Monday, November 9, 2009

God Never Commands Killing

I know, I know. A very controversial topic. =)

My whole relationship with God was tranformed when I learned this truth. I hope that by sharing it with you it will strengthen your relationship with him, too. This can only be learned through the Spirit. I offer only pointers that can help you on your journey of discovery.

God never commands his children to murder eachother. Now, I am not saying there aren't times when it isn't reasonable or justified. What I am saying is that the Eternal Father does not command it.

I believe that all the stories of "God commanded killings" are either to be understood symbolicly and/or stories of people who are not One with God.

I'd like to start by looking at the story of Nephi and Laban. This story is actually one of the least offensive because we are dealing with a man who reportedly is wicked and tried to kill Nephi and his brothers. The reason I want to start with this story is because I believe we have strong evidence that it was not commanded by God.

The account is in 1 Nephi 3-4.

We have Lehi tell his sons to go and get the brass plates from Laban back in Jerusalem. The brothers return and draw lots. Laman goes and asks Laban for the plates. Laban calls him a thief and tells his gaurds to kill him. Laman gets away and returns to his brothers.
Next, the brothers all go to their estate and get everything worth money to attempt to purchase the plates. Laban is greedy and takes their stuff and orders his gaurds to kill them. Again, the brothers escape and hide.

Nephi decides to go back to Jerusalem alone. He records that he believes the Lord will help him obey this command (to get the plates). He compares Laban to the Egyptians.

1 Nephi 4:6 And I was led by the Spirit, not knowing beforehand the things which I should do.
7 Nevertheless I went forth, and as I came near unto the house of Laban I beheld a man, and he had fallen to the earth before me, for he was
drunken with wine.
8 And when I came to him I found that it was Laban.
9 And I beheld his
sword, and I drew it forth from the sheath thereof; and the hilt thereof was of pure gold, and the workmanship thereof was exceedingly fine, and I saw that the blade thereof was of the most precious steel.
10 And it came to pass that I was
constrained by the Spirit that I should kill Laban; but I said in my heart: Never at any time have I shed the blood of man. And I shrunk and would that I might not slay him.
11 And the Spirit said unto me again: Behold the
Lord hath delivered him into thy hands. Yea, and I also knew that he had sought to take away mine own life; yea, and he would not hearken unto the commandments of the Lord; and he also had taken away our property.
12 And it came to pass that the Spirit said unto me again: Slay him, for the Lord hath delivered him into thy hands;
13 Behold the Lord
slayeth the wicked to bring forth his righteous purposes. It is better that one man should perish than that a nation should dwindle and perish in unbelief.
14 And now, when I, Nephi, had heard these words, I remembered the words of the Lord which he spake unto me in the wilderness, saying that:
Inasmuch as thy seed shall keep my commandments, they shall prosper in the land of promise.
15 Yea, and I also thought that they could not keep the commandments of the Lord according to the
law of Moses, save they should have the law.
16 And I also knew that the
law was engraven upon the plates of brass.
17 And again, I knew that the Lord had delivered Laban into my hands for this cause—that I might obtain the records according to his commandments.
18 Therefore I did obey the voice of the Spirit, and took Laban by the hair of the head, and I smote off his head with his own
19 And after I had smitten off his head with his own sword, I took the garments of Laban and put them upon mine own body; yea, even every whit; and I did gird on his armor about my loins.

There are a few oddities in this account. First, Nephi picks up and admires Laban's sword. Laban is passed out and now unarmed. Laban is not a threat.
The "still small voice" tells Nephi he should kill Laban. Nephi hesitates and then goes through the justification process in his mind. One of the reasons he uses is that his people need the law/commandments or they will dwindle in unbelief. Nephi is breaking 3 commandments to secure the plates. So how important are the commandments? It appears that following anything the Spirit says trumps them. That makes this an unreasonable justification.

The other problem with this idea is that God could easily have Nephi write the law himself. We believe in revelation and inspiration, so this can easily be remedied.

He also can't know that his people will dwindle in unbelief or not. And, as history would have it, his people DO dwindle in unbelief even with the brass plates!

Nephi chops off Laban's head using the sword then he removes Laban's clothing and puts it on. The clothing would be drenched in blood. Ew!

There is absolutely no reason to believe that Nephi couldn't have stripped Laban and gotten the plates without killing him. Many will argue that Laban would have sent his men after Nephi and his people. Since we know that Nephi and his brothers were successful in getting away 2 other times this is not a valid arguement. It is also not valid if we believe that God can do anything.

I was reading another blog yesterday and it was pointed out that Nephi uses nearly the same wording and same reasoning for killing Laban as was used to put Jesus to death! Yikes! That seems a bit odd. Is Laban to be understood as a Christ symbol? Compare to verse 13 above.

John 11:49 And one of them, named Caiaphas, being the high priest that same year, said unto them, Ye know nothing at all,
50 Nor consider that it is expedient for us, that one man should
die for the people, and that the whole nation perish not.
51 And this spake he not of himself: but being high priest that year, he prophesied that Jesus should die for that nation;

Now, there are many scholars who have studied ancient culture and found parallels. I think that is neat, however it shows a cultural bias and does not make a case for a "God commanded" murder. Here is a paper by John W. Welch on the legal perspective of this slaying.

The problem for me is that they all use the 613 laws of Moses as their guide. We're told that many of these laws were given to the children of Isreal because of the hardness of their hearts (see Matt. 19:8).

We also have no evidence that the Nephite people used all the 613 laws of Moses. In fact, one could make a case that they didn't follow all of them. For sure, they didn't follow the ones that governed polygamy.

What do we know? We do know that they were governed by the 10 commandments. We also are told of another law given to Nephi in the Doctrine and Covenants.

D&C 98:23 Now, I speak unto you concerning your families—if men will smite you, or your families, once, and ye bear it patiently and revile not against them, neither seek revenge, ye shall be rewarded;
24 But if ye bear it not patiently, it shall be accounted unto you as being
meted out as a just measure unto you.
25 And again, if your enemy shall smite you the second time, and you revile not against your enemy, and bear it patiently, your reward shall be an
26 And again, if he shall smite you the third time, and ye bear it
patiently, your reward shall be doubled unto you four-fold;
27 And these three
testimonies shall stand against your enemy if he repent not, and shall not be blotted out.
28 And now, verily I say unto you, if that enemy shall escape my vengeance, that he be not brought into judgment before me, then ye shall see to it that ye
warn him in my name, that he come no more upon you, neither upon your family, even your children’s children unto the third and fourth generation.
29 And then, if he shall come upon you or your children, or your children’s children unto the third and fourth generation, I have delivered thine
enemy into thine hands;
30 And then if thou wilt spare him, thou shalt be rewarded for thy
righteousness; and also thy children and thy children’s children unto the third and fourth generation.
31 Nevertheless, thine enemy is in thine hands; and if thou rewardest him according to his works thou art justified; if he has sought thy life, and thy life is endangered by him, thine enemy is in thine hands and thou art justified.
32 Behold, this is the law I gave unto my servant Nephi, and thy
fathers, Joseph, and Jacob, and Isaac, and Abraham, and all mine ancient prophets and apostles.

God revealed this law that was given to Nephi through Joseph Smith. What does this law tell us about how to deal with our enemies? You must bear him coming upon you 3 times, forgiving him each time. Then, you must warn him in the name of Jesus Christ to leave you and your family alone. IF he comes upon you a FOURTH time, you may do what you wish. Killing is justified, but sparing him will be rewarded for righteousness.

1 Nephi 3:13 We have our first encounter with Laban. He tries to have Laman killed.

1 Nephi 3:25 We have our second attempt to get the plates-this time by purchasing them. Laban tries to have them killed.

1 Nephi 4 we have Nephi going alone to retrieve the plates. He does not warn Laban, since Laban is passed out. He kills Laban and uses deception to steal the plates.

Nephi did not follow this law as outlined in D&C 98. Laban only "came upon" Nephi and his brothers TWO times. Plus, there was no warning given.

The scriptures also give us a warning and a lesson regarding the whisperings of the Spirit.

Ether 4:11 But he that believeth these things which I have spoken, him will I visit with the manifestations of my Spirit, and he shall know and bear record. For because of my Spirit he shall know that these things are true; for it persuadeth men to do good.
12 And whatsoever thing persuadeth men to do good is of me; for
good cometh of none save it be of me. I am the same that leadeth men to all good; he that will not believe my words will not believe me—that I am; and he that will not believe me will not believe the Father who sent me. For behold, I am the Father, I am the light, and the life, and the truth of the world.

2 Nephi 15:20 Wo unto them that call evil good, and good evil, that put darkness for light, and light for darkness, that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!

There is nothing good about the shedding of blood. Any soldier will tell you that even justified killing has long lasting psychological consequences.

The sad part of the tale is that this was only the beginning of a culture of war and bloodshed. We are told that the very sword that beheaded Laban was then used as a model for the weapons of war the Nephites made to kill their Lamanite brothers (2 Nephi 5:14). The culture of violence continues throughout the rest of the BoM ending in the anihilation of the people.

That's all I've got on the Laban slaying. I may do a part two focused on some of the genocide of the Old Testament at another time.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

A Disturbing Thought about the Salvation of Little Children

I have been introduced to a disturbing new (to me) idea being held by at least a few LDS members, including leadership who come from well known Mormon stock.

It is the idea that children who die before they reach accountability WILL need to have baptism at some point during the Millennium. Either proxy or in their resurrected state.

Wow. I feel pretty strongly about this. I had no idea anyone in the church felt this way. I always took it for granted that we believe unaccountable people and children who die before 8 years old will be saved in the Celestial Kingdom without baptism.

I think the main contention of those who hold this belief is this:
1) ALL ordinances are required to be saved and there can be no exceptions.

People who believe this, I'm sure, also believe that these unaccountable people will have to become married or sealed in heaven, too. This is a seperate issue, but something that adds to the confusion over what is required for the Celestial Kingdom.

We all can read what the scriptures tell us are required for our salvation and eternal life. The doctrine is found in 3 Nephi 11.

The scriptures teach us that little children are alive in Christ and have no need of baptism. They are redeemed from the Fall since the foundation of the Earth. The Atonement fully covers them. What a glorious and wonderful truth!

Moroni 8 is one of the most clear chapters on this doctrine. It is entirely dedicated to the topic of the salvation of little children and unaccountable people. It has some harsh words for those who do not believe that little children are saved without baptism.

Moroni 8:8 Listen to the words of Christ, your Redeemer, your Lord and your God. Behold, I came into the world not to call the righteous but sinners to repentance; the whole need no physician, but they that are sick; wherefore, little children are whole, for they are not capable of committing sin; wherefore the curse of Adam is taken from them in me, that it hath no power over them; and the law of circumcision is done away in me.

Little children are WHOLE. They are not living under the curse of Adam, they are not capable of sin.

Moroni 8:10 Behold I say unto you that this thing shall ye teach—repentance and baptism unto those who are accountable and capable of committing sin; yea, teach parents that they must repent and be baptized, and humble themselves as their little children, and they shall all be saved with their little children.

11 And their little children need no repentance, neither baptism. Behold, baptism is unto repentance to the fulfilling the commandments unto the remission of sins.

12 But little children are alive in Christ, even from the foundation of the world; if not so, God is a partial God, and also a changeable God, and a respecter to persons; for how many little children have died without baptism!

Adults who repent, are baptized and become as their little children will be saved WITH their little children. Little children are alive in Christ and always have been. God is unchangeable, impartial and is not a respector of persons.

Moroni 8:14 Behold I say unto you, that he that supposeth that little children need baptism is in the gall of bitterness and in the bonds of iniquity; for he hath neither faith, hope, nor charity; wherefore, should he be cut off while in the thought, he must go down to hell.

15 For awful is the wickedness to suppose that God saveth one child because of baptism, and the other must perish because he hath no baptism.

I'm not sure how the belief that a little child who dies before accountablility will need some future baptism is any different than what is admonished against here. If you believe baptism is required of the unaccountable people and children you are denying the mercy of of Christ and are without faith, hope and charity. Yikes!

Moroni 8:17 And I am filled with charity, which is everlasting love; wherefore, all children are alike unto me; wherefore, I love little children with a perfect love; and they are all alike and partakers of salvation.

Little children are alive in Christ and are partakers of salvation. This is the Good News!

Moroni 8:19 Little children cannot repent; wherefore, it is awful wickedness to deny the pure mercies of God unto them, for they are all alive in him because of his mercy.

20 And he that saith that little children need baptism denieth the mercies of Christ, and setteth at naught the atonement of him and the power of his redemption.

21 Wo unto such, for they are in danger of death, hell, and an endless torment. I speak it boldly; God hath commanded me. Listen unto them and give heed, or they stand against you at the judgment-seat of Christ.

We deny the pure mercy of Christ when we say that those who die before accountability will need some future baptism. They do not need baptism at all. Those who believe such are in danger of death and hell.

Moroni 8:22 For behold that all little children are alive in Christ, and also all they that are without the law. For the power of redemption cometh on all them that have no law; wherefore, he that is not condemned, or he that is under no condemnation, cannot repent; and unto such baptism availeth nothing—

23 But it is mockery before God, denying the mercies of Christ, and the power of his Holy Spirit, and putting trust in dead works.

Redemption will come to all those who have no law given. Little children are redeemed, without law, and under the mercy of Christ.

Mosiah 3:16 And even if it were possible that little children could sin they could not be saved; but I say unto you they are blessed; for behold, as in Adam, or by nature, they fall, even so the blood of Christ atoneth for their sins.

21 And behold, when that time cometh, none shall be found blameless before God, except it be little children, only through repentance and faith on the name of the Lord God Omnipotent.

The blood of Christ has atoned for the little children. You cannot get a higher blessing than that. Little children will be found blameless before God. If they are blameless (which they are) they will receive Celestial Glory.

D&C 29:46 But behold, I say unto you, that little children are redeemed from the foundation of the world through mine Only Begotten;

D&C 74:7 But little children are holy, being sanctified through the atonement of Jesus Christ; and this is what the scriptures mean.

Mosiah 15:25 And little children also have eternal life.

Little children are redeemed, sanctified by the atonement, and they do have eternal life. Mosiah 15 lays out who will take part in the first resurrection. Those who are brought forth in the first resurrection have eternal life. Little children are among those people.

Joseph Smith spoke of the salvation of little children quite a bit while in Nauvoo. When speaking of the resurrection of the dead he said the following:

"Children will be enthroned in the presence of God and the Lamb with bodies of the same stature that they had on earth, having been redeemed by the blood of the Lamb; they will there enjoy the fulness of the light, glory and intelligence, which is prepared in the celestial kingdom." [History of the Church, V4, Pg. 555-6]

"'Will mothers have their children in eternity?' Yes! Yes! Mothers you shall have your children; for they shall have eternal life, for their debt is paid. There is no damnation awaiting them for they are in the spirit." [History of the Church, V6, Pg. 316]

I know that this is true. I know that little children are alive in Christ. I know that they are exempt from the law of baptism because they are not under the law. They are redeemed with the atonement from the foundation of the world. Our God is mighty to save!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009


Not long ago I began to question the necessity of Christ's death on the cross. I didn't believe that a loving Father would require that for the redemption of his children. In other words, couldn't redemption come a different way.

Now, I have come to a new understanding that seems reasonable and loving.

I no longer believe that God the Father sent another to die for us. I believe God died for us. This feels right to me in several ways. First, a father would gladly give his life for his child. Second, there is plenty of scriptural evidence to support the idea that Jehovah is our Eternal Father and condescended to be our Savior. Third, it is hard to understand why God would make one of his other (innocent) children to die to save the rest. I'm not going to say I fully comprehend the Godhead or how this all works, but I know that through accepting the Atonement we become children of Christ. So, however you slice it, we are (or become) his sons and daughters.

I have been given a small glimpse into the beauty of birth and rebirth. I've discovered it doesn't have to be logical or something we can reason out in our minds. But I do believe it is perfectly merciful and loving.


Our sacred mortal birth is through water, blood and spirit. It is messy. It is painful. Our mother sacrifices herself to give us this gift. Our mothers work and glory is bringing to pass our mortal life and nurturing us in all ways.


Our second or spiritual birth is also through water, spirit and blood. It is messy and painful. Our Father sacrificed himself to give us this gift. Our Father's work and glory is to bring to pass the eternal life and immortality of all mankind. He offers us living water that we might never thirst again.


Why blood? I don't know that I fully comprehend the symbolism. It is ironic to me that we are "cleansed" through the blood of Christ.
But I do know that my babies were born in blood and water and yet pure as driven snow.

Moses 6:59 That by reason of transgression cometh the fall, which fall bringeth death, and inasmuch as ye were born into the world by water, and blood, and the spirit, which I have made, and so became of dust a living soul, even so ye must be born again into the kingdom of heaven, of water, and of the Spirit, and be cleansed by blood, even the blood of mine Only Begotten; that ye might be sanctified from all sin, and enjoy the words of eternal life in this world, and eternal life in the world to come, even immortal glory;

I also think it is amazingly perfect that we are born of mother and of Father. They both bleed for us. They both nourish us. They both give us a gift we cannot give ourselves.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Jesus Points out Two Ways

Luke 18:10 Two men went up into the temple to pray; the one a Pharisee, and the other a publican.
11 The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, God, I thank thee, that I am not as other men are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican.
12 I fast twice in the week, I give tithes of all that I possess.
13 And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner.
14 I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other: for every one that exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted.

There are some amazing lessons in this parable. I am not going to write too much about it because I don't want to detract from the simplicity and beauty of these scriptures.

I think the concept of working for our "exaltation" is a dangerous one.

One of these men was seeking to be justified by the law. The other was justified by the mercy of the Lord. Jesus called the sinner justified for his confession and humility. The man who obeyed the law did not go home justified.

We also have this beautiful account of the woman, a sinner, who washed the Savior's feet with her tears.

Luke 7:36 And one of the Pharisees desired him that he would eat with him. And he went into the Pharisee’s house, and sat down to meat.
37 And, behold, a
woman in the city, which was a sinner, when she knew that Jesus sat at meat in the Pharisee’s house, brought an alabaster box of ointment,
38 And stood at his feet behind him weeping, and began to wash his feet with tears, and did wipe them with the hairs of her head, and kissed his feet, and
anointed them with the ointment.
39 Now when the Pharisee which had bidden him saw it, he spake within himself, saying, This man, if he were a prophet, would have known who and what manner of woman this is that toucheth him: for she is a sinner.
40 And Jesus answering said unto him, Simon, I have somewhat to say unto thee. And he saith, Master, say on.
41 There was a certain creditor which had two debtors: the one owed five hundred
pence, and the other fifty.
42 And when they had nothing to pay, he frankly
forgave them both. Tell me therefore, which of them will love him most?
43 Simon answered and said, I suppose that he, to whom he forgave most. And he said unto him, Thou hast rightly judged.
44 And he turned to the woman, and said unto Simon, Seest thou this woman? I entered into thine house, thou gavest me no water for my feet: but she hath washed my feet with tears, and wiped them with the hairs of her head.
45 Thou gavest me no kiss: but this woman since the time I came in hath not ceased to kiss my feet.
46 My head with oil thou didst not anoint: but this woman hath anointed my feet with ointment.
47 Wherefore I say unto thee, Her sins, which are many, are
forgiven; for she loved much: but to whom little is forgiven, the same loveth little.
48 And he said unto her, Thy sins are
49 And they that sat at meat with him began to say within themselves, Who is this that
forgiveth sins also?
50 And he said to the woman, Thy
faith hath saved thee; go in peace.




These are the keys to salvation. It is by faith that we are made whole. Faith in what? The Atonement of Jesus Christ. If we rely upon the merits of he who is mighty to save.

2 Nephi 31:19 And now, my beloved brethren, after ye have gotten into this strait and narrow path, I would ask if all is done? Behold, I say unto you, Nay; for ye have not come thus far save it were by the word of Christ with unshaken faith in him, relying wholly upon the merits of him who is mighty to save.

Alma 22:14 And since man had fallen he could not merit anything of himself; but the sufferings and death of Christ atone for their sins, through faith and repentance, and so forth; and that he breaketh the bands of death, that the grave shall have no victory, and that the sting of death should be swallowed up in the hopes of glory; and Aaron did expound all these things unto the king.

Moroni 6:4 And after they had been received unto baptism, and were wrought upon and cleansed by the power of the Holy Ghost, they were numbered among the people of the church of Christ; and their names were taken, that they might be remembered and nourished by the good word of God, to keep them in the right way, to keep them continually watchful unto prayer, relying alone upon the merits of Christ, who was the author and the finisher of their faith.

I hope we all will feel the love of our Savior and learn to rely on him. If you want to listen to one of my favorite Christian worship songs on youtube click here. It is called "Mighty to Save" by Hillsong United.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

I Love Books!!!

I am so excited! I was going through my parents library and found the box set of the History of the Church. Woohoo! So I have been reading through it for the past week.
Today I looked closer and found they have another box set which contains the Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, Doctrines of Salvation 1-3, the Discourses of Brigham Young and a few other books (that we all have in triplicate). I also discovered they have the Life of Joseph Smith the Prophet, by George Q. Cannon.

I just got my own copy of Joseph Smith's "New Translation" of the Bible a couple days ago. It has been great to reference. Especially since I am taking the Old Testament Institute class at church. Today at class I noticed another person using this book.

I am anxiously awaiting my copy of the brand new book The Book of Mormon: The Earliest Text by Royal Skousen. I ordered my copy from Amazon for $23 and after adding some tape I qualified for FREE shipping. I had earned $10 in gift cards and so I only paid $15 and change! Yay!!!

I'm not sure if being this excited about books makes me a nerd or not. Either way, I wish I could find more time to read!

Friday, August 21, 2009

Pure Love of Christ

Charity is pretty much my favorite gospel topic right now. That and mercy. I love it! I want to talk about it all the time and read about it and learn more about how to have it.

Charity is so important that Joseph Smith talked about it in every Relief Society meeting he spoke at. He was urging the saints towards charity.

1 Cor. 13:1 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, • • •
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.

Moroni 7: 44 If so, his faith and hope is vain, for none is acceptable before God, save the meek and lowly in heart; and if a man be meek and lowly in heart, and confesses by the power of the Holy Ghost that Jesus is the Christ, he must needs have charity; for if he have not charity he is nothing; wherefore he must needs have charity.
45 And charity suffereth long, and is kind, and envieth not, and is not puffed up, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil, and rejoiceth not in iniquity but rejoiceth in the truth, beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.
46 Wherefore, my beloved brethren, if ye have not charity, ye are nothing, for charity never faileth. Wherefore, cleave unto charity, which is the greatest of all, for all things must fail—
47 But charity is the pure love of Christ, and it endureth forever; and whoso is found possessed of it at the last day, it shall be well with him.

1 Peter 4:8 And above all things have fervent charity among yourselves: for charity shall cover the multitude of sins.

Col. 3:14 And above all these things put on charity, which is the bond of perfectness.

1 Tim. 1:5 Now the end of the commandment is charity out of a pure heart, and of a good conscience, and of faith unfeigned:

D&C 88:125 And above all things, clothe yourselves with the bond of charity, as with a mantle, which is the bond of perfectness and peace.

“It is one evidence that men are unacquainted with the principles of godliness to behold the contraction of affectionate feelings and lack of charity in the world. The power and glory of godliness is spread out on a broad principle to throw out the mantle of [b]charity[/b]. God does not look on sin with allowance, but when men have sinned, there must be allowance made for them. … The nearer we get to our heavenly Father, the more we are disposed to look with compassion on perishing souls; we feel that we want to take them upon our shoulders, and cast their sins behind our backs. …" Joseph Smith

I am especially struck by the verse in 1 Peter. Do you believe we could cover the multitude of sins if we have fervent charity among us? Is it possible for us to love our family, friends and neighbors so much that we want to lift them up and put their sins behind us?

We are nothing without charity. We can do great things, but without charity it does nothing for us. We cannot be saved in the kingdom of God without it. Charity never fails even when other things fail. Have you noticed the connection between charity and the Atonement?

I love the images of "cleave to charity" and "clothe yourself in charity" and the "mantle of charity." It makes me feel like it is something to fill or encompass my entire being. Cleave to charity like you cleave to your beloved spouse. It is the bond of perfectness and peace!

When we see someone perishing, how does our heart tell us to treat them? Do we desire to inflict further harm and pain or do we desire to "put them on our shoulders" and relieve their burden? Charity suffers long and is kind. How do we suffer long? How might this relate to the suffering of Christ? Is this how we "take up his cross" and follow him?

Charity is the most glorious gift we can give or receive. It is a power can change the world.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Counfounding of False Doctrines

2 Nephi 3:12 Wherefore, the fruit of thy loins shall write; and the fruit of the loins of Judah shall write; and that which shall be written by the fruit of thy loins, and also that which shall be written by the fruit of the loins of Judah, shall grow together, unto the confounding of false doctrines and laying down of contentions, and establishing peace among the fruit of thy loins, and bringing them to the knowledge of their fathers in the latter days, and also to the knowledge of my covenants, saith the Lord.

I have to wonder how and when this is going to happen. The Book of Mormon has not yet fulfilled this prophecy. False doctrine has not been confounded and contentions still exist. Peace has yet to be established.

Father in Heaven will not take away our agency and force us to believe. So, I ponder, how can this scripture come to pass.

In my mind, I can only come up with the idea that everyone trancends their current belief systems to a higher, unified one. It would have to go beyond religous institution.

I'm also left thinking it would need to be very, very simple and open. Like the gospel of love and the doctrine outlined by Jesus Christ.

3 Nephi 11:28 And according as I have commanded you thus shall ye baptize. And
there shall be no disputations among you, as there have hitherto been; neither shall
there be disputations among you concerning the points of my doctrine, as there
have hitherto been.
29 For verily, verily I say unto you, he that hath the spirit of contention is not of me, but is of the devil, who is the father of contention, and he stirreth up the hearts of men to contend with anger, one with another.
30 Behold, this is not my doctrine, to stir up the hearts of men with anger, one against another; but this is my doctrine, that such things should be done away.
31 Behold, verily, verily, I say unto you, I will declare unto you my doctrine.
32 And this is my doctrine, and it is the doctrine which the Father hath given unto
me; and I bear record of the Father, and the Father beareth record of me, and the Holy Ghost beareth record of the Father and me; and I bear record that the Father
commandeth all men, everywhere, to repent and believe in me.
33 And whoso believeth in me, and is baptized, the same shall be saved; and they are they who shall inherit the kingdom of God.
34 And whoso believeth not in me, and is not baptized, shall be damned. 35 Verily, verily, I say unto you, that this is my doctrine, and I bear record of it from the Father; and whoso believeth in me believeth in the Father also; and unto him will the Father bear record of me, for he will visit him with fire and with the Holy Ghost.
36 And thus will the Father bear record of me, and the Holy Ghost will bear record unto him of the Father and me; for the Father, and I, and the Holy Ghost are one.
37 And again I say unto you, ye must repent, and become as a little child, and be baptized in my name, or ye can in nowise receive these things.
38 And again I say unto you, ye must repent, and be baptized in my name, and become as a little child, or ye can in nowise inherit the kingdom of God.
39 Verily, verily, I say unto you, that this is my doctrine, and whoso buildeth upon this buildeth upon my rock, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against them.
40 And whoso shall declare more or less than this, and establish it for my doctrine,
the same cometh of evil, and is not built upon my rock; but he buildeth upon a sandy foundation, and the gates of hell stand open to receive such when the floods come and the winds beat upon them.

What a beautiful, simple doctrine Christ outlines.

The only real obstacle I see is that so small a percentage of the world is Christian (or Judea-Christian). I wonder how on earth "every knee will bow and every tongue confess that Jesus is the Christ." Now, I'm not saying it won't happen, just that it stretched the imagination beyond the breaking point.

Could it be that we just do not understand this prophecy? Could we be taking it too literally? Could it be that all religions, cultures and people have enough truth and pointers towards Christ, the Eternal God?
If they use different words, symbols and rituals to arrive at the same eternal truths-would that still fulfill the prophecy?

Sunday, August 2, 2009

The Woman taken in Adultery

John 8:3 And the scribes and Pharisees brought unto him a woman taken in adultery; and when they had set her in the midst,
4 They say unto him, Master, this woman was taken in adultery, in the very act.
5 Now Moses in the law commanded us, that such should be stoned: but what sayest thou?
6 This they said, tempting him, that they might have to accuse him. But Jesus stooped down, and with his finger wrote on the ground, as though he heard them not. 7 So when they continued asking him, he lifted up himself, and said unto them, He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her.
8 And again he stooped down, and wrote on the ground.
9 And they which heard it, being convicted by their own conscience, went out one by one, beginning at the eldest, even unto the last: and Jesus was left alone, and the woman standing in the midst.
10 When Jesus had lifted up himself, and saw none but the woman, he said unto her, Woman, where are those thine accusers? hath no man condemned thee?
11 She said, No man, Lord. And Jesus said unto her, Neither do I condemn thee: go, and sin no more.
12 ¶ Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.

Jesus Christ is my hero. My soul sings at the tender mercy he offers all mankind.

John is the only gospel that contains the story of the woman taken in adultery. It is such a beautiful story, I am grateful we have it. I know this God, he is my Eternal God and Savior.

This woman was taken in the very act of adultery. There are some disturbing things about this. First, where is the man she was with? He, too, is guilty. Second, this is daytime, I smell a set-up. Those are the results of the law.

According to Jewish law (which was a curse) she was to be stoned. Jesus says that he who is without sin should cast the first stone. Being under the law, they were all sinners and could not do it.

Then, in the most beautiful act of mercy, Jesus condemns her not and tells her to go and sin no more. Perfect! The only way she could sin no more is if she is no longer under the law. I believe that her trust in Jesus Christ released her from the bondage of the law (sin) and made her free.

I find it so confusing that Jesus would deal so mercifully with this woman and have so much wrath towards Emma and the early female saints. It just doesn't make sense. It doesn't even sound like the same God. The confusion melts away when I come to the knowledge that D&C 132 is a cursing, just like the law of the Old Testament.

There is a choice to be made. We can live the law of justice, carnal commandments and cursings OR we can be claimed by mercy, walk in the light and be free in Christ.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Why I don't believe in Polygamy Part Deux

I realized I left out a whole lot of really important points in my last article. And since this remains such a hot topic on LDS forums and the Bloggernacle I have decided it warrants a second look.

*D&C 58: 21 Let no man break the laws of the land, for he that keepeth the laws of God hath no need to break the laws of the land.

Now, it has been argued that God only expects us to keep constitutional laws. Well, there is no evidence that Joseph Smith ever fought anti-bigamy laws. In fact, all evidence points to him speaking out against polygamy. Plus, if we believe that America was set up for the Restoration wouldn't that follow that the laws were capable of sustaining God's laws?
Last time I checked the LDS church teaches to be subject to the powers that be. We don't teach the gospel in countries where it is illegal, for example.

*3 Nephi 11 contains the doctrine of Christ's church. It breaks down to faith, repentance, baptism and become as a little child. 3 Nephi 11:40 And whoso shall declare more or less than this, and establish it for my doctrine, the same cometh of evil, and is not built upon my rock; but he buildeth upon a sandy foundation, and the gates of hell stand open to receive such when the floods come and the winds beat upon them.

Notice that polygamy is absent from the list.

*Polygamy is absent from what would appear to be the most important times to repopulate the earth. Adam and Noah were monogomists. So were Lehi and all his sons. (thanks Fabledsog for bringing up this point)

*Article of Faith 12 We believe in being subject to kings, presidents, rulers, and magistrates, in obeying, honoring, and sustaining the law.

This was part of canon and well known to the saints. Do we believe it or not? Is it a lie?

*Article of Faith 13 We believe in being honest, true, chaste, benevolent, virtuous, and in doing good to all men; indeed, we may say that we follow the admonition of Paul—We believe all things, we hope all things, we have endured many things, and hope to be able to endure all things. If there is anything virtuous, lovely, or of good report or praiseworthy, we seek after these things.

Again, do we really believe in being honest and true? Do we believe in doing good to ALL men or will we steal the wives of some?

I will warn you that I am about to pick apart D&C 132. I will point out conflict with previous scripture and the nature of our Loving God.

D&C 132:41 And as ye have asked concerning adultery, verily, verily, I say unto you, if a man receiveth a wife in the new and everlasting covenant, and if she be with another man, and I have not appointed unto her by the holy anointing, she hath committed adultery and shall be destroyed.
42 If she be not in the new and everlasting covenant, and she be with another man, she has committed adultery.
43 And if her husband be with another woman, and he was under a vow, he hath broken his vow and hath committed adultery.

If you read this passage closely you will notice that the woman will be destroyed for adultery but not the man! Seriously?!?! God appears to hate women in these passages, but I testify that he loves women.
Now, you should also notice that it says if a woman is not sealed to her husband and is with another man it is adultery! Joseph took several married women as wives in direct conflict to this passage.
It is also very likely that Joseph and Emma took vows of monogomy when they were married. If true, he was in violation of verse 43.

D&C 132:51 Verily, I say unto you: A commandment I give unto mine handmaid, Emma Smith, your wife, whom I have given unto you, that she stay herself and partake not of that which I commanded you to offer unto her; for I did it, saith the Lord, to prove you all, as I did Abraham, and that I might require an offering at your hand, by covenant and sacrifice.

What did Joseph offer her? Well, some historians claim that she was offered another husband by Joseph.

D&C 132:52 And let mine handmaid, Emma Smith, receive all those that have been given unto my servant Joseph, and who are virtuous and pure before me; and those who are not pure, and have said they were pure, shall be destroyed, saith the Lord God.
Wow, so again, God will destroy the women. I guess someone forgot about the Atonement.

D&C 132:54 And I command mine handmaid, Emma Smith, to abide and cleave unto my servant Joseph, and to none else. But if she will not abide this commandment she shall be destroyed, saith the Lord; for I am the Lord thy God, and will destroy her if she abide not in my law.

Yet more talk of destroying Emma. I'm kinda surprised she outlived Joseph. She did fight against polygamy.
It also uses a familiar script. Cleave unto your husband and no other. We see that repeated in the scriptures that men should have one wife and cleave to her and none else. Are we to believe that sometimes God means it and other times he doesn't? Are we being Punk'd?
D&C 42:22 Thou shalt love thy wife with all thy heart, and shalt cleave unto her and none else.

D&C 132:55 But if she will not abide this commandment, then shall my servant Joseph do all things for her, even as he hath said; and I will bless him and multiply him and give unto him an hundredfold in this world, of fathers and mothers, brothers and sisters, houses and lands, wives and children, and crowns of eternal lives in the eternal worlds.

This passage clearly promises these things in this world-not limited to the next. As yet, all DNA testing has come up with no children of Joseph outside of his marriage with Emma. This never came to pass.

D&C 132:61 And again, as pertaining to the law of the priesthood—if any man espouse a virgin, and desire to espouse another, and the first give her consent, and if he espouse the second, and they are virgins, and have vowed to no other man, then is he justified; he cannot commit adultery for they are given unto him; for he cannot commit adultery with that that belongeth unto him and to no one else. 62 And if he have ten virgins given unto him by this law, he cannot commit adultery, for they belong to him, and they are given unto him; therefore is he justified.

Here we see that a man can marry 10 virgins with the first wifes approval. They must be virgins who are vowed to no other man. Right here we see there is a problem with the already married women that Joseph took as "celestial wives." It is agaist this passage.

D&C 132:63 But if one or either of the ten virgins, after she is espoused, shall be with another man, she has committed adultery, and shall be destroyed; for they are given unto him to multiply and replenish the earth, according to my commandment, and to fulfil the promise which was given by my Father before the foundation of the world, and for their exaltation in the eternal worlds, that they may bear the souls of men; for herein is the work of my Father continued, that he may be glorified.

But wait, there's more! Those women who were already married are gonna get wiped out! Yup, they are so gonna get destroyed! Not the men, mind you, they can commit adultery all the day long and not get God's wrath. Lucky them.
We also see that the command was given so they could multipy (have babies). We still have no proof of children with Joseph and any of his "celestial wives."

D&C 132: 64 And again, verily, verily, I say unto you, if any man have a wife, who holds the keys of this power, and he teaches unto her the law of my priesthood, as pertaining to these things, then shall she believe and administer unto him, or she shall be destroyed, saith the Lord your God; for I will destroy her; for I will magnify my name upon all those who receive and abide in my law.
65 Therefore, it shall be lawful in me, if she receive not this law, for him to receive all things whatsoever I, the Lord his God, will give unto him, because she did not believe and administer unto him according to my word; and she then becomes the transgressor; and he is exempt from the law of Sarah, who administered unto Abraham according to the law when I commanded Abraham to take Hagar to wife.

Now, if your husband teaches you about plural marriage-the new New and Everlasting Covenant-you had better believe and give him wives or guess what? You're destroyed.

The Law of Sarah is referring to the idea that the first wife must give consent for subsequent wives. This law is really nothing more than a curse. It is only there to damn women. See, you don't really have a choice. Submit or be damned is the message.

We also have a conflict with previous scripture here. It says here that God commanded Abraham to take Hagar to wife, but that is not what it says in the Bible.

Genesis 16:1 Now Sarai Abram’s wife bare him no children: and she had an
handmaid, an Egyptian, whose name was Hagar.
2 And Sarai said unto Abram, Behold now, the Lord hath restrained me from bearing: I pray thee, go in unto my maid; it may be that I may obtain children by her. And Abram hearkened to the voice of Sarai.
3 And Sarai Abram’s wife took Hagar her maid the Egyptian, after Abram had dwelt ten years in the land of Canaan, and gave her to her husband Abram to be his wife.
4 ¶ And he went in unto Hagar, and she conceived: and when she saw that she had conceived, her mistress was despised in her eyes.

From the way the story is told here it appears that is was Sarai's lack of faith in the Lord's promise which caused her to offer Hagar to Abram. Hmmm. It says Abram was listening to his wife, not the Lord.

We also can look at the family of Abraham as pretty disfunctional. Let's be clear, sending your wife and child into the wilderness is not to be emulated. This also was done at the behest of Sarai.

We read in the New Testament more about Abraham and what was so great about him. There is no mention of polygamy. His faith is what is remembered. I highly recommend reading all of Galatians 3. It talks about faith versus the works of the law.

Galations 3:5 He therefore that ministereth to you the Spirit, and worketh miracles among you, doeth he it by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith?
6 Even as Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness.
7 Know ye therefore that they which are of faith, the same are the children of Abraham.
8 And the scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the heathen through faith, preached before the gospel unto Abraham, saying, In thee shall all nations be blessed. 9 So then they which be of faith are blessed with faithful Abraham.
10 For as many as are of the works of the law are under the curse: for it is written, Cursed is every one that continueth not in all things which are written in the book of
the law to do them.
11 But that no man is justified by the law in the sight of God, it is evident: for, The just shall live by faith.
12 And the law is not of faith: but, The man that doeth them shall live in them.
13 Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree:
14 That the blessing of Abraham might come on the Gentiles through Jesus Christ; that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith.

There is so much meat here! It is by faith that we are justified. The law is a curse. Abraham's faith and belief was his righteousness. It also becomes clear to me that Abraham and Sarah missed the mark when they took the promise of seed literally. All who are baptised become the seed of Abraham!
Let's revisit D&C 132 and see if we can find more clues that it is a curse.

D&C 132:58 Now, as touching the law of the priesthood, there are many things pertaining thereunto.
59 Verily, if a man be called of my Father, as was Aaron, by mine own voice, and by the voice of him that sent me, and I have endowed him with the keys of the power of this priesthood, if he do anything in my name, and according to my law and by my word, he will not commit sin, and I will justify him.

I just noticed this today. I don't think it is a coincidence that the name "Aaron" is used in this passage! Aaron did not have the keys to administer the higher priesthood. It is my understanding that those were taken with Moses from the children of Isreal. The priesthood of Aaron can only administer the preparatory gospel. Joseph expounded on what this priesthood has the power to do.
We also just read in Galatians that the law cannot justify. This passage seems to condradict that by saying Joseph is justified by the law.

The priesthood of Levi consisted of cursings and blessing carnal commandments and not of blessings and if the preisthood of this generation has no more power than that of Levi or Aron or of a bishhoprick it administers no blessings but cursings for it was an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth. [Joseph Smith]

You can read all the notes of the full sermon here. He outlines the 3 priesthoods and what they are capable of. According to Joseph the carnal commandments are a curse and that is all the priesthood of Aaron can administer.

The New and Everlasting Covenant is baptism. Always has been, always will be. The ordinance has been changed just as prophesied in the scriptures.

D&C 22:1 Behold, I say unto you that all old covenants have I caused to be done away in this thing; and this is a new and an everlasting covenant, even that which was from the beginning.

Baptism, the ritual of being spiritually reborn, is what is being spoken of here. And in D&C 22 it talks of the outward ordinance being pointless if the inward change does not take place. When we are baptised we die to sin (the law) and are born to Christ. We become a new creature.

In conclusion of part deux, people can participate in polygamy and still be saved by the grace of God. But there is no scriptural support that polygamy (celestial marriage, spiritual wifery, etc) is required for salvation OR exaltation. That is false doctrine.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

The Law

During this marvelous spiritual journey I find myself on I have thought a lot about The Law part of the gospel.

The scriptures are full of references to laws. There are laws for different kingdoms, the Law of Moses, fulfilled laws, etc. Some of these laws are in opposition to each other!

As I've been striving to learn what law God wants me to live, I feel I have learned something very profound. So simple.

Galatians 5:14 For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this; Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.


Now, before you comment that it isn't that simple and we have a billion other rules to follow, just stop and let this truth flow over you. Love. Love fulfills ALL the laws.

Now, you can go to and see the different definitions of the word "fulfilled." It means to complete, finish, to satisfy or to bring to realization. All that can be done by LOVING our neighbor as ourselves. This is such an amazing thing!

I used to think that by loving God and neighbor I would automatically live (works) all the other laws, rules and commandments. Now my understanding has shifted. It is the love of God and neighbor (and self) that FULFILLS all the law.

In this way, the laws that do not really come from our Father will naturally fall away. For example, we can easily see that how many steps we take on Sunday or what color shirt we wear to pass the Sacrament in doesn't matter to God.

Just to be completely heretical, I believe that according to scripture there are those who are NOT under the law. They are not bound to it and do not have to abide by it. Shocking, I know!

Galatians 5:18 But if ye be led of the Spirit, ye are not under the law.

And if you are not under the law, you are FREE. No longer a prisoner of sin.

But, how do we know if we are walking in the Spirit?

Galatians 5:22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, 23 Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.

You will exhibit the fruits of the Spirit! The Light of Christ will shine for all to see. God will work through you.

Those who are not under the law are claimed by Mercy on the day of judgement. This is something that makes my heart sing, but makes many others cringe. Yes, I believe that there are scriptures to support this idea that those claimed by mercy will escape judgement of their own works. I don't pretend to fully comprehend this wonderful promise of God, but I do put my faith in it.

I don't think a person claimed by mercy will be judged by their own works because they will not be doing their own works!

Going back to the law for a minute:

Alma 42:17 Now, how could a man repent except he should sin? How could he sin if there was no law? How could there be a law save there was a punishment?

It is because there is a law that there is sin! If there was no law, there would be no sin. So, if one has fulfilled the law through love (charity) he can no longer sin. Why? Because he is not under the law.

Joseph Smith taught a sermon in 1843 about the priesthood and talked about how the Levitical priesthood was only able to administer cursings and the carnal commandments! I highly recommend reading the notes on this because it contains several amazing tidbits of information about the law and the priesthood.

I interpret what I read in that sermon to mean that the carnal commandments ARE a curse. However, I believe that they serve a purpose. They frustrate and humble us enough that we come unto Christ for release.

Our works can NEVER save us. We cannot earn our salvation.

The Toscano's say it perfectly in their book Strangers in Paradox:
"Jesus brought closure to salvation by law and initiated salvation by love."