BECOME ye therefore perfect? OR BE ye therefore perfect?

[Editorial Note: This article created quite a spirited discussion on the LDSAnarchy Website.. There were some rather unChristlike comments that were generated and I felt a little uncomfortable with the low vibratory frequency that some people were generating… including the taking the Lords name in vain. Hence, in the spirit of Anarchy.. I decided to relocate this article. Everyone that wants to discuss doctrine from a scriptural point of view and not attack individuals are welcome to comment.

There are some components of this article that strike at the heart of the New Age Movement and New Age Teachings and therefore it really struck a nerve with certain people who have accepted the belief that “all people are perfect just the way they are”.

The thought that man is in a fallen state in need of the atonement of Jesus Christ is abhorrent to those who are claiming their own divinity. Ironically, when the Vision known as section 76 was given to the Church, many members apostatized because the concept of three degrees of glory resulting from how Gods children respond to the Gospel of Jesus Christ and the atonement was so foreign to how they wanted things to be.” ]

Years ago I attended an interesting tax and wealth generating seminar that made a huge impression on my mind.

The tax attorney that was speaking began his presentation by stating something similar to this;

“There are two completely different tax systems or sets of tax laws in the United States.

Both of them are completely legal.

One of them has been developed for the wealthy and for those who want to accumulate wealth. It is used by those who are knowledgeable.

It allows them to control the use of their gross income and to make their purchases and investments FIRST and then pay taxes on whatever money is left over.

The other tax system is for the masses those that don’t understand how to play the game.

It was devised to keep them poor and in financial bondage.

It requires them to pay taxes first on their gross earnings and then whatever is left over may be used for purchasing the items they need, seldom is there anything left over for serious investments and the accumulation of wealth.”

The opening statement was pretty good at catching the attention of the audience.

The tax attorney went on to explain the difference in how tax law treats W-2 wage earners verses 1099 individuals and corporations, etc.

Obviously there are exceptions to the rule, but by and large, most poor people in America are W-2 wage earners while most of the wealthy who own businesses and real estate by-pass that system altogether using 1099 status or at least use 1099 “straw man” entities to recoup money withheld from W-2 earnings.

The moral of the story according to the tax attorney was that knowledge is power.

Interestingly, the majority of the attendees went away shaking their heads at the information that was provided because they either didn’t understand it, felt the concepts presented were immoral, or worried that they were illegal.

Of course the intricacies of the tax system and the goal of accumulating wealth are a moot point since the accumulation of wealth is contrary to the commandment to be equal.

Besides, now that Mistress Babylon is on life support, before long the masses and also those who have excelled in the money game in the past will be much more preoccupied with where their next meal is coming from than how to accumulate wealth.

I mention the tax seminar because, in some ways, the reaction of many of the attendees was not unlike the next seminar experience I want to mention.

Years ago a fellow by the name of James Cox began holding seminars entitled “How to Qualify for the Celestial Kingdom today

A dear friend of mine by the name of Tom, who is always searching for the deeper truths, called me and said;

“you need to come hear what this guy is speaking about. He is having a profound effect on many lives, including my own”

The provocative title of the seminar made my wife and I curious, and with the endorsement of a trusted friend, we decided to see what all of the chatter was about. This particular seminar was designed to be a series of seminars.

The seminar was a little bit similar to the tax seminar in that many people who went responded the same way. After attending once or perhaps twice many would shake their heads in disbelief and reject what was being taught.

Some simply couldn’t comprehend the simplicity of the doctrines being taught, other felt the concepts sounded to good to be true and others just couldn’t shake loose from the traditions of their fathers.

I suppose some people felt President Cox was teaching heretical doctrines.

As I recall, Brother Cox had been a born again Christian who converted to the LDS Church.

He gained a strong testimony of the restored gospel yet he didn’t buy into the saved by works spin that many LDS people ascribe to. He retained his strong belief in being saved by grace through faith that he had learned in his protestant background;

For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.” Eph. 2: 8

Not to long after his conversion, Brother Cox became a Stake President.

One evening after a long day of counseling so many LDS women in his stake who were struggling with depression he became alarmed at what he was observing and posed the following question to himself;

Why are so many Latter day Saints overcome with stress, depression and fear? If we really are Gods people and are the recipients of the fulness of the Gospel, we of all people should be the happiest and most confident people in the world!”

He realized that one of the problems the sisters he was counseling were having is that they were trying so hard to satisfy a works oriented religion and meet a standard of perfection that resulted in greater feelings of guilt about their shortcomings.

There have been many articles about the “perfect mother in Zion” syndrome over the years that address the huge pressure that some LDS women feel.

(of course the male population of the Church, in my humble opinion has similar issues as the female population, we are simply too proud or delusional to seek help.. and in some cases we just realize that our priesthood leaders have the same issues)

A study by Mental Health America, the country’s oldest independent mental health advocacy organization, ranked Utah the most depressed state in the country

Another article states that;

The release of a recent study that found Utah is the most depressed state in the country is leading to controversial questions about whether there is a correlation between depression and the Mormon faith.

Ultimately, the reason behind Utah’s mass depression is unknown. However, Dr. Curtis Canning, a psychiatrist and former president of the Utah Psychiatric Association, believes there is a cultural factor involved, especially with Mormon women who may feel that in order to be a good mother and wife, they “have to put on this mask of perfection. They can’t show their tears, depression or agony.”


depression

See also, Mormon Women, Prozac® and Therapy

In addition to these articles, I am reminded of a very disturbing post about the perfect mom syndrome written by a non Mormon that provides a very revealing look at how some non-Mormons perceive their Mormon friends.

Critics charge that the rate of antidepressant use is much higher among Mormons than the general population. They claim this is evidence that participation in the LDS Church is inordinately stressful due to pressure for Mormons to appear “perfect.”

Others have provided studies to challenge the notion that the Latter day Saints experience more stress in their lives. Whether or not those claims are true is really not the point in my opinion. The point is that the Saints of God should not be having the same problems and showing forth the same fruits as the worldly.

Apparently President Cox felt, from his vantage point, there was a direct correlation between the pressures that the LDS religion puts on the importance of being “perfect” and the large number of unhappy, fearful, depressed members that he was counseling.

President Cox felt that part of the problem he was seeing as he was counseling the Saints in his Stake was related to a lack of understanding of the true principles of the gospel.

He therefore put together the seminar that I previously mentioned.

Perhaps only 10% of the people who attended the first of a series of seminars that he was putting on caught the vision of what he was talking about and continued through the whole series. There seemed to be a huge fallout from people that just couldn’t accept his version of faith vs works, nevertheless the ultimate numbers of those who did embrace what he was teaching increased until the chapel of the stake center could no longer hold those who kept coming back for more.

Ultimately, the course which he taught evolved into a book which was sold at Deseret Book by the same name; How to Qualify for the Celestial Kingdom Today

I am not going to try to encapsulate all of the concepts he addressed in his seminars in this article, but one of the most powerful ones that he taught was that our focus should not be on trying to be “perfect” right now but rather it should be on being “justified” in the eyes of God.

While it is not possible to become perfect anytime soon he taught, you can become justified through faith in the Grace of God RIGHT NOW by realizing and accepting the power of the atonement and following the spirit.

When people would ask him what justification is he would define it as being clean before God.

When they would ask him how to tell if you are clean, his response was “if you are feeling the holy spirit dwelling in you”.

He would teach that the holy spirit cannot dwell in an unclean tabernacle and therefore, if you are feeling the companionship of the spirit, you are clean. Not perfect, but clean, and therefore, justified.

That is the goal he stressed, don’t try to become perfect in one day, that will only frustrate and depress you. Simply concentrate on feeling and following the spirit.

He even stressed that if you are focusing on trying to live all of the commandments perfectly, you will loose the spirit.

One time he actually took 45 minutes in class to list all of the commandments and acts of good works that a good latter day Saints should be living and it was stressful just watching the list grow and thinking what a poor job I was doing.

Many of those that took his counsel and implemented the concepts began to experience a huge change in their lives.

The burdens they had been carrying were lifted as they began to focus on walking in the spirit instead of trying to be perfect in living the letter of the Law and trying to live up to what they or others felt the perfect latter day Saint should be.

The promise; “Come unto me all ye that labor and are heavy laden and I will give you rest” began to take on a very real and personal meaning to those who changed their paradigm.

I am sure I am not doing justice to what President Cox taught, so if you find the concept intriguing and would be interested in learning more about the other things he taught you might want to order his book..

After pondering the faith vs works doctrine over the years and hearing several persuasive arguments from both sides of the issue, I have come to the conclusion that both doctrines are true but they have to do with two separate and distinct gospel laws.

Yes it is true that straight is the gate and narrow the way that leadeth unto life eternal and therefore only one Lord one faith and one baptism and therefore only one Gospel. But that is only true if you are speaking about the Fulness of the Gospel which pertains to the highest kingdom of glory.

There are, nevertheless multiple gospel laws leading to multiple glories.

Section 88 speaks of three different gospel laws that result in three separate and distinct glories;

And they who are not sanctified through the law which I have given unto you, even the law of Christ, must inherit another kingdom, even that of a terrestrial kingdom, or that of a telestial kingdom.

For he who is not able to abide the law of a celestial kingdom cannot abide a celestial glory.

And he who cannot abide the law of a terrestrial kingdom cannot abide a terrestrial glory.

And he who cannot abide the law of a telestial kingdom cannot abide a telestial glory; therefore he is not meet for a kingdom of glory. Therefore he must abide a kingdom which is not a kingdom of glory.”

The scriptures reveal that both celestial and terrestrial law will ultimately result in the gift of salvation in a kingdom of glory and their redemption comes before the millennium begins.

“Celestial Law” was created for the elect of God. It is also referred to as the “Law of Christ”.  The Book of Mormon also identifies Celestial Law as the GOSPEL OF GRACE or the GOSPEL OF MERCY.

“Terrestrial Law” is also referred to in the scriptures as the LAW OF JUSTICE.

These two laws enable people to come forth and be redeemed in the first resurrection while those who live Telestial Law cannot be redeemed until after receiving spiritual therapy for the space of 1,000 years.

Those who live Celestial Law are redeemed in the “morning” of the first resurrection while those who live Terrestrial Law are redeemed in the “afternoon” of the first resurrection.

Those who live Celestial Law are those who repent of their sins of their own free will and choice after hearing the gospel.

Those who live Terrestrial Law are those who don’t truly repent until after they feel the chastening hand of the wrath of God.

The scriptures identify those who live terrestrial law as the honorable men of the earth who are blinded by the craftiness of men. They also identify the Jews who are finally redeemed after their pain as living terrestrial law.

For centuries Christians have argued over faith vs. works.

Everyone agrees that faith and works are part of the salvation equation. The question is, how do faith and works interrelate with each other.

You can make a strong case that the gospel is predicated upon faith in works and you can make a strong case that the gospel is predicated upon faith in the grace of God which produces good works..

I believe the reason this argument exists between gospel scholars is because you can indeed prove the existence of both laws in the scriptures. Both of them are clearly there.

Some Latter day Saints contend that the two are really compatible and not in conflict with each other.

I must disagree.

Although faith brings forth good works and although the effort to do good works requires faith, I would suggest that faith and works each, when identified as the main component of salvation, represent two different gospel laws.

Those that see the law of the gospel as being predicated upon works are correct. There is indeed a gospel law predicated on faith in works. It is the law of Justice or Terrestrial Law.

Those that see the law of the gospel as being predicated upon the grace of God through faith, with good works as the fruits that follow are also correct. There is such a gospel law predicated on faith in the Grace of Jesus Christ. It is called the Law of Mercy, Gospel Law and Celestial Law.

The Law of Justice is unforgiving, rigid and exacting

Those that choose to put their faith in outward works always fall short because no matter how righteous you feel you are, the law of Justice always weighs you in the balance and finds you wanting.

No matter how righteous you are, you can never satisfy the demands of justice;

“For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God” Rom. 3: 23

Those who are living the gospel of personal improvement get beat up pretty good by the law of justice. The harder you try the more exquisite your pain is as your shortcomings are only made all the more manifest to yourself and others.

Let me say that one more time, those that chose the terrestrial gospel of works always fall short. There is no human being that has been righteous enough to satisfy the demands of justice in their own behalf; only a perfect atonement by a perfect God can satisfy the demands of justice.

Yes, if they are good honorable people who believe in God, they are ultimately saved, but only as a result of the atoning sacrifice of Christ and after they have been humbled by the almighty power of God.

Mercy vs. Justice

I love the way the Book of Mormon so clearly explains and distinguishes between the law of Justice and the Law of Mercy;

“And thus he shall bring salvation to all those who shall believe on his name; this being the intent of this last sacrifice, to bring about the bowels of mercy, which overpowereth justice, and bringeth about means unto men that they may have faith unto repentance.

And thus mercy can satisfy the demands of justice, and encircles them in the arms of safety, while he that exercises no faith unto repentance is exposed to the whole law of the demands of justice; therefore only unto him that has faith unto repentance is brought about the great and eternal plan of redemption.

Therefore, according to justice, the plan of redemption could not be brought about, only on conditions of repentance of men in this probationary state, yea, this preparatory state; for except it were for these conditions, mercy could not take effect except it should destroy the work of justice. Now the work of justice could not be destroyed; if so, God would cease to be God.

And now, the plan of mercy could not be brought about except an atonement should be made; therefore God himself atonement for the sins of the world, to bring about the plan of mercy, to appease the demands of justice, that God might be a perfect, just God, and a merciful God also.” Alma 34: 15-16

“And if there was no law given, if men sinned what could justice do, or mercy either, for they would have no claim upon the creature?

But there is a law given, and a punishment affixed, and a repentance granted; which repentance, mercy claimeth; otherwise, justice claimeth the creature and executeth the law, and the law inflicteth the punishment; if not so, the works of justice would be destroyed, and God would cease to be God.

But God ceaseth not to be God, and mercy claimeth the penitent, and mercy cometh because of the atonement; and the atonement bringeth to pass the resurrection of the dead; and the resurrection of the dead bringeth back men into the presence of God; and thus they are restored into his presence, to be fjudged according to their works, according to the law and justice.

For behold, justice exerciseth all his demands, and also mercy claimeth all which is her own; and thus, none but the truly penitent are saved.

What, do ye suppose that mercy can rob justice? I say unto you, Nay; not one whit. If so, God would cease to be God.”   Alma 42: 13, 15, 21-25, 30

Those that are judged according to their works are those that fall under the law of justice because they are not repentant and not penitent. Interestingly, Justice is a He.

Mercy claimeth the penitent and repentant through the merits of the atonement. Those that Mercy claimeth avoid being judged according to their outward works. They are shielded from the demands of justice. Interestingly, Mercy is a She.

Again, the word of God assures us that the Savior broke the bands of death and atoned for our sins and by doing so, satisfied the demands of justice;

Having ascended into heaven, having the bowels of mercy; being filled with compassion towards the children of men; standing betwixt them and justice; having broken the bands of death, taken upon himself their iniquity and their transgressions, having redeemed them, and satified the demands of justice.” Mosiah 15: 9

There are scriptures that give us reason to believe that all of those who lived terrestrial and telestial law during probation will be returned to the earth in the flesh to experience the judgments of God during the end times.

Yet it appears from the scriptures that those living celestial law repent and enter into the rest of the Lord even while in the flesh;

And now I, Mormon, speak unto you, my beloved brethren; and it is by the grace of God the Father, and our Lord Jesus Christ, and his holy will, because of the gift of his calling unto me, that I am permitted to speak unto you at this time.

Wherefore, I would speak unto you that are of the church, that are the peaceable followers of Christ, and that have obtained a sufficient hope by which ye can enter into the rest of the Lord, from this time henceforth until ye shall rest with him in heaven.” Moro. 7: 3

Those living terrestrial law live in fear and pain and ultimately need to be chastened by the Lord before they repent sufficiently to lay hold upon the atonement and be redeemed before the millennium.

Those that fall under telestial law are subject to the demands of justice for the space of 1,000 years. President Cox used to refer to this as a thousand years of therapy.

“Therefore I command you to repent—repent, lest I smite you by the rod of my mouth, and by my wrath, and by my anger, and your suffering be sore—how sore you know not, how exquisite you know not, yea, how hard to bear you know not.

For behold, I, God, have suffered these things for all, that they might not suffer if they would repent;

But if they would not repent they must suffer even as I; Which suffering caused myself, even God, the greatest of all, to tremble because of pain, and to bleed at every pore, and to suffer both body and spirit—and would that I might not drink the bitter cup, and shrink—

Nevertheless, glory be to the Father, and I partook and finished my preparations unto the children of men.

Wherefore, I command you again to repent, lest I humble you with my almighty power; and that you confess your sins, lest you suffer these punishments of which I have spoken, of which in the smallest, yea, even in the least degree you have tasted at the time I withdrew my Spirit.” D&C 19: 4, 15-18, 20

We know from the infallible word of God that those who live telestial law and fail to repent during probation will be exposed to the demands of justice and have to suffer for their own sins.

Even the terrestrial spirits seem to require the chastening hand of God to humble them into a true state of repentance.

So, again, how does know that they are living the celestial law of grace and that they will avoid being exposed to the demands of the Law of Justice?

As mentioned earlier, President Cox claims you need to feel the Holy Ghost in your life and follow his promptings.

One of my favorite quotes by the Apostle Paul is as follows;

“But if ye be led of the Spirit, ye are not under the law.”

What a fascinating statement. I suspect that many gospel scholars would interpret this statement to mean this;

“But if ye be led of the Spirit, ye are not under the Law [of Moses].”

I don’t necessarily disagree that there is an application to the Law of Moses, however I think there is a deeper, more global meaning to be applied to Paul’s observation.

I have often wondered if perhaps he was saying;

“But if ye have taken the Holy Spirit as your guide, ye are not under the Law [of Justice].”

Perhaps a longer version of the scripture might be;

“But if ye have been born of God through the atonement of Christ and received the Baptism of Fire, having taken the Holy Spirit as your Guide and by so doing, have accepted the grace and mercy of God, you are no longer under the Law of Justice. It no longer has any power or claim over you.”

To me, this is how one avoids the consequences of the law of justice when the fullness of the Gospel is on the earth.

Terrestrial definition of Works
VS.
Celestial Definition of Works

Indeed, while the definition of works to those living terrestrial law could refer to anything from baking bread for a neighbor, comforting the sick, doing home teaching, paying tithing, participating in the ordinances of salvation and doing temple work, etc., the definition of works according to Celestial Law is quite different and quite simple;

Then said they unto him, what shall we do, that we might work the works of God? Jesus answered and said unto them, This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent.” John 5: 17, 20, 36

From this we find that believing on Christ is the ultimate works that God requires of us. Definitions of Celestial Law are much simpler than those of terrestrial law.

Terrestrial Law of Repentance

VS

Celestial law of Repentance

As a missionary, I used the following flipchart page to teach prospects the itemized steps of repentance that were required in order to keep the commandments so that they could live eternally with God in joy and peace;

Yes, I still think those are the steps of repentance, but I now tend to think they are the steps of repentance according to terrestrial law.

If you think that doing those steps will shield you from the demands of justice, you have a painful surprise awaiting you. No matter how complete your works of “restitution” are, the demands of Justice is never totally satisfied by the works of man.

So what is the Celestial Law of Repentance?

According to the Greek lexicon the word repent means;

“A change of mind”

That’s right. To repent is to simply have a change of mind. Notice how restitution is absent in that definition.

I believe the scriptures amplify this definition by revealing that the spirit is what changes the mind and heart of man.

How does one return to God while in the flesh during probation? By having his spirit dwell in you, guiding your thoughts and by thus doing, give you a change of mind! Is that not what the sacramental prayer speaks about?

“That we may always have his spirit to be with us”.

Each Law has it Fruits

Furthermore, the scriptures seem to identify the fruits of Celestial Law in the state of Grace as LOVE. The Love of God and Love for our fellow men.

The fruits brought forth by those living Terrestrial Law who are putting their faith in works is FEAR.

Once you have tasted of the love of God and have entered into a justified state, you have unconditional love for your fellow man. The Book of Mormon gives a delicious explanation of how those who hold on to the word of God, make it to the living waters and the tree of life which represent the love of God;

And it came to pass that I beheld that the rod of iron, which my father had seen, was the word of God, which led to the fountain of living waters, or to the tree of life; which waters are a representation of the love of God; and I also beheld that the tree of life was a representation of the love of God.” 1 Ne. 11: 25

With this understanding, it is not surprising that the Lord simplified the gospel and reduced the first two commandments down to love;

And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment. And the second is like, namely this, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. There is none other commandment greater than these.”

For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this; Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.”

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” Mosiah 4: 11

Again, lets review my interpretation of what Paul said;

But if ye have been born of God through the atonement of Christ and received the Baptism of Fire, having taken the Holy Spirit as your Guide and by so doing, have accepted the grace and mercy of God, the Law of Justice no longer has any power or claim over you.

I would submit that the above interpretation describes how one enters into the rest of the Lord even while in the flesh… even before becoming translated, when the fullness of the Gospel is on the earth.

But what about those who live during darker times?

What about those who only have access to the preparatory gospel?

What about those who have the scriptures and water baptism but don’t yet enjoy the full gifts of the spirit and miracles and the baptism of fire and the constant companionship of the Holy Ghost?

I would submit that the spirit of Christ and the intermittent companionship of the Holy Ghost can still enable true believers to become justified and clean before God and therefore avoid the devastating consequences of the Law of Justice.

Proxy Perfection

True to the form of a heretic and at the risk of squabbling over semantics, I would take Cox’s definition and explanation of justification one step further. I believe that you can become more than just justified today, I suggest that you can actually become perfect today, right now, through the mystical grace of God. By totalling accepting the atonement of Jesus Christ and by entering into a state of Grace as documented by the spirit of God dwelling in you.

The gospel of Grace actually enables a person to become perfect immediately by proxy, through Gods perfection.

Isn’t that really what justification is? Isn’t it the ability to become clean before God as a result of his atonement and grace instead of our own ability to make ourselves clean through works?

Why not become perfect through Christ’s perfection?

As we accept the fullness of the Gospel and become spiritually born again, be become justified and perfectly clean before God, not because of our own outward works, but because we are swallowed up in the grace of God through our faith in his atonement.

We become spiritually clean and perfect by proxy, through his perfection.

This is quite mystical because we continue in mortality outwardly showing forth our outer mortal imperfection and yet if we are walking in the spirit as Paul says, we are no longer subjected to the law of justice.

We are told time and time again in the scriptures that the gospel makes our burdens light;

And now, my brethren, I desire that ye shall plant this word in your hearts, and as it beginneth to swell even so nourish it by your faith. And behold, it will become a tree, springing up in you unto everlasting life. And then may God grant unto you that your burdens may be light, through the joy of his Son. And even all this can ye do if ye will. Amen.” Alma 33: 23

I therefore want to suggest that not only can we qualify for the Celestial Kingdom today by becoming clean and justified before God, we can actually become perfect today through Christ’s perfection;

“come unto Christ
and be
PERFECTED in him”
(Moroni 10:32)

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11 Responses to BECOME ye therefore perfect? OR BE ye therefore perfect?

  1. Younger Dude says:

    This is an amazing article. There are so many people that really need to hear this stuff. It reminds me of Alma 33:16
    “For behold, he said: Thou art angry, O Lord, with this people, because they will not understand thy mercies which thou hast bestowed upon them because of thy son.”

    Dude, all I can say is that someday I hope we cross paths. You are like a gospel ninja. I could read your stuff all day long (except for the really deep stuff – its all vain jangling to a rookie like myself).

    You should post some more stuff on grace and love. That stuff, to me, is the meat. The great mystery to me is God’s love. My own personal philosophy is that there is no truth but that which is seen through the eyes of love.

    Thanks again for good stuff. Keep being a gospel ninja.

  2. Younger Dude

    What can I say? Except that you are so right.

    Love is the essence of the Gospel. The very glue that holds everything together, it is the glue that holds the glue together.

    It is the lens of the urim and thummin through which the entire Gospel and the mystery of Godliness all must be viewed in order to comprehend it.

    As Brother Covey once said, “True knowledge is a state of being” and surely that state is love.

    I don’t post on it that much because I am still struggling to comprehend it.

    I am still just trying to work on gospel doctrine and theory.

    But I appreciate and agree with your observation.

    1 Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal.
    2 And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing.
    3 And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing.
    4 Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up,
    5 Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil;
    6 Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth;
    7 Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.
    8 Charity never faileth: but whether there be prophecies, they shall fail; whether there be tongues, they shall cease; whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away.
    9 For we know in part, and we prophesy in part.
    10 But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away.
    11 When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things.
    12 For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.
    13 And now bideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity.

  3. Younger Dude says:

    What do I have to do to be born again? Have you been born again? Does something need to be restored before this is possible? I know some people claim they have been born again. Are there different levels of being born again? Is there a preparatory gospel born again experience, and then yet another higher gospel born again experience? And is true charity a gift of the spirit predicated on being born again?

  4. Younger Dude-

    You asked the following questions-

    “What do I have to do to be born again? Have you been born again? Does something need to be restored before this is possible? I know some people claim they have been born again. Are there different levels of being born again? Is there a preparatory gospel born again experience, and then yet another higher gospel born again experience? And is true charity a gift of the spirit predicated on being born again?”

    These are very difficult questions to simply provide yes and no answers or even short ones because MY OPINIONS based on MY INTERPRETATIONS of the scriptures really should provide a scriptural foundation and that would require a very very long post which I don’t have time to research and write right now.

    So I will try to provide relatively short answers under the assumption that you have read all of my other articles which do provide a fairly good foundation for why I believe the way I do.

    I do feel it is dangerous to offer my opinion because while I don’t want people to think they have entered into the gate when they haven’t, I also don’t want to discourage anyone from seeking the baptism of fire right now.

    And even though I do lean towards the need for the return of the servants and priesthood authority, I still think that it is critical that we seek the baptism of fire NOW, continuously.

    One of the “apparent discrepancies” between the book of Mormon worldview and the D&C worldview (That I am seeing in my gospel study) is that the Book of Mormon seems to put very little emphasis on church and priesthood structure and it seems to indicate that all people have the same opportunity to enter into the gate, thru faith, regardless of what period of time they are living on the earth… it paints a picture of individual agency and actualization through faith.

    The D&C worldview that I see, on the other hand, puts a huge emphasis on priesthood authority and church structure and timelines and dates, etc. It agrees with the Old Testament that there are times when God seems to turn his face and the gifts of the Spirit away from his apostate people for several generations when they collectively reject the light.

    The closest I have been able to come to reconciling this “apparent discrepancy” in my own mind is by distinguishing the difference between the relationship of God between natural Israel (the Lehites- Book of Mormon people) and wild Israel (those portions of Israel that have been mingled among the gentiles nations- Latter-day Gentile Church).

    Before I do attempt to answer your questions, let me refer you to a wonderful primer written by Spek, one of the other commentators on the LDSAnarchy Blogsite; http://www.fulness.com

    Spek and I appear to disagree on a few issues pertaining to the current state of things relative to having access to the fullness of the Gospel and I don’t necessarily agree with all of the assumptions and doctrines that he promotes on his website but I think you will be edified if you read his content with a prayerful heart as he has done a wonderful job of collecting many of the scriptures pertaining to the act of being born of the Spirit.

    Spek once wrote an article about the Baptism of Fire on the LDS website that sparked the following response from me. I think that my response will go a long way in explaining how I feel on this topic.

    “….The last observation that I would share has to do with the PRIESTHOOD AUTHORITY that is required to actuate the doctrine of Christ.
    There is also a doctrine pertaining to Priesthood Authority which states that there is a very real and specific authority that is REQUIRED to administer the saving ordinances mentioned in the doctrine of Christ. ( I will not review all of these scriptures at this time as I don’t think you would disagree with this proposition)
    It is so critically important to be able to identify this priesthood authority so that we are not deceived and deluded into thinking we have entered the kingdom when in fact we have not. That is the very reason that I harp on the importance of understanding the doctrine of the 3rd watch.
    The fact that you always speak about the basics of the gospel and baptism and getting through the gate without ever addressing the importance of priesthood authority leads me to believe that you believe that the keys of the kingdom are on the earth and are held by the very people that you have acknowledged as being teachers of false doctrine.
    If in fact the marvelous work and a wonder and the ushering in of the dispensation of the fullness of times are yet in the future instead of in the past as I have documented, then there is a question as to whether the proper full authority to actuate the ordinances of salvation need to be restored to the earth again.
    I am suggesting that some of the “doctrines” in the Holy Word of God teach that the servants of God will be returning to the vineyard very shortly in the 3rd watch and they will be inviting EVERYONE to repent and be baptized of water and of fire and of the Holy Ghost.
    Those who arrogantly reject the fullness of the gospel when the “acceptable day of the Lord” is proclaimed by Gods servant, stating that they have already received baptism of water and the baptism of Fire and the Holy Ghost, will be damned.
    I realize that what I am suggesting is a terrifying concept and is offensive to many.
    I would ask all of those who think they have entered into the gate to research what the signs are that follow those who have entered in.
    Have you spoken with the tongue of angels? Are you able to drink poison and receive the venomous bite of a serpent without being adversely affected?
    Do you have the spiritual gifts that follow the true believers who have entered into the gate and been baptized by water, fire and the Holy Ghost?
    Why are the doctrines of the kingdom so important? Because, speaking of the Latter Day Saints the Lord observed that “My people perish for lack of knowledge”.
    It is a lack of knowledge that enables people to become deluded and deceived into thinking they have entered into the kingdom when they have not.
    I am not judging the spirituality or integrity of any one person specifically. I have no right nor do I have any desire to do so. I am simply sharing what I believe the scriptures reveal about a global state that we are all part of…. And I am trying to warn of an incredible calamity and controversy that is coming up.
    It is my love for my fellow sojourners that causes me to bring up this uncomfortable and unpopular topic.
    Forgive me if I have offended. I know that lots of people that visit this blog and that submit posts on it are very spiritual and good people and I believe they have had spiritual experiences of varying proportions… I don’t doubt that… I just want to suggest that a sobering review of the signs that follow those that are truly baptized by the proper authority and have followed with the baptism of Fire that only comes from God might be in order.
    Have you spoken with a new tongue? Have you taken up a serpent? Have you drunk any deadly thing and not been hurt? Have you laid hands on the truly extremely sick and had a miraculous immediate healing? (all of these things in the literal context of what the word of God is speaking of, not in the context of the typical latter day miracles that we so often here of….)
    If you have… wonderful! That would prove that I am deceived in the research that I have done and I ask that you pray for me.
    I am not hear to debate the spiritual phenomena that anyone claims to have had, I know that there are spiritual outpourings to be enjoyed during this time of darkness, I have had my own experiences, but I am not convinced that they indicated that we have entered into the gate…
    I am just reminding everyone that God has given us very specific things as a blessing and a sign to verify our current state.”

    Now, for the questions you asked, beginning with the last one;

    1- “is true charity a gift of the spirit predicated on being born again?”

    I personally believe true and ultimate charity is a gift of the spirit predicated on faith and not fully received until one has been born again via the baptism of fire.

    2- “Are there different levels of being born again? Is there a preparatory gospel born again experience, and then yet another higher gospel born again experience?”

    In a sense, yes… and yet perhaps not.

    As you no doubt have gleaned from some of my articles, I feel that we live in a time of relative darkness when we have the “preparatory gospel instead of the fullness of the Gospel. When the second commission begins for Joseph and Sidney, the light will shine forth which will be the fullness of the Gospel.

    One of the evidences to me that this is the case is found in the fact that Christ told the 1) Meridian Saints, the 2) Nephites and the 3) Restoration Saints the exact same thing with regard to how to identify true believers of Christ. He specifically stated that “these asigns shall bfollow them that believe”. He then listed all of the signs that follow true believers. I see these signs conspicuously missing among the current church members.

    The New Testament- account of the signs that follow the true believers is here Mark 16: 17 The Book of Mormon account is here Morm. 9: 24 and the D&C account is here D&C 84: 65 (which is to be fulfilled in the 3rd watch)

    Here is the New Testament account, but you will notice the same elements in all three sections of scriptures.

    “9 Now when Jesus was arisen early the first day of the week, he bappeared first to cMary Magdalene, out of whom he had cast seven devils.
    10 And she went and told them that had been with him, as they mourned and wept.
    11 And they, when they had heard that he was alive, and had been seen of her, believed not.
    12 After that he appeared in another form unto two of them, as they walked, and went into the country.
    13 And they went and told it unto the residue: neither believed they them.
    14 Afterward he appeared unto the aeleven as they sat at meat, and upbraided them with their bunbelief and chardness of heart, because they believed not them which had seen him after he was risen.
    15 And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and apreach the bgospel to every ccreature.
    16 He that abelieveth and is bbaptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be cdamned.
    17 And these asigns shall bfollow them that believe; In my cname shall they dcast out edevils; they shall speak with new ftongues;
    18 They shall take up aserpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not bhurt them: they shall lay chands on the dsick, and they shall recover.
    19 So then after the aLord had spoken unto them, he was received up into heaven, and sat on the right hand of God.
    20 And they went forth, and preached every where, the Lord working with them, and confirming the word with signs following. Amen.”

    One of the interesting things that Spec points out in his http://www.fulness.com website is that although the normal chronology is to be Baptized of the water first and then born of the fire and of the spirit, there are a few notable instances where that order is changes and in some cases, people were born of the Spirit first, then they accepted the commandment to enter into the waters of Baptism.

    One of the things I am speculating about is that there are three baptisms, or parts of Baptism, not two.

    In addition to water baptism, I think the Baptism of “Fire” may be separate and distinct from the baptism of the “Spirit” or in other words the “gift of the Holy Ghost”.

    The Baptism of Fire may be preparatory to receiving the “Gift of the Holy Ghost”. It is what cleans and sanctifies a person prior to receiving the “constant companionship of the Holy Ghost which is the same as “taking the Holy Spirit as your Guide”

    So, getting back to the signs that follow believers, here is what is stated in the NT (and it compares very closely to the other two references I gave you;

    9 Now when Jesus was arisen early the first day of the week, he bappeared first to cMary Magdalene, out of whom he had cast seven devils.
    10 And she went and told them that had been with him, as they mourned and wept.
    11 And they, when they had heard that he was alive, and had been seen of her, believed not.
    12 After that he appeared in another form unto two of them, as they walked, and went into the country.
    13 And they went and told it unto the residue: neither believed they them.
    14 Afterward he appeared unto the aeleven as they sat at meat, and upbraided them with their bunbelief and chardness of heart, because they believed not them which had seen him after he was risen.
    15 And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and apreach the bgospel to every ccreature.
    16 He that abelieveth and is bbaptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be cdamned.
    17 And these asigns shall bfollow them that believe; In my cname shall they dcast out edevils; they shall speak with new ftongues;
    18 They shall take up aserpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not bhurt them: they shall lay chands on the dsick, and they shall recover.
    19 So then after the aLord had spoken unto them, he was received up into heaven, and sat on the right hand of God.
    20 And they went forth, and preached every where, the Lord working with them, and confirming the word with signs following. Amen.

    In closing, regarding question #2, let me just say that I can see two possibilities. One is that there is a lesser Baptism of Fire associated with the Preparatory Gospel OR perhaps the Baptism of Fire is the same but the difference is that we cannot yet receive the ordinance that enables the constant companionship of the Holy Ghost.

    3- “Have you been born again? Does something need to be restored before this is possible?” The reason I am open to this possibility that the Baptism of Fire is currently available even though I do not feel the Baptism of the Spirit (ordinance of the Gift or constant companionship of the Holy Ghost) is available, is because I have received an ineffable Baptism of FIRE that is undeniable. But I know that I do not show forth the signs mentioned in the references listed above… and I know that I do not enjoy the constant companionship of the Holy Ghost… I find it to be quite intermittent. I realize that we often take it for granted that the Holy Ghost comes and goes, yet that is not how the scriptures state that it should be once we have received the fullness of the Gospel.

    As I mentioned before, I think that everyone will be invited to repent and be baptized when the Servants return. I think an interesting indicator that there is a “preparatory gospel” besides the “type” one given in section 88, is provided in the Book of Mormon.

    It is interesting to note that 5 years before Christ appeared to the Nephites and destroyed the wicked and gave the fullness of the Gospel to the righteous, Nephi went around preaching the gospel and baptizing those who accepted Christ.

    I speculate that those that were not destroyed when Christ came down to the Nephites were largely if not exclusively those who had previously been baptized… yet they all had to be baptized again when Christ ORDAINED Nephi with priesthood power. Certainly the Baptism they had previously received was accepted by God and was very important for them to have, yet, when the fullness of the Gospel came with Christ, they needed to be baptized again.

    4- “What do I have to do to be born again?

    Exercise faith in Christ and his atonement, repent (in the celestial sense of repenting) receive the baptism of fire. Again, reading the information at http://www.fulness.com or better yet doing a key word search on baptism and reading everything in the standard works on the topic is very important in understand and believing.

    One parting thought about the energy and power that is found in faith.

    There is an old story about an enlightened guru and his pupil. One day the pupil asked, “Master, what must I do to become enlightened?”

    The Master then took told of the pupil and held his head beneath the water in a near by stream until the pupil needed the breath of air badly enough to fight his way out of the grip of the Master and fight his way up out of the water to get the breath he so desperately needed.

    AS the frightened, exhausted pupil came up fighting for air and looking bewildered at his spiritual teacher, the Master said;

    “My son, when you want enlightenment as badly as you want the very breath of life, you will attain it.”

  5. Younger Dude says:

    Thanks for taking the time to answer all of my questions. I do realize that they are not light questions and that they are not easily answered. Having read most of your online material I had a good idea about your thoughts on these things, but just wanted to confirm them.

    You said,

    “I do feel it is dangerous to offer my opinion because while I don’t want people to think they have entered into the gate when they haven’t, I also don’t want to discourage anyone from seeking the baptism of fire right now.”

    You won’t have to worry too much about that – I definitely gather from your writings that you encourage everyone to take the Holy Spirit as their guide and to seek out the Savior. I remember reading one of your articles on the third watch where you are spelling out the coming controversies and calamities or something of that nature and then you stop ask “have you been born again?” That made me laugh, I don’t know why exactly, probably because I am not used to such a protestant approach. But it definitely rang true because I realized that I couldn’t say that I had been born again, and it was funny to me that I couldn’t answer in the affirmative to such a basic gospel principle, yet here I have been most of my life thinking that I was living the restored gospel.

    You said in regards to the preparatory gospel and the need for more priesthood authority,

    “I realize that what I am suggesting is a terrifying concept and is offensive to many.”

    I remember reading that comment a few weeks ago, and it was a bit disconcerting to think that maybe I didn’t hold the priesthood that I thought I did. But this last year for me has been a process of following my spiritual flow and being open to the Spirit, and that has given me confidence that no matter what the current state of the church, all I can do is follow that flow of personal revelation. Because no matter what is going on around me, the best I can do is to be open to be led by the spirit. No matter how far down the road of apostasy we have gone as a church, all that be expected of us as individuals is to do the best we can, and the best we can do is to take the Spirit as our guide. Which is why this article on perfection is so relevant. The more I study, the more I realize how much I have missed the mark – but I can hit the mark the second I attempt to rely on grace and follow the Spirit.

    “The reason I am open to this possibility that the Baptism of Fire is currently available even though I do not feel the Baptism of the Spirit (ordinance of the Gift or constant companionship of the Holy Ghost) is available, is because I have received an ineffable Baptism of FIRE that is undeniable.”

    I had to look up the word ineffable – what a cool word! Your experience is encouraging to me. I have not received that baptism, and it gives me hope that as I follow the Spirit, I may be led to some kind of born again experience, even if the fullness of the gospel is not available.

    In answer to my question about what to do to be born again you said:

    “Exercise faith in Christ and his atonement, repent (in the celestial sense of repenting) receive the baptism of fire.”

    Celestial repentance was the whole idea of this article, so we come full circle. I guess I believe that the same Spirit that has been guiding me this last year, that has led me to the most random places (including this blog), has given me access to the atonement and Christ’s mercy. If I am on that path, I believe that I will receive whatever is needful, and I just have to trust in the Lord’s timing. One thing I have realized is that you CANNOT force spiritual things. I trust my baptism by fire (and eventually the Holy Ghost) will be a gift of God in his own wisdom and timing.

    With that in mind, I thought I would throw in a few references from my studies last night relevant to this article and the things we are discussing. I came across this as I was reading –

    John 4:12,15-16
    12 Jesus answered and said unto her, If thou knewest the gift of God, and who it is that saith to thee, Give me to drink, thou wouldest have asked of him, and he would have given thee living water.
    15 Jesus answered and said unto her, Whosoever shall drink of this well, shall thirst again;
    16 But whosoever drinketh of the water which I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life.

    The idea of living waters stuck out to me because of our discussion on the baptism of fire and the Holy Ghost. I was wondering what the living waters were, and what the gift of God was that Jesus was referring to. I did a key phrase search (that should give meaning to your life) on “gift of God” and “living waters”. Sure enough the living waters seem to have a lot to do with the gift of the Holy Ghost (this may be fairly obvious to most, but its kind of a new idea to me):

    John 7:37-38
    37 In the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried, saying, If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink.
    38 He that believeth on me, as the Scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water.
    39 (But this spake he of the Spirit, which they that believe on him should receive; for the Holy Ghost was promised unto them who believe, after that Jesus was glorified.)

    I also thought this D&C reference was interesting, considering how much you like to explore the mysteries of God:

    D&C 63:23
    23 But unto him that keepeth my commandments I will give the mysteries of my kingdom, and the same shall be in him a well of living water, springing up unto everlasting life.

    So it seems to me that this Holy Ghost we so desperately need is that which will cause us to never thirst, right? And we will never thirst because by the Spirit the mysteries of God are made known to us. And the greatest mystery of all being God’s love, through the gift of the Holy Ghost we have access to the mysterious living waters of LOVE, right?

    Here is one last reference that is particularly relevant to the perfection issue:

    Eph. 2: 8-9
    8 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves; but it is the gift of God;
    9 Not of works, lest any man should boast.

    You might have quoted this in your article, but even so it is worth repeating. I love verse 9 – it definitely speaks to our condition as church members. Are we not obsessed with boasting in our great works? Do we not go on missions proclaiming the gospel of works? And do we not wear our works as a badge of honor for the whole world to see? Do we not try to set a fence around the law? Do we not find comfort and security in the law? Do we not become so fearful and obsessed with controlling our own salvation that we deny the gift of God? We don’t trust God, or his mercy. Perhaps the false idol of works is a god of fear, and the God of grace and celestial repentance is a God of love.

    And what I love most is how much it seems God just wants to comfort us, because we seem to be so afraid of Him. We are afraid that He is not good, that he won’t love us. Some of us are afraid that he is like an over-zealous parent, overlooking his children in the name of supporting the law. We are afraid the law is more important to God than we are. And because we fear Him, we set up a fence to exclude Him. We want to save ourselves because we don’t trust He is good and merciful. We think that His love is conditional. We think we have to prove ourselves to Him. But love is not something that can be earned through works, right? Because isn’t it God that first loves us, and that our good works come from the love that we feel from Him?

    It is really refreshing to discuss these things with someone who is not defending the church (the irony is that your defense of the faith has led to some of the best defense of the church). It is interesting that I found this blog a few weeks after I committed myself to Christ, not to leaders or programs. I was so frustrated with the confusing aspects of the church and its leaders. I did not trust my leaders, and I knew I could never follow a prophet or general authorities with the exactness I was being told I needed to. I had a prayer where I told God that I would follow Christ and no one else. I said if Christ wants me to follow my leaders, I will. I said that I did not trust my leaders, and I never would, unless I felt like He wanted me to. I told Christ my allegiance is first and foremost to Him. It felt so refreshing to declare that He is the one I fight for. I felt like He is a man I could learn to follow with exactness, a man that I could learn to follow to the grave. My commitment was finally moving away from an organization, prophets, and programs, to one towards Christ. I was tying myself more directly to Christ. That experience definitely prepared me for an understanding of the third watch.

    Anyway, my brother read this article and LOVED it. We agree that it is one of the best explanations of works and grace. Thanks again for the insights.

  6. Bounce Back says:

    Dear younger dude,
    Thank you so much for sharing such an inspiring testimony. I feel your love and commitment to our Savior, Jesus Christ. Your words flow with the Spirit and are so edifying, thank you.

  7. NEPT says:

    Welcome, Younger Dude, to a brighter future…not necessarily easier, but certainly brighter.

    NEPT

  8. Younger Dude says:

    NEPT,
    How did you come across this blog? It was a pretty random find for me.

  9. NEPT says:

    Younger Dude,

    I happened upon it while reading about different Book of Mormon geography theories. I was led to one of OWIW’s posts on the LDSAnarchy site entitled “A Mystical Look at the LDS Restoration Movement”. I suppose you could call it serendipitous.

    NEPT

  10. Troy says:

    Glad to read the comments on this post (I have not read the post yet, will after I post this, I like to read the comments to know what to expect of the post… strange, I know=)

    I enjoyed reading Younger Dude’s comments. I feel similar to him, being a “younger dude” myself that has recently had my eyes opened to so many additional truths. Only a year ago I was a lock step mainstreamer but after I gave up some things that allowed the Lord’s spirit to enter my life in a greater capacity (mostly TV… Satan’s Urim and Thummin) I was startled to realize that what he wanted to teach me was a not at all what I was expecting to be taught.

    God bless all of you. Yes, it is a “brighter future” but not necessarily “easier” (at least so for for me). It’s tough explaining to your mainstreamer parents that the son they have always been “so proud of” no longer believes that the “president” of the church (whoever it be) is not a “prophet” simply by default.

    Oh well, I know the Lord will guide me if I am righteous. And now on to the post!

  11. Troy says:

    I guess I still have a difficult time with the “Saved by Grace” argument alone without recognizing that there are things that we have to do.

    32 Yea, come unto Christ, and be perfected in him, and deny yourselves of all ungodliness; and if ye shall deny yourselves of all ungodliness, and love God with all your might, mind and strength, then is his grace sufficient for you, that by his grace ye may be perfect in Christ; and if by the grace of God ye are perfect in Christ, ye can in nowise deny the power of God.
    33 And again, if ye by the grace of God are perfect in Christ, and deny not his power, then are ye sanctified in Christ by the grace of God, through the shedding of the blood of Christ, which is in the covenant of the Father unto the remission of your sins, that ye become holy, without spot.

    It seems like in this scripture in Moroni (this spripture almost seems to me to be the “pinnacle” of all BOM teaching) that yes, we are perfected by coming unto Christ.

    Still the scripture tells us two things that we have to do…

    1. Deny yourself of all ungodliness
    2. Love God with all your might, mind and strength

    These are both “works” on the part of us, children of God. We must work to love God with all (our) might, mind and strength and we must work to deny ourselves of all ungodliness. These two elements start a chain reaction that, using the atonement of Jesus Christ, eventually makes us “holy, without spot” (the process of “coming unto Christ” and being “perfected in him”).

    You can’t be saved without the works that God tells us to do, the problem with the Mormon church is that we get our “works” all confused. We “work” to not drink beer, we “work” to provide for our families, we “work” to appear perfect to the world around us. We “work” to do our home teaching. God has never told us that we are saved through these “works”, if we could be “saved” through those works and then we would “boast” because we would have “saved” ourselves.

    Notice in these scriptures that Moroni is basically saying this:

    “You have to do these two things (1) Deny yourselves of all ungodliness and (2) love God with all your might, mind and strength Once you have done those two things (works… because you “do” them) then his grace is sufficient for us, that by his grace we may be perfect in Christ. If you are made perfect in Christ then you are sanctified through the atonement which is the covenant of the Father, and if you are sanctified through the atonement of Christ then you will become holy, without spot”

    Being “holy, without spot” is the final goal in this scripture but it will never come to pass unless we do the proper works as mentioned above.

    In the end it is God’s grace that saves us but to start to process we have to:

    1. Deny (ourselves) of all ungodliness
    2. Love God with all (our) might, mind and strength

    In this situation it would seem that both mainstream Christianity and mainstream Mormonism are wrong. Mainstream Christianity believes that since we are saved by grace and not by works (true) that works are not important when really they are the catalyst for grace to take effect. Mainstream Mormonism seems to believe (but not typically teach) that we are the Lord’s people because we do “works” that the Lord wants us to do and because of that we will be saved (not realizing that all of our works will never save us, only God’s grace will do that).

    24 Wherefore, my beloved brethren, reconcile yourselves to the will of God, and not to the will of the devil and the flesh; and remember, after ye are reconciled unto God, that it is only in and through the grace of God that ye are saved.

    Keep in mind that we are only saved by grace “after we reconcile to the will of God and not to the will of the devil”

    That reconciling is a work, and a dang tough one in today’s world.

    Well, I have more to say but not more time so I guess I had better go.

    One last quick, somewhat related thought is on “being prefect”. We know that it is a commandment to be perfect:

    Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.

    and we know that men on earth have reached this type of perfection

    And thus Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord; for Noah was a just man, and perfect in his generation; and he walked with God, as did also his three sons, Shem, Ham, and Japheth.

    So Noah was “perfect” and he “walked with God”. I would like to put forth the belief that Noah’s “walking with God” was a result of his perfection.

    Now what was Noah perfect in? Well, we know that he got drunk (at least once=))

    20 And Noah began to be an husbandman, and he planted a vineyard:
    21 And he drank of the wine, and was drunken; and he was uncovered within his tent.

    Do you think that Noah never had an unkind thought? Never got upset with his wife or children? Trust me, after spending all that time in boat with all those animals in rainy weather Noah certaintly had moments where he was upset.

    When Noah is “perfect” is in this scripture:

    18 But with thee will I establish my covenant; and thou shalt come into the ark, thou, and thy sons, and thy wife, and thy sons’ wives with thee.

    and this scripture:

    22 Thus did Noah; according to all that God commanded him, so did he.

    and this scripture:

    9 And I, behold, I establish my covenant with you, and with your seed after you;

    and here:

    12 And God said, This is the token of the covenant which I make between me and you and every living creature that is with you, for perpetual generations:

    and others… My point is that Noah was perfect in covenant keeping. This made him a perfect man for the following reasons.

    1. Noah had a “suzerain” relationship with God.
    2. God is perfect (and our suzerain/emperor).
    3. Noah was perfect in keeping covenant with God.
    4. Therefore was considered as “perfect” because he perfectly kept his covenants and therefore the “grace” of God allowed God to bestow his (God’s) perfection on Noah (because Noah perfectly kepts God’s words/Covenants).

    In closing, it is VERY IMPORTANT that we keep covenant with the Lord, it is only through those types of “works” that we can be made “perfect” through God’s grace.

    ————-
    You stated that in the previous posting of this on LDS Anarchy that some people took the name of the Lord in “vain”. What exactly do you mean by taking the name of the Lord in vain?

    Troy

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