Recent Thoughts on the Prophecies


Here are some of my recent thoughts on different prophecies.

Gathered together

And I looked and beheld a man among the Gentiles, who was separated from the seed of my brethren by the many waters; and I beheld the Spirit of God, that it came down and wrought upon the man; and he went forth upon the many waters, even unto the seed of my brethren, who were in the promised land.  (1 Ne. 13:12)

When I read this passage, I cannot help but think that the Indian tribes seem gathered together in one, central location, such as the place of the first treaties for the Five Civilized Tribes and other Indians living east of the Mississippi River, in which the Indians were removed to west of that river.

1280px-trails_of_tears_en

Article X, Section 3 of the New Articles of Confederation allows for just such a scenario, which would bring us back to 1830 in the timeline, putting the Indians exactly back where they were when Joseph Smith received his revelations.

Captivity and bondage

Wherefore, Joseph truly saw our day. And he obtained a promise of the Lord, that out of the fruit of his loins the Lord God would raise up a righteous branch unto the house of Israel; not the Messiah, but a branch which was to be broken off, nevertheless, to be remembered in the covenants of the Lord that the Messiah should be made manifest unto them in the latter days, in the spirit of power, unto the bringing of them out of darkness unto light—yea, out of hidden darkness and out of captivity unto freedom.  (2 Ne. 3:5)

My understanding of this passage is that the remnant will be literally in captivity. It may be their scattering will be due to some rebellion on their part, and into prison they will go. And thus the spiritual and physical prisoners will go free, fulfilling Isaiah’s prophecy:

To open the blind eyes, to bring out the prisoners from the prison, and them that sit in darkness out of the prison house.  (Isa. 42:7)

The saints also, at some point, will be in bondage

Behold, I say unto you, the redemption of Zion must needs come by power; therefore, I will raise up unto my people a man, who shall lead them like as Moses led the children of Israel. For ye are the children of Israel, and of the seed of Abraham, and ye must needs be led out of bondage by power, and with a stretched-out arm. And as your fathers were led at the first, even so shall the redemption of Zion be.  (D&C 103:15-18)

and in captivity:

And the angel said unto me:

Behold the formation of a church which is most abominable above all other churches, which slayeth the saints of God, yea, and tortureth them and bindeth them down, and yoketh them with a yoke of iron, and bringeth them down into captivity.  (1 Ne. 13:5)

The Josephite will act as a deliverer of many of these people, though the blood of many saints will still be shed, per both Nephi’s and John’s testimony of martyrs among the saints.

“much of my gospel”

And it came to pass that the angel of the Lord spake unto me, saying:

Behold,

saith the Lamb of God,

after I have visited the remnant of the house of Israel—and this remnant of whom I speak is the seed of thy father—wherefore, after I have visited them in judgment, and smitten them by the hand of the Gentiles, and after the Gentiles do stumble exceedingly, because of the most plain and precious parts of the gospel of the Lamb which have been kept back by that abominable church, which is the mother of harlots,

saith the Lamb

—I will be merciful unto the Gentiles in that day, insomuch that I will bring forth unto them, in mine own power, much of my gospel, which shall be plain and precious,

saith the Lamb.  (1 Ne. 13:34)

The Book of Mormon is always referred to as a “part” or as “parts” of the Lord’s gospel.

And, behold, all the remainder of this work does contain all those parts of my gospel which my holy prophets, yea, and also my disciples, desired in their prayers should come forth unto this people.

….

And now, behold, according to their faith in their prayers will I bring this part of my gospel to the knowledge of my people. Behold, I do not bring it to destroy that which they have received, but to build it up.  (D&C 10:46,52)

Also, it is referred to as a “lesser part.”

And these things have I written, which are a lesser part of the things which he taught the people; and I have written them to the intent that they may be brought again unto this people, from the Gentiles, according to the words which Jesus hath spoken.  (3 Ne. 26:8)

Although we have the fulness of the gospel, it is only of these parts, not of the other parts (that we don’t have.) In other words, we have a fulness of the gospel parts that the Lord has currently given us. This applies equally to the Doctrine and Covenants and other scriptures we have. So, “much of my gospel” can only refer to the records that still need to come forth.

The records that must appear

The Josephite will need to retranslate the Small Plates of Nephi, to make the language “strong.”

Because of their faith their words shall proceed forth out of my mouth unto their brethren who are the fruit of thy loins; and the weakness of their words will I make strong in their faith, unto the remembering of my covenant which I made unto thy fathers.  (2 Ne. 3:21)

And the words which I have written in weakness will be made strong unto them  (2 Ne. 33:4)

He will need to retranslate the Book of Mormon (to make the language strong) and also restore the Book of Lehi (the lost 116 manuscript pages) to the text. This will fulfill the prophecies concerning the Book of Mormon coming forth. (See, for example, 2 Ne. 3 and 2 Ne. 27.) He will need to translate the Large Plates of Nephi. This will fulfill the Savior’s prophecy, recorded in 3 Ne. 21. He will need to translate the Plates of Brass. This will fulfill Lehi’s prophecy, made in 1 Ne. 5, and Alma’s prophecy, made in Alma 37. And he will need to translate the Plates of Ether (leaving out the vision of the brother of Jared.) This will fulfill Alma’s prophecy, found in Alma 37.

When must these records appear?

They must appear within the 6th thousand years, which ends in April of 2033. In other words, they must come forth sometime in the next 16 and a half years. These records constitute “much of my gospel” and also the “other books” (1 Ne. 13:39) that Nephi saw coming forth.

The Sealed Portion

The Sealed Portion of the Plates of Mormon will be translated after these other records appear. The first group of “other books” (which is everything mentioned above minus the Sealed Portion) will cause the remnant and many Gentiles to repent, to become sanctified and to exercise faith “even as the brother of Jared did” (Ether 4:7.) When that happens, the first part of the Sealed Portion, or first seal, dealing with the 1st thousand years, will be translated by the Josephite. Thus the restoration of all things will begin in earnest, consisting of seven parts, or seals, in which all things begin to be revealed. The first part of the Sealed Portion will trigger the events spoken of by John in Revelation 6, with wars going out among the wicked.

The book “sealed with seven seals,” seen by John in Revelation 5:1; the “vision of all,” which is “the words of a book that is sealed,” seen by Isaiah in Isaiah 29:11; and the Sealed Portion of the Plates of Mormon, are one and the same book. The Sealed Portion of the plates is “sealed by the power of God” (2 Ne. 27:10), therefore only God can open it. Which He will do, as John saw in Revelation 5 and 6, and then the Josephite will translate it and make it available to the saints.

When will these things occur?

The first six parts of the Sealed Portion get loosed and translated in the 6th thousand years, so sometime in the next 16 and a half years. The seventh part gets translated in the 7th thousand years. In other words, after April of 2033. Joseph Smith needs to come back and appoint his successor, Joseph-Nephi, because Joseph Smith alone holds the keys to the Sealed Portion, and the Josephite needs those keys to accomplish his mission.

And I have given unto him the keys of the mystery of those things which have been sealed, even things which were from the foundation of the world, and the things which shall come from this time until the time of my coming, if he abide in me, and if not, another will I plant in his stead.  (D&C 35:18)

When the Sealed Portion gets read upon the house tops

And the day cometh that the words of the book which were sealed shall be read upon the house tops; and they shall be read by the power of Christ; and all things shall be revealed unto the children of men which ever have been among the children of men, and which ever will be even unto the end of the earth.  (2 Ne. 27:11)

This occurs when Jesus comes back and it is my understanding that Moroni is the one who reads it to everyone. But before then, it gets translated and given to the saints.

John’s scriptures

The Bible as it currently stands appears to be composed largely of abridgements. In John’s Revelation, he heard “seven thunders” (Rev. 10:3-4) utter their voices and he was commanded not to write what he heard, because it was sealed. Daniel was told (in Dan. 12:4) to seal up his vision, too. When John brings forth his Book of the Lamb of God, it will be an unabridged text, without anything sealed or hidden. This, too, must come forth in the 6h thousand years, sometime in the next 16 and a half years. In fact, John’s Book of the Lamb of God is the first new record that comes forth. Afterward, Joseph-Nephi does his translations. The Book of Abraham that we have, is only a part of Abraham’s writings. The full record will undoubtedly be on the Plates of Brass. The text of the Book of Joseph scroll, which got destroyed, is also likely on those plates in its entirety. The Joseph Smith Translation, Book of Moses and Joseph Smith—Matthew scriptures, will be supplanted with better, functional translations, with the full, unabridged texts, as found in the Book of the Lamb of God and/or on the Plates of Brass. Mormons, essentially, are going to lay aside The Standard Works and start using a brand new set of scriptures.

The new scriptures will likely be voluminous, requiring a great many volumes, perhaps as many or even more than all the heavy volumes of the Oxford English Dictionary or the Encyclopedia Britannica. We can print the scriptures of the Standard Works into a single volume of normal-sized text and hold it in a single hand, but we won’t be able to do that with the scriptures brought forth by the Josephite, except electronically, using an e-reader. The printed version of the Josephite scriptures will require a cart to transport them all. The New Multi-Volume Standard Works will also be translated by the Josephite into all the languages of the world, so that you would need the biggest library on the planet to hold all the various language versions.

Now this doesn’t include the Sealed Portion of the Plates of Mormon. When you factor that in, then you end up with the understanding that Isaiah was making a direct comparison when he said, “The earth shall be filled with the knowledge of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea” (Isa. 11:9.) John wrote:

And there are also many other things which Jesus did, the which, if they should be written every one, I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books that should be written.  (John 21:25)

And yet, Mormon tells us that all those very works have already been written:

And if ye had all the scriptures which give an account of all the marvelous works of Christ, ye would, according to the words of Christ, know that these things must surely come.  (3 Ne. 28:33)

Mormon had access to the 24 Plates of Ether, which not only contained a history of the world from the beginning, as well as the entire, unabridged, Jaredite history, but also “the vision of all,” given to the brother of Jared, which revealed all things. But the language it was written in was able to communicate all the information in a very little bit of writing space. When Moroni translated it into the Nephite language, it took up almost all of the space on the Plates of Mormon, yet the Nephite language was information-rich enough to hold it all in a single volume. Not so with modern languages. We can expect, then, that when the Josephite turns to the task of translating the Sealed Portion into all the modern languages, the world will fill up with books and, at that point, all human knowledge will be supplanted. All of this must happen in the next 16 and a half years.

The angels mentioned by John

My understanding is that the “angel ascending from the east” (Rev. 7:2) is the Josephite, while the four angels “holding the four winds” (Rev. 7:1) are other Nephites, namely, the Three Nephite Disciples who were translated, plus one more. The fourth angel may be Alma the Younger (who desired to be an angel in Alma 29, or Nehi the son of Helaman. (See 3 Ne. 1:2-3.)

About the work of angels

When the restoration of all things resumes with the Josephite’s ministry, it seems to me that there will be a lot of angelic ministrations among the people. With Joseph Smith, the main angel involved was Moroni, but with Joseph-Nephi, the main angel appears to be Gabriel.

And also with Elias, to whom I have committed the keys of bringing to pass the restoration of all things spoken by the mouth of all the holy prophets since the world began, concerning the last days;  (D&C 27:6)

Moroni, though, will also be involved, as he holds the keys of the record of the stick of Ephraim (which is the Plates of Brass)

Behold, this is wisdom in me; wherefore, marvel not, for the hour cometh that I will drink of the fruit of the vine with you on the earth, and with Moroni, whom I have sent unto you to reveal the Book of Mormon, containing the fulness of my everlasting gospel, to whom I have committed the keys of the record of the stick of Ephraim;  (D&C 27:5)

Also Raphael, Michael and many other angels will be ministering to the Josephite, as he works furiously against the dwindling time to “gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth” (Eph. 1:10.) These angels will play a major part, but no angelic trumpet will sound until after April of 2033.

Signs above and below

The Great and Abominable Church must make its appearance in the next 16 and a half years and we can also expect the heavens to become active with incoming planets and comets. And so on and so forth. A lot has to go down in a surprisingly short period of time but I ain’t gonna list it all. Suffice it to say that we are living in the moment just before the end time roller coaster ride begins its rapid launch into the stratosphere.

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Custom LDS Scriptures Priestcraft


Usually when I encounter priestcraft, I don’t like to give it further life by advertising it, getting other people to check it out, etc.  I don’t want to invest it with any of my mental energy — I just avoid it like the plague when I see it.  However, I’ve recently crossed paths with a “crafty” company who has appeared to have set themselves up as a light unto LDS families that they might get gain — but they seek not the welfare of Zion.  And for this one — I’m going to try a new approach to confronting priestcraft:

Custom LDS Scriptures is a family business owned and operated by Heidi and Nick Galieti. In 2010, their oldest daughter turned eight and they wanted a pink set of scriptures to give as a baptism present. In the search for pink colored scriptures it was determined that there are several other people not only looking for pink scriptures, but  a variety of other colors than those offered through LDS Distribution, and in a higher quality genuine leather. Not finding anyone who offered such products, Heidi and Nick set out to provide custom sets of scriptures to members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, and Custom LDS Scriptures was born.”

What sounds like a quaint origin story hides the fact that the Custom LDS Scriptures company:

  • Has an F rating with the Utah Better Business Bureau
  • Fails to respond to customers after failure to deliver purchased orders
  • Leads those with unfulfilled orders through months-long delays for refunds
  • Selectively deletes comments from customers complaining about their failures to deliver from the Custom LDS Scriptures facebook page.

This is the sort of money-driven behavior that I implicitly expect from Protestant Prosperity-Gospel peddlers writing books about the “Essential Teachings of Jesus” or “The Secrets To How God Can Make You Rich Like Solomon”.  But I’ve decided to write about Custom LDS Scriptures because I actually considered using them to purchase scriptures for my younger children and had the initial thought that I could trust doing business with them because of our shared LDS faith.  Luckily, my wife didn’t make the same error in judgment as I did — she researched them first. Is this the kind of business people should be conducting with the Word of God?  Is this the kind of business Mormons should be conducting with other Mormons?  I don’t want any LDS families, who are looking for a gift and thinking they can trust purchasing from an LDS company, to have contact with this level of priestcraft.  It’s something that shouldn’t taint honest people who are looking to give a set of scriptures to a loved one. The world of money and commerce adulterate whatever they contact.  Adulteration is literally adultery.  The root of both come from the Latin for “corrupted”.  It is a corrupting, contaminating, and corrosive agent.  Zion, however, is the pure.  That is why, in Zion, he that hath no money is told:

come buy and eat yea come buy wine and milk without money and without price

The world’s lifeblood is commoditized and monetized value.  It is saturated with money and commerce.  Besides living secretly out in the woods, to get by in this world, we have to play the game to one degree or another.  It’s a given, and it’s a level of “corruption” that I accept.  However, priestcraft [which is what it’s called when people play Satan’s commoditize-and-monetize game with the things of God] should be unacceptable to every saint. People choosing to give the gift of scriptures to a loved one is a precious thing.  That intention on their part should be treated with the utmost respect because that is a righteous desire.  For an LDS company to get an F-rating for failing to deliver LDS scriptures to LDS customers is deplorable.  It’s clear from their grade that Custom LDS Scriptures does not trulybelieve that the Scriptures are books to be cherished, honored, and read from daily”.

wherefore do not spend money for that which is of no worth nor your labor for that which cannot satisfy

And do not spend money with Custom LDS Scriptures.

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Using the Word of God as your Tribal Law


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

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

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

Nephi wrote:

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

[2 Nephi 25:21-22]

And YHVH has said:

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

[2 Nephi 29:11]

And Yeshua told the Nephites:

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

[3 Nephi 27:25-26]

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

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

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

[Deuteronomy 31:24-26]

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

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

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

In Romans 14, Paul writes:

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

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

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

abstains for YHVH
and gives the same god thanks

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

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

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

as I live

saith YHVH

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

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

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

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

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

[Romans 14]

Paul is saying that matters of practice such as:

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

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

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

“Gospel-based” tribes:

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

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

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

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

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

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1 Nephi 13 & 14 commentary, using CTC’s view


On June 17th, 2008, Anthony E. Larson uploaded a post to this blog called, The Great and Abominable Church.  A couple of weeks later a visitor called CTC claimed that 1 Nephi 13 & 14 spoke of a literal great and abominable church that had yet to make its appearance and that much of both of these chapters was yet to be fulfilled.  He said he got this information from someone who he believed was a bona fide prophet of God.  CTC did not use a chronological approach to Nephi’s prophecy.  This made it easy for him to get around certain parts which posed problems to him as a future fulfillment.  But I’m not going to take that approach.  I’m going to read it chronologically and literally, and see where it takes me.

I’m doing this because it interests me, not because I subscribe to this view, so please don’t take this as my interpretation of this chapter.  As I’ve said before, my understanding of prophecy is that it is plain and speaks of real things, and also that it often has shadows or types.  When CTC first posted his comments, I did not respond, because I hadn’t taken the time to really look at 1 Nephi 13, to see if the fulfillment that we normally assign to it could be a mere shadow.  So, I remained silent and let others respond to him.  However, recently I have found myself mentioning time and time again about a coming future captivity of the saints, which brought to my mind what Nephi had stated in 1 Nephi 13, which then brought to my mind what CTC had written in his comments.

All of which leads me to this post, in which I look at these chapters and attempt to interpret them as if their literal fulfillment was still future.  So, let’s begin.

Chapter Thirteen of First Nephi

I will quote a part of the chapter, then give what is commonly assumed as its fulfillment, but as a shadow, and then I will give its literal future fulfillment.  I will try to convincingly show why the shadow fulfillment does not satisfy the prophecy, meaning why the prophecy is not fulfilled every whit by the shadow, necessitating a future, literal fulfillment.  I am using this as my Book of Mormon text.

The times of the Gentiles

and it came to pass | that the angel spake unto me | saying |

look |

and i looked | and beheld many nations and kingdoms | and the angel said unto me |

what beholdest thou |

and i said |

i behold many nations and kingdoms |

and he said unto me |

these are the nations and kingdoms of the gentiles |

This is obviously talking about the times of the Gentiles.  But which times?  The times of the primitive church with the twelve apostles, the times right after the death of the apostles, the times of Joseph Smith, the current times, or a future time of the Gentiles?  Nephi isn’t clear on this point, but I will interpret this as a future time.

The formation of a church

and it came to pass | that i saw | among the nations of the gentiles | the formation of a great church | and the angel said unto me |

behold | the formation of a church | which is most abominable | above all other churches | which slayeth the saints of god | yea | and tortureth them | and bindeth them down | and yoketh them with a yoke of iron | and bringeth them down into captivity |

Shadow past fulfillment: Some have stated that this is the Roman Catholic Church, a literal church, which would put its formation after the death of the apostles.  Others have stated that this is the “church” of science, a metaphorical church, which would put its formation after the Roman Catholic Church.  Others believe this is speaking metaphorically about all churches that are not the true saints of God, per the later verse of 1 Ne. 14:10, giving it a metaphorical “formation” and a metaphorical “captivity.”  These must all be shadows because they do not fulfill the prophecy every whit.

Literal future fulfillment: This a real church, not a figurative or metaphorical church.  And it exists among other, real churches.  It literally kills and tortures real saints—or sanctified people who have entered into a covenant with God, witnessed by baptism—and literally binds them, puts real iron yokes upon them and brings them down into literal (not metaphorical) captivity.

To literally fulfill this prophecy every whit, living saints of God must be present during, or after, the formation of this church, and they must be killed, tortured, bound, yoked with iron, and brought into captivity.  Also, there must be other, real churches present, which do not pertain to the abominable church.

This has not occurred, yet, for although there were people tortured, killed, put into iron yokes and brought into captivity, by various religious organizations in the past, these tortured souls were not saints of God, for the church of God was already non-existent by then and the saints and apostles were already dead.  Therefore, this prophecy must pertain to the future.

Devil, materialism, worldy praise

and it came to pass | that i beheld this great and abominable church |

and i saw the devil | that he was the founder of it |

and i also saw gold | and silver | and silks | and scarlets | and fine-twined linen | and all manner of precious clothing |

and i saw many harlots | and the angel spake unto me | saying |

behold | the gold | and the silver | and the silks | and the scarlets | and the fine-twined linen | and the precious clothing | and the harlots | are the desires of this great and abominable church |

and also | for the praise of the world do they destroy the saints of god | and bring them down into captivity |

The previous commentary applies to this section, as well, for if the church of God is not present, in order for this abominable church to bring God’s saints down into captivity and destroy them, it cannot be fulfilled literally.

Many waters

and it came to pass | that i looked | and beheld many waters | and they divided the gentiles from the seed of my brethren |

Shadow past fulfillment:  The Gentiles of Europe are divided (separated) from the American Indians (Lamanites) by the Atlantic Ocean.

Literal future fulfillment: The Gentiles of Asia are divided (separated) from the American Indians (Lamanites) by “many waters.”  The term “many waters” refers to that body of water called by the Nephites, Irreantum, which is the Pacific Ocean.

And we did come to the land which we called Bountiful, because of its much fruit and also wild honey; and all these things were prepared of the Lord that we might not perish. And we beheld the sea, which we called Irreantum, which, being interpreted, is many waters.  (1 Ne. 17:5)

The Spirit of God upon a man

and it came to pass | that the angel said unto me |

behold | the wrath of god is upon the seed of thy brethren |

and i looked | and beheld a man | among the gentiles | who was separated from the seed of my brethren by the many waters |

and i beheld the spirit of god | that it came down | and wrought upon the man | and he went forth upon the many waters | even unto the seed of my brethren | who were in the promised land |

Shadow past fulfillment:  The European Gentile, Christopher Columbus, “believed himself chosen by God to find [a new] land and deliver the light of Christianity to the natives there.”  He sailed upon the Atlantic Ocean to the New World, all the way to the Lamanite remnant.

Literal future fulfillment:  A man among the Asian Gentiles (not necessarily a Gentile man, nor Asian) will have the Spirit of God come down and work upon him.  This man will be a holy prophet of God and will travel from Asia to North America, upon the Irreantum or Pacific Ocean, until he reaches the Lamanite remnant.

The Spirit of God upon captive Gentiles

and it came to pass | that i beheld the spirit of god | that it wrought upon other gentiles | and they went forth out of captivity upon the many waters |

Shadow past fulfillment:  European Gentiles (Puritans) leave Europe and their religious “captivity” for America to partake of religious freedom.  (Never mind that Europe was one of the freest places on the planet at the time.)  They travel over the Atlantic Ocean.

Literal future fulfillment:  Asian Gentiles are wrought upon by the Spirit of God, becoming saints of God, and leave Asian captivity, meaning that they leave the captivity of the tyrannical Chinese, North Korean and other communist regimes and dictatorships, which bind the people down in literal captivity.  They travel over the Irreantum (Pacific Ocean.)

The scattering of the Lamanites

and it came to pass | that i beheld many multitudes of the gentiles upon the land of promise |

and i beheld the wrath of god | that it was upon the seed of my brethren | and they were scattered before the gentiles | and were smitten |

and i beheld the spirit of the lord | that it was upon the gentiles | and they did prosper | and obtain the land for their inheritance |

and i beheld | that they were white | and exceedingly fair and beautiful | like unto my people before they were slain |

Shadow past fulfillment:  Lots of European Gentiles are in America.  The European Gentiles partially scatter the American Indians and gather them into reservations.  The European Gentiles take possession of Indian and American land.  Some prosper, some do not.  The European Gentiles are white, fair and beautiful.

Literal future fulfillment:  Lots of different Gentiles are in America.  An unnamed group of (European?) Gentiles fully scatter the American Indians, off of the reservations, and smite them, so that the Lamanites are completely landless.  The Spirit of the Lord comes upon a righteous group of (Asian?) Gentiles (saints) and they prosper and inherit the land.  This righteous group of Gentiles is white, fair and beautiful.

Former captors wage war against former captives; God saves former captives

and it came to pass | that i nephi beheld | that the gentiles | who had gone forth out of captivity | did humble themselves before the lord | and the power of the lord was with them |

and i beheld | that their mother gentiles were gathered together upon the waters | and upon the land | also | to battle against them |

and i beheld | that the power of god was with them | and also | that the wrath of god was upon all those | that were gathered together against them to battle |

and i | nephi | beheld | that the gentiles | that had gone out of captivity | were delivered by the power of god out of the hands of all other nations |

Shadow past fulfillment:  Many European Gentiles (in the American British colonies) are either deists or believe in God, Christianity and the Bible.  The American Revolutionary War ensues.  Despite hardships, lack of supplies, training, etc., the American Continental Army defeats the British.

Literal future fulfillment:  The Asian Gentiles (who are converted saints of God)—who left their Asian communist countries, who traveled over the Irreantum (Pacific Ocean), who are now living upon the land of America—humble themselves before the Lord and obtain the gifts and powers of the Holy Ghost.  Their mother countries (China, Russia and the rest) send warships upon the waters to battle them and gather together upon the water and also gather together upon the land.  Divine intervention (miracles of God) takes place and the armies of the mother Gentile nations, as well as the armies of all those nations who were gathered with them to battle the former Asian Gentile captives, are defeated by the power of God, and not by any power of man.

A book, the record of the Jews

and it came to pass | that i | nephi | beheld | that they did prosper in the land |

and i beheld a book | and it was carried forth among them | and the angel said unto me |

knowest thou the meaning of the book |

and i said unto him |

i know not |

and he said |

behold | it proceedeth out of the mouth of a jew |

and i | nephi | beheld it | and he said unto me |

the book | that thou beholdest | is a record of the jews | which contains the covenants of the lord | which he hath made unto the house of israel |

and it also containeth many of the prophecies of the holy prophets |

and it is a record like unto the engravings | which are upon the plates of brass | save there are not so many | nevertheless | they contain the covenants of the lord | which he hath made unto the house of israel | wherefore | they are of great worth unto the gentiles |

and the angel of the lord said unto me |

thou hast beheld | that the book proceeded forth from the mouth of a jew |

and when it proceeded forth from the mouth of a jew | it contained the fulness of the gospel of the lord | of whom the twelve apostles bear record | and they bear record | according to the truth which is in the lamb of god | wherefore | these things go forth from the jews in purity unto the gentiles | according to the truth which is in god |

and after they go forth by the hand of the twelve apostles of the lamb from the jews unto the gentiles | thou seest the formation of a great and abominable church | which is most abominable | above all other churches |

for behold | they have taken away from the gospel of the lamb many parts | which are plain and most precious |

and also | many covenants of the lord have they taken away |

and all this have they done | that they might pervert the right ways of the lord | that they might blind the eyes | and harden the hearts | of the children of men | wherefore | thou seest | that after the book hath gone forth through the hands of the great and abominable church | that there are many plain and precious things taken away from the book | which is the book of the lamb of god |

and after these plain and precious things were taken away | it goeth forth unto all the nations of the gentiles |

and after it goeth forth unto all the nations of the gentiles | yea | even across the many waters | which thou hast seen with the gentiles | which have gone forth out of captivity | thou seest | because of the many plain and precious things | which have been taken out of the book | which were plain unto the understanding of the children of men | according to the plainness which is in the lamb of god | because of these things | which are taken away out of the gospel of the lamb | an exceedingly great many do stumble | yea | insomuch that satan hath great power over them | nevertheless | thou beholdest | that the gentiles | who have gone forth out of captivity | and have been lifted up by the power of god | above all other nations upon the face of the land | which is choice | above all other lands | which is the land | that the lord god hath covenanted with thy father | that his seed should have for the land of their inheritance | wherefore | thou seest | that the lord god will not suffer | that the gentiles will utterly destroy the mixture of thy seed | which are among thy brethren | neither will he suffer | that the gentiles shall destroy the seed of thy brethren | neither will the lord god suffer | that the gentiles shall forever remain in that awful state of blindness | which thou beholdest | they are in | because of the plain and most precious parts of the gospel of the lamb | which have been kept back by that abominable church | whose formation thou hast seen |

wherefore |

saith the lamb of god |

i will be merciful unto the gentiles | unto the visiting of the remnant of the house of israel in great judgment |

Shadow past fulfillment:  The European Gentiles (now called American citizens) have a Bible—written by multiple authors, not a single Jew—which has been corrupted by that great and abominable church, you know, the Roman Catholic Church, or the science non-church, or the vast assembly of non-saint churches “church.”  That church.  Anyway, that church/non-church takes some plain and precious parts away from the Bible and then sends it out to all the European Gentiles, which then makes its way to America, since the European Gentiles have traveled there over the Atlantic Ocean.  And because of this faulty Bible, many of the European Gentiles stumble and sin.  But hope is not lost, for the Lord has a plan.

Literal future fulfillment:  The Asian Gentiles saints living in America have a book, written by a singular Jew, which contains a record of the Jews, the covenants of the Lord and many of the prophecies of the prophets.  This book is like the plates of brass, except it doesn’t contain as much information as the plates of brass.  It contains the fulness of the gospel of Jesus Christ and the testimony of all twelve apostles of the Lord.

When the book first appears, written by the singular Jew, it will go to the Gentiles, presumably to the Asian Gentiles who were in captivity, since they will be carrying the book.  After it goes to the Gentiles, the great and abominable church will be formed.  That church apparently will get a copy of the book and make drastic changes to it, taking out plain and precious parts.  Then they will publish the book far and wide, so that it ends up in every Gentile nation, including in America.

There will be, then, two editions of the book.  One which is pure, carried by the Asian Gentile saints living in America, and the other which is corrupted, carried by the other Gentiles (living in America and elsewhere).  Because of the corrupted version, many Gentiles stumble and sin.  But hope is not lost, for the Lord has a plan.

Another book, the record of the Nephites

and it came to pass | that the angel of the lord spake unto me | saying |

behold |

saith the lamb of god |

after i have visited the remnant of the house of israel |

and this remnant | of whom i speak | is the seed of thy father |

wherefore | after i have visited them in judgment | and smitten them by the hand of the gentiles | and after the gentiles do stumble exceedingly | because of the most plain and precious parts of the gospel of the lamb | which have been kept back by that abominable church | which is the mother of harlots |

saith the lamb |

i will be merciful unto the gentiles in that day | insomuch that i will bring forth unto them in mine own power much of my gospel | which shall be plain and precious |

saith the lamb |

for behold |

saith the lamb |

i will manifest myself unto thy seed | that they shall write many things | which i shall minister unto them | which shall be plain and precious | and after thy seed shall be destroyed | and dwindle in unbelief | and also the seed of thy brethren |

behold | these things shall be hid up |

to come forth unto the gentiles by the gift and power of the lamb |

and in them shall be written my gospel |

saith the lamb |

and my rock | and my salvation |

and blessed are they | who shall seek to bring forth my zion at that day | for they shall have the gift and the power of the holy ghost |

and if they endure unto the end | they shall be lifted up at the last day | and shall be saved in the everlasting kingdom of the lamb |

and whoso shall publish peace | yea | tidings of great joy | how beautiful upon the mountains shall they be |

Shadow past fulfillment:  The Book of Mormon, an abridged record of the Nephites, was written, and came forth to the Gentiles that were stumbling, by the gift and power of God, and in it is God’s rock, salvation and gospel, and it contains the many plain and precious parts that have been taken out of the Bible, as well as an abridgment of the ministry of the Savior to the Nephites.  Those during the time of Joseph Smith were blessed with the gift and power of the Holy Ghost as they sought to establish Zion.

Future literal fulfillment:  An unabridged Nephite record (not the Book of Mormon) will be written, to come forth to the Gentiles that stumble, by the gift and power of God, and in it will be God’s rock, salvation and gospel, and it will contain the many plain and precious parts that have been taken out of the book that is carried by the Asian Gentile saints.  In the Nephite record will be “many things” that the Savior personally ministered to the Nephites.  In other words, it will be an unabridged account of that ministry.  Those during the time of the appearance of this unabridged Nephite record will be blessed with the gift and power of the Holy Ghost as they seek to establish Zion.

Two records established in one

and it came to pass | that i beheld the remnant of the seed of my brethren | and also the book of the lamb of god | which had proceeded forth from the mouth of the jew | that it came forth from the gentiles unto the remnant of the seed of my brethren |

and after it had come forth unto them | i beheld other books | which came forth by the power of the lamb from the gentiles unto them | unto the convincing of the gentiles | and the remnant of the seed of my brethren | and also | the jews | who were scattered upon all the face of the earth | that the records of the prophets | and of the twelve apostles of the lamb | are true | and the angel spake unto me | saying |

these last records | which thou hast seen among the gentiles | shall establish the truth of the first | which are of the twelve apostles of the lamb |

and shall make known the plain and precious things | which have been taken away from them |

and shall make known to all kindreds | tongues | and people | that the lamb of god is the son of the eternal father | and the savior of the world | and that all men must come unto him | or they cannot be saved | and they must come according to the words | which shall be established by the mouth of the lamb |

and the words of the lamb shall be made known in the records of thy seed | as well as in the records of the twelve apostles of the lamb | wherefore | they both shall be established in one | for there is one god | and one shepherd over all the earth |

and the time cometh | that he shall manifest himself unto all nations | both unto the jews | and also unto the gentiles |

and after he has manifested himself unto the jews | and also unto the gentiles | then he shall manifest himself unto the gentiles | and also unto the jews |

and the last shall be first | and the first shall be last |

Shadow past fulfillment:  The Bible written by multiple Jews went to the Lamanites.  Later, the Book of Mormon, Doctrine and Covenants and Pearl of Great Price went to the Lamanites, and these last records established the truth of the Bible (as far as it is translated correctly), which is a record of the four apostles of the Lord, and made known the plain and precious parts missing in it.  Both volumes of scripture were established in one, by being bound up as a quadruple combination.

Literal future fulfillment:  The unchanged book carried by the Asian Gentile saints, written by a singular Jew, will go to the Lamanites.  Later, the unabridged Nephite record (as well as other records) will go to the Lamanites and will establish the truth of the unadulterated book that is carried about by the Asian Gentile saints, which is a record of all twelve apostles of the Lord, and will make known the plain and precious parts that are missing in the perverted edition of that record.  Both volumes of scripture will be established in one.

Chapter Fourteen of First Nephi

The whole of 1 Nephi 14 is still future, according to my understanding, but since I’m using CTC’s view to interpret the prophecy, I will try to bring up anything that may coincide with what I wrote about chapter thirteen.

Numbering

and it shall come to pass | that if the gentiles shall hearken unto the lamb of god | in that day that he shall manifest himself unto them in word | and also in power | in very deed | unto the taking away of their stumbling blocks | and harden not their hearts against the lamb of god | they shall be numbered among the seed of thy father | yea | they shall be numbered among the house of israel |

and they shall be a blessed people upon the promised land forever |

they shall be no more brought down into captivity |

and the house of israel shall no more be confounded |

and that great pit | which hath been digged for them by that great and abominable church | which was founded by the devil and his children | that he might lead away the souls of men down to hell | yea | that great pit | which hath been digged for the destruction of men | shall be filled by those who digged it | unto their utter destruction |

saith the lamb of god |

not the destruction of the soul | save it be the casting of it into that hell | which hath no end |

for behold | this is according to the captivity of the devil | and also according to the justice of god upon all those | who will work wickedness and abomination before him |

Shadow past/present fulfillment:  I suppose latter-day saints could interpret numbering among the house of Israel as fulfilled by getting their patriarchal blessings, which tell them what tribe they have been assigned to.

Literal future fulfillment:  Numbering is a tribal function.  I’ve already gone over this on this blog before, so I’m not going to elaborate on this topic again.  Let it suffice that my understanding is that this pertains to the future and has not yet been fulfilled in any part, whatsoever.

The great and marvelous work

and it came to pass | that the angel spake unto me | nephi | saying |

thou hast beheld | that if the gentiles repent | it shall be well with them |

and thou also knowest | concerning the covenants of the lord unto the house of israel |

and thou also hast heard | that whoso repenteth not | must perish | therefore | wo be unto the gentiles | if it so be | that they harden their hearts against the lamb of god |

for the time cometh |

saith the lamb of god |

that i will work a great and a marvelous work among the children of men | a work which shall be everlasting | either on the one hand | or on the other | either to the convincing of them unto peace and life eternal | or unto the deliverance of them to the hardness of their hearts | and the blindness of their minds | unto their being brought down into captivity | and also into destruction | both temporally and spiritually |

according to the captivity of the devil | of which i have spoken |

Shadow past fulfillment:  The times of Joseph Smith in which he restored many lost truths and layed the foundation of the kingdom is often thought as the great and marvelous work.

Literal future fulfillment:  The great and marvel work takes places after the numbering of the Gentiles among the house of Israel, therefore, it is still a future event.

The covenants of the Father to the house of Israel

and it came to pass | that when the angel had spoken these words | he said unto me |

rememberest thou the covenants of the father unto the house of israel |

i said unto him |

yea |

I don’t really need to comment on this.

Two churches only

and it came to pass | that he said unto me |

look | and behold that great and abominable church | which is the mother of abominations | whose founder is the devil |

and he said unto me |

behold | there are save two churches only |

the one is the church of the lamb of god | and the other is the church of the devil | wherefore | whoso belongeth not to the church of the lamb of god | belongeth to that great church | which is the mother of abominations | and she is the whore of all the earth |

Shadow past fulfillment:  Some use this scripture retroactively, to apply to the thirteenth chapter of First Nephi.  So, they define the great and abominable church as everything that isn’t the LDS church.

Literal future fulfillment:  The great and marvelous work, which is still future, will cause a division among the people, so that there are no longer a multiplicity of churches on earth.  Everything will either align itself with the great and abominable church, being absorbed by her, or join the saints of God in the now-called church of the Lamb of God.  The church of the Lamb of God will be using, if you remember, the Book of the Lamb of God.  In other words, that unchanged book written by a singular Jew, carried by the Asian Gentile saints, which contains the writings of the twelve (not four) apostles of the Lamb.  Just as Mormons are called Mormons because of the book they carry and use and believe, so the Lamb of God church will be called by the name of their main book.

Headquarters in the midst of Irreantum

and it came to pass | that i looked | and beheld the whore of all the earth | and she sat upon many waters | and she had dominion over all the earth | among all nations | kindreds | tongues | and people |

Shadow past fulfillment:  Bad (non-LDS) churches are all over the planet.

Literal future fulfillment:  The great and abominable church will be headquartered somewhere in the Pacific Ocean and will have global reach.

The church of the Lamb of God

and it came to pass | that i beheld the church of the lamb of god | and its numbers were few | because of the wickedness and abominations of the whore | who sat upon many waters | nevertheless | i beheld | that the church of the lamb | who were the saints of god | were also upon all the face of the earth | and their dominions upon the face of the earth were small | because of the wickedness of the great whore | whom i saw |

Shadow past fulfillment:  Good (LDS) churches are all over the planet.

Literal future fulfillment:  The church of the Lamb of God will have global reach, but small membership, due to the other church’s wickedness.

Gathering of the whore to fight the Lamb

and it came to pass | that i beheld | that the great mother of abominations did gather together multitudes upon the face of all the earth among all the nations of the gentiles to fight against the lamb of god |

I ain’t gonna interpret this.

Power of God upon the saints and covenant people

and it came to pass | that i | nephi | beheld the power of the lamb of god | that it descended upon the saints of the church of the lamb | and upon the covenant people of the lord | who were scattered upon all the face of the earth | and they were armed with righteousness | and with the power of god in great glory |

Nor will I interpret this.  But do notice that at this point in the prophetic timeline, the covenant people of the Lord are still in their scattered state.

Worldwide wars

and it came to pass | that i beheld | that the wrath of god was poured out upon that great and abominable church | insomuch that there were wars and rumors of wars among all the nations and kindreds of the earth | and as there began to be wars and rumors of wars among all the nations | which belonged to the mother of abominations | the angel spake unto me | saying |

behold | the wrath of god is upon the mother of harlots |

and behold | thou seest all these things | and when the day cometh | that the wrath of god is poured out upon the mother of harlots | which is the great and abominable church of all the earth | whose founder is the devil | then at that day the work of the father shall commence in preparing the way for the fulfilling of his covenants | which he hath made to his people | who are of the house of israel |

Nor will I interpret this.  But do notice that only now, after there are wars and rumors of war everywhere, after the numbering, after the unabridged Nephite record and the record of the twelve apostles of the Lamb come forth, etc., only after all these things happen does the work of the Father commence in preparing the way for the fulfilling of His covenants with Israel!

The apostle John

and it came to pass | that the angel spake unto me | saying |

look |

and i looked | and beheld a man | and he was dressed in a white robe | and the angel said unto me |

behold | one of the twelve apostles of the lamb |

behold | he shall see and write the remainder of these things | yea | and also many things which have been | and he shall also write concerning the end of the world | wherefore | the things | which he shall write | are just and true |

and behold | they are written in the book | which thou beheld proceeding out of the mouth of the jew | and at the time they proceeded out of the mouth of the jew | or at the time the book proceeded out of the mouth of the jew | the things | which were written | were plain | and pure | and most precious | and easy to the understanding of all men |

and behold | the things | which this apostle of the lamb shall write | are many things | which thou hast seen |

and behold | the remainder shalt thou see | but the things | which thou shalt see hereafter | thou shalt not write | for the lord god hath ordained the apostle of the lamb of god | that he should write them | and also others | who have been | to them hath he shown all things | and they have written them | and they are sealed up to come forth in their purity | according to the truth which is in the lamb | in the own due time of the lord | unto the house of israel |

and i | nephi | heard | and bear record | that the name of the apostle of the lamb was john | according to the word of the angel |

and behold | i | nephi | am forbidden | that i should write the remainder of the things | which i saw and heard | wherefore | the things | which i have written | sufficeth me | and i have written but a small part of the things | which i saw |

and i bear record | that i saw the things | which my father saw | and the angel of the lord did make them known unto me |

Shadow past fulfillment:  John the apostle wrote the Book of Revelation, which contains some of the things that Nephi saw and the Book of Revelation is found in the Bible, which was written by multiple Jews.

Literal future fulfillment:  John the apostle will appear in the future, with a mission to gather the tribes of Israel, as a Jewish Elias, meaning an Elias of the tribe of Judah, and he will come and restore all things pertaining to the Jews.

Q. What are we to understand by the little book which was eaten by John, as mentioned in the 10th chapter of Revelation?
A. We are to understand that it was a mission, and an ordinance, for him to gather the tribes of Israel; behold, this is Elias, who, as it is written, must come and restore all things.  (D&C 77:14)
As part of his commission, John will prophesy among many nations, kings, tongues and people.

And I saw another mighty angel come down from heaven, clothed with a cloud; and a rainbow was upon his head, and his face was at it were the sun, and his feet as pillars of fire; and he had in his hand a little book open; and he set his right foot upon the sea, and his left foot on the earth, and cried with a loud voice, as when a lion roareth; and when he had cried, seven thunders uttered their voices.

And when the seven thunders had uttered their voices, I was about to write; and I heard a voice from heaven saying unto me,

Those things are sealed up which the seven thunders uttered, and write them not.

And the angel which I saw stand upon the sea and upon the earth lifted up his hand to heaven, and sware by him that liveth forever and ever, who created heaven, and the things that therein are, and the earth, and the things that therein are, and the sea, and the things which are therein, that there should be time no longer; but in the days of the voice of the seventh angel, when he shall begin to sound, the mystery of God should be finished, as he hath declared to his servants the prophets.

And the voice which I heard from heaven spake unto me again, and said,

God and take the little book which is open in the hand of the angel which standeth upon the sea and upon the earth.

And I went unto the angel, and said unto him,

Give me the little book.

And he said unto me,

Take it, and eat it up; and it shall make thy belly bitter, but it shall be in thy mouth sweet as honey.

And I took the little book out of the angel’s hand, and ate it up; and it was in my mouth sweet as honey; and as soon as I had eaten it, my belly was bitter.

And he said unto me,

Thou must prophesy again before many peoples, and nations, and tongues, and kings.  (Revelations 10, Inspired Version)

It was for this reason that John was translated, that he might perform this latter-day work.

And the Lord said unto me:

John, my beloved, what desirest thou? For if you shall ask what you will, it shall be granted unto you.

 And I said unto him:

Lord, give unto me power over death, that I may live and bring souls unto thee.

 And the Lord said unto me:

Verily, verily, I say unto thee, because thou desirest this thou shalt tarry until I come in my glory, and shalt prophesy before nations, kindreds, tongues and people.

 And for this cause the Lord said unto Peter:

If I will that he tarry till I come, what is that to thee? For he desired of me that he might bring souls unto me, but thou desiredst that thou mightest speedily come unto me in my kingdom.   I say unto thee, Peter, this was a good desire; but my beloved has desired that he might do more, or a greater work yet among men than what he has before done.   Yea, he has undertaken a greater work; therefore I will make him as flaming fire and a ministering angel; he shall minister for those who shall be heirs of salvation who dwell on the earth.   And I will make thee to minister for him and for thy brother James; and unto you three I will give this power and the keys of this ministry until I come.   Verily I say unto you, ye shall both have according to your desires, for ye both joy in that which ye have desired.  (D&C 7)

John, then, is the Jew, out of whose mouth the book, which Nephi saw in vision, would proceed.  He is the “hand of the twelve apostles of the Lamb” which will write this book.  Through John will proceed the record and testimony of all twelve apostles of the Lamb, and all the things which Nephi saw will be written by John, “and also many things which have been,” meaning that John will write things which preceded Nephi.  The writings of John in the Bible do not cover all the things that the angel told Nephi John would write, which would be written in the book that proceeded out of the mouth of the Jew, which is called “the Book of the Lamb of God.”

And this is the very reason why the angel prohibited Nephi from writing the rest of his vision.  The Book of Revelation does not contain the vision that Nephi saw.  If anything, it only contains a part of the vision, or an abridgement.  Nephi could not write what he saw because it was not the proper time for that information to come forth.  When John re-appears on the scene, he will dictate the book that Nephi saw the Asian Gentile saints carrying, which will contain the full vision of Nephi, as well as the covenants of the Lord, many of the prophecies of the prophets, the testimony of all twelve apostles, a record of the Jews and “many things which have been.”  Yet, despite all that, it will still be less material than what the plates of brass contain.

John may, in fact, be the man who is wrought upon by the Spirit of God, who goes forth upon the many waters (Irreantum) to the promised land, who is followed by the Asian Gentile saints.  John may be that man among the Asian Gentiles, who preaches to them and gives them the book that he will write, which they will carry with them to the promised land.  John may be the very one who frees them from captivity, allowing them to leave their countries and come over the Irreantum to America.

Wrapping this up

Is any of this true?  Could our standard interpretation of these two chapters be mere shadows?  I will leave it up to the reader to figure that out for him or herself.  One thing is for sure, if 1 Nephi 13 has yet to be literally fulfilled, we know what the very first thing mentioned is: the formation of a great and abominable church and the death, torture and captivity of the saints.  Let us hope that none of the things I wrote above have any basis in prophetic reality.

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The Written Records


Jesus didn’t write any scriptures.  The apostles didn’t write the gospels down as things were happening.  They didn’t sit in that upper room during Pentecost, making sure they got everything written down so they could go out and organize the church of Christ based on the authority of their scriptures.

The point with written scriptures is that they must be understood as the product of believers in Christ organized as his church – not what believers in Christ need to use to become organized as his church.  The written records are the trail that’s left behind – not the hand guiding us through.

The scriptures are just printed ink on processed wooden pulp.  Destroy every copy of the written word of God – and it wouldn’t do a thing.  Because a group of believers in Christ would just produce more scriptures.  Only dead congregations, who have no real connection with God through the spirit of prophecy and revelation, would be scrambling – because they lack the ability to produce anything new.  They can only re-tell the stories they’ve inherited from a by-gone generation.

It’s essentially idolatry [see, Making an Image out of God] – to look at the image that’s 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…].

The church of Jesus Christ is not established on scriptures:

A book cannot authenticate itself.  It takes an outside authority to do that.  Written records become “scripture” when the church of Christ covenants to be bound to that written record by common consent.  That means that the 66 books that make up the King James canon have authority as “the Bible” by virtue of the Catholic Church’s word alone – not by virtue of them simply being “the Bible”.

Further, you accept the English word-choice of the King James translation by virtue of the word of the Church of England alone – God did not dictate the creation story to Moses, or the epistles to Paul using 1611 English words.

The reason the King James text is also known as “The Authorized Version” is because, prior to its commission – there were many attempts by English commoners [i.e., not clergy or royalty] to translate the Bible into English [the language of the unlearned common-folk].  This threatened the power of the elites – who believed that the translations of the commoners did not, “conform to the ecclesiology and reflect the episcopal structure of the Church of England and its beliefs about an ordained clergy.”

So, a new state-sanctioned English translation was commissioned that would render phrases in such a way as to justify and legitimize the hierarchical authority of the crown and of the church.  And it would be the only one “Authorized” by the state and the church for use.

Joseph Smith’s view of the bible:

  • It can be ambiguous,

“The teachers of religious understood the same passages of scripture so differently as to destroy all confidence in settling the question by an appeal to the Bible.”

This ambiguity in the meaning of revelations happens when interpreters make false assumptions about the Bible and then just start guessing away at the correct interpretation.

They’ll assume the scriptures are cryptic [that they’ll say “A”, when they really mean “X”], are relevant [that all the narratives can be applied as personal lessons], and are perfect [that there are no contradictions, missing pieces, or extraneous material].  Their guessing either takes place horizontally [applying the past to the present] or vertically [applying the physical to the spiritual].

The meaning of the word of God should not be guessed at in this way.  Guessing is what Laman and Lemuel did.  Guessing is what Judeans did with Jesus’ parables.  Guessing is what the brethren at Jerusalem did [see, And they understood me not, for they supposed].  The meaning of scripture [in a gospel context] has only one signified attached to it.  And there is only one way to “figure out” what it means –to ask God what it signifies.

  • irrelevant,

The Bible contains revelations given at different times to different people under different circumstances.”

The blessings promised in the scriptures pertain to the people to whom they were spoken.  The laws outlined in the scriptures were tailored to the conditions under which they were given.

For example, at Wheat & Tares I commented on the definition that “hot drinks” in D&C 89 means “tea and coffee”.  The standard interpretation used by the church in regards to verse 9:

and again
hot drinks are not for the body
or belly

[D&C 89:9]

says that Joseph and Hyrum Smith all told members that “hot drinks” meant “tea and coffee”.  Sounds pretty straight-forward.

But – so what if Joseph or Hyrum in fact did say that “hot drinks” meant “tea and coffee” to this-or-that member back in the 1830’s?  That’s all well-and-good because that’s what the saints were in the habit of drinking hot at the time the revelation was given.  Brigham Young reasoned:

I have heard it argued that tea and coffee are not mentioned [in D&C 89]; that is very true; but what were the people in the habit of taking as hot drinks when that revelation was given? Tea and coffee. We were not in the habit of drinking water very hot, but tea and coffee — the beverages in common use.

Now – to follow his reasoning – if the saints ended-up falling out of the habit of drinking tea and coffee hot and started drinking other things hot or started drinking tea and coffee cold — then the revelation still calls us to be guided by the general concept of avoiding the habitual drinking of hot liquids [rather than be bound to the specific conceptions of tea and coffee per se].

The revelation meant “tea and coffee” for them [because that’s what they were in the habit of drinking hot] — but it does not necessarily mean that for us today [if we get in the habit of drinking other liquids hot or drinking tea and coffee cold].

When the Lord said “Don’t drink hot drinks,” Joseph/Hyrum rightly took a look at what the saints were in the habit of drinking hot at that time — and they concluded that it was tea and coffee — so the leaders rightly taught the people to not drink tea and coffee.  But the interpretation of “tea and coffee” pertains to them – given under conditions where the people were in the habit of drinking tea and coffee hot.

  • transmitted erroneously,

I believe the Bible as it came from the pens of the original writers.  Ignorant translators, careless transcribers, and designing and corrupt priests have committed many errors.”

If our understanding of some particular point of doctrine is based on a scripture that is the translation of a translation of a translation – that was taken from a copy of a copy of a copy – and somewhere along the line [there are centuries between the original and what we have extant, in many cases] a rendering was screwed-up [whether accidentally or maliciously] – then it may well reveal how weak some of our beliefs could be.

Our centuries long history and traditions of scriptural interpretation, some of Joseph’s wording choices in the Book of Mormon, and much our the temple endowment ceremony are all based on the scriptural renderings common at the time [taken from the King James English text].

I’ve heard people say that:

You’ve got to believe that God created the universe in six 24-hour periods because it says it right there in Genesis, ‘And the evening and the morning were the ____ day.’  The Bible clearly says ‘day’.

When, in reality, the Bible clearly says “yohm”, as it was recorded in Hebrew.  That’s a word that could mean a variety of things in English.

And even getting back to the original Hebrew can be more complex than it might seem at first.  The Meru Foundation found that the origin of the Hebrew characters lie in a series of ritual hand-gestures — or sign language.

Also, the Chronicle Project has found an alternate system for how the written Hebrew characters work, and publishes alternate, “original meaning” renderings of the Hebrew scriptures.

  • and incomplete.

Much instruction has been given to man since the beginning that we do not now possess […] to say that God never said anything more to man would be claiming a new revelation – because such a thing is nowhere said in that volume by the mouth of God.”

In The Concept of Race, in the Gospel, I wrote:

The best thing to do is to take it as granted that the current scriptural record we have in the Bible is a pretty incomplete picture concerning the affairs of God throughout the whole human race.  The Bible is the book that’s come by way of the Jew and is their record — and so we find that it deals primarily with Arabians [go figure].

Until the scriptural record is more complete — until we receive the prophets of the other nations, tribes, and people, with their prophetic records that will come forth from Western and Eastern Europe, Asia, Africa, Australia, Pacific Islands, etc. — we cannot speak with certainty of how God has dealt with the other races and if there are promises made to them that we know that of.

Now, I’m not trying to say that we can draw no good lessons from our historical translations and traditions.  I’m not saying all current Biblical teachings should be repudiated.  Rather – it’s that any explicit meaning we’re going to gather from them ought to be accepted with the understanding that it comes skewed.  That the scriptures come to us as time-and-space artifacts of a particular culture – given in their language and suited to their circumstances.

What we have is just what we have.  It’s better to be honest about what we’ve got with our scriptural record — rather than try to pedestalize it into something it’s not meant to be.

Religions become concerned with ethical behavior and doctrine, and using the scriptures as an all-encompassing moral rule-book – instead of being concerned with changing people’s minds/hearts and how they view/experience their world, using the scriptures as a collection of stories that motivate believers to go live-out their own stories.

The problem with approaching religion as though it were a method of relaying ethics and doctrines from “the Good Book” 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 having made a covenant with the fundamental Reality of existence – such things neither add to or subtract from current pool of human ethical wisdom.  It is not the domain of religion to lay down specific “hither thou shalt come and no further” 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 of a direct connection with God — one that smashes a hardened, left-brain sensation of being separate 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 .

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The real Jonah: holy prophet and type of Christ


Some years ago I attended a Sunday school class on the book of Jonah. The teacher did a very good job presenting the standard Mormon view of Jonah, but I found myself disagreeing with it, not from any logical standpoint, but simply because it felt wrong. So I opened up the book of Jonah and read the whole of it during that class (it’s only four chapters, so this is not any great feat.) As I read, a new view of the prophet Jonah opened up to my view.

At the time, I didn’t know what to make of it and decided to keep my mouth shut during the class, since it was a complete departure from the perspectives that everyone else was giving. After the class, I had opportunity to approach the teacher and told him I had gotten a new view of Jonah and wanted to tell him about it. He expressed interest in knowing my thoughts so I told him I would send him an email later that day. I went home that day, composed the email and sent it off to him. I never kept a copy of it for myself. He wrote back saying it was interesting, but that it really wasn’t supported by the text. I left it at that and never mentioned it again to anyone else, essentially forgetting all about it.

A few days ago I picked up a Bible and it fell open to the book of Jonah, so I read it. Bible scholars typically say that Jonah was “proud, self-centered, pouting, jealous, blood-thirsty; a good patriot and lover of Israel, without proper respect for God or love for his enemies” (Zondervan Pictorial Bible Dictionary, Merrill C. Tenny, Zondervan Publishing House, 1976, pg. 442.) As I read the book, I had this characterization of Jonah in my mind, but when I got to the last chapter, I recalled that I had once in the past re-interpreted Jonah quite differently. I tried to recall that interpretation, but couldn’t remember it. The only thing I could remember was that instead of casting Jonah in a negative light, it cast him in a very good light.

Frustrated that I could not remember the interpretation, I decided to re-read the book of Jonah yet again, this time with my mind fixed that Jonah was a holy prophet that acted righteously, in the hope that this would trigger my brain’s memory recall function. As soon as I read verse one, the interpretation I had received years ago popped right back into my mind, in its fulness, including the circumstances on how I came to think of it.

As I disclaimer, I do not know where this information comes from, but I wanted to write it down somewhere (and I have chosen this blog) so that when the full records come forth that show us the life and ministry of Jonah, we would be able to compare this to that and discover whether this was just a foolish imagination of my heart or if it was given of the Spirit.

Before I begin, let me quote this, taken from the Times and Seasons blog:

Karl D has already pointed us to the LDS Church’s official position with regard to Jonah (and Job):

In October 1922 . . . the First Presidency received a letter from Joseph W. McMurrin asking about the position of the church with regard to the literality of the Bible. Charles W. Penrose, with Anthony W. Ivins, writing for the First Presidency, answered that the position of the church was that the Bible is the word of God as far as it was translated correctly. They pointed out that there were, however, some problems with the Old Testament. The Pentateuch, for instance, was written by Moses, but “it is evident that the five books passed through other hands than Moses’s after his day and time. The closing chapter of Deuteronomy proves that.” While they thought Jonah was a real person, they said it was possible that the story as told in the Bible was a parable common at the time. The purpose was to teach a lesson, and it “is of little significance as to whether Jonah was a real individual or one chosen by the writer of the book” to illustrate “what is set forth therein.” They took a similar position on Job. What is important, Penrose and Ivins insisted, was not whether the books were historically accurate, but whether the doctrines were correct.

Alexander, Thomas G., 1996, Mormonism in Transition: A History of the Latter-Day Saints, 1890-1930, University of Illinois Press (Paperback), page 283.

The important part of that quote is that

they said it was possible that the story [of Jonah] as told in the Bible was a parable common at the time. The purpose was to teach a lesson, and it “is of little significance as to whether Jonah was a real individual or one chosen by the writer of the book” to illustrate “what is set forth therein.”

In other words, assuming that this originated from the Spirit (and I’m not saying that it did), perhaps the interpretation I got was based upon the real events of the real Jonah, and not so much on the parable that is today known as the book of Jonah, which is why this interpretation and the standard one are so different. Okay, here it is:

Jonah’s self sacrifice

Now the word of the Lord came unto Jonah the son of Amittai, saying, Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and cry against it; for their wickedness is come up before me. (Jonah 1:1.)

Jonah received a message from the Lord, in the which he was shown (by vision) the great city Nineveh, the exceedingly great wickedness of its inhabitants and the impending destruction that would very soon come upon them due to their iniquities. He was overcome by what he saw, both by their abominations and also by the scene of destruction that would shortly ensue. He was told to go to Nineveh and prophesy of their utter destruction unless they repented of all their sins, according to the vision which he had seen. This was to be done that they would be left without excuse.

Instead, Jonah thought upon the principle given to Ezekiel:

When I say unto the wicked, O wicked man, thou shalt surely die; if thou dost not speak to warn the wicked from his way, that wicked man shall die in his iniquity; but his blood will I require at thine hand. Nevertheless, if thou warn the wicked of his way to turn from it; if he do not turn from his way, he shall die in his iniquity; but thou hast delivered thy soul. (Ezekiel 33:8-9)

Based upon what he saw in the vision of Nineveh, Jonah did not believe that such wicked people would ever repent of their sins, for there were all manner of abominations among them, greater than he had ever seen. His reasoning was that if he went and prophesied, as the Lord commanded, they would be left without excuse, according to the word of the Lord, and thus would be fully condemned and perish spiritually and physically. If, however, he did not go and prophesy to them, they would still die in their sins, but having not been fully warned, they would have an excuse and a better chance in the afterlife.

Jonah was moved to compassion for them and sought to take upon himself their sins by not prophesying. He vowed to offer himself as a sacrifice and was putting his faith on the fact that the Lord was “a gracious God, and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness” (Jonah 4:2) and would turn “away the evil that He had said He would bring upon them” (JST Jonah 3:10.)* His desire was to turn the Lord’s wrath, which was waxing hot upon the Ninevites, toward himself, that he might suffer in their place, so that they might be spared.

But Jonah rose up to flee unto Tarshish from the presence of the Lord, and went down to Joppa; and he found a ship going to Tarshish: so he paid the fare thereof, and went down into it, to go with them unto Tarshish from the presence of the Lord. (Jonah 1:3.)

So, he fled from his mission, going in the opposite direction. This physical action of going in the opposite direction was symbolic of the turning of the Lord’s head away from Nineveh, which was according to Jonah’s desire. The Lord’s head and attention were focused on, and looking to, the right, at Nineveh, so Jonah went to the left, causing the Lord’s head to turn away from Nineveh and focus instead on Jonah. His physical action had a spiritual dimension to it, according to his desire of faith.

Although Jonah had disobeyed the instructions of the Lord, the intentions of this heart were in the right place, which is why the Spirit of the Lord did not leave him. In fact, it appears that the Lord accepted his vow to sacrifice himself because his desire to take the sins of the Ninevites upon himself pleased the Lord. Jonah became, by his actions, desires and the sorrow for sin that he felt (his exceedingly broken heart and contrite spirit), a type of the Lord Jesus, foreshadowing what the Savior would do in the flesh.

But the Lord sent out a great wind into the sea, and there was a mighty tempest in the sea, so that the ship was like to be broken. (Jonah 1:4.)

The Lord grants according to the desires of the children of men, according to their faith. Jonah desired in faith to be sacrificed, to save the Ninevites, and the Lord accordingly sent out the tempest, to accept his sacrifice. Jonah did not fear death. In fact, he welcomed it, for this was what he desired. The Gentile sailors, on the other hand, did fear death and they all called upon their gods to save them from destruction. Jonah was sleeping down below and the ship-master woke him up and asked him to pray to his own God for the salvation of the ship.

The tempest was not of an ordinary nature, and the sailors rightly ascribed it as supernatural, caused by some god to destroy one of those in the ship. They cast lots to see who was the one responsible for the storm, or who was the one that incited the anger of the god that was creating the storm. The lot fell upon Jonah and they asked him who he was and why the supernatural storm was upon them.

And he said unto them, I am an Hebrew; and I fear the Lord, the God of heaven, which hath made the sea and the dry land. (Jonah 1:9.)

Jonah took the opportunity and preached the gospel to the sailors and presented himself to them as both a holy prophet of the Lord and also as a sacrifice for the sins of the Ninevites. All the sailors on the ship converted to the Lord, for he preached with power and authority from God and the Spirit of the Lord was present, testifying to the sailors of the truthfulness of his message. Jonah knew that the Lord had accepted his intent to self-sacrifice and had prepared the storm for this very purpose. When the sailors asked him what they should do to get the supernatural storm to calm down, Jonah prophesied to them that if they tossed him into the sea, the storm would cease.

This, however, was not something that the sailors wanted to do, for they had converted to the Lord through Jonah’s preaching and so tried, instead, to row the ship to land, but to no avail. Finally, convinced by the raging tempest, by Jonah himself and by the workings of the Spirit of the Lord upon them, confirming to them that it was the will of the Lord that Jonah be tossed overboard, these new Gentile converts prayed to the Lord to spare the ship and to not be held responsible for causing Jonah to drown in the sea, calling him “innocent blood.” After their prayer, the sailor converts tossed Jonah overboard and continued to worship the Lord with sacrifice and vows.

Jonah dies and is brought back to life

Jonah died in those waters and the Lord prepared a sea creature to swallow his body. His physical body remained inside the creature for three days and three nights, while his spirit body went to the spirit world. After the three days and nights were over, he was brought back to life and the sea creature spat him out onto the shore. During the three day interval, Jonah prayed to the Lord in spirit and in truth, a prayer of the truly penitent and the Lord heard him and answered him by putting him alive upon dry ground.

At that point, Jonah was a new man. He had died and returned from the dead. He had intimate knowledge about the afterlife, both of hell and paradise, as well as what it meant to die and to come back to life again. He was unique among all the prophets, having received a vision of the spirit world that no one else in his time had been given.

Jonah is called to preach again

And the word of the Lord came unto Jonah the second time, saying, Arise, go unto Nineveh, that great city, and preach unto it the preaching that I bid thee. So Jonah arose, and went unto Nineveh, according to the word of the Lord. (Jonah 3:1-3.)

This time Jonah did as he was commanded. Nevertheless, he still fully believed that the Ninevites would not repent, but based upon his three day “out of body” or “in the body of a sea creature” experience, he now desired to preach repentance to them and spare them from the afterlife they would receive if they died in their sins. What he did not understand was that his experiences on the ship, in the sea creature and in the spirit world would make his preaching and prophesying overwhelmingly powerful, so that when he got to Nineveh and traveled a day’s journey into it and then started preaching, his message would have a profound effect upon the people.

And Jonah began to enter into the city a day’s journey, and he cried, and said, Yet forty days, and Nineveh shall be overthrown. (Jonah 3:4.)

Jonah’s preaching and prophesying can be compared to Lehi, who prophesied the destruction of Jerusalem. When Lehi testified to the Jews, “he truly testified of their wickedness and their abominations.” Jonah did the same. He had seen what they were doing in vision and he testified of all their wickedness and abominations, all their secret acts of iniquity. He preached the gospel of faith and repentance to them, told them of their evil deeds done in secrecy, told them of the destruction which awaited them in forty days if they did not repent in sackcloth and ashes and told them of the afterlife that awaited them when dead. He recounted his experiences on the ship, in the sea, in the sea creature and in the spirit world, including him coming back to life. He spoke to multitudes and then bade them to go and tell everyone in the city. When Jonah was finished delivering his message in all the great squares and plazas where people gathered, he took his leave of the city, traveling eastward and setting up a shelter where he had a view of the city and could witness with his own two eyes its destruction.

Now, the Ninevites were amazed at Jonah’s preaching, for he preached in power and authority and had knowledge of all their secret abominations. They deemed it impossible that Jonah could know these things except it was through the power of a god and took all his testimony of their secret works of wickedness as a witness that Jonah was speaking the very words of God, for this was the reason why Jonah was instructed by God to tell them of these things. The same principle was offered to Oliver Cowdery as a witness:

And now, behold, you have received a witness; for if I have told you things which no man knoweth have you not received a witness? (D&C 6:24)

Unlike the Jews in Jerusalem during Lehi’s time, who also had their secret works (which no man knew of) revealed by a prophet of God, for Lehi saw these iniquities in vision, but who mocked Lehi and rejected his testimony because Lehi lived among them and was aware of the ways and customs of the Jews as well as the words of the other prophets among them, and who therefore dismissed his claims of divine knowledge, the Ninevites could not account for how Jonah knew these things, for Jonah had just arrived and was a foreigner that knew nothing of them, except as God had told him. So, they accepted Jonah’s testimony as God-given, and all that Jonah said, all of it, as valid and true.

When Jonah left the city to set up camp on the east side of it, he wasn’t aware of the effect his preaching had had upon the men of the city. After the multitudes listened to him in amazement, they followed his instructions and repeated to everyone they knew the words he had spoken. Eventually, every last person in the entire city had heard the message, from the least to the greatest, and they were all equally affected or moved by it, and struck by a sense of urgency, for it was a timed message of destruction: repent in 40 days or perish. Therefore the king and his nobles acted rapidly, proclaiming a fast throughout the city and encouraging everyone to repent in sackcloth and pray to the Lord for forgiveness.

Jonah was in his shelter overlooking the city and could not see what was going on in it. He was of the thought that they were going about their lives as usual, unrepentant and fully ripening in inquity, his preaching having been in vain. Ever the man of sorrows, he became angry at the situation.

But it displeased Jonah exceedingly, and he was very angry. (Jonah 4:1)

The text of the book of Jonah is essentially correct, but is written in a fashion that seems to cast him in a negative light. This particular verse should have come after Jonah 3:4, so that the text instead read: “And Jonah began to enter into the city a day’s journey, and he cried, and said, Yet forty days, and Nineveh shall be overthrown. But it displeased Jonah exceedingly, and he was very angry.” Instead, it comes after Jonah 3:10 so that it reads: “And God saw their works, that they turned from their evil way; and God repented of the evil, that he had said that he would do unto them; and he did it not. But it displeased Jonah exceedingly, and he was very angry.” In other words, Jonah 3:5-10 is an insertion between Jonah 3:4 and Jonah 4:1. The insertion tells what happens to the Ninevites after Jonah’s preaching, but the insertion can be removed and the text would flow accurately from Jonah 3:4 to Jonah 4:1.

Now, it did not displease Jonah that the Ninevites were repenting of their sins, for he was not aware of what was happening in the city. No, what displeased Jonah was that he had to deliver a message of doom and that his preaching was in vain, for he believed that they had not repented, or would not repent, and that he was sent to this city for nothing.

And he prayed unto the Lord, and said, I pray thee, O Lord, was not this my saying, when I was yet in my country? Therefore I fled before unto Tarshish: for I knew that thou art a gracious God, and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness, and repentest thee of the evil. Therefore now, O Lord, take, I beseech thee, my life from me; for it is better for me to die than to live. (Jonah 4:2-3.)

Once again Jonah turned to his old way of doing things, petitioning the Lord to take his life as a sacrifice, to allow him to take upon himself their sins, that the Lord would spare the city in return for his own life. He made this petition because he had no faith that they would repent. Also, because he lamented having to witness again the great destruction of Nineveh with his physical eyes, which he had already seen with his spiritual eyes in vision.

Then said the Lord, Doest thou well to be angry? (Jonah 4:4.)

The Lord knew what was happening in the city, but Jonah did not. To teach Jonah a lesson that the Lord’s heart was even greater than Jonah’s, He caused a gourd to grow overnight, making Jonah glad for the shade it offered him, and then He had a worm wither it the next night, making Jonah uncomfortable in the heat of the day and an east wind. Once again, Jonah was miserable and wished to die, for Jonah’s heart sorrowed for all life lost, even that of a gourd.

And God said to Jonah, Doest thou well to be angry for the gourd? And he said, I do well to be angry, even unto death. Then said the Lord, Thou hast had pity on the gourd, for the which thou hast not laboured, neither madest it grow; which came up in a night, and perished in a night: and should not I spare Nineveh, that great city, wherein are more than sixscore thousand persons that cannot discern between their right hand and their left hand; and also much cattle?  (Jonah 4:9-11.)

It was at this point that Jonah learned from the Lord that the Ninevites had repented of their sins and that the Lord had spared them from destruction. At this news, Jonah rejoiced and returned to Nineveh, where he was hailed as a hero and holy prophet sent from the Lord. The conversion of Nineveh was held to be a great miracle on the same grand scale as Melchizedek’s preaching to Salem:

Now this Melchizedek was a king over the land of Salem; and his people had waxed strong in iniquity and abomination; yea, they had all gone astray; they were full of all manner of wickedness; but Melchizedek having exercised mighty faith, and received the office of the high priesthood according to the holy order of God, did preach repentance unto his people. And behold, they did repent; and Melchizedek did establish peace in the land in his days; therefore he was called the prince of peace, for he was the king of Salem; and he did reign under his father. Now, there were many before him, and also there were many afterwards, but none were greater; therefore, of him they have more particularly made mention. (Alma 13:17-19.)

In the same way that Salem did for Melchizedek, the Ninevite converts of that time “more particularly made mention” of Jonah’s name. To them, Jonah was the greatest prophet of all time and they were all aware of his various attempts to offer his life as a sacrifice for their sins and to be their advocate and mediator before the Lord. This love that he had for them was reciprocated by them and when the full records come forth we will see just how highly esteemed Jonah was by that generation and also throughout generations of Ninevites. Even the Lord took notice of Jonah’s unique spirit. It was Jonah’s proclivity to self-sacrifice that caused Jesus to point to him as one of His types.

Jonah’s preaching was on a par with the greatest of all preachers, for everyone he preached to converted, without exception. All of the men on the ship converted to the Lord as well as all 120,000 Ninevites. In fact, Jonah may have been on the same level as Nephi, whose preaching power was so great that “it were not possible that they could disbelieve his words” (3 Ne. 7:18.) This is important to understand because when Jesus said that “a greater than Jonas is here” (Matt. 12:41 and Luke 11:32), He was comparing Himself to one of the greatest of all preachers, if not the very greatest. So, the Savior essentially was saying, “This is the greatest preacher you’ve had, and he truly was great, but I’m even greater.”

*Note: Jonah became a mediator of the Ninevites, mediating between them and the Lord and advocating their cause before Him. He did the same thing that Moses did for the Israelites—who pleaded with the Lord to pardon the iniquities of the people each time His wrath waxed hot and He was about to destroy them and make a new nation out of Moses—by appealing to the Lord’s gracious nature. See Exodus 32, Numbers 14 and Deuteronomy 9.

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How to receive what you ask for


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

A new investigation

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

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

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

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

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

Ye receive no witness until after the trial of your faith

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

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

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

How to pray, part one

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

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

Ask the Father

Ask in the name of Christ

Believe in Christ

Believe in the name of Christ

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

Ask in faith

Believe you shall receive

Doubt nothing

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

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

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

A deadline

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

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

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

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

All things can be asked for

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

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

Different amounts of faith

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

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

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

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

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

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

The veil of unbelief

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

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

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

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

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

Anyone can ask for the same blessing from the Lord.

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

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

Using disappointment to rend one’s soul

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

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

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

What the veil is

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

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

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

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

The chains of hell

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A tare sown

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

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

Secret works of darkness

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

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

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

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

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

What fear in the expression actually means

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

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

Such fear is instilled in a person when the gospel of Jesus Christ is preached in its fulness and purity (see Alma 16: 21), meaning that those parts of the gospel which reveal the power and captivity of the devilthe reality of death and hell, the chains of hell, the darkness and blindness of minds, the hardness of hearts, the state of wickedness, the fallen, evil nature and nothingness of man, the bands of death, the doctrine of damnation and endless torment, the spirit of the devil, the mists of darkness and temptations of the devil, the veil of unbelief, the wavering state of the mind, the lake of fire and brimstone, the flaming sword of justice, the rivers of filthy water, etc.such parts of the gospel sink home into the heart and mind of a man, and this new awareness causes him to fear to die because of the knowledge that the instant he leaves his mortal body he will be “taken home to that God who gave him life” (Alma 40: 11) and, being found unclean and possessed by the spirit of the devil (for the chains of hell are still attached), will then be cast off into hell (Alma 40: 13), to be kept in captivity by the devil, because of his sins.

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

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

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

What trembling in the expression actually means

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

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

Shaking loose the chains and rending the veil

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

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

Faith unto repentance brings relief and liberation

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

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

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

Fear and trembling, part two

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

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

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

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

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

Fear and trembling, part three

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

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

All must fear and tremble

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

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

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

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

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

Suffering and sorrow is what it is all about

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

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

Deceptions of the devil

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The gospel has already been compromised

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

Now compare that to how the Gentile church of God preaches. We leave out fully one-half of the gospel when we preach it. We never talk of damnation, or captivity or hell, etc. When we talk of the atonement, we briefly mention sin and death and how the suffering, death and resurrection of Christ liberates us from that and then move on. There is no mention of fear, trembling, or any other thing that people might consider “too negative.” We focus on the positive and largely discard anything negative from our minds and conversations. As a result, we have stopped preaching the gospel of Jesus Christ, for, like a scale, balanced coverage must be given to both sides in order for a man or woman to repent of their sins.

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

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

The plan of salvation has also been compromised

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

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

“…if the flesh should rise no more our spirits must become subject to that angel who fell from before the presence of the Eternal God, and became the devil, to rise no more. And our spirits must have become like unto him, and we become devils, angels to a devil, to be shut out from the presence of our God, and to remain with the father of lies, in misery, like unto himself…” (2 Ne. 9: 8-9.)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The one mighty and strong is a deception

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

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

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

Pray against the power of the devil

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

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

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

The ordinance of prayer

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The condition of the heart

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

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

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

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

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

The Book of Mormon is the solution

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

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

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

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

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

Enos and Amulek as our models

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

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

Amulek said:

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

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

How to pray, part two

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

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

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

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

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

The Atonement has power to melt hearts

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

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

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

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

A doctrine of two atonements

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

A sense of our own nothingness

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

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

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

Retaining a remission of sins

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

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

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

There is no going back

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

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

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

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

Closing summary: A gospel prescription

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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