I Give Thanks

This is in response to the request by President Russell M. Nelson’s recent plea on November 20, 2020 to #GiveThanks with a daily post to social media for 7 days.

I give thanks #6 - November 29, 2020

Consider the marvel of the planet on which we reside, earth. So delicately balanced for heat and cold, light and darkness, air and water, plants and animals, minerals and soil to provide a wonderful habitat for human probation. All bespeaks the hand of a careful creator, though some prefer to give the credit to blind chance. But thanks be to the gods who put all things in order for our wonderful habitat. Those persons of a spiritual inclination see that appreciation for nature is one form of worshiping that generous God who gave us all this.

What a miracle it is to drop a seed in the ground and have it reliably turn into a tomato plant or a melon vine. What a blessing that sun and rain bless the ground so plentifully in most places. What a blessing that this earth can sustain billions of God’s children and could support many times more people than there are now were it not for selfishness and greed.

Part of our human probation and training for godhood is the opportunity to deal with the delightful earthly environment with which we have been blessed. May we each prove appreciative of this great blessing and strive to leave our physical surroundings better, cleaner, more productive than we found them.

How grateful we should be!

I give thanks #5 - November 28, 2020

Because of the Fall of Adam all accountable humans are in the power of Satan and sin, breaking the commandments of God. Having sinned, we become unclean, and no unclean thing can come back to the presence of our Father in Heaven. Some sin much, some sin little. But we all sin and would be lost forever were it not for our Savior.

But Christ is of sin the double cure: He saves from wrath and makes us pure. He saves those who accept his atonement from the punishment justice demands for their having sinned. And he makes us pure by teaching us to repent, to replace each of our ways of disobedience with coming into the strait and narrow way of righteousness.”Come now, and let us reason together, saith the Lord: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool.” (Isaiah 1: 18)

Could there be a blessing greater than having a Savior? Could there be a human action wiser than giving ourselves to follow our Savior, to become his humble imitators? There is hope for all of us, but only in true faith in Jesus Christ.

I give thanks #4 - November 27, 2020

One of the greatest blessings of being a human is to have a physical body. We are not that body. The real “us” is our eternal intelligence (person) clothed in a spirit body given to us by our Heavenly Father and Heavenly Mother. Our physical body is a temporary “loaner” from our Heavenly Parents to see what we will do with it while it lasts. How we use it determines what kind of physical body we will be rewarded with for the rest of eternity: celestial, terrestrial, telestial, or perdition.

The basic options for use of our mortal human tabernacle are to use it to bless others or to use it strictly for our own imagined pleasures. The first option is called righteousness and the second is called selfishness. Almost all humans try both to see how they feel about each, then settle into a pattern favoring one or the other.

The greatest power our Heavenly parents have given us is to use this physical tabernacle to beget children, to bless other spirits with physical bodies. Satan hates this power because he will never have a physical body and tries to destroy as many human bodies as he can through wars, murders, drug use, celibacy, etc. But his favorite tactic is to entice humans to murder their own children. Anciently he did this by getting his followers to pass their children through fire as a sacrifice to some fictitious god. Today he prevails upon humans to kill their children in the womb, preferably at conception.

Blessed are those humans who choose righteousness and bless others, especially their own children.

I give thanks #3 - November 26, 2020

Father has given his human children two great gifts to guide them away from the grasp of his unfaithful son to be able to follow his faithful son. The first is conscience, the light of Christ which lightens every human being, and which brings to each of us feeling of what is right to do and what is wrong to do. The second is the Holy Ghost which brings to those who accept the light of Christ and try to do what is right a witness that Jesus Christ is the Savior of mankind. If any human accepts Jesus Christ as Savior and makes the covenant to remember and to serve Christ always, then the Holy Ghost will bring to each accepting soul a knowledge of the truth in any matter where the person needs it.

Thus accepting a feeling for righteousness is the first step to salvation from eternal servitude to the unfaithful son. The second step is to accept the witness that Jesus is the appointed Savior of mankind, then to accept Christ through the covenant of baptism, then to follow the Holy Ghost until we gain a new being in the image of Christ himself, full of righteousness and truth.

Oh the graciousness of our Father in giving us these two great gifts to guide our mortality!

I give thanks #2 - November 25, 2020

Because Father so loved his children, he sent his unfaithful son to cause his human children to fall in dying both spiritually and temporally to create a mortal situation. But this fallen condition made each child an agent, the perfect context for each of Father’s children to choose for himself or herself what each would be happiest doing in eternity. The context and agency were made complete when Father also sent his faithful son, the Son of Man (of Holiness), to atone for the sins of all mankind and to bring about the resurrection of each person. And messengers were sent to Adam and Eve and all of their children so that they could know how to be saved from the power of the unfaithful son by committing to and following the faithful son, Jesus Christ. Thus it is that all who love blessing others like the faithful son can become free from the power of the unfaithful son by binding themselves to the faithful son to become like him and by rejecting the messages from the unfaithful son.

That is why I am so grateful for the faithful son, Jesus Christ, and his precious gospel.

I give thanks #1 - November 24, 2020

I am thankful for my Heavenly Father. “Man of Holiness” is his name because he only does that which blesses others. In him there is no selfishness of any kind. His actions are one eternal round of creating and blessing. Because he does no evil and is dependable in doing all the good that can be done, he is trusted by everyone and everything in the universe that is not satanic. All the elements of the universe obey and worship him because of his goodness. This gives him great power to bless. He became a God by choosing righteousness over evil. And he blesses all of his children with that same opportunity.

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The Role of Canonized Scripture in our Lives - NEW

Message for November 2020 - Nov 8, 2020
by Chauncey C Riddle

Keeping in mind the fact that every human being gives canonized scripture a personal role of their own choosing, I speak here of one possible role it could play for any individual who desires to let it play such a role. So here goes my opinion:

Canonized scripture is writing declared by living prophets to be the word of the Lord as voted upon and accepted by a constituent body of disciples of Christ. In more specific terms, it is a piece of writing which is proposed by the President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to be accepted by the members of that church as the word of the Lord Jesus Christ in a vote taken in general conference. An example of such canonizing in the life-time of many of us was the proposal that the revelation on the work of the Savior during the time between his death and his resurrection received in October 1918 by President Joseph F. Smith be accepted as scripture and be added to the Doctrine and Covenants. Those attending the conference where this proposal was made were considered a constituent body, and after their acceptance, that writing was added to the Doctrine and Covenants as Section 138.

The primary role of canonized scripture, I believe, is to provide training materials for members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to help them receive the constant companionship of the Holy Ghost. When persons are accepted as members of this church by baptism and confirmation, it is said to them in the confirmation: “Receive the Holy Ghost.” That phrase is not stating a fact. It is rather a command, telling the person that they are now charged with receiving the presence and guidance of the Holy Ghost in their lives. The ultimate fulfillment of that command is to gain the constant companionship of the Holy Ghost. Whenever one has the presence of the Holy Ghost with them, they are forgiven of their sins.

How does canonized scripture fulfill this role? It can do its job best only if the person is reading that scripture for the right reason. The best reason is to be hungering and thirsting for righteousness. Righteousness is blessing others. So if a person reads or hears the scriptures to learn how to treat their neighbor better, their reading will be maximally profitable. They will have the best opportunity to feel the Holy Spirit as it moves upon them to do some specific act in being honest, true, chaste, benevolent, and doing good to all men. “Blessed are they who do hunger and thirst after righteousness, for they will be filled with the Holy Ghost.” (3 Nephi 12:6)

The person who is thus reading scripture for the right reason and is feeling the presence, promptings and guidance of the Holy Ghost, they need now to take a most important and essential additional step: They need to learn carefully, memorize, exactly how it feels to be prompted by the Holy Ghost. They need to fix that power to identify in their hearts and minds so that ever after they will never be confused as to which influence they are listening to. There are four potential sources for any idea or prompting. First, promptings generated by the self, the person. Second, promptings generated by communication with other human beings, be it conversation, writing, art, or just observing their actions. Third are promptings generated by Satan, through our human flesh. Third, promptings from the Holy Spirit, from God, to either or both our spiritual tabernacle or our physical tabernacle. One of the major tasks of the life of any human being is to learn, if possible, to be unerring in differentiating among these four source of ideas and impulses.

Satan tries to make sure that we never become clear as to which is which. But our Heavenly Father wants us to be accurate and expert in that differentiation. One cannot develop full faith in Jesus Christ without mastering that ability. But if we do not care about faith in Jesus Christ, then having that ability does not matter. The default position is to lapse into the power of Satan.

How does one learn to make those distinctions without error? By careful observation and practice. If a person pays close attention to his or her promptings and especially if one keeps a written record of impressions and urges and their consequential experiences in applying the promptings that come to them, one can begin to see patterns emerge. We are each given a conscience, which is the light of Christ within us. And that conscience is our guide to good thinking and choosing. And it is our best help in learning to distinguish between those four sources of ideas and impulses in our lives.

And this is where canonized scripture comes in. Reading or hearing canonized scripture is the best opportunity we humans have to feel what it is like to have revelation from God. With careful practice and memory, we can learn what if feels like to be receiving revelation as we read scripture with the right motive. And as we pay attention to those experiences, sometimes receiving help in interpreting scripture and sometimes not receiving such help, then comparing what happens when we act on the promptings we receive, we can begin to know and understand which of the four sources we are taking our promptings from. This process is little different from the challenge we face to learn to distinguish who different people are, or which kind of leaf is generic to which kind of plant, or which kind of mineral we are observing in the rocks we find, or which kind of cloud we are seeing in the sky.

Learning to make good classifications and then good identifications is one of the great keys to success in this world.

But back to spiritual identifications. As we begin to know the difference between revelation from God and revelation from Satan by studying the Holy Scriptures, that ability when gained then enables us to tell the differences in ideas in other writings as to whether they are true or not, lend themselves to godliness or not. By this ability we can read and profit from the Apocrypha of the Bible:

“Verily, I say unto you, that it is not needful that the Apocrypha should be translated. Therefore, whoso readeth it, let him understand, for the Spirit manifesteth truth; And whoso is enlightened by the Spirit shall obtain benefit therefrom; And whoso receiveth not by the Spirit cannot be benefited. Therefore it is not needful that it [the Apocrypha] should be translated.” (D&C 91:3-6)

This key to understanding applies not only the Apocrypha, but to all other writings and expressions by human beings. Those who have the Holy Ghost as their companion will weigh and evaluate all ideas and impulses that come to them, from any source, and will prove all things by the Holy Spirit and then hold fast to that which is good and true. “And by the power of the Holy Ghost ye may know the truth of all things.” (Moroni 10:5)

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The Law of the Fast - NEW

Message for August 2020
by Chauncey C Riddle

This message is designed to be read in connection with the 58th Chapter of Isaiah. Would you please turn to it? Your purpose in reading should be to answer the question: What is the law of the fast?

V 1-2: Note the reproach to Israel: They think they are trying to be righteous, yet they transgress.

V 3-5: Israel is puzzled: Why does their fasting produce no good results? The Lord answers that they fast to try to give themselves more pleasure, more success in this world, more power over their enemies. Those who fast for such reasons, even in sackcloth and ashes, fast in vain.

V 6-7: The Lord’s fast is to serve others. It is to relieve suffering, to liberate the captive, to rescue the oppressed. It is to feed the hungry, to clothe the naked, to be with one’s own kindred in the service of God.

V 8-9: To those who follow the Lord’s true fast comes the light and knowledge of God. Being filled with the spirit of God they enjoy physical and spiritual health according to their needs. The path of righteousness opens before them and the glory of the Lord accompanies their walk down that path.

V 10-11: For those who fast in the Lord’s way there are no unanswered prayers, because among the righteous there are no yokes or social or economic inequalities, there is no finger of scorn or vanity. As the servant of God ministers to the needy, the light of God floods in, driving away all sorrow, all darkness. Such an one who fasts in the Lord’s law shall redeem Zion, restore the ancient cities, heal the family bonds, make strait the way of righteousness to bless all who follow.

V 13-14: Our human problem is that we want what we want. The solution is to acknowledge that God is wiser than we are, and to seek his will in all things: not our pleasure, but his pleasure. Those who can muster that much intelligence will reap the blessings of God in their fulness, and this is the heritage of Israel.

What is the law of the fast? Is it not the Law of the Gospel applied to fasting?

To fast from food and water and physical pleasures is the beginning of true fasting, to learn self-control, selflessness and righteousness. To fast from every evil doing and to substitute the Lord’s way of righteousness for our own will and desires is the ultimate goal of the true fast. To go hungry is not true fasting. True fasting is to immerse oneself in prayer, uplifting our soul to God with all the being we can muster, then to go forth and minister to the needs of those who are less blessed than we are. We fast to show the Lord that we love Him and His ways more than we love our own satisfactions.

Just to eat nothing is not true fasting. True fasting is to abstain from our own pleasures and to work with all of our heart, might, mind and strength through prayer to relieve suffering and misery in those around us and to establish the Kingdom of God and his righteousness forever.

Practical aspects of fasting:

  1. We prepare our hearts and minds for fasting by mighty prayer, endeavoring to become fully subject to the Spirit of the Lord.
  2. We prepare our minds for fasting by turning our thoughts to the things of the Spirit, trying to see all things in eternal perspective.
  3. We prepare our bodies for fasting by drinking appropriate amounts of water.
  4. We prepare our might for fasting by having our affairs in order so that they will not intrude into our prayer and meditation.
  5. When we break our fast, the goal should be to eat and drink just enough that we are able to maintain the level of spirituality gained during the fast.
  6. We should show gratitude for the blessings Father gives us by paying a generous fast offering. (President Kimball said that if we could, we should pay in fast offerings ten times the amount we save by fasting. Some persons pay more than that.) Fast offerings should be paid monthly, for the needs of those who are assisted do not occur on an annual basis.
  7. We should fast every regular Fast Sunday (unless we are among those who should not fast) and at other times as prompted by the Lord through his Holy Spirit. Blessed is he or she who knows and walks in the way of the Lord. Fasting is part of that way.
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Why We Are Here On Earth

(Originally written 6 February 1980, edited 4 June 2020)
by Chauncey C Riddle

Because we are blessed with knowing the Restored Gospel of Jesus Christ, we understand that there are four irreducible purposes for our mortal existence. Only the first is absolutely essential. To fulfill the other three makes possible a fullness of blessings. The four are as follows:

  1. To gain a mortal tabernacle of flesh and blood for our spirit body. 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 Christ-like character. To learn to act righteously, responding only to the spiritual guidance of our Savior and learning not to be controlled by either the physical forces around us or by the temptations of Satan is the goal. Every human situation is rich with opportunity to learn to be honest, true, chaste and benevolent, and to do good to all men. Either sex, any race, any age, any educational level, any economic level –all afford an almost overwhelming opportunity to add good habit to good habit, correct preference to correct preference, true idea to true idea, all done by following the Savior through the influence of the Holy Spirit. Each soul is given the light of Christ to guide him or her in this quest for perfect character. But one cannot finish that task except through accepting the fulness of the Restored Gospel of Jesus Christ and the ordinances of the New and Everlasting Covenant, then enduring to the end by accepting the tutelage of the Holy Ghost to tread the strait and narrow path to the end. The end is attaining that Christ-like character.
  3. To pass on the seed. To marry in the Lord’s covenant and to bring the souls of men and women into this mortal world is the third task. To forebear having children by artificial means subverts both the character we are trying to build and the plan of God for our blessing. Children are an heritage of the Lord. Blessed is he who has his quiver full. (Psalm 127:3-5)
  4. To pass on the Gospel. To bring up our children in the nurture of the Lord, transmitting that faith which is precious above all other ideas or messages in this world is the fourth great opportunity. We are not limited to sharing with our children, but sharing our faith fully with them is essential.

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

  1. We gained a mortal tabernacle and therefore can be resurrected to immortality.
  2. We gained a Christ-like character, and therefore can be trusted with the same glory and power that our Savior has.
  3. We sacrificed to bring other souls into mortality, and therefore we can be trusted to continue to bear souls in eternity.
  4. We taught and showed  the way of righteousness through Christ in all things to all who would listen, and therefore we can be trusted with stewardship over all that the Father has, being joint heirs with our Savior, Jesus Christ.
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The Fall of Adam, Part Two: Some Consequences

May 1 2020, Orem, Utah
by Chauncey C Riddle

Click for Part 1

Spiritual Death: Adam and Even and their posterity were greatly reduced in their capacity to perceive the spiritual world around them because of the Fall. The narrow window of spiritual perception left to mankind after the Fall was to be able to receive the light of Christ, which is our conscience, and to have a contrary influence from Satan enticing us to do our own will instead of following Christ. Adam and Eve saw and talked with Satan before their Fall, but after their fall they and we could not see and talk with him. But he can still talk to us, to tempt us. And this makes us agents to choose for ourselves.

But we no longer see that every living thing has a spirit counterpart. We no longer see the hand of God governing all things. We do not see that Satan is the destroyer, having been given the power of death (which he may use only by explicit permission from God). We cannot see that God controls the weather, the placement and rotation of the earth, the crops of the earth, the wildlife on land and sea, and the history of nations. We cannot see that it is God who has allowed Covid-19 to sweep the earth to help mankind be more humble and God-fearing (God-respecting). We cannot see the truth of the past and future, but must fabricate accounts to jolly ourselves into thinking we understand history and can guess the future accurately. The loss of spiritual information occasioned by the Fall of Adam is as spectacular and devastating as it would be if suddenly all mankind became physically blind and had to do everything by touch, smell and feel.

The beauty of being spiritually dead is that we are reduced the the status of children who do not understand the universe. In our ignorance we do not see what really causes what, what has happened or what will happen. We only really know the physical now, and we are forced to focus on the now and make decisions based on our desires rather than on our knowledge. Through trial and error we learn enough to do what we need to do to live and perpetuate the race of mankind. But most of what we humans think we know is but belief (faith) in something we cannot prove.

And that is precisely why God engineered the Fall of Adam: that every human would have to live by faith, not knowledge. Faith is to trust something we believe but cannot prove. Every human lives by faith in something he or she cannot prove but believes. The principal sources of ideas in which to put our faith are our conscience, the light of Christ, and our contrary temptations, the darkness and misinformation of Satan. Thus human beings are forced to believe either Satan or Christ, or some mixture that pleases them. And thus the stage is set for a perfect probation for each human being that comes to accountability. We each show what we really want to do and be, preparing ourselves for the rest of eternity that we have chosen.

Carnal, sensual and devilish: Because of our becoming spiritually dead in the Fall of Adam we humans are carnal: we pay more attention to the things of the physical body than the things of our spirit body. We are sensual: we pay more attention to our physical senses and the information they give us than we do to our spiritual sensations, especially our conscience. We are devilish: our default reaction is to listen to Satan and our own will rather than obeying Christ through our conscience. But obviously some humans are more carnal, more sensual and more devilish than others. Most people simply float, doing “what comes naturally.” Others swim upstream trying to be less carnal, sensual and devilish to some degree that suits them. Thus we humans are free to some degree.

We Lie: In a past issue of National Geographic (July 1987​?) there is a long article about why human beings lie, written from the perspective of modern science, which science denies the existence of Satan and the spiritual realm. The author points out that almost every human being lies. But the author is at a loss to explain why. Categories of possible causes are given, such as: customary sayings being repeated, the desire for advantage over others, the desire to appear to be different than one is, etc. But no answer is given, even hypothetically (scientists delight in hypotheses). The gospel answer is that humans lie because Satan tells them they will be pleased at telling some lie they desire to tell. And thus humans lie even when it is to their advantage not to do so, just because they want to. That gospel answer is not science. But science has no monopoly on truth.

False scientific hypotheses: Science was invented long ago because of obviously bad answers to questions provided by the apostate religions which abound among mankind. To be scientific originally meant to pay attention only to ideas which could be proven using the human physical senses and not pretending to any spiritual influences. But modern science has also been corrupted by Satanic influence. A prime example of that corruption is the very popular theory that all life forms on this earth evolved from some original spontaneous generation of life, and that all present life forms have been produced by spontaneous changes of genetic makeup of that original living being. But this is bad science because no one has ever observed either the spontaneous generation of life or the spontaneous creation of new species of living forms. Some minor variations of the physical appearance of living species have been observed: that is called microevolution. But origin of life and change of species has never been observed: that would be macroevolution. At the anniversary of the 200th birthday of Charles Darwin, Time Magazine ran a feature article giving supposed proofs of organic evolution. But every item they cited was an example of microevolution. There were no examples of macroevolution. But many people would rather believe in evolution without God than to believe that God created all life because they don’t want a God. They don’t want a God because if there is a God they will be held accountable for their sins. And they don’t want to be held accountable. So they believe in evolution.

False historical accounts: Because the father of lies, Satan, does his work so well, many lies masquerade as truth. One example close to home is the truth about what took down the twin towers in New York City on 9/11. The “official” explanation is that the two airplanes that crashed into the buildings and the resulting fires caused the buildings to collapse. But no other steel and concrete building elsewhere has ever been taken down by a fire. Add to that the fact that a third nearby building that had neither airplane impact nor fire was also taken down in exactly the same way and the same time as were the twin towers, collapsing from the bottom. No one has ever explained how the third building came down. Every thinking person will realize that we have not been give the truth as to how the twin towers came down.

False cause and effect: Some of us will remember that for many years it was maintained that there was no scientific evidence that smoking tobacco causes cancer. That has now been reversed. We now know that the evidence for the truth was long suppressed. Another example of science gone astray was the pretense that margarine is better for human health than is dairy butter. That pretense has now been admitted to be false. But there are still many person who choose margarine over butter because of that falsehood.

False Social Science: For many years it was the official position of the U. S. Government that American Indians were a genetically inferior race and therefore their cultural heritage should be ignored and destroyed at will. This idea was the stance of John Wesley Powell of Lake Powell fame, who was a curator at the Smithsonian and approved of the destruction of American Indian artifacts. Thanks to that sentiment, many of the archeological remains of the Hopewell and Adena cultures have been wantonly destroyed in the eastern United States.

But enough examples of the power of Satan over mankind, not to mention war and genocide. The real question is: What can you and I do to turn the power of Satan over us to our advantage?

  1. We can be humble, not pretend to be a law unto ourselves. As little children we can faithfully listen to our conscience. Doing that consistently will eventually lead us to Christ and to the truth and to his righteousness.
  2. We can be honest in heart, even as Christ is the Truth and tells nothing but the truth.
  3. We can work at overcoming every shred of selfishness by sharing all the good we have.
  4. We can accept the witness of the Holy Ghost as we read the Book of Mormon and Bible.
  5. We can be baptized and gain the constant companionship of the Holy Ghost.
  6. We can minister good things in Christ to everyone and everything around us.
  7. We can uphold and follow those who preside in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
  8. We can follow the covenant path unto becoming like our Savior.

We can come unto Christ and be perfected in Him. But only if we really want to do so.

Click for Part 1

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Heart and Mind

Message for March 2020
by Chauncey C Riddle

Each of us human beings has two hearts and to minds. The physical heart pumps blood to our physical tabernacle. The spiritual heart pumps spirit matter to our spiritual body. The physical mind is the brain of our physical body. The spiritual mind is the brain of our spiritual body.

Which heart or which mind is most important to our eternal existence? I believe the answer is that our spiritual heart is the most important of the four. Why?

My understanding is that it is the spiritual heart which makes our choices. “As a man thinketh in his heart, so is he.” (Proverbs 23:7) And our choices determine what we will do, how faithful or unfaithful we will be to God.

Why would anyone want to be faithful to God? They would because faith in God makes it possible to become more and more like God. What is God like? He does nothing but bless others. All of the so-called cursings of God are actually blessings, helping the being affected by God to be as happy and fulfilled as they or it can stand to become. All the children of God who wish to be like him in doing nothing but blessing others are given the privilege of being taught by God how to gain the self-mastery that makes that benevolence and beneficence possible, which teaching is the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

The alternative to learning to bless others in everything we do is to follow the path of selfishness. Every adult human being (age 8 or more) has the constant companionship of Satan. Satan’s work is to encourage each adult human to prefer his or her own selfish desires over the possibility of sacrificing for the welfare of some other creature. When human beings ignore Satan and do the Father’s will as manifest by the Light of Christ or the Holy Ghost, Satan has no power over them. But Satan is ever vigilant to encourage agent humans to substitute their own personal preferences for the sacrifices encouraged by the Holy Spirit to work righteousness in blessing others.

So it is the spiritual heart in mankind which is the independent variable, the decision factor. What is function of mind? The minds, both of the spiritual and the physical body, are facilitators. They enable the spiritual heart to plan out the execution of the spiritual heart’s choices. The spiritual and physical bodies of each person are his or her strength, that which enables the choices of the heart and the plans of the mind to be put into physical and/or spiritual action.

The power engendered by the physical and spiritual actions of a person is their might. Thus it is that we are invited by God to love and serve our Father in Heaven and our Savior with all of our heart, might, mind and strength. (This order of these four is the order of importance, beginning with the most important, the heart. The temple order is mind, heart, strength and might, which is the order of implementation. The mind conceives of alternatives, the heart chooses one alternative, the body or strength enacts that chosen alternative, which results in some change in the universe, our might.)

Thus it is that human beings are fitted and prepared to enjoy the Celestial Kingdom primarily by the action of their hearts, not their minds. It does not matter how bright the mind or how much the knowledge a person has. The best mind will not save them. What saves each person who can be saved is a broken heart and a contrite spirit, a spiritual heart that yearns for the blessing of others over satisfying self. There is no greater example of godly righteousness among humans than the sacrifices of mothers for their little ones.

So it is not the wise and the learned, the “mind” people,” who are dear to the Savior. Rather it is those who are humble before him and are bold to bless others. Those who are endowed with bright minds need to be wary. Satan will tempt them to think that because they are smarter than others that they are better than others. “ And whoso knocketh, to him will he open; and the wise, and the learned, and they that are rich, who are puffed up because of their learning, and their wisdom, and their riches—yea, they are they whom he despiseth; and save they shall cast these things away, and consider themselves fools before God, and come down in the depths of humility, he will not open unto them.” (2 Nephi 9:42)

Let us all then be wise in the days of our probation and become as little children before Christ. Let us have a broken heart and a contrite spirit and use all the smarts we have to bless others in Christ instead of just feathering our own nests.

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The Two Ways

Message for Jan 2020
by Chauncey C Riddle

Isaiah gives us a plain message: “And an highway shall be there, and a way, and it shall be called The way of Holiness; the unclean shall not pass over it, but it shall be for those: the wayfaring men, though fools, shall not err therein.”(Isaiah 38:8)

Could it be that simple? It must be. It seems that there are only two alternatives for any human action: One is to do the will of the Lord. The other is to do our own will. What this boils down to is in every human choice for a person who is accountable, there are two ways to act. One is to do what is right, the will of God, and the other is to do what we ourselves want to do.

What makes this simple choice possible is the Fall of Adam. Because Adam disobeyed and fell from the innocence of the Garden of Eden, Adam and Eve and all of their descendants were given two voices to counsel them in all things. One is the light of Christ, which comes as the conscience of each person. The other is the darkness of Satan, which always opposes the light of Christ and tells us humans to do what we ourselves would rather do. Sometimes our own desires are the same thing as what Christ would have us do, and we do the work of righteousness. But other times we do not want to do what our conscience tells us to do, and we accept the counsel of Satan to pursue what we ourselves would rather do.

Anything which we want to do which is not the will of God is not good, but is evil. Evil is something which is less than the good we could do. So the choice is plain and simple. We either do what is right, counseled by God, or we do what is selfish, counseled by Satan. There are no other alternatives for human action. And everyone eventually chooses either the way of holiness or the way of selfishness. Meanwhile, most of us waver back and forth between the two ways. Sometimes we choose to do good following conscience, other times we choose to do evil following selfishness.

“I can of mine own self do nothing: as I hear, I judge: and my judgment is just; because I seek not mine own will, but the will of the Father which hath sent me.” (John 5:30)

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Righteousness vs Preparing to Be Righteous

8 December 2019
by Chauncey C Riddle

Brothers and Sisters, I rejoice in this opportunity to speak to you. Being the oldest member of this ward, this is probably the only time I will ever be asked to address you. My task here is to say what the Lord would have me say, and I have spent many hours searching out what he would have me say. Your task is to dissect everything I say so that you understand me, but then not believe a word that I say. But you are bound by and will be judged by what the Holy Ghost tells you while I am speaking. Do believe the Holy Ghost and do what he tells you to do.

But remember that there are two spirits speaking to you while I speak. Satan will entice you not even to listen to me or to interpret what I say incorrectly, while the Holy Ghost will tell you what our Savior wants you to hear and to do after hearing what I say. You are the agent that will choose.

The topic I have been sent to discuss with you is the difference between doing a righteous act and preparing to do righteous acts.

A righteous act is blessing some other person or thing as one is instructed by the Savior and done at some personal sacrifice of our own. It must be done as instructed by our Savior because he is the true vine and we are the branches who can bring forth no good fruit except we do it in him. It must be done at some personal sacrifice of our own because only then is it our true gift to the person we bless. Preparation for doing a righteous act is repenting and increasing our faith in Jesus Christ so that we can truly do our Savior’s quality of work in blessing others. Preparatory acts are necessary and good things to do. Acts of righteousness are the best things to do. Let us not confuse the two.

Our Savior gave us a parable to impress upon us the difference between preparation and real righteousness:  And Jesus answering said, A certain man went down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell among thieves, which stripped him of his raiment, and wounded him, and departed, leaving him half dead. And by chance there came down a certain priest that way: and when he saw him, he passed by on the other side. And likewise, a Levite, when he was at the place, came and looked on him, and passed by on the other side. But a certain Samaritan, as he journeyed, came where he was: and when he saw him, he had compassion on him, And went to him, and bound up his wounds, pouring in oil and wine, and set him on his own beast, and brought him to an inn, and took care of him. And on the morrow when he departed, he took out two pence, and gave them to the host, and said unto him,

Take care of him; and whatsoever thou spendest more, when I come again, I will repay thee. (Luke 10:30-35)

Most people see this parable as simply a lesson on who is our neighbor. It is. But the larger message is how do I love my neighbor instead of myself. And here many people get confused. They think they are supposed first to love themselves and then love their neighbor the same way. I submit to you that that is not what the Lord intends. He intends that we love our neighbor instead of loving ourselves. Do not confuse self-love with self-respect. We must respect all that God has given us: a body, a life, opportunity to serve. And that is what this parable shows among other things. The principal other thing it shows is the difference between preparation for righteousness and righteousness itself. The priest and the Levite doubtless were very observant of the instructions of the Law of Moses and prayed and fasted and performed sacrifices of blood on the altar. Praying, fasting and performing sacrifices on the altar were good things to do, but they are preparation to do righteous acts, not righteous acts in and of themselves. We do not know what preparation the Samaritan performed, but we know he did rise to the opportunity to bless another person in real need and at his own expense of time and money. Thus, the Samaritan did acts of true righteousness and the priest and the Levite shrank from true righteousness in spite of all their preparation to do righteous acts.

Another word for righteousness is charity, and charity is the pure love of Christ. It is the pure love that comes from Christ and ministers to those in need as the one who ministers, has compassion on the one in need to do acts inspired by Christ. All good things humans do come from Christ and are inspired by Christ, for we are nothing without him. Our Savior said:

I am the true vine, and my Father is the husbandman.
Every branch in me that beareth not fruit he taketh away: and every branch that beareth fruit, he purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit. 
Now ye are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you. 
Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me.
I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.
If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned. 
If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you.
Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be my disciples.
As the Father hath loved me, so have I loved you: continue ye in my love.
If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Fathers commandments, and abide in his love. 
These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full.
This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you.
Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends. (John 15: 1-13)

The fruit the Lord wants to bear is righteousness, not just preparation for doing righteous acts. But he also wants us to be well prepared to bless our neighbors.

What are the acts by which we prepare to bless our neighbors? Let us recount and define some of them.

  1. Repenting of our sins is the unique preparation for exercising true faith in Christ unto baptism and receiving the Holy Ghost. Repenting is thus preparation for ministering to others as instructed by the Holy Ghost, which is righteousness.
  2. Praying sincerely to God for forgiveness of our sins and for the guidance of God is indispensable preparation for performing the acts of faith in Christ which are the sacrifices of righteousness.
  3. Fasting is a wonderful way to enhance prayer, a good thing to do often, but it is good preparation rather than righteousness itself.
  4. Partaking of the sacrament to renew our covenants is a good thing to do, but is preparation for rather than righteousness itself, as is attending our church meetings.
  5. Receiving our own endowments in the temple is a wonderfully good thing to do, but it is preparation rather than righteousness itself.
  6. Being sealed to an eternal companion in the temple according to God’s law is a magnificent and good preparation for righteousness but is not of itself righteousness.
  7. Studying the scriptures is wonderful preparation, but of itself is not the crowning work of righteousness.
  8. Meditating in the Spirit of the Lord is wonderful and good, but is preparation.

It should be plain that all these good things are great preparation, but of themselves, they do nothing to help our neighbor who lies helpless because he has been robbed and beaten by the servants of Satan.

If we do all of these things, we are uniquely prepared to be inspired by our Savior to know exactly what sacrifices we should make to bless the wounded people we encounter. Actually, blessing our neighbor by sacrificing something of our own stewardship in his behalf is the only true righteousness. The following are some of the ways of performing acts of righteousness.

  1. Mothering and fathering, service to our brothers and sisters.
  2. Ministering (assigned or not assigned), especially to the widows and the fatherless.
  3. Presiding.
  4. Fulfilling our church calling.
  5. Teaching the Restored Gospel.
  6. Preaching the Restored Gospel. (Every member a missionary).
  7. Performing or being proxy for temple ordinances for others.

All can be true righteousness if done in the pure love of Christ and as guided by the Holy Ghost.

And if we do not bless our neighbor through Christ-inspired sacrifice, we actually curse our neighbor by withholding the blessings Christ wants him or her to have.

Righteousness is also called charity in the scriptures. Charity is really caring about someone unto preparing ourselves in all humility to administer the blessings Christ would have them have. Paul gives us a good list of defining characteristics of charity in 1 Corinthians 13:

Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal.

A person who gives a great talk in church but who will not minister blessings to his neighbors does not really believe the Gospel of Christ.

And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing.

Having sought and received the gifts of the Holy Ghost is wonderful, but that blessing to him is meaningless unless the one so gifted cares about his neighbors enough to bless their lives.

And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing.

Thus, one can give away everything he has, even his life, and not have it be righteous charity unless the person cares enough about his Savior to come unto Christ and cares enough about his neighbor to minister as Christ would have him do.

Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up,

The person who has attained the pure love of Christ is willing to suffer whatever suffering God allows to be put upon him, and he or she is kind to everyone, friends and enemies alike, and envies no one because he or she has the greatest of all the gifts of God, which is charity. The person who has this charity does not toot his own horn to call attention to himself or herself but avoids all pride by proceeding through life as a humble child of Christ.

Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil;

This person who has true charity never tries to call attention to themselves by their dress, grooming, or actions. They do not seek to feather their own nest, which thing all those who love themselves try unceasingly to do. Those who have charity bear abuse with aplomb, not rising to self-defense except when prompted to do so by the Holy Spirit, and never giving in to anger, which always is prompted by Satan. And they never plot evil against anyone, for that also is always prompted by Satan.

Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth;

The true servants of Christ always lament the evil, the inequities they see around themselves, but they rejoice in the truth of all things, no matter where found.

Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.

Those faithful to Christ are willing to suffer whatever Christ allows to be put upon them, and they believe all that comes from Christ, hope for every good gift from Christ, and endure all the vicissitudes of mortal life in and by the power of Christ. 

Charity never faileth: but whether there be prophecies, they shall fail; whether there be tongues, they shall cease; whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away.

If a servant of Christ attains the gift of charity, it will never be taken from them as long as they exercise that gift in ministering to the needs of their neighbors. But if one does not gain charity, then eventually their other gifts of the Holy Spirit will be taken away from them, even their ability to prophesy, the ability to speak in foreign tongues will be taken from them, as will be the special insights of knowledge they have been given. For all the gifts of God are given to mankind so that they may minister righteousness to their neighbors. If they never learn to love and bless their neighbors, they will lose their other gifts from God and just be like all the other natural and fallen persons in this world dominated by Satan.

For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.

Until we attain the gift of charity because our faithfulness to Christ, all of our other blessings from him are temporary and partial. But when we gain the greatest of all spiritual gifts, that of charity, the pure love of Christ, then and only then can our ministering to others become perfected and complete. When we gain the gift of charity, we will have become as Christ in the most important way that can be done, because the essence of Christ is his pure, selfless love for all other persons and things. When we have become like Christ in that ultimate step, then we will be privileged to know him even as he knows us, which is to know him completely.

And now abideth faithhopecharity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity.

The greatest gifts God gives to mankind are faith in Christ, hope in Christ and the pure love from Christ. And clearly, the greatest of these gifts, the ultimate fruit of the Holy Spirit, is the ability to minister to our neighbors in the pure love of Christ, which is charity. (1 Corinthians 13: 1-8, 12-13)

So how does a covenant servant of Christ gain this greatest and most desirable of all the gifts of God? Mormon tells us plainly in the Book of Mormon:  

And because he hath done this, my beloved brethren, have miracles ceased? Behold I say unto you, Nay; neither have angels ceased to minister unto the children of men. For behold, they are subject unto him, to minister according to the word of his command, showing themselves unto them of strong faith and a firm mind in every form of godliness. (Moroni 7: 29-30)

The requirement for receiving the gift of charity is the same requirement to receive the ministering of angels and of coming into the presence of Christ himself. The covenant servant of Christ must pursue faithfulness to Christ until his faith in Christ is so strong and unchallengeable that the servant has attained strong faith and a firmness of mind and will unto the keeping of all of the commandments of Christ. The words of Christ will show us all things we must do to attain life, salvation, and a completeness or perfection of our power to minister in the name of Jesus Christ. Nephi also makes this very clear:

Angels speak by the power of the Holy Ghost; wherefore, they speak the words of Christ. Wherefore, I said unto you, feast upon the words of Christ; for behold, the words of Christ will tell you all things what ye should do. (2 Nephi 32:3)

So if we will press forward in the vicissitudes of this fallen world, thrusting aside all of the temptations of Satan until through feasting upon the words of Christ unto receiving from him instruction as to all things we should do, then doing all things he instructs us to do, we will come to know him face to face and will be like him when we see him.

Verily, thus saith the Lord: It shall come to pass that every soul who forsaketh his sins and cometh unto me, and calleth on my name, and obeyeth my voice, and keepeth my commandments, shall see my face and know that I am; (D&C 93:1)

It is my hope and prayer to be able to truly come unto Christ through calling upon his name unto the faithful keeping of each and every instruction and commandment that he gives me until I see his face and know him as he knows me. For then I will have shown that I truly have taken upon me that greatest gift he has to give, his pure love and his personal ministering to each of his created children. And I desire that blessing for each of you also, that with one accord we can come to the fountain of eternal life and minister the pure love, in righteousness, to others through him, unto all eternity.

Conclusion: Do diligently prepare to be righteous, but also earnestly fulfill righteousness.

This talk was constructed as an admonition to myself. And if there is any one person who now hears me who is being helped to come unto Christ and to be perfected in ministering in the pure love of Christ to his or her neighbors, I would be most grateful.

I bear you my witness that the Restored Gospel of Jesus Christ is true, and that the only true and living church on the face of this earth is the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Other churches have much truth, and there are many persons who do not now belong to the true Church of Jesus Christ who are good persons and who do much to bless others because of the light of Christ which is in them. When all of Israel has finally been gathered, every soul who loves Christ will have been brought under his influence and love unto a fulness of all that they can stand to receive of his blessings. What a blessed day that will be indeed. And for that day all who love Christ will serve him with as much of their heart, might, mind and strength as they can muster.

In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

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The Fall of Adam: Part One

October Message 2019
by Chauncey C Riddle

In recent years there has been a great emphasis in the Church on the Atonement of Jesus Christ. That emphasis is well-deserved, for that atonement is the most important event in the history of mankind. But as we dwell on that atonement, we must not forget the second most important event in the history of mankind: The Fall of Adam. The Fall is important because it is the event that makes the atonement necessary.

An understanding of the Fall of Adam has three necessary parts: 1) The condition of Adam and Eve before the Fall. 2) What happened in the Fall. 3) The condition of Adam and Eve and all of their posterity after the Fall.

Before the Fall, Adam and Eve were immortal beings. They were children of the Gods, having the same DNA as the gods (as made evident by the fact that God the Father became the literal father of Jesus Christ by siring Jesus Christ with his mortal mother, Mary.) They did not have blood in their veins, but rather spirit matter (which is why they were immortal beings who never would die if they remained in that unfallen condition. And they were like children, not knowing very much, and especially not knowing the difference between good and evil. But they knew enough to tend the Garden of Eden and to enjoy its delights.

The Fall itself came as Adam and Eve deliberately disobeyed God the Father and did obey Satan by partaking of the forbidden fruit of the tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, a simple physical act having eternal consequences.

That disobedience to the Father and obedience to Satan gave Satan power over Adam and Eve and their posterity, the power to tempt them and to try them in every way. Now that they knew the difference between good and evil, they became free to choose between the two. They had the light of Christ to show them the good, and the constant companionship of Satan to tempt them to do some degree of evil.

(Evil is anything that is less than the best thing to do. In any human situation there is one best thing to do, the Good, and an infinite variety of other things to do other than doing the Good. Thus evil ranges from lesser goods than the Good which God would have us do, to opposites which are totally evil. All evil is inspired by Satan to try to get human beings not to do the will of God.)

Father in his mercy decreed that the power to choose and do good would always be preserved to Adam an Eve as long as they chose good. If they chose evil, the influence of God would be lessened in their lives. If they chose evil repeatedly and continually, the enticement to do good would eventually be taken away. The person who does this can eliminate the influence of God in their lives, having killed their conscience, which is the light of Christ in their lives. If a person chooses good continually, that does not eliminate the power of Satan to entice them to do evil. In fact, the more faithful they are to the influence of the Father and the Son, the more powerful become the temptations of Satan. The godly enticement to do good is always balanced by an equal and opposite temptation from Satan. Thus the person retains perfect freedom to choose.

And thus Adam and E became free to choose for themselves, either The Good or some degree of evil. But they are also accountable for their choices and the results of those choices. On the day of Final Judgment each of us humans will come before God having a perfect memory of all the choices we made in our mortality. The evil choices we repented of and made restitution for through the power of Jesus Christ will not be brought up, but all other choices will be manifest then. Each of us will see and know exactly what we deserve at this bar of judgment, so no one will argue with the judgment they receive.

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Notes on having a testimony of the Restored Gospel of Jesus Christ.

  1. A testimony of the gospel is a matter of heart more than mind. The mind must be involved to form a content of ideas, but the acceptance or certification of those ideas is a function of the heart. It is our hearts that are being tested and proved, not our minds. This is important because whatever a normal human being does stems from the desires of the heart. The mind furnishes alternatives for the heart to consider, but the heart is the ruler. Thus we always do what we want to do. Wants are of the heart.
  2. Thus testimony of the gospel, or the absence thereof, is a spiritual matter, not basically an intellectual one. The heart entertains spirits, and the mind entertains ideas. There are two spirits, the Holy Spirit and the unholy spirit. The Holy Spirit testifies of truth, but the unholy spirit tells us that whatever we want to believe is true and whatever we want to do is the good thing to do. The unholy spirit is the influence of Satan. The unholy spirit tells us humans that there is no such thing as Satan, and those who like the unholy spirit agree, and say that Satan is not real. So having a testimony of the Restored Gospel depends on how much we are influenced by either or both of those two spirits.
  3. Then there is desire. Some people do not want to have a testimony, no matter what. Sometimes this stems from their ancestors belonging to another church. Sometimes it stems from a desire not to be in the minority. Sometimes it stems from specifically wishing to break one or more of the commandments. Those who are hungry to know the truth and to live it will eventually find a testimony and will live by it.
  4. And there is selfishness or a lack thereof. Those who are intent on doing their own will and in obtaining the pleasure or worldly rewards that are dear to them will not seek nor often find a testimony. But those who enjoy ministering to the needs of others and heavily invest in doing so will eventually find their way to the Restored Gospel and its ordinances because there one finds the power to bless others maximally.

My most precious possession is my testimony that Jesus is the Christ and that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the only true and living church on the face of this earth. My personal testimony rests on three pillars. First, I can pray and get answers to my prayers. I do not get answers always or about every matter, but I get enough that I am completely sold on prayer to the Father in the name of Jesus Christ. The second pillar of my testimony is the Book of Mormon. As I read and study it, I receive revelation that quickens my understanding and often shows me the path I must follow to do good. The third pillar of my testimony is the power of the Holy Priesthood as I see it exercised by those in authority and also by others and by myself.

One strong component of my testimony is an awareness of the existence and power of Satan. I find I must struggle with his temptations every day, almost every minute. It is as if I were walking on the top of a wall where there is a path just wide enough to walk comfortably. But there are ropes attached to my arms and legs which someone uses to pull me to one side or the other to try to topple me from the wall. I find that by paying very careful attention to what I am doing, I can resist the tugs when they come. If I do not resist, then I am pulled off the wall. Only by arduous effort can I then get back on the wall (the arduous effort is sincere repentance and then partaking of the sacrament). It is my firm belief that the many persons who do not believe in the existence of Satan and his power to tempt us have no real defense against his power.

Every normal adult has a testimony of something. But those who have a testimony that Jesus is the Christ and how to come unto him are very specially blessed.

May each of you be blessed.

C. C. Riddle

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