Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Belief becomes knowledge

The post I put up with an excerpt from Lecture 6 a bit ago was deliberately chosen as a foundation for what was put up a few days ago.  That Lecture included the fact that you "know" not merely "believe" that what you are doing is in conformity with God's will.  A person obtains "actual knowledge" that they are acting in conformity with God's will.

Kisi asked a question regarding the idea of being asked to do something you regard as "wrong" or perhaps even "evil," and how can a person avoid deception with such an idea.  The answer lies within the doctrine taught in Lecture 6.  You simply cannot proceed without knowing.  You cannot know without following the correct course.  You must make an acceptable sacrifice to obtain the knowledge.  Without making that sacrifice you cannot obtain that knowledge.  However, once you have possession of the actual knowledge, then it is not a matter of conjecture, or speculation, or desire, or "hope" as the world uses that term.  Rather it is an act in utter righteousness, in strict conformity with the will of God, whose will is known to the person because they have proceeded correctly in obtaining this knowledge.

To gain that knowledge a person keeps the commandments, pays their tithes, does everything they are asked to do to follow the will of God as understood by them.  Such a person will be "firm in their minds" and not weak minded or given to flights of fancy.  (Moroni 7: 30.)  They will have been qualified by the things which they have done in following God to possess this kind of knowledge.

The idea that a person would do something which they regard as "wrong" or to be "evil" is typified in the experience of Abraham (Gen. 22: 2) and Nephi (1 Ne. 4: 10.).  This is what the Lecture is talking about when it says:

"a religion that does not require the sacrifice of all things, never has power sufficient to produce the faith necessary unto life and salvation; for from the first existence of man, the faith necessary unto the enjoyment of life and salvation never could be obtained without the sacrifice of all earthly things; it was through this sacrifice, and this only, that God has ordained that men should enjoy eternal life; and it is through the medium of the sacrifice of all earthly things, that men do actually know that they are doing the things that are well pleasing in the sight of God."

Now I do not expect anyone to be asked to sacrifice their only child.  Nor to be told to kill someone and take their possession.  What I expect is that in the context of the life someone has lived or is living, they will be asked to do or not do something which is so specific to them that they alone will understand why it is a sacrifice to them.  If asked of another, it may be completely insignificant. But when asked of them, it will be exactly what the person will struggle to lay upon the Lord's altar.  Hence the term "sacrifice" with its partial meaning of parting with something involving great value to them.  However, it is not possible to rule anything in or out - the Lord alone will know you and what is required for you to obtain this faith.

The terms for obtaining this kind of faith are the same for every man or woman who has ever lived.  Without making the sacrifice it is not possible to obtain the faith.


  1. I've understood sacrifice as a law that works in harmony with obedience, such as sacrificing those things which stand in opposition to the truth one is seeking to obey.

    In this context, are you saying that certain sacrifices open the door to greater faith that is needed or required in our walk with Christ? I've not thought of sacrifice in this context before, even after having read the accounts you mentioned many times.

    I've always thought of it strictly as a requirement that works in tandem with obedience and that without sacrifice it is impossible to receive the blessings associated with obedience to principles of truth.

    I will have to ponder this further. Certainly, only by making the kind of sacrifices you speak of, have very specific blessings and increased faith come to me. I've just never made the connection in this way before.

    Thank You

  2. So...this faith...this power to act righteously when confronted with the choice of making such a sacrifice...produces the power to accomplish the Lord's will...or to act in His name? Perhaps this is the missing something Elder Packer was speaking about in his recent talk...

    "While the Priesthood is presently all over the world, we call on every Elder and High Priest, every holder of the Priesthood to stand, like Gideon's small but powerful force of 300, in his own place. We must now awaken in every Elder and High Priest, in every quorum and group, and in the father of every home the power of the priesthood of the Almighty."

    Such power will not come or be produced without faith, and that faith cannot be produced without SACRIFICE!!

    IS this what you mean?

  3. I am reading The Second Comforter right now. I have only just stumbled onto this website. I want to thank you Denver. I have been led to find your book in an answer to much prayer. I have come to this website everyday for the last two weeks and many times you have posted something that opens my understanding on issues I am currently struggling with and praying about.

    I have had a question come to me several times as I have read your book and blog. Obviously the vast majority of people that have lived on this earth have never received the Second Comforter. Even the vast majority of LDS church members have not. So I am wondering if a person lives their life in accordance to the gospel, keeping all covenants, searching the scriptures, praying etc... and they die without ever receiving the Second Comforter, will they be required to lay their own personal sacrifice on the alter in the life here after? Is it even possible to make a "sacrifice" in the life here after. Wouldn't it be a bit easier to sacrifice without the veil in place. Or is the veil still in place in different degrees in the life here after.

    It seems to me that we all will have to "earn" our audience with Christ, whether we do so here on earth or after death. Is that correct? If not it would just be easier to wait to see him on the otherside and not be required to make any "great sacrifice", but that goes against our having to prove ourselves in this life.

    You are right in that we will all know what our own greatest sacrifice to the Lord will be. I am well aware of what my greatest sacrifice to the Lord could be.... and I don't want to do it!

    But I will.

    I would love to hear any thoughts on the need or possibility of sacrificing after death.

  4. Years ago, I read C.S. Lewis's "The Great Divorce" and it was an eye opener, for me, in the way of understanding personal sacrifice. They are absolutely personal and another person may not even be able to comprehend why it was a sacrifice.

  5. The requirement for Exaltation is Eternal Marriage. To make our marriages 'eternal' they must be sealed by the Holy Spirit of Promise in this life.

    Thus, earning the Holy Spirit of Promise in our marriage is the test for Exaltation. We earn the Holy Spirit of Promise by keeping our marriage covenants to our spouse & having True Love, the kind that never ends or gives up on the other. True Love is the hardest thing we will ever do & requires the greatest of sacrifices.

    Marriage is designed to be one of the greatest of tests. For in most marriages, at least one spouse breaks their end of the covenant & does not love & serve the other as they promised. So it really tests the other spouse's True Love.

    But if you can maintain True Love for your spouse, no matter if they have True Love or not for you yet, you earn the Holy Spirit of Promise over your marriage & your marriage will be eternal & thus you earn Exaltation.

    No virtue is higher or harder to earn or takes more Christlike sacrifice than True Love (Charity) for our spouse. And if just one spouse has True Love it makes the marriage & family eternal. For eventually the other spouse will repent & follow suit, in this life or the next.

    It's a very simple concept. True Love brings Exaltation. Everyone can gain True Love in this life, by serving their spouse's wishes above all else. 'As you wish' = Exaltation.

  6. I'm striving to have no fear with this "sacrifice" principle. It is something that I have long understood and long wearied the Lord to be prepared for.

    In the last 2 years my wife and I have given up everything. We have been struggling and striving in the context of this principle. The choices we made looked wrong to many and felt wrong internally to us often along the path, but our course was set and our lives were/are in his hands. So forward we have rolled.

    Time has given way to great blessings. We bask in the joy we now have. We are resolute in giving up all. We are very happy, but there is an edge we seem to be at spiritually. I wonder is there more to sacrifice, there is always something else we could be asked to do put through, but I think we are in a good process place with the Lord's will and being willing to give up all. It is how we seek to live. We hold on to nothing as our own. It’s all his we are happy to do whatever whenever, though I claim no perfection in this process, just dedication to it. We feel very confident in it I could say, but we reflect and discuss how we are doing often with it as a couple.

    A question for you.. in your process in coming to know the Lord. Was it clear to you during this sacrifice that, as you speak about it, that "THIS" sacrifice was the "ONE" this was what was required to obtain the next level of spiritual knowledge or association with Christ? I mean was it perfectly orderly or did it become clear in retrospect what the Lord was doing?

    You know what is really cool? As I was writing this post asking this question, the Lord made it clear to me what I needed to do! :0) And I can do it! WOW! You know what is additionally cool? Is that I can see how the Lord will open the windows of heaven for me as I make the “the” sacrifice!

    Though I would still love to hear your experience Denver if you are inclined to share.

    Be well. Thanks!

  7. Just in connection with what I asked, would you say the process culminates in an sacrificial event, like it appears for Nephi and Abraham, or could it be a way of being, or could it just be different for different individuals?

  8. Ok Ok, I know I'm getting a little nutty with the questions and comments here, but I want to clarify and back peddle a bit so I don't feel pompous. Which then clarifies my question. :0)

    I know what sacrifice I need to make next in my life, to step closer toward the glory of the Lord. Is it you understanding that we should anticipate to know we are making the great and last sacrifice we need to make, to come personal association with our Savior? Did Abraham know it was his final sacrifice?

    Thanks. Sorry for being so have my process out there for all to see...


  9. I'd like to ask JR Morgan a question. You said, "In the last 2 years my wife and I have given up everything." Did you do that upon requests from the Lord, or on your own as a matter or principle, or how did that come about?


  10. p.s. I would like to also request the same thing that Chris requested in a comment after another post:


    (I didn't capitalize this to shout, but rather to help it to be visible. :)

  11. JR Morgan,

    If you research Jewish teachings and traditions about the trials of Abraham, you may be surprised to find that some Rabbis don't consider the binding of Isaac to be his final trial.

    The difference in A test and THE test is how it changes you. Are you afterward "a friend of God"? Have you given all you can give? Have you manifest to the Lord that unlike Ananias and Saphira, there is NOTHING you will hold back? Once you know that you have laid your whole self on the altar, you know that this particular trial is different. And that all other trials were leading to your Mt. Moriah.

    Life continues to happen but you live it differently and you see it differently. Trials became beautiful learning opportunities and life loses its turbulence. You are fundamentally changed.

  12. thx mercy. I am with you in spirit & prnciple.

    Kisi - we did it on request. We had choose a course in life, a place we wanted to settle down & live. The Lord had other plans. We gave up all in pursuit of his will, we could hold onto nothing. We gave up our home, the place we chose to live, our home ward, family ties, professional ambitions, personal space, I could even say my pride, or sense of dignity..

    But it was not really a sacrifice, because I am a better purer man and it is my ambition to give or do whateve the Lord would have me. I love him & I love feeling joy & peace more than anythig else.

  13. Keeping our covenants, especially our marriage covenants, must mean more to us than our life.

  14. OK, here's a question I would love to have some comments on: There is an ambiguity in this whole thing, no matter who is writing about it -- Joseph Smith in Lecture 6, or Denver, or any of you -- so far, at least. The ambiguity, and thus the question, is:

    Do you know with surety IN ADVANCE of doing some incredibly hard sacrifice that it is the Lord asking it of you, or do you come to know that it is His will AS you do it? If any of you think this is clear already in the writings, read them again with the eyes of someone who doesn't already know (i.e. me).

    It seems like Denver is saying that you gain the original knowledge and faith by doing the basics, such as paying tithing, keeping the commandments, etc. But the following quotes will show the ambiguity that I'm struggling with:

    "Lecture [6] included the fact that you "know" not merely "believe" that what you are doing is in conformity with God's will. A person obtains "actual knowledge" that they are acting in conformity with God's will. ... You simply cannot proceed without knowing. [And now the opposite concept:] You cannot know without following the correct course. You must make an acceptable sacrifice to obtain the knowledge. Without making that sacrifice you cannot obtain that knowledge."

    So, are you getting my problem here? You can't proceed without a sure knowledge, but you have to proceed to gain a sure knowledge.

    Perhaps the answer is that it depends. Sometimes it is one, sometimes the other, and sometimes a combination, but that He will always give you enough to proceed.

    Help, all you geniuses!

  15. I just have a question, you dont have to post this, and if it doesnt make sense, you dont have to answer it.
    Does everyone have to go through this "sacrifice" in life? Or is it something to come to at a point in your life when seeking further light and knowlegde?
    Let me give an example: I have a wonderful husband who is content with where he is at. He doesnt want/ or feels like he needs to put in the "work/sacrifice" in this life to see HF and JC in this life, or to learn anything else further from what he learns in chruch 3 hours a week. His response always is "I will learn that or see Them in heaven" so he doesnt feel the need or feel the drive to get further light and knowlegde here.
    So I am just wondering if there is a connection. Like Abraham and Nephi- these men are examples and wanting to learn MORE, And they are examples of men that went through that. So is the "sacrifice" that is required something they/us have to go through to get to the next step? and if someone doesnt want to get further L&K in this life (husband), will they still go through that?
    Long question. sorry...

  16. A General Authority from our little town held a private fireside once in his home to a small group & his subject was this, having your calling & election made sure. He said that you do not need to receive that blessing in this life to receive Exaltation. But he still counseled us to seek it.

    The more light & knowledge we receive here, the more advantage we will have in the next life. So I'm sure there are great blessings for having the obedience & making the sacrifices necessary to obtain that promise in this life.

    Also, Brigham Young talked about there being different levels of Exaltation, depending on the person's righteousness & desires. He basically said that some people will just rule a city, while others will rule a world.

  17. I love these comments. If ever anyone wonders if they should or shouldn't have asked a question, or put themselves or their experience out there for all to see....Here's one voice that enjoys and learns and values other peoples questions and experiences.

    The questions are all so unique it prompts a lot of thought I wouldn't have otherwise had.

    One thought I wanted to bring up again after reading all these awesome questions was what Denver said in a previous post. The process (not so much the answer) is everything.


What Say You?