"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. 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."
The dialogue between Nephi and the angel is interrupted. Nephi is brought into the dialogue as the angel interrupts and asks Nephi a question. You should ask yourself why an angel behaves in this manner? Why interrupt the teaching by asking Nephi questions?
And what a question it is: " Rememberest thou the covenants of the Father unto the house of Israel?" Once again, it is the "covenants of the Father" that is important and controls what is being taught and all history involved. It remains not only "in the beginning" but throughout "is the Word of God." Consider how broadly the "Word" of God may be applied:
-Christ is the "Word of God" because He lived and did all in conformity with the will of the Father. ( 3 Nephi 11: 11.)
-All of creation came into being because of the Father's Word, or power. (Mormon 9: 17.)
-Christ's spoken Word had such power as to astonish onlookers. (Luke 4: 32, 36.)
-Nothing of power hereafter will exist unless obtained by the Father's Word. (D&C 132: 13.)
-Moses made water come forth from the rock by the Father's Word. (1 Nephi 17: 29.)
-Joseph Smith was able to bring the Book of Mormon forth because of the Father's word. (Mormon 8: 16.)
-His Word is "quick" and "powerful" and can cut like a two-edged sword. (D&C 11: 2.)
-It was by this Word of God that Enoch had power to hold at defiance the armies of nations. (Moses 7: 13.)
Without the "covenants of the Father" the best laid plans, the most noble aspirations, the desire to have Zion return, will all fail. It will return by a covenant or not at all. It will return in strict conformity with His covenant, His Word, and not according to the vain desires of men.
The angel is setting up a contrast for Nephi. First he asks if Nephi remembers the Father's covenants, to which Nephi responds that he does remember them. Now, often in the Book of Mormon the word "remember" is used to mean "keep." If that is the way it is used here, then Nephi is being asked if he keeps the covenants of the Father, so far as they apply to him. Using that meaning, the angel is inquiring about Nephi's worthiness to receive more. Or, in other words: "Do you follow the Father's commandments?" "Yes." "Then I will show you more." Reminding Nephi that the only reason he is beholding these things is because of his obedience and sacrifice. Or, to put it more plainly, reminding US that this kind of information and learning from angelic ministers comes as a consequence of following everything taught to you before. You receive more because you follow what you already have.
Now, after the inquiry and answer, the contrast is shown: On the one hand: The Covenants of the Father. On the other hand: the Great and Abominable Church.
God's covenants are strict and apply in a very precise manner. The great whore uses religion to promise to all people everywhere their desires for being comforted in their sins. The great and abominable church does not want you to forsake your sins, but to retain them and expect God will forgive and overlook them. The great and abominable church wants you to believe that the way is broad and many will enter into exaltation. This whore teaches that no matter your conduct, the odds are you are going to be exalted. So eat, drink and be merry. If God is going to be upset He will merely beat you with a few stripes and promote you into the kingdom of God anyway. ( 2 Nephi 28: 8.)
This contrast is drawn for Nephi because these are two extremes. Both of them are religious. One is founded on a true religion, the other is a false religion. One follows the Father's covenants and will result in God's promised results. The other follows the commandments of men who have mingled their own philosophies with scripture so that their doctrines are all corrupt. They share a vocabulary, but nothing else. For one, to "repent" is to return to God's presence, for the other "repent" is to satisfy institutional demands and surrender to control by others. The angel uses the contrast because this is where mankind finds themselves. We live between these two choices. Our eternal consequences hinge on how we choose. Among all sects there are good people who are blinded by the craftiness of deceitful men. ( D&C 123: 12.) Even though they may be honorable, by surrendering to deceit they forfeit the crown. (D&C 76: 74-76.)
This contrast is shown to Nephi, and shared by him with us, because we are always facing the dilemma of choosing between those who will promise you everything and give you nothing, and those who warn you to repent, as a result of which you may receive everything. Oddly, mankind seems to prefer the former.
I have a lot of "wow" or "ah-Haa" Moments on this blog, and reading Denvers books. Here is one, This quote from this posting confirms everything I have been working on for a long, long time......ReplyDelete
"For one, to "repent" is to return to God's presence, for the other "repent" is to satisfy institutional demands and surrender to control by others"
I have been through years of struggles with various vices that are common to man, and I tried all of the philophies of Man available, and then some. I went on a Mission, and returned home with a desire to serve others. I wanted to help others, but looking back I was sucked into the institutional beliefs that actually brought on more pain and suffering. Mans cures will only make things worse, at least for me.
Everytime I struggled, I would feel this deep down impression to turn to God, and Trust his Promises. I usually understood that to go to counseling, go and make things right with the church, turn to a sponsor, turn to my support system, etc. I see how I was trusting in the arm of the flesh before I was trusting in the Lord. What I have learned is take everything to the Savior FIRST, and trust where HE sends (or doenst SEND) you.
I am still learning and repenting. I am sharing experience I have that relates to what is being said. I find that I am well served when I relate all scripture and Doctrine to me, and let the Spirit guide me in seeing past the traditions that can and do blind me and others.
So in summary, I am so grateful for coming awake again and being able to see what I have thus far. I realize that the traditions we have are a Iron Yoke (D&C 123:7-10) , and they permeate everything we think, feel, and sense. It is our duty to our wives(spouses) and our children to bring all of these things to light.
Hundreds or even thousands of times I have asked God to remove my weakness or make my weakness strong. I have confessed my whole inner life to Bishops. I have written searching and fearless moral inventories of my life and worked the 12 steps alone and with sponsors. I have seen psychiatrists and psychologists and did what they said. I have apparently not been able to do it good enough though because the weakness is still there. I am as weak now and the addiction/sin/whatever as strong as it was back in 1981 when I first tried to reform my life.
I dont usually read the comments here but this one for some reason. That is part of a journal entry I made a little over a year ago. Your post reminded me of it. I am through confessing to Bishops. Not that the expierence was bad but it didn't do any good either, that I can tell. I am through seeking sponsors for the same reason. Though I still try I can't find much hope that I will overcome this thing that has been with me since I was a child. I see the Grace of Christ as my single best/only hope. My understanding is that Christ has made His grace dependent on my grace. If I would be forgiven I must forgive. I still work the steps and write invertories. Now though I search mainly for resentments and hard feelings toward others. I strive to seek for charity toward all. I strive to admit what I am and have no pretense of righteousness because I am not righteous.
Anyway I wish you well in your journey.
Hi All, Let's take lusting after a woman as a prime example of an addiction of our times. Let's say lust is enjoying something without the approval or agency of the parties concerned. With a woman, enjoying the site of her body in a sexual way, and anything beyond that, requires the consent of the woman and the society to which she belongs, and to God. All three consents converge well enough in legal and lawful marriage. They converge even better in eternal marriage. They converge the best after covenant in eternal marriage is sealed by the Holy Spirit of Promise. When consent can't be reached in any of those categories, Jesus says to take up your cross. The cross is the last letter of the ancient alphabet. That means it is the end. Take up your cross until the end. That also means there will be an end to your suffering.ReplyDelete
You can take the approach of your eye being single to God's glory for any other addiction: What consent is being violated? Patience must have her perfect work. Is it drugs? Your body won't consent to chemical stimulations without you forcing it. The chemicals may be forbidden forever, but the stimulation may be welcome in the proper circumstances. Bear up your cross until the proper circumstances arrive. Often, as much as a person seeks the chemical perversion, they can have much more fulfillment when the proper circumstances are met, after the conditions of the cross and sacrifice have been paid to the full, every penny and every whit. Of course, how to get the Savior to pay that price for you...
Thank you for your thoughts. I think the miracle of having addictions (Natrual Man) and of my life is that I still believe in Christ, and know deep down it is worth every minute I have the Spirit with me. When I repent I return to Him. He still is calling, so I am still seeking Him. I have seen so many give up and give in to their addictions. Its so sad. I feel that the real failure in life is not the struggles with sin, but denying that Christ can and WILL take it from me. I am 40, and Have had these struggles most of my life. I know I have wanted to give up many times. Why dont I?
Christ has never "given up" on me, I feel I have no Right to give up on HIM. Age doesnt matter, not in the eternities.
Also, I dont give up cause IF I give up and deny Him, I pass on much more sin and pain to my wife, my kids, my brothers, to friends, and to Christ.
I know How Painful it is to struggle and be told you are not trying hard enough, or maybe you are not being honest with self, or..etc, etc.
But I know in whom I have trusted. I honor Him, and I know he will Honor me in His time. He promised me He would (Spirit just confirmed taht to me).
Thanks again Tim, Keep up the Good Fight, and keep the Faith.
When it comes to true repentance and change, one thing that "works" for me, every time, is to discuss openly, frankly, and completely any struggle I may be having--with God. I say things to Him I would not dare say to my mother. My mother would freak out; God knows my heart and understands I am seeking to forsake sins and do not always know how to do so. My confession is an honest recognition that I am at a crossroad. I am striving to repent and God has covenanted with me, because of my faith in Christ, my repentance or striving mightily to forsake sin and to overcome darkness, that He will send His Spirit to teach me more perfectly regarding my struggle. It seems in those moments, Christ's atonement enables at least two things for me. First, a power over the sin in the moment (this occurs every time I ask), and second, through Him who satisfied the demands of justice, the Holy Ghost comes to me and instruct me more perfectly and very specific to where I am at with a particular sin. For example, if I spank my children and feel unclean when I do so, but do not know better; then when I feel a knee-jerk reaction to spank a child, I pray and ask if it is the best course. Very rarely am I told to proceed with the spanking, although once I was. At all other times I receive thoughts that are filled with superior intelligence to what I possessed previously. When I act on that intelligence, great teaching moments occur with my children that bind them to me and God more firmly.ReplyDelete
If I pause sufficiently and ask I am taught in the moment how to lead through superior intelligence and in a manner that is clean and acceptable to God. By this manner the gospel has helped me truly change. It is all through the merits of Christ and a willingness on my part to recognize that my present course is false and incorrect and to then seek and expect the promise of the covenant to help me. I know of no other way to truly change.
Great comments. I agree with you. Only when we finally rely soly on Heavenly Father for our answers & help, whether from Scriptures, Prophets words or personal revelation, will we find all the powerful solutions that really work.
Hopefully, if you are married, your wife can help you by being your constant companion throughout the day to help you be strong & overcome any weaknesses. For it is not good for man to be alone, at all. Married people should be like missionary companions, never out of each other's site. Unless maybe for a Church calling. I know that presents a huge dilemma when men have to earn a living, but they used to do it out on the back 40 or in a workshop near the house. 'The ideal' is still the only way to solve our modern problems. Somehow we must get back to 'doing everything together' side by side, if we are going to overcome the evils of this day. You need your helpmeets help to overcome these things & she needs your help to overcome her issues.
This was a great post Denver.
I really like what you said in your book, 'Second Comforter', something to the effect, even if everyone in the whole world is breaking their covenants, you keep yours. That is so right. And unfortunately today it does seem like everyone is breaking their covenants, or at least not taking them seriously.
Our covenants, including our marriage covenants, are worth more to us than our life. We should never break them for any reason, even if our spouse does.
But unfortunately Joseph Fielding Smith said that the sacredness for our covenants, especially marriage, has been 'entirely lost' in the Church.
The most common way we go beyond the mark is to take a commandment as excuse for TOTALLY ANNIHILATING a God-given passion. We reject God by so doing as opposed to learning how to bridle them. Some temptations are merely passions trying to go beyond their current authorized use. It takes light and knowledge to contain them in the bounds, not unnecessary fear, oppression, or annihilation. If someone doesn't have the light to contain the passion, then temporarily suppressing their passions is better than committing the sin, as Jesus said some men make themselves eunuchs for the kingdom of God's sake, but please don't preach that others must be eunuch's, too. In fact, don't preach at all until you have the light to contain the passion, and allow your passion to be restored in the right bounds. Too many LDS oppress others because they are immature. I have done that myself for a long time stint as a wicked Alma the Younger (see Doug's recent post around here). Do we want a world full of impotent eunuchs?ReplyDelete
How JDS described confession is an essential element of repentance.ReplyDelete
The intelligence that is communicated to help during a trial is rooted in specific doctrine that can be applied to any situation as principles. The astute student can learn these principles and apply them more effectively each time. The mystery of how the intelligence works must be learned in order for repentance to bear the fruit of baptism. That intelligence and communication must be sought upon the same principles for learning higher things beyond how to avoid sin. This is what turns a sinner into a seer.
While I, as well as my children, benefit minute-by-minute each day because of my wife, who is a noble helpmate, I have never found that she can receive the change of heart for me on any issue, nor can she receive the customized instruction that I must receive from the Holy Ghost in order that I might learn and progress in a very customized manner.ReplyDelete
Denver has said recently that no person or institution can come between us and God when it comes to our personal Salvation, that we are responsible for it entirely. It has always been my understanding that if I am to be saved, it is on my shoulders and not upon my spouses shoulders. I alone must forsake my sins and come unto Christ.
Denver, does the marriage covenant provide the opportunity for a faithful spouse, to essentially save an unfaithful spouse. For example, can a faithful wife get through the veil, be redeemed of Christ, enter God's presence, be ordained to the patriarchal priesthood and then seal up her family to her, even if the spouse forsakes her and takes up life with another woman?
I know what I have always believed; however, I'm appreciating more by the minute that it never matters so much what I believe as it matters what is light and truth. This is an important topic to both men and women who dearly love and pray for wandering spouses. What hope do such people have and is there a limit to that hope?
When reading Beloved Enos recently, I was impressed that the popular teaching in the church, which implies that I can seal up all my children to me, regardless of how they live their life, is false doctrine, in that I would never seal up anyone who God Himself would not seal up, or in other words, I would not use the sealing power to seal up a rebellious person, unless God himself would do so.
Can true love for a wandering and unfaithful spouse be overcome when the faithful spouse maintains his/her covenant--does not date again, does not remarry, and focuses solely on his/her children and wandering spouse, and their eventual exaltation?
This is such an important question. Thank you for your consideration.
JDS, my two cents on that one is that a vision of D&C 76 is prepared especially to answer that deep human longing for wayward loved ones, and that it must be seen to adequately find the peace. The way we teach the 3 degrees of glory now hasn't seemed to heal that problem yet or answer that question as it should.ReplyDelete
Here is our (my wifes and I) experience.
While I was out acting out my addictions(overnight), my wife would plead for my soul. I could tell the difference when she did and when she did not.
So, does that mean she can force me? No. But her agency and her righteousness can and did have much INFLUENCE.
Christ had a intercessory prayer for us. My wife interceed at times asking to give me a chance (still agency) to bring me back and repent.
She made the choice several times to stay, even though the Spirit said she was Justified if she left. BUT, she also knew our eternal lives would not be the same, including hers.
I also understand intercessory prayer. I had come back from a bing, and this was only a few years ago as I had been doing well for some time, and her Spiritual Heart had died. If you have not felt someones heart die or seen the light go out, you may not understand, but i could feel it.
I was shown through the Spirit what was happening to her, and I was horrified.I will not be able to express what I went through here, but I knew that her and my soul, and the souls of my children (and on down) were in eternal Hell.
In the time of Prayer that followed, I gained insight into Gethsamne, and into Intercessory Prayer.
I know Christ redeems us. I also known how a righteouns spouse can make a difference, I have lived both sides of it.
We are still seeking Him, and all of these experiences has lent to great spiritual sight in all ways.
Thanks ALL for this Thread.
This is why this blog is the first one I read each day.ReplyDelete
I've mentioned this before, but I think it's worth repeating.ReplyDelete
It's amazing the power (or influence) of one word: repent. There is quite a linguistic history of this one word. It comes from French penitire (to regret), from the Latin poenitire (make sorry), and poene (pain, punishment, penalty). Some say that it was used when translating to keep "the masses" in constant subjection to the (Catholic) Church. Back in the day, you could pull out your purse and "pay" for sins, or you could do penitence (self punishment) by whipping yourself or whatever. It's interesting how these "negative" Gentile definitions have worked their way into how view repentance today.
Contrast that with the word used in the Greek translation of the Bible: Metanoia (meta meaning change or turn, as in metamorphosis; and noia meaning mind or heart, as in paranoia). The Greek term for repentance, metanoia, denotes a change of mind, a reorientation, a fundamental transformation of outlook, of an individual's vision of the world and of her/himself, and a new way of loving others and the Universe. It involves, not mere regret of past evil but a recognition by a person of a darkened vision of her/his own condition, in which sin, by separating her/him from Deity, has reduced her/him to a divided, autonomous existence, depriving her/him of both her/his natural glory and freedom.
There is also an Aramaic version of repentance: tubu. It means return or come home.
Thank you Brian for your thoughts on Intercessory Prayer. I have thought of Intercessory prayer often from very challenging conversations I have enjoyed with anonymous, as well as from Denver's writings on this subject as He describes the Code of Conduct in The Second Comforter, as well as from Christ's own teachings regarding how to become children of God in The Sermon on the Mount.ReplyDelete
I can see how Christ's intercession for us is a complete act of grace, as have been your wife's prayers in your behalf Brian, and the prayers and faith of all who pray in behalf of others. The prayers of Alma the Elder resulted in a life-changing experience for Alma the Younger. To Alma the Younger's credit, his father's act of charity led to his choosing to forsake his sins and follow Christ.
I can see that no one who has the desire, the will, and the faith to continue to intercede in behalf of another should ever be discouraged from doing so; quite the opposite, we should follow their examples. Ultimately, the fortunate recipients of such acts of charity must still work out their salvation between them and God, just as Alma the Younger or Paul did. Both made remarkable changes and were firm in those changes. So must we and all other recipients of charity and so must we maintain hope they will as we intercede in their behalf.
My son is repenting after his mother and father lost all influence, except for the Intercessory Prayers we never stopped offering in his behalf. Very specific intercessory prayers were answered in the very manner we asked. I'll never forget the day a few months back when he put his arm around my shoulders and said, "Dad, come with me to the Bishop's office, I have something to say." I feared many things, because of his lifestyle, but he calmly said, "I have three things to say; first, I have come to see my life for what it is and I don't like the direction I am headed; second, I want to receive a patriarchal blessing; and third, I want to qualify to serve a mission." Just three days earlier he saddled up next to the Bishop at a school play for his younger brother--while holding a cappecino.
The Intercessory Prayers continue in his behalf as he encounters the speed-bumps of conversion, yet he continues to navigate them.
A friend and I shared a thought this morning. Have each of us who are here not been "called out" as it were and "invited" to become a member of the Church of the Firstborn or the Lamb of God and to do so now. I've come to see this as far more than an interesting Blog, but is an invitation to me personally right now. We have work to do and must be about doing it; but first, we must be adequately prepared. We must receive Christ, become members of His church and receive all else He has in store for us.
Denver, thank you for interceding in my behalf. I'm going away for awhile to fast, study, ponder and pray. I look forward to catching up when I return.
Brilliant Doug! That correct definition should be the standard by which anyone interprets what I've ever said about repentance, if I've said anything worth saying. I could be taken out of context if viewed from the lens of the Catholic definition.ReplyDelete