The Revelation of God in Jesus Christ


A “god” is the idea of a god — the idea of a god is a god:

The most basic meaning of the Hebrew “elohim” is that of “powers“.  The human mind names, personifies, and maps-out these various “powers” and their interactions, but ultimately the “gods” are the culturally-appropriate manifestations or mental vehicles for a given power/energy/idea.

The demons, angels, pantheons of deity, Gods and Goddesses — they are all the impulses that inspire and guide You — unpackaged and unfolded as poetry and story-form.  They are personifications of the “powers” arising from nature and found within human-nature, externalized and examined in their most potent and purest symbolic form.

They all exist in our right-brain — as the warring desires in our minds, which battle for dominance in our decision-making.  It is we who make the “gods” real by the ones we choose to be guided by and the ones we “make flesh” by our actions.

Thus — if my “guiding power” is violent, then my actions and worldview will be contentious and hostile.  If my “dominant god” is compassionate, then I will experience my life through the lens of acceptance, mercy, and forgiveness.  Etc.

The long-standing human tradition of myths, religions, mystical experiences, etc. — is the essential activity of differentiating yourSelf from the unconscious forces of existence by personifying them, and then bringing them into a relationship with yourSelf consciously.

“Gods” are the set of ideas and perspectives through whom we view our world and ourselves.  They are but a name for someone’s mode of being — relating to their inner-self and their external interactions.  Our beliefs are our reality tunnels — and every one of them is an individual and culturally-appropriate manifestation of the Singular God.

Which is why it’s not entirely respectful to comment on the specific beliefs of another religion/culture to which you do not belong — because God gives the portion of his Word that is expedient and culturally-tailored to the specific conditions found among the community of the seers/prophets who received it [not to your conditions or culture].

The revelation of God in Jesus Christ:

The “God” whom I follow is the story of Jesus Christ.  A belief-system which commits me to the basic concept of servanthood and compassion.

I have voluntarily bound myself to Christ and his Word by my covenant to obey his every commandment.  This voluntary servanthood [or yoke] binds me to the fundamental reality that “God” is found in being under the most, serving the most, and being connected to the most [instead of vice-versa].

The revelation of God in the scriptures is that the most basic fabric of all existence is “chesed” — the loving-kindness and compassion of a God who relates to the universe with the level of intimacy that is the result of “beriyth” — or a covenant.

God is not “self-existing” — for He does all things through covenant [including creation] — which actually binds Him to all things.  A “self-existing” Being is independent and cannot be bound.  This is why God could “cease to be God” if He acts in certain ways — because the power and unity of God is a product [not a starting point] — and He is God because of the covenant He’s bound Himself to.

Thus — faith is not a stop-gap measure, or transient state-of-mind that we can drop once we’ve crossed-over and are “with God”.  All things [including gods] must have and keep faith, for it is the necessary element of the trusting engagement and active cooperation that is “existence”.

God’s covenant relationship with all of creation means that He exists for us — not Himself.  Likewise, all things exist because they are bound in covenant with God as well.  That is why any damned thing in the created universe can return to outer-darkness [“return again to their own place“], where there is no existence.

Neither the elements of the universe nor God are self-existing or independent entities — because the existence of both parties is a covenantal relationship.

Belonging to the “true church” of God has no meaning or value

There is nothing special that I get for having joined the latter-day church of Christ.  In fact, it gives me nothing special or noteworthy — and that’s the point.  There is no advantage to being LDS, to having the constant companionship of the Holy Ghost, to holding the rights of the priesthood, or having access to temples, etc. — for me.

You can’t “pass the test” of Life — or “solve the problem” by aligning yourself with the “right religion” on earth before you die — thereby securing your “salvation”.  Life is not a bank you can rob — and “get out” of it with eternal treasure.

Things don’t “get solved” — they comes together and fall apart, and come together again.  “Salvation” or “Enlightenment” comes from letting-go and allowing there to be room enough of all of it to happen — without fearing failure or desiring success.

We naturally desire the immortality of our ego, our beliefs, our group, etc.  God reaches into human history through the person of Jesus Christ to extend immortality to all — on the condition that they accept it unconditionallyalone, meaning by abandoning the hope of securing it for “You” or your “in-group”.

When our “god” is not Jesus Christ — when we do not deny ourselves, cease to identify with this skin-encapsulated center-of-will in the universe, and take up the yoke of Christ — then our fundamental allegiance will always be to Self-preservation, Self-reliance, and Self-centered survival.

We can never be One with God or with others — because we constantly experience God and neighbor as something inherently “Not-Self”.

Having the “mind of Christ” in you means you pour yourSelf out, in love.  Because, in love, surrender is victory.

Instead of falling into Self-centered separation and sin — fall in love, into Christ-centered connectivity and intimacy.

And not just with God — but with your family and your neighbors, your enemies and those who would despitefully use, hate, and persecute you — and this love won’t leave out the animals and plants, the earth and the stars — because deep-down and far-in, it’s all one energy flowing from them, through us, and back out again.

One thing [a uni-verse] that we experience coming through in individual waves.

Next Article by Justin:  Fourth Chapter of Luke

Previous Article by Justin: The Written Records

(A Family that Lives Together…)

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Intimacy as the Opposite of Sin


The married Life:

Marriage proceeds from the mind first – and as a consequence results in a bodily, sexual event.  Satisfying sexual relationships are ones grounded on the trust, love, communication, and intimacy of two, real-life human beings who have covenanted to receive each other as husband and wife.  These intangible qualities exist first – and then spill-over into the bedroom.

This is because all creation consists of two basic aspects [2 Nephi 2:14]:

  • that which acts (called Spirit)
  • that which is acted upon (called Element).

The physical, the flesh, the Element is the component of existence that is acted upon.  Therefore, it cannot create any change in the Spirit.  The mind must be changed [“repentance”], the heart must be softened [“broken heart”], and the spirit must be crushed [“contrite spirit”] before anything genuine and lasting and joyful blossoms into material reality.

Adam and Eve were married before they even knew they were naked.  Their union as husband and wife was a solution to loneliness – not lust.

and the god YHVH said
it is not good that adam should be alone

[Genesis 2:18]

The sexual union is the chief means of physically expressing a genuine connection of Love between two people.  It is Love/unity dynamic of our sexual contact that distinguishes humans from other animals [who are sexual for procreation and pleasure].

In the garden, Adam and Eve lived in open-faced, fearless, and intimate fellowship:

  • with God
  • with each other

Once sin was conceived in the heart [Moses 6:55], it produced two alienations/separations:

  • from God
  • from each other

Thus, restoring the kingdom of God will:

  • restore the union of humans and God
  • restore the union of men and women

Intimacy [openness or “into-me-see”] is the opposite of what Satan suggested Adam and Eve do when they discovered their nakedness in the garden of Eden.  Before he found them – they were naked [Adam fully exposed to Eve and Eve to Adam],

and they were both naked
the man and his wife
and were not ashamed

[Genesis 2:25]

and it was Satan who taught them that such full-fellowship is shameful and showed them how to cover that shame with hiding and separation.

see
you are naked
take some fig leaves and make you aprons
father will see your nakedness
quick
hide

[The Garden]

It’s unfounded fears, rooted in this state-of-mind based on the concepts of sin, separateness, and shame – that keep us from having real community and bridging the gaps between the sexes.

An experience of Life that is founded on separateness:

The problem with any religious tradition that begins with the initial, out-right assumption that God is entirely separate from nature – is that it becomes impossible for the Mother and the Father to ever be one – because She is left with no voice and can never be His friend.

This idea that the “Supernatural” is something sitting on a throne, over-and-above our natural existence is killing any experiences of Joy.  Our lives just become a wasteland of stress and fear – where we all live out inauthentic lives, fulfilling purposes that are not truly our own, reliving and retelling the stories of a by-gone generation – having no Life.

We can never be one with God and with our neighbor from this perspective because we will always continue experiencing God and neighbor as something that is foreign and detached.  Attachment and connection become devalued – because they demand our vulnerability.  There is a fear that maybe if we really get into a relationship with another human that we might just start to care too darn much – or even worse, we might just lose our Self.  Like independence is the key to Life?  We are not separate one-person islands, our narratives are all intertwined with each other.

If your goal in life is Joy – then connectivity is key [see, Zion will not be Established by Unrelated Persons].  If you want to be “free” or “self-sufficient”, then you can knock yourself out with independence – but the way of Jesus is to stretch yourself out until you die to your “Self” as this all-alone and sufficient bag of skin.

Adam and Eve ate the fruit of a tree of duality and separation [see, The Tree of This-and-That] – and it’s the experience of being in Jesus Christ that is the fruit of Life that brings you back to non-duality [“I and the Father are one”] and interconnection [“all mine are thine”].

The revelation of God in the scriptures is that [instead of separateness], the most basic fabric of all existence is chesed, loving-kindness or compassion [“to be passionate with”].  It’s the image of a God who relates to the universe with the level of intimacy that is the result of berith, or a covenant.  It’s an image of existence that’s based on the single concept of unconditional love [call it chesed, agape, whatever].

All things are included, loved, gathered-up, forgiven, and knit together into a single, vast organism – God.  The only difference between God and humans is that humans still see a different between God and humans – because they are using a mind hardened by the basic concept of sin and separation to look [see, The Split-brain Model of the Gospel: The Fall of Man].

Having Life, or just having the image of it:

Religions become concerned with ethical behavior and doctrine – instead of changing people’s minds/hearts and how they view/experience their world.  The problem with approaching religion as though it were a method of relaying ethics and doctrines is that ethics only teach us how to live as though you were one with your neighbor.  You learn the modes of action that imply a compassionate relationship with another person.  It offers you incentive to act in a certain way – but it cannot generate the genuine feeling of it.

While there may be certain ethical implications of making a covenant with God – such things neither add to or subtract from current pool of human ethical wisdom.  It is not the domain of religion to be laying down specific “hither thou shalt come and no further” ethical guidelines for human behavior that transcendent time, space, culture, and circumstance.  Rather, religion is about providing the environment for people to experience the miraculous works of God and manifestations of the spiritual gifts – because once the experience is had – the very way in which a person approaches and experiences human problems/decisions will be altered.

The gospel is about that transcendent experience that smashes a hardened, left-brain sensation of separateness and opens a person up the fluid, right-brain awareness that all creation is a continuous and connected event that we are all a part of [see, Taking our Myths Literally].  The Supreme Being is all of creation – from beginning, until now, and on forever – as one continuous pattern, one symphonic arrangement.

Without the spiritual gifts, the power of God, the signs following the believers in Christ – Mormonism [or Christianity] is just another school of thought for civil policy and moral behavior.  When dead to the workings of the Holy Spirit – the gospel is used to work for people rather than working on them.  We use Jesus to meet our needs – rather than getting them judged by Him, falling to the earth and weeping at His feet.

It’s an approach to religion that mistakes the symbol for the Reality – the image for the Life – the stage-show act for the actual experience – the poetry for the prose.  It turns the preachers into the preached and pedestalizes the stories and experiences of someone else, making it into the one-and-only true formula.

It’s essentially idolatry [see, Making an Image out of God] – to look at the image that pointing and cling to and serve it, rather than to Look, Follow, and Live [see, …and the labor which they had to perform was to look…].

Next Article by Justin:

Previous Article by Justin:  Paul and the church at Judea

[In Search of a New Church Home].

Taking our Myths Literally


Myths are our Stories:

“Myth” is usually contrasted to “true” or “fact”, as in – “Oh, that’s just a myth.”  However, the “mythos” were ancient man’s stories about gods – they were their experiences with the governing powers of human nature, the earth, and the universe.  The myths were only declared “false” when the Christian religion conquered the nations who told the stories – and decreed that their way of relating to the natural world [their gods] were “false”.

They weren’t true-or-false or factual-or-inaccurate – in the way that we currently use those words.  The myths were just a different way for humans to speak about truth and about facts.  They were a metaphorical or poetic way of expressing true and factual things about life.  Myths would not have persisted as an integral piece of human culture if they failed to accord with reality and didn’t accurately describe the world.

Those who formulated the myths were not attempting to lay down historically-sound, verifiable, and literally-true presentations of what actually took place in a physical sense.  They were how people conveyed true facts about human nature and the natural world.  The myths are the poetic story-language by which those who’d had actual experiences with the governing powers of nature and of the universe [God] brought that transcendent experience back to the community.

Myths were how the community explained to its new members how the world in its present form came to be, how a human being ought to relate to the powers of the world, and what is expected of members of the community.

However, while myths may admittedly be stories – we cannot say that they are not true, real, or literal.  What’s missed [when “myth” gets labeled as “not real”] is that the stories were never meant to convey “history” with all the scientific rigor we’ve developed centuries after the stories were first told.  They were meant to convey the story of how this or that person experienced God – in a language that was metaphorical, poetic, or image-based – to bring that experience back for the community at large.

True Stories and False Stories:

All the ancient language gods were the magic gods as well [Mercury, Odin, etc.] because language shapes our whole consciousness and how we put ideas together [how we tell stories] – and that’s magical.  Casting a spell is really nothing more than spelling – or changing reality through the manipulation of symbols, forms, and images.

All such “magic” is drawn from our imaginations – the right-brain-heart [the spring of living waters inside each of us] – which is patterned after the eternal right-brain-imagination of God, from which the universe has been created [by the will of His left-brain-mind].

However, the mind of God is immeasurably greater than our own – which means there isn’t anything that we can think of that He hasn’t already thought of.  So what we do is take things that He’s imagined, represented, and given purpose [creating it by bringing it from His infinite imagination into the sphere of the created universe] – and run these through our right-brains to imagine, create, and give purpose to them anew [in our own life].

Some of the representations of things in play here on earth have a counterpart that will endure beyond death [a true/real image] – and some representations are empty [vain] and carry only an image of reality [a false image].

And that’s the probation [the test] of mortality – to see, when presented with various images, forms, and representations of things – if we will live out the ones that are of an enduring nature [e.g., power by persuasion, long-suffering, gentleness, and meekness] and shun the ones that carry only the image, but no reality [e.g., power by compulsory means, coercion, or force].

God desires to inspire people by sending the Holy Spirit into their right-brain-hearts with images for them to create with.  Satan’s desire is that people be inspired with images that lack any enduring reality behind them.  God desires the Holy Spirit to be what’s found in our right-brain-hearts, from which our left-brain-minds draw inspiration from to create things in our world with – instead of us using the doctrines of devils or the commandments of men to create with.

Discerning True Stories from False Stories:

It all starts with someone’s story.  A man or woman experiences a manifestation of God.  By the power of the Holy Ghost:  they have obtained faith unto repentance by having a broken heart and contrite spirit, have wallowed in the fear of being cast-off from God forever, have trembled under a full-on awareness of their own guilt – and what they’ve sown in tears, they’ve reaped in Joy.  Experiencing the complete redemption of their soul from hell and forgiveness of their sins.

This person is now free from the power and captivity of the devil, is free from the separate-Self consciousness that sin causes, has denied their Self and identified with Christ, and has experienced God as a continuous aspect of their own being.

Now this seer [person who has seen] comes back to his or her community with the desire that everyone else experience this same thing.  They no longer perceive separateness among others the way that a mind still ensnared in sin does.  So once free from sin, the seer now fears and trembles for others.  She suffers for the sins of others.  He desires for all others to have the same privilege to be born of God, free from sin.

But it’s an experience, or a happening – it’s like a dance or a song.  To only come back to the community with a “telling” wouldn’t help anyone else see eye-to-eye with them.  They need to be able to sing the Song – so that other people will hear it – and will sing It along with them.

I may be able to break a dance apart into its rhythm, steps, and movements around the floor – I may be able to describe a song in terms of its meter, key, rhythm, tempo, notes, scale, and harmony – but that’s just putting a grid onto something wiggly so it can be perceived and described.  It’s just a “telling”.

The only way to have someone really know the dance or the song – is to dance it or sing it.  Then they’ll know.

Adam knew Eve
and she conceived

[Moses 5:16]

The scriptural euphemism for husbands and wives coming together is “knowing” for this same reason.  Eternal life is to know” God – because unless something is experienced [is known] – then the people will not see eye-to-eye, but will see instead through a glass, darkly.  They will only know about the experience in part, not fully [see 1 Cor. 13:12].

Musical notation [the myths, the story] has its place in telling people about a song – but one should not hand a person a sheet with musical notes on strings of lines when they really desire the Song.

This is what a false priest [not a seer] does.  A false priest simply re-tells the stories of a previous time.  He only administers in the images of an experience with God who was there before he came along — just putting on a show up on his stage every week.

A false priest is handed-down [by tradition] something that was originally experiential and relative — and because he has no first-hand relationship with this story, it get’s turned into something dogmatic and absolute.  He takes someone who was a preacher — and turns them into the preached.  Making a message out of a messenger by pedestalizing those who’ve had genuine experiences and who tried to tell others about it [so they could have it too].

This is why false priesthoods are obsessed with tracing the lines of authority:

Satan
we command you to depart

by what authority?

and

and it came to pass
that on one of those days
as he taught the people in the temple
and preached the gospel
the chief priests and the scribes
came upon him
with the elders
and spake unto him
saying

tell us, by what authority doest thou these things?
or who is he that gave thee this authority?

[Luke 20:1-2]

because their authority has no true basis in the reality of an actual experience – it’s based only on social convention and tradition – having the all the form but denying the reality.

On the other hand, the authority of a true and prophetic seer comes out of that person’s own experience.  He or she has been somewhere that I haven’t and comes to explain it to me.  Now, they may use ritual [right-brain gesture language] or use scripture [left-brain word-based language] to convey this inner experience in an outward form/image for me – but the key to discernment is that the true messenger speaks from his own experience and a false messenger speaks the stories of someone else.

I’ll Make Discernment Even Easier:

The scriptural standard is that if a person does not have the spirit of prophecy and revelation, then they “shall not teach” [D&C 42:14] — or in other words, they should keep silent.

So when anyone interprets the scriptures, presents a doctrine, or is in any other manner “teaching” — ask them:

  • Are you a prophet?
  • Do you have the spirit of prophecy and revelation?
  • Are you a seer?
  • Did you actually experience this manifestation for yourself?

If they say that it’s their own idea, their own guess, or they defer to some other authority, etc. — then stop listening.  You are free to just take it or leave it as you would if anyone else would have said something about any other subject. You can learn nothing extra-ordinary from such people.

If they say that they do have the spirit of prophecy and revelation or that they actually did experience a miraculous work, then listen closely to what they say — because now that means only one of two things:

  • They are true prophets sent from God
  • They are false prophets trying to deceive

A true prophet, when asked if they have the spirit of prophecy and revelation, will always answer in the affirmative.

A man giving his honest, but non-prophetic opinion [“inspired counsel”] will not claim to be a prophet or a seer – because he fears to speak a false prophecy and be called-out as an imposter.

However, a deceiver will also always say that he has the spirit of prophecy and revelation.

So once someone claims to be a prophet or a seer [comes out with a “Thus saith the Lord…”, for example], now the burden is on me, to compare what the word of God says to what the professed prophet has said and do as the Spirit indicates.  If he is declaring a miraculous work, then:

ye shall ask of the father
in the name of Jesus
and if he give not unto you that spirit
then you may know that it is not of god

[D&C 50:31]

Ritual is the Enactment of a Story:

The performance of rituals is an integral part of all religions.  It is through the reenactment of a shared story [a common myth] that the mind of the community is focused towards the same end.  It provides an element of shared experience that facilitates bonding between community members.  The performance of a ritual connects the participants to the specific morphic field that’s associated with that ritual and then each initiate can share the collective memory that is stored there.

The LDS temple endowment follows in this same tradition.

Joseph’s first “endowment” was the experience of seeing two heavenly personages face-to-face.  He went on to behold various ministering spirits, resurrected angels, Jesus Christ, etc. — all personal appearances, face-to-face.

After the Kirtland temple was dedicated and the ordinances there were administered, Joseph wrote:

The Saviour made his appearance to some, while angels ministered unto others, and it was a pentacost and enduement indeed, long to be remembered for the sound shall go forth from this place into all the world, and the occurrences of this day shall be handed down upon the pages of sacred history to all generations, as the day of Pentecost.

Seeing the Lord and ministering angels face-to-face is the foremost purpose of the temple ritual.  Such an eye-to-eye experience was key to what was formulated as “the endowment”.  It’s why temple-goers are taught the order of prayer and prepared in all things to receive further instructions at the veil.  It was all given with the assumption that a real experience would follow the image [or enactment] of an experience.

and inasmuch as my people build a house
unto me
in the name of the lord
and do not suffer any unclean thing to come into it
that it be not defiled
my glory shall rest upon it
yea
and my presence shall be there
for I will come into it
and all the pure in heart
that shall come into it
shall see god

[D&C 97:15-16]

and

therefore
sanctify yourselves
that your minds become single to god
and the days will come
that you shall see him
for he will unveil his face unto you
and it shall be in his own time
and in his own way
and according to his own will

[D&C 88:68]

Essentially — that was the endowment Joseph was trying to give the church of God [not special underwear and secret hand gestures] – but the same experience that was had by all the ancient prophets.  Bringing us eye-to-eye with them, connecting them to us by a common experience, a common morphic field.

That’s what all rituals do – establish a morphic field that anyone connects to when the ritual is done according to the same pattern.  That’s why the ordinances of the gospel are strictly described in terms of the manner and wording of the ritual.

Paul warned the Corinthian church that their failure to administer the ritual of the sacramental meal in the worthy/appropriate manner was the reason there were many sick and dying among them.  There is a healing effect associated with the sacrament ritual — but it must be reenacted according to the pattern given by the Lord in order for us to be connected to the proper morphic field.  The same is true for the other ordinances of the gospel and their respective effects as well.  [See, The Healing Gifts]

The reverse side of this is seen in the hidden symbols, catch-phrases, etc. that are put into movies, TV, pop music, advertising, bank notes, buildings, orchestrated world events, etc. – where satanic secret combinations are working to achieve the same end.  Just like there are wars over physical land here in the material world — the mental world likewise has its own battles for control over the common-space there.

The more people connect to a certain idea – myth, story, system, etc. – the more powerful it becomes.  Were enough people to connect to a single morphic field [were it to ever reach a sort of “critical mass”] it could end the world.  The historical “Zion” communities have done such a thing [Enoch, Melchizedek, Nephites, etc.].  The latter-day Zion will in fact bring a complete end to this world – a revelation sufficient enough to melt away our current systems, politics, economics, and ideas about the world – and usher in a new earth.

Having Images with no Reality:

I think that it’s common for LDS to take little instruction from the current temple ordinance.  It is my opinion that this is because we have reached the point where the meaning of the images have been lost long enough ago — that even the priesthood among us have no idea what to make of the thing and what it’s all about.

However, it is not the jurisdiction of the priestly-class to give form [or life] to the images of our stories.  Is it be reasonable to expect church leaders to initiate members of the community into the meaning of the images and display what it’s like when they’re brought to life — rather than just initiating them into the empty-images themselves alone?  Sure.  But that’s simply not the state of affairs we have right now, in a church of God informed by and operating under the doctrines and commandments of men.

All that means is that it’s on you [not them].  They administer the forms — but you must then go on to make that word flesh – you must bring the forms to life, give the image reality.  To just take the empty forms they administer and do nothing with them only perpetuates the whole problem.  Our calling is to take the images and create with them.

Bringing Them to Life:

Religion, myth, stories, ritual, etc. – it’s about the experience.  It all begins as an attempt to tell stories about a connection with God – of an experience of the transcendent level of being called Joy – the communion of a human being with The Supreme Being or Ultimate Doing.

In this form, it’s fluid – like poetry or metaphor.  Apostasy and false priesthoods come in as the story gets reduced to a creed, as the relative gets hardened into the absolute, as the poetry is taken as prose.  The reality behind the image, myth, or story is lost — and only thing that remains is the the empty shell what what’s left after meaning or purpose departs from something.

The religion itself, the actual stories, the stage show-like enactments of ritual – they are purely functionary.  When it has nothing to do with actually having the experience — if it becomes an empty-image, a form without life – then it’s as harmful as additions to processed food, pornography, or social media can be.

Religion is the religare – the connecting bonds of ligaments and tendons that knit us together.  When the ligaments remain fluid [the relative, right-brain, poetic form], then we relate to God as a continuous experience, as a state of Supreme Being.  We don’t prescribe ethical or moral codes – but act out of expediency and charity.

But when they atrophy [harden into the absolute, left-brain, creedal form] – instead of knitting us together, religion binds us down – God becomes the This-Thing that must be related to in That-Way, that you must now believe/do accordingly to get Him to respond to you.

Reading the scriptures, participating in the rituals, etc. – they are just the retelling or reenactment of someone else’s story.  It is in vain unless it is pursuant to you having the same experience – connecting to the same morphic field and seeing eye-to-eye with them.

We cannot look to another to give the ideas and forms of our religion life because that is our job.  The scriptures are just the stories of Adam, Enoch, Abraham, Moses, Isaiah, Lehi, Nephi, Abinadi, Jesus, Peter, Paul, Moroni, John, etc.  They are simply their stories about their experiences with God.

Their stories will not save you.  Reenacting events from their stories as rituals will not generate real Life or Joy in you.  Such things are meant to motivate you to get on the same pathway, to receive a similar connection with God, and to see eye-to-eye with them.

However, history has shown the Gentile church of God to be a hard-hearted and faithless bunch — content with having one person sit atop a hierarchal power-pyramid and habitually obey what he says.  They largely receive equal “experience quotient” from images and representations compared with the reality of what is being imaged and represented.  It’s why advertising works, it’s why industrial food is so widely consumed, it’s why people enjoy pornography so much, it’s why social-media is so popular.  But that’s receiving the image with no reality behind it.

When Life and Joy are about the happening — about human beings being about the same thing as the Supreme Being.

Next Article by Justin: … and I’m a Mormon

Previous Article by Justin:  Going from Concrete to Flowers

Abrahamic Concubinage as an Inter-Tribal Function


Note: This is a GEMTAM chapter modified for publication on the LDS Anarchy blog. It contains more information than what is found in that chapter.

The Encyclopædia Brittannica, Eleventh Edition, says the following in its entry on concubinage:

CONCUBINAGE (Lat. concubina, a concubine; from con-, with, and cubare, to lie), the state of a man and woman cohabiting as married persons without the full sanctions of legal marriage. In early historical times, when marriage laws had scarcely advanced beyond the purely customary stage, the concubine was definitely recognized as a sort of inferior wife, differing from those of the first rank mainly by the absence of permanent guarantees. The history of Abraham’s family shows us clearly that the concubine might be dismissed at any time, and her children were liable to be cast off equally summarily with gifts, in order to leave the inheritance free for the wife’s sons (Genesis xxi 9 ff., xxv. 5 ff.).

The Roman law recognized two classes of legal marriage: (1) with the definite public ceremonies of confarreatio or coemptio, and (2) without any public form whatever and resting merely on the affectio maritalis, i.e. the fixed intention of taking a particular woman as a permanent spouse.1 Next to these strictly lawful marriages came concubinage as a recognized legal status, so long as the two parties were not married and had no other concubines. It differed from the formless marriage in the absence (1) of affectio maritalis, and therefore (2) of full conjugal rights. For instance, the concubine was not raised, like the wife, to her husband’s rank, nor were her children legitimate, though they enjoyed legal rights forbidden to mere bastards, e.g. the father was bound to maintain them and to leave them (in the absence of legitimate children) one-sixth of his property; moreover, they might be fully legitimated by the subsequent marriage of their parents.

In the East, the emperor Leo the Philosopher (d. 911) insisted on formal marriage as the only legal status; but in the Western Empire concubinage was still recognized even by the Christian emperors. The early Christians had naturally preferred the formless marriage of the Roman law as being free from all taint of pagan idolatry; and the ecclesiastical authorities recognized concubinage also. The first council of Toledo (398) bids the faithful restrict himself “to a single wife or concubine, as it shall please him”;2 and there is a similar canon of the Roman synod held by Pope Eugenius II. in 826. Even as late as the Roman councils of 1052 and 1063, the suspension from communion of laymen who had a wife and a concubine at the same time implies that mere concubinage was tolerated. It was also recognized by many early civil codes. In Germany “left-handed” or “morganatic” marriages were allowed by the Salic law between nobles and women of lower rank. In different states of Spain the laws of the later middle ages recognized concubinage under the name of barragania, the contract being lifelong, the woman obtaining by it a right to maintenance during life, and sometimes also to part of the succession, and the sons ranking as nobles if their father was a noble. In Iceland, the concubine was recognized in addition to the lawful wife, though it was forbidden that they should dwell in the same house. The Norwegian law of the later middle ages provided definitely that in default of legitimate sons, the kingdom should descend to illegitimates. In the Danish code of Valdemar II., which was in force from 1280 to 1683, it was provided that a concubine kept openly for three years shall thereby become a legal wife; this was the custom of hand vesten, the “handfasting” of the English and Scottish borders, which appears in Scott’s Monastery. In Scotland, the laws of William the Lion (d. 1214) speak of concubinage as a recognized institution; and, in the same century, the great Enlish legist Bracton treats the “concubina legitima” as entitled to certain rights.3 There seems to have been at times a pardonable confusion between some quasi-legitimate unions and those marriages by mere word of mouth, without ecclesiastical or other ceremonies, which the church, after some natural hesitation, pronounced to be valid.4 Another and more serious confusion between concubinage and marriage was caused by the gradual enforcement of clerical celibacy (see CELIBACY). During the bitter conflict between laws which forbade sacerdotal marriages and long custom which had permitted them, it was natural that the legislators and the ascetic party generally should studiously speak of the priests’ wives as concubines, and do all in their power to reduce them to this position. This very naturally resulted in a too frequent substitution of clerical concubinage for marriage; and the resultant evils form one of the commonest themes of complaint in church councils of the later middle ages.5 Concubinage in general was struck at by the concordat between the Pope Leo X. and Francis I. of France in 1516; and the council of Trent, while insisting on far more stringent conditions for lawful marriage than those which had prevailed in the middle ages, imposed at last heavy ecclesiastical penalties on concubinage and appealed to the secular arm for help against contumacious offenders (Sessio xxiv. Cap. 8).

AUTHORITES.–Besides those quoted in the notes, the reader may consult with advantage Du Cange’s Glossarium, s.v. Concubina, the article “Concubinat” in Wetzer and Welte’s Kirchenlexikon (2nd ed., Freiburg i/B., 1884), and Dr H. C. Lea’s History of Sacerdotal Celibacy (3rd ed., London, 1907).

(G. G. Co.)

1 The difference between English and Scottish law, which once made “Gretna Green marriages” so frequent, is due to the fact that Scotland adopted the Roman law (which on this particular point was followed by the whole medieval church).

2 Gratian, in the 12th century, tried to explain this away by assuming that concubinage here referred to meant a formless marriage; but in 398 a church council can scarcely so have misused the technical terms of the then current civil law (Gratian, Decretum, pars i. dist. xxiv. c. 4).

3 Bracton, De Legibus, lib. iii. tract. ii. c. 28, § 1, and lib. iv. tract. vi. c. 8, § 4.

4 F. Pollock and F. W. Maitland, Hist. of English Law, 2nd ed. vol. ii. p. 370. In the case of Richard de Anesty, decided by papal rescript in 1143, “a marriage solemnly celebrated in church, a marriage of which a child had been born, was set aside as null in favour of an earlier marriage constituted by a mere exchange of consenting words” (ibid. p. 367; cf. the similar decretal of Alexander III. on p. 371). The great medieval canon lawyer Lyndwood illustrates the difficulty of distinguishing, even as late as the middle of the 15th century, between concubinage and a clandestine, though legal, marriage. He falls back on the definition of an earlier canonist that if the woman eats out of the same dish with the man, and if he takes her to church, she may be presumed to be his wife; if, however, he sends her to draw water and dresses her in vile clothing, she is probably a concubine (Provinciale, ed. Oxon. 1679, p. 10, s.v. concubinarios).

5 It may be gathered from the Dominican C. L. Richard’s Analysis Conciliorum (vol. ii., 1778) that there were more than 110 such complaints in councils and synods between the years 1009 and 1528. Dr Rashdall (Universities of Europe in the Middle Ages, vol. ii. p. 691, note) points out that a master of the university of Prague, in 1499, complained openly to the authorities against a bachelor for assaulting his concubine.

The above write-up adequately shows the differences between a wife and a concubine.  On the one hand there was the wife, who had permanent guarantees.  The marriage contract or covenant she entered into bound her exclusively and permanently to her husband, the only way out being through death or divorce.  The wife received an inheritance and held rights to the husband’s rank or titles, as did the children she bore him.  So, for example, if he was a king,  she became a queen and the children she bore him became princes and princesses who also held rights to an inheritance.

On the other hand, the concubine’s marriage covenant had no permanent guarantees.  She was bound to her husband exclusively and temporarily and held no rights to an inheritance nor to any of his titles, nor did any the children she bore him.  Her marriage contract, being of a temporary nature, could have a stipulated duration of time after which it would end or a stipulated manner by which it could end, such as at the discretion of her husband or herself, and when it ended she was sent away with her children.

The husband leaves his tribe

It is impossible to comprehend Abrahamic concubinage without an understanding of the context of the ancient world, which was tribalism, meaning that the ancients lived in tribes.  Moses wrote:

Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh. (Genesis 2:24)

If there was a man who lived in one tribe and a woman who lived in a different one and the man desired to marry her, he was, per this standard, to leave his tribe and take up residence in his wife’s.  The woman was always to stay with her tribe, under the protection of her tribesmen, her father and her brothers when marrying a man from a different tribe.

No interfaith marriages

Husbands and wives were also to be of the same religious background.  Paul wrote, “Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers” (2 Corinthians 6:14.)  Interfaith marriages, then, were prohibited by the Lord because such permanent unions would tend to turn the believing spouse’s heart away from Him.  This was especially detrimental in the case of a believing husband and a non-believing wife, for the husband would leave his believing tribe and would be immersed in the unbelieving tribe of his wife.  The marrying of believing husbands to only believing wives would make gospel tribes somewhat insular, or set apart, from the tribes of the world, for they would end up taking wives and husbands only from other gospel tribes.

Concubines did things in reverse

Concubinage worked differently than normal, permanent marriage unions.  A concubine did not remain with her tribe, but left it to live with the tribe of her husband.  After her concubinage contract had ended, she was to leave her husband’s tribe with her children and return to her own.  Also, a concubine could be an unbeliever from one of the tribes of the earth, meaning one of the non-gospel Gentile tribes in the surrounding area.  Because her union was only temporary and she came to live among the believer’s tribe, it was less likely that she would have influence enough over the husband to turn his heart from the Lord.

The union of Abraham and Hagar is the prime example of this.  Hagar was an Egyptian slave possibly acquired as Pharaoh’s gift to Sarah when Abraham and Sarah were sojourning in Egypt.  She was not, therefore, of their religion and tribe.  So Abraham took Hagar to wife as his concubine, not as his wife.  Some time after she had given birth to a male child (Ishmael), her concubinage contract was ended and she was sent away with her son.  Ishmael eventually ended up marrying an Egyptian woman.

Benefits of concubinage

A concubine would bring many benefits to the tribe of her husband.  Being from a different tribe, she would bring with her different customs and ways of doing things, which would enrich his tribe and give them knowledge concerning her own.  She also would learn the customs of her husband’s tribe.  Specifically, she would learn their language, their arts and academics, their tribal organization and politics, their talents and industry, their religion and all their other customs.  And she would be totally immersed in a gospel culture, dwelling among a gospel tribe, so it would be more likely that she would convert to their religion, than that she would convert them to her religion.  If she or any of her children did end up converting to the Lord while residing within the gospel tribe, after her contract ended she would be sent back to her tribe as the perfect tribal missionary, as one who was already fully aware of all the ways of her non-gospel tribe, having grown up in it.

Concubines would also bring great benefits to their original tribes.  Upon her return, a concubine could teach her people all of what she learned while living among her husband’s tribe, including the language and religion of her husband.  In this way, she becomes an ambassador of peace between the two tribes, having lived in both for an extended period and knowing the customs and ways and languages of both.  This would do much for inter-tribal relations, allowing two foreign tribes to more easily interact with each other without any misunderstandings.  What is true for her would also be true for her children, who were raised in their father’s tribe and would now be living in their mother’s.  Each would be immensely benefited by the experience and become natural tribal ambassadors, having allegiances in both tribes.

Concubines could marry afterward

After returning to her tribe, a concubine would be free to contract marriage as a wife to a fellow tribesman or to someone of another people, while remaining among her own kind.  As a tribeswoman by birth, she would be entitled to an inheritance in her tribe.  If she was sent away with gifts from her husband, these would also benefit her people.

Genetic diversity and tribal missionary work

Another benefit, and a main one at that, would be the introduction of genetic diversity among the various tribes practicing concubinage.  A woman from a foreign tribe that became a concubine in a gospel tribe, would end up mixing her tribe’s genetic code (though her) with the genetic code of her husband’s tribe.  If she became a concubine of more than one husband of the new tribe, she would introduce even more genetic diversity into her children.  Then, when the concubinage contract(s) ended, she would take her children, the product of her and the new tribe, back to her old tribe, where these children could then pass on this genetic diversity through marriage into their mother’s tribe.

Without concubinage, gospel tribes become too insular, marrying only among themselves and not generating much genetic diversity.  Also, tribal missionary work becomes more difficult, for it is much easier to send tribal missionaries to a foreign tribe that has had concubines who have already lived in the missionaries’ tribe, who can put in a good word for the missionaries and open other doors, allowing the gospel to go forth unimpeded.

Tribal missionaries that spent much time in foreign tribes, preaching the gospel, could enter into concubinage contracts with women of that tribe for the duration that the missionaries were there.  This would allow the missionaries to marry non-believers without the danger of being unequally yoked in a permanent union.  If the concubine ended up converting to the Lord, the missionary could end the concubinage contract and either leave her there as a new ambassador of the gospel or arrange to bring her to his own tribe as a permanent wife. Whatever they decided to do, the children that came from these unions would create greater genetic diversity for whichever tribe they ended up in.

Concubines must go back

A concubine whose marriage contract does not end and who is not sent back to her father’s tribe defeats the whole purpose of concubinage.  The benefits that come from concubinage—benefits for both her, her children, her husband’s tribe and her father’s tribe—come only when the concubine and her children return to live with the tribe she originated from.  Not receiving an inheritance in her husband’s tribe is necessary, in order that she return from whence she comes.  Otherwise, concubinage is merely a method for the exploitation of women—having the benefits of a wife, without any associated responsibilities.

Abrahamic concubinage as revealed to Joseph Smith

A concubine is a noble, honorable calling and title, that accomplishes a great deal of good for two whole tribes.  Only when viewed in this manner, under tribal filters, does concubinage make any sense.

When Joseph Smith inquired of the Lord concerning how it was that the ancients were justified in having many wives and concubines, he was given the revelation found in D&C 132.  This revelation, for the most part, only speaks of wives.  The reason is because it was the purpose of the Lord that Joseph and the saints establish themselves into two bona-fide, fully functioning tribes of Israel using the principle of plural marriage.  The revelation ends with an enigmatic carrot on a stick:

And now, as pertaining to this law, verily, verily, I say unto you, I will reveal more unto you, hereafter; therefore, let this suffice for the present. (D&C 132:66)

The only thing that the Lord says about concubines in this revelation is that the ancients were justified in receiving them and that it was accounted to them as righteousness and not sin.  But there is no indication that Joseph was supposed to start contracting concubines, only that more would be revealed later.

Tribal formation first, concubinage second

It makes sense that the Lord wouldn’t get into all the details of the doctrine and practice of concubines at this point because concubinage serves an inter-tribal function and the saints had not, yet, even formed themselves into one gospel tribe.  The intention of the Lord was to have the saints form themselves first into two gospel tribes, a tribe of Ephraim and a tribe of Manasseh and then, and only then, were they to start entering into concubine arrangements with the tribes of the earth.  This would serve to counteract the insular nature of the two gospel tribes, who would marry among themselves, in believer-only marriages.

A commandment to practice concubinage

Although the Lord did not go into detail concerning concubines, there is enough in the revelation and in the Bible for modern, gospel-based tribes organized according to the Gospel-based, Multihusband-Multiwife, Tribal Anarchy Model to enter into concubinage contracts if they see fit.  In fact, the Lord gives a commandment that these things be done in the revelation itself:

Verily, thus saith the Lord unto you my servant Joseph, that inasmuch as you have inquired of my hand to know and understand whereby I, the Lord, justified my servants…as touching the principle and doctrine of their having many wives and concubines—behold, and lo, I am the Lord thy God, and will answer thee as touching this matter [of having many wives and concubines]. Therefore, prepare thy heart to receive and obey the instructions which I am about to give unto you; for all those who have this law [concerning having many wives and concubines] revealed unto them must obey the same. (D&C 132:1-3)

So, once a gospel tribe is established using plural marriage, the Lord expects it to begin entering into concubinage contracts with the tribes of the earth, in order that the purposes, promises and prophecies of the Lord may be fulfilled about the people of the Lord becoming the salt and leaven of the earth.  The Savior said:

The kingdom of heaven is like unto leaven, which a woman took, and hid in three measures of meal, till the whole was leavened. (Matthew 13:33)

Through converted concubines, returned back from whence they come, entire tribes will be converted.  Concubinage, then, is a true principle of the gospel and one which any gospel-based tribe may justifiably embrace.

Concubinage and wife contracts are equally impermanent

All covenants, contracts…that are not…sealed…as well for time and for all eternity…are of no efficacy, virtue, or force in and after the resurrection from the dead; for all contracts that are not made unto this end have an end when men are dead. (D&C 132:7)

This scripture shows that a marriage contract between a husband and a wife and a marriage contract between a husband and a concubine are similarly temporary.  The only difference is that one is intended to last a little bit longer than the other.  The wife’s contract has an end at death, while the concubine’s contract has an end sometime during mortality, but neither in reality are permanent contracts.

It is the sealing power that will vicariously seal all such impermanent marriage contracts, including concubinage contracts, making them all permanent unions in the afterlife.  Because of this, it is not correct to speak of a concubine as “a sort of inferior wife.”  She is every bit as much a wife as any other and will be sealed to her husband permanently after her death just as every other wife will be, and she will inherit the same reward as a wife will in the eternities.

Concubinage has a heavenly origin

Lastly, concubinage appears to be patterned after a heavenly object (a comet, a planetoid, a planet or a brown dwarf) that enters an insular solar system for a time, causing new planetary birth (the electrical expulsion model of planetary birth) and then after passing through leaves the solar system with an entourage of captured, newly birthed, planetary objects.

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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.

Complete List of Articles authored by LDS Anarchist

The Tribal Church


Rebecca [from the-exponent blog] once asked me:

In your ideal world, I’d assume there is no church outside of the family unit.  Is this the primary appeal of anarchy within the LDS context for you?

It is evidence of the “Catholic-ization” of the LDS church that members refer to the leadership in Salt Lake as “the Church” – as opposed to the group of believers that meet together.  Like the Catholics – I often hear LDS refer to “What the Church has said” about such-and-such or what “Our leaders haven’t taken a position” on such-and-such.  LDS will speak of “the Church” as if it is some entity completely removed and separate from the members.  Where was there ever a body without parts?  The church is the people who make it up.

The church is a tribe; your tribe is the church:

As LDSA outlined in the Wives, follow your husbands! – Patriarchy, androcracy and the egalitarian tribe post:

Because of the gospel’s tribal nature, the organization of the priesthood mimics that of the egalitarian tribe.  Bishops, bishoprics, counselors, common judges, higher judges, lower judges, high councils, presidencies, apostles, seventies, quorums, etc., all have their counterpart in egalitarian tribal organization.

The principle described here is entirely correct.  What most LDS understand as the church structure is actually a tribal structure.  Currently, the Gentile Mormon church uses the structure of wards and stakes with presiding bishops and presidents over congregations and quorums – however this is a mere copy [an incomplete/improper copy] of the tribal structure in which the gospel is designed to be lived — a structure of clans and tribes with presiding husbands and tribal elders.

This is seen as LDS refer to their local congregation as the “ward family”, their fellow-members as “brother” and “sister” so-and-so, etc.  This is also why even official Church™ policy is to acknowledge [in word at least – though not in deed], that the family is the central unit in the gospel of Jesus Christ, with the Church being only an appendage.

Therefore, the priesthood holder in the home is the central priesthood leader – and the church priesthood holders are appendage leaders – in other words they are secondary as compared to a woman’s husband.

Much of what is wrong in the LDS church originates with wives not considering their husbands to be their priesthood/church leader – which itself originates with the Church™.

In the eyes of the Church™, the husband is not a priesthood leader with keys – only a quorum member without keys.  Leaders have keys, and members do not.  Because, in the eyes of the Church™, husbands do not have keys – they could not leaders.  Quorum members report directly to quorum leaders, and as a quorum member, the husband is an agent of his quorum president.

This view is then passed on to the wife, so that when a wife thinks of a priesthood leader, she will think of someone who holds keys, such as a bishop or stake president.  Thus, it becomes that in the eyes of a wife, her husband is subordinate to the priesthood leaders found in the Church™.

This is why we find wives by-passing their husbands and going behind his back to a bishop or stake president [see comment #87 and #102 here].  Any LDS wife who does view her husband as her priesthood leader typically does so insofar as the husband is following the direction of the Church™ leaders.  An easy way to discern this is to have the husband do something different than what the church leaders council him to do [like baptize children or administer the sacrament without a bishop’s approval].  Then the wife’s true loyalties will manifest and she will likely side with the Church™ authority.  Only when there is conflict between a Church™ leader with “keys” and a husband without them can it be seen who a wife really believes her church leader to be.

The Church™ is actually a religion:

What most LDS refer to as “the Church” is, therefore, not actually a church at all [it not being bound by covenant bonds between members].  It is a religion.  When seen from the tribal point-of-view [where church = tribe], the church is an entirely new people-group, nation, or tribe separate from any of the nations or tribes of the earth – the church of Jesus Christ being the tribes of Israel.  A tribe is merely a form a human organization that is based on two features:   kinship and shared belief.  Where these two things exist, there exits a tribe.  Where one or both of these things lack, there is no tribe.

Currently, in the LDS church, we have shared beliefs, but not kinship.  We may call others in our “ward family” by the names “brother” or “sister” so-and-so, and we may tend to all be of the same tribe [that of Ephraim] – but most members will view their blood family [kinship] as distinct from other LDS.

The purpose of the restoration of the gospel in the latter-days was to convert a diverse assortment of people [from every nation, tribe, and people-group] into a new kind of people.  The vision is a tribe, united under the bonds of a new and everlasting covenant, and restored to the ancient Hebrew notion of a holy nation/separate people-group.  No matter what the former culture was, any converts are adopted into a new family – formed on the basis tribal covenant bonds and shared beliefs.  Status in this group is not determined be virtue of what you believe or how many people you could tell what to do – but instead by the covenants a person has assumed and how many people you serve.

Without both kinship bonds and shared beliefs, we are not fully organized as the Lord’s tribes of Israel.  Groups that are bound by only shared belief are referred to as “religions”.  When Adam was praying, after having been removed from the Garden of Eden, there entered the god of this world in answer to his prayer:

So, you want religion, do you?

Religion is what Satan has been offering as a substitute for tribal relationships with our Heavenly Parents, Jesus Christ, and our fellowman since the beginning.  It is religion and the associated creeds that have prevented humans from coming to Jesus and the Father individually – instead forcing people to jump thru hoops, observances, rituals, classes, advancements, programs, etc.  Satan will always give a people religion, and it will be largely based in the left-brain-mind, professing God with the mouth [the left-brain-mind words] but having [right-brain-] hearts is far from Him.

A religion is just a branded belief.  Two people can be of different religions – and still be of the same nationality, work for the same companies, belong to the same social groups, etc.  There is nothing really distinct between the two, other than what they are doing for a few hours on Sunday.

The LDS church has taken direct action to remove any of the original elements of being a separate tribe/people-group, which are an impediment to popular acceptance.  Distinctions are minimized to remove any conflict between LDS and the state they reside in.  Any commitment to public relations will cause any movement, idea, or product to become less distinct – to boil down further and further, trying to find a least common-denominator and mass appeal/acceptance.  This is the story of Correlation™ and it has been handled in detail elsewhere.

Joseph Smith said that he:

cannot believe in any of the creeds of the different denominations [religions], because they all have some things in them I cannot subscribe to, though all of them have some truth.  I want to come up into the presence of God, and learn all things; but the creeds set up stakes, and say, ‘Hitherto shalt thou come, and no further’; which I cannot subscribe to.

Establishing an institution with orthodoxy and checklists – and then requiring uniformity of belief/thought in order to belong to the orthodox religion is the way of the Christians.  They are bound together not by tribal family bonds but instead by their confessions of faith and their creeds.

If we really want to come up “into the presence of God, and learn all things,” then we’d be wise to seek out and avoid the creeds of religions that “set up stakes” and demand that we “come no further.”

Within such an institution, one will find that if he/she:

wants to have the manifestations of the spirit in the place where I go to church, then I had better go to a church where we share all things in common… When you attend a church which spends $3 billion on building a shopping/commercial center right close to the temple and exactly $[zero] on implementing the law of consecration, I would hazard a guess that the odds are pretty close to 3 billion-to-zero that an abundance of the gifts of the spirit are [not] going to [be] in that church.

So now you may say well there isn’t any church or group that lives with all things in common.  How about forming your tribal organization and getting on with living that way?  That is what I am going to do.

I want to live the full gospel of Jesus Christ. I am going to start by having all things in common in my tribe so I can claim the blessings God has offered to those who obey the law given for that blessing.

Truly, one can not do this within the LDS church.  Such blessings are found only in communal worship that adheres to the word of God, the spirit of expediency, and the law of common consent.  Currently, this can only be achieved within tribal organizations.

Two ways to grow your tribe:

The discussion on plural marriage at Wheat and Tares taught me that most LDS will consider any discussion on organizing multihusband-multiwife tribes as “communes for unbridled secret sex at night.”

However, a tribe is merely a form a human organization based on two features:   kinship and shared belief.  This is the earliest form of human community – predating cities, states, churches, and even recorded history.  Tribal affiliations exist naturally among humans – when states don’t exist to break them up.  God does not look upon an individual as an isolated creation, all alone.  He sees people as they are connected to everyone else.  He sees all the tribal bonds and recognizes the tribal affiliations – even if we ourselves are not even aware of them or allow their functions to remain dormant.

God and the gospel are tribal in nature – always working to connect humans together into His tribe [which is composed of the tribes of Israel].  Our lineage is plainly manifest to Him and so when we begin to act tribally, He recognizes the tribal authority because it has been there all along, among the other conventional things we place upon it [e.g. political affiliations culture, religion].  All that is necessary for us to obtain tribal authority is to exercise it.  If we just need to assert it, God will recognize/validate it because it really is there and has been there all along.  We just haven’t been aware of it or acknowledged it.

The steward of a tribe is free to grow/enlarge his tribe or allow it to stay dormant.  While I intertwine multihusband-multiwife marriage systems together with my tribal understanding of the gospel, there are functions of tribalism that can be activated currently with a one-husband:one-wife tribe. Tribal plural marriage is simply the means whereby a tribe grows or is enlarged horizontally.  In like manner, having children is the means whereby a tribe grows or is enlarged vertically.

Growing horizontally:

Tribes are grown horizontally as new adult members are converted and desire to join.  As tribes must be bound by both kinship and shared belief, once conversion to the gospel takes place [shared belief], he/she must then be married into the tribe [kinship] as a part of the other entrance ordinances, e.g. baptism.

Growing horizontally is a function of tribal missionary work.  This has been discussed in the comments of dyc4557’s CHI #5 post.  Currently, LDS missionary work is comprised of sending never married, non-father elders into the mission field – following the pattern of the celibate, Catholic priesthood.  These celibate elders are sent by an “across the board” calling of all 19 year-old young men – instead of having any elder with the desire to travel, and calling of the Spirit to preach the gospel, approach their bishops to obtain license to do so by church vote.

In the comments on that post, LDSA touches on some principles for initiating the preaching of the gospel from a tribal point-of-view.  Briefly, they include:

  • A married man with children having an advantage over a never-married, non-father young man with regards to relating to families [husbands, wives, fathers, and mothers].
  • Distraction not being an issue when a person goes on a preaching mission only when he has a desire to go and feels called to do so by the Spirit.
  • Leaving the length of a traveling mission open, instead of a fixed two-years, so that the Spirit can have flexibility in keeping a man in the mission field for short or long time periods.
  • Utilizing all married men within a tribe [the priests, bishops, elders, seventy, apostles, high priests, and patriarchs], who are under the same commandment to travel and preach when their circumstances allow, to open up a larger pool from which to fill a mission field.
  • Multihusband-multiwife tribes having less of a burden with traveling missionary work because when husbands leave to preach, wives and children will be taken care of by the tribe or other husbands.
  • Not leaving converts [harvest] in the care of others who, hopefully, will take care of them – instead, either sending these people back to the tribe or, after the mission is complete, returning with them to the tribe, so that tribal integration can be complete.
  • Marrying converts while still in the mission field so that, while there, a tribal missionary will have new tribal members to support him, giving him food, drink, clothing, shelter, and a family love and environment – fulfilling the commandment to travel with purse or scrip.  Also – retaining and building on the connection that a missionary makes with the converts he or she has taught.

Growing a tribe horizontally is essentially founded on multihusband-multiwife plural marriages.  It is this aspect that would likely make converting non-LDS into a tribe easier than converting LDS.  Many LDS come with cultural indoctrination [as both Americans and Mormons] that state-sanctioned monogamy is superior to any other form of marriage.  Polygyny is either valid insofar as it is state-sanctioned and First Presidency™-approved or was valid in the mid/late 19th century but is now just a relic of a less-enlightened time gone by.  Polyandry is completely unheard of or considered and makes a mockery of God’s ordered system of paternity [which is why most LDS will always use “polygamy” when they really mean “polygyny” – polyandry not even being a consideration for them].

Monogamy is not sin.  If one spouse [or both] has emotional needs that necessitate him/her requiring a spouse to commit to not loving any other people, then [if the other spouse is willing to submit to that] they may take vows of exclusivity upon themselves. These vows are ordained of God, as long as both persons consent, and are in accordance with the new and everlasting covenant revealed in D&C 132.  As I stated previously, there are functions of tribalism that can be activated currently with a one-husband:one-wife tribe – however such a tribe will be limited horizontally.

Polygyny is not sin given that a woman gives her consent to the husband to take additional wives [releasing him from any vows of exclusivity he may have been under] – he is justified in taking on additional wives, for it is marriage with consent and thus a marriage ordained of God.

Polyandry is not sin.  In the new and everlasting covenant, there are two ways in which a woman get take an additional husband:

Outside of the new and everlasting covenant, a woman [in the same manner as stated in the polygyny section] may obtain a second marriage thru the consent of her current husband or husbands.  This [like polygyny] is ordained of God insofar as all parties involved give consent.

Not giving consent to marry is the sin. When a man wishes to take an additional wife and his current wife or wives do not give their consent [which are the keys of this power], then they become sinners because they are forbidding him from marrying, making them not ordained of God.  Likewise, were a woman to desire an additional husband and her current husband or husbands do not give consent, then the husbands become sinners by virtue of forbidding her to marry.

This is the law of Sarah [in the new and everlasting covenant of marriage] and it is applicable to both men and women. “Wrongness” consists in forbidding marriage, which makes the person doing the forbidding not ordained of God – whether the forbidder is the state, the Church™, parents, or a spouse.

Growing vertically:

Tribes can also grow vertically.  This is done as married couples come together via sexual intercourse and provide physical life to children.  The two methods [horizontal and vertical] are related.  Just as parents are capable of loving more than one child with all of their heart – spouses are capable of loving more than one spouse with all of their heart.  Just as parents are commanded to have as many children as possible, not forbidding any spirits from entering their family – spouses ought to seek as many additionally spouses as possible, never forbidding one another from loving other people.

The Lord has commanded parents to be fruitful and multiply:

So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.  And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it:

The secret combinations of central planners all establish two children per woman as their goal.  They have achieved this goal in the countries referred to as “developed”, and they are approaching success on a global scale.  The reason being that two children [replacement reproduction] breaks the commandment to multiply and “fill” the earth with humans – only replacing the two parents with two children.  The scriptural minimum for the number of children per family would therefore be three, with there being no associated maximum.

They have used various tools to achieve their satanic goal.  One need only search [population control eugenics] in a search engine to find plenty of resources on the subject.  To be brief, they would include:  barrier and hormonal methods of birth control, drugged hospital birthing experiences, circumcision, bottle-feeding, abortion, vasectomies and elective hysterectomies, focusing on “equal” employment for women, reducing sperm counts thru administered chemicals and diet, and sterilants in food/vaccines/water/etc.

A tribe based on the gospel of Jesus Christ will never restrict themselves to a set number of children – utilizing hormonal, barrier, or surgical forms of birth control thereafter.  They will not plan their number of children around their desired lifestyle, but will plan a lifestyle around the number of children they have.  They shall also teach their children to pray, and to walk uprightly before the Lord.  They will teach their children to read and write, having a language which is pure and undefiled.  They will teach their children diligently and freely to understand the doctrine of repentance, faith in Christ the Son of the living God, and of baptism, and the gift of the Holy Ghost by the laying on of the hands – before the age of eight [lest the sin be upon their heads and it be the cause of their affliction].  Then shall their children be baptized for the remission of sins when eight years old, and receive the laying on of the hands.  They will engage in continual tribal rituals to strengthen the common morphic field that exists among disciples of Jesus Christ.

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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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