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 Amazon.com

 

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

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.

 

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.

 

Rebuttal

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 https://universalmodel.com/

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 http://itsabouttimebook.com

 

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.

 

Conclusion:

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.

Conclusion:

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

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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:

TOPIC

The top half is alphabetical by topic.

WHERE PUBLISHED/PRESENTED (BELOW)

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

I hope this helps – Ken

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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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New Names and the New Covenant

Chauncey C. Riddle

I ask for an interest in your faith and prayers. I tremble a little bit because as I say things it’s impossible to say everything and I find I miss saying important things. For instance, in relation to forgiving: somebody just brought to my attention that I didn’t say they have to trespass against us personally before we can extend mercy to them. I can’t be merciful to somebody when they trespass against you. Oh I can help in a way. If they defraud you l can pay you, the defrauded and in a sense I can help you. But that isn’t really mercy. The Savior can do that because he is perfect, he has no sins of his own. So the important place we apply mercy is when people trespass against us, and then we forgive them.

Well, let’s reconstruct the total picture of what we’re trying to do here. I’m trying to talk about the great law, which is to love the Lord our God, who is Jesus Christ, with all of our heart, might, mind, and strength. I equate that with faith in Jesus Christ. Faith in Christ is simply to love him with all of our heart, might, mind, and strength. And everything in the gospel; all the principles, all the laws, all the ordinances are designed to focus into that point, to bring us to full faith in Jesus Christ.

Now there are two main stems or aspects that comprise faith in Jesus Christ, as I understand it. One is repentance. The other is service. Repentance is getting our lives in order. It is rebuilding our character and our nature. Through obedience, through sacrifice, through consecration so that we can then learn to be just and merciful. In other words to love purely. So that when we go to serve we will be serving in the pure love of Christ. We are not doing our will. We’re not shedding forth our light. We are showing forth his light and truth in all that we do. Then repentance makes us a conduit. A perfected conduit for the light of Christ. Then as we go forth to serve, that is to say to love our neighbor, as Christ loves us, then we are simply reflecting his light that he loves us with, through ourselves to our neighbor, that their life might be blessed by Jesus Christ even as we are blessed by Jesus Christ.

And we have talked about blessing others, which is service in the stewardship that we have, and how the priesthood is the thing that enables us to fulfill those stewardships, when they are stewardships over people. Today our discussion concerns the New and Everlasting Covenant.  It is the New and Everlasting Covenant that puts all of repentance together. The things we have been talking about are not things we can do by our own will. What we do is choose to reflect the light and truth of Jesus Christ perfectly out into the world. To love our neighbor as Christ loves us. We can want to do that but we have  no power to do that on our own even if we understand it and choose it. We have to be empowered and the empowering comes in the New and Everlasting Covenant. That empowering is part of salvation.

Salvation comes through power. To as many as believe in him, Jesus Christ gives the power to become his sons and daughters. And his sons and daughters are his jewels. His jewels are the ones that are perfected and polished and reflect his light. Without changing it, without loss, they simply reflect his light becoming selfless as he is. He reflects the Father’s light. And if we reflect his light then we will be passing on that which is perfect and godly and good.

And so today I would like to review the New and Everlasting Covenant as the vehicle by which we accomplish all of these things. Let’s review the old covenant first just by way of background. In the council in heaven the first covenant was announced.

“We will prove them herewith, to see if they will do all things whatsoever the Lord their God shall command them.” Abr. 3:25

Now that’s the first covenant. That’s the law of justice or the covenant of justice.

“They who keep their first estate shall not have glory in the same kingdom with those who keep their first estate (be added upon.)” That is to say they will have the chance to go to the second estate. “They who keep not their first estate shall not have glory in the same kingdom with those who keep their second estate. And they who keep their second estate”, that is to say, who do everything they’re told without fail in their mortal probation, “shall have glory added upon their heads for ever and ever.” Abr. 3:26

But as we have pointed out, none of us keeps that first covenant . We all break it, except Jesus Christ. He claimed his blessings through that covenant. And of course, if no one had claimed blessing through that covenant there would be no one to be a Savior. And thus the New and Everlasting Covenant or the second covenant could not even exist. And so there is another covenant which comes in the mercy and grace of God. We read a little bit about this in Moses, Chapter 6. This is Enoch speaking to the people, he said that, “because Adam fell we are. By his fall came death,” spiritual death. “We are made partakers of misery and woe.” That partaking of misery and woe was necessary. And also necessary was that we understand the evil, the misery, and the woe. Because without understanding that we would not have the freedom to choose the good. The fall brought to us the knowledge of good and evil.

Under the first covenant, if we had chosen the good unerringly all during our lives we would satisfy the covenant. But we don’t do that so there has to be a way that we can still be saved after having chosen evil.

“Satan hath come among the children of men, and tempteth them to worship him; and men have become carnal, sensual, and devilish, they are shut out from the presence of God.”

Moses 6:49

And only by one of these covenants can we ever come back to the presence of God.

“But God hath made known unto our fathers that all men must repent. And he called upon our father Adam by his own voice saying: I am God; I made the world and men before they were in the flesh. And he said unto him: If thou wilt turn unto me, and hearken unto my voice, and believe and repent of all thy transgressions”, of having chosen evil, “and be baptized, even in water, in the name of my Only Begotten Son, who is full of grace and truth, which is Jesus Christ, the only name which shall be given under heaven, whereby salvation shall come unto the children of men, ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost, ask in all things In his name, and whatsoever ye shall ask, it shall be given you.”  Moses 6: 50-52

The main thing that we need to ask for is for the ability to stop choosing evil and start choosing only the good. Because the second law requires of us in the end to do what the first law requires. What the first covenant requires is to choose good without fail, without erring. But we get to err  under the second law, that is to say it is possible for us to have sinned and then learn to obey God in all things and still be saved because of the Savior’s atonement.

“And our father Adam spoke unto the Lord, and said: , why is it that man must repent and be baptized in water? And the Lord said unto Adam: Behold I have forgiven thee thy transgression in the Garden of Eden. Hence came the saying abroad among the people. that the Son of God hath atoned for original guilt, wherein the sins of the parents cannot be answered upon the heads of the children … And the Lord spake unto Adam, saying: Inasmuch as thy children are conceived in sin”, that is to say they are conceived into a sinful situation, “even so when they begin to grow up, sin conceiveth in their hearts, and they taste the bitter that they may know to prize the good. And it is given unto them to know good from evil.”  Moses 6: 53-55

No human being comes into this world and is of normal mentality except he has full command of good and evil. He may not know the gospel of Jesus Christ but he knows good and evil. He knows good by the light of Christ, and evil by the temptations of Satan. And thus each man is an agent unto himself …

“. . . and I have given you another law and commandment.” Moses 6: 56

And this other law is the New and Everlasting Covenant. This marvelous, wonderful gift of mercy from God whereby we may repent and learn to serve, that is to say, to choose good without sinning, without erring, and thus be established in an eternal path of righteousness.

“. . . all men everywhere must repent, or they can in no wise inherit the kingdom of God, for no unclean thing can dwell there.”  Moses 6:57

There has to be a way to get clean.

“For in the language of Adam, Man of Holiness is his name, and the name of his Only Begotten is the Son of Man, even Jesus Christ, a righteous Judge, who shall come in the meridian of time. . teach these things freely to your children saying: that by reason of transgression cometh the fall , which fall bringeth death, and inasmuch as ye were born Into the world by water, and blood and the spirit, which I have made, and so become of dust a living soul, even so ye must be born again”, spiritual “into the kingdom of heaven, of water and of the Spirit and be cleansed by blood. even the blood of mine Only Begotten; that ye might be sanctified from all sin, and enjoy the words of eternal life in this world, and eternal life In the world to come, even Immortal glory; For by the water ye keep the commandment”, the commandment to repent and be baptized, “by the Spirit ye are justified”, you are taught to be just and righteous. In other words to be both just and merciful. “And by the blood ye are sanctified.”  Moses 6:57-60

The blood of Christ enables us to work out our salvation so that our sins are all made up for by Christ. The suffering and the sacrifice are taken care of so that our record can stand as if we had never sinned, though we have. But the Savior acts as our buffer, our advocate, our Savior in that he saves us from the eternal consequences of those sins.

Now, let’s review the parts of the new and everlasting covenant. First we are called upon to repent and be baptized. To repent is to turn our hearts to Jesus Christ, to declare ourselves against evil and for good, and to recognize in Christ the only hope we have for achieving good and relinquishing all evil. And so we choose to make the covenant with him.  And the covenant of baptism is first of all that we will take upon ourselves his name. Secondly, that we will keep every commandment that he gives us. And thirdly, that we will always remember him. He tells us that always remembering him is the key to always having his spirit to be with us. And having his spirit to be with us brings us the knowledge and the power to choose only good, and thus to be worthy of our Father who himself has chosen only good, and is the epitome himself of all goodness.

If we make that covenant honestly and honorably, then hands are laid upon our head and we are given the right to the constant companionship of the Holy Ghost. And that is the pearl of great price as I understand it. Because without that we cannot fulfill the righteousness of Christ. That is what teaches us and empowers us with righteousness or justice. By the spirit we are justified. The Holy Ghost becomes our personal tutor to lift our minds to the vision of what it means to be perfect in Christ, to be just, to be kindly, to love with perfect love and thus to serve in the manner in which Christ serves. And so we receive the Holy Ghost.

If we then obey the instruction (the commandments) we are given to receive the Holy Ghost, and we receive it into our lives and we treasure him as our constant companion by yielding to him constantly, yielding to those enticings of the Holy Spirit, which entice us constantly to righteousness.  We can only do that by softening our hearts and letting ourselves be led as a little child in the way of Christ. After learning to follow the Holy Ghost, then comes the time where there is another new and everlasting covenant, another part of this whole covenant. Which is to receive the priesthood of God.

Now we are beginning to go into the service of others using thew power of God. The Aaronic priesthood, of course is a temporary priesthood, a temporal priesthood. It is receiving the Melchizedek Priesthood that is the really significant event. But both are important. As we receive the Melchizedek Priesthood, we enter into the oath and covenant of the priesthood. The oath and the covenant of the priesthood are part of this empowering. We make certain promises to the Lord.  He makes the oath, we make the covenant. We are not  to make oaths, because until we’re perfect we can’t guarantee that we will fulfill the oaths. But we can covenant, we can make promises to do the best we can to obey as we are told. So we covenant that we will use this priesthood to bless others as our Father directs us. He promises us if we will use this priesthood to bless and go on to receive the fullness of this priesthood then we will receive from him all that he has. We will share all that Christ has been given. Let’s read some of the words of  Section 84 of the Doctrine and Covenants. The whole first part of this section is a description of the oath and covenant of the priesthood.  Verse 20,

“Therefore in the ordinances of the gospel of Jesus Christ the power of godliness is manifest.”

This is the purpose of the ordinances which constitute the New and Everlasting Covenant is to deliver to us the power of godliness. Which is simply the power to be good. God is good, that’s what the word “God” means. And the power of godliness is the power to be good without error, fully good, wholly good.

“. . . without the ordinances thereof, and the authority of the priesthood, the power of godliness is not manifest unto men in the flesh; For without this no man can see the face of God, even the Father, and live.”

We can’t become good enough to stand in the presence of the Father and enjoy his eternal presence except through Jesus Christ who cleanses us from doing evil through repentance and from the consequences of having done evil through the Atonement.

“Now this Moses plainly taught to the children of Israel in the wilderness. and he sought diligently to sanctify his people that they might behold the face of God”

Sanctification has to do with our sins. Until our debts of justice, where we have sinned, are made up, he can’t stand us in is presence. He can’t stand anyone who has hurt someone else and doesn’t care. If we care there is a way to make up for it, to get the persons we have offended compensated and the record clean. That way is through Christ. But if we don’t care enough to make sure that everybody whom we’ve hurt is recompensed through Christ, then we don’t belong in his presence. The children of Israel in the wilderness hardened their hearts and they could not endure his presence. In other words they said, “The way is to straight for us. We still want to choose evil.There are some things that we desire to do that are not good.”  The Lord in his wrath (for his anger was kindled against them) swore that they should not enter into his rest. Which is his presence:

“Therefore, the Lord in his wrath. for his anger was kindled against them, swore that they should no enter into his rest while in the wilderness, which rest is the fullness of his glory. Therefore, he took Moses out of their mist and the holy priesthood also;” D&C 84:24-25

That is to say, he took from them the Melchizedek Priesthood. “The lesser priesthood continued”, with them “which priesthood holdeth the keys of the ministering of angels and the preparatory gospel.” D&C 84:26  This that they never-the-less might have some portion of good and righteousness that would help them to be prepared to receive the fullness again when the time was right. So the lesser power continued with them until John the Baptist:

“Which gospel is the gospel of repentance and of baptism and the remission of sins, and the law of carnal commandments, which the Lord in his wrath caused to continue with the house of Aaron among the children of Israel until John, who God raised up being filled with the Holy Ghost from his mother’s womb. For he was baptized while he was yet In his childhood and was ordained by the angel of God at the time he was eight days old unto this power, to overthrow the kingdom of the Jews”. D&C 84:27

To do good by the power of the Aaronic Priesthood is a preparation for doing greater good through the power of the Melchizedek Priesthood.  Having received the priesthood, it is then necessary for the recipients to make an acceptable offering unto the Lord through the powers of that priesthood:

“Therefore as I said concerning the sons of Moses, for the sons of Moses and also the sons of Aaron shall offer an acceptable offering unto that sacrifice in the house of the Lord, which house shall be built unto the Lord in this generation upon the consecrated spot as I have appointed. And the sons of Moses and of Aaron shall be filled with the glory of the Lord, upon mount Zion in the Lord’s house, whose sons are ye; and also many whom I have called and sent forth to build up my church. For whoso is faithful unto the obtaining of these two priesthoods of which I have spoken and the magnifying their calling are sanctified by the spirit unto the renewing of their bodies.”

D&C 84: 31-33

They are made holy by obedience to the Holy Spirit. And:

“They become the sons of Moses and of Aaron and the seed of Abraham, and the church and kingdom, and elect of God. And also all they who receive this priesthood receive me saith the Lord; For he that receiveth my servants receiveth me; And he that receiveth me receiveth my Father; And he that receiveth my Father receiveth my Father’s kingdom; Therefore all that my Father hath shall be given him. And this is according to the oath and covenant which belongeth to the priesthood. Therefore, all those who receive the priesthood, receive this oath and covenant of my Father, which he cannot break, neither can it be moved. But whoso breaketh this covenant after he hath received it, and altogether turneth therefrom shall not have forgiveness of sins in this world nor in the world to come.” D&C 84: 34-41

Those who turn away altogether are, of course,  the sons of perdition.

And I now give you a commandment, to beware concerning yourselves, to give diligent heed to the words of eternal life. For ye shall live by every word that proceedeth forth out of the mouth of God. For the word of the Lord is truth, and whatsoever is truth is light, and whatsoever is light is Spirit, even the spirit of Jesus Christ. And the spirit giveth light to every man that cometh Into the world; and the spirit enlighteth every man through the world that hearkeneth to the voice of the spirit. And everyone that hearkeneth to the voice of the spirit cometh unto God. Even the Father. And the Father teacheth him of the covenant which he has renewed and confirmed upon you, which is confirmed upon you for your sakes, and not for your sakes only, but for the sake of the whole world.”  D&C 84: 43-48

If all we needed to do was to be saved ourselves, of course we would just need to repent, in a sense. But repentance involves the service. We can’t fully repent and we can’t fully have faith in Christ without turning and helping the rest of the world be saved also.

“And the whole world lieth in sin and groaneth under darkness and under the bondage of sin.” D&C 84:49

And thus it is our mission, if we want to be saved, is to help save others, to love our neighbor and to share with them the opportunity of salvation, even as the Savior has loved us and has given us the opportunity to be saved.

Now we need to talk about names. Why these interesting names? The sons of Moses and of Aaron, the seed of Abraham, the house of Israel, the priesthood of Melchizedek. Now, we are given a key in the Doctrine and Covenants. We know the true name of the Melchizedek priesthood is not “the Melchizedek Priesthood.” We know the true name of the priesthood is “The Holy Priesthood after the order of the Son of God.” In other words, it is the priesthood of Jesus Christ. But it was given the name Melchizedek because Melchizedek was a great High priest in ancient times and used that priesthood so effectively (more effectively than anyone in the ancient world) to serve his fellow men and to bring them to Christ, that they too might be saved. That’s the purpose of the priesthood.

Now let’s look at the name Melchizedek. `Melki‘ means “king of,” `Zedek‘ means righteousness. The name means “king of righteousness.” Now why was the name Melchizedek given to the priesthood of God? Let me give you my interpretation. Please do not believe this unless you have better evidence than my evidence. But may I give you this as a hypothesis. My understanding is that Melchizedek is another of the names of Christ. He is the king of righteousness, there is no other king of righteousness. He is the sole fountain of righteousness on this earth. And if any person seeks to have righteousness they must come unto Jesus Christ and make their personal peace with him. He is the keeper of the gate of righteousness. He employs no servant there. And if we wish to have it we must deal with him. How did it happen that Melchizedek the man got that name? Well my guess is, that what the Savior is pleased to do is to put his own names upon his faithful servants. And thus everybody who comes to Christ is likely to get a new name. And the new name will be one of Christ’s names. I believe that “Melchizedek” is one of the names of Christ.

For instance, there was a man named Abram and when he became faithful he received a new name. What’s his new name? Abraham. What does Abraham mean? The AB is pronounced av in Hebrew. Av means Father. Ra means many. Am means people. Father of many people, father of many children. Who is the real father of all these children. The real father is the Savior. He’s the one who’s the father. He’s the creator of every human being on earth. Not the spirit body but the physical tabernacle. And he’s the one that enables each one to be reborn to righteousness. I think Abraham is one of the Son’s names, one of the Savior’s names. What was the first thing we promised in taking the new and everlasting covenant? To take upon ourselves the name of Christ. How many names does he have? At least four hundred that we have in the scriptures. And I suspect that when we get it all figured out that there will be a lot more than that.

Now, what are we to do? Christ’s purpose is to share everything he has with us. And as we acquire the attributes and blessings that he has acquired for our selves, we progressively take upon ourselves his name. Or we might say, his names, as we become like Him.

About three years ago Elder Dallin Oaks gave a talk in conference. He talked about the sacrament and what we promise to do there. At first I couldn’t understand what he was saying. But as I studied this material out it finally dawned on me what he was saying. I commend that talk to you. Go back and read it. You’ll find it to be very instructive, very enlightening. It pointed me to this understanding of taking upon us the name of Christ.     Let’s look at some of the other names. The name Enoch, means initiated or begun. What do we associate Enoch with? I associate him with law of consecration. When we get established or initiated or have begun in that law, we are taking upon ourselves the name Enoch. I understand the name Enoch to be a name of Jesus Christ which he gave to his faithful servant Enoch.

Consider the name David,  and the throne of David. The throne of David is Christ’s throne. It speaks in the scriptures of David in the last days and my understanding that means our Savior. The word `David’ means “loving.” He is the God of love. And his throne is the throne of grace and love. If you and I ever hope to fulfill the full love of Jesus Christ we will perhaps want to enjoy the throne of David. The throne of David is a place of service to others, where the welfare of others is put ahead of our own. Now true, the man King David had some problems. But the word David is still a good name.

The word `Moses’. What does the word `Moses’ mean? Who are the `sons of Moses?’ The word `Moses’ in the Egyptian means simply “the son.” Son, who is the son? We know who the son is. The word Moses is simply one of the Savior’s designations. The Hebrew meaning for Mosha, which is the Hebrew equivalent for the Egyptian Moses, means “rescued”. And we can see why that would be. He was rescued from the bulrushes. But there’s a little twist to that in the Egyptian. The name `Isaiah,’ “God has saved.” The name `Israel,’ “he will rule as God.” If you know what the blessings of Israel are and you hope to share them, when you rule as God you will take upon yourself the name Israel. That means you will rule under Christ, who is, as I understand it, the real Israel. And a man named Jacob was given that name as his new name because it was the name of his father Jesus Christ. Think about it and pray about it. If you have a new name you might wonder what it means. You might want to find out. Because I think you will find out that somehow it represents the Savior to you. And it’s something he would like you either to become or to be which he has rewarded you with already, in your path to perfection.

Let us now turn to Section 132 and read a few words about the New and Everlasting Covenant. Verse 2:

“Behold, and lo, I am the Lord thy God, and will answer thee as touching this matter.”

The matter of course is many wives and concubines. But many of these comments apply to the whole of the new and everlasting covenant. Therefore are pertinent to us.

“Prepare thy heart to receive and obey the instructions which I am about to give unto you; for all those who have this law revealed to them must obey the same.” D&C 132:3

In other words. it’s better not have known the Lord than to know him and then defy him.

“For behold I reveal unto you a new and an everlasting covenant and if ye abide not that covenant, then ye are damned.”  D&C 132:4

You’re stopped in your progress.

“For no one can reject this covenant and be permitted to enter into my glory.” D&C 132:4

There is no other way.

“For all who will have a blessing at my hands shall abide the law which was appointed for that blessing and the conditions thereof, as were instituted from, before the foundation of the world.” D&C 132:5

We need to quote another scripture here in this connection.

“There is a law upon which all blessings are predicated and when we receive any blessing it is by obedience to that law …” D&C  130:20

I understand this scripture to say that there is one law upon which all blessings are predicated. Not many laws, but only one law by which to receive blessing from God . When you talk about celestial things, it is the law of the gospel, not the laws of the gospel. Now, what’s that one law? The one law, as I understand it, is faith in Jesus Christ. Which translated in other words means to love Jesus Christ who is the Lord our God, with all of our heart, might, mind, and strength. Now, if we receive any blessing we get it only through that law by coming to full faith in Christ. Which means to partake of the fullness of the new and everlasting covenant. Because only in that covenant is there power to become fully just and merciful, to come to that fullness of love which is Christ, in which we are trying to emulate him. And these conditions were pointed and instituted from before the foundations of the world.

“And as pertaining to the new and everlasting covenant, it was instituted for the fullness of my glory; and he that receiveth a fullness thereof must and shall abide the law, or he shall be damned.”

Everyone who is not exalted is damned. We have our choice, no one is exalted except they want it and want it enough to give up all their sins and become a little child In the hands of Christ and do all things that he would have them do, to live by every word that proceeds forth out of his mouth.

“Verily I say unto you, the conditions of this law are these: all covenants, contracts, bonds, obligations, oaths, vows, performances, connections, associations, expectations …” D&C 132:7

 

Anything that is done in this world, that is not entered into and sealed by the Holy Spirit of promise, which comes in connection with the new and everlasting covenant.

“… of him who is anointed, both as well for time and for all eternity and that too most holy, by revelation and commandment through the medium of mine anointed, whom I have appointed on earth to hold this power on the earth. And I have appointed my servant Joseph, to hold this power in the last days and there is never but one on the earth at a time on whom this power and the keys of this priesthood are conferred.” D&C 132:7

Who has it today? President Ezra Taft Benson.

“Are of no efficacy, virtue, or force in and alter the resurrection from the dead.” D&C 132:7

The new and everlasting covenant is the only power that goes through death and resurrection. In other words, it’s the only thing that makes anything everlasting or eternal, that’s why it’s called for one thing the new and everlasting covenant.

“All contracts that are not made unto this end have an end when men are dead. My house is a house of order saith the Lord and not a house of confusion. Will I accept of an offering, saith the Lord, that is not made in my name? Or will I receive at your hands that which I have not appointed? And will I appoint unto you accept by law? Even as I and my Father ordained you before the world was? I am the Lord thy God. I have given you this commandment, no man shall come unto the Father but by me or by my word, which is my law.”  D&C 132: 7-10

 

To have faith in Christ is to fulfill the law.

“Everything that is in the world, whether it be ordained of man or thrones, or principalities, or powers of things that whatsoever that they may be, that are not by me or by my word, saith the Lord shall be thrown down and not remain after men are dead. Nor in nor after the resurrection, saith the Lord your God.” D&C 132:13

No marriage connection, no parent- child relationship, nothing of that will stand except it is confirmed, and hallowed, and made eternal, through the New and Everlasting Covenant.

“Whatsoever things are made are by me and whatsoever things are not by me shall be shaken and destroyed.” D&C 132:14

The thing that amazes me is how great a thing the Savior is trying to give to us. He’s trying to share with us all that he has, which is the power to govern and control and be a steward over the universe. And there’s nothing greater. But we must do it in his way, through covenant, through his power, under his Spirit, in his love and his mercy. So, we can’t say we haven’t been told.

Now, I rejoice with you in these things. This is marvelous, this is life. And to have an opportunity to know these things is the key to everything else. In heart, might, mind, and strength there is an order. The psychological order is mind, heart, strength, and might. That’s the order in which we must deal with things in the world. We first must understand them and then we must take them into our hearts and then we must reflect them in our bodies through our actions and that will then reflect any effect we have In the world. Now there are other orders given but that’s the order we have to do it. That’s the reason were talking about these things.

It’s important to remember that there are different kinds of minds. We’ll take just a little side trip here for just a minute and talk about the kinds of minds. There’s a mind or shall we say a person that corresponds to each of the four things: heart, might, mind, and strength. A person who’s center focus is the heart, I call a Hebrew. And Abraham Is the epitome of the Hebrew. He could not stand that anyone should suffer. He was willing to risk his own life to help others. The Savior, of course, is the same. He is the epitome of all good things. Abraham is a good example.He as a mortal human was born and raised out of the church. He found the gospel and so loved the Savior that he became known as “the friend of God.” Because he was all heart. He couldn’t stand that anyone should suffer and he wanted to help them whenever he could.

Now there is another kind of person, who is a mind person. The mind person glories in understanding and they want to figure everything out and know everything. Now that’s good except if you don’t have a heart. If you emphasis the mind and the figuring of it all out and you don’t have the heart to go and do it, the mind is relatively worthless. That’s what I call a Greek mind.

Now there’s the Trojan person. The Trojan person is one who thinks that the body is everything. They’re really interested in health. They really like the Word of Wisdom. They really emphasis that. They like the physical culture. They like things like Yoga, because it’s training the body, giving them power, strength. They like beauty, they like clothing, they glory in the trappings of the world. Considering a Trojan person, there’s nothing wrong with those things in their place. But if  you don’t have a good heart heart and a good mind to go with it, you don’t have very much.

And then there’s the Roman person who glories in might. They want power in this world above all else. They want to rule and reign. They want to get people to do what they want them to do. Sometimes, of course, they say they are doing it for the benefit of the people they’re reigning over. They are their brother’s keeper. And they’re going to make sure their brother is kept just the way he wants them kept.

Now I say this because as we talk about these things, there’s a danger. The danger is that we will slip into the Greek person, who is  ever learning, understanding the principles, but never coming to the knowledge of the truth. And the knowledge of the truth is Jesus Christ. To know him is to be him, to be as he is. And if we learn all of these things and don’t do something it’ s a damnation to us. And I say it because I tend to be Greek and I know it.  I’ve got to be transformed into a Hebrew, to be like Abraham, to be like my Savior. Otherwise all of this is a waste.

May I say again in conclusion. Please don’t believe a word I’ve said. I’ve shared with you the best that my heart and mind can produce. But I am a man and I`m still struggling with my own salvation. And I would commend to you the true and living God who does hear and answers prayers, who will enlighten every single one of us on these things if we will just go to him and pray about them and try to implement them the best we can in our lives. And if we will do that, he is gracious, he is good, he will answer us. Revelation is the life blood of this kingdom. It is the rock on which we must stand, each one of us personally and individually. And if we do, then we will have no regrets. That’s wisdom.

We have five minutes for questions, it. you would like to ask a question.

(question) Why does it require a sinless person to atone for someone else’s sins?

Because it if they weren’t sinless they would have to atone for their own sins. (follow-up unheard) My understanding is no, that when we have sinned — I don’t know what else I can say, in other words I can’t explain it fully. But that’s a good question we should both ask. So let’s ask it and get the answer, because there are answers.

(question) The meaning of the name of Noah?

Noah means quiet, rest. And of course where is there rest but in the Lord. He is the prince of peace. He is the author of all real rest. His rest is the glory of his presence.

(question) Adam?

The word Adam means man.

(question) I know a lot of us feel so overwhelmed and so impressed by the things you say but are limited in our ability to catch all your thoughts. And I can’t find any books, is there anything available?  (Bro. Riddle hold up the scriptures) laughing she responds, I guess I was put in my place.

I didn’t mean to insult you but I simply hope you realize that anything written by an ordinary man is not scripture. That would be a strictly secondary source. These (the scriptures) are the only primary sources we have. I need to enlarge that just a little bit. What are primary sources? The primary sources of scripture that we have are: the words of the prophets, of which these are part. These written scriptures, these are the canonized scriptures. The un-canonized scriptures are the other words of the prophets. The most important single piece of written scripture that we have that I know anything about is the temple ceremony. And my guess is, that if we really want to understand the ways of the Lord, we will go to the temple and study that ceremony until we understand it backwards and forwards. It is the most complicated, most beautiful puzzle I have ever seen and the most worthwhile thing to figure out. And if you and I can figure out what every word means in that ceremony we will have the greatest treasure there is, I think. That is the jewel that we think of.  The canonized scripture is preliminary to the temple in what it’s trying to deliver to us. And there are things beyond that of course. For eye hath not seen nor ear heard that has entered into heart of man the good things that God has to give those that love him. So, we are rich, we have so much already, that if we will just take that which we have and concentrate on it. We don’t need all the commentaries in the world. Sometimes the worst thing you can do is go read a commentary on the scripture and get your mind lost by a half-truth which keeps you from seeing what’s really in the scriptures. So that’s why I say, please don’t believe what I say, because I’ve talked to enough people who have heard me to know that some of them have been blocked by some of the things I’ve said and I’m sorry. But I share in the sense that maybe something I have said will cause you to get on your knees and pray about something. And in that situation, that is where the real good comes, that’s where the real pure stuff comes to us, and on this revelation from God we can base our lives and our salvation.

(question) Sariah?

Sariah was named Sarah, I think it means “princess.” And that’s fitting because if truly we serve under our Father, the king, we are truly princes and princess. In other words we are apprentice kings and queens.

Posted in Faith, Restored Gospel | Tagged , , | 4 Comments

The Second Coming

Dr. Chauncey C. Riddle

Brothers and sisters, as I approach this subject of the second coming of the Savior, I fully recognize the import.  I further recognize that I am not an authority on this subject.  I would wish that we could compare a few notes, a few ideas. I wish that you might accept from me a few hypotheses, that you not be constrained to believe the things that I say that are false, but that you would, of course, accept the things that I say that are true.  But I hope that we can have a meeting of the minds.  And to that end I ask an interest in your faith and prayers that what is said might be edifying this evening.

First of all, I would like to explicate the meaning of the term, “Second Coming.”  I think it very important to realize that the terms “First Coming” (though this isn’t used frequently) and the term “Second Coming” have a very special relationship to the concept of “world.”  The “world” in scriptural terms means “the wicked people who are on the face of the earth.”  Another way to say this is that these are the people who essentially receive their instructions from Satan.  They are children of the devil.  Not all of them are willing servants to the devil, but they nevertheless are under his power and therefore subject to him.

We know that the Savior has been on the earth from time to time from the beginning of time.  He was a personal acquaintance of our father Adam.  Every truly righteous man who has ever lived on the face of the earth has enjoyed the presence and the companionship of Jesus Christ.  Now I say this simply because of the promises made in the scriptures; that every person who will live the gospel of Jesus Christ fully will have this opportunity of the companionship.  Let me refer you simply to the words recorded by John in the 14th chapter as explained by the prophet Joseph Smith:

14. If ye love me, keep my commandments.

15. And I will pray the Father and He shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you forever. 

16.  Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you.

I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you. (John 14: 15-18)

The Prophet Joseph Smith has explained that the Second Comforter is no more nor less than the personal presence of Jesus Christ to bless the life of a person who has shown that he loves the Lord; who has shown this by keeping the commandments.

He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him.  (John 14:21)

He goes on to explain that He and His Father will come and take up their abode with righteous people.  We know that individuals have received this from time to time.  Whole cities have received this blessing and opportunity.  The city and people of Enoch walked and talked with Jesus Christ and knew Him as a personal acquaintance.  And therefore when we talk about the “first coming” and the “second coming,” we are not talking about the Savior coming simply to men, we are talking about the relationship the Savior has to the world.  Notice that he said, “Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive..”  The world does not receive the Savior as the Spirit of truth.  It did receive him as an impostor first of all.

The first coming, then, was the coming of the Lord to the world.  The Savior came into the world that he might be subject to the world.  Or, in other words, subject to evil men.  Or, in other words, subject to Satan to a degree.  Not that he would submit to the temptations Satan would put upon him; but that he would suffer and eventually would give his life.  He came into the world to be judged of the world.  And the world passed judgment upon him and condemned him to death.  He who was perfect, who committed no sin, whose life was one perfect record of shedding blessing and hope and help to mankind was condemned by the world to death.

The second coming of the Savior is the second coming to the world.  But as the first time, the Savior was judged of the world, now he comes to judge the world.  As he was put to death of the world, so this time he puts the world to death.  In other words, the second coming of the Savior is the end of the world.  Every person who is yet a servant of Satan when the Savior comes will be burned with consuming fire.  They will not be privileged to remain upon the earth.  Now this seems a little harsh in a way.  But it really isn’t when we stop to consider the fact that every person who is burned by this fire will have had the fullness of the gospel of Jesus Christ taught to him, will have had an opportunity to partake of the New and Everlasting Covenant of the Gospel; or, if he didn’t wish that, at least to acknowledge that Jesus Christ is good, that he is the God of this earth.  All persons who steadfastly reject this leadership in any degree, who persist in murdering and killing and robbing, lying, and whoremongering; who persist in bringing evil into the world under the influence of Satan; who will not change their ways even in the face of the testimony of the Holy Spirit–these are the people who will be swept off the earth.  And this, in a sense, is not an evil thing.  It is the kindness of the Lord, for they are given a chance to go to a place where they may pay for their sins, that they may come forth at a future time and receive glory at his hand.

All things that the Lord does, as I understand it, are for the benefit of man.  And if we can look upon it this way: he thrust no one down to hell except somehow they shall benefit from it, you might say.  We might think of exceptions to that.  But I think the general rule would certainly stand.

So the second coming of the Savior, then, is the second coming of the Savior to the world.  Now, of course, this definition does away with certain problems.  Some people wonder if the coming to Adam-ondi-Ahman is the second coming.  Or the coming in the temple is the second coming.  As I would understand it clearly these are not the second coming.  These are simply part of the many manifestations of the Lord to his children.  He comes to those who are his children and blesses them.  But they are not  the world.  The second coming will be a coming in power and glory with all the holy angels with the Lord Jesus Christ.  Every eye shall see, every person on the earth shall know.  There will be no denying that Jesus Christ has come when he comes in his second coming.  He will not come in the desert or in the secret places.  He will come very publicly.  As the Savior explained to his disciples, as the morning comes out of the east when the sun comes up, its very difficult to suppose that anybody could not perceive this happening, a person who has eyes.  So will this coming of the Son of Man be.  It will be as the sun coming up in the morning.  It will be that plain to everyone upon the earth.  So the Savior will come to finish his work; to put the world to an end,  that he might then institute a peaceful millennial reign–a time of happiness, a time of rejoicing, a time of rest when those of the earth who will receive Jesus Christ will begin to receive the fruits of their labors in fullness, to enjoy happiness and peace which they have so longed for.

Now let’s talk about the conditions which will precede the second coming of the Savior.  There are a number of approaches that could be made to this subject.  In casting about for the proper approach to make, or at least the approach I thought I would make, I decided not to pursue a specific prophecy of the events that precede the second coming.  I think you will find this fairly well taken care of in many places.  I don’t think you want to believe everything you read.  But on the other hand, there is fairly ready access to much of this information.  To my mind the thing that is more important to me even than the chronology of the events is to understand rather clearly the type of problems that we’re going to be faced with between now and then.  It is my own personal expectation that the second coming of the Savior will occur sometime in the near future.  I would say sometime in the next 50 years.  Of course that is a pure guess.  I don’t know.

As I’ve said to many of you before, I don’t think anybody knows the hour and the day.  The scriptures say that clearly.  But I would believe that as the time draws nigh, every true latter day saint will know the week and the month if not the hour and the day.  Because the signs will be there.  But the signs and the events aren’t the important thing, I think.  The important thing is what do you and I have to do to be able to survive.  I take it that the essence of surviving this time and arriving at the point of the second coming in such a condition that we shall be pleased to have it happen consists principally in doing one thing: disassociating ourselves from the world.  Because remember it’s the world that is going to come to an end.  And the further we can get away from the world, the more unlike the world we can become in the direction of becoming like the Savior, the better our preparation for his coming will be.    Remember Paul said there are a lot of things we don’t know about the second coming, but we do know this: that when he comes we shall be like him.  Those who have endured in the gospel of Jesus Christ will be like him.  And the Savior will draw all those unto him who have honored him enough to desire to become like him.  And they will be blessed with a fullness of his blessings.  To be made equal in power, might, and dominion with their Savior, their Lord, their leader.

But let’s review some of these conditions that will obtain now before the second coming of the Savior.  First I would like to talk about political conditions.  As a basis for this, I would like to refer you to Ether chapter 8.  Remember the book of Ether was written at what date?  Somewhere around 420 A.D.  The book of Ether is Moroni’s abridgment of the plates that were found during the time of King Mosiah.  They were translated by King Mosiah for his people.  And in the last, as he was very near the time of his own death, Moroni felt it expedient to abridge this record and give us this record.  Clearly he was not writing to the Nephites.  Why did he write this?  For us.  And so with almost all of the Book of Mormon.  It wasn’t written for people of that time.  Because Mormon and Moroni who wrote the bulk of it were the last of their people.  They wrote for us today.  Let’s see what they have to say about certain political conditions that will exist in our own time.

And it came to pass that they formed a secret combination, even as they of old; which combination is most abominable and wicked above all, in the sight of God.

For the Lord worketh not in secret combinations, neither doth he will that man should shed blood, but in all things hath he forbidden it, from the beginning of man.

This secret combination is the combination to murder and get gain; to support one another in wickedness and not tell about it.  This is the basis of this secret combination.

And now I, Moroni, do not write the manner of their oaths and combinations, for it hath been made known unto me that they are had among all people, and they are had among the Lamanites.

And they have caused the destruction of this people of whom I am now speaking, and also the destruction of the people of Nephi.

And whatsoever nation shall uphold such secret combination to get power and gain, until they shall spread over the nation,  behold, they shall be destroyed; for the Lord will not suffer that the blood of his saints, which shall be shed by them, shall always cry unto him from the ground for vengeance upon them and yet he avenge them not.

Wherefore, O ye Gentiles, it is wisdom in God that these things should be shown unto you, that thereby ye may repent of your sins…

What is he suspecting us of?  Secrecy combinations in our midst.  Why do ye suppose he would suspect us of these things?  Because he was shown in vision us.  He saw our day, our activities, our problems, and most of the things that he and his father put into the Book of Mormon were specifically designed to help you and me prepare for our own times.

…and suffer not that these murderous combinations shall get above you, which are built up to get power and gain–and the work, yea, even the work of destruction come upon you, yea, even the sword of the justice of the Eternal God shall fall upon you, to your overthrow and destruction if you shall suffer these things to be.

Wherefore, the Lord commandeth you, when ye shall see these things come among you that ye shall awake to a sense of your awful situation…

How can you know about it if it is a secrecy combination?  How can you see these things come among you?  How do you do it?  They don’t go around broadcasting.  How can you tell when secrecy combinations come among you?  There is only one way to know and that is to discern it spiritually.  If you look back in the Book of Mormon record.  Remember Nephi when he was talking with the people?  This is the Nephi just before the coming of the Savior.  Roughly about the time of Samuel the Lamanite.  How did he know that the judge had been murdered by his brother who sought the judgment seat?  By the spirit.  And he was able to tell the people how they could find out that this was true.  And this is how we must know these things.  In other words, if we depend on the evidence we get in our newspapers, do you think we’ll ever know the truth about these things?  Obviously not. We have to be smarter than that.

…because this secrecy combination which shall be among you; or wo be unto it, because of the blood of them who have been slain; for they cry from the dust for vengeance upon it, and also upon those who built it up.

For it cometh to pass that whoso buildeth it up seeketh to overthrow the freedom of all lands, nations, and countries…

Have you ever heard of a program to overthrow the freedom of all nations and lands and countries?  Do you think you out to be wary of this program?  Is it anything to be worry about?  Well if you believe Moroni and Mormon it is.  You’ll be told by many people of your own society its nothing to be concerned about.  But who do you want to believe?  I think that’s a fair question.  Do you want to believe them or do you want to believe the Lord?

…and it bringeth to pass the destruction of all people, for it is built up by the devil, who is the father of all lies; even that same liar who beguiled our first parents, yea, even that same liar who caused man to commit murder from the beginning; who hath hardened the hearts of men that they have murdered the prophets and stoned and cast them out from the beginning. (Ether 8:19-23)

If a righteous man were to come among the people and start talking about these secret combinations, what do you suppose would happen to him?  Well, he’d get stoned, so to speak, wouldn’t he?  Well, isn’t it interesting the things that we see going on?  As you read the newspapers, you do discover a few things.  I’ll just leave it to you.  Was it just chance that President Kennedy was assassinated?  Can you believe that it was chance?  Was this just some crackpot?  Do you see any significance in the fact that this man had lived in Russia, been trained by the Russians in exactly the sort of thing he did.  Does that mean anything?  Well, it can mean something only if you’re spiritually perceptive.

The point I’m trying to make is this:  I think it’s obvious that this system is operative among us.  The enemy has been clearly defined by latter-day prophecy.  What is the anti-Christ?  Communism.  Who is the personification of Satan on the earth?  Kruschev.  How do you know?  If you can’t do anything else, believe one who said it.  Who said it?  A man named David O’ McKay.  Now that ought to be important, don’t you think,  to every latter-day saint?  And yet the thing that bothers me is I see so many people who are latter-day saints saying, “after all, these people are just a little bit misguided.  There’s nothing to worry about.  Let’s fellowship them and embrace them and all will be well.”  Haven’t you heard people say that?

If there is a program going on to subvert the freedoms of people; if you see that millions and millions of people have been swallowed up by tyranny, by this same program; I think it would behoove us to become spiritually alive and not be duped by the propaganda that tells us this is just agrarian reform.  This is one of the realities of our day.  I personally think one of the most urgent practical necessities for every latter-day saint to work on is politics.  Because the church cannot survive without political freedom.  And if we as latter-day saints don’t do something about it, we’re going to find ourselves in pretty bad circumstances.  Well, let’s pass on.  We don’t want to spend all night on that.  I hope you realize, I’m just taking a pot shot of each of these.  But that’s about all we can do considering the circumstances.

Ecclesiastical conditions.  What’s going to happen in the last days regarding ecclesiastical conditions?  Well, the answer’s been given to us very plainly.  For this I will refer you to 1 Nephi 14.  In the beginning of chapter 14, Nephi says:

And it shall come to pass, that if the Gentiles shall hearken unto the Lamb of God in that day that he shall manifest himself unto them in word, and also in power, in very deed, unto the taking away of their stumbling blocks.

What time is this talking about?  Now.  The time of the restoration of the gospel of Jesus Christ among the Gentiles.

And harden not their hearts against the Lamb of God, they shall be numbered among the seed of thy father (they shall be with the House of Israel)…

And that great pit, which hath been digged for them by that great and abominable church…

This should be a warning of what?  There’s an ecclesiastical danger to look out for too.  There’s going to be a pit digged for all righteous persons by the church of Satan in the last days.

…which was founded by the devil and his children, that he might lead away the souls of men down to hell–yea, that great pit which hath been digged for the destruction of men shall be filled by those who digged it.

Well, this is somewhat comforting.  At least we don’t have to worry too much because it will not succeed.  But we need to recognize the danger anyway.  Because many are going to be associated with the fall of this organization and will fill the pit.

…this is according to the captivity of the devil, and also according to the justice of God…

The angel said, “thou hast beheld that if the Gentiles repent it shall be well with them; and thou also knowest concerning the covenants of the Lord unto the house of Israel…wo be unto the Gentiles if it so be that they harden their hearts against the Lamb of God.

For the time cometh, saith the Lamb of God, that I will work a great and a marvelous work among the children of men; a work which shall be everlasting, either on the one hand or on the other–either to the convincing of them unto peace and life eternal, or unto the deliverance of them to the hardness of their hearts and the blindness of their minds unto their being brought down into captivity, and also into destruction, both temporally and spiritually, according to the captivity of the devil, of which I have spoken.

And it came to pass that he said unto me: rememberest thou the covenants of the Father unto the house of Israel?  I said unto him, Yea.  And it came to pass that he said unto me:  Look, and behold that great and abominable church, which is the mother of abominations, whose founder is the devil.

And he said unto me:  Behold there are save two churches only; the one is the church of the Lamb of God, and the other is the church of the devil; wherefore, whoso belongeth not to the church of the Lamb of God belongeth to that great church, which is the mother of abominations; and she is the whore of all the earth.

And it came to pass that I looked and beheld the whore of all the earth, and she sat upon many waters; and she had dominion over all the earth, among all nations, kindreds, tongues, and people.

And it came to pass that I beheld the church of the Lamb of God, and its numbers were few, because of the wickedness and abominations of the whore who sat upon many waters; nevertheless, I beheld that the church of the Lamb, who were all the saints of God, were also upon all the face of the earth; and their dominions upon the face of the earth were small, because of the wickedness of the great whore whom I saw.

We know that there is going to be some very drastic church activity.  What is the program of the Lord in these last days?  What’s he going to restore?  What’s he going to restore in these last days?  All things.  And what’s he going to gather them into?  Into one.  Right?  What do you suppose the adversary is going to do?  He’s going to do about the same thing.  He’s going to restore all the wickedness that ever was upon the face of the earth.  He’s going to gather it together.  Why?  To get more strength.  Because he cannot combat the work of the Lord without that strength.  And as the work of the Lord becomes unified and strong, he’s got to unify his forces.  It’s my understanding that before the end comes, which is obviously not yet, there will be only two church organizations upon the face of this earth.  I mean by that, two specific churches.  And if you read the newspapers, you’ll see this coming to pass daily.  Well, that’s going to be interesting.  And this is intimately connected with the political situation.  I don’t think you can disengage the two.  And therefore we need to be wise in assessing what churches are doing.  Because this will have profound political impact wherever these things take place.  We need to be wary of this because the dominions of the church will always be small and the people of the church will be greatly persecuted by the church of Satan.  So, if we’re wary and ready for this, we’ll be able to at least know what is coming, what’s happening.  The enemy won’t be able to sneak up on us.

What about social conditions?  Again, I think that we can look to a certain thing that happened in the Book of Mormon to get our key to the social conditions of our time.  It’s my understanding that the events which immediately preceded the coming of the Savior to the Nephites are in a sense a paradigm or a type of the events which will precede the Savior’s second coming.  So let’s read a few words from the 6th chapter of 3 Nephi wherein these events are chronicled.

And now it came to pass in the twenty and ninth year (this is after the birth of the Savior, immediately before the coming of the Savior to the Nephites) there began to be some disputings among the people; and some were lifted up unto pride and boastings because of their exceeding great riches, yea, even unto great persecutions.

For there were many merchants in the land, and also many lawyers, and many officers.

And the people began to be distinguished by ranks, according to their riches and their chances for learning; yea, some were ignorant because of their poverty, and others did receive great learning because of their riches.

Some were lifted up in pride, and others were exceedingly humble; some did return railing for railing, while others would receive railing and persecution and all manner of afflictions, and would not turn and revile again, but were humble and penitent before God.

And thus there became a great inequality in all the land, insomuch that the church began to be broken up, yea, insomuch that in the thirtieth year the church was broken up in all the land save it were among a few of the Lamanites who were converted unto the true faith; and they would not depart from it, for they were firm, and steadfast, and immovable, willing with all diligence to keep the commandments of the Lord. (3 Nephi 6: 10-14)

Jumping over to chapter seven.  We are told how these people, through the conspiracies that took place which we’ve already talked about, overthrew the government of their land.

Now behold, I will show unto you that they did not establish a king over the land; but in this same year, yea, the thirtieth year, they did destroy upon the judgment-seat, yea, did murder the chief judge of the land.

And the people were divided one against another; and they did separate one from another into tribes, every man according to his family and his kindred and friends; and thus they did destroy the government of the land.

And every tribe did appoint a chief or a leader over them; and thus they became tribes and leaders of tribes.

And the regulations of the government were destroyed, because of the secret combinations of the friends and kindreds of those who murdered the prophets.

And they did cause a great contention in the land, insomuch that the more righteous part of the people had nearly all become wicked; yea, there were but few righteous men among them. (3 Nephi 7: 1-3; 6-7)

Now we know these socials conditions will exist.  We know that the government of the United States is going to fall, as all civil governments will before the second coming.  If you’re dependent on the government now, that would be a good thing to know, wouldn’t it?

We know that the order of society is going to break down.  There will be much wickedness.  There will be few righteous people, in the sense of being completely righteous, when the end comes.  We get a little different approach to this in 3 Nephi chapter 29.  The Lord tells in the first part of the chapter, through Mormon:

And when ye shall see these sayings coming forth among you, then ye need not any longer spurn at the doings of the Lord, for the sword of his justice is in his right hand; and behold, at that day, if ye shall spurn at his doings he will cause that it shall soon overtake you.

Wo unto him that spurneth at the doings of the Lord; yea, wo, unto him that shall deny the Christ and his works!

Yea, wo unto him that shall deny the revelations of the Lord, and that shall say the Lord no longer worketh by revelation, or by prophecy, or by gifts, or by tongues, or by healings, or by the power of the Holy Ghost.

Yea, and wo unto him that shall say at that day, to get gain, that there can be no miracle wrought by Jesus Christ; for he that doeth this shall become like unto the son of perdition, for whom there was no mercy, according to the word of Christ! (3 Nephi 29: 4-7)

Now down to chapter 30:

Hearken, O ye Gentiles, and hear the words of Jesus Christ, the Son of the living God, which he hath commanded me that I should speak concerning you, for, behold he commandeth me that I should write, saying:

Turn, all ye Gentiles, from your wicked ways; and repent of your evil doings, of your lyings and of your secret abominations, and your idolatries, and of your murders, and your priestcrafts, and your envyings, and your strifes, and from all your wickedness and abominations, and come unto me, and be baptized in my name, that ye may receive a remission of your sins, and be filled with the Holy Ghost, that ye may be numbered with my people who are of the house of Israel (3 Nephi 30: 1-2).

A good many of us in the church have come unto the Savior and been baptized.  But the question is: Have we relinquished these things of the world?  Are we materialistic in our society?  Do we set ourselves above one another in pride?  Do we share with one another?  Have we love in our hearts for all men?  Do we enjoy the gifts of the spirit so that we are mighty in doing the works of God?  I think we’ll have to say that as a people we’re making only a beginning.  We’re not doing too well in this regard.

There is a great deal of evil in the church.  As a church, we’re not doing a very good job of living the 10 commandments, let alone living the celestial requirements of the gospel of Jesus Christ.  So this is another of the factors that we’ve got to face.  The pressure isn’t going to get any easier.  The pressure is going to get worse.  If you are aware of what’s going on, I think you will agree with me, I hope you will, at least I hope so because if I’m wrong, somebody’s crazy.  I see a rising tide of sensuality in our nation.  Do you not?  A rising tide of materialism.  A rising tide of irresponsibility.  A hate of work; work being the source of all good things for human beings.  As these things come upon us, we live in a devolving society.  A society which is successful because of its technological advantages, but which is becoming so rotten morally, it’s going to topple one of these days.

If you have read the prophecies concerning the United States, you know that this country is going to be racked from one end to the other by bloodshed, by pestilence, by famine, by war, by fire, by scourges; it isn’t going to be a very pretty sight.  And this because of the fact that we are not very righteous as a people, as a nation.  The Lord will not suffer wicked people to dwell forever in the promised land.  And the time of judgment is coming.

Briefly, let’s say a word about economic conditions.  For all of his faults, you have to give Marx credit for one thing:  Economics is about the dearest thing to most people’s hearts.  And therefore it is a very important controlling factor in history.  There’s no question about it.  You cannot say that all men are controlled by economic factors.  If men were simply materialistic machines, as Marx thought they were, then he would be right.  But they are not.  Men do have spirits and intelligences.  There is a power of godliness which transforms men’s lives and lifts them above the materialistic level.  But most men are governed by material circumstances and considerations.  They make their decisions in terms of how much money it’s going to afford them, or cost them, so forth.  So, the way to control people is to control their economics.  Government has become the business of taking over the economics of a people because this is the way to effectively handle the situation.  You don’t have to pass anti-trust laws when you can control the steel companies just by cutting off their contracts.  Very simple.  So we see that all governments on the earth are moving more and more into complete control of the economics of their people.  Because this is the way to control society.  Because most men are economic creatures.  This has been seen by the prophets.  Let’s read a few words from the book of Revelations where John predicts what’s going to happen in the last days.

Chapter 13.  Speaking of the great and abominable church, John points out that the great and abominable church is going to be taken over by another organization.  And this organization is going to have the force to cause that as many as would not worship the great and abominable church would be killed.  Which is a pretty good explanation as to how there are only going to be only two churches in the end.  It couldn’t come about by any means except force.  But then this organization that also causes everybody to join this church is also going to cause all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a mark in their right hand or in their foreheads.  And no man might buy or sell save he had the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name.  What does that tell you?  Well, I think you can read in that, can’t you, that the economic situation is going to be completely controlled by this force, by this organization.  That eventually we will see the time when the economics of the world will be completely sewed up by this power, and no man can oppose it if he wish to engage in commerce, if he wishes to make a profit.  So if our considerations are material, the only one thing to do is to give in and get the mark and you can do business.  So the time is coming when every person is going to have to choose, I think, between certain material prosperities and his independence.  In other words, between material rewards and righteousness.  That’s what it boils down to.  Enough of that.

Let’s go on to the signs of the times.  Section 45 of the Doctrine and Covenants gives us enough of a communication of this.  Beginning with verse 30:

And in that generation shall the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled.

When the Gentiles have had their chance, then their time is fulfilled, and we’re going to see these signs.

And there shall be men standing in that generation, that shall not pass until they shall see an overflowing scourge; for a desolating sickness shall cover the land.

But my disciples shall stand in holy places, and shall not be moved; but among the wicked, men shall lift up their voices and curse God and die.

And there shall be earthquakes also in divers places, and many desolations; yet men will harden their hearts against me, and they will take up the sword, one against another, and they will kill one another.

And when the light shall begin to break forth, it shall be with them like unto a parable which I will show you.

Ye look and behold the fig trees, and ye see them with your eyes, and ye say when they begin to shoot forth, and their leaves are yet tender, that summer in now nigh at hand;

Even so it shall be in that day when they shall see all these things, then shall they know that the hour is nigh.

When you see earthquakes, and wars and rumors of wars, pestilence, famine.  When you see flies coming upon the face of the earth, to lay their eggs that maggots devour the flesh of man.  Hail stones come forth to destroy the crops of the earth.  Desolating sickness come to cause thousands and thousands to die.  These are all very specific things prophesied by the scriptures as signs of the times.

And it shall come to pass that he that feareth me shall be looking forth for the great day of the Lord to come, even for the signs of the coming of the Son of Man.

This is one of the measures of our faithfulness.

And they shall see signs and wonders, for they shall be shown forth in the heavens above, and in the earth beneath.

And they shall behold blood, and fire, and vapors of smoke.

And before the day of the Lord shall come, the sun shall be darkened, and the moon be turned into blood, and the stars fall from heaven.

And the remnant shall be gathered unto this place.

Which of course refers to the gathering of the righteous to the New Jerusalem or to Jerusalem in the last days.  Apparently the remnant of the Jews will be gathered to Jerusalem and the remnant of everybody else will be gathered to the New Jerusalem.  Well, so much for the signs of the times.

I suppose you’ve gathered by this time that what I’m trying to do is paint for you a picture that is fairly pessimistic.  Now, why am I doing this?  Simply because I’m firmly convinced that the future is something to be pessimistic about.  It’s going to get an awful lot worse before it gets better.  And that you and I happen to live, I think,  very near the end of the times of peace and prosperity and happiness and usual circumstances.  I think that we are going to see the time in the very near future when much of this is destroyed because of these political, ecclesiastical, and social, and economic problems that I’ve been talking about.  Well let’s go on and talk about the second coming now.

The bright ray of hope in the whole business is the second coming.  It doesn’t matter how bad it’s going to get, all this evil is going to come to an end.  There will be a time when it shall be done away.  And that’s the wonderful thing we can look forward to with hope.  The saints will be vindicated.  Those who have suffered for righteousness sake will receive a reward and will know that things are well.

Now one of the great blessings the Lord has given us is a chronology of the day of the second coming.  We get an hour by hour sequence of the events of that day.  I would like to go through that sequence now because I think it’s very helpful.  There’s no point in any latter-day saint being surprised at anything that happens on the day of the second coming because it’s all here pretty much in black and white.  Let’s begin with section 88 of the Doctrine and Covenants, verse 87:

87.  For not many days hence and the earth will tremble and reel to and fro as a drunken man; and the sun shall hide his face, and shall refuse to give light; and the moon shall be bathed in blood; and the stars shall become exceedingly angry, and shall cast themselves down as a fig that falleth from off a fig-tree.

88.  And after your testimony cometh wrath and indignation upon the people.

This will be after the time that the missionaries have swept the earth to gather out the righteous for the last time.  Then those that remain having rejected the word of God will begin to reap the consequences.

89.  For after your testimony cometh the testimony of earthquakes, that shall cause groanings in the midst of her, and men shall fall upon the ground and shall not be able to stand.

90.  And also cometh the testimony of the voice of thunderings, and the voice of lightnings, and the voice of tempests, and the voice of the waves of the sea, heaving themselves beyond their bounds.

91.  And all things shall be in commotion; and surely, men’s hearts shall fail them; for fear shall come upon all people.

Except whom?  Except those that know what’s going on.  They won’t be afraid because they know what’s coming next and there’s nothing really to be afraid of.

92.  And angels shall fly through the midst of heaven, crying with a loud voice, sounding the trump of God, saying: Prepare ye, prepare ye, O inhabitants of the earth; for the judgment of our God has come; (this is the first day of judgment which comes upon all men)  Behold, and lo, the Bridegroom cometh; go ye out to meet him.

Now when he says, “go ye out to meet him,” there will be two specific actions that will take place.  Those that have repented will go out and wish to see this great spectacle.  What about those who haven’t repented?  The scripture says that they will go to the rocks and the caves and will try and get the mountains to hide them.  Of course it won’t work.

94.  And another angel shall should his trump, saying: That great church, the mother of abominations, that made all nations drink of the wine of the wrath of her fornication, (that fornication is not a pretty word, but it’s an important key to the history of this organization. It has sold itself, so watch out) that persecuteth the saints of God, that shed their blood–she who sitteth upon many waters, and upon the islands of the sea–behold, she is the tares of the earth…

You see the world will have been separated into two groups by this time.  The great and abominable church will have been the world.  I didn’t say that very clearly.  And the saints will be the rest of the people.  And the world will be destroyed.  But the world is the same thing as those who have finally associated themselves with the great and abominable church in the end.  And so she will be burned.  She is the tares of the earth.

..she is bound in bundles; her bands are made strong, no man can loose them; therefore, she is ready to be burned.  And he shall sound his trump both long and loud, and all nations shall hear it.

95. And there shall be silence in heaven for the space of half an hour (I guess this is no point in speculating, but I presume we’ll all be doing a lot of meditating in this half hour); and immediately after shall the curtain of heaven be unfolded after it is rolled up…

If you had a scroll here and you suddenly unfolded it, this will be what it will look like to look up into the heavens because the veil will be parted, just like it were the unrolling of a scroll.  And we will look up and see the spirit world surrounding the earth, which has been hidden from the eyes of men for these six thousand years since the fall.

…and the face of the Lord shall be unveiled.

96.  And the saints that are upon the earth, who are alive, shall be quickened and be caught up to meet him.

97.  And they who have slept in their graves shall come forth, for their graves shall be opened; and they also shall be caught up to meet him in the midst of the pillar of heaven.

Now while the Saints are being caught up.  Every righteous person will be caught up.  Every dead righteous person will be resurrected and caught up.  While this is going on, we’re given the transcript of what the rest of the people will be saying as they stand and look up into heaven.  For this, let’s go to section 133.  Beginning with verse 46.  This is what the people who stay on the earth who are watching this will say:

46.  And it shall be said: Who is this that cometh down from God in heaven with dyed garments; yea, from the regions which are not known, (what are these regions that are not known?  The spirit world that suddenly becomes visible.) clothed in his glorious apparel, traveling in the greatness of his strength?

47.  And he shall say: I am he who spake in righteousness, mighty to save.

48.  And the Lord shall be red in his apparel, and his garments like him that treadeth in the wine-vat.

50.  And his voice shall be heard: I have trodden the winepress alone, and have brought judgment upon all people; and none were with me.

What was the winepress?  The fierceness of the wrath of almighty God.  Which was what?  His atonement which he performed by himself.  No one was with him.

51.  And I have trampled them in my fury and I did tread upon them in mine anger, and their blood have I sprinkled upon my garments, and stained all my raiment; for this was the day of vengeance which was in my heart.

Again that sounds a little harsh.  But remember, these are people who have deliberately fostered evil.  Who have deliberately rejected the Savior and righteousness and kindness, who have sought to bring upon their fellowmen all kinds of misery, torment, tyranny.  And so the Lord takes vengeance upon them after they’ve had a chance to repent.  But there’s a happy note too.

52.  And now the year of my redeemed is come; and they shall mention the loving kindness of their Lord, and all that He has bestowed upon them according to his goodness, and according to his loving kindness, forever and ever.

This is the day of the blessing of the Saints and they receive their eternal inheritances.  Now let’s go now to section 45 of the Doctrine & Covenants where we get a record of what’s going to be said as he actually comes down and touches the earth.  Where will he touch?  The Mount of Olives at Jerusalem.  Immediately prior to the coming, there will be a tremendous earthquake and the Mount of Olives will split in twain and there will be a valley created into which a remnant of the Jews who are alive shall run to save their lives from the enemies that will be pressing upon them.  And at that point, they will meet the Savior.  So we read beginning with verse 47 of section 45.

47.  Then shall the arm of the Lord fall upon the nations.

48.  And then shall the Lord set his foot upon this mount, and it shall cleave in twain, and the earth shall tremble, and reel to and fro, and the heavens also shall shake.

49.  And the Lord shall utter his voice, and all the ends of the earth shall hear it; and the nations of the earth shall mourn, and they that have laughed shall see their folly.

50.   And calamity shall cover the mocker, and the scorner shall be consumed; and they that have watched for iniquity shall be hewn down and cast into the fire.

What’s a person that watches for iniquity?  These are the people who read the newspaper and get a secret delight out of seeing stories about evil.  A person who loves righteousness detests newspaper accounts of other people’s evil deeds.  Don’t they?  But people who delight to read of evil deeds in a sense are evil.  And when they get the chance and think they won’t be caught, they will be evil too.  And these are they who will be destroyed.

51.  And then shall the Jews look upon me and say: What are these wounds in thine hands and in thy feet?

52.  Then shall they know that I am the Lord; for I will say unto them: These wounds are the wounds with which I was wounded in the house of my friends.  I am he who was lifted up.  I am Jesus who was crucified.  I am the Son of God.

53.  And then shall they weep because of their iniquities; then shall they lament because they persecuted their king.

And I presume that this weeping and lamentation of the Jews will in a sense be a vicarious weeping and lamentation for the steadfast rejection of the Savior which the Jews have made, lo these thousands of years.

Let’s go back now to section 88 where the story goes on.

At the time of the second coming, we have the occasion known as the morning of the first resurrection.  This is not the beginning of the first resurrection.  The first resurrection began at the resurrection of the Savior, he being the first fruits.  And all of the righteous who died before the resurrection of the Savior were resurrected with him.  So millions of people probably have been resurrected even before the second coming.  But nevertheless every person worthy of the celestial kingdom apparently who has not been resurrected will be resurrected at the time of the second coming.

98. They are Christ’s, the first fruits, they who shall descend with him first, and they who are on the earth and in their graves, who are first caught up to meet him; and all this by the voice of        the sounding of the trump of the angel of God.

When the resurrection of the celestial persons is complete, then we have the resurrection of the terrestrial persons as recorded in the next verse.

99.  And after this another angel shall sound, which is the second trump; and then cometh the redemption of those who are Christ’s at his coming; who have received their part in that prison which is prepared for them, that they might receive the gospel, and be judged according to men in the flesh.

These people have accepted the gospel of Jesus Christ in the spirit world and are now resurrected to a terrestrial glory, being forgiven of their sins through the atonement of Christ and being privileged to come forth at this time to receive their inheritances.

100.  And another trump shall sound, which is the third trump; and then come the spirits of men who are to be judged, and are found under condemnation.

These are the telestial spirits.  They cannot yet be resurrected because they are filthy.  And if they were resurrected now they would have to be cast off with the devil and his angels for eternity.  So in his mercy the Lord judges them and gives them a chance to go pay for their sins.  And this is what the scriptures mean when they say “being thrust down to hell.”

These people are judged at this time, are thrust down to hell, and suffer for their sins because they would not accept the atonement of Christ through repentance and baptism.  Well, through repentance.  We don’t know what the requirements are for the terrestrial kingdom.  But these get the chance to go to hell and make their payment.  And at the end of the millennium, having made their payment, they will be privileged to come forth in the second resurrection and receive the glory of the telestial kingdom.  The telestial kingdom is not hell.  But they must go through hell to get to the telestial kingdom.  These are the rest of the dead and they live not again until the thousand years are ended.  Neither till the end of the earth.  They come back again to the presence of the Savior at the end of the millennium to be judged in the final judgment.  This judgment on the first judgment of the millennium is only a temporary judgment or an assignment for them to pay their penalties so that they can receive a better final judgment.

102.  And another trump shall sound, which is the fourth trump, saying: There are found among those who are to remain until that great and last day, even the end, who shall remain filthy still.

Some of these, even though they go away to suffer, are not profited by their suffering.  These are the sons of perdition.  And they shall remain filthy still and at the end of the millennium they shall be cast into outer darkness which is the second death.  Then we go on with the rest of the events of the day.

103.  And another trump shall sound, which is the fifth trump, which is the fifth angel (this is the same angel who had the everlasting gospel to preach to all nations, kindreds, tongues, and people, and he will say at this time) who committeth the everlasting gospel–flying through the midst of heaven, unto all nations, kindreds, tongues, and people.

104.  And this shall be the sound of his trump, saying to all people, both in heaven and in earth, and that are under the earth–for every ear shall hear it, and every knee shall bow, and every tongue shall confess, while they hear the sound of the trump, saying: Fear God, and give glory to him who sitteth upon the throne forever and ever; for the hour of his judgment is come.

Now it said back there they were to be judged.  Now the time of judgment comes.  Every person who is resurrected, of course, receives his judgment on that day.  Because we are resurrected to the specific glory that is ours for the rest of eternity.  If we go to the celestial kingdom, we get a celestial body.  If we go to the terrestrial kingdom, we get a terrestrial body.  And so forth.

105.  And again, another angel shall sound his trump, which is the sixth angel, saying:  She is fallen who made all nations drink of the wine of the wrath of her fornication; she is fallen, is fallen!

Who’s this?  The great and abominable church.  If you’ll notice, the affairs of the great and abominable church are intimately connected with the gathering of Israel, the events of the last days, with the day of the second coming.  It’s something that we ought to pay very particular attention to because it’s important.

106.  And again, another angel shall sound his trump, which is the seventh angel, saying: It is finished; it is finished!  The Lamb of God hath overcome and trodden the wine-press alone, even the wine-press of the fierceness of the wrath of Almighty God.

107.  And then shall the angels be crowned with the glory of his might, and the saints shall be filled with his glory, and receive their inheritance and be made equal with him.

The blessings of eternity shall be bestowed upon those who have endured to the end in righteousness.  They shall be made equal with Jesus Christ.

108.  And then shall the first angel again sound his trump in the ears of all living, and reveal the secret acts of men, and the mighty works of God in the first thousand years.

After the righteous receive their blessings then everybody else receives their judgment.  And how does it take place?  Well, two things are told to everybody.  This is made a public thing.  All the secret acts of men are made public and also the works of God in striving to bring these people to repentance.  So that everyone will know that the judgments of God are just.  And the judgments of God will be passed upon these people.

109.  And then shall the second angel sound his trump, and reveal the secret acts of men, and the thoughts and intents of their hearts, and the mighty works of God in the second thousand years. 110.  And so on, until the seventh angel shall sound his trump; and he shall stand forth upon the land and upon the sea, and swear in the name of him who sitteth upon the throne that there shall be time no longer;

No more watches.  No more clocks.  Is that what it means?  No more time?  No.  The time of the world is over.  Satan’s time is gone.  Wickedness is past.  The time for repentance is past. There will still be time after the manner of clocks, but not after the manner of the ability to do evil.  Time shall be no longer   …and Satan shall be bound, that old serpent, who is called the devil, and shall not be loosed for the space of a thousand years.

Then he shall be loosed and so forth.  Well, this pretty well completes the chronicle of the events of the day of the second coming.

Well, why did I go through all this?  I hoped to contrast that with the pessimistic picture of the intervening time.  This is a wonderful thing to look forward to.  So let’s contrast.  If we are depressed because of the events intervening, let’s also be joyed because of the wonderful blessings of the day of the second coming.  Well, now let’s turn to what we can do about these situations and prepare.

First of all, political.  We have received instructions as to what to do politically.  I would like to read them to you.  Let me read you the words of President McKay in the October conference 1962.  He has said these same sorts of things many times.  He talks about international communism and its attempt to destroy us and our freedoms.  He contrasts with this the gospel of Jesus Christ and its program.  And the two have nothing in common.  If you find something that has something in common with communism–and I hope I’m not speaking in too veiled a manner–you find something that is opposed to the gospel of Jesus Christ.  Because the two are antithetical.  Jesus always sought the welfare of the individual.  And individuals grouped and laboring for the mutual welfare of the whole in conformity with the principles of the gospel, constitute the kingdom of God.  It isn’t the welfare of the individual that is sought by communism or its allies.  It’s the welfare theoretically of the state actually of the group who rule the state.  Is this not so?  Does Castro live like his people?  No, no he doesn’t live like the proletariat.  He proclaims to champion the proletariat, but isn’t it interesting how these great champions of the proletariat never live like them?  They’re always content to live in luxury while their people are the ones that suffer.  He goes on to say: “Force and compulsion will never establish the ideal society.”  Should this affect your politics?  This can come only by a transformation within the individual.  By no external force or power.

Only through a life redeemed from sin and brought in harmony with the divine will.  Instead of selfishness, men must be willing to dedicate their ability, their possessions, their lives if necessary, their fortunes and their sacred honor to the alleviation of the ills of mankind.  Hate must be supplanted by sympathy and forbearance.  Peace and true prosperity can come only by conforming our lives to the law of love.  The law of the principles of the gospel of Jesus Christ.

A mere appreciation of the social ethics of Jesus is not sufficient.  I hope you recognize what this means.  There are many within the church who want to teach only the social ethics of Jesus.  But the transformation of men’s hearts does not come by social ethics.  It comes by the power of the priesthood and the gift of the holy ghost.  That’s the only way it can come.  As men are willing to accept that power within into their lives.  Then they can be transformed.  But not by any law, not by any idea, not by any social ethic.

In these days of uncertainty and unrest, liberty-loving people’s greatest responsibility and paramount duty is to preserve and proclaim the freedom of the individual, his relationship to deity, and the necessity of obedience to the principles of the gospel of Jesus Christ.  Only thus will mankind find peace and happiness.

We find ourselves now immersed in a great political campaign in America for the purpose of selecting candidates for office in local, state, and national positions.  We urge you as citizens to participate in this great democratic process in accordance with your honest political convictions.  However, above all else, strive to support good and conscientious candidates of either party who  are aware of the great dangers inherent in communism and who are truly dedicated to the constitution in the tradition of our founding fathers.

That’s pretty explicit isn’t it?  If you know what the tradition of our founding fathers was, it isn’t what the constitution is being interpreted as today.

They should also pledge their sincere fealty to our way of liberty.  A liberty which aims at the preservation both of personal and property rights.  Study the issues, analyze the candidates on these grounds, and then exercise your franchise as free men and women.  Never be found guilty of exchanging your birthright for a mess of pottage.

Well that’s pretty plain, isn’t it?  Should we be in doubt as to what we ought to do politically?  The people cry for leadership and guidance.  But when the leader speaks, do the people follow?  Not always.  I’d be willing to wager with you (although I’m not a betting man).  Go to any sizable group in the church and see if they know what President McKay has said about what people ought to do politically.  I would wager that you can’t find 5% that know of these words.  Try it.  I’ve tried it many, many times.  People don’t know what President McKay says.  They don’t pay any attention to it.  This is one of our biggest problems.  We do not listen to our prophets.  He said things very explicit.  Why don’t people hear this?  A lot of them don’t want to hear it in the first place.  That binds you if you listen to what he says there.  You can’t just vote any old way, you’ve got to vote a certain way.  You’ve got to vote the way the Lord tells you to in accordance with certain guidelines.  And that’s more particular than a lot of people want to be.

Well, what can we do in the church?  It’s not our purpose to fight the great and abominable church.  The thing we must do is to build up the Church of Jesus Christ.  To establish Zion.  What is Zion?  Zion is a people who are pure in heart.  A people who live together in love and in righteousness.  And then ought to consume a good share of our effort.  It doesn’t matter what program we’re engaged in in the church, the end result is supposed to be love and kindness, good feeling with one another, working together as redeemed servants of Jesus Christ for the upbuilding of his kingdom.  If we’re accomplishing anything else, we’ve missed the point.  The only way we can stand the onslaught of the great and abominable church is to have power because it has power.  And the only power that’s sufficient is the power of the priesthood.  And only when we get the power of the priesthood so that we can command the elements, so that we can command disease, can we withstand the pressure that is going to be put upon us in these last days.  The Lord will not leave righteous people helpless.  Sometimes it’s true, they have to suffer and die as witnesses.  But not the body.  This is only the few that have to suffer and die as witnesses.

The group of his people are going to be preserved and preserved in proportion to their righteousness.  But we can have power only as we honor the power and the source of that power.  We have great missionary work to do.  We ought to be anxiously engaged in spreading the word of the gospel.  Every member a missionary.  How?  By example.  What did President McKay say to do last conference?  He said: Every one of you go out and radiate the gospel of Jesus Christ.  Make sure that everybody in your environment feels the power of the goodness of the gospel.  And they see that this is something that does transform the lives of people.  People don’t just join the church and go to a lot of meetings.  They get changed.  They become righteous.  They become nice to be around.  They get rid of their bad habits.  That’s what we’re supposed to be doing, isn’t it?

And genealogy and temple work.  This is a day of peace.  There is no better time to do our genealogy  work than right now.  When the overflowing scourge comes, are we going to be able to go to Salt Lake City and work in the library?  Of course not.  If we know what’s going on, we’ll get busy right now.  This is the most fruitful time we’re going to have.  We don’t know how long it’s going to continue.  But we must work on it.

What can we do socially?  The Lord has set his people to be a light unto all men.  To encourage all men everywhere to be righteous.  We’re not just supposed to say, “Well, we’ll work with the members of the church.  We have a responsibility to encourage all men of whatever religious belief to live up to the principles they believe in.  And we can help them.  We can stimulate it.  Lots of people get into politics and become evil men because nobody will support them.  The only way they can operate is to make deals with the opposition.  Good men won’t come to their aid.  And we crucify a lot of good men by this process.  Well, do we have any political integrity ourselves?  Enough to support good men in doing good things?  Or do we insist that we get the pork barrel while they economize with everybody else?  Well, we have to be very honest with ourselves.  If we build the kingdom of God, we’re going to build principles of righteousness.  We’re going to preserve the constitution of the United States.  Let me read you just a few words from President J. Rueben Clark.

“I am an American because I believe in a government of laws and not of men.  And in a national allegiance to high principle and lofty ideal instead of to a personal sovereign.  (I hope you recognize that what he believes in is being done away with.)  I am an American because I believe in a government with three distinct separate branches, each mutually independent of the other, with no power of delegation or appropriation of rights or powers by any one of them or from any other.  I am an American because I believe that government must derive its just powers from the consent of the governed.  And branches of government and officers shall have such powers such as shall be given them by the people.”

I didn’t mean to get back to politics.  But are you aware that it doesn’t matter too much anymore what Congress passes as a law.  What runs the country is executive order and not law.

Very specific laws were created governing what should be done in relation to Cuba.  By executive order, the government ignored every one of those laws passed by the people of the United States.  Who runs the country?  The executive branch.  Not the legislative branch.  And it does what it wants to do and not what the people want it to do.  In fact, it deliberately withholds from the people the opportunity of knowing what’s going on and deliberately falsifies the record to promote its ends.  We better watch out.

I’m an American because I believe in the greatest possible measure of self-government.  Some people say the less government the better.  That’s an awful fallacy.  You have to have government.  If people will not govern themselves, they must be governed to avoid chaos.  But I think he states it correctly here.  I believe in the greatest possible measure of self-government because I believe in a federal system of government which keeps local affairs in the hands of governments.  I am an American because I believe in a Bill of Rights which places wholly beyond the reach of lawful government certain matters affecting life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.  Specifically the right of freedom of conscience and worship, the right of free speech and of free press.  The right peaceably to assemble and petition government.  The right to gain and hold property without molestation except by due process of law.  And he goes on with a lot of other things.  I commend to you as a good book, Stand Fast by the Constitution.  If you haven’t read it, I think it ought to be a first order of business.  Well, socially we’ve got to rise above the ways of the world by building the kingdom of God by establishing Zion.

Economically, the pattern is given by the Savior in section 78 of the Doctrine and Covenants.  It’s his will that his church not go down when governments fall.  That it not be trapped by the activities of the great and abominable church or the organization that takes over that church and restricts and restrains commerce.  The goal of the Lord is to help us to enter into another order of righteousness called the order of Enoch or the law of consecration.  Which is basically not a material, but a spiritual covenant.  He says in verse 11:

11.  Wherefore, a commandment I give unto you, to prepare and organize yourselves by a bond or everlasting covenant that cannot be broken.

13.  Behold, this is the preparation wherewith I prepare you, and the foundation, and the ensample which I give unto you, whereby you may accomplish the commandments which are given you.

14.  That through my providence, notwithstanding the tribulation which shall descend upon you, that the church may stand independent above all other creatures beneath the celestial world.

It’s impossible to become independent.  But we do want to be independent of the world and dependent only upon the Lord.  This is the economic program of the church.  The beginnings of it are the welfare program, our tithing, our fast offering, our building fund.  But we’ve got to be awfully astute because this again is mixed up with politics.  The political powers that be aren’t going to be very happy when we start to get independent economically.  Why?  Because then they can’t control us.  And they will want to control us.  So they’re going to turn the screws economically and we’re going to have to watch out.  Why do the Brethren say to get out of debt?  Because the easiest way for someone to control you is to get you good and far in debt and then through some circumstance fix it so you can’t pay your debts which is possible, isn’t it?  Do you know how they did it to the Mormons in Nevada in 1856?  They didn’t like the Mormons.  They  were prospering down in the Moapa Valley so they turned the screws on them by demanding that they pay all their taxes in gold pieces.  They didn’t have any gold so they had to leave.  They came in and possessed theirs lands and took everything away from them.  Well, that’s crafty isn’t it?  It pays for us to be intelligent too.  But intelligent sufficient that we do not cause ourselves and our posterity to suffer.  It pays for us to become economically strong and independent so that our enemies do not have power over us.  Are you aware the Brethren have counseled us there is only one good reason for going into personal debt?  What is it?  To buy a home.  I think that if we keep that counsel we are going to be better off as a people.  And they tell us to get out of debt as fast as we can.  Financial bondage leads to spiritual bondage if we aren’t careful.  So we need to watch out.  There’s a very real area for us to work on.

What’s another aspect of this independence?  Do you have a year’s supply?  This has been the standing order of the church for how many years?  At least 28 that I know about.  You know what Brigham Young used to tell the people?  What was the standing order in Brigham Young’s day?  Four or five years supply.  You see, we’ve backed up now.  What do the Brethren plead with us to do today?  1 year.  But how many of us have done it?  Do you think you could find 10% of the people of this church who could sustain themselves for a year if everything were cut  off?  No.  Do you think you can find 10% of the people of this church who are faithful to the Lord Jesus Christ.  No.  This is one of the tokens, isn’t it?  If a person really believes in Jesus Christ and the servant of Jesus Christ says, “get a year’s supply of food and clothing,” don’t you think that person would do it?  Wouldn’t he not buy a new car this year and get that year’s supply in.  Why sure he would.  But nobody does it to speak of.  Why?  Because we don’t believe in Jesus Christ, frankly.  Oh, yes, we believe that he exists, don’t mistake me.  We believe that he is up in the heavens somewhere and he’s a very nice person.  But we don’t believe that he is the sole source of our salvation.  We don’t believe that we have to do everything he says.  And this is what we come to in this last item.

The only salvation for men is to put their trust in the Lord Jesus Christ and to do as he says.  Remember the parable of the tree of life in the Book of Mormon.  The mists of darkness grow thick, and the thicker they get, the more imperative it is to recognize what is going on in the total picture.  All these events that I’ve talked about are the mists of darkness.  The only latter-day saints who are going to survive these mists and not fall off into that filthy water.  What was that filthy water that was going alongside that straight and narrow path?  It was a representation of the depths of hell.  And in the mists of darkness, if you don’t hang on to the iron rod, where do you wander?  You wander off and plop into the filthy water.  The only hope we have to endure these last days and not become subject to Satan, I believe, is to become subject to Jesus Christ.  To become independent of every creature beneath the celestial world.  The church is a celestial organization.  It is that organization designed and implemented by the Lord Jesus Christ to save every soul that wants to be saved from the world.  But if we love the world, of course we don’t want to be saved from it.

But this is the test.  Do we love the material advantages the world has to offer or do we love righteousness more?  That’s essentially the choice that we’re making in these last days.  The world chooses material advantage.  Welfare.  Those who are righteous chose suffering in a sense but righteousness.  They chose to do good for the fellow man and they are willing to suffer materially.  They’re willing to be poor if necessary to promote righteousness.  They’re willing to  sacrifice for their principles.  They’re willing to go out and buy their year’s supply.  Now, mind you, I’m not talking to students.  It’s not necessary for a student, I would believe, to have a year supply.  But I think every head of a household ought to have it.  Everybody who is responsible for feeding other people ought to have it.  Wouldn’t that be a good thing?  How can we account ourselves as just and wise stewards before the Lord if we have not provided for those that are dependent upon us.  If we leave them subject to the mercies of evil people in our society.  That isn’t very good stewardship is it?

Well, this is where personal righteousness comes in.  The Lord tells us, “Be ye clean that bear the vessels of the Lord.”  Let’s make sure that we have clean hands and a pure heart.  I would hope brothers and sisters that we can do as we are commanded to do in the Doctrine and Covenants.  Let’s read a few verses here from section 88.  The Lord gives us very specific instructions as to how to prepare for these last days:

123.  See that ye love one another; cease to be covetous; learn to impart one to another as the gospel requires.

124.  Cease to be idle; cease to be unclean; cease to find fault one with another; cease to sleep longer than is needful; retire to thy bed early, that ye may not be weary; arise early, that your bodies and your minds may be invigorated.

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

126.  Pray always, that ye may not faint, until I come.  Behold, and lo, I will come quickly, and receive you unto myself.  Amen.

Brothers and sisters, it is my hope and prayer that we can rally together and serve the Lord Jesus Christ.  We have a long way to go and the obstacles are formidable.  Its my testimony that the Lord  is equal to every obstacle that you and I face and that you and I, under the direction of the Lord, can meet and successfully overcome the challenges of these last days.  We can separate ourselves from the world and from worldliness.  We can be ready for the Savior in his second coming.  I think one way to say how to be ready for the second coming is this:

The only way to prepare for the second coming is to accept the first coming.  To accept the fact that Jesus Christ came and lived a perfect life.  That he wrought an atonement for all men.  He descended below all things and now has risen above all things and will come to judge all things.  I pray that we will study the life of our Savior and his teachings and his commandments.  That we might accept his first coming and that we will obey the voice of his servants that we might be prepared for his second coming.  I say this in the name of Jesus Christ.  Amen.

Posted in Priestcraft, Restored Gospel, The 2nd Coming | Tagged , , , | 2 Comments

Ethics

Chauncey C. Riddle

There is a rational back bone, that is to say there is a rule. The weakness of the moral sense philosophy is that just about anything can come out of it. Historically speaking much good came out the moral sense philosophy but also a good deal of evil. Because people would claim things for their conscience which were not true, either they were lying or they were mistaken. And there’s a real weakness in following conscience in that respect.

So Kant was trying to remedy that weakness by putting in a rational rule that people would follow that would keep them more in the path of good common sense than conscience seemed to be doing. The weakness in Kant’s system? Kant down-played the moral sense so much that it went into oblivion. He over-played the role that reason could play by hooking it to duty it became cast into things such as Hitler using it to get the Beirmauchen to be very obedient, which it was. Kant, I think he was a man of goodwill basically. But when you try to substitute things for the will of God you’ve got into trouble, that was his trouble. He may have done the best he could, I don’t know. But it’s plain, you see you need something more than that.

Let’s talk about utilitarianism. What is utilitarianism? The greatest pleasure to the greatest number of people is the goal of utilitarianism. So what is the good in utilitarianism? Pleasure. What kind of pleasure? What does utility mean? Usefulness. Usefulness for what? But what is the good? Utility is the principle or the means to get good but what is the good? Pleasure. What kind of pleasure? Sheer physical pleasure. This is a collective Scerinaicism. So the statesman has the job of figuring out what will bring the greatest pleasure to the greatest number of people. As a matter of fact that’s what most politicians try to do. They try to please the greatest number of their constituents they can so they can get re-elected. So we have some great national disasters in the making out of our selfishness.

(comment)

From my reading it seems the goal of utilitarianism is for well-being not pleasure. You see well-being is a perfectly ambiguous term, it only means what you make it mean. And what utilitarian mean by that is the greatest pleasure. Well-being is simply pleasure. And isn’t that what the average American seems to want. What’s the great ideal for most Americans? A cruise in the Caribbean, with all kinds of Epicurean delights at the table and warm weather and sunshine and swimming. Not to mention other kinds of physical pleasures. What is the great weakness of this system? Human reason failed at this point. There is no way to determine what’s the greatest pleasure to the greatest number.

Even if pleasure is the good there’s no human epistemology that enables one to deliver the answer to that question. Why? What would you have to know to deliver the greatest amount of pleasure to the greatest number of people? You would have to know virtually everything. You would have to know all the possibilities for action and how much pleasure each of those possibilities would bring to one individual. What else would you have to know? You’d have to be able to sum up all possibilities and calculate what would be the greatest good for the greatest number. Obviously it’s impossible. Isn’t it obviously impossible? So when men think they’re doing that, what are they doing? They’re arrogating to themselves what? They’re arrogating to themselves godhood. They’re pretending they are God and that they can do what no mortal can do. That is sheer pride, you see. That’s what the Lord says is the great barrier, the great sin that keeps more people from their blessings than any other thing, it’s simply that, pride. When men think they are wise of themselves.

What are the strengths of utilitarianism? All these are attempts to make an ethical system.. The strength to utilitarianism that none of the other systems has, yes some of the others do, most of the other don’t. It has a social concern. It recognizes that the group is important. And that is important. And there are many sensitive people in the world who recognize that philosophies that only take care of the individual have something lacking. There has to be a social concern. Human beings are no individuals, that is to say I am not just me. Myself, me, doesn’t end at the surface of my body.

We live in a world that has fostered individualism for so long that the idea of individualism has run amuck. And again, a perfect example of that is the idea of abortion. That a woman need have no feeling of responsibility for her child at all.

In the gospel frame what is the circle of a social concern that we must have? Are you aware? When you repent do you repent of only your own sins? No. If you wish to be celestial your circle has to be wider than that. How wide? Many of you may never of heard this. This is one point of the gospel that’s almost never talked about. I don’t know why. We are responsible for repenting for the sins of our ancestors back to the fourth generation.

Now, what does that mean? The sin carries down. We all know the statement, that the sins of the fathers are visited upon the children unto the third and fourth generations. That’s the negative of this positive thing. When we repent for them we have to repent for those sins. Because we are the heirs for those sins. Let’s make a graphic illustration, supposing that my great grandfather stole some money. He stole one thousand dollars. And he passed on the money to his children. They invested the money and it grew and it was passed on to their children and finally it comes down to me. And I’m the beneficiary of the thousand dollars. Now, that’s tainted money.

What have I got to do? If I wish to be a celestial being, what do I have to do? Repent of that by changing the course that it has taken. Now the repentance needs to go two directions. What two directions does it need to go? It has to begin with me so that I don’t

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The Creation of the Earth and the Probation of Man

Chauncey C. Riddle

We will talk about the creation of the earth and of the world as a setting for the probation of man. This earth was set up as the perfect place for man’s probation. Into this setting, now comes the gospel of Jesus Christ with its message of hope, life, and salvation. The Gospel of Jesus Christ is the good news of life. Life being the greatest kind of living.

There are three kinds of life Father is trying to give us: He is trying to give us a certain duration and quality of physical life. He is trying to give us life in connection with righteousness. He is trying to give us life in connection with posterity. Now, any person who has all three of those who has a celestial, immortal body, who has become righteous and has the right and the opportunity to have posterity eternally. He has the fullness of eternal life or it’s called eternal lives. So, that’s what the Father is trying to give us through the gospel. He’s trying to give us salvation.

The Prophet Joseph said that salvation was to be put beyond the power of our enemies. Who is our enemy? My understanding is that Satan is not our enemy, he’s not our friend either. He’s just there to do his job. My understanding is that our enemy is ourselves. And that what we need to do is to get rid of our selfishness. And if we can ever manage to do that, that is salvation. Because that’s the enemy we need to fear, is our own selfishness. When the Savior came among the Jews, they wanted to be saved but they had a different definition of salvation. Their definition of salvation was to smash the Roman Armies so they could become an independent political kingdom. His definition of salvation was to help them stop being selfish. And that they did not want. They wanted him to smash the Roman Armies and they rejected him as the Messiah because he had the audacity to tell them he was the Messiah and yet would do nothing about the Romans. Well the Savior had the Romans there for a special reason, that was part of the plan. It was his idea but most of the Jews’ nation did not see the idea and therefore missed the opportunity for life and salvation.

The natural man is given this opportunity not because all of them will want it. All of them will want pieces of it. All of them will get immortality for instance but not all will have eternal lives in the full sense.

The gospel itself is a short message. It consists of perhaps ten ideas which can be said in one breath if you have a good lung capacity. The gospel is compatible with all truth, indeed it embraces all truth and light in the universe. But it itself is a very limited short message. It is basically the message a person has to know to be ready worthy meaningfully baptized. So we are gong to review these ten ideas now. We’re not going to give them in the one breath, we’re going to expand on each one a little bit.

First, Jesus Christ is the Son of God the Father. That’s the first thing we have to know. This is the Gospel of Jesus Christ. So the first thing we have to know is who Jesus Christ is. He is the Son of God. And that simply means, he was not a God at first but became a God, thus he is called the Son of God. Having become a God he has inherited all that the Father has. And that’s important because he extends that same opportunity to you and to me. He was Jehovah, the God of the Old Testament who’s name means, “will be.” He is the God who would be, that is to say, who was to come, on the earth. He was the God who would be born of Mary in the land of Jerusalem of the seed of Abraham, of the seed of David. But also he is literally the only begotten Son of God the Father in the flesh. He has this divine heritage and the natural mortal heritage. He had blood in his veins but he had sufficient of the divine heritage he could have lived for ever, not needing to die. And because he was the son of God and had the presence of his Father with him at all times and was perfectly obedient to his Father, he did not sin.

He came into the world to do his Father’s will and to do nothing but his Father’s will. He did this completely and perfectly. His Father’s will was, that he should first lead this sinless life and then give up this perfect and potentially unending mortal life that he might ransom the souls and bodies of all mankind.

Second, the Father’s will was that he be lifted up upon the cross, that is to say the main reason the Savior came to the earth was to atone for our sins. He didn’t apparently do anything else that was, for instance somebody else could have set up a church and taught the gospel. That wasn’t essential to his mission though he did those things. What was essential was that he do the two things; that he live a sinless life so that he could atone for our sins and then atone for our sins.

The cross is the symbolic symbol of his working out the atonement. So having lived this sinless life because of his divine heritage he was able to personally, voluntarily take upon himself and suffer the debt of justice due for each and every sin that had been committed or would be committed by any human being on this earth. Again this is something that boggles the mind because this necessities that every sin (The Father is so omniscient that every sin that had been committed was carefully cataloged) every sin that was being committed was carefully cataloged, every sin that would be committed was carefully cataloged already when the Savior wrought his atonement.

So there was something known about your life and my life, every lie that we ever tell was already known back when the Savior did his atonement. Does that mean we are free? Well, stop and think about how we are free. The thing that is important to us is that we must recognize that when we sin, we sin of our own choice. That is to say, after we know the gospel and have the Spirit as our companion. If we then sin deliberately then we are deliberate adding to the Savior’s burden, that is say it was known back then that we would deliberately know we were sinning against him and adding to his atonement. So even that’s known. So we have to be careful that we do not crucify him afresh. Shed his blood again by our own deliberate sins. That’s the thing that is very hard to get forgiveness for. It’s much easier to receive forgiveness for a sin that’s not known, that is to say when we don’t know what we’re doing. Whenever a person does the right thing, there’s a measure of blessing that goes out to everybody whom he effects.

Happy, smiling, full of the Spirit, he affects everybody that passes by. This is fun to watch in New York City where the contrast is so obvious. You walk down the street and here comes somebody who is a saint. It’s as there was a light extending out about eight or ten feet and it’s so special to see that. To see the missionaries standing on a street corner and sometimes that light will be around them. It’s so special, so precious in that situation. Well, that’s the nature of our lives, we were sent into the earth to radiate a certain amount of blessing and happiness and good to others. Now anything short of that possible radiation happens because we disobey God. That shortness is the measure of our sin. So if we either shorten that blessing or replace it with evil, that is to say we spread an evil influence. That’s the measure of the sin of our lives. And the debt of justice is, somebody has to make up for all of that.

God put everybody on earth intending, that is to say, when things are right everybody is radiating this good. So everybody is getting so much radiation of good from others that their life is completely happy. Now, if we were to live in Zion we would see that kind of situation. Everybody would be so happy and so blessed, there would be no sickness, no depression, no schizophrenia, no problems. Everybody would be so busy doing what they’re supposed to do to serve the Father that everybody would be in a constant state of joy. I said it wasn’t a state. Everybody would have joy and be in a constant state of happiness. And that is the heritage of all human beings to live in that kind of a state.

Whenever any human being defies the commandments of God he shortens someone else in receiving that happiness. That is sin. And justice is, that person has to account for having shorted his fellow beings. I hope that makes sense. So, whenever we sin we cause others to suffer. And the measure of our lives is the amount of suffering we have caused. And we have to account for all the suffering. It is expected that as children of God with this wonderful heritage we would not cause suffering. But when we deliberately go against God and cause suffering then we have to pay for it. We have been set free but to be free also means that we must also be accountable. Now, what did the Savior do? He came into the earth and took the sum total of all this suffering that ever had been caused, that was being caused, that ever would be caused on the earth and suffered for all that pain in one twenty-four hour period.

Now you and I can’t imagine how much suffering we’ve caused with our own lives. We can think back a little bit about how others have caused us to suffer through their sins. And we have some sense then of how we have caused others to suffer. But you sum that up for all human beings over all time, it’s an impossible thing for us to imagine. But it is such a great weight of suffering no human being can even understand it, let alone suffer it.

But the Savior, being a God, could both understand it and suffer it, every last particle. It’s no wonder he asked the Father if it be possible that the cup might pass from him. He was in intense pain. Had he had the privilege of spreading that pain out over a thousand years, that would have been a little easier to bare. But he had to do it all in that one twenty-four hour period. That was his cup. That’s why he was born. For that hour he came into the world and lived a sinless life. So that then he could suffer that suffering. Why did he suffer that suffering? So that then he could forgive us. Because you and I if we’re not forgiven can never go back to the Father. The Father being a perfect being cannot look upon sin with the least degree of allowance. So anybody who has sinned and has not made up for it can’t ever be in his presence again. And you and I can’t make up for our sins. Because there is another part to sinning besides the suffering.

The suffering has to be paid for but then the recompense has to be paid back to the person we sinned against. So that their life is as though we had never sinned against them. How do you go back and make all the reparations? Our sins go on through time, think how much suffering and evil it brings into the world with those acts. We’re responsible for this and until those wrongs are set right and suffered for and all the wrong that was set in motion by that is set right, the thing is not whole.

Now the Savior’s mission is to make that whole thing whole. So he has to atone for the sins of and then set everything right. He has to restore everybody to that happiness that they would have had if nobody sinned against them. Which of course only a God can do. You and I can’t do that, that is to say, we can try to make recompense for our sins but we really can’t begin. We just begin, we can’t really do it. Without the Savior it would be hopeless for us to account for our sins. So we need that atonement, we desperately need his help. We should be so grateful to him for the fact that he was willing to come and suffer and not only that but make up for all the sins that we committed. Make it up to the people we hurt.

Thirdly. He allows us to be taken out of hell, out of the power of Satan when we die.

Fourthly. He enables us to be resurrected. Now accomplishing those four things is a mighty work. That’s the work of the Savior’s atonement. So he performed his work perfectly so that everyone of us can have blessings that are possible. This is why it is the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Because he is the one who is the way. He provided the opening of the door that makes it possible to get back to the Father. The door is himself, his suffering and we must go through him to get back to the Father.

Fifthly. It is our Gather’s will that after the Savior had paid the debt and made salvation possible for every human being that every human being be required to stand before the Savior to account for the opportunity that each has to repent of his sins. So the judgment comes.

There is a way for each human being to prepare for the judgment:

  1. To put one’s faith, one’s trust in Jesus Christ. We have to yield ourselves to him as the Savior to be saved. Salvation comes through him and through him only. All our needs for light and truth or light and salvation are met through him.
  2. Repentance under the direction of the Holy Spirit. That is to say through faith in Jesus Christ. Each of us must undertake to go through our heart, our mind, our strength, and our might and set in order all these things according to the truth and light which the Savior sends to us.
  3. Enter the covenant
  4. Receive the Holy Ghost
  5. Endure to the end. Life eternal
  6. Promise to match the warning

The gospel of Jesus Christ is simply that program that teaches us how to love God with all our heart, might, mind, and strength. It’s one thing to know that that’s the great commandment, it’s another thing to be able to do it. And the only way to be able to do it is to receive knowledge and power through Jesus Christ.

Posted in Creation, Restored Gospel | Tagged , , | 1 Comment

The Creation and the Gospel

To me the theology of the LDS Church is the most important body of knowledge in the world.  If I were a musician, I would write music about it and perform that music.  If I were a painter, I would paint it.  I’m neither of those, I’m a philosopher so I have to talk about it.  Talking about it is a special privilege.  This is not supposed to be anything new.  It’s like hearing Beethoven’s Fifth over again or something.  But hopefully through sharing ideas we can accomplish something good.  Now I’m going to talk for approximately fifty minutes, then there will be a few minutes for questions.

The subject for today is first of all the creation, then the gospel.  One further word of introduction:  What I’m thinking is my personal picture.  My hope and intent is, that it is not incorrect. But necessarily it will reflect my personality, my understanding, my knowledge.  If it doesn’t square exactly with yours, I hope you will forgive me.  The process we’re all engaged in is that we will all come to a unity of faith.  I’m over here, you’re over there. But if we will all move toward the center we will meet some day and see eye to eye on all these matters.  And it is such an occasion as this that might perhaps help us come a little closer together. So, let’s begin.

The universe is made of intelligences.  I understand that intelligences are material and all matter is intelligences.  Some material and intelligences are finer, some courser.  Creation was the process of organization, or, in other words, reorganization of these intelligences.  Apparently the word create does not mean to make out of nothing.  It means to change the form of, to organize.  Some intelligences are organized to act, others are organized to be acted upon.  The fundamental choice for action is whether to act righteously or selfishly.  Righteousness is to so act that one promotes as much as possible the happiness of all beings one affects by ones actions.  Now let’s try that again because that’s fundamental.  Righteousness, as I understand it, is to act in such a way that you benefit everybody you effect as much as possible by what ever you do.  Now that’s a tall order to do that.

Righteousness it seems to me, is the alternative to selfishness.  Selfishness is to choose to act to promote our own personal welfare without regard to the concerns of others.  In righteousness each intelligence seeks the interest of his neighbor.  And this is the only possible basis for living together in harmony eternally.  My guess is that righteousness is a principle that’s built into the very structure of existence.  It is not something that’s arbitrary at all.  It’s the way things have to be to be harmonious when you deal with people who are your equals and you live with them eternally.  It seems to me the only basis that will make eternal harmony and happiness possible is this principle of each person having his neighbor’s interest instead of his own.  Righteousness I take is the pivotal concept of all correct theology.  It is the independent variable of the whole system, in a way.  Everything depends on and relates to this concept of righteousness.  God is a god of righteousness, that’s why he is God.  Righteousness does not come from him, he is God because he himself yields to and obeys the necessities of righteousness.  So the fullness and perfection of righteousness is God.  And that fullness and perfection is found only in God.

As is there but one righteousness so there is but one God.  That one God (capital G) is made up of many intelligences who have obtained pure righteousness.  They too are gods (small g.)  So there’s no contradiction as far as I can see in saying that we have three gods in our Godhead; the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost.  And they are one God.  They are one in the sense that they are absolutely united.  They are united in the priesthood structure that so unites them that they act as if they were a single entity.  They act perfectly, unerringly for the welfare and happiness of all individuals, that is to say they act in righteousness.  My understanding is that righteousness is the source of God’s power because God is a God of righteousness.  Most of the intelligences are delighted to associate with God and to serve him, to obey him, and to keep his commandments.  That’s not true of everything however.  So, the universe consists then of three things as I understand it:  The universe consists of God, the kingdoms of God (which are many. We know of a Celestial Kingdom, and a Terrestrial Kingdom, and a Telestial Kingdom, and a kingdom without glory or any light.)  And then there are those who resist God.  Those three things, as I understand it exhaust the universe.  “There are Gods many and Lords many,” as Paul said.  But to us there are three that are especially important; our Heavenly Father, his son Jesus Christ, and the Holy Ghost.  These three are one God, infinite and eternal.  They are perfectly righteous, that is to say they never act selfishly.  Because they are omniscient they know how to be righteous. Because they are omnipotent and have all power to do all things that can be done they can act righteously.  So our God is sufficient to righteousness.  Righteousness, I take it, is the most difficult thing to achieve in the universe.  It is the supreme achievement.  It is the order of the universe that makes dwelling in the universe a happy thing to do.  We should be very grateful for the goodness of our God for his perfection and for the power, knowledge, and righteousness of our God.

Now the key to theology, according to Parley P. Pratt, and I think this is profound insight, is that men are the children of the Gods.  Literally, of the race, of the seed, physically begotten of the Gods.  Literally the same flesh and bone.  And thus are heirs to Godliness.  The heirs of Godliness, of course means, heirs to righteousness.  Each human being is invited by the gospel of Jesus Christ to become a god, with a small g.  To become part of God, with a capital G.  To join in the eternal work of God, eternally.  The Savior prayed his disciples might become one with him, even as he was one with the Father.  That also meant all that they would bring would become one with them.  This is the grand design.  The design is that every soul born on this earth should have the invitation to claim their rightful heritage.  Which is, to grow up in righteousness unto the fullness of it.  But since righteousness is a thing that is done by will power.  That is to say, cannot be done by any creature which apparently is acted upon.  Righteousness is a thing which can be achieved only by intelligences which are organized to act.  Therefore man had to be set free.  Otherwise he could not have obtained righteousness.

This earth was recently created.  That is to say, reorganized to be the habitation of Adam and Eve.  The creation was personally supervised by the Father.  Our Savior was and is the executor of this creation.  The creation, as I understand it, is still going on actually and will continue into the future.  The spiritual creation was finished before the physical creation began.  But the physical creation has gone on since that time.  Apparently the spiritual creation may have started as recently as fifteen thousand years ago,  was completed in seven days, and the physical creation has been going on. We don’t know exactly how long. But we know there have been about six thousand years of the earth’s continuation or existence since the fall.  The gap in our knowledge is how long before the beginning of creation, of the creation of the earth for Adam’s habitation and the time of the fall.  It could have been a long long time, but we don’t know what the time period is, at least I don’t have the answer to what that might be.

The important thing about the creation of this earth (there are two things that are important.)  First, that all things physical have there counterpart to that which is spiritual.  Spiritual was created first then the physical follows along and is done in the same form and image as the spiritual.  That is important because it is the spiritual that controls and governs the physical.  The thing that I think is avoided in this whole process of understanding creation is the superstition that the world has fallen into to suppose that this creation was natural.  That is to say, that somehow it proceeded by itself, by chance.  We are told the creation story over and over again.  And I think the purpose of that is that it will finally sink into us that this was not a natural process.  This was a process that was carefully directed by the Father, executed by the Son in very great detail and I suppose in full detail.  They looked at it and saw that it was good.  They created it just the way they want to to fulfill the work of righteousness.  Being perfect creatures then, their creation was perfectly suited for its task.

The fall of Adam marks the creation of the world.  The creation of the earth and the creation of the world are two different things.  The earth is the physical globe on which we live.  A world is an extensive place of existence and action.  This world is the place for the creation of righteousness.  It had to be set up so that it would be maximumly designed to allow the sons and daughter of God to become righteous, or in other words, to become Gods.  To become one with the Father to become one with God.  So the fall of Adam was the process by which the world was created.  This world was also created by the Son under the direction of the Father.

Satan and one third of the hosts of heavenly intelligences chose selfishness over righteousness in the pre-mortal war in heaven.  Because of that they were damned at that point, that is to say their growth in righteousness and in light.  Light being wisdom and truth being knowledge was stopped at that time.  And though they had considerable light and truth and some knowledge of righteousness their growth ceased and they were cast down to this earth.  So when the world was created they were here ready to do their part.  The factors necessary for the creation of the world were:

one, there needed to be Gods present to create and to control and to teach of righteousness.

Two, there needed to be  Satan to provide an intense opposition to God and to righteousness.

Three, there needed to be an earth suitable for the habitation of man.

Four, the children of God needed to be here, innocent and ignorant ready to be proved.  So, Adam and Eve the children of the God’s were placed on earth in the garden of Eden.  Innocent; that is to say, having no sin to their charge and ignorant; having forgotten everything they knew and not knowing good and evil.

They had Celestial bodies, that is to say, they had spirit matter flowing in there veins.  Our Father instructed them to care for the garden but not to eat of the fruit of the knowledge of good and evil, lest they die.  Now that one little bit of commandment was the only real agency they had.  They knew they may partake of the tree of knowledge of good and evil but they knew they should not and they knew the consequence of disobeying.  That was the only particular in which they were really free.  Satan convinced Eve that she would be better off knowing good and evil than obeying Father.  And Eve convinced Adam also to disobey and as promised, they died spiritually that very day.  But they did become as the Gods, knowing good and evil.  Speaking of Eve convincing Adam that knowing good and evil rather that obeying father, I ponder about that one because she was right.  It’s a good thing she did it but how do we justify that?  I guess we can’t.  Well, what we know is this, our Father set up this situation so that Adam and Eve would fall.  I think he had the thing tilted so much that they couldn’t help themselves, they had to fall.  But my understanding is that he wanted them to fall of their own free will.  Had he thrust them out of his presence and said to them, “All right now you go away so that you can be out of my sight and be proved.”  Then in justice he would of had to have brought them back.  So when they of their own free will and choice go out of his sight and create the conditions of the fall then they of their own free will and choice have to fight their way back.  Now he provided the door by which they could come back.  But had he simply gathered everybody back, it wouldn’t be quit the same thing as I understand it.  So, Eve did a wonderful thing, even though she transgressed the commandment of the Father.  And Adam was smart enough to go along with her.  I’m glad he was that smart.  Well, anyway they did die spiritually and that set in motion all the things that were necessary for the creation of the world.

So, to know good and evil is to have the eyes of one’s understanding opened.  To see then in every choice a person makes there is the opportunity to pursue righteousness on the one hand by obeying God, or to pursue selfishness on the other hand by doing anything other than the will of God.  Now, not everybody’s eyes are opened to the same degree.  Some people only see that choice in some things. The more a person’s eyes are opened, that is to say, the more they understand what goes on.  They come to see that there is a right and a wrong to every action.  And the more they are enlarged to righteousness, through the help of God, eventually they will come to the point where they will be able to discern exactly in every case between righteousness and selfishness and their eyes are fully opened.

Having obeyed Satan rather than God, Adam and Eve became subject to Satan.  Satan was given power over their bodies to cause disease and death.  But only as the Father allowed such, that is to say, he has to go get permission whenever he wants to take somebody’s life.  The story of Job is the pattern for that.  Satan was given power to tempt Adam and his children to entice them away from that righteousness which comes only through obedience to God.

Satan’s temptation to us is to self righteousness.  To suppose that we of ourselves know better than God.  This is a temptation to man because sometimes his own desires and lusts cause him to want to disobey God.  So the real question is, will we obey our own lusts or will we obey the Father?  We are assured in the scriptures that Satan’s only power over us is to confirm us in our own lusts.  That is to say, if we don’t want something evil, there is no way that Satan can tempt us with that.  I’m sure we have all had the experience of being in the presence of great evil and not be tempted by it in the least.  On the other hand, being in the presence of evil and we’re greatly tempted by it.  I’m indebted to Dan Ludlow for one point that I hadn’t picked up on till last year.  And that is, that it is not the body that lusts, it’s the spirit.  And when we lust after something evil, it’s not because our body wants it, our body does not like to over-eat, for instance.  Or to do a number of other things that are wrong.  It’s our spirit that wants that.  And the cure is not in the body, the cure is in the spirit.  The cure is in our hearts which are part of our spirit.  Until we get our hearts straightened out we can’t solve this problem we have, say of over-eating or whatever it is.

I think that is a very important insight to realize that by, for instance age or aging will not cure our problems.  Cause though the body ages, the spirit doesn’t.  And if a young man leads off doing things that are evil when he gets older it’s because he doesn’t want to.  That is to say unless his spirit has changed, he may have stopped doing it because he can’t, but he still wants to, is what I’m trying to say.  And I think that we need to be so careful that we don’t suppose there’s some natural process that leads through aging or something that doesn’t take any will power on our part that gets rid of this selfishness out of us.

My understanding is, that getting rid of the selfishness is something that you and I have to do by taking ourselves in hand and recreating ourselves.  God gives us the power to do it but he cannot do it, he will not do it.  He insists that we take full charge.  He supervises, he instructs, he guides, he gives the power but we’re the ones that have to do it.

This world is then the place designated by God where he would send his children to see if they would love him and his righteousness more than they would love themselves and their own selfish desires.  Each would be given the light of Christ by which to know good and the companionship of evil spirits by which to be enticed to follow selfish desires.  Now we would have selfish desires if it were not for Satan.  What Satan does, is he loads the situation so that it compress the time necessary to have probation.  It probably would take a lot longer if we were just left without Satan to tempt us.  We would still want to be selfish.  But Satan is here to put pressure on the situation so that we can get it over with.  And that’s a blessing.  Especially for those who choose evil, they get it over with.

So, each mortal is given a limited time and space to love and to act to show what he or see really desires.  And the situation in which we are placed is where righteousness is only a hope and appealing and selfishness is an ever-present opportunity.  Now, it seems that it’s almost loaded against righteousness.  Selfishness seems to win most of the time.  But my guess is, is that it’s very much like a class.  Now when a teacher grades a class, you can skew it to make the examinations very very hard.  So that you stretch out the A students and get a variation amongst them.  Or you can make the test very easy and all the A students bunch up at the top and you spread out everyone else.  Well, my guess is that this earth is designed to make it very very difficult.  So that we wouldn’t get that spread at the top.  That is to say, so that it would be very clear who qualifies for exaltation.

I think the key to this world is that this world was not created to create Telestial spirits, (although it produces a lot of them) or Terrestrial spirits.  It was not created to produce people who just barely make it to the Celestial Kingdom.  But it’s set up to be so difficult that you clearly qualify for exaltation (which is the top one third of the Celestial Kingdom) if you make it, now that’s my guess. And I suppose that’s why it’s a great benefit to live on the most evil of all creations that Our Heavenly Father and the Savior have ever created.  Because it’s the most evil situation, we have the most opportunity to show our love for righteousness.  Because there’s no end to the evil we can turn away from and help to overcome in the world.  It’s virtually an unlimited opportunity.

The world ends when God sees the purposes of this mortality are either finished or are being thwarted.  As the world ended in the flood, the purposes were being thwarted.  This world will end twice again.  When the Savior comes again, (the beginning of the millennium) and at the end of the millennium.  This world is essentially the kingdom of Satan on earth.  The kingdom of Satan on earth was created by Adam’s disobedience.  Satan gained power then over man that there might be a world.

The natural man is the fall of man. The ordinary human creature who is without God and Christ in the world.  This person is an enemy to God, meaning that he does not love God.  He may not love God because he has never had the opportunity.  Or he may not do so out of choice.  It’s hard for us to judge. We don’t know who really has had the full opportunity or who hasn’t (although we can sometimes tell and the person themselves know.)  This natural man is sustained in life and thought and deeds continually by the power of God. And the light of Christ witness to him of good and evil, right and wrong.  This natural man sins because he can not help but break the laws of God.  He struggles to survive and make his way in the world by intelligence and brute strength.  Usually he thinks there is no hope for the world as a whole.  So he just tries to get a piece of satisfaction for himself, ere he meets that unwanted fate of death.  Death holds variously imagined terrors for him.  The righteous do not fear death.  The natural man fears death.  The natural man is carnal, in that he recognizes only physical evidence as the basis for knowledge.  He is sensual, in that he principally seeks for pleasure to bring him satisfaction.  He is devilish, in that by either not knowing or by  rejecting God he backs himself in the arms and power of Satan. Even though he may not believe in Satan, he nevertheless is captive to Satan and does Satan’s will.  And unless he’s is very rich his physical life is likely to be brutish and short.  Not a very pleasant situation but nevertheless a good situation.

So, to summarize the conditions of the world:

(1) God is in charge.  He controls and governs all things and witnesses of righteousness to all men.  Men are sufficiently instructed to know the difference between right and wrong and we will be judged on the basis of that knowledge.

(2) Satan is present with power over man as God gives him permission.  He tempts men to do their own thing and to disobey God thereby.  Hoping to enlarge his eternal kingdom of followers.  He pretends to be the God of this world.  He’s not.  But he claims that.

(3) Man has become spiritually dead.  Telestial, mortal he understands good and evil and is subject now to his own will.  He could not be subject to his own will until he clearly understood good and evil.  And the more he understands good and evil in more things, the more he is subject to his own will.  Then if he uses his will to choose righteousness, he grows and grows in the stature of righteousness, until eventually he can obtain the stature of Christ.  If he chooses selfishness he has the privilege of growing in that until he can obtain the stature of Satan.  In a sense become more powerful than Satan, having a body.

(4) The earth itself is fallen and telestial.  A place of opposition and work, but a place of order and beauty.  My conclusion about this whole matter is, that we live in a perfect earth and a perfect world.  I say that because it’s has been designed and created by a perfect being.  There’s no way to improve it.  Now don’t mistake me, it is possible for men to repent and to improve themselves but the situation cannot be improved upon.  It would not be good to remove Satan from this situation.  It would not be good to remove wars and diseases and terrors and all kinds of things from the earth.  Even though you and I are supposed to work against those things.  But if somehow we could reach out and remove all sickness and diseases form the earth, would that be a good thing?  No, if that were a good thing God would do it.  But he doesn’t do it because it’s good for men to have sickness.  Why?  Because it reminds them of their weakness and mortality and their fallibility.  Sickness brings people to their knees many times.  And were it not for sickness they would not resolve to compensate.  Sickness brings them to reflection, it brings them new understanding, it brings them to repentance.  And thus the work of God goes on.

Everything that happens on this earth, my testimony is, that God’s hand is in everything.  And he doesn’t let happen a single thing he doesn’t want to happen.  He doesn’t cause everything to happen but if he doesn’t want it to happen he prevents it from happening.  Now you and I cause much of what happens because our wills are part of this world.  We help create the world too.  We help it to be worldly when we disobey God.  We help push it towards the direction of righteousness when we obey God.  So we’re part of this too.  But God can eliminate our power to affect the world at any moment simply by taking us or by taking our power away.  Giving us a stroke or something so we can’t talk, can’t act.  He has very careful control over what you and I do.

So, it’s interesting to contemplate that whenever an evil man acts, he’s acting by the power of God in a sense.  God gave Hitler the power to kill all those Jews.  He didn’t particularly want Hitler to do it.  Hitler had to have the opportunity to do that and a number of other people had to have the opportunity to stand by and watch him so they could prove themselves.  Some people fought against him, they proved themselves.  Some people suffered and died and they proved themselves.  Some people suffered and died and became more righteous in the process and gained a great blessing out of it.  Some people suffered and died angrily, they lost in the process.  But the whole thing, as I understand it, is calculated to be the perfect situation for the probation for the souls of man.

So, there is a passage of scripture that is marvelous and pertinent to what we have talked about today and I’d like to read a few verse here.  II Nephi chapter two.  That chapter is so profound.  Father Lehi on his death bed after all the things he had said to his children.  When he was trying that one last time to say something important to Laman and Lemuel and the sons of Ismael and their wives. He went back to the story we just talked about and tried to emphasis to them the situation.  So let’s begin with verse fourteen,

“Now my sons I speak unto you these things for your profit and learning; there is a God.”

See they had been maintaining there wasn’t one.  How could they do that, when they had seen angels, when they had seen the power of God?  Well, they very conveniently dismissed all of those evidences because they didn’t want them.  They wanted to think that everything was just natural so they could get everything they wanted by their own strength.  So that’s the way they tried to operate.

“He hath created all things, both the heavens and the earth, and all things that in them are, both things to act and things to be acted upon.  And to bring about his eternal purposes in the end of man, after he had created our first parents, and the beasts of the field and the fowls of the air, and in fine all things which are created, it must needs be that there was an opposition to the tree of life; the one being sweet and the other bitter.”

The word existence itself means opposition.  Exist means to stand out, to be opposed, to be different from something.  It’s difference that makes existence.  So there had to be a difference between the tree of life and the tree of knowledge of good and evil.  There had to be a difference between God and Satan.  There has to be a difference between a good man and a bad man.

“Wherefore, the Lord God gave unto man that he should act for himself.  Wherefore, man could not act for himself save it should be that he was enticed by the one or the other.”

Now, the great lesson we learn about this, is that we are free.  Even now if we are adult human beings and know the gospel of Jesus Christ, whatever we are is what we want to be.  That is to say, we have chosen ourselves into our present state.  We can also choose ourselves out of this present state if we wish to repent, by making different choices than we have in the past.  As we make choices we change our habits which changes our character which changes us.  We have the power to change ourselves.  The leopard can change his spots in this case.  We are children of God and he has given us this heritage of the power to change ourselves.  We are free, we won’t be able to blame a single soul for anything that happened in our lives as to why we became what we became when it’s all.

“And I, Lehi, according to the things which I have read, must needs suppose that an angel of God, according to that which is written, had fallen from heaven; wherefore, he became a devil, having sought that which was evil before God.  And because he had fallen from heaven, and had become miserable forever, he sought also the misery of all mankind.”

He wanted them to be damned as he was damned.

“Wherefore, he said unto Eve, yea, even that old serpent, who is the devil, who is the father of all lies, wherefore he said: Partake of the forbidden fruit, and ye shall not die, but ye shall be as God, knowing good and evil.”

Part truth, part lie.  Part truth in the sense that they would know good and evil and they would be as God in one sense.  But there are sure a lot of other ways to be as God.  That didn’t make them like God.  That just gave them one little piece of being like God.  After Adam and Eve had partaken of the forbidden fruit they were driven out of the Garden of Eden to till the earth and they brought forth children, yea, even all the family of the earth.  Adam, (the word Adam means man.)  I was interested to find that the word Eve in Hebrew is (hava), which means living, which might bring some connections for you.  And they brought forth family, yea, even the children of the earth.

“And the days of the children of men were prolonged, according to the will of God, that they might repent while in the flesh; wherefore, their state became a state of probation, and their time was lengthened, according to the commandments which the Lord God gave unto the children of men.  For he gave commandment that all men must repent; for he showed unto all men that they that they were lost, because of the transgression of their parents.”

Lost? In what sense?  They were lost from the presence of God.  The fall of Adam caused all of us to be fallen.  That is to say, to be spiritually dead, to be out of the presence of the Father, into the world where we would have the opportunity to choose our way back to life.

“And now, behold, if Adam had not transgressed he would not have fallen, but he would have remained in the garden of Eden.  And all things which were created must have remained in the same state in which they were after they were created; and they must have remained forever, and had no end.”

That was an eternal kingdom, a Celestial Kingdom, a perfect kingdom that would have endured forever, but pointlessly.

“And they would have had no children; wherefore they would have remained in a state of innocence, having no joy, for they knew no misery; doing no good, for they knew no sin.”

So this fallen world then is better that that paradise was, in fact much better.  Because now we’re not innocent but can become again so.  We can have joy, we can have children, we can do good.

“…all things have been done in the wisdom of him who knoweth all things.  Adam fell that men might be; and men are, that they might have joy.”

Do you know what joy is?  My guess is, that it is not happiness.

“And the Messiah cometh in the fullness of time, that he may redeem the children of men from the fall.  And because that they are redeemed from the fall they have become free forever, knowing good from evil; to act for themselves and not to be acted upon, save it be by the punishment of the law at the great and last day, according to the commandments which God hath given.”

Now he comes to the very point.

“Wherefore, men are free according to the flesh;”

In other words, as I read what he is saying, is that we are free from our own flesh, through the gospel, through the Savior.  We need not be creatures of our flesh.  The gospel gives us the power to start telling our flesh what to do, rather than it telling us what to do.  And we can become free of all the physical, social, and environmental pressures that work upon our flesh that try to get us to conform to this world.  We can then give our allegence to the Savior and become a new creature.

“… they are free to choose liberty and eternal life, through the great Mediator of all men, or to choose captivity and death, according to the captivity and power of the devil; for he seeketh that all men might be miserable like unto himself.  I would that ye should look to the great Mediator, and hearken unto his great commandments; and be faithful unto his words, and choose eternal life, according to the will of his Holy Spirit;  And not choose eternal death, according to the will of the flesh and the evil which is therein…”

So the dividing line between righteousness and selfishness then simply comes down to spirit and flesh.  If we become spiritual and yield to the Father and to the spirit, then we go in direction of righteousness.  But if we stay carnal and yield to the flesh, then we go in the direction of selfishness.  Well we’ve come to that time when we have a moment for questions.

question – (unheard)

“And not choose eternal death, according to the will of the flesh and the evil which is therein.”  Satan’s only access to us is through our flesh.  He can not get at our spirit but he can affect our bodies.  So the avenue of his temptation is through the flesh.  But it isn’t the flesh itself that wants it.  Now  you and I, if we don’t want that thing, it’s no temptation at all, as I said.  It’s the spirit that decides whether it’s a temptation or not.  There’s somethings in my life, I hate to mention anything that I’ve stopped being tempt by … but nevertheless I’ve checked on this since then (probably referring to the Dan Ludlow statement).  It’s our spirit, if we’re gluttonous, it’s because our spirit craves satisfaction through gluttony. …  I thought so too until he said that.  And when he said that I was about half asleep, and when he said it, it was like someone had hit me with a sledge hammer.  The spirit shook me and said, here’s something we need to learn.  And I’ve thought about it for this whole year, year and a half, and I’ve come firmly to the conclusion that that is a correct insight.  And that what we have to do, is to see that we have control.  We don’t have control over the influences that come to our body but we do have control  over our spirit and how it reacts to the body.  That’s where our point of control is.  And how we’re going to get rid of these temptations is by stealing our spirit.

Now, you’ve all, I’m sure had the experience of being busily engaged in a project that was so intense and so interesting and so much fun or so important that hours go by and you don’t even notice the fact that meals times have gone past and the usual messages that come to the body don’t even get through.  Now that I think is one of the clues to the fact, that because the spirit is busily engaged the body doesn’t have that much power over it.  And I think the clue to righteousness is to get the body so busily engaged in the work of the Lord, that we tell our body when it’s suppose to rest, and when it’s suppose to eat and drink so that we can do the works of righteousness.  And we never assume the subject to it’s whims and desires.  I admit, that’s a tuff one.  Don’t believe me and don’t believe Dan Ludlow.  But I commend to you to work on that.  To think about it.

question – (unheard)

Intelligence is us.  The spiritual body and the physical body are tabernacles.  They’re instruments of the self, the real self is the intelligence, apparently.  Now apparently the spirit body has been welded into that intelligence and is part of the self now.  In the resurrection, this physical tabernacle will be welded into the spirit body and we will be all one being and that will be our being, never again to be divided.  But not so now.  We are very loosely attached to our bodies right now.  Apparently all you have to do is unzip it and away it goes.  And that’s the sensation some people say they have when they die, just like there being unzipped.

question – something about transformation from a Celestial body to a telestial body.

My understanding is that that transformation took place with the ingesting of the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil.  It probably wasn’t just that ingesting but that probably was the occasion.  It was something that the Father did to them to change them into mortality so that they could die and that they would have this blood in their veins then that would allow their lives to be very temporary.  You are aware maybe, that scientists have discovered that there is this clock in living cells.  They will divide so many times and then they cease to divide no matter what you do to them.  You can freeze them and they will stop dividing, and then you thaw them they go on dividing till they get to that number and stop and die.  There is a time appointed for the death of man.  Our life is genetically controlled and genes are very important to the body we have.  Have you ever stopped to realize, it’s possible that you and I have in our bodies genetic material that once was part of the body of Adam and Eve.  Physically we are linked to them by that process.  And if that’s true, then we have in our bodies material that physically was in the body of God, because we are the children of Gods.  And you see, part of our salvation is to get this flesh transformed and renewed.  But that depends on our righteousness.  Just as the fall depended upon disobedience and unrighteousness.

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Why We Are Here

Because we are blessed with knowing the Restored Gospel of Jesus Christ, we understand that there are five basic irreducible purposes of our mortal existence. Only the first is absolutely essential. To fulfill the others makes a fullness of blessing. The five are as follows:

  1. To gain a mortal tabernacle for our spirit. This is the necessary prelude to immortal life in a tabernacle of flesh and bone, which is the heritage of all human beings.
  2. To develop a Christ-like character. To learn to act righteously, responding to the spiritual influences from the Savior and learning not to be controlled by the physical forces around us is our goal. Every human situation is rich with opportunity to learn to be honest, true, chaste, benevolent and to do good to all men. Either sex, any race, any age, any educational level, any economic level, affords an almost overwhelming opportunity to add good habit to good habit, correct preference to correct preference, true idea of Christ to guide him or her in this quest for perfect character. But one cannot finish the task except one receives the fullness of the Restored Gospel and the ordinances of the new and everlasting covenant.
  3. To relieve suffering. The world is full of sorrow and suffering because of the sins of men. But that sorrow and suffering becomes an opportunity to those who have learned the unselfishness of the Savior. With heart, might, mind, and strength, they labor to feed the hungry, to clothe the naked, to heal the sick, to comfort the tormented, to assure the bereaved, to plead for the unjustly accused, to teach the unlearned. All of this is done under the Savior’s direction, never by using their own or any other man’s wisdom. Their goal is to be sure that they product more good in this world than that which they consume, and that they share their surplus.
  4. To pass on the seed. To marry in the Lord’s covenant and to bring the souls of men and women to this world is the fourth task. To forebear having children by artificial means subverts both character and the plan. “Children are an heritage of the Lord. Blessed is he who has his quiver full.”
  5. To pass on the gospel. To bring up our children in the nurture of the Lord, transmitting the faith which is precious above all other ideas or messages in this world, constitutes the fifth great opportunity. We are not limited to sharing with our children, but sharing our faith fully with them is essential.

When our lives are finished, only these things will be important for eternity:

  1. We gained a mortal tabernacle, and therefore can be resurrected to immortality, becoming just and true in all things.
  2. We gained a Christ-like character, and therefore can be trusted with the same glory the Savior has.
  3. We relieved suffering. We showed that as with our Master, we lived to serve and to help, not to “lord” it over anyone.
  4. We sacrificed to bring others into mortality and therefore we can be trusted to continue to bear souls in eternity.
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The Two Covenants

The Two Covenants

Chauncey C. Riddle is an emeritus professor of philosophy at BYU.

Chauncey C. Riddle

The Grand Council by Robert E Barratt

The Grand Council by Robert E Barratt

The most important things for any human being to know are that there does exist a God of righteousness, that He is our Father, and that He is trying to help all of us inherit all that He is and has. He is righteous and acts only to maximize the happiness of every being He oversees. He is our Father because He begat us as His spirit children in our premortal existence. And He is trying to share with us His character of perfect righteousness, His omniscience, His omnipotence, and His dominion. His program to share with us is the joyous news, the gospel of Jesus Christ. To share with us, Heavenly Father provided two covenants whereby His children could demonstrate the ability to bear the weight of blessings He would like to share. Both covenants were planned from the beginning to suit the needs of His children. Each covenant allows the child of God to demonstrate an ability to perform in his or her own sphere, as evidence that the full weight of the Father’s blessings would bring happiness, not sorrow, to the individual. The full weight of the Father’s blessings is called “exaltation” and is a calling to join with God in His eternal work of righteousness to bring to pass the maximal happiness for each being in the universe.

The Religious Educator Vol 3 No 3 2002

The Two Covenants - Quoted from The Religious Educator Vol 3 No 3 2002

Obedience

The first covenant, as announced in the premortal existence, is the covenant of perfect obedience. His children would be brought into mortality and would be proved to see if they would do all things whatsoever the Lord their God would command them to do (see Abraham 3:22–25). This covenant is fulfilled only by our living a perfect mortal life, by not deviating from the path of perfect obedience one iota, no matter what the opposition or the consequences. This demonstration of perfect obedience is no idle or pointless exercise. It is a demonstration of the ability to do what exalted beings all do: to lead an absolutely disciplined existence of action in accordance with the principles of righteousness and order in the priesthood chain of command in the process of blessing others. This is the eternal path: blessing others here and now as preparation for an eternity of blessing them there and then, in a way that is selfless and holy. One deviation from the path, however minor, would show that that person cannot be trusted. And because he or she cannot be trusted, he or she cannot be given the blessings of exaltation. To be trusted is more important than to be loved. All of God’s children are loved by Him, but only a few can He trust completely.

Adam and Eve were participants in the first covenant in the Garden of Eden. Adam was determined to keep all the Father’s commandments. But before long, Adam and Eve broke the covenant of obedience and were thrust out of the garden and out of God’s presence. This fall was part of the Father’s plan so that they and their children would have an opportunity to generate the internal strength they did not already have and thus to become trustworthy. In this way, God could save and bless more than just those who were already of perfect character and therefore already trustworthy.

Repentance

The second covenant, companion to the covenant of perfect obedience, is the covenant of perfect repentance (see Moses 6:56–57). The word perfect means “complete.” Perfect obedience can be demonstrated only by persons of already perfect character. But all of God’s children, of any character, can choose to comply with the second covenant of perfect repentance by repenting until they have perfect character. Then, when they have perfect character, they can comply with the first covenant and demonstrate perfect obedience. This second covenant of perfect repentance is usually referred to as the new and everlasting covenant. It is “new” because it comes after the first covenant. It is “everlasting” because it is made possible only through the life, mission, and Atonement of Jesus Christ, one of His names being “Everlasting.”

When most people think of the work of Jesus Christ and His covenant, they think of forgiveness of sins. And forgiveness is important. But it is not the most important thing the second covenant does. The most important thing the new and everlasting covenant does is to bring about a change of character so the person can perform with perfect obedience under the first covenant. When we have attained perfect repentance through Jesus Christ, we then can prove that we can be perfectly obedient, and our Savior is pleased to be able to forgive us of our sins. And He is very forgiving. All who go to a kingdom of glory—celestial, terrestrial, or telestial—are forgiven of their sins either through Jesus Christ or through their own personal suffering. But only a few of those forgiven of their sins can be trusted completely. Only a few who can be given all knowledge, power, dominion, and freedom will then not exercise unrighteous dominion. Those few are precious. They become joint heirs with Christ in receiving all that He has, and He has received all His Father has. Those who cannot be trusted may receive glory but not a fulness. Therefore, their state in eternity is, in a sense, damnation. They receive all the blessings they have demonstrated they will use in righteousness. But where their character has not been changed so that they can be perfectly obedient, in that area they cannot receive a fulness of the blessings; this is damnation to some degree. Even the angels in the celestial kingdom are damned to a degree because they would not fully partake of the new and everlasting covenant (see D&C 131:1–4). Thus, the main point of the new and everlasting covenant is that it allows a person to change character until he or she is a new creature. The individual may become new to any degree desired. The power of Christ in the new and everlasting covenant is sufficient to help any person attain any degree of perfection desired. Total perfection, to come into the measure of the stature of Christ, is attained only by those persons who fully keep the new and everlasting covenant. As they work through to complete repentance, they are added upon, bit by bit, until they are as noble, as selfless, and as trustworthy as is Christ Himself. Through perfect repentance, they have come to be a perfect person, renewed unto the full measure of the stature of Christ Himself.

The Merits of Christ

How is this perfection achieved? The story of this process of repenting is the gospel of Jesus Christ. Perfection comes only in and through the merits of Christ. What are His merits? First, He has a perfect character. Second, He is exalted and has all the Father’s knowledge, power, and ability. Third, He performed the Atonement and thus is able to resurrect all men and women and to plead before the Father for the forgiveness of their sins. Fourth, He is the creator of heaven and earth and all things that in them are, the governor and manager of our universe. Because He was already perfect in character, our Savior came into mortality and kept fully the first covenant of perfect obedience. Subject to all the problems of mortality that every other human being suffers, He came into this world as a human being, denied each temptation of Satan, and fulfilled the Father’s will in every single instruction.

He was and is exalted, having all power in time and in eternity to do whatever work of godliness is required for the blessing of mankind. We do not yet comprehend the great blessings He has in store for the faithful. But the faithful are not primarily faithful so that they will get the blessings; they are faithful because faithfulness is the right thing to do, the thing that will enable them to bless others. The life and mission of Jesus Christ as a whole could be called His Atonement, or His at-one-ment, whereby He attempts to reconcile each of us with the Father. Father cannot look upon sin with the least degree of allowance, and our Savior tries to help each person to stop sinning and to be forgiven of the sins committed so that he or she can again stand in Father’s presence. He sends His gospel into the earth that all might be fully instructed as to how to enter into and complete the second covenant and be fully empowered through its ordinances to grow in character. Only those who complete the second covenant—who achieve perfect repentance—can be fully trustworthy and thus acceptable to our Father, to become one with Him, even as He and our Savior are one. The arms of mercy and repentance are extended to all mankind that everyone who wishes to partake may, without money and without price. But repent they must. Being the creator and governor of the universe, our Savior manages all things for the instruction and blessing of each human being. Every human experience is an opportunity to repent, to change our actions and through changing our actions to change our character. Through the gifts of the Spirit, which Christ bestows, the efforts of men and women are matched with the divine power each needs to repent until repentance is complete and each has endured to the end, which is to become as Christ.

There is no more intelligent thing to do in the universe than to rely on the merits of Jesus Christ. That is the only path to happiness. The degree to which any human being relies on the merits of Christ will be the measure of his or her happiness.

The Measure of Our Faith and Repentance

It is important now to say how the first principles of the gospel of Jesus Christ are to be applied in this quest for complete repentance. The first principles are faith in the Lord Jesus Christ and repentance.

To have faith in Jesus Christ means to accept His gospel message as attested to by the Holy Ghost and then to rely fully upon the merits of Christ. It means to rely on His name, to keep His commandments, and to strive for perfection of character in all things. If there is anything mean, cowardly, lascivious, untruthful, snobbish, lazy, careless, or lacking in character, our business as servants of Christ is to root out these things with all haste and effort. This is done not only that our own souls can be saved but because we cannot love anyone else purely or deeply until all of these ungodly things are rooted out of our souls through faith and repentance. To have faith in Christ means to trust in Him completely to the giving up of all our sins, bad habits, untrue ideas, evil thoughts, or untoward desires.

An essential part of trusting in Jesus Christ is knowing who His servants are and accepting them as His servants. For instance, no one alive today can fully come unto Christ and receive the fulness of His blessings in this life or in the world to come if that person cannot and does not accept Joseph Smith Jr. as the prophet of this dispensation. It is through him that the keys of the priesthood have come to this time to offer salvation to every soul on earth. Joseph Smith truly did represent Jesus Christ in full authority to bring souls to Christ. Likewise, no one can be saved today and receive all the blessings unless he or she accepts Gordon B. Hinckley as the living prophet. One thing that faithful people quickly learn is that they must also accept the leadership of their stake president and bishop—or their mission president if they are missionaries. No one who has true faith in Christ would think of making a serious life change, such as getting married or divorced, without consulting their bishop and staying close to him in the process. This phenomenon of accepting priesthood authority as part of faith in Jesus Christ is somewhat jokingly in the Church called being “priesthood broke,” the western term referring to a horse being broken to be manageable and ride-able. Those who have true faith in Christ wear the priesthood harness well; they do their assignments well; they support those in authority over them; they minister to those under their priesthood authority; and they strive to bring all humans to Christ both by precept and by example.

One very good measure of our faith and trust in Christ is our lack of fear. If we are His faithful servants, He has promised that all things would and will work together for our good, no matter what happens (see D&C 98:3). If we believe this, we can meet each day with joy and gladness, each crisis with equanimity, and each calamity with recognition of an opportunity to do good. If we are afraid of anything, that fear is the measure of our lack of trust in Christ. For if all things work together for our good, what is there to fear? If we will only do our part and obey Christ in all things, there is no need to fear anything except not having faith in Jesus Christ. The second principle of the gospel is repentance. Repentance is changing each act of our life that is not an act of faith in Christ to become an act of faith in Jesus Christ. To help us with this process, our Savior sends the Holy Spirit to be the constant companion of His covenant servants. With the help of the whisperings and promptings of the Holy Spirit, each of us is guided into the narrow path of obedience to Jesus Christ. Humble, willing obedience to Jesus Christ is faith in Him. Without the Holy Spirit, we cannot perfect our faith in Christ. And perfect faith in Christ is the end or goal of repentance. To repeat: repentance is changing our feelings, thinking, decisions, and actions until each thing we do is an act of faith in Jesus Christ. Then we are faith-full. What makes the second covenant so drastically different from the first covenant is that in the first covenant if we make one mistake, break one commandment of God, we are lost. In the second covenant, if we break a commandment and misstep on our way, that can be forgiven if we are truly sorry and get ourselves back onto the strait and narrow way of faith. That getting back is repentance. Should we sin many times, we still can be forgiven if we truly repent and get back onto the track of trust in Christ. Thus, the second covenant is the covenant of complete or perfect repentance.

All the other laws and principles of the gospel of Jesus Christ are examples of the application of faith in Jesus Christ and repentance in our lives and can be truly and fully understood only in that light. Faith, repentance, and all of the other laws and principles of the gospel have one end: to produce persons of perfect character whose only actions are those of the pure love of Christ. Pure means selfless. Those who are pure live outside of themselves in service to others. They have a pure love for Christ, looking to Him in every thought (see D&C 6:36). They see the face of Christ in every person they encounter. They minister to every person they encounter as Christ would, discerning their needs and blessing each person with whatever he or she needs to take the next step on the individual path to happiness. Filled with the Holy Ghost and the power of the holy priesthood, the child of Christ knows what to do and has the power to do whatever is necessary to manifest the pure love of Christ.

An Ongoing Work

If enough of the children of Christ who have pure love happen to be in one place, they together constitute a Zion, for they are pure in heart (see Moses 7:18). To establish Zion is to encourage and entice every person to enter the new and everlasting covenant and to endure to the end, which end is to be able to love with pure love, and which end is also eternal life. The work of establishing Zion is a work of power. It cannot be done by mortal means. Only as the powers of heaven come down and infuse the natural, mortal situation can we be saved, which salvation is to be changed from the natural, mortal condition to the stature of the character of Christ, full of pure love, as He is. A key power that makes this transformation possible is the holy priesthood. God bestows the holy priesthood upon men, and they use it in the service of Christ to bring about the personal transformations I have been discussing. They use it to teach and preach the gospel of Jesus Christ. They use it to administer the ordinances of the new and everlasting covenant. They use it to establish and guide The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. They use it to bless each other, to check evil, to control the elements of nature, and to do whatever God instructs them to do.

Special mention needs to be made of the ordinances of the new and everlasting covenant as administered by the holy priesthood. The two basic parts of that second covenant are baptism and the receiving of the holy Melchizedek Priesthood.

Baptism is the first part of the new and everlasting covenant. It allows individuals formally to renounce their old, natural way of living and to announce a determination to accept the power of God to change their nature into the character of Christ. The person who truly is reborn of water and of the Spirit is as a little child: meek, submissive, patient, humble, and willing to submit to whatever the Lord sees fit to inflict upon him or her (see Mosiah 3:19). Having been given the right to the constant companionship of the Holy Ghost, the person strives to treasure that influence and to obey God in all things, putting aside all worldliness and walking in the plain path of goodness, virtue, and service to others in the pure love of Christ.

When men and women are well rooted and established as reborn children of Christ, anxiously engaged each day in selflessly pursuing the services the Master would have them render to others, they are ready to receive and profit from the holy Melchizedek Priesthood. For men, there are three steps in receiving that priesthood power to be able to minister to others as a greatly enhanced being. The first step is to be ordained to the Melchizedek Priesthood. The second is to receive one’s endowment in the holy temple. The third is to be sealed to an eternal companion in the temple.

To be ordained to the Melchizedek Priesthood is to join the ranks of the empowered servants of God to give special service: missionary work, church work, family work, and temple work. All who receive that priesthood are assigned to a quorum, where they are to learn to serve with others and to learn to wear the priesthood harness well, pulling their load in coordination with others. As they are faithful and continue in repentance, the power of the priesthood wells up within them; they become full of the gifts and powers and knowledge of the Lord and gain the power to bless others with ordinances, miracles, direction, and insight.

In due time, the faithful servant of Christ is invited to go into the holy temple to receive the endowment. The endowment is a gift, as the name suggests. It is a gift of all the eternal powers and blessings the person needs to overcome the world and to accomplish his or her mortal mission. Without the endowment, the person has not the power to defeat Satan and to fulfill all the callings received as a servant in the kingdom of Christ. The blessings of the endowment, like that of the gift of the Holy Ghost at baptism, do not come automatically. The ordinances are the bestowing of a right to receive, and as the gifts are carefully sought for and treasured by explicit prayer and obedience, the gifts come in the sequence and degree the Lord sees is best for the development of the individual into the likeness of the character of Christ. When endowed persons are ready to marry and establish a new eternal family, those who preside over them send them to the temple to receive a fulness of the blessings of the gospel. In the temple sealing, they receive all the other powers and rights they need to act as husband and wife, father and mother, in their own eternal kingdom. Their own eternal kingdom is not solely their property. They are Christ’s, and Christ and all of His are the Father’s. The couple joins the eternal family and kingdom of the gods and through faithfulness enter into the order of the gods for an eternal career of blessing others with all that time and eternity afford.

A Path to Perfection

Now to sum up this discussion of the two covenants.

The first covenant is the basic covenant. It is never replaced by the second covenant. The purpose of the second, or new and everlasting covenant, is to enable us to grow in stature and character until we can fulfill the first covenant of perfect obedience. Our Savior, Jesus Christ, kept the first covenant in His mortal life and through His Atonement made the second covenant possible for us. The key to remember is that neither covenant excuses sin. The first covenant requires sinlessness, always. The second covenant is a covenant of mercy, which allows a person to learn through experiment, and in experimenting and trying, perhaps to sin, but then to repent unto not sinning. The second covenant is an inclined plane that leads gently up to perfection, whereas the first covenant demands perfection from the beginning. Both demand perfection, and the reward of each is the powers, abilities, and life of a perfect person. One is direct; the other is roundabout.

The first covenant is pure and straight justice. The second covenant is a covenant of justice mixed with temporary mercy for those who do not as yet have the character of Christ to produce and to abide perfect justice. Both come to the same end, the first by direct obedience to the Father, the second by becoming first children of Christ and then, as His children, growing until we can give direct and total obedience to the Father.

The good news is that “the leopard can change its spots.” Whatever we are and have been, we can change. By submitting ourselves to Christ through His new and everlasting covenant, we can become new creatures with new habits, new desires, a new mind, a new heart, and a new body.

This is salvation indeed.

I rejoice in the goodness of our God in providing two covenants whereby mankind may join the ranks of the gods. The first is the eternal order of the gods. The second is the apprenticeship whereby we learn to abide the perfect and eternal order of the gods. I thank our Father and His Son for giving us these two great gifts to bless our lives.

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The Point is to Know what you Know

By Chauncey C. Riddle

This People – Summer 1998, p 11-24

It is good to know. But it is better to know that you know.

The Point is to Know what you Know - This People- Fall 1998 - by Chauncey Riddle

From This People Magazine - Fall 1998

WE HUMANS DELIGHT IN KNOWING. We love to look, see, hear, understand and imagine. But there is a downside: We sometimes think we know something when we don’t, confusing a feeling of certitude with real certitude. We shall examine the ways humans know to build a picture of what we can and cannot, do and do not know.

The technical name for studying human knowledge is “epistemology,” a Greek term formed from “episteme,” meaning to know, and “logy,” meaning words about. Our survey of human knowing will cover all of the important kinds.

1

We begin with authoritarianism. This kind of knowing focuses on ideas gained from others by communication. This is the easiest of all the forms of knowing to use, and the one most people depend on; If you want to know something, just ask someone you consider to be an authority on the subject. For instance, we commonly ask our parents about things which happened to us before we could remember: where and when we are born, who our grandparents are, etc.

While authoritarianism is very convenient, it has pitfalls. The first is knowing who is an authority on a subject. If you personally really know who is and is not an authority on a given subject, you art probably an authority yourself on the subject and don’t need to ask. If you are not an authority on the subject, then you are forced to ask someone else (an authority) as to who is an authority, and you may or may not get a good answer. Once you have located someone whom you consider to be an authority, it is necessary to communicate with them, and when you have an answer you must ask yourself, Did that authority understand my question?, and, Did I understand the answer of the authority correctly?

But assuming that you have located a genuine authority and have successfully communicated with them, you can get some very good answers in a very economical manner.

This is why we go to doctors, lawyers, agricultural experts, mechanics, plumbers, and others to get good answers when we have trouble.

2

We next look at rationalism as a way of knowing. Rationalism uses human reason to compare and relate ideas. It presupposes three things:

  1. A system of reasoning in which you have confidence,
  2. Premises or ideas which you wish to reason about, and
  3. Premises which are sufficiently general to allow you to reason.

For example,

  1. might be the system of arithmetic;
  2. might be your knowledge of your beginning bank balance at the first of the month and all of the checks you have written during the month; and
  3. might be the knowledge that only you have the power and authority to withdraw funds from the account.

With those three things in place, you can use the system of arithmetic to subtract the checks written from the initial balance and have confidence that since no other person can withdraw funds, you now know how much you have left in the bank account.

Rationalism is a very sure way of coming to knowledge when all three of those factors are in place. But reason itself cannot assure you that those three factors are actually all in place. So reason is an important way of knowing, but it can never stand alone. It needs other epistemologies to furnish the wherewith to reason. Other examples of good rational knowing are the theorems of plane geometry, syllogistic and other logical systems, and predicting the trajectories of heavenly bodies once we know their past history.

Empiricism is a wonderful way of knowing if you are driving on the right side of the road, what time the clock says it is, locating your favorite tie, and for finding your wife In a crowd. But It won’t work for many important things because we cannot perceive those important things with our physical senses.

3

Third in our survey is the epistemology of empiricism. Empiricism is gaining knowledge by using our human physical senses of touch, sight, hearing, smell, taste, etc. There are about twenty-five identifiable human senses, but we depend mainly on the five mentioned. For example, if you want to know if the tomatoes in your garden are ripe enough to pick, it would be a good idea to go look at them. Their color is typically a good index to their ripeness. If they are indeed dark red, that is a good indication that they are ready to pick. You might look at the calendar and think, today is the 10th of August, and the tomatoes should be ripe (rationalism), or you could send someone out to look for you and report back (authoritarianism). But you are likely to be best satisfied by your own visual and gustatory inspection.

Empiricism is a very good way of knowing about our immediate physical environment, but it does little for the past, the future, the distant, or the unobservable. And when you can directly inspect what you want to know about, one must be sure that one is looking at something which is very familiar (the first time we see something we do not see it very well), that we are not being fooled by some aberration (it pays to look two or three times, as in the carpenter’s adage: measure twice, saw once), and that we are not dreaming (fur this we usually rub our eyes). Empiricism is a wonderful way of knowing if you are driving on the right side of the road, what time the clock says it is, locating your favorite tie, and for finding your wife in a crowd. But it won’t work for many important things because we cannot perceive those important things with our physical senses.

4

Now we come to statistical empiricism, which is a mixture of empiricism and rationalism. It is empirical because one uses one’s senses to collect a lot of observations, called data. But then one must manipulate that data by means of statistical formulas. The manipulation is rationalism.

For instance, if you want to know what brand of tires wears the longest, you must gather a lot of data. You might try putting new tires of ten varieties on ten different automobiles, the ten being the same make and model. Then you drive these automobiles until the tires are worn out (preferably over the identical routes at the same time), then see how many miles are recorded for each brand of tires. But wait! Perhaps some of the brands of tires had unusual samples. That means you must try three or four sets of each brand. Then when you look at the average (statistical manipulation) for each brand, it will be easy to discern which brand wears the longest.

Statistical empiricism works well where one can be empirical, but the rational manipulation of the data tells us things which sheer observation cannot. I cannot tell which brand of toothpaste is best for preventing cavities by brushing just my own teeth: I must have many persons using many brands to gain a reliable statistical result.

So if you need to know which paint holds up the best on the highway, or which kind of cleanser is most cost effective, or which high school students are most likely to do well academically in college, statistical empiricism is your friend. It only works, of course, for large populations which are adequately sampled, and where the data is properly interpreted. But if those factors are in place, it is most useful.

5

Next in our survey we come to pragmatism. Pragmatism is knowing what works. When we know what works we do not always know why it works, but when someone is desperate, they will settle for what works without knowing why. Most pragmatic knowledge is gained by sheer coincidence, observing what works as compared with what does not.

When people have ill health, they often are willing to try most anything to get relief. When something works for them and they actually do get relief, they then swear by whatever worked and sometimes want to tell others how to cure the malady which formerly beset them. But what works for one person does not always work for another. And what seems to work sometimes has serious side-effects which are worse than the original malady. But pragmatism holds a prominent place in epistemology simply because we do not understand all things yet we can do many things we do not understand.

So if you find that eating lots of spinach seems to give you added strength, you might continue, because perhaps the spinach really is the cause. Or if when you choke your lawnmower only three-fourths of the way, it always starts, and won’t readily start when choked to any other point, you would do well to continue choking it at three-fourths. That makes good pragmatic sense.

Pragmatism rescues all of us from our frustration and impotence at times. It is valuable.

It is the attitude of being careful, of rejecting anything where the evidence is slight or inconclusive, to be sure of knowing only that which is fully manifest and apparent.

6

Next in our repertoire of ways of knowing is mysticism. This mysticism is said to be a way of knowing “immediately” instead of “mediately,” Rather than knowing something through reason or sensation, one knows because one is part of the thing known, is it, and thus knows its being directly. Mysticism is difficult to describe because it is admittedly ineffable, not amenable to verbal representation.

Proponents of mysticism say that it is the way of knowing because it is more satisfying than any other epistemology. In mysticism, one does not just be aware of something, but partakes directly in its being; this is said to be the superior kind of knowing.

Mysticism is often associated with religious knowing, and is sometimes identified as the basis for revelation. This association does not hold for most Latter-day Saints for reasons which will be discussed below. But many in the world find their religious fulfillment in what they denominate as the mystical experience.

Some limitations of mysticism seem apparent. If it is not rational or has no rational content, how can it be understood? If it is non-empirical, how can persons compare experience? If the sole criterion for epistemological success is satisfaction, how can one have any assurance that the mystical state is not just self-induced aestheticism? But these limitations do not bother the avowed mystic. He points out that these are the very advantages which make mysticism the preeminent epistemology.

7

Our next candidate for a way of knowing is scepticism (French spelling: you may prefer the Germanic skepticism). Scepticism is more an attitude than a full-blown epistemology of its own. It is the attitude of being careful, of rejecting anything where the evidence is slight or inconclusive, to be sure of knowing only that which IS fully manifest and apparent. Thus one might be rightly sceptical of many advertising claims, even though they be clothed in the garb of legitimate statistical empiricism: how large was the sample, how random was the sample, was there a double-blind control set of data? One is often sceptical about empirical observations unless they see for themselves (I am from Missouri, so “Show Me!”). It is good to be sceptical of reasoning that is sheer rationalization (inventing the premises necessary for a desired conclusion, but not being able to show that the premises are true). It is often good to be sceptical about pragmatic results, or claims of pragmatic results, for often they represent only coincidence.

One can be reasonably sceptical and careful using any of the epistemologies, and experience with mistakes shows us the necessity of a healthy dose of scepticism in most epistemological adventures. But one can also be too sceptical, “throwing the baby out with the bath” as the saying goes. One can see and know, and still not believe, as when Laman and Lemuel saw and heard an angel but rejected the experience. One can have good reasoning and reject it, as when many reject the organization of the Primitive Church as being a key to the true church of Jesus Christ in the latter days, denying the restoration of all things. One can reject authority when the person truly is a demonstrated authority, as when the contemporaries of Jesus rejected him as a legitimate holder of the priesthood even while he was exercising that priesthood in the exact same manner as the prophets of old whom they accepted.

Scepticism can be a wonderful balance to overweening desire, but it can also be used to defy knowing of something obviously true but contrary to overweening desire. It is like dynamite: a powerful way to clear obstacles but also a means of destroying everything else. In ancient times the sceptics rejected the claims of the rationalists and idealists in favor of that which was preeminently empirically demonstrable, a safe position in the midst of extravagant claims, but they lost some of the wonder of what imagination can do.

We come now to two specialized epistemologies invented by the world because no single epistemology satisfied the needs of knowing. These special variations are scholarship and science.

8

Scholarship is the search for accuracy and truth in historical matters by limiting one’s evidence to that which is publicly documented. Thus the scholar must become the master of all extant documentary evidence related to a topic of choice, and from the massed evidence construct a picture of the past which contains as little interpolation (filling in the blanks) as possible while explaining all of the documentary evidence available. One example of good scholarly enterprise for Latter-day Saints is genealogical research, where every conclusion should be backed up by actual documentary evidence.

Scholarship is a great advance on ordinary story-telling, but it has its limitations as well. The documentary evidence may itself have been created by very biased persons who were not interested in the truth. No matter what language the documents are written in, interpretation of the recorded evidence introduces many chances for error. Sometimes documents have been deliberately destroyed to hide the truth, thus leaving only conjecture possible. And sometimes supposed documents are actually clever forgeries, as in the case of the Salamander Papers in recent LDS church history.

But notwithstanding the problems, scholarship is a legitimate and valuable tool in the hands of any person who will learn to use it carefully.

Conscience and personal revelation — they are rejected by the world because the results from them have been so varied and different for different persons, and because they demand moral living, which the world wishes to avoid.

9

Science is the creation of rationally consistent explanations of publicly observable phenomena. Publicly observable phenomena are the results of physical experiments or direct observations which any skilled person can observe or reproduce. Rationally consistent explanations are accountings for a set of phenomenal data which are consistent with other accepted theoretical explanations in the particular scientific field.

For instance, it had been noted that moldy bread when eaten by some persons seemed to improve their health. Most people were rightly sceptical that there was any connection between the eating of the moldy bread and improved health. But then when penicillin was developed it turned out that the moldy bread was actually a natural form of penicillin and penicillin contains a substance which has the ability to inhibit the growth of bacteria in the human body. So after the scientific explanation was developed, the eating of moldy bread to improve health was no longer such a far-fetched idea.

Science depends upon the statistical manipulation (rational use) of arrays of empirical data, coupled with theoretical explanations as to what is happening. Science has proved to be a powerful and valuable way of knowing, though not infallible. When science fails it is because the evidence observed was not sufficient or representative (though unscrupulous persons have sometimes “fabricated” evidence), or because the wrong premises were used in interpreting the data (e.g., it was once assumed that heat was an actual substance), or because the proponents of science overstep their bounds and claim that conjectures are truth in things that cannot be known scientifically (like the origin of life on the earth).

Technology is the ability to do things physical. Science is often confused with technology in the minds of persons who do not think much about epistemology. Technology is the “how to do things” knowledge of the human race, the sum of the pragmatic knowledge available, whereas science is the creation of explanations for what can be and is done technically. In today’s world, science has better press than technology, so science gets a lot of credit for doing things which are simply technical abilities.

For a long time in history, technology and science were quite separate disciplines. The craftsmen were the technologists and made steel even though they could not explain why what they did worked. Scientists were busy inventing theories to explain things but paid no attention to mundane things like making steel. But as scientific experiments grew more technical and demanding, scientists had to call on the craftsmen to build and operate their equipment. And as technology advanced, scientific explanations began to aid the development of technology (instead of the old try this and try that method of pragmatism), as when the atomic bomb was invented through theoretical calculations. Today science and technology, scientists and engineers, work hand in hand to increase the power of human beings to build and destroy.

There yet remain two ways of knowing. These are as important as the rest, but are usually neglected in the study of epistemology. These are conscience and personal revelation. They are rejected by the world because the results from them have been so varied and different for different persons, and because they demand moral living, which the world wishes to avoid.

10

Conscience is the Light of Christ which comes to all persons of normal mentality on this earth. It has the specific function to give a witness of what is good. Satan is also abroad and spreads ideas and feelings of evil in the hearts and minds of men. Thus all men are immersed in a sea of spiritual enticement being enticed to hurt one another, to steal, to lie, to commit sexual sin, etc., by Satan; and at the same time they are enticed to be good to one another, to share, to tell the truth, to be sexually pure and faithful, by the light of Christ. It is the opposition of these two enticements in each human life which creates agency, the opportunity to choose for oneself one’s course of life.

There is no other way to know what is good other than the light of Christ. True, someone may tell you what they think is good, as parents and friends usually do, but to know for sure what is really good comes only from the light of Christ One may reason what might be good, but that only works if the premises are good, which simply pushes the problem back one step. We cannot observe empirically what is good and bad. Pragmatism does not help. We are left to the enticing of our own heart. We are free because the good from Christ of Christ and recognize it as a great evil. This matter of conscience and telling what is good and what is evil puts human beings on unequal ground: each person must go by the witness of his own heart as to which is the good and which is the evil. Those whose hearts are more evil than good think that evil is good. Those whose hearts are more good than evil tend to think that good is good. Thus all mankind are free to choose for themselves.

11

Personal revelation is the direct communication of God to the heart, and mind, or body of a human being by God. It generally follows the light of Christ and comes only to those who choose to accept and live by the light of Christ. Personal revelation is given to direct and empower the servants of God. Because it always has a rational message and discernable content, it is not mysticism (though some persons call it that anyway). Personal revelation is the key to knowing all things, and to know them in the best way; but it is available only to those who live by the light of Christ and choose good over evil. So it is relatively unknown by the world, and where it is known, it is usually despised as an aberration on human intelligence.

There is a great danger in personal revelation, for Satan can and does give personal revelation abundantly. The safeguard is in paying attention to the light of Christ: one who has mastered the difference between good and evil will easily discern the good revelations from God as distinct from the evil revelations of Satan. All these revelations come through the voice of conscience. but must be discerned by the heart.

A wise Latter-day Saint will know and use all of the epistemologies, employing each where most needed and most valuable. But the most important epistemologies are those of conscience, the light of Christ and personal revelation. To make a living, to subdue natural forces, to work in political situations among men, all require special epistemological techniques which one shares with the world. But to be righteous, to build an eternal family, to establish the kingdom of God on the earth and to further the eternal welfare of the souls of men require the light of Christ and personal revelation from God. All these epistemologies are treasures, but two are most valuable above all the others.

It remains now to discuss how each of these epistemologies relates to and contributes to the building of a testimony of the truth of the restored gospel of Jesus Christ and of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. A testimony is two things: a personal knowledge of the truth of something, and the bearing witness of that knowledge. The first is the more important, but the second is one of the great building blocks of the Kingdom of God on the earth. When enough people have solid testimonies, and those solid testimonies have been witnessed to every soul on the earth, the earth will be ready for the second coming of its true king, Jesus Christ.

Authoritarianism is important to a testimony because if we know person who are reliable and responsible human beings and they bear testimony to us about the gospel. we have good reason to investigate seriously the possibility that we could also find out the truth of this matter. But we can never settle for the testimony of someone else. We must have our own light, our own independent evidence, to be sure.

Rationalism helps us with a testimony because the single important criterion for rational certitude is consistency. If we find that the gospel is consistent with itself, that is good. That does not of itself mean that we have established the truth, but if we were to discover actual inconsistencies in the doctrines of the gospel, we would have good reason to reject the message. The restored gospel of Jesus Christ has been attacked by the enemies of the church for over a century and a half in the attempt to find some inconsistency. But the enemies fail, because there are none, and any person who thinks he or she has uncovered one is showing that they do not yet understand what they are talking about. One of the wonderful things about the restored gospel is that it is a logical redoubt, a fortress of good ideas which are totally consistent with each other.

Empiricism is important to a testimony because there needs to be something physical, something tangible, to help us come to knowledge. The outstanding piece of physical evidence for the truthfulness of the gospel is the existence of the Book of Mormon. That volume is a living miracle. To read and understand it is to sec the hand of God moving to bless all the people of this earth with true concepts about Jesus Christ and how to come to him. The enemies of the Church have tried for this century and a half to find out who “really” wrote the book, because all of Joseph Smith’s contemporaries knew he did not have enough background to have invented it. The only hypothesis which fits the known historical facts is the simple claim of Joseph himself: he translated it from ancient records by the gift and power of God.

Statistical empiricism makes its contribution to the work of the Lord in practical matters such as missionary work (coming to know what kind of person is most likely to listen to the message), but its contribution to a testimony is largely subsumed under empiricism. The practical help of statistical empiricism must always be counterbalanced against the witness of the Holy Spirit, for sometimes the most unlikely persons are the most receptive to the gospel message.

Pragmatism makes a magnificent contribution to a testimony. The gospel is the message that if we will put our trust in Jesus Christ (faith), change our ways to become like him (repentance), We will know of the doctrine’s truth because we will be given the constant companionship of the Holy Ghost. Everyone who has accepted baptism and the confirmational challenge to receive the Holy Ghost into their lives knows that the message really does have pragmatic value: the presence of the Holy Ghost in their lives is the manifest evidence that they are on the true path which leads to godliness.

Mysticism does not make a contribution to a real testimony of the truthfulness of the restored gospel, so far as I can ascertain. Mysticism seems to be a counterfeit of revelation. My advice is to be wary of its contribution to a testimony is largely it, and to seek divine revelation instead.

Scepticism does contribute to a testimony. It does so by getting us to check every piece of evidence we have and to discard that which is illusory or unreliable. False testimonies from other persons, false stories that sound like faith-promoting incidents, false interpretations of scripture and doctrine — all can tend to destroy the strength of an otherwise good set of evidence. So we need to be careful that we do not allow any “junk” into our treasury of evidences.

Science contributes to a testimony by discovering the grand order and design of the world in which we live. All physical things bear witness of their maker, our Father in Heaven and science can help us to understand and marvel at the goodness of our God in providing us with such a beautiful and intricately fashioned sphere of existence. Science of itself does not and cannot prove that there is a God or that he created this world. But if we know those things from other evidence, knowledge of science can strengthen our testimony.

Scholarship has its place in building testimony by showing us that in every culture and religion there are remnants of the true gospel and of the true ordinance. Adam and Eve knew the gospel and the ordinances, and their children have carried traces of those blessings unto the latest generation.

But the most important elements of a testimony come through our own personal spiritual experience. He who rejects the light of Christ will never have a testimony of the truth of spiritual things until it is too late, until he dies and discovers he is still alive or is resurrected and physically faces the Savior.

But those who do accept the light of Christ come to love good, and their love of good leads them to more good, which leads them to the witness of the Holy Ghost. That witness is the indispensable core and foundation of any real testimony. To know the truthfulness of the way of the restored gospel by the Holy Ghost after seeking good through the light of Christ is to grasp the iron rod which leads along the path to eternal life. (To seek revelation from the Holy Ghost without first clearly distinguishing good from evil by living by the light of Christ is to invite confusion and gives Satan power to give us false revelation which we cannot correctly identify.)

The person who is founded upon the rock of revelation from the Holy Ghost, and is surrounded by the additions of authority, reason, experience, pragmatism, science, and scholarship has built his own secure redoubt which can be the foundation of an eternal life and an eternal kingdom. It is a prize greatly to be desired, and one within the grasp of every child of God on this earth.

It is good to know. But it is better to know that we know.

Chauncey Riddle is a professor emeritus of Philosophy 

Posted in Epistemology, Philosophy, This People Magazine | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Language Transactions in Covenant and Contract

Chauncey Cazier Riddle

Proceedings
of the
Deseret Language
and Linguistics Society
1993 Symposium

Brigham Young University
1-2 April 1993

I. Introduction

Language Transactions in Covenant and Contract - by Chauncey Riddle - Printed in the Proceedings of the Deseret Language and Linguistics society 1993 symposium

Language Transactions in Covenant and Contract - by Chauncey Riddle - Printed in the Proceedings of the Deseret Language and Linguistics society 1993 symposium


Two fundamental ideas form the frame of this paper. First human beings have four kinds of language ability. They have language of heart, mind, strength and might. Language of heart is that of desire, for human beings do what they desire to do. Heart language is the fundamental expression of the hu­man being, and all other human languages are but translations of the heart language. Could one read the heart language of a person, one would under­stand the person completely. Mind language is the ideas of the person, the concept/event sequences of the imagination. Mind language forms the con­text in which the person functions and desires: The beliefs of the person form a world in which the person lives, moves and has being, and which pro­vides the alternatives among which the heart makes choices in desiring. Mind language is the first translation from heart once desires have been fanned, as the desires are given concrete expecta­tion by the mind upon their being settled upon by the heart. Strength languages are the actions of the human body which express the desires (heart) and intentions (mind) of the person. These strength languages may be any kind of natural bodily action from crying, dancing, and woodcarv­ing through instrumental languages such as paint­ing and music, to sophisticated utterances in the human verbal languages such as English or com­puterese. Might languages are the resultant effect of the heart, mind and strength languages of the person, and range from the very personal, such as the effect of one’s accent on others, to the movements of an army or navy according to instruc­tions from the commanding officer. All that human beings do or can do is exhausted in these four kinds of languages of heart, mind, strength and might.

The second fundamental framing idea of this paper is that human beings are what they do. Each is the sum total of the expressions each makes in the four kinds of language power which each pos­sesses. Another way to say this is that the person is the sum of his or her linguistic powers which are used to result in effects upon the remainder of the universe. (In this stipulation, potential is not real; it is taken to be an imagination of what might be or might have been, but is not reality. Only the actual is real.)

The importance of these two framing ideas is that the most important thing about any human being is that person’s language transactions, and the fundamental language transactions are those of heart, mind, strength and might. These two framing ideas are the basis of human covenant and contract, alike. We shall now turn to an analysis of contract and covenant in these terms.

II. Contract

Civil governments are created by men to ease the power struggle of the jungle. What civil gov­ernment does is to assume a monopoly on might language which involves the use of force, and grants civil rights in the place of the use of brute force, reserving brute force to itself. Individuals are cre­ated by civil government as that government grants a person individual rights and recognizes the re­sidual powers of the individual to act apart from those rights. A driver’s license gives one the right to direct an automobile on the highways, and the right of free speech enables one to use his powers to communicate with others in verbal and other languages. Arrest and incarceration are denials of the right to come and go, and capital punishment is the denial of the right to exist. So if one citizen injures another using brute force, the injured party has no right to retaliate in kind, but has the right to plead with the government in a civil proceeding to get it to punish the offender. If the government decides chat the offender is indeed guilty, the gov­ernment then proceeds to use its brute force to ex­act whatever penalty it deems appropriate from the offender. When other language transactions fail governments also relate to one another using brute force, which is war. Thus civil governments create individuals by granting them rights to act.

One of the special rights civil governments grant is the right to exchange rights between indi­viduals. Rights to exchange rights are the laws of contracts. But the rights to contracts are complex rights which must be based on other rights previ­ously granted to the individuals it recognizes. The rights granted by civil governments which are nec­essary to entering into contracts are; The right to have and to exchange information. The right to perform and exchange services. The right to own and to exchange goods. And rights to redress (remedy) in the case of wrongful exchange. Contractual arrangements flourish only among equals: Equals in the jungle can successfully barter) but only persons created equal before the law can successfully contract. Unequals cannot usually contract because one will dominate the other and there is no remedy for wrongful exchange.

The environment conducive to contract is one of free exchange of information where each party is aware of his or her own rights and the rights of all others. In such a situation, an individual may perceive a right that another person has and desire it. The individual with the desire contacts the person who has the right he or she desires and works out an agreement whereby each will give up a right to gain a right which each desires. Thus I may have a right to have my earnings saved in a bank I see another person who has a right to a certain piece of property. I desire that property and arrange to exchange my right to my money for the right to own that property if the other party is willing.

The essentials of a good contract are as follows:

  1. There must be a meeting of the minds. Each party must understand its own and the other party’s rights and what is being agreed upon by way of exchange of rights. This is mind language. Human beings are not ordinarily mind readers, so a meeting of the minds is stipulated in careful legalese colloquial strength language. But the necessity of the part mind language plays in the contract is explicitly recognized by the law.
  2. Performance. Each part must use its present powers upon terms the contract. This is ­strength language, both verbal and non-verbal. The role of strength language in the execution of a contract is explicitly recognized by the law.
  3. Consideration. Each party must suffer a detriment, or loss of a right or rights, which is called “consideration.” The point of detriment is of course to gain desired rights. But it is detriment or consideration which makes a contract and separates a contract from the bestowal of a gift. Consideration is might language in contract transactions.

In theory, a contract is entered into by each party because it is pleased with the opportunity to gain a right that it does not now possess and to do so at a tolerable cost (detriment). Should either party not be pleased after the execution of the contract, then either party may seek redress or remedy before the civil government. The civil government will examine the transaction first to see if there was a valid contract involving a free exchange of information (no deception) and a meeting of the minds about rights actually possessed by each party. Should the contract be clearly sound, then the per­formance and execution will be examined to see if those transactions have been fulfilled according to the agreements of the contract, to see if the con­sideration or detriment suffered by each party was appropriate.

It is also part of the theory that government is the equivalent of omniscient and omnipotent, and that it is just in its rendering of judgments. Un­scrupulous persons often try to seize the reins of government so that they can redress their favorites and punish their enemies using the government monopoly on force. Checks, balances and review procedures mitigate the abuse of power by govern­ment officials, bur only when the unscrupulous are in the minority. The failure of the government re­dress of aborted contractual relationships is a re­turn to the law of the jungle.

Governments are set up by brute force and fall by brute force. Governments and contractual obli­gations are adequate only when a majority of the people who give power to the government are them­selves just and recognize that there are principles of governance which do not derive from brute force but which must be upheld by brute force. These principles which brute force must uphold are the recognition that every human being must be equal before the law and must be protected in his or her rights.

Thus contract is civilized barter, and it affords complicated cooperation which the barter of the law of the jungle cannot enable.

III. The New and Everlasting Covenant.

The New and Everlasting Covenant of the Re­stored Gospel of Jesus Christ is taken here as the paradigm covenant because it was the original cov­enant, it preceded all civil government in the time of Adam and therefore preceded all contractual ar­rangements, and because it is the model upon which all other covenants and contracts are based.

Mankind exists because God created men in his own image, male and female. An individual is defined and created by God in the gifts and power given to that individual, spiritual and physical. What the individual does with those gifts and those is the self-defining acts of the person, mak­ing himself or herself something out of the oppor­tunity which God has given each.

To every person God initially gives heart, mind strength and might, those vastly varying in quality and quantity. As the individual uses those gifts and powers in defining himself or herself, each pre­pares for an eternal reward of what each has cho­sen to become. It is God’s announced desire to share all that he has with each of his children, to make them equal with himself. God is limited in what he can do and share with each person by that person’s choices in mortality. Those who choose to be just and to develop all the gifts and powers from God can receive a fullness from God. Those who choose to be unjust and to use the evil gifts and powers of the adversary limit themselves to an eter­nity of damnation. The Gospel of Jesus Christ pro­claims the mediation available for all who have sinned or erred, allowing them to change or repent through Christ to achieve the character, the use of the gifts and powers of God, which they truly desire.

Thus all men are free, subject to their own de­sires, except as they are limited by their ignorance. by the law of the jungle or by civil government. Each may make language transactions with heart, mind, strength and might unto the fulfillment of desire. With heart and mind man speaks to and re­ceives from God. With strength and might man speaks to and receives from mankind and from na­ture. But the categories are not right. The languages of heart and mind affect men and nature as well as God, and the languages of strength and might speak to God even as do the heart and mind of the person.

The Gospel of Jesus Christ is that men may learn to communicate with their heart, might, mind, and strength in a perfect way, even as Christ does. The change which enables such communica­tion comes only by the bestowal of the power of God in me ordinances of the Restored Gospel. The actual bestowal of that godly power to surpass human ability comes only through covenant, the New and Everlasting Covenant.

There are certain requirements which must precede the making of the New and Everlasting Covenant. First, the person must understand the difference between good and evil. Good is the righ­teousness of God, and evil is anything which deviates from the righteousness of God. To every person who enters this world, the light of Christ is given that each might know the righteousness of God. Also to every person who enters the world, the power of Saran is manifest to give each ample opportunity to know evil firsthand. Secondly, the person must understand the Gospel of Jesus Christ. The essence of the Gospel is that each human be­ing can be rescued both from doing evil and from the effects of having done evil by accepting Jesus Christ as their new father and learning to keep all of his instructions. Thirdly, the person must have a desire to accept the Gospel and become a new creature in Christ through the 1aws and ordinances of the Gospel.

The New and Everlasting Covenant is an agree­ment between God and an individual to exchange powers and services, not rights, as in the case of contract. The covenant is a relationship between unequals, and the law of me jungle obtains, for man is nothing when compared to God. But the mighty one in this case is benevolent. God desires only the welfare of the individual, and will never use or abuse him or her to his own ends. There is no third party to give remedy or redress. But there is a third party: Satan. He gives no redress but does offer a counterfeit covenant. Each human being is free to covenant either with God or with Satan, and some choose one, some, or the other, according to their own desires for men are free. Too late will each indi­vidual who covenants with Satan learn that Satan only covenants to use or to abuse the individual. giving each a momentary benefit in exchange for an eternity of misery. But no one is eternally trapped by the covenant of Satan except those who have known and deliberately rejected the New and Everlasting Covenant.

The language transactions necessary to the New and Everlasting Covenant are as follows:

  1. Mind. Man is to give up pride (self-sufficiency, enmity toward God) and to acknowledge God as me only source of good. He must accept Jesus Christ as his Savior and keep every commandment which Christ gives to him. Only those who already know good from evil and desire to choose me good can accept the covenant with their minds and communicate this to God.
  2. Heart. Man desires to give up evil (selfishness), and God begins to purify the heart of the individual, giving each pure desires (for righteousness only). If a person is wilting to desire only the pure desires from God, the person can receive a new heart which no longer desires any evil. The person can speak the language of the pure love of Christ, which me scriptures call “charity.”
  3. Strength. Men desire to give up all actions to feather their own nests, rather desiring to work for the good of all as God directs. So far this is heart and mind language only. It becomes strength language when the person actually does me good works which God enjoins, wearing and wasting his or her human life away in the cause of godliness. God gives gifts and power to each person so that each can do the good that he directs and do it skillfully.
  4. Might. Men give up possessiveness and the use of their power to take advantage of other persons. Rather they put all they command at the service of God, that good might be done for everyone around the person as God directs. Men and women who use their might language this way in the covenant become heirs of all that God possesses, which is to say that they, too, will eventually be almighty.

God fulfills his part of the covenant perfectly. He speaks to each participant in the covenant in languages of heart, might, mind and strength, enabling the human being to become conversant in the righteous use of the languages of heart. might, mind and strength unto the day of perfection, when every language transaction of the former human is now the perfect communication of a goodly, godly person, a saint, one who is a joint-heir with Christ of all that Famer has. No one who enters the cov­enant for the right reasons and pursues it accord­ing to instructions is ever disappointed. Only those who wish to retain a certain portion of evil as they serve God find fault with the communications of God.

Those who find fault with God may tum to civil government for redress, but in vain, for govern­ments of men can only redress the rights which they create in the first place. No human government can remedy any unhappiness a human being has with God. The fault-finding human can turn to Satan, who will assure him that he is in the right, that God is unjust, and who will give the person some worldly advantage to ease his distress. But the easing comes with the price of eternal captivity for those who actually know and have tasted of the goodness of Christ.

IV. Conclusions: Language transaction differ­ences between contract and the New and Everlasting Covenant.

  1. Contracts are always entered into and executed on the basis of inexact human strength and might languages; remedy always involves inexact interpretation of those same inexact transactions by a third human party. New and Everlasting Covenant transactions are always conducted in all four kinds of language simultaneously and accurately: heart, mind, strength and might. The first two kinds of language transaction provide the opportunity for precise meeting of the hearts and minds, that de­sires and understandings might be exact and commensurate. A person does not gain a fullness of the covenant at first, but learns step by step, grace for grace, what is required. As a person takes each new step he or she is shown greater understanding is given to go one step beyond the present faithfulness. Strength Language is part of the New and Everlasting Covenant as a witness in case of the default of the human participant. No participant is held for anything he or she did not understand; but until there is understanding, there is no possibility of faith sufficient unto the great blessings for which the New and Everlasting Covenant is administered. The covenant is entered into and executed first and foremost in heart language, but only after the mind language has brought appreciation of what God requires.
  2. The essence of contract is consideration, enhancing the might of the parties to the contract by goods and/or services. The essence of the covenant transaction is heart, God sharing his pure heart with the human participant.  Contract functions to change what a person controls so that both parties may fulfill their desires. The covenant functions to change what the person desires so that enlargement of what the person controls will not increase the evil in the universe.
  3. The Language transactions of contract leave the parties unequal, even though they might be considered by the law which governs the contract to be equal. The transactions of the New and Ever­lasting Covenant bring men to the stature of a god, making men first the children of God, then equal with Christ in every aspect of character.
  4. The language transactions of contract are finite in time, space, and material consideration, and have no meaning when men are dead. The lan­guage transactions of the New and Everlasting Cov­enant are infinite in time, space and material consideration, pertaining both to this life and to eternity.
  5. The transactions of contract make men of ill will into enemies, because, to the evil, their fair share is never enough. The transactions of the New and Everlasting Covenant enable the participants to become brothers and sisters to every human be­ing, to love and serve every one through the name and power of God, the good and the evil among men alike.
  6. The remedy for improper transactions of contract is not only insistence on performance but also punitive penalty. Redress for improper transactions by men in the New and Everlasting Covenant may be punitive, but only to gain the attention of the erring person. When the person repents and re­makes the covenant, the improper transactions are swallowed up in Christ, through his atonement.
  7. Contract needs to have all four kinds of lan­guage transactions, even though it does not have them. Heart language would assure bargaining in good faith. Mind language would assure perfect understanding of the circumstances and agreements of the contract, a true “meeting of the minds.” Strength language would be technical and exact, forming a proper record of the agreement and as­suring accurate performance. Might language would be the resultant order and power in the world envisioned by the making of the contract. But con­tract actually only enjoys strength and might language functions. It is therefore very imperfect compared to the New and Everlasting Covenant.
  8. Contract is the human counterfeit of the Covenant. Contract serves human beings fairly well in a fallen world to achieve worldly goals, but only when the participants are men of good will who abide the light of Christ are contracts mutually beneficial and enforceable. Where men are wholly given to evil, contract fails and only the law of the jungle prevails. But humans can enjoy the New and Everlasting Covenant either in the jungle or in a civilized nation of law and order. The covenant does not depend upon fortunate environment.
  9. In Zion and in heaven, the covenant will wholly replace contract. For men and women will gain all they need from celestial sources, not need­ing anything from the non-celestial portion of their environment except the opportunity to administer the gifts and blessings of God, which opportunity he gives. Contract is at best terrestrial, a shield to protect good men from unscrupulous men. The cov­enant is celestial, when good men draw strength from God and minister to all the rest of mankind. Telestial and perdition-type persons use contract as a sword, to defraud their fellowmen, rather than as the shield for which it was intended.
  10. Thus, the only sure and fully satisfying lan­guage transactions between men and men or be­tween men and God are the transactions of the New and Everlasting Covenant. All other language transactions will ultimately fail because the heart and mind transactions are insufficient to the per­formance required for unending relationships. Mar­riage by contract is an endurance contest. Only marriage in the covenant has the hope of perfect­ing the participants so that they could stand to be with each other all of the time and cooperate in all matters unto eternal happiness.

Chauncey C. Riddle graduated from Brigham Young University in 1947 with a major in mathematics. He obtained an M.A. and a PhD in philosophy from Columbia University in 1951 and 1958 respectively. He taught at Brigham Young University from 1952 through 1992.

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Creating Zion

March 9th, 1993
Educators Conference, BYU
Third Annual Laying the Foundations Symposium

Chauncey C. Riddle

I see the place of BYU in Zion to be a bridge between the world and the kingdom of God

Seventeen years ago I produced a piece entitled `A BYU for Zion‘. In preparation for this conference I wrote another version of that talk. Both of them missed the point.

They missed because in each case I approached the problem by trying to specify the institutional results which would be seen in a BYU for Zion. All those questions could be interesting, what is more needed is an understanding of just how we (you and I) can go about creating this Zion for which we hope.

The creation of Zion is not accomplished by reorganizing institutions. It is done only by individual persons who reorganize themselves in and through our Savior. The personal self-reorganization requisite for the establishment of Zion is known either as education or repentance depending on how you look at it.

It cannot be done by training, that is to say, imposed by one person on another. But an individual can learn and bring himself or herself through the requisite changes. We call it education when we discuss the human changes from the secular point of view. We call it repentance when we remember that human power cannot create Zion; that it is yielding to and using the gifts and power of God that makes Zion a reality. In other words, human education is never complete without divine assistance.

The beginning of repentance is familiar to all who know the Restored Gospel of Jesus Christ. The prerequisite of such repentance is the hearing and understanding of the Gospel message. Repentance is the response which places hope and trust in Jesus Christ, which is faith; turns away from known sinning, the beginning of repentance; seeks the covenant of baptism, and actually receives the Holy Ghost after the laying on of hands.

That beginning, wonderful as it is, will not establish Zion. What yet remains is the fifth item of the Gospel message; enduring to the end. When an individual endures to the end, an individual is fit to be an inhabitant of Zion. When a group of individuals has endured to the end, they are Zion. And the place of Zion is wherever they are.

I do not know what the required critical mass of individuals who have endured to the end is. But I suspect that it is a relatively small number. What we described in the telling of the establishment of Zion is what it means to endure to the end.

There are several simple ways to denote the condition of having endured to the end: `Life eternal’, `attaining the measure of the stature of the fullness of christ’, `receiving the second comforter’, `having your calling and election made sure’, `having the day-star rise in your hearts’, are all ways in which the scriptures indicate you attain that condition. What we need for our purposes is a further breakdown of that condition into more understandable pieces.

We shall to attempt to break that state into four parts. Hopefully, better to understand. Then we will show how these four parts will affect a BYU in Zion, thus fulfilling the promise of this hour.

But first a caveat. In what follows we will be discussing human perfection. Many persons find such discussions discouraging, because they cannot see any possibility of attaining such ideal states for themselves. I understand such discouragement. This discussion has as it’s goal encouragement.

I deem the difference between the discouragement and the encouragement to hinge on the simple notion of how perfection is to be attained. Those who think they have to do it all immediately and by their own power will find these ideas discouraging. Those who see that what we are talking about is attained only gradually, that it is done only by the power of God, and that every human being who will be sufficiently humble before God can and will do it eventually should be encouraged.

It is encouraging to know what the Lord has in store for the faithful. But I admit there is a hopelessness that necessarily accrues when one has tried to obtain revelation and has failed or has been fooled by the adversary. It seems that only the stout-hearted, those who are willing to fall on their face and to try again, can profit.

But now to the four parts of enduring to the end. We shall describe one who has endured to the end, the perfected state. The requisite of the `end’, is to have a pure heart. Only then can one love with a pure love. And be able to fulfill the Lord’s injunction to love Him with all of our heart, might, mind and strength.

To love purely is to be wholly concerned about the welfare of those around us. And minimally concerned about our own welfare. It enables the person to trust in God completely, to have a fullness of faith. It enables the person to make any necessary sacrifice. It fulfills all of the wondrous attributes enumerated by Paul in First Corinthians Thirteen.

God is love. To have a heart that has been stripped of all pride and selfishness is to be able to love as God loves. This is the fundamental aspect of being as God is.

But how does one become pure in heart? That kind of a heart is a gift from God. He will give it to all who seek it according to his instructions. What we must first have is an honest heart. A heart that admits that it is not pure. An honest heart will acknowledge the whisperings of the Holy Spirit and will come down in the depths of humility when it encounters Christ and His Holy Spirit.

The honest heart will enter in at the Gate and follow the straight and narrow path to the end, as Jesus did. After the honest heart has done all that it can do, our Savior does the rest and gives the person a new heart. Then they can no longer look upon sin with the least degree of allowance. Their being has been changed, they are new creatures in Christ, heirs of all that he has and is. They will be exalted eventually. And meanwhile, they will learn enough, and be able to do enough, to live in Zion.

What if the person is not honest in heart? I don’t know the answer to this question. But I suppose that these are they that cannot inhabit Zion or the Celestial Kingdom. But then I don’t know who the Lord can save and who He cannot. I suppose we can find out about ourselves and our own possibility of salvation, and will find out by this mortal experience, and that’s all that is really necessary.

The mark of one who is pure in heart is that they are easy to be entreated and to be persuaded by our Savior or his servants. And they are without guile. Their conscience is strong, their ear is attuned to the whisperings of the Holy Spirit. Anything of Christ which they encounter is beautiful to them. Thus, every human being, is beautiful to them. As is every truth, every piece of true wisdom, every noble life striving. They are entreated by the Holy Spirit to lay hold of every good thing in and through Christ.

The second characteristic of one who has endured to the end is that they operate on the basis of pure knowledge. While they will be aware of the traditions and fabrications of men, the knowledge base on which they act and understand is wholly given of God. They have searched his ways and know his mysteries, the hidden things of the kingdom of God, the things of nature, and the history and future of the earth. Because each is a prophet and seer in his or her own right. Each has access to everything necessary for their stewardship pertaining this world. This pure knowledge is learned principally by vision, and in doing. Rather than going through language, the child of Christ sees the creation of the earth, and ancient doings of men, sees the future and it’s interaction of heaven and earth. The secret acts of men are known in every age on a need-to-know basis. Knowing how to do things is gained by instruction from mentors beyond the veil who are masters of the technique in question. Pure knowledge will go far beyond the present dreams of men, surpassing those horizons of science fiction, under the truer reality of things.

It is possible, I suppose, that the human being may approach omniscience concerning the things of this earth. The means to this pure knowledge is revelation. That can and will come only to those who have qualified for the pure heart. It is necessary to become good before one can become knowledgeable. And when one has become good and knowledgeable, only then can revelation make them truly wise. They will not only understand all things, but will be able to know and to do whatsoever is necessary to solve every problem they encounter, as God wills.

The mark of one who possesses pure knowledge is a complete unwillingness to contend about anything, and a reticence to speak except as moved upon by the Holy Ghost. Wise in counsel and penetrating in insight; the possessor of true knowledge is quite aware that the ordinary human being can and will receive little of what he has to say, being caught up in the traditions and fables of the cultures of mankind. But such an one is ever ready to bare humble witness of Christ, and of the goodness of God. And will explain the fundamentals of the Restored Gospel to anyone and everyone with delight. For they know that everyone must come unto Christ as a little child to get a solid grasp on how to solve human problems.

The solving of problems is the third aspect of having endured to the end. The standard involved here is that the person does all that they do in the name of Jesus Christ. I understand this to mean that anything and everything that a person does will be done under the direction and the permission of Jesus Christ and by his power in and through the holy Aaronic and Melchizedek Priesthoods.

Things of a temporal order and matters relating to those who are not of the Kingdom of God will be conducted under the auspices of the Aaronic Priesthood. Matters of a spiritual nature, and especially those having ramifications into eternity will be conducted under the ordinance and orders of the Melchizedek Priesthood. Those who bear and act under this priesthood will act in no other way, or under no other power, having been drawn up into this holy order of God they will never step out of it to conduct any conversation, business, or interaction by any other power. They will always be servants of God, acting in His authority, and by His power, in every act of their daily life.

The fact that they are acting in the priesthood of God in all things may not always be known to those humans with whom they interact, that is, they will not always announce their authority and mission. But every act of their lives will be an act done by authority, and as part of their mission. Having relinquished their own heart and desires, it is now the fierce desire of their pure hearts and minds to serve the true and living God in every act unto the fulfilling of His divine purpose of the power of love in the earth. The priesthood of God is their only might, and they wield it mightily unto the fulfillment of all of Father’s plans for His children.

The ramifications of acting on this priesthood platform from which all things are done, are many. Now the person will pray, speak, and communicate only in the Lord. Everything they say to anyone will be given them by the Holy Spirit unto edification of all concerned. They will not take pleasure or nourishment or award or praise, except as it is good in Father’s eyes and can be done in holiness and as a bearer of the priesthood. They will not amuse themselves with the diversions of men, but will be wholly concerned to bring others to know Father and the goodness of His love. They will teach or preach only that portion of the truth which will help their hearers to come to God.

The scriptures bear succinct witness as to how the servant of God uses the Holy Priesthood:
”No power or influence can or ought to be maintained by virtue of the priesthood, only by persuasion, by long-suffering, by gentleness and meekness, and by love unfeigned. By kindness and pure knowledge, which shall greatly enlarge the soul, without hypocrisy and without guile.”

The mark of those who are in this mode is that their purposes fail not. Whatever they are sent by God to do, they do (unless the agency of others who are not disobedient to God is involved.) Abinadi was sent to witness to King Noah and to his priests. He could not be stopped from delivering his witness. But most of them did not accept, for there their agency was involved.

Satan is the foe of all righteousness, and especially of Zion. He is a worthy adversary, for he searches every personal and organizational weakness to destroy the work of God. As the saints of God attempt to purify their faith, so that Zion may be established, Satan assures that the effort does not go off half-cocked. When Zion is established, it is done by power; by priesthood power, by the united efforts of persons who are pure in heart, full of the pure knowledge of God and who use the power of the Savior’s priesthood without hypocrisy and without guile; Satan notwithstanding.

Satan then bears witness that the servants of Christ have finally escaped his power through their faithfulness.

The final and fourth aspect of enduring to the end is that each of those servants of Christ who thus endure is renewed in the flesh. No power of man nor prerogative of Satan can then be wielded against their person successfully, except as it fulfills Father’s purposes. Even as the Savior could not be stopped from fulfilling his mission, even so the faithful servants of Christ cannot be prevented from doing what they are sent to do. And even as Christ voluntarily gave His life on the cross, so each faithful servant will voluntarily give his or her life when the appropriate time comes. Thus the strength of the person becomes godly; wholly of the order of God, thus able to fulfill all of God’s commands on this earth.

This fourth aspect of enduring to the end seems almost incidental, because it follows from the other three without much attention needing to be paid to it.

The personal struggle of each of us is to gain a pure heart. To search out the pure knowledge, and to strive to do all things in the name of Christ. Then our Savior will strengthen our mortal tabernacles in the manner and to the degree which is requisite for our earthly mission without great effort on our part, or so it seems. Those who are faithful, are concerned about their physical tabernacles. They pay close attention to the commandments of God as in the Word of Wisdom. They strive to govern their own body and make it subject to the will of God. But this personal struggle for control of the flesh is not the great focus of their endeavor. It is there, but is unobtrusive. For the great emphasis is on struggling to love God, and neighbor, with all of one’s heart, might, mind, and strength.

The mark of one who is renewed in the flesh is their countenance shines with the image of Christ. They radiate the love of God unto all. Where some persons are of a dark countenance; they are of a shining countenance. Their whole body is full of light, and their eyes are especially radiant with this light. To be in their presence is to feel the power and majesty of God emanating from their person.

Now, having been perfected as a human being in heart, might, mind, and strength, the person can truly love God with all heart, might, mind, and strength. Thus the person will have fulfilled the law of God as pertains to mortality. They are not yet exalted, for they have only attained to the fullness of God as pertains to this earthly sphere. But having done this there is nothing which will or can bar them from progressing to the fullness of what Father is and has in eternity. Their exaltation is assured.

Now you say this may sound wonderful, but has anyone ever done it? Is not this so far beyond the possibilities for a human being that you are telling us fairy tales? I plead that this is only what the Spirit teaches me. Which spirit it is that I listen to you must judge for yourself. I understand that this is the state to which all the ancient Patriarchs and their wives came. As also everyone who has inhabited one of the many Zions. As also those who have been translated in any dispensation. It is the state to which John the Beloved, and the Three Nephites came. It is the blessed and happy state to which everyone who has become a saint may aspire.

To become a saint is to have entered in through the gate of faith, repentance, baptism and receiving the Holy Ghost, and having received a forgiveness of sins. To endure to the end is to go on from the gate as a little child in Christ, submitting to Father’s will in all things, until the education (or repentance) is complete. Until one has come to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ. I plead that what I have said is the burden of the scriptures, and the temple, for me.

I understand that to become exalted is to go beyond the state that we have described until one is knowledgeable about and has mastered all the kingdoms of the universe. What we have been describing as `enduring to the end’ is becoming perfect in the sphere of this earth. And that to become exalted is to become perfect in the sphere of the universe. It is plain that one who has not become perfect in the sphere of this earth can never become perfect in the sphere of the universe.

Now let us say how all of these things relate to a BYU in Zion. It seems plain to me that BYU will not be used by Father to assist people in enduring to the end. The specific institution established for doing that is His Holy Temple. And BYU cannot, nor will attempt to take the place of the temple. But, of course, BYU will have in it’s community, if it is in Zion, people who have endured to the end. Having thus repented, they can then encourage others to repent.

I see the place of BYU in Zion to be a bridge between the world and the kingdom of God. It will become a center of truth and ability which surpasses every other institution in the world which is not related to the Church. It will be a light from Christ to all the world to teach the world how to live in harmony, peace, prosperity, and technical benevolence. It will help those who will not accept the restored gospel of Christ to profit from the other blessings of Christ. Through this means, many will be brought to Christ, and will enter in at the narrow way.

The scriptures tell us that all nations will come to Zion, accept the Gospel, and find in the Holy Temples the knowledge and power to endure to the end. Some will come to Zion because they are spiritual, but there may be some who are of a more intellectual type who will be attracted to the work of the Lord through a BYU. They might be honest in heart enough to recognize the intellectual superiority of an institution filled with the servants of God. And be caused to turn to spirituality as they become curious as to the cause of this intellectual superiority.

It is noteworthy that God today has spread His intellectual gifts among all nations and peoples. The members of His church do not enjoy noteworthy superiority over peoples in contributing to art, technology, science, etcetera. But the members of this Church will and must enjoy such a superiority if they are Zion.

The purpose of my message today is the hope that by understanding how to be a worthy participant of Zion, we each individually may be moved to do what is necessary to come closer to that goal. Even now there are doubtless some in our midst who already qualify. What remains is for more of ourselves to humble ourselves until we have attained, as a group, the critical mass.

So, though the place of BYU in Zion, as I see it, is not ultimate. It will be of great service to all mankind. At this BYU, the good things given by Christ unto every kindred and nation, and people, will be sought out and treasured. Then, as people come from those nations to BYU, they will see and recognize that which was already familiar to them in their own culture. They will then see that Father has given good things to every culture. And as they desire more and more of the good things of God, they will eventually want to come in to the New and Everlasting Covenant, that they may receive all good things at the hand of Christ, through the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints and through the Temples.

Thus, I see the place of BYU in Zion as a bridge by which all mankind will find it easier to come to the Kingdom of God and to His Christ. BYU will become a facilitator to those of academic bent who are willing to recognize the things of God. And that is a good place. That place is not to be the master of the Church, but rather the servant of the Church, even as the persons who administer and teach therein will be the humble servants of Christ.

Well now, we have few minutes for questions if you have any questions. We’ll even try answers.

Q- The question is, what about the servants of Christ not following the diversions of men.

Well, I could mention enough things to touch everyone’s pet diversion I guess, but I think of most of the movies and TV programs that we see are not particularly edifying. While it is necessary for a servant of God to be aware of the culture of the world, it is not necessary to drown in it. And so I think that the servant of God will find better things to do with his time than to sit comfortably before the TV taking it in every night, for instance.

The brethren have recently spoken about watching athletic events on Sunday. Now that is a terrestrial kind of injunction to a people who are not very apt in the things of God. It is too bad we had to be told that. But we did. And we might take a cue from that as to some other things that we might do that will lead us in a godly direction.

Q- Could you use the man Brigham Young as a case study of enduring to the end?

Could I use the man Brigham Young as a case study. I’m not sure what you are suggesting, but I suspect that if Brigham Young had enough Brigham Youngs around him he would have had Zion. He tried very hard. So far as I can tell he did very well. He was a man of great vision and great wisdom. He sought diligently to encourage the Saints to let go of their petty selfishness and become Zion.

But he couldn’t get them to do it. Even as Joseph hadn’t been able to. Even as Spencer was unable. Even as Ezra has been unable. We don’t have Zion yet. I’m not really as negative as that sounds. Now my suspicion is that these prophets of God have succeeded sufficiently that if you were to go all over the Church and take out all of the people who really live the Gospel and put them in one ward you would have Zion in that one ward. But then the rest of the Church would fall apart.

So I think in His wisdom, God does not worry so much about the establishment of Zion as He does about getting people everywhere to draw a little closer. The invitation of the Church is to come unto Christ. Some want to come one step, some want to come all the way. Anything people do in coming closer to Christ, is good. And the work of Christ in every ward and stake of the Church is to get people to take any step they will take.

However, we will not have Zion, and we will not have the power of Zion, until enough people take many steps and come together. There is a strength in unity in the priesthood, that cannot be broken by anything of this world. When we get groups of people gathering together, and praying for certain things, in the name of Jesus Christ, that is to say, in the power of His priesthood, great things happen.

My own personal suspicion is, that the reason we have seen interesting changes in the Church in the last thirty years, is because of that very fact. Righteous people have implored Father for certain things, and have been granted them. And as that process continues, more and more things will come. And the Kingdom will come closer and closer to what it should be.

Q- The question relates to Zion being the place where the pure in heart are.

May I tell you that my thinking shifts a little bit from the way you have stated the question. In my thinking, Zion is the people, and not the place. Zion is the people who are pure in heart. And wherever they happen to be, that is Zion. Zion can be plucked up and moved. You don’t create Zion by staking out a territory and doing something to that territory. You do it by having a people who will repent.

Now, I take it that every stake (the word stake means tent peg and Zion is a tent, it’s the pavilion of the Lord) when the stakes get strong enough, then you can pull the tent up. If you try to pull the tent up before the stakes are in firmly, all it does if flop this way and that. You have no tent capacity whatsoever. So, my understanding is that every stake of the Church, is a stake of Zion, and a strength to Zion. And when the stakes fulfill what they have been asked by the brethren to do. Specifically, when the Aaronic and Melchizedek priesthoods in each stake start functioning fully as they should, we will be getting very close to Zion. Then stakes of Zion will be scattered all over the earth.

Now maybe it will be gathered. I don’t know. That is the nice things about stakes, you can pull them up and pound them in somewhere else. You can move the whole thing. And so there may be a gathering yet. I don’t know. That will simply depend on what is good in the sight of God. And the brethren will direct us to do what we should do.

Meanwhile, we are going all over the earth and establishing Zion, trying to establish Zion all over the earth. Because this is what will leaven the whole lump. I hope I answered your question.

Q- Could you talk about what is the meaning of `the end’ in enduring to the end.

My understanding is that `the end’ is to become as Christ. And the purpose of everything in the Church and the Gospel, is to facilitate our coming unto Christ and becoming as He is. And we haven’t endured to the end as long as we’re still sinning, as long as we haven’t taken upon ourselves His heart, His mind, His countenance (His body as it were). And every ordinance in the Church is designed to help us in that process. Particularly, baptism, the sacrament, and the Temple ordinances. Those are the great keys. And if we will receive them for what they are, they bring us in marvelous and mysterious ways into his being.

Yes brother,

Q- President Benson has said that pride is the great stumbling block of Zion. Could you put that statement into the context of what you are talking about?

Oh I think he said even more than that. The question was is pride the stumbling block of Zion? YES! That is the stumbling block of Zion. Pride is the sin. There is no other sin but pride, as it were. Another way to say it is there no other sin but selfishness.

I rejoice in that marvelous talk that President Benson gave, which so far as I’m aware, is the greatest thing that has ever been said on pride in any dispensation that we have record of.

Now, Latter-Day Saints need to take that to heart. Because what stops us from becoming as Christ is our thought that we are already good, that we are already sufficient, that we already know enough, that we are already pure enough, we already have enough priesthood power. And as long as we think that what we are is good enough, that is pride. And the scriptures are very plain, the only stance appropriate to the servant of Christ, is to come down in the depths of humility and admit that we are nothing! The world has a hard time with that idea. To admit that you’re nothing goes against the grain of everything the psychologists (some psychologists) say. But that is the plan of God. And He says it very plainly in the scriptures.

The first thing that He said to the Nephites was that: come down in the depths of humility, or I can’t open to you. As long as you think you’re somebody, or something, I can’t help you. But if you’ll admit you’re nothing, I can give you everything. It is that simple.

So yes, pride is the great stumbling block of Zion. And until you and I stop being proud we just don’t progress. I find it curious, all I have to do is verbally state some good thing that I have done or attained to, and immediately it is taken from me and I fall flat on my face. I don’t know what happens to you, but the Lord takes great pains to show me that I am nothing. And I can’t claim anything of myself. He is inside me, He is the power in me that enables me to any and every good thing that I do. And anything else I do is evil. So, I just have to recognize that. As I do, then I have power to receive strength from Him.

Q- One thing you mentioned in reference to Zion, that great concept that it can be anywhere, can be moved anywhere. In the ninety-seventh section of the Doctrine and Covenants it indicates that Zion, I suppose referring to the center place, “Cannot be moved out of her place.” I guess because of the past experiences at that location.

The question is about Zion being moved out of her place as mentioned in section ninety-seven of the Doctrine and Covenants. I understand that to say the center place of the New Jerusalem will not be moved just because the Saints aren’t faithful enough to build the New Jerusalem yet. Eventually we will get faithful enough, and eventually we will return to that place, and will build the city of Zion. Now the city of Zion is called `Mount Zion’, as I understand it. That’s what will be on the sign posts of the city. But it’s easy to put it on the sign posts, what is tough is to make the city worthy of that appellation. So, hopefully, we can to that.

My understanding is that it was seen long ago, that the place Zion would actually be established, was in the tops of the mountains. And then it will be transported; pulled up and pounded in somewhere else. And my guess is that one of these days, there will be a motion, a movement.

The Savior says, “Where you see the eagles gather, there the carcass is.” So I think we ought to be watching the eagles. Who are the eagles? The brethren.

Yes?

Q- The question, or comment is that in some classes it is difficult to bring up the scriptures and the LDS point of view in things. What should students do about that?

Well, I sympathize with the problem, having faced it many times myself. I recommend to you that you pray for your instructor. Pray for your classmates. Pray that something will happen to change the situation. But I recommend to you that you in your own mind never settle for that. Always in your own mind insist on understanding how what’s being said in that class compares with the gospel. Insist that you see the total picture.

My own feeling is that you cannot see anything in it’s true perspective except by comparison. And you don’t see a true comparison unless you compare it with the best. And the best is the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and the truth that surrounds it. And therefore, in my own teaching, I admit that I cannot teach any other way than to teach in a gospel context. No matter what I’m teaching.

Now when BYU get’s a little closer to Zion, I think that will be more the rule than the exception. I don’t know what the average is now. I don’t know whether it’s the rule or the exception now. But I have found out, that if you want to help somebody, friend or enemy, the way to help them is to pray for them. And the Savior commends that. And if we will all pray for the coming of Zion, I think we can materially advance it’s cause. Because as we pray, Father through the Spirit, will tell us specific things we can, and should, and must do to advance the cause of Zion.

Q- In your bridge analogy, is it a drawbridge, what kind of bridge is it? A wide bridge, a two way bridge?

Well, I kind of think of it as a human chain. One strong person holding on to another strong person, reaching down to a weaker person to pull them to safety. I don’t think that any other analogy will suffice for me. And I think that to pretend to any but a human chain is to miss the point of Zion.

Yes brother.

Q- I understand how you said that BYU could work as a bridge of Zion to bring people unto Christ, people who are interested in more intellectual things. And that Zion in the future will have superiority in art and technology and this sort of thing. Will the role of BYU in that situation be more of a responsibility to teach the students or for the faculty to progress to be the superior people in the field?

My understanding is that there won’t be any more teachers in that day. Everybody will be a student, the teacher will be Christ. And He alone will be the master. Everyone else will be learning, scrambling, trying to come up to His standard. Trying to share all of the good that they have received from Him, recognizing that other people have good things from Him that they don’t have. And so, I think we’d find a quite different social situation, as regards to the relationship between Professor and Student. I don’t think there would be professors in that Zion.

Q- Well, what can we be doing now to progress more towards that state?

What can we be doing now to become that way? I think it’s happening already. I am grateful to say that I have had many wonderful students that taught me a great many things about the things I profess to tell them about. And it’s been a great delight for me to teach at BYU because of this. And I think it’s happening already. This is happening in many classes, in many situations. I think as teachers turn around and face the Savior, and become one with their students instead of looking down on their students, we get a very different situation and a much richer learning environment.

Sister?

Q- You were careful to use the word `person’ and `people’ including men and women in those descriptions that mention all this would be done by the power of the priesthood. Could you explain the role of women in having the power of the priesthood in bringing about Zion?

I am asked to explain the role of women in the priesthood in bringing about Zion. That’s kind of a shortening of what you said but I think carries of the essence of it. Uh, yes, I will stick my neck out. You see, my conception is that many sisters in the Church have the priesthood and wield it very effectively, and very beautifully.

My understanding is that those sisters in the Church who clamor for the priesthood do not know what they are talking about. They have not understood the gifts that they have been given. And therefore, probably, have not received the gift fully. But I think the same thing is true for the brethren. My image of most people I see going to the temple is that they have almost no notion of what is happened to them. Or, potentially could happen to them when they come out. It took me years to figure out the first beginnings of what’s going on. To realize that it is an `endowment’. And to understand what the endowment is and to receive it is a great undertaking. And I don’t conceive anybody enduring to the end who will not study the endowment until they know it backwards and forwards and understand every word in it.

The temple is the means to enduring to the end. It is the power of God which enables one to do so. And men and women are alike in that respect. I do not know this for sure, but I understand that the women in fact, even have an advantage in that respect.

Q- Will I elaborate further on the role of the temple? Well, I have already probably, maybe, said to much, I don’t know.

But, we’re out of time, so let me just conclude by saying; I hope I make it plain, I think that the hope of BYU to become part of Zion is for everybody at BYU to go to the temple and understand what is going on there. And to read the scriptures, and to understand what is going on there. And to listen to the brethren when they speak, and to understand what they are saying. Until we become more apt as pupils, we will not be the BYU that we should be. In other words, we need to become as little children, and be able to be instructed in all things in the way of godliness. And then we can triumph over the enemy, which is simply, ourselves. The enemy is our own pride and the weaknesses which so easily beset us which cause us to flinch before Satan and give in to the desires of the flesh and the honors of man. When we stop doing that I think we’ll be on a great track.

In closing, I’d like to bear you my testimony. I wish I were a better person and could bear you a stronger and better testimony. But the person that I am, I bear you with all my heart, I know that this is the work of Jesus Christ. And that He is good. He is a worthy master. And that you and I will make no sacrifice in His behalf that will not be well worth it. And we will sing His praises forever.

I bear this witness in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

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