Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Alma 13:3

"And this is the manner after which they were ordained—being called and prepared from the foundation of the world according to the foreknowledge of God, on account of their exceeding faith and good works; in the first place being left to choose good or evil; therefore they having chosen good, and exercising exceedingly great faith, are called with a holy calling, yea, with that holy calling which was prepared with, and according to, a preparatory redemption for such."

It is too much!  Too great of words for men to possess! Consider what they refer us to.

Called and prepared FIRST! From the foundation of the world!

So here priesthood has its beginning before this world even was organized.  There is a necessary link between those hallowed days and power here. No person has authority here unless it was first obtained there.

How was it obtained first - before the foundation of the world?

It was because of the foreknowledge of God. And what was God's foreknowledge based upon? Their "exceeding faith and good works!"

How can a person have "faith" when they stand in the presence of God? Do they now have knowledge? This was before the mortal estate, right?  If so, then how can there be faith? What good works were involved?

Then, too, the "faith" and the "good works" were done as a result of the person having been "left to choose between good and evil."  Now this is surprising! You mean that before Adam partook of the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil (i.e., before the foundation of the world) that some people had already obtained a knowledge of good and evil, been tempted, exhibited good works and acquired faith?  How so?  When and where did they do that?  What does that tell us about them?  Is this why Joseph said there were "sons of God who exalted themselves to be gods before the world was made?"  (TPJS p. 375.)  When and where and how did they do this?  And was this required for any person to be able to claim they now have priestly authority here?  Or is it only those who have the "holy order after the Son of God?"  Is there something about these men's "holy calling" that distinguishes them from others here?  If so, what is it?  Who are these men?  Are they always going to be from unlikely sources and places, so that people can know how to recognize the Lord?

Then, too, we have them in a class of people who had been through a "preparatory redemption" already. What does that mean? What does it imply?  How did they qualifiy?  How long have these souls been working on the process of redemption and thereby qualify through their faith and good works to hold authority in this estate?  Who are they?

Oh, now my head is spinning.  Can this doctrine really be true?  Why do we know so little about it?  Why did Joseph talk about it, but we have simply nothing to add?  Indeed, we deny it exists..... why is that?

This is certainly an interesting chapter.  Fearsome and interesting.  What a threatening, terrible, majestic, holy and challenging book this Book of Mormon turns out to be after all.


  1. Thank you for helping to "raise the bar." Recently a friend who works in the missionary department shared a problem missionaries are experiencing worldwide. They seek out and find scattered Israel; they teach the "Preach My Gospel" discussions, yet scattered Israel is saying, "I already serve my neighbors, my community, and my church; I already believe in being good and kind always; why then do I need to join your church?" It seemed that he believed the problem lies with scattered Israel rather than with the church.

    There are really good people out there who are filled with the spirit of truth and live according to that spirit. I proposed the idea that unless Israel's light far exceeds scattered Israel's light, we will not be very attractive to scattered Israel. I suggested there exists a dire need to "raise the bar" and to come out from under condemnation as a church.

    Christ prophesied of those who would follow Him who would raise the dead, heal the sick, cause the blind to see, who would walk on water, cause rivers to move out of their courses, or mountains to flee, and who would do all things He did and even greater. I asked my friend if he knew of anyone in the church today who fulfills this prophecy, or if we consider this prophecy to be a folk tale or a feel-good story. We might well ask ourselves the same questions Joseph Smith asked the Father as he was seeking truth and we may hear the Father say about LDS Today, "They draw near unto me with their lips, yet their hearts are far from me and they deny the power thereof." Who truly possesses the power of the priesthood today? Very few.

    Finally I suggested that until we truly "raise the bar" and go over that bar ourselves and teach others to do the same, our power to attract scattered Israel will be severely limited by our anemic state.

    I believe we must readjust our hope, beliefs, and applied faith sufficiently that the norm is to become the very people Christ spoke of. Thank you for leading a discussion to this end.

    I'm enjoying a re-read of the Second Comforter and am taking copious notes, seeking to better raise the bar in my own life. I so much appreciate this book.

  2. The only real reason to become LDS is doctrine. If we don't offer doctrine which will save, then we are just another church.

    We are de-emphasizing doctrine at our peril. Eventually people will just drift away. Every one of us will drift away in search of doctrine which will save us.

    The whole "public relations" effort is a profound waste of time and resources. It is taking us downward in every meaningful way. It will continue to do so until we rediscover doctrine and begin to proclaim the truth again.

  3. Amen Denver. I see some small hopeful signs. In general, I think Preach My Gospel is a first good step to let missionaries teach more by the spirit, but it utterly fails if we don't have missionaries that know the doctrine it how to teach in this way.

    Doctrine feeds, inspirational garbage falsely fills the belly, but starves the soul.

  4. Doctrine. True Fellowship. Light. Freedom. Agency. The Church is struggling with having "the Power" to Attract others. But many "institutions" are going through this same process of losing its Power that they were founded on (God/Christ) and turning to regulation and traditions. I said in a earlier post that I have seen the same processes happen in Alcoholics Anonymous and LDS Recovery, Where we replace God for the Institution, and stay to "safe" discussions. I heard in AA a man stand up and say "all we need is the BIG BOOK (the standard script for AA), we have all we will ever have." I laughed to myself as it was the same Spirit as talked about in the Book of Mormon (2 Nephi 29:3-10). AA even has a Tradition of Attraction, NOT Promotion.

    I was grateful to be a part of the EARLY days of LDS Recovery. It was great then, makes me glad to have been part of it. We (all the wonderful brother and sisters I served with) were blessed to see many miracles, daily. I saw many people change and be healed, Physically and Spiritually. The workings of the Spirit were common then, and it was powerful. My wife and I were blessed to speak about our experiences in Sacrament meetings(1999-2001). It was interesting to see how many would come up after and thank God and the Church for finally allowing us to speak about real stuff. They would express how alone they felt at church, and hungry for something TRUE and REAL.

    Now they call people to many of the positions that dont have "the Light" and the experience.


    Just Cause you have the official tag doesnt give you the POWER needed.

    OK, Rambling again.

    Thanks Denver and everyone here for True doctrine, it stirs my soul.

  5. I was told that the greatest thing about our Church was it's power to seal families together. That is the greatest thing we came to earth to achieve. But I do agree that it takes correct doctrine to help people be worthy of eternal families & sealings.

    But even if correct doctrine is not preached from our Church or ever from any Church, anyone in the world can still receive all they ever need to know to become exalted through the Spirit & personal revelation. And if they live up to the light they receive they can always be sealed in the next life to their spouse & children if they didn't get the chance to here.

    So actually it is possible to achieve Exaltation without any Church at all on the earth, as long as we are as righeous as we know to be, until we receive more on the other side.

    Isn't it wonderful that Heavenly Father did not make our Exaltation & ability to gain light & truth dependant on anyone on earth!

    So that means that anyone who falls away from the Church because the Prophets don't preach certain truths anymore, as I agree they don't, can only blame themselves for not receiving it from the Spirit instead.

  6. Denver,
    Will you keep going? I may not have the answers, and I cannot spew forth cross references and quotes, but the mind joggling is good for me. Really do wish you could teach a class.

  7. Think this is appropriate to add to the discussion in talking about who these people (if we can call them that) are:

    "Wherefore, all things are theirs, whether LIFE OR DEATH, or things present, or things to come, all are theirs and they are Christ’s, and Christ is God’s."

    Denver, perhaps you could indulge me here. In reading these passages I'm reminded of those who purposefully come down here to earth, choosing death, to bring us to salvation's doors, or try to at least. Joseph alluded to this, Alma certainly talks about this later in the Book of Alma, and so do many other verses (i.e. Abraham, etc). My question is, and I realize you already posed it, but perhaps you could elaborate a little for me.

    What about their "holy calling" truly distinguishes them? Who are these men today? I, unfortunately, don't see them. That may be my lack of discernment, or perhaps looking beyond where I should be. It actually reminds me of the story of the great Maasaw and the old Hopi (and Navajo) mythology about the clans, their "four migrations," etc., at least insofar as the Maasaw person is discussed. Sort of. Kind of a stretch, actually, but a fun story nonetheless.

    Anyway, any further discussion you could provide would be greatly appreciated, though I've never been fond of the Socratic method and would much rather prefer a conversation, but such is the medium you present.

  8. So, I have read and re-read the verse a kazillion times. So, even though we stood in the presence of God (knowledge) the thing that we needed to have faith in was the plan...coming to earth...we hadn't experienced it yet, so we had to exercise our faith. We were left to consider the plan...to think it out...and to choose...Satan using his thoughts and lack of faith saying that it was too hard...we needed to make sure that everyone would make it back...we were tempted to follow this alternate plan. But there were those who stepped forward and valiantly defended our Father's plan...I am sure showing forth good works by speaking and teaching others to stay true to the plan and fighting valiantly to defend it. Then God, seeing their determination and valiance knew that these were the ones he could depend on here on earth and called or foreordained them to such. A calling can only be made holy by one who is holy. Who are they specifically? I don't know...the prophets to be sure, but is anyone who is ordained to the priesthood here part of that godly group? I don't know. Preparatory redemption? The only one that can redeem us is Christ....is the preparatory redemption simply Christ stepping forward saying that he will redeem us, and promising to those who by their exceeding faith and good works, that they surely would be redeemed? I know, pretty shallow comment, but I am trying.

    Denver, do you still hold out that your top list of books is: Scriptures (duh), Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, Lectures on Faith, Words of Joseph Smith, Approaching Zion, and The Second Comforter? I really need to get some of these...where can I find Words of Joseph Smith?

  9. WJS is out or print. Go to amazon.com or ebay or used book stores to find a used one. I found one for $135 in new condition... they normally run $200+. Be sure to read other church history research books and BYU thesis' by Andrew Ehat and Lyndon Cook. Also a must read is Joseph Smith's Quorum of the Anointed. I like Gileadi's "Isaiah Decoded" and his old book "The Book of Isaiah" which is no longer printed, but you can find used. Compare Isaiah and BOM teachings which fore warn us of our own day.

    I like early church publications and historical research on early church history.

    Other good books I like:

    Journal of Discourses (must read!)
    Joseph Smith: Rough Stone Rolling
    Intimate Chronicles - Journals of William Clayton
    Books by BH Roberts
    Life of Heber C Kimball by Orson F Whitney
    Waiting for Worlds End - Journals of W Woodruff
    Books on Zion by current LDS author John Pontius
    Women of Mormondom - old church published book still reprinted.
    Enoch the Prophet by Nibley and other lost books of Enoch.
    Nag Hammadi scriptures
    Dead Sea Scrolls
    Apochrypha books of old and new testaments.

    Also interesting is research books by Ogden Kraut, Fred Collier, etc. The fundamentalists also publish some old church publications that are hard to find.

    There are plenty of online docs for free as well.

    Seek truth and knowledge with real intent, and I know the Lord will come thru for us.

  10. I just read through The Adamic Language and Calendar. Very compelling. This guy could very well be the Aaronic Priesthood counterpart to Denver's Melchizedek Priesthood teachings. If my vote counts for anything, I give it a thumbs up. I hate reading fluff and was skeptical at first, but I was pleasantly surprised. http://www.amazon.com/Adamic-Language-Calendar-True-Bible/dp/1441581979/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1276206739&sr=8-1

    I would add www.johnpratt.com Both Brother Pratt and Brother Cohen I would say have commissions on an Aaronic level of power, if there is such a commission. Would love to hear your take on these two writers, Denver.

  11. Look at this amazing offer for the Words of Joseph Smith on CD-Rom or as a download with a zillion other JS books on it too:


    About $19.95.

    I was just looking for it on the internet.


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