Saturday, June 12, 2010

Alma 13:12

"Now they, after being sanctified by the Holy Ghost, having their garments made white, being pure and spotless before God, could not look upon sin save it were with abhorrence; and there were many, exceedingly great many, who were made pure and entered into the rest of the Lord their God."
If the earlier verse were not clear enough, the point is reiterated again here.  These people are "sanctified by the Holy Ghost" as a result of "having their garments made white." They are "pure and spotless before God!"
This is the reason they can enter His presence.  He has accepted them because just like Him, they are without sin. They were not perfected by their own acts. The earlier reference to their repentance makes that clear. They become pure and spotless before God because they have done what was asked of them to become clean. They have repented.
Now, measure the effects of their repentance.  It has been so complete, so heartfelt, and deeply prized that they "could not look upon sin save it were with abhorrence." It is this notion that underlies the mistaken idea that once someone's calling and election has been made sure they are required to suffer for their own sins, because they have knowledge they are redeemed.  This is a twisted view, designed by the adversary to discourage those who might otherwise seek and find.

It is not that the atonement ceases to operate for the redeemed. The atonement continues to cover the on-going sins of these redeemed souls which arise from their foolishness, mistakes, errors of comprehension, and the things they don't understand yet. Christ does not require them to do what they don't know is a requirement yet. As the gentle and kind Lord, He will forgive all they do that is wrong, while He reveals through greater light and knowledge a higher path.  As He unfolds to their understanding more light, they can measure their conduct according to that greater light.
As they gain greater truth and light they see things how they really are.  Right and wrong are seen differently. What once was "right" is now wrong as greater light and truth is received.  What was once "wrong" is now seen clearly, without all the errors of understanding held before. 
The spotlessness is because their heart is right. They WANT to please their Lord. They WANT to be like Him. Sin is not tempting because it is contrary to Him whom they love.
The abhorrence they feel at sin is not within them.  It is not the temptations they struggle against. That is not the meaning at all.  It is what they see all about them. The lost souls are the object of their compassion and care. They WANT to have others redeemed and saved from this lost and fallen world. The fruit they tasted is something they desire to share. They WANT many, an exceeding many, to share with them in the hope that can be won by repentance.

They would shout "flee from Babylon" if they thought it would do any good. But shouting does no good among a darkened and benighted people. They may speak the words of an angel to others, but it is up to others to decide whether they will listen. It will be a still, small, quiet pleading they make to others. Within their entreaties will be found the Master's words.
Many may claim to speak in His name, but only these few have the ability to speak with His approval. These are holy men, possessing words of eternal life. In them will be found truths that come from eternity and that will save to all eternity.
Only a few will listen. That won't detract from the power of the message delivered by those who are after the holy order of the Son of God, for their words can save any who will listen.
What an interesting chapter we have found here. And we are only a dozen verses into it!  We should press on.


  1. Yes, please press on. This one made me cry. How great is the mercy and compassion and love of the Lord!

  2. Denver, is there some reason why you always exclude women from those who might have had this sanctification?

    I noticed in your Ten Parables book, it was always "men", "a man", etc., etc. ad nauseum.

    To use exclusionary language turns me totally off what might be a most efficacious blog.

  3. Yes, lets. I feel close, but I have some purifying to do for sure. But it is my "desire" to feel these feelings and to do this work so it will be in the Lord's time and I am at peace with that. And I feel encouraged and as hopeful as ever. I know I am close..... so close..... and with determination and open heart I will press on. I know I am close because even though I have peace more often then not I also feel a great sense of insecurity because I know I am stepping into my unknown. To me this is a good sign.

  4. Ms. Anonymous…it’s because we are ‘under the men’, ‘obedient to the men,’ a ‘helpmeet.’ We’re here to help ‘them’ meet ‘their’ potential. And just so we don’t get our noses too out of joint, occasionally they’ll give their condescending talks about how special a woman’s role is. Aarrgh!!!!!! This is something I’ve struggled with since I was a young teenager!

    And yet, would you believe. I love and worship and have faith in God. Somehow, years ago, before I would even consider worshiping and following God, He let me know that we are valued and loved by Him as much as His sons. It was at that point that I let myself learn of and follow Him. It is sooo hard for me sometimes and yet I have to trust that He truly is no respecter of persons, that He truly is full of equity – without which He would cease to be God.

    Men, you don’t realize the great extra challenge we women carry in this church. (Not all women, to be sure; many of my sisters and friends don’t seem to struggle with this.) What if everything in the scriptures referred to ‘women?’ What if the order of everything put your gender in 2nd place? Can you, even just a little, understand how we must humble ourselves – even more then you – to willingly follow such a plan? Can you imagine what it is like to ‘cover your face,’ submit, stand in 2nd place – especially in today’s world, (where we don’t have to), where women have emerged (seemingly) from oppression?

    At the same time, I am so ashamed at how the female population today thinks it is okay to bash and belittle men and I have fiercely taught against that. I firmly believe that women are treated with more regard by the good men in this church then anywhere in the world. I look at the men who sit in the chairs at the head of our ward each Sunday with great love and feel that many of them would lay down their lives in our preservation. (I know my husband and sons would.) And yet, it is only with the firmest faith and HOPE and love in a God, whom has shown me, countless time, that He values and loves me, that I can continue to follow this path.

    You would never recognize me in a congregation. You would never know I struggle with these feelings. I have seven children, serve and strive to bring my husband a joyful life, and am very respectful to my priesthood leaders. It is all because I love the Lord. (And the Lord in His GREAT mercy, kindness and wisdom, blessed me with a husband who holds me in the highest esteem.)

    The problem is this fallen and blind world, filled with misunderstanding, in which we find ourselves; not, in God’s plan. Of this I have to have hope.

    The Weaker sex!

  5. As for me, I know that I have a long way to go! For me, I sense that the process and the changes that occur inside of heart.....are the most important thing of all.

  6. Anon 8:30pm... Maybe there are those who believe women cannot receive this santification? I know for a fact there are men who believe women are not "capable" (whatever that means) of becoming a son(child?) of perdition. I guess if that is true, it would seem they cannot achieve the opposite end of the spectrum either.

  7. See how quickly someone who is not prepared to understand what I am teaching manages to distract others. See how quickly some rise to the bait.

    The comment by the anonymous poster was put up by the comment moderator after first showing it to me. I wanted it up only to show how little some people comprehend these things, not to ask you to respond to charges of sexism. This is about sanctification and receiving the highest and holiest of messages. Not about sexism.

    Critics are everywhere. They will dog every message, criticize every thought, mock every truth. They occupy a necessary role. You mustn't give any heed to them. Nor must you exclude them. They are entitled to hear the truth, and to put their reaction on display for others to witness as well.

    All of that is good, even desirable. To allow them to distract you from your purpose is to become snared. Don't do that.

    What I have to say will not be affected by such comments. But if those who have actually read what I've written, and prepared themselves to understand the message are so easily distracted, then perhaps it would be best to speak of less important matters here.

    The comment was from someone who is not prepared to hear the message. So let the comment pass without any argument and stay on the much more important scriptural message.

  8. Denver, please don't let the distractionary statements make you stop....there are those of us who are hungry, grateful....and sitting on the back row, if you know what I mean.

  9. Wow, Denver…that response came as a bit of a shock. I’ve tried to look at my comment and see what made you feel that I was ‘taking the bait.’ I realize that it’s maybe because, at the end of the first paragraph I didn’t make the distinction that these are ‘misconceptions and perceived truths’ that I, and many women have to learn to see through.

    I know that you, personally, don’t believe those things. I know many men who don’t. I do, however, know many men who do believe these things. As a 16 year old, I had to listen to a seminary teacher expound several times that women’s whole existence was their focus on their husband and that all their thoughts were to him. While men, on the other hand, needed several women to fulfill them. (I am not making this up!) I wouldn’t go back the next year and didn’t attend any seminary as a Senior. Also, while my dad was a gentle and great man, he was a chauvinist. (ie, thinking it was a waste for girls to get any higher education.) Also, I had to listen to a brother who is a brilliant surgeon, ‘prove’ that men are superior because, in his words, ‘where are all the great women composers, artists, scientist’ and on and on. So, while many of you have not had these stumbling blocks to climb over and get to the bottom of, I have. And, I know many other women have too. I was attempting to bare testimony to “anonymous” that I know that God holds us in equal regard with His sons and that I have had to come to that knowledge so that I can get past the apparent inequality that is sometimes apparent in our church/world. (When I read anonymous comment, I felt like I could so understand what she was feeling. I wanted to reassure her. Obviously I did a poor job. But, I guess it doesn’t matter since it wasn’t real.)

    Coming from where I’ve come from, and recognizing the truth and God’s love for His daughters, when I was once so angry about it all, has actually made me able to bare testimony often to other women who have felt like God doesn’t value them. Denver, while you are a great man and have been chosen by God to do a great work, maybe this is one area you can’t personally relate to.

    Also, I’m truly sorry to anyone who was offended by what I wrote. It was just, an apparently poorly written, but honest attempt to explain how I’ve overcome some of the hurdles placed in my path.

  10. The topic is not sex related. To bring up the notion of improper sexual domination of women by men, which is a sin, as part of this discussion is to change the subject.

    I agree with the issue. But it is not part of this discussion.

    If that is more important than understanding the doctrine contained in Alma 13, then perhaps that ought to become a separate line of posts. It certainly can. But it is off-topic here.

    Still, I've put up your comment.

    Your pain, your legitimate complaints, your experience with disappointing "priesthood" leaders are all relevant. But not in the context of discussing this doctrine of the holy order after the Son of God, with its attendant cleansing power. Unless, of course, it is as an example of how one fails to qualify. But the comment you made was not in that light.

  11. I recall a dream I enjoyed shortly after I returned from two glorious years as a missionary. To escape an army that had come into our community I had to cross a treacherous river in the dead of winter. I recall stepping into the river with a certainty that I would somehow cross it unharmed, and as I walked forward the flowing ice formed a bridge in front of me which allowed me to escape into the hills on the far side of the river.

    My life has been filled with such experiences and I finally am beginning to connect the dots and better understand how to bring the spiritual into the physical, or how I have done so in the past and why it has always been so true and faithful as I have done so. Thank you, thank you, thank you--Denver.


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