Human Knowing

Dr. Chauncey Riddle delivers his latest paper entitled, "Human Knowing" at Firm Foundation Expo at Utah Valley University

Dr. Chauncey Riddle delivers his latest paper entitled, “Human Knowing” at Firm Foundation Expo at Utah Valley University

A presentation by Chauncey C. Riddle, 7 April 2017, Firm Foundation Expo held at Utah Valley University. (Originally a Powerpoint presentation.)

Human Knowing

Thesis: We know little but believe much

Note: I suggest you not take notes but just concentrate on comprehension.

For further detail, see my book Think Independently

Think Independently, by Dr. Chauncey C. Riddle – Available in paperback or Kindle format on

Ways of Human Knowing: We will examine 7:

Perception: using the senses of the human body

Reason: using logic to produce conclusions

Experimentation: trial and error pragmatism

Authoritarianism: forming ideas by communicating with others

Imagination: creating ideas, hypotheses, theories

Knowledge of good and evil: The Light of Christ

Personal revelation: The Gift of the Holy Ghost

Perception: Using the senses of the human body to form ideas about the universe.

Key point: We perceive in our brain

Vision: We see in the occipital lobe

Vision: We see in the occipital lobe

Vision: We see in the occipital lobe

Hearing: We hear in the temporal lobe

Hearing: We hear in the temporal lobe

Hearing: We hear in the temporal lobe

We taste, touch and smell in the parietal lobe

We taste, touch and smell in the parietal lobe

We taste, touch and smell in the parietal lobe

Walking, writing, balance we control in the cerebellum

Walking, writing, balance we control in the cerebellum

Walking, writing, balance we control in the cerebellum



We think plan and speak from the frontal lobe

We think plan and speak from the frontal lobe

We think plan and speak from the frontal lobe

In the left brain (yellow) we think, control language, do science and math, control our right hand

In the right brain (blue) we do art, imagine, have intuition,  3-D forms, music, left-hand control

In the left brain (yellow) we think, control language, do science and math, control our right hand In the right brain (blue) we do art, imagine, have intuition, 3-D forms, music, left-hand control

In the left brain (yellow) we think, control language, do science and math, control our right hand
In the right brain (blue) we do art, imagine, have intuition, 3-D forms, music, left-hand control


Sensations are the nerve stimulation of our approximately 25 physical   senses. (Yes, we have more than 5 senses.)

All sensations go from the sensing organ to specific brain locations.

All sensations traveling along the nerves from the sensing organ to the receptor part of the brain are of exactly the same type.

They are interpreted and differentiated by the location to which they travel.

The Synthesis

These we have shown are not all the parts of the human brain, but they are major components.

No one has yet satisfactorily scientifically explained how we see.

But we do see.

Somehow we put all the sensations together and form a world in

our imagination. Imaginations are most vivid when we are

actually sensing something.

We have the illusion that when we are sensing, we touch reality.


But reality is also a figment, a creature of our imagination.

To call something real is simply to say we are quite sure of it.

But we make enough mistakes that it pays to be humble.

When we are humble, we say “It seems to me that . . . “

When we are not humble we say “I am sure that . . . “

Sometimes our life depends upon being sure enough of our

sensations that we are able to avoid trouble, as when we step

out of the path of a speeding automobile.


Where we live

So we each live in the world of our imagination, inside our heads.

We form images of where we live and the surroundings of that place.

We form images of the people we know, ascribing to them various

character traits, personalities.

We form images of the rest of the world we do not now see.

We form images of the rest of the universe we do not now see.

We form images of the past, which we cannot see.

We form images of the future, which we cannot see.

And thus we live, move and have our being and doing in the world of our images.



But, you say, there really is a reality out there that is not just our imagination. Let me prove it to you by punching your arm. Now, doesn’t that hurt? See, there really is a reality out there.

I must agree with you that there is a reality out there. It is just that we see that reality only through a glass, darkly. That glass we see through darkly is our flesh, our physical bodies. We thus know we are in a real world. But we are really sure about only some things, and those are not the most important things.

Example of an illusion: The Necker Cube: Which is the near corner, upper or lower?

Example of an illusion: The Necker Cube: Which is the near corner, upper or lower?

Example of an illusion: The Necker Cube: Which is the near corner, upper or lower?

The world is full of Necker Cubes

Every person we meet is like a Necker Cube. We imagine a character for them. We tend to believe our imagination about them is the truth.

The future, the past, and everything we are not now sensing exist in our imagination, and we determine and control what we believe about them.

Most of what we think we know we only imagine. And a lot of what we perceive is like Necker Cubes where we must choose an interpretation.

Conclusions about perception:

Perception is absolutely necessary to relate to the real world around us.

Perceiving accurately and surely is done only in environments where we are very familiar with what we are sensing and doing.

If we are not familiar with what we are sensing and are unable to do anything in the situation, we need to be humble about what we believe we are sensing because we are only guessing.

Only what we can do over and over is sure to us. But we have no guarantee the future will be like the past. If we think we are sure about the future, we need to realize that that surety is only a hope.

  1. Reason as a source of knowledge

There are three basic forms of reasoning:

Deduction: Drawing justified conclusions from given premises.

Induction: Drawing possible or probable conclusions from given arrays of data (observations, perceptions).

Adduction: Inventing premises for a conclusion we already have.

Examples of Deduction:

Given the premises:

All men are mortal.

James is a man.

We may surely conclude that:

James is mortal.

Thus deduction makes explicit the relationships of ideas we already have.

Other examples:

When you add up all your checks and deduct that amount from your bank balance, you can find out (become psychologically aware of) how much money you have in the bank.

If you know the weight of an object, you can calculate the energy required to lift it 10 feet.


Examples of Induction:

Given that your back yard has been visited by skunks the last four nights, you may reasonably conclude that skunks will visit again tonight. But you cannot be sure that they will.

You friend has lied to you several times about what he has been doing for the past month. You may reasonably conclude that he is lying to you now about something else. But you cannot be sure he is lying just because he lied before.

Your friend has remembered your birthday every year for the past ten years. You may reasonably expect him to remember again. But you cannot be sure he will.


Examples of adduction:

Given the conclusion that your friend is acting very strangely, you might think:

My friend has suffered the death of a beloved sibling.

When people suffer the death of beloved siblings they act strangely.

Therefore, my friend is acting strangely.

Or you might think:

My friend has been drinking too much.

When people are drunk they act strangely.

Therefore, my friend is acting strangely.


Conclusions about the three ways of knowing by reasoning:

Deduction is always sure but produces nothing not in the premises.

Induction is always guesswork, never sure, but can be very useful, producing ideas that often work.

Adduction: There are always an infinite number of reasons that can be invented to justify any given conclusion.

To use our power to reason is good, but it does not produce sure knowledge. It’s main help is to allow us to be consistent with ourselves.

Conclusions about reasoning:

It is usually good to be rational (consistent) in trying to know.

No one can be said to be totally rational about what he or she thinks they know. All reasoning begins with premises we cannot prove.

Anyone who claims to be totally rational about what they think shows a lack of understanding of what reason is and can do.

Since we cannot be totally rational about knowledge, we all live by faith. Faith, the things we believe but cannot prove, is where we      get all of our initial premises for reasoning.


  1. Experimentation as a way of knowing.

Doing is a form of knowing.

Doing what we can do, and doing it over and over, gives us surety that we know what we are talking about.

Experimenting is trying to do something for the first time.

When we experiment, we usually have a goal in mind, something we are trying to achieve.

If we achieve our goal, we think we have an understanding of one of the ways the universe works.

As we repeat the experience, we become settled in our confidence about what works. This is experimentation, or “pragmatism.”


A Human life is actually one big experiment:

A human baby lives by trying first one thing, then another.

First, it learns to breathe, and then to eat and sleep.

It looks around and begins to form images and expectations out of the    sights and sounds and feelings and odors it experiences.

The baby learns to experiment to produce more of what it wants and      less of what it doesn’t want.

The baby’s attempts to produce what it wants and avoid what it doesn’t want become habits.

Habits become a character, a personality, as the individual shapes himself or herself.


Personality (character) is the fruit of human living.

Every human life is a chain of successful and unsuccessful experiments.

The successful experiments lead us to repetition, which is the mother  of learning.

As we learn to cope with the universe, we develop ideas: structures and   sequences which we think are the reality of where we find ourselves.

The more successful is our coping with the universe to fulfill our desires, the more sure we become of the structures and sequences we have built as our understanding of the universe.

We turn our ideas of structure and sequence into what we call “knowledge.”     This knowledge becomes part of our personality, our character.


The core of human knowledge is the result of successful experimentation.

What we really know in this world is the ideas we find help us to fulfill  our desires, a core of ideas that “work” over and over.

We then add to that core of ideas, ideas formed by communicating with others. This is not knowledge, but rather belief.

If we can fit what others tell us is consistent with our core of knowledge, we tend to believe. If the things we are told don’t fit, we either accept those ideas as blind belief, reject those ideas, or experiment with them to see if we can make them fit with our core knowledge.

Until we have tried an idea for ourselves, it is not knowledge to us.


We humans are quite capable of being irrational:

When we have great respect or affection for persons who tell us things  about the universe, some of us tend to believe those ideas, even when they do not fit with our core knowledge.

Some persons are “hard-headed,” “from Missouri,” and refuse to believe what does not fit with their experimentally produced core knowledge.

Gullibility, the willingness to believe others persons without experimenting on what they tell us, afflicts most human beings.

Gullibility makes propaganda a social force used to control populations.


We live in a sea of propaganda (lies and half-truths). Examples:

Much of the “news” we are given by media sources is propaganda.

A lot of what is taught in schools is propaganda.

A lot of the substance of gossip is propaganda.

A lot of what is taught in churches is propaganda.

A lot of history is propaganda.

A lot of so-called “science” is propaganda.

What politicians tell us is often propaganda.

What we tell ourselves is the real truth is often propaganda.


One cure for propaganda is personal experimentation, being “pragmatic.”

If someone tells us a certain medicine works, we can try it for ourselves to see if it works for us.

If someone tells us there is a formula for making money, we don’t have to believe them, we can just try it for ourselves.

If someone tells us a certain political expediency is what is best for our country, we can look for where the idea has been tried to see if it worked.

If someone tells us a certain religious practice is helpful, we can try it for ourselves to see if it really works that way.


Experimentation is a great help in knowing

Sooner or later, most humans learn that it pays to take what others say with a “grain of salt.” In other words, it is not usually useful to be gullible.

As we build up a store of ideas that really “work,” we begin to have confidence that we really are figuring things out.

Our store of ideas that “really work” is the basis of our life accomplishments. As we implement those ideas, what we do becomes our “works.”


  1. Authoritarianism: Gaining ideas from other human beings.

As we watch what other humans do, we gain ideas as to what we might do ourselves. Example: We watch others ride a bicycle, then experiment ourselves until we can also ride a bicycle.

But most of our ideas from others come from verbal communication.      We learn a “mother tongue,” and that becomes our major link to the world of people.

As others speak to us, we are busy in our imagination inventing meaning for the noises and gestures they display, and often find great pleasure in listening to them. Communication becomes a major part of our human living.

There are four parts to every communication:

If we really understand someone who is communicating with us, we must fix on four things:

  1. What is the intent or purpose of the speaker.
  2. What is the message of the speaker.
  3. The power of this message: It’s truth or importance.
  4. The consequences of accepting or rejecting this message.

But most humans do not carefully sort out these four things. We tend to be gullible and just accept as so what the speaker says. Because of this, most human minds contain a lot of garbage.


Conclusions about Human Communication:

We are flooded with communications from others.

That process of receiving communications often keeps us from thinking for ourselves and is always a mixture of good and bad.

It is difficult for humans accurately to sort out the good from the bad.

Any idea we accept from another person is always belief or faith. It may be their knowledge, but it is not knowledge to us, even if true.

We live in a communication jungle that helps or hurts us at every turn.

  1. Imagination as a source of knowledge

We synthesize our sensations into a world we imagine, and fill in all the blanks with our imaginative inventiveness.

We look at the body of a person and imagine to ourselves what goes on inside them, their thinking and feeling, desires and future.

We see the present moment, and with the aid of memory and what others tell us, we invent all of the past and future in our       imagination.

We hear of events in distant places, and imagine them.

We live in the world of our own imagination. And we tend to believe ourselves.

And  our imagination is very useful:

We do all of our planning in our imagination.

We do all of our remembering in our imagination.

We do all of deciding in our imagination.

The universe we grasp only in our imagination.

We decide we have or do not have a Heavenly Father and a Savior in        our imagination.

If we did not have an imagination, we would not be a human being.


Imagination makes Science possible

Science is man’s collective attempt to understand the universe using     only perception, reason, experimentation, and imagination. Most scientists specifically try not to include any information from a spiritual source. Thus science is the delight of the natural man.

Being blind to all of spiritual existence, science does better when dealing with material things such as physics and chemistry.

But science stumbles when it ignores all spiritual existence, as in psychology, sociology, political science.

But social scientists do not think they stumble. They tend to think they are “emancipated” by pretending spiritual things do not exist.


Imagination makes History possible:

History is the imaginative invention of a story of the past. It is based in documentary evidence about the past, but its creation is always a controlled by the beliefs and imagination of the historian.

History is rewritten in every generation to satisfy the changing prejudices of historians.

In a real sense, all historical accounts are fiction. The word “fiction” comes from the Latin “faceo” which means to make or do. All historical accounts are made up by historians taking the beads of ideas gleaned from documents and stringing those beads on a                 narrative string of their own prejudices.


Shall we then discard Science and History?

No, we should not discard science and history. Both are interesting, often         useful, often helpful, though sometimes disastrous.

Science and history should be taken with a grain of salt. That salt is the skepticism we should attach to all human endeavors.

In all human endeavors we are dealing three kinds of people: 1) the natural man who knows not God, 2) the natural man who thinks he knows God, and 3) the man who does know God. Each produces different beliefs, actions and societies.

Science and history are at their best when invented by men who know God.


  1. Knowledge of Good and Evil:

Knowledge not only relates to what is true and false, what works and what does not work, but also to what is good and bad: values.

Some think that all values are environmentally stimulated by the persons who influence a given person.

But we see examples of people who are different from the persons of their environment.

Within each normal human being there is what is called a “conscience.”

Conscience is the Light of Christ, which lightens every person who comes into this world.


The Mission of Conscience:

Conscience gives us feelings about what is good and bad to do and say.

But the voice of Satan is always with us to give us a choice agency.

Choosing good over evil is what separates the sheep from the goats.

Conscience seems to be the key to all further spiritual knowledge.

When humans ignore their conscience often, it stops functioning. They are then “past feeling.”

Possibly those who are “past feeling” cannot escape being “the natural man.” Examples: Laman and Lemuel.


  1. Personal Revelation as a way of knowing:

Personal revelation is communication of God to mankind through the Holy Ghost.

It comes in many forms: To heart (feelings); to mind (ideas), to strength (health), and to might (prospering). But illness and bankruptcy can also be revelations from God.

Those who really understand revelation see the hand of God in all things.


Different forms of Personal Revelation:

  • New understanding of a scripture.
  • Confirmation that what someone else is saying is true or false.
  • Feeling that something we plan to do needs more planning.
  • Understanding what unusual thing will happen next.
  • Confirmation that someone we are asked to sustain is the Lord’s choice.
  • Help with preparing a talk or a letter.
  • Help teaching a class.
  • Guidance as to what to say when speaking and praying.
  • Seeing a vision, having the heavens opened.


The Holy Ghost is the Pearl of Great Price

If we desire to be righteous (to bless others as God does), there is no greater aid than receiving the Gift of the Holy Ghost.

Having the Holy Spirit as our constant companion should be our Number 1 priority. We should try with all our heart, might, mind and strength to have the Holy Spirit as our constant companion.

Attaining the companionship of the Holy Spirit is what turns a Latter-day Saint (a member of the LDS Church) into a saint (a holy person, one who is forgiven of his or her sins and does only righteous acts).

”And by the power of the Holy Ghost ye may know the truth of all things.” (Moroni 10:5)


How to gain the constant companionship of the Holy Ghost: The Precious Gospel Formula

  1. Faith in Christ: Put our whole trust in Him. This is what makes it possible to become whole, holy.
  2. In that trust in Christ, repent of all of our sins.
  3. Make a covenant with God to keep all of his commandments by being baptized.
  4. Receive the right to the Gift of the Holy Ghost by the laying on of hands, then working until we actually receive the Gift of the Holy Ghost.


Why Receiving the Gift of the Holy Ghost is not the End but the Beginning of Salvation.

Receiving the Gift of the Holy Ghost is entering the gate.

We must also endure to the end.

The end we should all endure to become like Christ.

As we obey God through the Holy Spirit in all things, we become a new creature, remade in the image of Christ’s character.

But remember, there are three voices in our minds: Satan, our own ideas, and the Holy Ghost. Deciding which one to follow is our agency. Learning to follow only the Holy Ghost is the key to enduring to the end.

To become as Christ is the goal, the end to which we may all endure.


The Gospel of Christ is the Good News

The precious Gospel five-step formula is the greatest message on earth.  No other compares with it in importance.

Part of that good news is that every normal human being can complete the precious five-step formula.

No one can complete the formula without help. That help is called the “grace” of God.

God is willing and able to bless us to complete the process of changing   us from a natural man to the stature of Jesus Christ himself.


Summary of the ways of human knowing:

Through the ordinary human ways of knowing the truth about the universe in which we live, we see through a glass, darkly. We see enough to live our human, animal lives with some success.

This is a possible rank order of the ordinary ways of human knowing, most reliable to least reliable:

  • Experimentation
  • Perception
  • Reason
  • Authoritarianism
  • Imagination


But if we add ways of knowing from God

If we first pay attention to what is good and what is evil, and choose to do the good instead of the evil through the Light of Christ, then:

God will eventually, in this world or the next, make the fullness of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, the “good news” available to every human.

Then, if we so choose, we can receive the Gift of the Holy Ghost, which makes God our Senior Companion in all that we want, feel, say and do.

The Gift of the Holy Ghost then leads us to perform the best experiments, perceive truly, reason wisely, know what other persons to believe and who not to believe, and to imagine wisely and fruitfully.

Only using the Gospel of Jesus Christ can we fulfil our human potential.


When are you an expert witness, one whose testimony really counts?

  • Your are an expert witness when you are bearing testimony of something you can do, do do, and have done over and over.
  • When you are bearing testimony of something you have personally and often experienced: Seen, heard, touched, smelled or tasted.
  • You are not an expert witness about the things you hope for, desire, or dream about unless others want to know what you hope for, desire, or dream about.
  • When you bear testimony as an expert witness, you bless your hearers: They then have access to truth through you.


Conclusions about Human Knowing:

We human beings really know only two things:

  1. That which we can do, do do, and have done many times.
  2. The perceptions we have had about very familiar things.

Someone who has either of those two things is an expert witness.

Everything else we have in our minds is not knowledge, but rather belief.

We humans know very little, but believe a lot of things.

We would do well to treat all the statements of expert witnesses as something to be tested by our own experiments and experience.

“Prove all things; hold fast to that which is good.” 1 Thessalonians 5:21

Part Two: Applications of what we know about human knowing:

We will concentrate on four applications:

  1. Organic Evolution as a theory of science.
  2. Adam and Eve as the first human beings (history).
  3. The attempt to solve human social problems.
  4. The location of the Book of Mormon lands.


Organic Evolution

Organic Evolution is the scientific theory that life came to exist on this   earth an by spontaneous generation (chance), and that all present living animals and plants are descended from that  spontaneous generation as shaped by environmental forces.

Science is ideas about the universe consisting of:

Facts: Things sensed, perceived.

Laws: Generalizations of observed facts.

Theories: Ideas invented to explain laws and facts.

There are always and infinite number of theories possible to explain any given set of facts and laws.

Organic Evolution is one of many possible theories to explain the universe.

No scientific theory can be proved to be true because all theory consists of things which are purely imaginary, not perceivable.

Scientific theories can be falsified if their logical consequences are not observed.

Choosing among possible theoretical explanations of observed facts and laws is a personal choice of the persons choosing.

Every one who chooses to follow Darwin and to believe in organic evolution does so because they want to, not because any evidence makes that choice necessary.

Major problems with the Theory of Organic Evolution:

  1. The theory depends upon the idea that life formed spontaneously. There are no examples of spontaneous generation of life known to mankind. (This is a major problem.)
  2. The theory depends upon one species of life form changing into another species. There are no examples of one species changing to another species known to mankind. (This is a major problem.)
  3. The theory depends upon there being an immense amount of time in the past since life on earth began to be: Millions of years. The age of the earth is a theory itself. (This is a major problem.)
  4. The theory defies the Law of Entropy: Natural systems disintegrate (run down) as they lose heat. (This is a major problem.)


Why are some people willing to believe in the spontaneous generation of life?

Some believe that because so many other people believe it.

Some believe that because if it is true, there is no need for God and therefore no need to repent, and they don’t want to repent.

Some believe that because they think (mistakenly) that scientists are never wrong.

Some believe that because they do not think very carefully.


Why do people believe that species beget other species? (Speciation)

Some believe this because speciation is absolutely necessary to the theory of organic evolution, and they desperately want that theory to be true.

Some believe this because they are shown different animals and plants in the fossil record that resemble one another, and they want to believe that the change represents the natural emergence of a new species. But there is no way to know that one form is ancestral to another.

Some believe because so many other persons who they respect believe in this idea.


Why do people believe life has been on the earth for millions of years?

Some believe because they have been told this idea all of their lives.

Some believe in an earth millions of years old because it is necessary to the theory of organic evolution, and they desperately want the theory of organic evolution to be true.

There are many theories as to how long life has existed on earth, but there are no proofs of any of these theories.


Why do people disregard the Law of Entropy?

Some disregard it because they believe in evolution and use organic evolution as a proof that the Second Law of Thermodynamics (The Law of Entropy) is not true.

Some disregard it because they have limited experience with the natural world and suppose that order can naturally come out of disorder.

The watchmaker objection seems trite to some. To find a running watch on the beach and to suppose the winds and the waves put it together seems perfectly logical to some people.


Conclusion: The Theory of Organic Evolution is built upon other pure theories, not on facts or laws. It is wishful thinking.

Notwithstanding the theory of organic evolution is widely taught and believed, especially at universities, it remains suspect and unprovable.

There are no expert witnesses who can give evidence that the theory of organic evolution is true. (Though some would like to claim to be such expert witnesses.) No one can do evolution or has seen it.

The main present-day argument for the theory of organic evolution is that so many people believe it.

A great many people also believe in Santa Claus.


  1. Adam and Eve as the first human beings (History)

To write history is to invent what happened in the past on the basis of evidence available in the present time.

To write prophecy is to invent what will happen in the future on the basis of evidence available in the present time.

To write history is much safer than writing prophecy, because the future will become the present and we will all know which prophecies are correct.

But history will never again become the present, so historians can say anything they want to and not be found out.


The story of Adam and Eve is automatically rejected by most historians.

To accept the story of Adam and Eve as the ancestors of the human race would be to accept the Bible a historical record, which almost no scholars are willing to do.

So historians fall in with the theory of organic evolution and postulate that human beings are one fruit of a long evolutionary process, having descended from some ape-like creature. The fact that there is less evidence for that evolutionary theory than for the Biblical account does not bother them. They of course reject the evidence for the Biblical account because the Biblical account has God and a supernatural spiritual realm as part of it, which things are anathema to the natural man.


Some people try to marry the story of Adam and Eve to the theory of Organic Evolution

Some postulate that Adam and Eve were ape-like creatures to whom God gave a conscience and superior intelligence and they then became human beings.

That postulate flies in the face of three things we are told about Adam and Eve and the Garden of Eden:

  1. There was no death in the Garden (on earth?) until Adam and Eve fell. Adam became mortal because he transgressed. All nature became mortal with him.
  2. Before the fall, Adam and Eve were celestial beings and had spirit matter in their veins, not blood.
  3. Adam and Eve were literally of the race of the gods. (Otherwise, Mary could not have been the mother of Jesus.)


The Fall of Adam and Eve is central to Faith in Jesus Christ

There are three things about the story of Adam and Eve that are crucial to faith in Jesus Christ.

  1. Adam chose to disobey God and therefore fell.
  2. In his fallen state, Adam and all his posterity are dead to the spiritual existence around them.
  3. Being fallen, therefore becoming carnal (trapped in a physical body), sensual (sensing only with the physical body), and devilish (subject to the temptation of Satan through the flesh), Adam and his posterity were in need of a redemption to spiritual life and the presence of God.


Redemption from the Fall of Adam comes only in and through Jesus Christ.

It takes supernatural power to restore humans to spiritual life and to be able to abide the presence of God.

It takes supernatural power to put humans beyond the power of Satan to continue to tempt them.

It takes supernatural power to rescue the physical bodies of mankind from mortal death.

These three things are principal features of what Christ does through his work of Atonement.


Conclusions about Adam and Eve:

Unless men and women have a correct idea of where they came from and what they are supposed to be doing in mortality, they will not accomplish what God sent them to do.

God tells men where they came from and why they are here in the accounts of the Fall of Adam and Salvation through Jesus Christ.

The world rejects both the correct understanding of Adam and Eve and the mission of Christ.

Part of coming out of this world and not being of it is to gain a true understanding from the Holy Ghost both of Adam and Eve and the Fall and of the Redemption made possible by Jesus Christ.


  1. How can men create heaven on earth?

If there was no fall of Adam, there is no need for redemption.

If there is no need for redemption, there is no need for a Savior.

If there is no Savior, mankind must save itself.

The main salvation naturalistic thinkers envision is socialism.

Socialism is humans appointing themselves to be the saviors of mankind.


Socialists have only one goal: Total control of human society, using guns (force).

Socialists seek total control of human society because they theorize they can then solve all human problems:

Poverty, through government redistribution of wealth.

Ignorance, through government control of all education.

Disease, by government control of scientific endeavor.

Crime, by government control of all neighborhoods.

Opposition, by government control of all media.

Christian values (which they see as an enemy) by government control of the upbringing of all children.

Total Government Control is another name for Hell, the implementation of Satan’s plan

Satan proposed in the pre-mortal existence to save all of mankind.

Satan proposed to save all mankind by taking the power of God to force all mankind to live in a force-centered Utopia.

Satan has tried ever since Adam and Eve to set up a Utopia on earth.

Every attempt of Satan to establish Utopia has failed.

The advocates of socialism want to keep trying to establish Utopia because they see no alternative.

Present socialist half-measures are stepping stones to total control.

The proper alternative to Utopia is Zion.


Zion is a people who are pure in heart because of their own agency (choice) and the grace of Christ.

In Zion, people have one heart: They all have pure, unselfish hearts.

In Zion, people believe the same truths: they are of one mind.

In Zion, people voluntarily work righteousness: every man seeks the interest of his neighbor.

In Zion, there are no poor: those who have more voluntarily share with those who have less.

Zion has been created on earth many times, so it is a real possibility.

To make possible the establishment of Zion today is one of the main reasons the Gospel of Jesus Christ was restored in the latter days.


Why do we not have a Zion today?

We don’t have a Zion on earth today because so many Latter-day Saints are not willing to keep their covenants.

Latter-day Saints are working hard on the other reason for the restoration of  the Gospel of Jesus Christ: To teach the Gospel to every nation, kindred tongue and people.

But Latter-day Saints will never fully witness the value of the Restored Gospel to the world until we establish a Zion.

We now say to the world “We have the wonderful, true Gospel of Jesus Christ to share with you. We can’t live it, but it really is true.”


When there is a true Zion on earth, the world will have its second witness of Christ.

The Restored Gospel of Jesus Christ is the one and only formula for saving mankind, both temporally and spiritually.

The Holy Ghost bears witness to everyone who will accept that witness that Jesus is the Christ, the Savior of all mankind.

Those who are saved by the Savior are different from those who are not saved. If they live the whole Gospel, they will establish a Zion. The existence of a Zion will become a witness that the Restored Gospel really does work and save people.

Until we have a Zion, we Latter-day Saints, as a people, are “Mene, mene, tekel upharsin,” weighed in the balance and found wanting.


But are there not some LDS people who live the whole Gospel of Jesus Christ?

Yes, there are some members of the LDS Church who live the whole Gospel of Jesus Christ.

If you put all of those people in one stake, they would establish Zion there.

But then the rest of the Church would fall apart.

The Authorities of the LDS Church are trying mightily to establish Zion.

When we members begin to fully implement what they ask us to do, we will have a Zion.

The engine that will finally create a Zion is the ordinances of the Temple.


There are two keys to the establishment of Zion:

Key #1: To study the Book of Mormon until we truly understand how to come to Christ and be perfected in Him. The Book of Mormon is the manual of instructions as to how to come to Christ and be perfected in Him.

Key #2: Because knowing how to come to Christ is not enough, we must also have the power to come to Christ and be perfected in Him. That power is only obtained through the ordinances of the New and Everlasting Covenant, focusing particularly in the blessings and covenants of the temple endowment and sealings.

Blessed are those who use these to keys unto perfect Faith in Christ.


What will it take to get LDS people to use those two keys?

God protects human agency above all else. Because he knows that only if his children voluntarily create Zion can they avoid creating Hell on earth and going to hell afterwards.

We will establish Zion only when enough LDS people freely choose to keep all of their covenants.

The Savior will never force anyone to create or live in Zion.

When we Latter-day Saints want Zion more than anything else, we will establish it. Right now, too many of us are overcome by worldliness. At most, only half of the LDS church members will overcome the love of the world before He comes again.


When we start loving our God and our neighbor instead of ourselves, we will have Zion.

Selfishness is the great enemy of our souls.

Selfishness is the gospel of Satan.

Jesus Christ would have us live “outside ourselves in love.” And that love must be pure, the gift of charity from Christ.

Therefore, seek after charity, for charity, the pure love from Christ, never fails.

Charity is the gift of God to all who seek to make their eye single to his glory with all of their heart, might, mind and strength.

If we gain charity, we will save our own souls and establish Zion.


The inhabitants of Zion are all expert witnesses to the truth of the Restored Gospel

Imagine if the world were flooded by expert witnesses who could say to the fallen people of this world: “Jesus Christ has come again and restored his true Gospel and Church. Look to Zion, and you can see that Gospel in action. It really does work. I know it saves mankind because I have participated in Zion and have there seen the Lord solve all human, mortal problems by helping them to have charity. You also can be part of a true heaven on earth by accepting Jesus Christ as your Savior and fully living His Restored Gospel in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints unto having this pure love from Christ.”

What a powerful expert witness that will be. Then the powers of hell will be shaken forever.


  1. We turn now to the fourth application, the location of Book of Mormon lands.

This discussion has full meaning only to those who have received the witness of the Holy Ghost that the Book of Mormon is the work of God. Otherwise the discussion is purely academic.

Knowing the Book of Mormon is a true record of ancient peoples on this, the American Continent, we might then profitably wonder just where it all took place.


Joseph Smith’s statement about the Book of Mormon:

Joseph Smith said that the Book of Mormon is “the most correct of any Book on earth & the keystone of our religion & a man would get nearer to God by abiding by its precepts than by any other Book.”

(Wilford Woodruff journal, Nov. 28, 1841, Church History Library, Salt Lake City).

Notice that he did not say that the Book of Mormon is the keystone of the Church. He said it is he keystone of our religion. Our religion is our way of life, the habits of character we foster to endure to the end in our faith in Jesus Christ. That goal or end is to “come to the measure of the fullness of the stature of Christ.” Ephesians 4:13)


The first business of an LDS person is to make our calling and election sure:( See 2 Peter 1: 5-10)

Our calling is to become the children of Christ, become new crearures  remade in His image,  and to then inherit all he has and is.

We can receive this inheritance only as we build spiritual muscle that will enable each of us NEVER to give in to the temptations of Satan.

The commandments of God are given to us to build that spiritual muscle so that we could be trusted with godhood.

The Atonement of Christ makes forgiveness of breaking the commandments of possible, but until we stop sinning, we cannot receive full forgiveness.

Repentance is stopping sinning. Is that possible? Only in Christ.


Don’t be taken in by those who say one cannot become perfect in this life.

To become perfect means to become complete, whole, holy.

To say we cannot become perfect in this life is to say Christ cannot save us.

What he saves us from two things:

  1. The weakness of our character that allows us to sin. He gives us the knowledge and power to learn to keep all of his commandments, thus to build the spiritual muscle necessary to be able to stand godhood.
  2. Christ also saves us from the penalty due for having sinned.


Satan will try every way to divert us so that we will not fully repent.

Satan will fill our minds with lies (like: you can’t become perfect).

Satan will fill our hearts with lusts (like: you deserve to pleasure yourself)

Satan will try to destroy our physical tabernacle (like: you ought to try using tobacco, alcohol, or other drugs)

Satan will try to abort our mission in life (like: I’ll wait to have children until it is convenient)

The solution? To love God with all of our mind, heart, strength and might, first and foremost.


When our calling and election is sure:

When we as a people learn to live the Gospel of Jesus Christ as given in the Book of Mormon we will be able to know everything we need to know and do everything we need to do.

We will receive the sealed portion of the Book of Mormon plates. (This blessing is to the children of Lehi when they become faithful.)

We will receive the full record of the Jaredites. (This blessing is to the Gentiles when they become faithful).

Perhaps we will again have the Book of Lehi (the lost 116 pages)

And we will be able to establish Zion again on the earth.


In this setting, What about Book of Mormon Geography?

Book of Mormon geography is a fascinating subject.

I appreciate the scholarship of John Sorensen in his study of the archaeology of Meso-America and his contention that those are the Book of Mormon lands.

I also greatly appreciate the work of Rod Meldrum and others in bringing to our attention the remains of ancient civilization in North America, urging us that they are the Book of Mormon lands.

I find both of them giving interesting and compelling evidence and reasoning. But I honestly have to conclude that Book of Mormon geography is a red herring to me.


A Red Herring is a diversion. Be not diverted.

I lean towards the Heartland theory of Book of Mormon lands. Knowing where they are is important.

But there is something that is 100 times more important.

The priority of Latter-day Saints should be to:

  1. Come unto Christ and be perfected in Him.
  2. To establish His Zion.

When we have done those two things, we will not only know what are the true Book of Mormon lands, but a lot of other precious things also.

So let us be about doing those two things, first and foremost.


Conclusions about Human Knowing:

Humans know best what they can do. So treasure the testimony of the expert witnesses: the doers.

We humans know least about the things we cannot now experience. About those things we invent theories. Appreciate the ideas of those who talk theory. But take it all theory with grains of salt.

Remember: All human supposing of the past is theory. All human supposing of the future is theory. So learn about the past and the future only from God, for whom they are not theory.


Great doers:

The greatest doer is Jesus Christ himself: He lived a perfect life, He fulfilled his mission completely, he wrought the Atonement to reconcile every child of God who will receive it to come back to be with and live the life of God the Father, and brings about the best possible eternal happiness for each human being.

Joseph Smith was a great doer. He was able to bridge between God and man to restore the fullness of the Gospel of Jesus Christ to the earth and to establish the Kingdom of God on the earth for the last time.


Other great doers:

Brigham Young was a great doer. He was the down-to-earth doer who was able to secure the continuation of what Joseph Smith established, to help the Latter-day Saints continue the Kingdom of God in the desert, to meet with good sense the challenges of every-day life.

Thomas S. Monson is a doer who shows the way to love God by loving our fellowmen. As our leader-doer at the present day, he and the other General Authorities would have us reach out to all others in the pure love of Christ.

Recommendations for the writings of doers:

Dean Sessions is a doer who has learned to make fossils. I commend to you his Universal Model of science. His proofs of the Universal Flood are most impressive. If you want a fresh look at science and geology and to see good reasons why organic evolution is a false hypothesis, take time to investigate the Universal Model. See at

David Allan is a doer who has learned to measure and calibrate time. I commend to you his book It’s About Time, wherein he tells you how to measure time and to establish simultaneity. His work with time was a critical factor in establishing GPS and other navigational aids. And as a disciple of Christ, he tells you much about living the Gospel. See at


Other Doers

Stephen Covey, our deceased friend, had much good to say about doing our human life. His book The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People is a good manual for living life as an intelligent human being. It is great terrestrial wisdom.

But the greatest doer of all time is Jesus Christ. He create the heavens and this earth and all of us, and is our Savior. I commend to you all of his words about how to come to Him and to our Father in Heaven to become an eternal doer of righteousness. Please don’t accept any human being as your Savior.


My plea to you today: Come unto Christ

The best thing any of us can do for this world is to come unto Christ, all the way, until we are filled with and show His pure love.

Then we will establish Zion, get the rest of the scriptures that are promised to come forth, and each fill our missions.

Please show love and tenderness for those who do not believe in Christ, and for those who do believe in organic evolution, that Adam and Eve evolved, and that the solution to our political problems is socialism. And treat them that way even if they don’t treat you that way.

Above all, let us be humble before Christ and our Father in Heaven,  that their will, not our will, be done on this wonderful earth.



I bear my witness that Jesus is the Christ, that He lives and answers prayers, and that He tempers the elements for his sheep who are shorn of pride. There is no more intelligent thing to do for any human being than to search out a knowledge of this Christ. And then we can waste and wear out lives out in loving and serving Him with all of our heart, might, mind and strength by tirelessly sharing all we have with our neighbors in His pure love.

In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

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Definitions of Philosophy, Science, Technology, Scholarship, History, and Religion

NOTE: I asked Dr. Riddle to define Philosophy, Science, Technology, Scholarship, History, and Religion. This is what he gave me back the next day. – Ken Krogue

Philosophy: The love of wisdom. Asking the right questions.

Epistemology: How can we know? What can we know.

Science: What is real in the world we can sense. What are the facts, laws. What are the theories that explain the facts and laws? What are the postulates which control the theories?

Legitimate science: What the majority of the scientists say. No necessary connection with truth.

Illegitimate science: What the majority of the scientists reject. No necessary connection with truth.

Scholarship: Controlling the documents to build a case for something out of what other persons have written.

History: What really happened in the past? (A branch of scholarship, a form of fiction.)

Prophecy: What will really happen in the future? ( More dangerous to do than history.)

Metaphysics: What is real beyond that which we can sense?

Ethics: What is right to do, and what is wrong to do, if anything?

Esthetics: What is beautiful? Is the beauty in the beholder or in the object?

Technology: The patterns of accomplishing specific goals. Art is one form of technology.

(Because our society is basically Greek in mentality, science is given much greater stature than is technology, and scientists are given greater acclaim than are engineers or artists.)

The Basic Cultural Mentalities:

Greek: Knowing (understanding) is the most important human activity. (Science)

Roman: Accomplishing physical tasks is the most important human activity. (Technology)

Trojan: Physical beauty is the most important human attainment. (Appearance)

Hebrew: Doing what is right (blessing others) is the most important human activity. (Righteousness, which is a dirty word to many of Greek and Roman mentality and to most of Trojan mentality.)

Religion: The pattern of thinking, believing and acting that make up a person’s character.

Every normal human being has one, and there are as many of them as there are people.

Church: A social organization which attempts to promulgate some religious pattern.

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Metaphysics, Communication, Agency and Salvation

Metaphysics, Communication, Agency and Salvation

Version Metcom10, 8 March 2011, edited 29 Apr 2014

C. C. Riddle

The purpose of this paper is to present a framework of metaphysics for better understanding of the process of human communication. The application will be the impact those ideas have on the understanding of human agency and of salvation. This will be done in an LDS context of understanding. The attempt will be made to be as plain and as simple as possible.

1. Metaphysics

The definition of the word “metaphysics” varies from person to person, among philosophers especially. The following definition will be used in this discussion: Metaphysics is the unprovable assumptions about the universe which we use to think about the things which are provable. If what we are thinking about at a given moment is or has been seen, or is provable, then it belongs to the realm of physics, or nature. If what we think about is the unseen, unprovable aspects of the universe which make sense of what we do see, we are in the realm of metaphysics. Everyone has a metaphysics if they think, but few people are conscious of the metaphysics which they use and believe. For instance, no one can prove there will be a tomorrow. But most people believe there will be a tomorrow, and live their lives accordingly.

There are no human experts about metaphysics, and therefore there is no point in quoting anyone except to make explicit their opinions. Every thinking person either believes in an after-life, or does not, but no person is an expert on the matter who should be believed. If there were such an expert and if that person were expert because of physical evidence, then that subject would be part of nature and physics, no longer in the realm of metaphysics.

In saying that there are no human experts about metaphysics, we must take note of the role of prophets, seers and revelators. Prophets of God are people appointed by God to speak to the rest of us about the things which God wants us to know, which includes a lot of metaphysics. Seers from God are people to whom God shows things which are metaphysical to us, that they might tell us about the truth of metaphysics. Revelators from God are persons authorized by God to give us his messages. In an LDS frame, prophets, seers and revelators are sent to the rest of us by God so that each person may eventually become himself or herself a prophet, seer and revelator. Should all of us become such, the realm of metaphysics would largely become physics. If we believe the metaphysics taught to us by prophets, seers and revelators, it will be because we either have faith in them or faith in the ministrations of the Holy Spirit which testifies to us of the truth of what they say.

Meanwhile we all live by faith in someone or something. Every human being lives by faith because each of us must believe things about metaphysics to make sense of our physical world. There is no shortage of faith or of metaphysical belief in this world. The question is, how much of that faith and metaphysics is grounded in truth? It is the testimony of Latter-day Saints that the unique access to truth in metaphysics is the light of Christ, and to receive a fulness of correct metaphysics requires full faith in Jesus Christ.

We might suppose that our metaphysics should be internally consistent, but we cannot prove that that is necessary. Some people function very nicely with self-contradictory assumptions about metaphysics. For instance, many people are taught and believe in the Three-in-One God of the Nicene Creed and do not mind the inconsistencies associated with that belief.

We suppose that our metaphysics should be useful, helping us to make better sense of the seen world. But some people enjoy metaphysics which are not very useful in explaining the seen world. For instance, to suppose that our visible world is supported on the back of a great unseen turtle makes it possible to explain some things, like earthquakes, but little else.

Metaphysical assumptions are very powerful in controlling what we think about the seen world and what to do about it. For instance, if we think disease is caused by unseen metaphysical forces, we may treat disease by appealing to unseen metaphysical agents, such as appeasing unseen spirits. But if we think disease is caused by seen and known physical factors, we will try to deal with those physical factors to cure disease. It is interesting that the germ theory of disease accounts well for positive cases of given diseases but cannot account for negative cases, where the person is exposed but does not acquire the disease. The negative cases are disposed of by metaphysics: The person who does not acquire the disease is accused of having an “immunity” to the disease, which immunity is actually a metaphysical construct.

The line between physics and metaphysics is not the same for every person. A strict interpretation would make everything metaphysical which is not being sensed by me now. A loose interpretation would make everything in which I believe physics, metaphysics being the assumptions I make about existence when I think. This difference between persons as to what is metaphysical and what is not is the source of great confusion and the basis of much disagreement.

Metaphysics is powerful. Cultural control of populations is often undertaken by carefully controlling the metaphysics people are taught. For example, there is a concerted effort in the public schools of the United States to counter the concept of a God who controls the universe, and one of the chief instruments in that effort is the careful teaching of organic evolution. Usually in this teaching no distinction is being made between the scientific law of evolution, which is in the realm of physics and is very sure, and the theory of organic evolution, which is the metaphysics of evolution and is unprovable. The problem is that those who teach evolution often surreptitiously attach the surety of the law to the theory for all who do not understand what is going on, thereby convincing many that science is correct and that thus there is no God.

Metaphysical considerations are of controlling importance in all thinking. This because the frame of reference in which a person thinks sets the limits and possibilities for that thinking. To have a false metaphysics is to guarantee the creation of a false picture in the presentations of that person, which may, in turn, lead to acts which are not productive of good. If we do not promote good, we promote evil. Good and evil are, of course, metaphysical assumptions which some persons deny exist.

The main point about metaphysics: If you think, you have to have a metaphysics. Whatever metaphysical framework you use is a matter of faith, not knowledge, and that faith both empowers and restricts all of your thinking, choosing and acting.

2. Communication

The metaphysics of communication in one LDS frame of reference is to view the human being as an intelligence housed in a spirit body, and that spirit body housed in a temporary tabernacle of flesh and bone. The real person is the intelligence housed in the spirit body, not the body of flesh and bone. This human person of three parts exists in this world for a testing, a probation, to show the true nature of the intelligence by allowing the spirit to control the body.

The intelligence and spirit of each person receive information about the world around it’s physical body through the nerve mechanisms of that human body. These nerve mechanisms transmit nerve impulses to the brain which are differentiated only by the source in the sensory organs of the surface of the human body. Thus the nerve impulse from the retina of the eyes is exactly the kind of impulse as the impulses from the tympani in the ears. If the two nerve systems were crossed, we would “see” with our ears and “hear” with our eyes. This information is the physics of the functioning of the human physical body.

This picture of the human nervous system leads to the idea of epistemological solipsism. Metaphysical solipsism is the idea that I alone exist and that the universe and all of its inhabitants are but figments of my imagination. We are not here espousing or commending metaphysical solipsism. But I am propounding and endorsing epistemological solipsism. Epistemological solipsism is the idea that my consciousness exists in my brain and I know nothing directly about the outside physical universe. I invent ideas about the physical universe in response to the physical stimuli which my nervous systems send to my brain, but my universe is all a construct, an invention of my mind.

In my particular LDS frame of reference as added to that scientific account of human sensing, we also need to posit that the human spirit is also subject to two kinds of spiritual influence to which it may and must respond: First, the influence of God for good, either the light of Christ or the Holy Ghost, or both, which inform the spirit as to how to interpret physical and spiritual experiences for truth and for good. Second, the influence of Satan for error and for evil, interpreting physical and spiritual experience of the person in ways that encourage each person to do evil, to break the commandments of God. There is some scriptural evidence that the spiritual influence of Satan comes to the human being only through the flesh, the mortal tabernacle.1

The sum of this metaphysical picture of the human being is that the human spirit is trapped with the human physical body and knows or is affected by only three things: 1)physical stimuli which come through the sensory mechanisms of the physical human body, 2)spiritual stimuli which come to it from God, and 3) spiritual stimuli which come from Satan.2

When one human being communicates with another human being, the communication consists of both physical and spiritual elements. For the instance of voice communication, the speaker creates noises which travel through the air as sound waves and which disturb the hearing mechanisms of the physical body of the recipient person. The recipient hears the noises in his or her own brain and invents a meaning for the noises. This meaning is constructed on the basis of the recipient’s prior experience with the language being used, and on the basis of the construct of the universe which the recipient has, which will include prior experience with the speaker, with other speakers of that language, previous thoughts of the recipient about the topic being discussed, etc. The point of this is that meaning is never transmitted directly from one person to another. It has no place in the stream of nervous impulses which arrive in the human brain. Meaning is always invented by the recipient. No sign, signal or symbol has any inherent meaning. Again, meaning is always invented by the recipient and is never transmitted physically when humans communicate.

But the recipient is never alone in constructing meanings in a communication situation. Always there is the additional influence of Satan in every communication. Satan supplies to the recipient possible interpretations for the noises heard, and may or may not indicate the true meaning intended by the speaker. The purpose of Satan’s communication to the human spirit is in all cases to lead the recipient to do evil. Satan will thus indicate to the human spirit whatever interpretation of the communication he desires to the end that the person break the commandments of God.

The third element of most human communication is the influence of God. When a person is spoken to by another person, God may also supply to the recipient an interpretation of the physical message of the sender. This influence of God will come either through the light of Christ, which all mankind receives at most times during mortality, or through the ministrations of the Holy Ghost. The influence of God in the communication situation is to give the recipient part or all of the true intention and message of the speaker. Having access to the true intention and message of the speaker arms the recipient to deal with reality, the way things really are. Should the speaker be describing some truth of the universe, the influence of God may give a correct interpretation of the intent of the speaker, and may also give the real truth of the matter under consideration, depending on the worthiness of the recipient. Along with the correct interpretation of the communication, instruction may be given as to how to respond to the sender in a way that is good, within the framework of the commandments of God, which good will be some form of blessing others by one’s actions.

The influence of God is not always present. It is always present for little children, and sometimes little children understand human communication better than their elders. But for those over eight years of age, if the person consistently chooses and uses only the interpretations given by Satan, the spirit of the Lord is grieved and leaves the person to be led solely by Satan.3 My metaphysics tells me that when any person rejects the influence of God, he or she is left with only his or her personal inventions as to the meaning of communications as influenced by Satan. For a covenant servant of Christ I see no middle ground: Either we accept the help of God in communication or reject it. But when we reject the influence of God we back ourselves into the arms of Satan and whatever interpretation we give to the communication in question will be tainted or controlled by the influence of Satan.

To say that human words and symbols have no inherent meaning must not be taken to say that they have no importance. Some human words and symbols have great importance in and of themselves, and the appropriate use of them gives the speaker great power. The prime example of this importance of a word or symbol is the name “Jesus Christ.” When a true and faithful covenant servant of Jesus Christ uses that name in prayer or in blessing or cursing someone or something, the use of the name has the power to change things in the natural world, such as healing the sick or causing the blind to see.4 When a person who knows who Jesus Christ is uses that name in vain by swearing or by attempting to give unauthorized blessings or cursings, damage comes to the speaker instead of to the person or thing he or she is trying to bless or curse.5 The use of magical words and incantations is the evil reverse practice of using the name of Christ to bless. Satan also has special words which his followers are taught and use to wield his Satanic power in the realm of natural things, and such formulae are much sought after by purveyors of evil.6 The power, of course, does not reside in the words themselves, but in the persons of Christ and Satan. The person who uses the words correctly, using the instructions given by the respective master, thus has power through using words. But  the power is not in the words themselves. Meaning must be intended by the user as well as being invented by the hearer.

The meaning of any communication is thus supplied by three sources: The imagination of the hearer, the influence of Satan, and the influence of God. It may also come from any mixture of those three sources.

The main point about communication: Human beings as spirit persons have only indirect communication with each other through the physical sensory mechanisms of the human body, but have direct communication with both God and Satan.

3. Agency

Agency is the freedom of an individual to choose between alternatives and then to carry out the chosen action. Choosing provides a partial agency which is sufficient to show the nature of the person choosing, whether they themselves are good or evil. Action provides the fulness of agency. Where there is no power to act, there is no power to do actual good or evil, even if chosen.

The purpose of mortal probation is fulfilled simply by choosing.

Human beings exist in this world to give each an opportunity to choose between good and evil, thus to display the nature of their eternal intelligence. God provided this human experience for each person so that when he rewards each with eternal blessings, each human will know that God is just and is rewarding each person appropriately.

The agency of each human being thus consists in having the God-given opportunity to react to both the influence of Satan for evil and the influence of God for good. How a given person reacts to their experience with those two spiritual influences determines how much weight of glory that given person can stand in the eternal worlds. Those who learn to take interpretation and direction only from God, and who then do what God directs, are candidates for exaltation, to become as God is. Those who mix their interpretations and instruction to act, using some from Satan and some from God, are candidates for glory because of the degree to which they follow God, but are damned or stopped to the degree to which they hearkened to Satan.

No human being can determine the eternal salvation of any other human being. Because no human being can communicate directly with any other human being, no person can control the mind or choices of any other human being. It is true that human communication may engender good or evil, but each person will be given a full opportunity to choose between good and evil for himself or herself. A missionary may present a message about the Gospel of Jesus Christ to another person, but it is not receiving the missionary’s message that saves anyone, it is rather because the person listens to the Holy Spirit which may be present when the missionary teaches or bears testimony.7 The task of a missionary is to be so humble that he or she is accompanied by the Holy Spirit. Then the salvation of souls is made possible. Likewise, no human being can damn any other human being, no matter how they treat the other person or what communication they attempt to give them.

Part of the agency of each human being is the ability God has given each to interpret and use the communications of other human beings. Another part is the influence of Satan. A third part is God’s own influence. Thus each human being lives in a mental universe of his or her own choosing, and chooses actions to attempt to remodel or change that universe according to his or her own desires.

God has set up a flawless system to give each human being agency to affect others temporally, but never to control the eternal destiny of anyone but themselves. Every person will say at the day of judgment that they have been given the correct reward. No one will accuse God of being either harsh or indulgent towards any of his children, for each will see and know that each has chosen his or her own eternal destiny and rewards by the actions he or she chose in the mortal probation.

The main point about agency: The agency of human beings is the opportunity to choose either good by hearkening to God, or to choose evil by hearkening to Satan at a given moment. There is no third possibility.

4. Salvation

Salvation is to be saved from something. In the Restored Gospel of Jesus Christ, salvation is to be saved from ourselves and from the consequences of the evil things we have done.

To be saved from ourselves means to be helped to get rid of the evil within our own nature, our character, which causes and enables us to sin. To sin is to break the commandments of God, and all sinning involves injury to others in the process of breaking the commandments of God. To be saved from the things we have done is to be saved from the consequences of a just reward for each of the acts of disobedience to the commandments of God wherein we have caused injury to others.

Our Savior helps us to be saved from ourselves through the process of repentance. In repenting, we change our actions so that all of our acts become acts of faith in Jesus Christ. We can do this only by treasuring the influence of God in our lives and at the same time rejecting the influence of Satan in our lives. By such choosing we learn to keep all of the commandments of God. This change, or repentance, is a change of character, which change of character involves changing how we view the world and how we react to the world. This salvation is a reformation of our habits of thinking, feeling, speaking and acting. These changes do not come simply by desiring to change, but come only as our character is reformulated by our persistent actions in  choosing to do good for our neighbors under the tutelage of the Holy Spirit, and then doing that good. The change has to be so complete and so firm that eventually we come to the point where forever after we never will give in to the temptations of Satan to break the commandments of God, thus to sin. The goal of faith in Jesus Christ and repentance is to come unto the stature of a perfect human being, our character being remade in the image of Christ himself through our own choices and by the enabling power of God.

Our Savior helps us to be saved from the consequences of our actions, from the just reward for the injury we have caused others through breaking the commandments of God, through his suffering in Gethsemane and on the cross. In that suffering he took upon himself the pain for each human sin, the just recompense for our having caused pain. He will forgive us the necessity of making that same suffering on the condition that we truly repent, that is, that we change our nature and habits so that we no longer sin. Then it is worthwhile for him to forgive us, since we no longer are preying upon our fellow beings.

The key to salvation is to receive instruction from God and follow it, specifically to serve under the tutelage of the Holy Ghost. One cannot receive the gift of the Holy Ghost unto this salvation until he or she makes the covenant of baptism. One of the promises of that covenant is that we will keep the commandments Christ gives us, in other words, we will seek and gain full faith in Jesus Christ.

One cannot receive the covenant of baptism meaningfully if one has not received the witness of the Holy Ghost. It profits a person to receive the witness of the Holy Ghost only when one can tell the good from the evil in this world, so that one knows which is the good or holy spirit, and which is the evil or satanic spirit. Every human being of normal intelligence becomes well acquainted with both the light of Christ, which witnesses of that which is good, and the influence of Satan, which witnesses of that which is evil. Then, knowing good from evil, each can discern the difference between the Holy Spirit and the evil spirit. It is then meaningful to the individual to receive the Holy Ghost.

The salvation of a given human soul is thus a joint enterprise between that soul and Christ. The individual puts his or her whole faith in Christ unto taking upon himself or herself the New and Everlasting Covenant and then living up to all of the promises made. As the individual person does the works of righteousness by loving God with all of his or her heart, might, mind and strength, Christ enables the person to have greater and greater will power, priesthood power, discernment, understanding, and knowledge of the truth of all things, but especially and most importantly the power to love others with a pure love, the pure love of Christ.

The main point about salvation: Our Savior saves each individual by teaching and enabling each to have full faith in him unto repentance from every transgression of the laws of God until the person arrives at the stature of the fulness of the character of Christ himself and does the full works of righteousness which the pure love of Christ makes possible.


The agency of mankind is thus found in the simple paradigm of our communication situation as given by the correct metaphysical understanding of the human condition. This paradigm is that the human being is an intelligence tabernacled in a spirit body, that spirit body being tabernacled in a mortal, physical body. The spirit body has direct spiritual communication with both the good spirit and the evil spirit, but no direct connection or communication with any other human being. The agency of the person is simply to choose which of the two spirits to follow. Salvation depends upon deliberately following the Holy Spirit, upon deliberately rejecting the influence of the evil spirit, and not upon the intervention of any other human being except to receive all parts of the New and Everlasting Covenant as administered by some authorized representative of God.

1. 2 Nephi 2:29

2. 2 Nephi 2:28-29

3. D&C 121:37

4. D&C46:16-26

5. Exodus 20:7, D&C 63:61-62

6. Moroni: 10:30

7. D&C 50: 17-25

Posted in Agency, Communication, Metaphysics | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment

How the Categories Work

Please note that the Category Widget on the sidebar to the right at the top is being used two ways to categorize these works of Dr. Riddles:


The top half is alphabetical by topic.


The lower half is the book, magazine, conference, devotional, debate, etc., Dr. Riddle Riddle first presented this work.

I hope this helps – Ken

Posted in WHERE PUBLISHED OR PRESENTED (BELOW) | Comments Off on How the Categories Work

Working By Faith is Mental Exertion (NEW!)

I had the pleasure of having Elder Riddle in my district and zone while serving in the Illinois Peoria mission. I have a two page work entitled “Working By Faith is Mental Exertion” written by Chauncey Riddle in response to a mission wide effort to obtain “an eye single to the Glory of God”. To my knowledge this work hasn’t been published anywhere, I am happy to forward you a copy if you would like.

As I understand, this was written around July or August of 1994 while Elder and Sister Riddle were serving full time in the Bloomington/Normal Illinois area.

– Jeff Driggs, A Missionary in the Illinois, Peoria Mission

Elder Chauncey Riddle

Faith is a believing, enthusiastic positive response to a message from God.

To work by faith consists of two parts:

  1. Training the mind, in understanding and intentions.
  2. Doing that which pleases God.

Training the mind.

The goal of mind training is to have an eye single to the Glory of God. The eye in question is the mind’s eye, the eye of our understanding and intentions. It is God’s purpose to teach us how to look upon our surroundings in this world and see things as they really are (as opposed to believing the lies of the adversary). To do this we must test every bit of information we receive by the Holy Spirit, to see if how we are seeing, hearing, sensing and believing is true. This is difficult at first, but as we practice doing this it can become almost automatic. We are training ourselves to look upon all things with the help of God, to see things as he sees them. By this means we come to understand truly what is going on around us in order to to diagnose the problems at hand correctly.

To train our intentions is to work with ourselves until we desire nothing but the glory of God. This is intense mental effort, for we must be ever scrutinizing our intent and motives, being guided by our conscience whether our motives are pure and selfless or not. When the work of God becomes the only thing we really care about, then we can begin to work for the glory of God with all of our heart, might, mind and strength.

In the process of attempting to make our eye single to the glory of God, we may find that our heart is not pure, and that we cannot go all the way to having an eye single because our heart will not tolerate that dedication. It is then our privilege to apply to God for a new heart. When we have done all that we can do with our present heart, have trained our mind to attend to the things of God and our body to be as faithful to God as we can, then, since we have then done all we can to have faith, the grace of God can come to us and make up the difference. As we receive instruction from God to do so, we can receive a new, pure heart which will enable us to have our eye completely single to the glory of God. A pure heart and an eye (mind) single make it possible for us to become faith-full, to have perfect faith.

Doing that which pleases God.

Faith not a one-time accomplishment, but is required every decision of our lives. One who has an eye single out of a pure heart yet has much mental work to do to be faithful. He or she must search out the mind and will of the Lord in every situation and then do what the Lord instructs him or her to do in order to act faithfully.

Searching out the mind and will of God is done by a conversation between the heart and the mind of a person. The mind searches the scriptures and the words of the prophets and the whisperings of the Spirit for clues as to what Cod would have done to solve a particular problem. As ideas and possible solutions come to mind these are referred to the heart. If the idea is good, the heart will register that good. If the idea is bad, the heart will register that reservation and the mind will have a stupor and confusion. The heart and mind must pass the matter back and forth until the person is assured by the Holy Spirit that they know the mind and will of the Lord.

This work is arduous at first, and may virtually paralyze the person. But as one works from one little decision to another, his or her ability to be faithful will increase, and ere long he or she will be able to be faithful at the full, ordinary pace of life. It is much like learning a new language. Halting and painful at first, we are tempted to revert to our mother tongue (the ways of the natural man). But as we persevere, faith becomes our new tongue, and we become fluent, and are able to speak with the tongue of angels.

Now, being assured that we are doing the right thing, we may act in perfect confidence, carrying out the mind and will of the Lord Jesus Christ in the acts of our flesh.

Our receiving true understanding through the Holy Spirit, our receiving instruction as to how to make our eye single, our receiving a new heart, our receiving instruction as to what to do are the gift aspects of faith. It will be seen that faith is largely a gift from God.

But those gift aspects of faith cannot remain alone. Without the willing and grateful receiving of the gifts and the faithful hearkening to the mind and will of God on the part of some agent human being to work out God’s designs in the earth, faith would not yet exist. Faith without works is dead, being alone.

The great enemy of faith is pride, the self-sufficiency that causes us to reject the messages that come to us from God. Evidences of pride are our willingness to believe in the traditions and wisdom of men which are not commended to us by God, or to place reliance on our own conjectures.

Thus the minds of men are the battleground in the war between faith in God and sin. Those who will have faith in God must exert themselves mightily, performing great mental exertion, to learn to be faithful to Jesus Christ.

Posted in Faith, Missionary Conference | Tagged , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

How to Stay on the Straight and Narrow

Chauncey C. Riddle

It is my purpose tonight to paint a picture for you. The picture is one with which you’re all very familiar: I propose to talk about the gospel. I hope to say something that will crystalize it in a special way. It’s not my intent to say anything new and startling.

I believe that the Savior was sent into the earth to be the key for the solution for every problem. It does not matter what the problem is. It seems to me as I read the scriptures and as I listen to the Brethren, the key to the solution to every problem—every personal, human problem–Is to come unto Christ and be perfected in Him and partake of His goodness.

President Hinckley says that the purpose of the Church is to relieve human suffering. Well, we humans suffer a lot of things. One of the principle things we suffer is the deprivation of much of the good that is our heritage. Of course, through the gospel we may attain this heritage. Our potential, our heritage, is to be as our Father in Heaven–to be as He is, to enjoy all that He has, to be as much as He Is.

But we have been cut off from that potential by the fall of Adam, which fall was necessary because there was no way we could get to that potential without the fall. And so the fall comes as that kindly disposition to remove us from His presence, that we might choose our way back into His presence and into His blessings rather than having it somehow be automatic.

Thus, the way back to Father is a way of covenants, and there are two covenants. First there is the old covenant. The old covenant is described in Abraham Chapter 3. Basically the old covenant says, “You must do everything that God commands, and if you do everything God commands, then you will receive the fullness of the blessings. But, of course, if you happen to slip in any particular, that means you’re irretrievably damned forever.” Now that’s a pretty severe covenant. This is the covenant of justice, and Father represents justice. But Father also represents mercy. And so He sent His Son, knowing that we could not keep that first covenant. He sent His Son with another covenant. And this is the new covenant, or the New and Everlasting Covenant. In the new covenant, we have the privilege of slipping if we should call that a privilege. We can slip and still inherit. But the basic requirement is the same. The requirement is that through repentance we still live up to every commandment that God gives. That is to say, there is nothing short of attaining total perfection that will suffice. We must enter into the way, and become as the Father and as the Son.

You are aware that in the world there are different theories of salvation. The Catholic and Protestant theories of salvation are approximately the same. They differ in some details, but basically what they say is, “Here we have this poor, depraved, blighted human being and we will take this human being and if certain things happen, then we’ll take this bucket of whitewash and pour it over him and pretend that he’s clean and we will set him up in heaven where he will dwell forever after, worshipping God.” That is a bit different from the LDS version.

The LDS version is that there is no bucket of whitewash. What we have to do is to take the bull by the horns and using the gifts of God, work out a new being for ourselves–a new character. God is not going to excuse us in anything. That is to say, if we don’t measure up to what he is, then we simply cannot inherit. He gives us all the tools, and then we have to take these tools and build a new self. So we are saved by grace, which is the tools. But we’re only saved by doing all that we can do with them. And so as we receive these tools, these blessings, these gifts, these opportunities and seize upon them, then we must enter into the way. And “the way” means we are becoming like Christ. Until we have obtained everything that He possesses and is, we have not come to the end. Of course, we have promised to endure to the end. Thus we have the New and Everlasting Covenant which consists of a series of discrete steps which lead us to come unto the fullness of the measure of the stature of Christ.

There is a scripture pertinent to this topic: Moroni 10. I didn’t discover this scripture until a couple of years ago; it’s amazing, and it was there all the time. It finally hit me and I’m so grateful to realize that it means the Father’s plan. Moroni 10:24-25:

Now I speak to all the ends of the earth, that if the day cometh that the power and gifts of God shall be done away among you, it shall be because of unbelief. And woe be unto the children of men if this be the case for there shall be none among you that doeth good, no not one for if there be one among you that doeth good, he shall work by the power and gifts of God. “

Now to me, that says something really plain. It says, “Here we are in this world, having a choice between good and evil. That’s why Adam fell so we would have that choice. And every decision we make is a choice between good and evil. We’re not usually aware of that, but if we work at it, we can become aware of it. Most people would think that most of the decisions they make are just sideways, they are not good or evil they are just somehow in there. But my understanding is that every decision is a choice between good and evil and that we can only choose good and do good by the gifts and power of God. And if we refuse the gifts and power of God, then by default we do evil. This of course, is why so much evil is done in the world, some deliberate, some not deliberate.

But evil is simply that which is not up to the celestial standard. It’s not up to what Father would have His children do.

There are all kinds of degrees of evil. My understanding is that there are not lots of degrees of good -but that there are many degrees of evil. There can be a little bit of evil and there can be a great evil. But if we do good–do real good–then we do it because we have come to Christ and in Him we have found some good gift and we take this gift and apply it in our lives.

So, for instance, supposing I have grown up in a home where honesty is not valued, and I find it expedient to lie from time to time. What have I got to do? I’ve got to treasure the Spirit of the Lord so much that I will implore the Father through Christ that He will give me the Spirit of honesty; that He will prick my conscious whenever I tell a lie. Then I must use that prick, that gift, and force myself by the nape of the neck (so to speak) if necessary to stop lying. And when I finally get that habit of being honest firmly ingrained in myself so that I have knee-jerk honesty, then I have to that degree obtained a new character. And that is the process by which we are saved, as I understand, by acquiring every good habit.

We go through our lives, habit by habit, idea by idea, deed by deed, and we reject the evil. Which is to say, we repent of the evil things we have done and the evil things that we are and replace them with good, line upon line, precept upon precept, habit upon habit, idea upon idea, feeling upon feeling, becoming more and more like Christ, culminating finally in the full character of the Savior. And so Moroni says in this same Chapter, verse 32: “Yea, come unto Christ and be perfected in Him, deny yourselves of all ungodliness, and if you deny yourselves of all ungodliness, and love God with all your might, mind, and strength, then is His grace sufficient for you. That by His grace, ye may be perfect in Christ. And if by the grace of God you are perfect in Christ, you can in nowise deny the power of God.”

So the goal is to become as the Savior, which means to become absolutely pure in heart, to be entirely enlightened in our minds, which is to have a fullness of truth even as He does, to be renewed in the flesh and receive a celestial body eventually, and finally, to gain all power in heaven and earth, which is to be almighty, even as He is. This is a specific sequence: heart, mind, strength, and might and that’s the order in which we must be saved. We don’t begin with might, though that is where a lot of people would like to begin. They want to be almighty to start with and believe that the rest of the things will work out. Of course, that would make monsters out of us. So, Father starts at the other end and has prescribed that the first thing, the most fundamental thing we must do is become pure in heart. Our heart is our desires, and when our desires are pure, then we can be trusted with anything and everything.

The question in this life is not, “Are you forgiven of your sins?” because everybody in every kingdom of glory will be forgiven of sins. The question is, “How much can you be trusted?” What kind of assignments could you receive and carry through in the way that the Savior would? That is the true measure of our being. And so as we focus on obtaining the character of Christ, that is the straight and narrow way. To step by step replace the evil in ourselves with good until we have come to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ.

The thing that is absolutely necessary in this life is to gain the pure heart. We don’t have to do all of the rest in this life, for there will be much to do when we get on the other side. But one thing that is necessary for those who do have the covenant, the New and Everlasting Covenant, is to get the pure heart. Now the mind can wait, the body can wait, the might can wait–but the pure heart can’t wait. The scriptural name for the pure heart is charity. And if we have charity, then we are (will be) possessors of all things. If we don’t have charity, we are still nothing. The scriptures are very plain about that. Until we get the gift of charity, we simply can’t be trusted.

So that is the absolute fundamental that we must strive for in this world. In this world we build houses, we raise families, we subdue the earth. The purpose of all those things is that in the process, we might build for ourselves a new character, a new personality, a new person, a new being in the image of Christ. But there are obstacles.

Satan is not our main enemy. Oh he is an enemy, that’s true. He’s not interested in our turning to good at all, but he’s not our real problem. The real problem is simply ourself. If we can overcome ourselves, Satan offers no further barrier to us. The real problem is just our own heart. The evil desires within our own heart are the enemy we each have to conquer. Thus, it doesn’t matter whether we’re born rich or poor, male or female, black or white, bond or free–the human problem is all the same. The problem is, can you work out a new heart Can you become so pure that you have no ill will toward any human being. Your heart needs to be full of love for the Father and the Son and for all other beings, much so that you can be trusted to do the right thing in any circumstance in which you’ll be found. That is the goal.

But there are some things that get in our way; pride, for instance. We live in a very prideful world. President Benson has labeled this as the great enemy. Pride is enmity toward God. Pride sums up all the problems. We’ll enumerate some others but they are all simply species of pride. Pride says, “I will do it my way.” Pride says, “I don’t need to be told what to do. I don’t need help. I don’t need a time-table. I don’t need to make promises. I will do it my way.” Pride is self-sufficiency. Pride is saying, “I’m good enough as I am. I will find my own way home. I like myself the way I am.”

One of the principle things the world would have us say to ourselves these days is, “You’re really wonderful the way you are.” The world would have us build ourselves up in our own esteem. I don’t wish to speak too much on that thing, but it is interesting that so many people in the church have picked up on that false idea which is quite contrary to the teachings of the Book of Mormon. The Book of Mormon is plain. Whenever people draw close to the Savior and have their eyes opened and see what they are, they realize they are nothing. Whereas the world would say, “Esteem yourself. Build yourself up in your own eyes. Don’t have a bad self-image.”

Book of Mormon says, “Realize that you’re nothing.” That’s quite a different philosophy. My understanding is that the way up in the New and Everlasting Covenant is down. That is to say down on our knees, down in the depths of humility, down until we are completely humble before the Savior and ready to do anything and everything he instructs us to do, ready to make any sacrifice, ready to pay any price, ready to work however hard is necessary to do what only he knows what we should do to achieve that goal of the new character that we must have.

Then there’s procrastination: “Oh, I’ll do it when I get around to it.” We don’t have forever. One of the doctrines that is interesting in the church is the doctrine of eternal progression. As far as I can tell, there’s no scriptural base for this whatsoever. Now there is a correct doctrine of eternal increase, but eternal progression is usually taught in a non-scriptural way. We have to be wary of that.

The way it’s often taught as I hear, is that you can go on progressing and repenting forever. If you don’t happen to make it before you die, that’s all right, you may just go on and do it in the next world. Now there is some truth to that idea in the sense that people who have not had the new and everlasting covenant can repent in the next world and obtain exaltation. My understanding is that those who have had the opportunity in this world and have understood what they’ve had and have a measure of the fullness of time, they have to accomplish certain things now. It would seem to me that if we really understood the gospel and really believed, we would make our absolute number one priority before we eat or drink or sleep or do anything else any day, to search out the Savior and get His instructions for that day that by nightfall we might be one day closer to the end of becoming as He is. It’s so easy to let a day go past filled with our own dreams and expectations and workings and machinations and quite ignore Him and the gifts that He would give us to work out this salvation. But we don’t have forever. Procrastination is a great enemy.

And there is perverseness. There’s some who say, “I really don’t think God has anything to offer me. I really don’t want to go to the celestial kingdom.” Well, that’s interesting because those who say that really don’t have any idea what they’re turning down. That is really a measure of arrogance to turn down something we know not what it is and say, “Well, what I have now is good enough for me.” That is arrogating to ourselves the role of a God (which we are not) and thus is another species of pride.

Then there is pleasure. Some of us have the temptation to live for pleasure and justify ourselves because it feels good. Just because it feels good doesn’t mean it is good. Whatever we do has to be right with Father and with the Son.

Then there is prominence. Some people love prominence more than righteousness because it’s so fun to look down on other people. They’ve done studies to show that people would rather have less in total amount as long as they can look down on somebody who has less than they do. We have this human, terrible need to look down on somebody. And the place that I became so well acquainted with this was in grammar school, grade school. I don’t know how it is in your life but it was in grade school when my social life was at its worst. The grade school children were meaner and nastier than any group that I’ve ever been with the rest of my life. How did they get that way? Well, I suppose they learned it from their parents, though I don’t know. But I suppose there is an awful lot of latent anger in the population that comes out on children and children reflect that rather honestly. By the time they get to high school they’ve learned to mask some of it. But my, we have a job to do because that idea of looking down on somebody is so prominent.

And finally, there is power. Some people just like to move and shake things. They love that exhilarating feeling of being in control. They love a motorcycle because it feels so good to race against the wind, to have all that power at your command. Sometimes the power kills them, but they would rather die happy, having power, than to be righteous.

But all of this boils down to pride, and pride is the great enemy. Pride is, again, enmity toward God. The word enmity is interesting. An enemy is one whom we don’t love. Enmity toward God is simply not loving him. If we love him, then we search him out, search out his commandments, keep the commandments. That’s how we show our love for God. Pride is saying, I don’t need God, I can do it quite well by myself, thank you.

Then there is the problem of getting on the path and staying there. We get on the path through baptism. As I study the baptismal covenant, I’ve become convinced that it is the primary and most important covenant that we make. I believe it’s more important than any of the others because it encompasses all of the others.

Let us recount the promises we make in the covenant of baptism. We promise first of all that we will be willing to take upon ourselves the name of Christ. That doesn’t mean we are doing so, but that we will do so. We do it partly in baptism. The words “name of Christ” are code words. That is a code phrase for the fullness of the New and Everlasting Covenant. What that says then is that we’re willing to go to the end in the New and Everlasting Covenant. What a promise to make! My honest suspicion is that not many people understand what they are doing when they get baptized.

Secondly, we promise that we will always remember him. We will always remember that he is our lodestar. He is the one to whom we turn for everything, to rely alone on his merits, and that we will always remember that we are his children, his servants, and are beholden to him for every good thing.

Thirdly we promise that we will keep every command that he has given us. Now that is a reflection of the old covenant. In the old covenant, the question was: would we keep every commandment that the Lord God would give to us? So the new covenant contains the old covenant, but with a provision that if we have broken it, it may be possible to be restored through repentance and the atonement of Christ and receive the fullness of the blessings anyway, as long as we do endure to the end and prove that we are trustworthy. If we don’t endure to the end and don’t prove we are trustworthy of course, then there can be for us no such thing as celestial salvation.

If we make those promises sincerely, then we receive the Holy Ghost, which comes to us and is supposed to be a constant companion. The Holy Ghost will constantly give us the guidance, the enlightenment, the gifts that we need to do good and to be good in order to transform our character into that measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ.

Later we may receive the priesthood, which is the opportunity to administer to others blessings of Christ. And then we may receive the endowment. The endowment is the second stage of receiving the Melchizedek priesthood. And in the endowment we are given further special gifts. The word endowment means gift. But the gifts of the endowment are great treasures that a person must have to successfully negotiate certain callings and opportunities in the kingdom. For instance, missionary work. Now, the blessings are there, they are pronounced upon our heads in the endowment. They are not ours just because they are pronounced upon our heads any more than the gift of the Holy Ghost is ours just because hands have been laid upon our head. We have to specifically pray for and gain each of those blessings. The question to you is: Could you name them? Do you know what they are? Do you remember them? Have you learned enough from the endowment ceremony that you could (in your prayers) enumerate the blessings that we have been promised and request them? The question then is, have we claimed those blessings and are we using them to pursue the straight and narrow way and to fulfill the priesthood assignments that we all have?

Then there is temple sealing or marriage. The order of Godhood is an order of marriage. God is first of all a husband and father and a wife and mother. These callings are the greatest callings in the universe. And if we turn our time to other things and do not succeed as husband and father, wife and mother, everything else is really quite beside the point. These are the things that we must do to endure to the end. These are our prime and first responsibilities. So temple sealing brings us a new set of gifts and powers of God. Can you enumerate them? Have you claimed them for your own? Because without the gifts and powers of God, it’s impossible to do good. The scripture says if man is offered a gift and he won’t receive it, what is the point? He cannot be helped. That may be the situation in which some Latter- day Saints find themselves.

Well now, let’s get to the point, how do you stay on the straight and narrow? Let’s draw a graph of our life on earth and what we are doing here. Let’s call this birth. This is death. Now we’re going to show the pattern of people who are in the church. We won’t go into the pattern for non-members, for that is a little different. There is a theoretical line from birth to death which goes straight from one to the other and consists of a series of discreet steps. Each of the steps is the receiving and the keeping of a commandment from Father through the Son. So if we were to enter at birth and keep every commandment that God gives us until the moment of our death, that would of course keep the first covenant, Fathers’ covenant of justice. It’s important that that covenant exists even though none of us can keep it, because that’s the covenant by which we are all saved. That’s the covenant the Savior had to live so that he could perform the atonement so that the New and Everlasting Covenant could exist for our sake. So we cannot do away with the old covenant. The Savior gained his exaltation through it. We get ours through him. What he now does is to enable us to come at it a little bit differently. We have to get to the same place and the same worthiness, but it’s a much easier route than the route that he took to get there. So the life of most normal Latter-day Saints goes all right until we get to the age of accountability and then we wander off the path.

Why do we wander off the path? Because we start willfully disobeying the commandments of God. Now as we do that – every time we break a commandment of God, a little sin or a great sin – we incur a debt. I ask you these questions:

“Riddle: What’s wrong with sin? Why does the Father abhor sin?”

Now there are good answers to those questions and there are bad answers, so be careful which one you give.

“Student response: Because if you want to be perfect, you can’t sin.”

True, but you didn’t answer the question. Why does the Father not like us to sin? What you said is true, but … Why? That’s the question I’m asking.

“Riddle: Why can no sinful thing enter into the kingdom of God?”

“Student response: Because that’s the law.”

“Riddle: There’s got to be a better answer than that.”

“Student response: Anything that’s not perfect will deteriorate over time.”

“Riddle: That’s true.”

“Student: So, over eternity, it will self-destruct.”

“Riddle: But now the question I’m asking is the question behind that. Why is sin of that sort, of that nature?”

“Many students respond: It is hard.”

“Riddle: That’s very true. Let me tell you my answer. These are all good answers. Don’t mistake me. But, you see, I think there’s another answer that is necessary for this case. The debt that we incur is, of course, the debt of sin. And the debt of sin is the fact that whenever we sin, we inflict injury upon other people. Now, you see, what is our goal? To see if we can be trusted. Anybody who is willing to inflict injury upon other people cannot be trusted. And so, the burden of sin is the fact that we have all these wounds that we’ve done to other people.”

There’s a myth floating around the world that there are private sins, that there are things you can do that don’t affect anybody besides you. You see, whatever we do, we become that. And whenever I think an evil thought, I curse everybody around me. Because then I’m not what I’m supposed to be. We are all supposed to be radiators. Each of us is sent into this world to radiate good after the measure of Christ. That’s why we were created. Now, if we take that good and, instead, radiate evil, we’re cutting other people off from their blessings; we’re cursing them. So every time we keep a commandment of God, we’re blessing somebody, probably many people. Every time we break a commandment of God, we’re cursing them, and Father does not take it kindly when one of His children curses another of His children. He cannot stand that. He cannot look upon sin with the least degree of allowance. And, therefore, if that burden is on us, you see, He has to cut us off from His spirit and relegate us to worldliness.

Well, most of us follow this pattern. We sin. Then, sometime or other, the Spirit gets through to us, something jars us. We wake up and realize we are not on the straight and narrow anymore. Then the Spirit comes to us and we recognize it. The spirit says, “You must repent.” Suppose we were baptized at age 8. We start to sin before we’re 8, of course, and that’s why we need to be baptized when we’re 8. What usually happens to us is a little sin here and then a return to the line at baptism and then a departure again.

Now there is an ordinance we can perform to get the Spirit back when we have sinned if we are truly sorry for what we have done and are willing to repent. What is that ordinance? – the Sacrament. We take the Sacrament, we honestly renew our covenants of baptism, the Spirit comes to us and puts us back on the line and we start to march again. We march along keeping those commandments of God. Now one of the things to remember is that we are born spiritually small. The goal is to become a giant in the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ. Every time we keep a commandment, we grow. Every time we break a commandment, we shrink. If you spend half your time breaking the commandments and half your time living the commandments, what happens to you in this world? You haven’t gone anywhere; you just maintain the status quo.

Now, can a person who has only maintained the status quo be trusted? I don’t think so. And so there has to be something more than this. Most of us go along for a while and say, “Hey, you know, I’ve been keeping the commandments. I’ve been doing so well, I’ve got so many blessings, I’m doing so much good for other people, I think I deserve a vacation. I’m going to do what I want to for a little bit.” So they go off the straight and narrow path again and start incurring this debt of sin. Then they start getting the results of that and realize they’ve lost the gifts of the Sprit and they’re on their own and not doing very much good anymore. And so to get the Spirit back and they take the sacrament again and they get back on the straight and narrow path. They go along for a little ways and decide they’re going to be their own man again and they start wandering off. They do more sin, then repent–and thus the pattern repeats itself week after week through life for many people.

One other factor that takes place as we go along here, supposing we’ve got a little growth, is that as long as we’re sinning we carry this tremendous burden of sin with us. It’s just strapped to our backs. It’s pretty hard to do very much or be very agile or accomplish very much good with that strapped to our backs. When we partake of the covenant, of course, and renew our covenants, the sins are forgiven and the burden is taken off our backs. But the next time we sin, what happens to that burden? The old burdens all come back and we then again carry the burden for every sin we’ve committed in our life. Now that’s a hard doctrine. A lot of people don’t believe it. The scriptures are very plain. D & C 82:7. If we sin the old sins come back upon us and we are then responsible for them. When we sin, you see, what are we doing? When we sin, we are saying: “I reject my covenant with Christ. I become responsible for myself.” Then there is no Atonement for my sins anymore and I have the whole burden back on me. The only way I can get rid of that again is to perform some ordinance, such as partake of the sacrament, and get the Savior to accept the burden of my sins again.

“SR: There’s a problem with your analogy here. The sacrament doesn’t bring you back to the straight and narrow line unless your original baptism is truly efficacious.”

Riddle: Oh, agreed.

“SR: If the baptism has not been effective, and I am of the opinion that most Latter-day Saints are basically suspended between the law and the spirit of baptism, then by the same token, their partaking of the sacrament doesn’t do a thing until they go back and complete the original ordinance.”

“Riddle: I’m making a different assumption. I’m making the assumption that it did work and that they did get the spirit and they were forgiven of their sins. Now, you see, in the case you’re talking about that’s a person who is a member of the Church but it’s never taken. I heard President Joseph Fielding Smith say one time that he believed about one-half the members of the church were in that category.”

“SR: If what you’re saying is so, I cannot conceive that if a person has had an effective baptism, they don’t just wander off the straight and narrow path like that.”

“Riddle: Oh, they were never on it. If you have had an effective baptism, then you can be on the straight and narrow. Until you have had an effective baptism you cannot get on the straight and narrow.”

“SR: Doesn’t that effective baptism change the individual ….?”

“R: No, that’s why I’m telling the story, because the two are not the same. What you have brought about is that you have emphasized the problem: What does the Lord think when he looks at a person who every week goes off and sins and then takes the sacrament and gets forgiven and then goes and sins again and takes the sacrament?  Is that building trustworthiness? No, and yet is that not the pattern of many people who are members of the Church? Now the point of the whole discussion is this: It is important to stay on the straight and narrow. To be trusted we have to show the Lord  that for some point in time to the end we would stay on the straight and narrow and not deviate. We must show Him that we love him enough that we’ll make all the sacrifices necessary to keep his commandments.”

Now, a person who has done that when they get to this point the Savior takes them by the hand and takes them to the Father and says, “Father, this is my child, he/she learned to keep the covenant. He/she kept all the commandments. From this point to this point in their life they were able to abhor sin and I have forgiven them of all their transgressions before that time, and therefore, would you please accept them into your presence and share with them all that you have.” And Father is happy to do that, He’s more than willing. That’s why He lives, to do that.

But, you see what some people want to do is to have a different pattern. They want to get over here close to death and all of a sudden jump up here and be on the path. Why doesn’t that work? That’s called deathbed repentance, and why is that impossible? Why doesn’t it work?

“SR: No work. No track record.”

“Riddle: Exactly, there’s no track record of trustworthiness. Being sorry for your sins is not enough to get a track record of trustworthiness. So that just doesn’t fly, and people who do that, you see, are not much better off than the people who don’t get baptized. They probably are a little better off, but that still doesn’t suffice.”

Now what has to happen? At some point in our life we have to get so tired of this pattern of sinning and being forgiven and sinning and being forgiven that we finally get worried about it and we go to the Lord and we say, “I have tried living the Gospel, I can’t do it. I need help.” If we honestly have done everything we can to keep the covenants, to keep all the commandments and have been unable, which all of us are, then, if the time is right, we can apply to the Savior for a new heart. We say to him: “I can’t do it. The me that now exists cannot be saved, I can see that. Would you make me a new creature and give me a new heart.”

This is a special thing that happens to people who have been through all the ordinances and have tried with all their might to do everything they can to keep their covenants. At a certain time the Spirit will prompt them to pray that prayer. They will pray it and the Savior will grant them that blessing. This is what happened to the people of King Benjamin. He was sent to give them that special sermon in the first few chapters of Mosiah because they had apparently done that. They, as a group were then ready to be able to apply to the Lord for a new heart. The scripture manifests that they did apply and they got it. What did they say when they got it? They said, “We have the Holy Ghost. Were it necessary we could prophesy all things.” When a person gets that (the new heart) they can be trusted and have a fullness of the Spirit. They can have any spiritual gift they need and any power they need because they will not do anything that is contrary to the will of the Lord. They have then proven that they can be trusted.

Now, our proof that we can be trusted apparently has two phases. The phase before we get the new heart is that we must do all that we can do with the gifts of the Holy Spirit. Step one is getting the Holy Ghost in the first place and then living by it. Step two is getting the new heart. Now, getting the new heart is called in the scriptures purification and the scriptures call it having”charity” when we get that pure heart. (In response: Yes, you have to go to a point where you can stand it, be worthy of it.) The scriptures claim it’s the most difficult thing in the world to do, and, yet, everybody can do it. Not all of us can become the world’s greatest violin player, but everyone can be saved. The Savior’s grace is so great that he can make it possible for every individual to become as He is. I think that’s a wonderful thing.

“Q: Two questions: First, what you’re saying is when having your calling and election made sure …?”

“Riddle: Well, if you have this gift of charity, the pure heart, then you have real hope of having your calling and election made sure. The other question?”

“Q: A gentleman asked if you would respond to his question saying President Smith quoted half the members of the Church – what was the specific …?”

“Riddle: They had been baptized but had not been born of the Spirit. I conduct the baptisms in our stake, and it’s interesting to me how many times I hear little children told, “”Now that you’ve come up out of the waters of baptism, your sins are washed away.”” As far as I can tell, that’s an absolutely false doctrine. Water doesn’t wash away any sins, ever. It’s the blood of Christ that takes away sins and the occasion for that remission is when a person receives the baptism of fire and the Holy Ghost. Water is for the remission of sins, just like a marriage license is for getting married. But you aren’t married just because you have got the license. You have to go through the ceremony itself.”

“Q: The baptism with fire comes a lot later usually?”

“Riddle: No, it’s supposed to come right then. The baptism of fire and the Holy Ghost is supposed to come in conjunction with the baptism of water. But in real practice it doesn’t and didn’t for me I’m sure. I didn’t have any idea of what it was.”

“Q: I’ve heard that the Atonement covers those sins that are done before we’re 8, but …”

“Riddle: That’s right. The Atonement covers those that are done before we’re 8 if we die without baptism.”

“Q: Well, why aren’t we taught better to be prepared at 8?”

“Riddle: Well, whose responsibility is it? It is the parent’s responsibility. Why don’t the parents teach their children? I don’t know. It’s different for every parent, I guess.

“Q: My parents taught me, but what I’m saying is I didn’t feel the witness of the Spirit.”

“Riddle: This Sister’s comment is that at age 8, she didn’t feel this great event take place. My answer to that is simply that the gospel system is so wonderful that it can pick us up and take us from that point forward whenever we wake up to this thing. So it doesn’t matter if we’re 24 or 48 when we finally realize what the covenant of baptism is about. If we then make the covenant with full purpose of heart, then our spiritual life can finally begin. I think it’s true that there are a lot of people that don’t make the connections when they’re 8; there are a few that do. I have interviewed a couple of kids that I thought were really ready for baptism, but most are not. You tell them the words, but it doesn’t sink in. Now, if the parents start telling them the words at age 1, by the time they’re 8 they really understand. Little children are given the Spirit to understand those things. If the parents start to tell them the words the day before the baptism, not much happens.”

“Q: I’ve heard that we should not take the Sacrament unless we have repented …”

“Riddle: Have you listened to the prayer?”

“Q: Yes, it’s a covenant that we’ll continue on with our baptismal covenant, but”

“Riddle: Well, let me just express my opinion. The Sacrament is a renewal of the covenant of baptism, and truly the Sacrament doesn’t take away our sins. It’s the Atonement that takes away our sins. But it’s a way of making promises to Father again and to the Savior so that the Atonement can become effective in our lives. And I think there is a definite connection between the Sacrament and the forgiveness of our sins because the prayer says so, does it not? So I don’t know what your source is on that. Let me be clear about what I’m saying. I’m painting a picture for you. It is obvious the picture that I’m painting is not the same as your picture exactly. It is not intended to be. I don’t pretend that mine’s true and yours is not true. I’m a painter; I’m not a photographer. I can’t take a snapshot of the gospel the way it really is. I just have to portray it in words the best I understand it. Now my hope is that I have captured something that will cause you to want to look more closely into the gospel, maybe to repaint your own painting, not because of what I say but because you go back to the Lord and back to the Spirit and back to the scriptures and to the brethren and find out from them what you should think. Don’t take me as an authority; I’m not here to be an authority. I’m here simply to stimulate your mind to think certain thoughts and ask certain questions, and if you ask the questions I’m happy. I don’t care what the answer you come up with is. That is between you and the Savior. But I think it’s important that we raise the questions; that’s my job. And that is what we are to do in the Church for one another is to encourage each other, to ask the right questions, and then go to the right source for the answers. And the right source for every question is the Father through the name of our Savior.”

“Q: I’ve heard you in a class before at BYU and so I know that you know quite a bit about this, and so I would ask that the main motivation we have in looking at what the prophets have said about freedom in the press is that the principles of the gospel can be applied to the political question that you’re approaching. In other words, our commandments provide a system which we obey, and as we depart from that path we become captive to various forces. Then there comes a point where only Jesus Christ can save us from that captivity. There’s a time of appropriation, for example, that we have to adhere to that path very strongly and show the Lord that there is a group of people that will adhere to these principles of freedom, both politically and religiously, and then He can come and deliver those people and essentially usher in a Zion society. That is, in my estimation, the equivalent of a calling and election made sure. In other words, the question is this: you painted out this gospel scenario, and the question I would like to ask is “”Could you tie that into the political arena and the questions that are raised there and our responsibilities as members of the Church in that area?”

“Riddle: My understanding is that what I’ve painted is the picture for the individual. You ask what does the group do? You can’t save the group without saving the individuals. So I would say, if you want to do something good for your country, become a servant of Christ, and then through his gifts and powers you will know what good things should be done civically and politically. Now, it is not possible, I understand, to have a good civil government without having good people. And so, this is fundamental to every good thing in the world. If you “”want to have good science, or good art, or good education, you first remake the person in the image of Christ and the other will follow. So I believe that the big gap in our preparation for the future is this individual work. And that while we need to be civically active and do all that we can, the more important thing is to come to Christ and be perfected in Him so that when we do have opportunity to act civically, we will promote good and not evil. Does that make sense?”

“Q: Yeah, except I think that you can look at it this way, that is the first coming of Jesus Christ had to do with this type of thing, the gospel as individual redemption, an individual departs from the path of righteousness and needs be redeemed, and that there is a judgment, the law of justice that has to be fulfilled and Christ’s Atonement pays that price. His Second Coming, though, I see as being a very political salvation, saving a group of people, saving a nation that needs salvation. And so I see that there are essentially two arenas, both of which we need to be righteous per se, in other words, it’s not. . You say that if we are righteous within a gospel framework then our righteousness in a government frame would automatically follow and I don’t necessarily see that connection because I see a lot of really good people who I think have the gospel down, but yet are able to ignore what the prophet has said and are not fulfilling their political responsibilities.”

“Riddle: What makes you think they’re good then?”

“Q: I don’t think they are.”

“Riddle: My opinion on that is simply this: when the Savior came the first time, the Jews were angry with Him because He would not smite the Romans. They wanted a political kingdom, the Messiah they thought was a king. He came offering to forgive them of their sins, they didn’t want forgiveness of their sins, they wanted freedom. I think the situation is really not much different this time. The Savior comes first offering forgiveness of sins individually. If we will accept that and go with it, He will give us the freedom politically. But if we reject the personal freedom, the other freedom really doesn’t have much meaning. My belief is that there’s not that much difference between the First and Second Comings. This is not a time of greater political activity than there was then. There was some then, and those Jews who were faithful in that time – not just Jews but anyone who was faithful – received their reward. For some of them it was a temporary reward as well as a spiritual one, for some it was only spiritual because they had to die. I think some of us today are going to have to die. But the important thing is, do we preserve our souls in the process? Now, we have a kingdom to bear off, we have a freedom to preserve, a national integrity to preserve, but again you see, if we don’t have the righteousness to go to the Lord to get from Him the instructions as to how to do that, we’re likely to wind up as persons who are vehemently pursuing a skewed cause.”

“Q: Let me state it this way: If our end goal is to become kings and queens, priests and priestesses.”

“Riddle: Yes, but that must be as becoming a humble child of Christ.”

“Q: But in Luke it says kings or queens which I see as being a government responsibility increases in being a religion directed by the responsibility, so how can we become kings and queens in God’s kingdom if we just do not understand His government and seek to establish that upon the earth? A response to this question or perhaps this statement that Christ came the first time, having been convicted – they were looking for a political Messiah so they crucified Him. And then the gospel was taken from the Jews, marking His rejection religiously and then was taken to the Gentiles. And in the Latter Days, the Gentiles I think are expecting a religious Messiah and are going to reject Christ politically, and it’s going to be that rejection that is going to then be the result of the gospel going from the Gentiles to the House of Israel. And only those who understand Christ politically – His government – are the ones who are going to be a part of His House of Israel Kingdom.”

“Riddle: It sounds to me as if you might be getting close to that dangerous point of saying that the political is more important than the spiritual. I hope you aren’t saying that. Because I surely don’t believe that.”

“Q: What I’m saying though, is just that the political is much more important than just one of the responsibilities we need to do. I see it as being a major portion of our responsibilities here today.”

“Riddle: Well, I don’t fight that. But you see, if we don’t lay the foundation, in being a servant of Christ, then we’re likely to be one of these persons who gets off the track. I’m sure you are aware that Utah County spawns more apostate LDS churches than any other county on earth. We’re also probably the strongest LDS county on earth. And so, right here in the heart of the Church is where both the good and the evil fight it out. And we have to be careful that we don’t let ourselves get twisted or taken off the path in any way. I frankly see some people who get so enamored of some side issues, like polygamy, like the United Order, sometimes even political things, that they forget the main point which is to come unto Christ and be perfected in Him. And they think they’re going to come unto Christ and be perfected in Him by doing these other things first, but I think that’s a mistake. I think we must come unto Christ first and be perfected in Him so that we can do all these other things in His grace, in His goodness, in His power, and in His way, and that’s the message for us. Whatever we are: if we’re a father, that’s how you be a good father; if you’re a city councilman, that’s how you be a good city councilman; if you’re a public school teacher, that’s how you be a good public school teacher; if you’re a farmer, that’s how you be a good farmer. I think whatever our lot in life is – as citizens, as parents, as professional people – it all depends on whether we come unto Christ and do what we do in the measure of His glory. So, I don’t think I’m really opposing what you say.”

“Q: I think all things are spiritual. . in talking about politics, if you have government, you know everything is spiritual and so if you talk about individual, it applies to”

First – spiritual, second – temporal D & C 29:31.

“Q: Also, If it is temporal it isn’t spiritual and anything spiritual isn’t temporal as well. They’re all tied together.”

“Riddle: Agreed.”

“Q: I stand just to add my witness to yours Chauncey, that the gospel is a sweet, essential process that we need to understand which we can by studying the scriptures, by listening to the prophet and by seeking the Holy Ghost to guide us in our lives, to bring us closer to Christ. I’ve appreciated your presentation. It’s fulfilled a good purpose and I’m a little concerned when we start wanting to have some technical questions. I hope we can conclude now with your testimony rather than answering technical questions. My fear is, if I may express it openly, that the doctrine you preach is hard, very difficult for people to humble themselves, and to truly know the Lord and to say, “”I need your help, I’m weak, I’ve made a lot of mistakes, I don’t want to do it anymore, please help.”” And I think that’s the direction you’ve pointed us. And I don’t want to be distracted with further technical questions if they could be handled privately with you and those who might have them afterwards. I’ve appreciated your marvelous message. And I add my witness that those principles are true.”

“Riddle: Thank you Brother Wardle. (clapping) I would like to say again, please don’t believe what I’ve said. Do ask Father about the things that I have talked about. I think they’re very important. This is a wonderful kingdom. I am grateful to be a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints and to be acquainted with the restoration of the gospel because I know that the power is here. There is power in this priesthood. There are gifts of the spirit. There is hope in Christ and in Christ comes every good thing and I bear that testimony in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.”

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Why is There Evil?

Chauncey C. Riddle

Can you tell what the problem of evil is?

Why it is a problem?

If it is true that God is all good and omnipotent how come the world is so evil?

It’s important to understand this problem. Why is this an important problem? But you see the question is, does it have to be this evil? Is it necessary that the world be this evil to accomplish its objective? For instance, during the millennium everyone will have just as much agency as they do now but the evil will be reduced on the order of 90%. So one wonders, we have to put the problem just right. It’s true that it’s related to agency and we must understand that.

Is God good?

Yes, he is. What do you mean by that? What does good mean? But if you say God is good and you don’t know what it means, what are you saying? What do you mean when you say God is good? OK, but what is evil? So God never promotes anything that hurts you? So God is mostly good. No he’s metaphysical to you. But you have an image of him in your mind. Is your image that he is all good or mostly good? All good. Then you have some explaining to do, don’t you?

Can he control the rocks?

Can he make a rock so big that he can’t lift it?

No. So there are some things that he can’t do. That’s an old catch question. You see that’s what you ask people when they say God is omnipotent, that he can do anything. Then you say can he make a rock so big that he can’t lift it? Which is what you see involving in something which he can’t do. Either he can’t make a rock so big that he can’t lift it. So there’s something he can’t do. So he’s not all powerful. How do you get out of that? You just point out that it’s a contradiction to start with. That’s just a bad question.

Don’t try to answer all questions. Only answer good questions, that’s a bad question. But anyway we have to come to some sense of how much power God has. So would you say that God could do everything or anything? Or is there something he can’t do? He can do everything but violate agency? It’s impossible for a human being to lose his agency? Is that what you’re saying? So you don’t want to say that. So the question comes back, are there any limitations on God’s power? Is there something he can’t do?

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Principles II

Chauncey C. Riddle

We begin this hour with the principle of justice. Justice is the principle that righteousness demands regress for wrong. That is to say, if someone is injured, there must be a restoration or some other kind of satisfaction to restore them to the original condition. Justice is simply that every wronged must be righted.

Every time we sin, that is to say we break a commandment of God, somebody is hurt. Somebody’s blessings are shorted. And justice demands that the blessing be made up to that person. They are entitled to their heritage, their due. The heritage of every child of God is to be blessed and loved. Any child of God that is not blessed and loved, somebody is going to have to make up to it for. So, justice is a thing that we try to achieve. Being one of omission or commission it matters not. If one has not received his due then justice is not obtained, it has not been met.

But for God, righteousness must be maintained. Therefore God must be just. He himself is just, he showers love and goodness upon his children without exception. He does nothing except it be for the benefit of his children. He is absolutely just. He never sins, that is to say, he never shortens anyone’s blessings. You and I do sin and shorten other people’s blessings. And so then he insists that being just, that we must become just also. That we must do something to satisfy that shortening that we have made. So, if we come to him, then he will teach us of righteousness. So that in the future we can be just.

The word just means right, or doing what’s right, having one’s rights. A court of justice is where you go to get your rights. And if things go well, hopefully you’re better than before you started. So, real righteousness, or in other words, real justice is only of God. Because justice is a result of faith in Christ. It is a part of righteousness and righteousness only comes though Christ.

So, therefore a servant of Christ always pays his debts. Be they of time, money, covenant, or promise. He does not ask for release from debt but makes whatever sacrifices necessary to clear his promise or his obligation. Which also clears his own name, which also clears the name of his master, Jesus Christ.

If we’re covenant servants of Christ, we’re not just being unjust in our own right, we’re causing him to be unjust. Just as the father is responsible for the acts of his children, we cause the Savior to become unjust, in a sense. We cause his name to become ill spoken of, if we are unrighteous or unjust. So, if we love him, we will not wish to besmirch his name. We will wish to show, he is a God of justice and righteousness and love and truth. And do everything in our power, to make every sacrifice that is necessary to bring about justice. We will make whatever recompense or restitution is necessary if we have been unjust.

The terrestrial standard is, that if you have been unjust and wronged someone, you make it up to them by paying every last farthing for what we’ve owed them. The celestial standard, the gospel standard is, if you’ve wronged somebody and been unjust to them, you pay four-fold. You show your love for them and your sorrow for having wounded them, shortened them, by making up to them four times. I think that’s also a help not to be unjust in the future. So, to know exactly what is just is beyond human wisdom and the ability to satisfy past injustices is beyond human wisdom.

But in Christ all good things are possible. Thus, it is that the just live by faith. This was Martin Luther’s take off point in Romans, the just live by faith. And it’s true, the just do live by faith. Justice is of faith in Christ. There is a worldly justice, that worldly justice is the justice of man as judged by human reason, which is the counterfeit of divine justice. The counterfeit of Godly justice is the justice of man administered by human reason. This sometimes is an approximation of justice and sometimes is not justice at all. But until we’re willing to have God be our judge we must suffer counterfeit justice in our midst. Don’t mistake me, there are some people engaged in the justice business in our society and our civilization who our servants of Christ and they are prayerful and careful and faithful in their administration of justice. And their justice is real justice. But those who depend on their own human reason administer a counterfeit justice.

Mercy next. Mercy is the companion principle to justice in the gospel. Whereas the just man is always careful to pay his own debts, if he has been unjust. He stands ready to extend mercy to all. Mercy is to satisfy the debt of justice for someone else. Now, I can’t extend mercy to someone unless they have been unjust to me. So, someone has shortened me or has hurt me. Then they have been unjust to me. It’s then my privilege to forgive them. Which means to say, to pay the debt myself. To pay the debt of justice for someone else when they have incurred the debt to me, is mercy.

So, if someone runs into my car and dents it good. And they can’t pay for it. If they can pay for it, then I’m exacting justice, if I get them to. But if I say, I will pay for it, that is mercy. I’m paying the debt for them. Now, in the Father’s system the dent has to be fixed. Justice must be satisfied. But He’s content if I will fix it or the other person fixes it. He doesn’t mind, just that justice has to be satisfied. But he’s very pleased if I will satisfy it myself and not hold my neighbor to it.

Now if my neighbor is a servant of God, he will not except that mercy. He will insist on paying it himself, if he can. That is to say, servants of God are grateful to have mercy but they try to be just nevertheless. Whereas, people of the world always want mercy. That is to say, they want to be forgiven of their debts. But that’s not the way of a man of God, a man of God wants to pay his debts. No matter how long it takes him or whatever costs, if he has a honest just debt, he wants to pay it.

So, justice must to be satisfied but mercy needs to be there, if one is a servant of God and can extend mercy. Help us to forgive those who trespass against us, the Savior taught us to pray. But we, despairingly need the mercy of God. There’s no way we can satisfy the debt of justice for our sins. And therefore, if we’re ever to be clean, ever to be just, ever to see the Celestial Kingdom, we have to get forgiveness through the Savior’s satisfaction of justice.

He extended mercy to us through the atonement, through his Godship over the world, the universe. You and I, therefore, need that justice. But the only way we can qualify for that justice, is to forgive all men every trespass against us. Now that’s a tall order. That means we turn the other cheek every time. Some people say to me, you mean we’re supposed to lie down and be a door mat? And the answer is, yes. If you’re a servant of Christ you do not seek restitution. You may get it but it will because the other person wants to give it. You will not seek it, you will not demand it, you will not force it. Why? Because you have a God in heaven who can and will recompense to you a hundred fold. And he has promised you, if you lose anything for keeping his commandments that he will restore to you a hundred fold. Now you get your choice. Would you rather have the one fold restitution or would you have a hundred fold. If you’re smart I think you would take the hundred fold, which means you forgive all men their trespasses against you and depend on God for your blessings.

Now, if there were no God I guess this would be a different matter, wouldn’t it? But there is a God in heaven. I know that and I think you know that. And not to depend on him, not to trust him and suppose that we have to go out and feather our own nest by getting people to fix our fenders, so they won’t be dented, that’s not faith in Christ. Now there’s the one exception. In some situations the extending of Godly mercy by a just person is not automatic. For the Lord will council otherwise sometimes. In some situations he will instruct us to go to the person and request that they make the wrong right. Not force, not take them to a court of law. The scripture is very plain. To go to a court of law to exact justice of our neighbor is not God’s will. And my guess is that ninety-nine percent of the time we do that as Latter-day Saints, we’re sinning. I don’t know what the percentage is, don’t take that figure seriously.

But, he’s plain, he does not want us to settle our debts through the courts of law of the land. Now, he will have us go to the person and humbly request that they make it up if they have wronged us. If they’ve dented our fender, we go to them and request that they fix it. Now, if they say, fooey on you and won’t hear us. Then we go back and take a friend with us. And we ask them humbly again, won’t you please fix that fender? Now in the presence of ourselves and a witness he gets a chance to either accept it and fix it or refuse. If he refuses we have a witness and we and the witness go to the bishop of the church and lay the matter before the bishop.

Now, who would this be? This is only if this brother is a brother in Christ. If they are a covenant servant of Jesus Christ we take these three steps. Why? Not so we will get the fender fixed. We don’t care whether the fender gets fixed by them or not. What do we care about? We care about them as a brother and if they will not fix the fender they have abrogated their covenant with Christ. So the hope is, that we will be able to keep them as a brother in Christ. If they won’t fix it, even though we have talked to them and gone to them with a witness and the bishop has talked to them. What do we do then? The scripture says, that we no longer count them as a brother in Christ. They have broken their covenants, they have released themselves from his service. We have no obligation any more to treat them as a brother. The scripture says, we treat them as a heathen and a publican. In other words, we extend mercy to them and don’t ask them for justice anymore. We forgive them, we still don’t go to a court of law, and demand justice. We just forgive them. Because we didn’t care about the fender in the first place. What we cared about was their soul. So mercy must work hand in hand with justice, lest we find ourselves on the wrong side of the matter.

Godly mercy is to be willing to forgive all men all trespasses. And actually to forgive all those except where the Lord specifically commands otherwise. Thus, to be merciful as to be just must be an act of faith in Christ, to be Godly mercy. The counterfeit of Godly mercy is to forgive at our own pleasure. You might wish to read the passage in Matthew 18:15-17 where he instructs us in that matter.

Next consecration.

Consecration is the principle of using all that we have and are in the service of our master. In him we live and move and have our being. To him we our indebted for all that we have. He gives us our body, our strengths, our mortality, our health, our wealth, our time, our power to beget children, everything we have he gives to us. To use all of these correctly, to be righteous, just and merciful in just the right way with all of these things is beyond our ability. Therefore, we who are servants of Christ enter into a covenant with him. To use all these things according to his instruction, as he gives us instruction in our own personal revelation. That revelation can come in various forms. It can come as we are listening to our bishop, as we are listening to our father, as we are listening to our Stake President, as we are listening to one of the Prophets, to President Benson. As we are praying, as we are reading the scriptures. It can come in any of those situations. But the thing that is common to all of those is that it comes by our own personal revelation.

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Principles I

Chauncey C. Riddle

I emphasize again, as I did yesterday, that what I am saying is my idea. I have tried to study and put together the gospel in my mind. In preparing these lectures this year I’ve learned some things I’ve never thought before. So I have to apologize for some things I’ve said in the past. I hope each of you will take what I say with a grain of salt, test it for yourself. But we’re engaged in a wonderful enterprise, that of discerning the mind and will of our God. That I think is the most important thing we need to do, because that is the key to every other good thing. Let’s now turn to the principles of the gospel and talk about them.

The Gospel of Jesus Christ is the good news of salvation sent to the natural man. The central principle of the Gospel of Jesus Christ is faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. All other principle are facets or appendages of this faith. That is to say, anything else you can mention is somehow an aspect of faith in Jesus Christ. That is to say, every other good thing. This principle is sometimes called the law of the gospel, singular.

We talk about laws sometimes, but when we speak of laws usually we’re speaking on a terrestrial level. When we’re talking about the pure celestial law it is singular, there’s only one law. That law is to put our faith and trust in the Lord Jesus Christ. Without living by this principle, it is impossible to please God. Whatsoever is not of this principle, that is to say, whatever act, whatever we do that is not an act of faith in Christ is sin.

This faith is the unique access to righteousness in this world. Jesus Christ is the fountain of all righteousness. We must go to that fountain and drink of the waters of life to have any access to righteousness. So, to have faith in Christ, is first to hear him. Faith comes by hearing of the word. Until we receive a message from him and this means a personal revelation. Now the message may be occasioned by the words of a human being or by the print in a book or by some other occasion but the message itself always comes by spiritual means as revealed through the power of the Holy Ghost.

So, the first thing that we must do, the prerequisite, the thing that makes faith possible is to first hear his voice.

Secondly we must love and believe him. It’s possible to hear and obey without being faithful. The devils do that but they don’t love and believe him. They obey because they know they have to. So the thing that makes the difference between mere obedience and faith is that we love him who gives us this righteousness and we believe him, we believe what he says.

Then thirdly we obey him. Now when this is done with our hearts, that is to say when we our faithful with our hearts we love him. When we love him with our mind, when we are faithful with our mind we believe him. When we our faithful with our body, our strength, then we obey him. When we’re faithful with our might, that is to say all that we own and control, that is consecration. Faith is not whole and perfect until it is a love of God a love of Christ in particular with all of one’s heart, might, mind, and strength. As I see it then, the first great commandment and the law of the gospel are identical. They are the same thing said in different words in different ways. And they tie together beautifully, they map one another.

So we must hear him to know what he wants us to do. We must believe that his instruction is life and righteousness in order to support him fully. We must love him in order to have the motivation, the willpower to overcome selfishness and to make the sacrifices necessary to be faithful. We must obey to bring to pass his will on earth, even as the Father’s will is done in heaven. The opposite of this faith is selfishness which is a synonym for sin. And for one who knows what he is doing selfishness and faithlessness are also insanity. That is to say, a person who is unfaithful knowing the possibilities of faith in Christ really doesn’t have all his marbles.

Now I say that advisedly, recognizing, I suppose I may include you with me when I say I know I have been deliberately unfaithful and I look back and I see in my own life that is insanity. It’s crazy not to be faithful to the Savior. Sometimes we think that making sacrifices are going to hurt us so terribly that we’ll never recover. But we serve a good master and the sacrifices we make merely reap down to greater blessings on our head. We have a hard time sacrificing, because when we sacrifice our blessings are doubled than when we started with, in the long run. The short run, the short run is the test of our faith. And we must be willing to make the sacrifices to show that we love him.

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Religion and Politics

Dr. Chauncey Riddle

The widespread approval in our times of a separation of church and state has led many persons into the dangerous error of supposing that politics and religion must be similarly separated. It is a matter of simple reflection to see that though the formal institutions of society, church and state, may be and ought in most cases to be strictly separate, it is impossible thus to dichotomize thinking about how people ought to relate to one another. Both politics and religion are concerned, in both theory and practice, with the same object: social relations. Unless a man is double-minded or two-faced, his politics is his religion and his religion is the basis of his politics.

The focus of almost every political system known to man has been the problem of how to organize, regulate and perpetuate a society without the direct assistance of God. It is noteworthy that no proposed political system has long endured in this practicing atheism. The lesson of history is that social systems not directed by the true and living God always fail to achieve happiness for the individual and to perpetuate themselves in peace and stability. The major untried social hypothesis of our times is that the individual and the society prosper only when Jesus Christ is the center and governor of all things. The real question in all political discussions is, then: Is a given system under the Christ or is it against the Christ?

We are placed on this earth to work and the will give us a living…It is our duty to strive to till the earth, Subdue matter, conquer the globe, take care of the flocks and the herds. It is the government’s duty to see that you are protected in it, and no other man has the right to deprive you of any of your privilege. But it is no the government’s duty to support you.

I shall raise my voice as long as God gives me sound or ability, against the communistic idea that the government will take care of us all, and that everything belongs to the government…

It is wrong! We wonder, in trying to perpetuate that idea, that men become anti-Christ, because those teachings strike directly at the doctrine of the Savior.

No government owes you a living. You get it yourself by your own acts — never by trespassing upon the rights of your neighbor, never by cheating him. You put a blemish upon your character the moment you do. (President David O. McKay, Church News, 3/14/53)

Let us make no mistake: the true alternative to the present trend of atheistic socialism is not to substitute a “conservative” atheism. The true alternative is to return to the form of constitutional government established by the founding fathers, a theism acknowledged by both them and God, then within the freedom thus mad possible to establish fully the Kingdom of God as a voluntary association of servants of Jesus Christ.

If our religion does not soon affect the politics of more people in this nation, but more especially the members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, the present possibility of the full establishment of a kingdom ready for Christ may become an impossibility. A wise servant will do all in his power to promote both the kingdom of Christ and the free nation that makes it possible for Zion to be a beacon of hope to the people of every nation, kindred, tongue and people.

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