness in this world, nor in the world to come. (D&C 42: 18)

And we saw a vision of the sufferings of those with whom he made war and overcame, for thus came the voice of the Lord unto us: Thus saith the Lord concerning all those who know my power, and have been made partakers thereof, and suffered themselves through the power of the devil to be overcome, and to deny the truth and defy my power—they are they who are the sons of perdition, of whom I say that it had been better for them never to have been born; for they are vessels of wrath, doomed to suffer the wrath of God, with the devil and his angels in eternity; concerning whom I have said there is no forgiveness in this world nor in the world to come—having denied the Holy Spirit after having received it, and having denied the Only Begotten Son of the Father, having crucified him unto themselves and put him to an open shame.  (D&C 76: 30-35)

Those who do not have forgiveness in this world, but who receive forgiveness in the world to come are those who are temporally damned, meaning that they are delivered unto the buffetings of Satan until the day of their redemption.  They are subject to the devil in the mortal world or in the spirit world, being delivered up to him until the day that they finally have faith in Jesus and repent of their sins.  At that point, they are washed clean in the blood of the Lamb and are no longer damned.  In other words, at that point they no longer have a judgment with a guilty verdict and a punishment hanging over them, because mercy and forgiveness is extended to them and they become heirs of salvation.  This applies to all mankind who inherit any of the three glories.  None of these people will be among the “filthy still” because they will have accepted Christ and mercy will be applied to them.

Those who do not have forgiveness in this world, nor in the world to come are those who are eternally damned, meaning that they are delivered up to the devil, are in subjection to him and remain subjected to him, having no deliverance.  These are the sons of perdition.  (Remember the 2 Pet. 2: 3 Spanish scripture above, where condemnation was translated as perdition?)  These are the people who are cast into outer darkness, who inherit the kingdom of the devil.

Greater damnation, lesser damnation

Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye devour widows’ houses, and for a pretence make long prayer: therefore ye shall receive the greater damnation. (Matt. 23: 14)

Which devour widows’ houses, and for a pretence make long prayers: these shall receive greater damnation. (Mark 12: 40)

Which devour widows’ houses, and for a shew make long prayers: the same shall receive greater damnation. (Luke 20: 47)

What is the greater damnation?  It is eternal damnation. What is the lesser damnation?  It is temporal damnation.

It is impossible to be saved and damned at the same time

Remember that I wrote above that condemnation requires that no mercy is applied?  It is a judgment of guilty with punishment executed upon the party.  Well, consider Jacob’s words:

Wherefore, he has given a law; and where there is no law given there is no punishment; and where there is no punishment there is no condemnation; and where there is no condemnation the mercies of the Holy One of Israel have claim upon them, because of the atonement; for they are delivered by the power of him.  (2 Ne. 9: 25)

By the same token, where there is mercy, there is no condemnation and where there is no condemnation, there is no punishment.  Speaking of the day of judgment (the last day), there is only one punishment or penalty affixed to the law: death.  The spiritual death that is the second death means dying as to things pertaining to righteousness, meaning that those who receive it are banished from the kingdom of God and cast into outer darkness, where the devil will eternally subject them (Abinadi’s definition of damnation).

None of the inhabitants of the three degrees of glory receive this punishment.  In fact, it is impossible for them to receive it because Satan will be cast out into outer darkness.  Once out of the kingdom of God, he cannot subject anyone in the kingdom of God to himself.  Only those cast out with him (the filthy still) can be subject to him.  So, the inhabitants of the three kingdoms will be free forever from the power and influence of Satan.

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.  For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.  (John 3: 16-18)

The above scripture shows that you are either saved or condemned (damned) based upon your acceptance of Christ.  It is one or the other, not both. If you do not accept Him now, you are condemned (damned) already (temporal damnation).  But once there is acceptance of Christ, there is salvation not damnation. This is why the inhabitants of the three glories are only spoken of as being saved.  There is not a single scripture that indicates that these people are eternally damned.  They may be temporally damned (for a time) but eventually they, too, will be redeemed and be heirs of salvation.

Mormonism is so much more excellent and merciful than apostate Christianity because the people they say are damned to hell, we say are saved in a kingdom of glory.  Unfortunately, we go awry of the pure doctrine of Christ by adopting the man-made precept found in the Bible Dictionary theory of damnation.

The misunderstood scripture

I believe the reason why people generally accept the Bible Dictionary model of damnation is due to a misunderstanding of D&C 132: 4-6.  Here are those verses, along with the comments I gave on them over at The Millenial Star blog:

For behold, I reveal unto you a new and an everlasting covenant; and if ye abide not that covenant, then are ye damned; for no one can reject this covenant and be permitted to enter into my glory.  For all who will have a blessing at my hands shall abide the law which was appointed for that blessing, and the conditions thereof, as were instituted from before the foundation of the world.  And as pertaining to the new and everlasting covenant, it was instituted for the fulness of my glory; and he that receiveth a fulness thereof must and shall abide the law, or he shall be damned, saith the Lord God.  (D&C 132: 4-6)

And now my comments:

The 1828 Webster’s Dictionary definitions, which gave how these words were used in Joseph Smith’s time, are consistent with the usage of the word damned in the above quotes.

I will break it down for you:

For behold, I reveal unto you a new and an everlasting covenant; and if ye abide not that covenant, then are ye damned; for no one can reject this covenant and be permitted to enter into my glory.

The key word here is “abide.” To “abide…that covenant” means “to endure or sustain” or “to bear or endure; to bear patiently” the covenant. You cannot abide a covenant without first entering the covenant, so the use of the word damned here refers to people who have entered the covenant and have not abided it, or, as the Lord states later in the same sentence, to people who have entered the covenant and then “reject” it. These people are damned. The verse does not refer to people who never enter the covenant.

Next, the following verse:

And as pertaining to the new and everlasting covenant, it was instituted for the fulness of my glory; and he that receiveth a fulness thereof must and shall abide the law, or he shall be damned, saith the Lord God.

The key here to understanding the verse are the words “he that receiveth a fulness thereof.” The Lord doesn’t say “he who would receive a fulness thereof,” but refers to people who already received a fulness thereof. These people must and shall abide the law or they shall be damned. In this particular verse, the damned people we are talking about have already entered the covenant and have received a fulness of the Lord’s glory, who then do not abide (or, in other words, they reject) the law. However, we are assured by the Lord that such people “shall abide the law,” so there is no danger of such being damned, because they will not reject it after receiving such a fulness.

However, those who enter the covenant and who have not yet received of this spoken fulness, who reject the covenant, are damned.

These verses, then, are explicitly referring to one type of damnation: that received by the sons of perdition (see verse 27) and not to merely not receiving exaltation (a stopping of progression.)

27 The blasphemy against the Holy Ghost, which shall not be forgiven in the world nor out of the world, is in that ye commit murder wherein ye shed innocent blood, and assent unto my death, after ye have received my new and everlasting covenant, saith the Lord God; and he that abideth not this law can in nowise enter into my glory, but shall be damned, saith the Lord.

My comments were meant to show that there is no need to invent another shade of meaning of the word damned to fit into these particular verses, as the normal shades of damned work just fine.  When the above scriptures are misunderstood to mean that “if you don’t enter the covenant, at all, you will miss out on the opportunity for exaltation,” then you must invent a new shade of meaning of the word damned, giving it the meaning of a “stopping or limiting of progress and privileges,” which is what LDS appear to have done.

Apparently, I am not the only one to come to this conclusion.  Another person commented on the same Millennial Star post, one Rob Osborn, and he essentially said the same thing:

As for defining “damnation”, in Joseph Smiths day he grew up with a protestant background and upbringing. In their day they used the word “damned” to mean “condemnation to hell”. I have done a lot of research on this noting how Joseph himself used the word outside of scriptural text. In every account I have run accross, Joseph uses it in the traditional protestant sense of condemnation to hell. To this day, that definition is what other Christian religions use. It is only our LDS religion that uses the word out of context. This is almost entirely due to a misunderstanding of the scriptural text. As has already been discusssed, section 132’s usage of the word “damned” literaly is used in the context of “condemantion to hell”. Verse 26 speaks of those who enter into the fulness and then perhaps sin in the new and everlasting covenant. It says they will be destroyed in the flesh and delivered over to the buffetings of Satan (in hell). This is the usage of “damned” in verses 4-6.

The three glories are not punishments; they are rewards

Only those who go into outer darkness receive punishment after the resurrection.

Wherefore, he saves all except them—they shall go away into everlasting punishment, which is endless punishment, which is eternal punishment, to reign with the devil and his angels in eternity, where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched, which is their torment—  (D&C 76: 44)

So, if everyone else gets saved and receives a fulness of joy and endless happiness, why is everyone put into one of three glories?  Why not have one glory, instead of three?  Why do all the Telestials eventually receive a fulness of the Telestial glory, the Terrestrials a fulness of the Terrestrial glory and the Celestials a fulness of the Celestial glory, without being able “to go up a glory?”  If the assignment to a kingdom of glory is not a punishment for wicked deeds, but a reward, upon what principle is the reward based?

I will simply say that these questions and their answers have to do with the doctrine of the resurrection.  They could be explained with a review of D&C 76, D&C 88 and Alma 41, but I am done with expounding scripture for today.  This post is long enough already and I want to keep it on the topic of damnation and not delve into the mysteries of the resurrection.  However, I will say that assignments to one of the three glories has nothing to do with dishing out punishments.  None of the saved people long for something they could have had, but are eternally blissful, content, happy and joyful in their saved condition.  Assigning them to a kingdom of glory does not, and cannot, damn them.  I hope this post is sufficient to get that point across.  If there is still confusion, I will open it up further in the comments section.

I have listed above and hyper-linked all of the scriptures that mention damned and damnation. I invite everyone to read those verses again, with the information in this post fresh in your mind, and see if the scriptures are not more plainly unfolded to your view.

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