The day will come when every Saint must learn to walk by sheer naked principles alone, without bringing either men or their individual actions into the question at all.
Mill. Star 20:708
The world is in dire need of valiant men of God–men who have the power of personal conviction and testimony–men who esteem true principles more precious than possession or position. How rare is the man who lives in the light of revelation–whose moral virtue is to serve the Lord before any other. His purchase of eternal glory comes by allowing no man to come between him and his God. His valor is submission to the Lord and his valiancy to principles becomes a hallmark for celestial attainment. How refreshing to see a man who is not willing to surrender heaven’s choice principles to a society whose moral fibre is woven with the threads of Dark-Age mysticism and political servitudes.
Those who are lame need a crutch; the semi-blind need glasses; but for some strange reason the spiritually weak seem to need each other. But righteous men and prophets are not in servitude to other men–nor do they want anyone in servitude to them. The mind was never meant to be subjected to compulsion or dependence on others. The man who surrenders his mind to another is as guilty as the man who seeks to control it. Those who are willing to make such submissions are either physical slaves or spiritual parasites. That man who must be spiritually fed by another is like a baby that is spoon fed on the milk of the Gospel. If he believes in such dependency, he will lose his spiritual dignity.
It is with sadness that such century-old philosophies are so popular, and that they are being accepted by those who should know better. How vain is the assumption that a man’s safest course to salvation is unwavering submission to a pope, or a president of the church, by assuming that God will never allow them to err–that they are empowered in that office with a form of infallibility. Of late, Mormonism is being influenced by an old Catholic tradition–that as soon as a man is placed at the head of  the Church, he obtains some mystical transformation of spiritual security.
But a humble man is one who only desires to serve the Lord. He doesn’t care who has spoken, but rather what is spoken. He measures and respects men for the true principles they advocate, but his heart and his service is in the Lord. The laws of the community, the laws of the land, or the laws of the world are secondary to the laws of God. He knows there are no bargain basement principles of the gospel–and to obtain the blessings of celestial glory, he must pay the same price with the same principles that all the prophets have had to pay. His trust then, is in the Lord and not in the arm of flesh.
* * * * *
 Chapter I
It was November 20, 1945, and the eyes of the world were focussed on the town of Nuremberg, Germany. An international court was about to convene with judges from the United States, Great Britain, France and the Soviet Union, The courtroom was jammed with spectators. The accused filled the first two rows of wooden benches and were preparing their pleas of innocence to the charge of war crimes.
These men were not ignorant peasants or unlearned second-class citizens; they were some of the most brilliant military and political leaders of the world. Also represented were intellectual industrialists, bankers, scientists, professors, and engineers. They would all plead “innocent” to the indictments by virtue of their obedience to political and military superiors.
One by one each man rendered his plea of not guilty:
W ilhelm Keitel:
To a soldier, orders are orders. I wouldn’t complain if I were accused of having started the war–I only did my duty and obeyed orders.
(Are you a man of integrity?) I have always stood for my convictions. (What is your chief conviction?) To work for my country.
Balder Von Schirach:
Through me, youth has learned to believe in Hitler; I taught them to have faith in him.
 Wilhelm Frick:
As far as the charge against me is concerned I have a clear conscience. My whole life was service to my people and fatherland. By the fulfillment of my legal and moral duty, I think I have earned punishment just as little as the tens of thousands of dutiful German officials who have now been imprisoned only because they carried out their duties.
This trial filled 16,000 pages of testimony–both for and against these men. It lasted 218 days, which at that time, was the longest trial ever conducted. Stenographers, interpreters, photographers, the press, and people from all over the world entered the courtroom to hear the verdict. The defendants entered single file from the prison and sat down. Everyone arose as the eight judges entered the room. Then each man heard his own verdict to the charges: “Guilty!”
These men had attempted to defend themselves on the grounds of obedience to their superiors. They sustained and supported the laws of the land; they believed in being subject to the leaders of their nation.
This seemingly logical and assumed justification sounded reasonable because to disobey or criticize their leaders would have jeopardized their position, and could have placed them in the ranks of traitors or enemies. Nevertheless, the court properly ruled them guilty.
A few of these men learned a valuable lesson from the experience of that trial–that totalitarian trust in men, regardless of their position, can prove disastrous. Some of them responded by saying:
Authoritarianism has proved itself best in the  military leadership of all armies in the world. On the basis of this experience, I considered it was also right in political leadership, especially for a people in the hopeless condition of the German people in 1932. But this has been proved wrong, for human nature apparently is not capable of applying the power of this principle for good ends.
But I beg you to try to grasp the indignation of those who expected nothing but good of Hitler, and who now see how their good faith, their good will, and their idealism were abused. I find myself in this situation of the disillusioned men together with many, many other Germans….
The fact that we obeyed the Fuhrer cannot take the responsibility from those of us who had the courage and strength to stand in the front line in this fight for the existence of our people. In the days of triumph we stood in the front rank, and thus we have the privilege of standing in the front rank in misfortune. By our example we help to build a new future for our people. (The Nuremberg Trial, by Joe Heydecker, pp. 366, 370, 379.)
This story is but one in a continuous concourse of similar incidents of those who are led into error by their undaunted faith in superiors. Total submission and blind faith in military, political, or religious leaders is wrong!
To disobey or neglect moral law is not justified through obedience to men in any position of leadership. Few mortals ever learn this invaluable lesson–that each must live by his own light. He must accept the responsibility for his own salvation, because he cannot live on borrowed light, nor be led  by another’s sleeve. In some instances, to disobey may be a virtue, and to refuse may prove a hero. True principles are men’s safest standard in this world and the next.
 Chapter II
PROPHETS AND PATRIOTS
PRIESTCRAFT AND KINGCRAFT
He commandeth that there shall be no priestcrafts; for, behold, priestcrafts are that men preach and set themselves up for a light unto the world, that they may get gain and praise of the world; but they seek not the welfare of Zion. (2 Nephi 26:29)
The lessons of history in the rise and fall of nations should still ring in our ears. Those ideals which have destroyed other nations and people should serve as a warning to our present generation.
Our Founding Fathers obtained inspiration for the principles of freedom to establish this nation in the healthy climate of liberty. All succeeding representatives were duty-bound to maintain those principles and receive further inspiration spreading those branches of freedom to other nations. But politicians soon suppressed those freedoms to acquire more power, property, and expansion in government. By sacrificing the rights and property of the people, government grew like Jack’s fabled beanstalk. Continuous new government controls and suppressions have increased until government has become the master of the people instead of their servant.
The Founding Fathers violently opposed nationalizing private property. The graduated taxation on personal income would have been dumped in the Boston Harbor long before the British tea. By nationalizing the rights and property of its subjects, government has distributed wealth to the lazy incompetent and the unappreciative alien. They are leading the greatest country in the world to the brink of bank-ruptcy and ruin. The progress and incentive of people are being destroyed because our nation is becoming socialized to the collectivist ideals of legalized robbers.
To accomplish such a twist in fate, leading politicians have had to pervert the virtues of liberty. America’s principles of freedom have been distorted, misinterpreted, and falsified for the purpose of overthrow. Instead of being the defenders of freedom, unworthy leaders have sought for collectivism in a totalitarian supergovernment. The main purpose of government is to promote the right for life (not death in some foreign jungle), liberty (not slavery to government), and the pursuit of happiness (not compulsion for the welfare of others).
When such political leaders see no difference between economic power and political power, they will usurp, tax, and grasp at everything possible to continue increasing the size and jurisdiction of national and international government. Such impostors see no difference between an employer and a robber, nor a difference between capitalism and communism. They presume that government is greater than the people who have created it; hence, our people are becoming slaves to their government. False leaders who bring such ruin upon a nation are thieves; they are the tyrants which the Constitution was intended to destroy. Instead of watering the tree of liberty for its growth, they are deliberately chopping it down.
The great treason of politicians is default on their responsibility to protect the principles handed down to them. The most common failure is sacrificing them in appeasements, compromises, or bartering them away for temporal wealth, social honor, or peace with their enemies.
The rise of Statism in this country parallels that of the Roman Empire whose grand fall was the  result of political and spiritual suicide. The Roman’s history of violence, blood, and anarchy, coupled with the invasion of barbarians, may again be repeated in our modern society, and on our land, simply because the eternal principles of freedom and righteousness are being disregarded and disrespected.
By shrewd manipulation, we are being mentally and spiritually recycled into the Dark Ages. It is no less reasonable that our scientific aerospace research should turn and start building covered wagons. We are trading freedom for socialism. Our great inheritance is being exchanged for a mess of pottage.
Socialism teaches that man does not have the right to live, think, or pursue his own happiness–he is the property of the State. His work, talents and possessions belong to the government. Yet Socialism under the names of Nazism or Communism would fare no better under the title of Americanism or the Great Society. The Marxist atheistic theory of Communism teaches us that mind and spirit do not exist that everything is matter. Production and machinery are the highest aims, not creative thinking, and that manual labor is the source of all wealth. They say freedom is to be enjoyed only by government, which can do no wrong, and that physical force is the only practical means of existence or power. They teach that everything changes, and that which is true today may not be true tomorrow. The leaders of such propaganda will not stop until they have amalgamated and baptized all nations, peoples and ideals into their political slop.
The Prophet and the Patriot are the only reliable cornerstones for a millennial era of peace and prosperity. The prophet expounds the principles of righteousness; the patriot extols the principles of freedom. Their opponents are those who perpetuate kingcraft and priestcraft. Kingcraft seeks power to rule over the wealth and property of its citizens,  while priestcraft seeks to control the mind and the thinking of its disciples. Both seek for total control over man. Priestcraft and witchcraft are synonymous because their victims look to these spiritual leaders with an awe of complete subjugation. Whatever is done is accepted as a directive by God; and whatever concoction is brewed–medicinal or verbal–they will swallow with utter reliance as divinely approved. Such intellectual and spiritual digression has subjugated good men like monks in cloister cells of a monastery. They are without freedom or expression–their will is totally subjugated in the silent, secluded servitude of foggy leadership.
Kingcraft and Priestcraft will always crush independence and freedom. They seek to have all people everywhere compelled into one race, one religion, and one rule. But integration of this kind is impossible, unscientific, and unnatural. You cannot forcefully combine all people into one property, one thought, and one race; for He who divided the nations, (Deut. 32:8) and separated the tribes (Num. 2) never intended to mongrelize the races, nor collectivize their property. Collectivism, as a social ideal, represents an intellectual desert. Such a theory leads to passivity, submission, and resignation. For this reason government was never intended to possess the right to nationalize a man’s property, his mind, or his religion. The God who gave man life, gave him the right to obtain his own merits in property, knowledge, and faith. These are the inalienable rights of man, and no other leadership has the right to take them away.
Too often political and religious leaders assume an air of an assumed dictatorship in which they set themselves above reproach. Whatever they enforce into law, must be accepted as legal, and whatever is spoken is irrefutable and unquestionable. Such doctrines make mental and physical slaves of men.
 The conservative patriot and the inspired disciple both labor against such demigods in the enemy’s socialistic state of politics and priestcraft, like the quiet force of the underground in alien territory, They are the noble crusaders who labor for the fresh air of freedom and righteousness that God has intended for man.
America now stands at the halfway house of survival, and nothing but a revolution can save her. She is too far down the path to be corrected by minor adjustments–either the enemy will cause a revolution for her overthrow, or else the patriots will revolt to throw off the enemies from within. From one source or another, blood and revolution are inevitable.
Man’s temporal and eternal salvation may depend upon the kind of principles and leadership he chooses to follow.
 Chapter III
MAN IS NOT INFALLIBLE
For although a man may have many revelations, and have power to do many mighty works, yet if he boasts in his own strength, and sets at naught the counsels of God, and follows after the dictates of his own will and carnal desires, he must fall and incur the vengeance of a just God upon him. (D. & C. 3:4)
One of the most predominant weaknesses and enticing temptations to mortal man is his carnal nature which lures him to reach beyond the bounds of his authority. Secular and ecclesiastical jurisdictions are almost always breached by those who should honor them most. Man, by nature, will usually oppress rather than protect his subjects. Said the Prophet Joseph Smith:
We have learned by sad experience that it is the nature of almost all men, as soon as they get a little authority, as they suppose, they will immediately begin to exercise unrighteous dominion. (D. & C. 121:39)
When men presume that they, are their words, are legitimate law, or infallible truth, they may supercede the bounds and limitations of mortals. In such a condition man becomes a law unto himself. This is a mark of priestcraft because “priestcrafts are that men preach and set themselves up for a light unto the world, that they may get gain and praise of the world;” (2 Nephi 26:29) and not a few have fallen to this error.
 Noble men and honorable leaders, who are qualified to bear the priesthood, are also very susceptible to weaknesses–and a great many of them fail to fulfill that calling. Also many disciples who are so absolute in trusting their salvation into the hands of their leaders, may fall short of the glory they could have attained if they had obtained certain knowledge of the truth for themselves. When men who are spiritually blind will resolve their souls to leaders who may also be blind, they both shall fall into that proverbial ditch of everlasting regret.
According to examples which are recorded in sacred writ, and which have actually been witnessed by many of the Saints of this dispensation, men are called to receive the Priesthood, and in virtue of it, perform a certain work for which they seem adapted, and afterwards they are suffered to dishonor that Priesthood by using the influence which they have gained, to lead others astray; and thereby dishonour and reproach have at times been brought upon those who considered it a duty to listen to their counsel. (Mill. Star 14: 594)
Exaltation can be received only by that man who has proved himself by his love of truth and his obedience to the laws of God. Obedience to eternal principles is vastly more important, and much less dangerous, than implicit confidence in the counsels of men. Obedience to everlasting principles, and faith in Christ, are the first rules in the plan of salvation. The danger to avoid is faith in men who teach for doctrine the commandments of men.
History is replete with the constant changing of conditions and circumstances. Society may change its standards and fashions, men will change their  minds, and the Church has often changed its laws and rules, but eternal principles will always remain unchanged. Hence, true principles are man’s only safe standard through life.
God’s chosen prophets and seers are those men who have dedicated themselves to eternal principles. A true modern prophet will always respect a former prophet and will always advocate the same principles of former prophets.
Adam, Seth, Enoch, Noah, all the Patriarchs and Prophets, Jesus and the Apostles, and every man that has ever written the word of the Lord, have written the same doctrine on the same subject; and you never can find that Prophets and Apostles clashed in their doctrines in ancient days; neither will they now, if all would at all times be led by the spirit of salvation. (Brigham Young, Discourses of Brigham Young, p, 209)
* * *
We are told that the living oracles take precedence over all other authority, living or dead. We agree that the living oracles take precedence, provided they do not conflict with the dead oracles. If it is true that the living oracles take precedence over all others regardless of their disagreements with the dead prophets, then the Saints must necessarily change their faith every time there is a change in the presidency to conform to the views of the new president. The mention of such an attitude is so absurd as to border upon the ridiculous. (Gospel Problems, Heber Bennion, p. 6)
[16a] 1. SOUND DOCTRINE
The Journal of Discourse Series
Edited by Bruce R. McConkie
At long last a great wealth of authoritative information comes to light from a series of books unknown and unavailable to this generation. This vital doctrinal source contains important sermons of the Presidency and the Council of the Twelve during the all important 40-year period in which most of the doctrines of the Church were being revealed and recorded. These sermons delivered by men who knew the Prophet Joseph Smith and were taught by him in public and private, are published in full. $3.00
BOOKCRAFT — Publishers to the L. D. S. Trade
THE IMPROVEMENT ERA 882
[16b] In December 1956 the Improvement Era carried an advertisement for a new book series entitled Sound Doctrine. These books were to be edited versions of the Journal of Discourses, from which all controversial or unpopular teachings would be removed. However, President Brigham Young carefully edited, corrected, and approved of everything in those journals at the time of their publication; so why–a hundred years later–would it be necessary to edit or correct those teachings?
When it was discovered that an independent publishing company was going to make exact reprints of the original volumes of the Journal of Discourses, the Sound Doctrine project was discontinued. This is only one of dozens of recent publications which have deleted or directly opposed some of the teachings of former Church leaders.
It is evident that many such efforts are being made by the present Church leaders to edit or discard some of the teachings of early leaders. But the question arises–why should the teachings of an unchangeable gospel of a century ago now be changed and corrected to meet today’s modern gospel standards?
* * * * *
 The living oracles of God will never have reason to doubt, dispute or disagree with former prophets of God. If there is a conflict, then one or the other or both must be in error. A living prophet who teaches a different gospel than a former prophet taught, will cause division among the sheep–hence, the responsibility of men to know the truth, and to know who speaks the truth. Temporal and spiritual salvation may depend upon knowing the truth, whether it be political, military, or religious.
Brigham Young taught that:
. . .it was the duty of the Saints to know for themselves when he spoke unto them, whether it was the word of the Lord or not, but not to dictate what he should say. And if they would apply themselves as diligently as he did, putting all things aside and making his will subservient to the will of God, they like he would know of a surety, that it was the word of the Lord unto them by the Spirit and power of revelation given by the Holy Ghost from on high….(Charles Walker Journal, Feb. 15, 1873)
Men often place too much trust, confidence, and reliance upon their leaders and thereby fail to secure the closeness with the heavens that is necessary for their salvation. When they have to be guided, counseled, and directed in every movement, they become as children who are not mature enough to stand on their own feet.
Another danger also exists for the leaders:
Satan seeks to divert men’s thoughts and affections from God, and to fix them upon human agencies; he leads them to honor the mere instrument, and to ignore the Hand that directs all the events of provi-dence. Too often, religious leaders who are thus praised and reverenced lose sight of their dependence upon God, and are led to trust in themselves. As a result, they seek to control the minds and consciences of the people, who are disposed to look to them for guidance instead of looking to the word of God. (The Great Controversy, Ellen G. White, p. 193)
Those who are spiritually blind are inclined to surrender their will to someone who offers them protection from temporal or spiritual insecurity. They believe that others possess some mysterious faculty which they lack; so when they fail in their own responsibilities, they become exploited by others and the victims of self-deterioration. Those who concede their individualism to the arm of flesh, are confessing that they are incapable of good judgment and spiritual strength. They are so weak that someone else must direct the affairs of their lives. Such individuals rob themselves of personal responsibility and religious integrity. Personal revelation and intelligence is a virtue; it is a reward and a joy which builds character and power. It is the foundation of salvation, and those blessings come only to those who earn them.
When men must be dictated to in every trivial matter of their life, they are in bondage. And, if physical slavery is an evil, then slavery of the mind or the spirit is worse. A slave who suffers under the chains of a conqueror, has at least the merit of knowing that he suffers as a slave unwillingly. But that poor soul who so willingly enslaves himself to another, mentally and spiritually, has degraded his dignity and honor as a man.
The capacity to think is a personal capability. The effort of his brain should not be committed to someone else any more than the effort of his kidneys  or his stomach. It is just as ridiculous to ask someone else to digest their food as it is to ask them to do their thinking. Body functions and mental functions are to be conducted by individual management.
President Brigham Young said that:
…Salvation is an individual operation. I am the only person that can possibly save myself. When salvation is sent to me, I can reject or receive it. In receiving it, I yield implicit obedience and submission to its great Author throughout my life, and to those whom He shall appoint to instruct me; in rejecting it, I follow the dictates of my own will in preference to the will of my Creator. There are those among this people who are influenced, controlled, and biased in their thoughts, actions, and feelings by some other individual or family, on whom they place their dependence for spiritual and temporal instruction, and for salvation in the end. These persons do not depend upon themselves for salvation, but upon another of their poor, weak, fellow mortals. “I do not depend upon any inherent goodness of my own,” say they, “to introduce me into the kingdom of glory, but I depend upon you, brother Joseph, upon you, brother Brigham, upon you, brother Heber, or upon you, brother James; I believe your judgment is superior to mine, and consequently I let you judge for me; your spirit is better than mine, therefore you can do good for me; I will submit myself wholly to you,and place in you all my confidence for life and salvation; where you go I will go, and where you tarry there I will stay; expecting that you will introduce me through the gates into the heavenly Jerusalem.” …Now those men, or those women, who know no more about the power of God, and the influences of the Holy Spirit, than to be led entirely by another person, suspending their own understanding, and pinning their faith upon another’s sleeve, will never be capable of entering into the celestial glory, to be crowned as they anticipate; they will never be capable of becoming Gods. They cannot rule themselves, to say nothing of ruling others, but they must be dictated to in every trifle, like a child. They cannot control themselves in the least, but James, Peter, or somebody else must control them. They never can become Gods, nor be crowned as rulers with glory, immortality, and eternal lives. They never can hold sceptres of glory, majesty, and power in the celestial kingdom. Who will? Those who are valiant and inspired with the true independence of heaven, who will go forth boldly in the service of their God, leaving others to do as they please, determined to do right, though all mankind besides should take the opposite course. Will this apply to any of you? Your own hearts can answer. (J.D. 1:312)
We believe that man will not be punished for Adam’s transgression, and we also believe that man cannot be punished or rewarded by the works of anyone else. The blessings of heaven can be obtained only through our own intelligence and good works.
Because we live in such perilous and unstable times, the Lord has commanded us to act upon our own agency.
Yet have not great numbers of my people been negligent in the observance of my  laws and the keeping of my commandments, and yet have I borne with them these many years; and this because of their weakness, because of the perilous times, and furthermore, it is more pleasing to me that men should use their free agency in regards to these matters. Nevertheless, I the Lord do not change and my word and my covenants and my law do not… (1886 Revelation to John Taylor, v. 5 & 6)
Throughout the scriptures the Lord has issued many warnings against trusting too much in man:
Thus saith the Lord; cursed be the man that trusteth in man, and maketh flesh his arm, and whose heart departeth from the Lord. (Jeremiah 17:5)
THE BOOK OF MORMON:
O Lord, I have trusted in thee, and I will trust in thee forever. I will not put my trust in the arm of flesh; for I know that cursed is he that putteth his trust in the arm of flesh. Yea, cursed is he that putteth his trust in man or maketh flesh his arm. (2 Nephi 4:34)
THE DOCTRINE AND COVENANTS:
The weak things of the world shall come forth and break down the mighty and strong ones, that man should not counsel his fellow man, neither trust in the arm of flesh–But that every man might speak in the name of God the Lord, even the Savior of the world;… (D. & C. 1:19-20)
* * *
 The positive course for man to follow was illustrated by the Prophet Joseph Smith while they were in Zions Camp. He wrote:
…I exhorted the brethren not to kill a serpent, bird, or an animal of any kind during our journey unless it became necessary in order to preserve ourselves from hunger.
I had frequently spoken on this subject, when on a certain occasion I came up to the brethren who were watching a squirrel on a tree, and to prove them and to know if they would heed my counsel, I took one of their guns, shot the squirrel and passed on, leaving the squirrel on the ground. Brother Orson Hyde, who was just behind, picked up the squirrel, and said, “We will cook this, that nothing may be lost.” I perceived that the brethren understood what I did it for, and in their practice gave more heed to my precept than to my example, which was right. (D.H.C. II, pp. 71-72)
Sometimes it is said that man cannot be trusted with the government of himself. Can he, then, be trusted with the government of others? Or have we found angels in the forms of kings, to govern him? Let history answer this question. (Wisdom of Thomas Jefferson, p. 42)
Thus we see the fallacy of placing too much faith in following man. We are to be led in our salvation by principles, rather than personalities.
 Chapter IV
PROPHETS ARE NOT INFALLIBLE
Trust ye not in a friend, put ye not confidence in a guide . . . . (Micah 7:5)
The true prophets of God represent the noblest mortals on earth. Their mission is to herald the revelations of God to man. Their voice often reflects the voice and will of God while their own will and wisdom is of secondary importance. When God speaks through a prophet, mankind should carefully weigh that message, for their fate may depend upon it. However, God’s chosen prophets, almost without exception, are cast out, mocked, and persecuted. Their role as a revelator for the Lord is exceedingly precarious, and their life is often in danger. If a man claims to be a prophet, but fails to prophecy or if his prophecy fails to come to pass, God has decreed that that man should die. (Deut. 18:20) If men claiming to be spokesmen for God should fail to manifest the power of God, or bear some witness that they are the prophets of God, they may stand to suffer judgments through the exposure and power of God’s true prophets. (I Kings 18:36-40) Also, if such aspirants cannot reveal the secrets and spiritual mysteries of God, their exposure means public contempt when God reveals them through his chosen servants. (Dan. 2:1-22)
Hence, the man who bears the title of “prophet” should be placed under the most critical scrutiny of any other mortal. His message may effect the temporal and spiritual salvation of men; therefore, such a prophet may prove to be man’s foremost benefactor. However, if such a claimant does not produce the word and will of God–if he does not possess the gifts and power of God, but rather occupies that position for his own personal gain, social merits,  or economic attainments–that kind of prophet may prove to be a spiritual calamity to those who support and follow after him. It is essential that the validity of a “prophet” be tested, weighed, and measured with the utmost care and consideration. Mankind may be led to heaven or hell by the kind of “prophet” they chose to honor.
Prophets are not infallible, nor is everything they say without error. Those people who do accept a prophet–true or false–sometimes assume him to be impeccable in his calling, or inerring in his opinions. Such implicit confidence has led many into error and sin. Too often when they detect an error or a sin in a prophet, their whole faith is shattered; and they usually forsake him and the divine mission with which he is appointed. Men who place such exceeding faith in other men, do so at the risk of apostasy or regret. When so much faith is placed in other men, their faith in God is lessened.
True prophets possess infirmities and weaknesses, either in their character, opinions, or in some other faculty. However, weaknesses do not constitute a measure of a man’s position with God. For God often overrides the weaknesses of men so that his work may be accomplished. Personal weaknesses do not prove a man to be a false prophet any more than worldly wisdom, honorary titles, or social status prove that he is a true prophet. Many of God’s prophets have exhibited natural faults and failings, but these may have been given to them by an all-wise Creator who has said: “I give unto men weakness that they may be humble” (Ether 12:27); hence, men must judge a true prophet from a false one only by the means of immediate revelation.
Evidence is abundant throughout the scriptures to prove the weaknesses and frailties of God’s prophets. To sanction all of the words and works of the prophets would be a mistake. Yet to condemn and  criticize them for their weaknesses would be just as foolish. All of the prophets have possessed personal weaknesses which are amply exposed for all to see; nevertheless, God performs a great work at their hands. Consider the following:
BALAAM is one of the prophets whose story reads like a tragedy. He was an inspired prophet who “heard the words of God” and “saw the vision of the Almighty” (Num. 24:4) and was told that it “pleased the Lord” for him to “bless the tribes of Israel.” God also told Balaam not to go with the servants of Balak (Num. 22:12); however, since he decided to go anyway, “God’s anger was kindled because he went; and the angel of the Lord stood in the way for an adversary against him;” and Balaam then confessed to the angel that he had “sinned” (Num. 22:22, 24). Apparently Balaam had committed other sins because Jude said the wicked “ran greedily after the error of Balaam” (Jude 1:11), And John the Revelator also rebuked some of the early Christians because they “hold the doctrine of Balaam” (Rev. 2:14). Also Moses became “wrath” with the officers and captains of Israel because they had obeyed the “counsel” of Balaam and,
Behold these caused the children of Israel, through the counsel of Balaam, to commit trespass against the Lord in the matter of Peor, and there was a plague among the congregation of the Lord. (Num. 31:16)
The Apostle Peter also called the wicked a “cursed children which have forsaken the right way; and are gone astray, following the way of Balaam the son of Basor, who loved the wages of unrighteousness; but was rebuked for his iniquity; the dumb ass speaking with man’s voice forbade the madness of the prophet.” (2 Peter 2:15-16)
 How seemingly impossible that such a prophet could descend to that lowly state–when he had once proclaimed, “I cannot go beyond the word of the Lord my God, to do less or more” (Num. 22:18).
JONAH, one of the prophets of Israel, was commanded by God to warn the city of Ninevah. In his weakness, however, he sought to forsake that command and so he fled “from the presence of the Lord.” Because of his disobedience he was punished,and others who were with him also suffered in consequence of his disobedience. (Jonah 1:7) Then after he did complete his mission to Ninevah, he was displeased with God’s mercy upon that city, for which he was again reproved by the Lord (Jonah 4).
King DAVID was a chosen and inspired servant of God (1 Sam. 16:13) and was anointed by the prophet Samuel. He was commissioned to bear the Ark of the Covenant (2 Sam. 6:12), and many prophecies foretold of the greatness of his kingdom. He was a “type” of Christ (Psalm 89), and Jesus was often called a son of David.” (Mark 12:35). However, in his weakness he descended to commit adultery and murder; therefore, the blessings he once possessed were lost forever. (D. & C. 132:39)
SOLOMON, a son of David, was blessed by the prophet Nathan, because “the Lord loved him” (2 Sam. 12:24-25). He was anointed King of Israel and the Lord “appeared to Solomon” (I Kings 3:5), and he was commanded to build the temple of God. When he “had finished the building of the Lord,” then the “Lord appeared to Solomon the second time, as he had appeared unto him at Gibeon.” (I Kings 9:2) God abundantly blessed Solomon with wealth and splendor, and he built many cities and also the wall around Jerusalem. However, he soon began to build altars for the burning of incense and sacrifices to the strange gods of some of his strange wives. Then  “the Lord was angry with Solomon, because his heart as turned from the Lord God of Israel,” and therefore he was told that he would lose his kingdom (I Kings 11:9).
MOSES once failed to “believe in the Lord” and had failed to “sanctify the Lord” in the eyes of the children of Israel. (Num. 20:12)
ISAIAH cried out saying “Woe is me: for I am undone; because I am a man of unclean lips.” (Isa. 6:5)
JOHN THE BAPTIST received a miraculous and prophetic birth which was announced by an angel. (Luke 1:13) He received a mission to all of Judea and announced the coming of Christ. He was so honored as to baptize the Savior of the world and hear the voice of God proclaim him as His “beloved Son,” (Matt. 3:7) Jesus testified that “there is not a greater prophet than John the Baptist” (Luke 7:28). Yet in the hour of his sorrow, he wrote to Jesus and said, “Art thou he that should come, or do we look for another?” (Matt. 11:3)
PETER who knew that Jesus was the Son of God by revelation (Matt. 16:16-17), later began to “curse and swear” and three times denied knowing Jesus (Matt. 26:74-75), which caused him great sorrow and he “wept bitterly.”
The TWELVE APOSTLES were told by Jesus that “All ye shall be offended because of me this night” (Matt. 26:31), but they all agreed with Peter that they would not be offended or even deny him, but at the crucifixion “all the disciples forsook him, and fled.” (Matt. 26:56)
The human weaknesses of prophets, apostles and disciples are abundantly illustrated in history and in the scriptures, but it is needless to pursue them further, for weaknesses are evident in all of them.
* * *
 One of the best explanations of a prophet and his calling is rendered by Joseph Smith:
I read German, and visited with a brother and sister from Michigan, who thought that “A prophet is always a prophet;” but I told them, that a prophet was only a prophet when he was acting as such. (Joseph Smith, D.H.C. 5:265)
Hence, a prophet who is receiving and speaking the revelations and will of God is acting in the capacity and calling of a prophet. Otherwise, when he acts or speaks his own will or opinions, he is acting as a mortal man and is therefore subject to weakness or error. Others must learn to discern between the two. If ever a prophet had reason to be honored for his high calling, or respected for what he had accomplished, it was Joseph Smith. Yet he and the Lord recognized those weaknesses. If any president of the Church could have claimed the incapability of falling or being led astray, it was Joseph Smith; but the Lord warned him to be careful lest he lose his gifts and fall. One of his first errors was concerning the lost manuscript of the Book of Mormon. The Lord warns him:
…Behold, how oft you have transgressed the commandments and the laws of God, and have gone on in the persuasions of men. For, behold, you should not have feared man more than God. Although men set at naught the counsels of God, and despise his words–yet you should have been faithful; and he would have extended his arm and supported you against all the fiery darts of the adversary; and he would have been with you in every time of trouble.
Behold, thou art Joseph,and thou wast chosen to do the work of the Lord, but be-cause of transgression, if thou art not aware thou wilt fall.
But remember, God is merciful; therefore, repent of that which thou hast done which is contrary to the commandment which I gave you, and thou art again called to the work; except thou do this, thou shalt be delivered up and become as other men, and have no more gift. (D. & C. 3:6-11)
And now I command you, my servant Joseph, to repent and walk more uprightly before me, and to yield to the persuasions of men no more; and that you be firm in keeping the commandments wherewith I have commanded you; and if you do this, behold I grant unto you eternal life, even if you should be slain. (D. & C. 5:21-22)
The Lord continued to warn Joseph of his weaknesses:
And I have sent forth the fulness of my gospel by the hand of my servant Joseph; and in weakness have I blessed him; and I have given unto him the keys of the mystery of those things which have been sealed, even things which were from the foundations of the world, and the things which shall come from this time until the time of my coming, if he abide in me, and if not, another will I plant in his stead. (D. & C. 35:17-18)
* * *
And the keys of the mysteries of the kingdom shall not be taken from my servant Joseph Smith, Jun., through the means I have appointed, while he liveth, inasmuch as he obeyeth mine ordinances. (D. & C. 64:5)
* * *
 And now, verily I say unto Joseph Smith, Jun.–You have not kept the commandments, and must needs stand rebuked before the Lord; (D. & C. 93:47)
Certain by if Joseph Smith could have fallen, after angels and the Father and Son had appeared to him, then no one else need suppose that they are free from such possible error, unless the lord has so proved and promised them otherwise.
These rebukes to Joseph Smith were a powerful lesson to him, and must have been embarrassing to have them published for others to read. Those warnings could have been a private matter between the Lord and Joseph–but the Lord wanted that lesson imprinted in the minds of all Saints. A prophet or president of the Church could be led amiss. This was proved true when Oliver Cowdery, who was a prophet, seer, revelator and co-president of the Church–who also held the keys of this dispensation with Joseph Smith–later left the Church. Oliver was a man who had seen almost every great manifestation and received every key for the Church and priesthood that Joseph Smith did–yet he apostatized in a moment of weakness.
The Prophet Joseph warned others of his own weaknesses, too, by saying:
…I told them I was but a man, and they must not expect me to be perfect; if they expected perfection from me, I should expect it from them; but if they would bear with my infirmities and the infirmities of the brethren, I would likewise bear with their infirmities. (T.P.J.S., p. 268)
The Prophet had counselled members of the Church not to fall into the error of depending too much on any man for their salvation.
 In the 14th Chapter of Ezekiel, the Lord said that when the people sin against Him, He brought destruction upon them, and
Though these three men, Noah, Daniel, and Job, were in it, they should deliver but their own souls by their righteousness, saith the Lord God. (Ezek. 14:14)
The Lord says those three were not able to save even their own sons and daughters. He further warns us of future destructions and states that at that time neither prophet, priest, nor father has power to save anyone else.
President Joseph Smith read the 14th chapter of Ezekiel–said the Lord had declared by the Prophet, that the people should each one stand for himself, and depend on no man or men in that state of corruption of the Jewish church–that righteous persons could only deliver their own souls–applied it to the present state of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints–said if the people departed from the Lord, they must fall–that they were depending on the Prophet, hence were darkened in their minds, in consequence of neglecting the duties devolving upon themselves…. (T.P.J.S., p. 237-238)
If the early Saints were darkened in their minds for depending too much on the Prophet Joseph, then this surely would be a timely warning for anyone else after his time.
Brigham Young also gave similar warnings to the Saints:
What a pity it would be if we were led by one man to utter destruction! Are you a-fraid of this: I am more afraid that this people have so much confidence in their leaders that they will not inquire for themselves of God whether they are led by Him. I am fearful they settle down in a state of blind self-security, trusting their eternal destiny in the hands of their leaders with a reckless confidence that in itself would thwart the purposes of God in their salvation, and weaken that influence they could give to their leaders, did they know for themselves, by the revelations of Jesus, that they are led in the right way. Let every man and woman know, themselves, whether their leaders are walking in the path the lord dictates, or not. This has been my exhortation continually. (Brigham Young, J.D. 9:150)
The editor of the Millennial Star wrote an editorial with similar views:
A man of God, who seeks for the redemption of his fellows, would despise the idea of seeing another become his slave, who had an equal right with himself to the favour of God; he would rather see him stand by his side, a sworn enemy to wrong, so long as there was place found for it among men. Others, in the extreme exercise of their almighty (!) authority, have taught that such obedience was necessary, and that no matter what the Saints were told to do by their Presidents, they should do it without asking any questions.
When the Elders of Israel will so far indulge in these extreme notions of obedience, as to teach them to the people, it is generally because they have it in their hearts to do wrong themselves, and wish to  pave the way to accomplish that wrong; or else because they have done wrong, and wish to use the cloak of their authority to cover it with, lest it should be discovered by their superiors, who would require an atonement at their hands. (Mill. Star, 14:594)
However, it often occurs that when a Saint is told that he must learn to discern for himself–that he cannot lean upon anyone else, even his leaders–his mouth drops in amazement and he staggers as though a rug had been pulled out from under him. Immediately he feels insecure because his spiritual balance is tried. But men must obtain certain knowledge from the Lord as to which leaders are speaking for God, and if what they say is from God. When the Lord reveals this knowledge to a man, then he can either become a more powerful friend to such a leader, or he is warned of a perilous danger that could be disastrous to his soul. However, some Saints are so naive that they are determined to follow their leaders regardless of whether they are right or wrong. Such a doctrine was not taught in the early days of the Church. The president of the European Mission and editor of the Millennial Star, wrote an article in 1852 which said:
Because of these facts, and the apparent imperfections of men on whom God confers authority, the question is sometimes asked,–to what extent is obedience to those who hold the Priesthood required? This is a very important question, and one which should be understood by all Saints. In attempting to answer this question, we would repeat, in short, what we have already written, that willing obedience to  the laws of God, administered by the Priesthood, is indispensable to salvation; but we would further add, that a proper conservative to this power exists for the benefit of all, and none are required to tamely and blindly submit to a man because he has a portion of the Priesthood. We have heard men who hold the Priesthood remark, that they could do anything they were told to do by those who presided over them, if they knew it was wrong: but such obedience as this is worse than folly to us; it is slavery in the extreme; and the man who would thus willingly degrade himself, should not claim a rank among intelligent beings, until he turns from his folly. (Samuel Richards, Mill. Star 14:594)
Following the leadership of the president of the Church may be a generally acceptable policy, and a safeguard for the course of the Church, but it does not excuse men from following him if they know he errs in doctrine, or in the laws of God. The man who presides as president of the Church should be a prophet, seer, and president. But if he should teach error, superstition or false personal opinions, no one is required or justified in following him. God will not sanction His people or His leaders when they deviate from His word.
Authors, lecturers, and prominent men of the Church have often taught for doctrine the commandment to follow men rather than the Lord. Two recent examples of such teachers were published in a Church periodical:
Do the people of the Church want a safe guide to what is well for them to do? It is this: Keep in harmony with the  Presidency of this Church. Accept and follow the teachings and advice of the President. ***
Brethren, keep your eye on the President of this Church. If he tells you to do anything and it is wrong and you do it, the Lord will bless you for it. (Ensign, October 1972)
For many of the Saints such a doctrine came as a jolt to their moral ethics, but others accepted it as a new safeguard for their eternal security. Such a belief would lessen their own efforts and responsibilities because salvation could be secured by following the office of the presidency of the Church even if their counsel led the members to do wrong.
It is a correct principle for members to obey the course of the president of the Church so long as he obeys and speaks for the Lord. However, if he manifests inconsistencies, contradictions, or opposition to what the Lord has said, then Church members must revert to previous principles or scriptures which have been authoritatively established by the Lord.
Accepting all advice and counsel from the President of the Church, whether it be right or wrong, is presuming that he, or his office, is an infallible station upon which salvation can be dependent. This is an erroneous assumption.
Shortly after the crucifixion of Christ, the pressures of persecution became intolerable for the membership of the Church. The strongest members were soon killed; others gradually died; and the leadership of the Church fell upon those who were weak in faith and short on courage. Because of “unvaliant” leaders and weak-kneed members, the Church put aside many important principles. Through con-cessions in Church doctrine, and the bartering of eternal ordinances, the Church lost the priesthood for the price of peace with their enemies. As the power of the priesthood and the influence of the Holy Ghost diminished, so did the gifts and manifestations of God. Attempts were continually being made to justify the erroneous decisions of their misguided leaders. Justification for the absence of spirituality and the heavenly guidance of revelation, compelled them to support and sustain each other. It was necessary, in this way, for them to maintain the dignity of their offices. Thus, from the ashes of a dead priesthood the doctrine of infallibility was born. The office of the Pope was above question, for he was the vicar of Christ. His voice was the voice of God and his decisions were always directed and approved by the heavens. Members were told that God would never allow him (as head of the church) to be led astray, or to lead the members of the church astray.
Like echoes from the past, the doctrine of infallibility is now being amplified to the Saints of the latter days. Quoting again from Ensign magazine:
…But you don’t need to worry; the Lord will never let his mouthpiece lead this people astray.
However, the Prophet Joseph Smith warned the members that this idea may not be true,
…for the Lord will have a place whence His word will go forth, in these last days, in purity; for if Zion will not purify herself so as to be approved of in all things, in His sight, He will seek another people; for His work will go on until Israel is gathered, and they who will not hear His voice, must expect to feel His wrath…. (T.P.J.S., p. 18)
 Such unwavering obedience to the leaders of the Church has become more popular in recent years. A humorous, but appropriate, example of such regulatory conformity was published in the Holiday Magazine in an article written by Samuel W. Taylor, an excellent and professional writer, who is in a position to know by experience the influx of such mental formalists. He wrote:
In Utah, you have a curious feeling of isolation. This is a mountain island, and within its mental wall all is always officially well, In Utah bookcases you find on display the “approved” books–standard Church works and those written in the same style–i.e., religious tracts. If Mormons read anything about Utah not “approved,” they won’t admit it…. You ask a Mormon his opinion of a new Utah book, just released, too new to have had the word passed. “I don’t know whether I like it or not,” he says. “I haven’t been told yet,” (Holiday Magazine, Aug. 1953, p. 32)
The mention of a “mental wall” aroused the editor of the Deseret News to respond with an editorial printed in that paper shortly thereafter. He wanted to offer his “word of dissent” against such an idea and accused Mr. Taylor of using an “old, old custom of sensationalizing.”
However, only a few years previous to these articles, every member of the Church had the following ward teaching message read or delivered to their home:
When our leaders speak, the thinking has been done. When they propose a plan, it is God’s plan. When they point the way, there is no other which is safe. When they give direction, it should mark the end of  controversy. (Ward Teachers Message for June 1945)
Now then, either the editor of the Deseret News failed to have his ward teachers arrive at his home that month, or else he just failed to “get the message!” Every other family in the Church was to receive a copy of this lesson which clearly demonstrates that “mental wall” in such simple terms that even the deacons who read it could comprehend what it said, The article went further by implying that “Lucifer wins a great victory when he can get members” to “do their own thinking.”
This article did present a very thought provoking statement which said that “ANY Latter-day Saint who denounces or opposes, whether actively or otherwise, any plan or doctrine advocated by the prophets, seers, and revelators of the Church is cultivating the spirit of apostasy.” If this be true, then any member, or apostle, or president of the Church of today who “denounces or opposes” any former “plan or doctrine advocated” by the first Prophet, Seer, and Revelator of the Church would also be “cultivating the spirit of apostasy.” Hence, “ANY” Latter-day Saint who teaches doctrines contrary to the former doctrines of the Church is on the road to apostasy.
Because of these inconsistencies that have troubled many members of the Church, Samuel Taylor later wrote in Dialogue magazine:
I do not have answers, but I do know indications of unrest; among inactive (and active) intellectuals there is rebellion at what is considered thought control. (Dialogue, Summer 1967, p. 26)
[38a] WARD TEACHERS
MESSAGE FOR JUNE, 1945
“SUSTAINING THE GENERAL AUTHORITIES
OF THE CHURCH”
No Latter-day Saint is compelled to sustain the General Authorities of the Church. When given the opportunity to vote on the proposition in any of the several conferences held throughout the Church, he may indicate his willingness to sustain them by raising his right hand. he may manifest his opposition in like manner, or he may ignore the opportunity entirely. There is no element of coercion or force in this or any other Church procedure.
However, there is the principle of honor involved in the member’s choice. When a person raises his hand to sustain Church leaders as “prophets, seers, and revelators” it is the same as a promise and a covenant to follow their leadership and to abide by their counsel as the living oracles of God. Consequently, any subsequent act or word of mouth which is at variance with the will of the Lord as taught by the leaders of the Church places the sincerity of such person in serious doubt. One could scarcely have claim upon complete integrity, if he raises his hand to sustain the Authorities of the Church and then proceeds in opposition to their counsel.
Any Latter-day Saint who denounces or opposes, whether actively or otherwise, any plan or doctrine advocated by the “prophets, seers, and revelators” of the Church is cultivating the spirit of apostasy. One cannot speak evil of the Lord’s annointed and retain the holy spirit in his heart.
It should be remembered that Lucifer has a very cunning way of convincing unsuspecting souls that the General Authorities of the Church are as likely to be wrong as they are to be right. This sort of game is Satan’s favorite pastime and he has practiced it on believing souls since Adam. He wins a great victory when he can get members of the Church to speak against their leaders and to “do their own thinking.” He specializes in suggesting that our leaders are in error while he plays the blinding rays of apostasy in the eyes of those whom he thus beguiles. What cunning! And to think that some of our members are deceived by this trickery.
The following words of the Prophet Joseph Smith should be memorized by every Latter-day Saint and repeated often enough to insure their never being forgotten:
“I will give you one of the Keys of the mysteries of the Kingdom. It is an eternal principle, that has existed with God from all eternity: That man who rises up to condemn others finding fault with the Church, saying that they are out of the way while he himself is righteous, then know assuredly, that man is in the high road to apostasy; and if he does not repent, will apostatize, as God lives.”
When our leaders speak, the thinking has been done. When they propose a plan–it is God’s plan. When they point the way, there is no other which is safe. When they give direction, it should mark the end of controversy. God works in no other way. To think otherwise, without immediate repentance, may cost one his faith, may destroy his testimony, and leave him a stranger to the Kingdom of God.
This ward teaching lesson clearly leads members of the Church to accept the century old Catholic doctrine of infallibility. Although Latter-day Saints have always opposed this doctrine in theory, many members are advocating its basic elements.
When members are warned not to “do their own thinking,” because it is wrong to differ from the opinions of their leaders, that is when infallibility is born. This is hardly a ward teaching lesson on “sustaining the general authorities;” it is more of a lesson on total submission to them.
Teachings of this kind make members fearful of differing from their leaders in word, deed or even thought. Submission of this kind was never advocated by the Prophet Joseph Smith.
* * * * *
Such reasoning and experience is not unfounded, for this author knows of an instance when one of the apostles, speaking to a group of missionaries, asked  how many had copies of Dialogue magazine. A few hands went up and the apostle retorted: “Burn them up.”
In another instance a high councilman was confronted with a miniature model of the Book of Mormon plates, to which he instantly replied, “Are they Church approved?” Such comments give reason for historians to understand what had happened in the Catholic Church: i.e., burning of books which held opinions contrary to the Church, and requiring church approval of figurines and necklaces — neither of which proved beneficial to that church.
The church has published a form which is often given to members who may be inclined to “do their own thinking.” The member in question is told to pledge his allegiance to “sustaining the present-day program of the Church” which is “including both the prohibitions embraced in them as well as their positive phases” and also “sustain and accept their teachings as coming from the Lord.” This is to be done “without any reservation.” Those who refuse to sign such a document are threatened with “further investigation” followed with “some kind of action.” (See page 147 of Chapter VIII, for copy of complete form.)
A man’s self respect is lessened when he feels compelled to live from the labor, or the thinking, of another person. So sacred is the inherent right to think, work, and worship, that God has pronounced a curse upon those who infringe upon that freedom. He warned Priesthood bearers that if they should, in the least degree of unrighteousness use any “control or dominion or compulsion upon the souls of the children of men,” they would lose the spirit of the Lord and the Priesthood. (See D. & C. 121:37)
Such enforcement of authority upon others would make mental, physical, and spiritual parasite of  those who serve that leadership.
Leaders cannot demand their disciples to follow them if they have not followed their leaders who were before them; neither can disciples follow several leaders who are at variance with each other. Thus each man is obligated to learn which leader, if any, is speaking for God.
 NOVEMBER 13, 1852
We have heard men who hold the Priesthood remark, that they would do anything they were told to do by those who presided over them, if they knew it was wrong: but such obedience as this is worse than folly to us; it is slavery in the extreme; and the man who would thus willingly degrade himself, should not claim a rank among intelligent beings, until he turns from his folly. (Samuel Richards, Mill. Star 14:594)
* * * *
APRIL 19, 1961
President Grant used to say to us…”Brethren, keep your eye on the President of this Church. If he tells you to do anything and it is wrong and you do it, the Lord will bless you for it. (Harold B. Lee, Address at B.Y.U., reprinted in the Ensign, Oct. 1972)
 Chapter V
CRITICISM AND JUDGMENT
The tongue can no man tames; it is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison. Therewith bless we God, even the Father; and therewith curse we men, which are made after the similitude of God. (James 3:8-9)
An unruly tongue is the result of an unruly temperament. Its poison may cause delinquent children, broken homes, or a war among nations. A disturbed or emotional mind results in foolish actions or irrational judgments, and for this reason intelligent beings should never make hasty criticisms or judgments. From neighborhood gossip to finding fault with God’s prophets–these are evils and common practices. The Prophet Joseph Smith said that “the devil flatters us that we are very righteous when we are feeding on the faults of others.” Then he continued by explaining that it was a form of apostasy:
I will give you one of the keys of the mysteries of the Kingdom. It is an eternal principle, that has existed with God from all eternity; that man who rises up to condemn others, finding fault with the Church, saying that they are out of the way, while he himself is righteous, then know assuredly, that that man is in the high road to apostasy; and if he does not repent, will apostatize, as God lives. (T.P.J.S., p. 156)
The Prophet’s statement can be further clarified by explaining that:
- Those who rise up “to condemn others” usually do so to exalt themselves. It is a coward’s  method of fighting and an unmanly way to promote themselves. To attack a man’s character is proof of nothing and is often a means of justification for a person’s own failings.
- Men should not find “fault with the Church saying that they are out of the way,” because the Church is governed by common consent–which is according to God’s will. God desires that the majority of the members of the Church vote to sustain the laws, rules, and leaders of their choice. If most of the members choose to live by all or only part of the Gospel, or if they choose uninspired men, rather than prophets, it is their God-given right to do so. Israel has always had the choice of higher or lesser laws. God will not and cannot force the human mind any more than he would force His will upon the majority of the Church. Freedom of choice is God’s standard for Church members–individually and collectively.
- The person who rises up to claim that “he himself is righteous,”‘ proclaims a holiness which even prophets dare not make. Hundreds of self-righteous and self-appointed leaders have promoted themselves into prophets, seers, revelators, some form of “Mighty and Strong” or even a Messiah of sorts; but they have all vanished like the shadows of night without leaving even a trail.
* * * *
Finding fault is a fault itself. It is an easy indulgence and all too common among those who call themselves Saints. If a man’s faults are not grievous enough for a Church trial or criminal prosecution, they should not be exposed for public gossip. Unfair criticism of a neighbor or Church leader can cause distrust, division, and apostasy.
 Brother Kimball said, today, when he was speaking, if you suffer yourselves to find fault with your Bishop, you condescend to the spirit of apostacy. Do any of you do this? If you do, you do not realize that you expose yourself to the power of the Enemy. What should your faith and position be before God? Such that, if a Bishop does not do right, the Lord will remove him out of your Ward. You are not to find fault. As brother Wells has said, speak not lightly of the anointed of the Lord. But you say they are out of the way. Who has made any of my brethren a judge over their Bishop? You read in the Book of Doctrine and Covenants, in a revelation to Joseph Smith, (brother Kimball and myself were present,) that it takes twelve High Priests to sit in council upon the head of a Bishop. Can they judge him? No; for they must then have the Presidency of the High Priesthood to sit at their head and preside over them. Yet many rise up and condemn their Bishop. Perhaps that Bishop has been appointed expressly to try those persons and cause them to apostatize. A great many will not apostatize until they arrive here; and who knows but what the Lord has prompted a Bishop to do so-and-so to cause somebody to apostatize. (Brigham Young, J.D. 9:141)
Criticism casts darkness upon the work of God and will tend to destroy the testimony of others. If every appointed leader of the Church were open to character attack, very few would accept Church positions.
God has chosen His servants. He claims it as His prerogative to condemn them, if they need condemnation. He has  not given it to us individually to censure them. No man, however strong he may be in the faith, however high in the Priesthood, can speak evil of the Lord’s anointed and find fault with God’s authority on the earth without incurring His displeasure. The Holy Spirit will withdraw itself from such a man, and he will go into darkness. (George Q. Cannon, Gospel Truth, ed. Jerrald L. Newquist, p. 278)
We may oppose a man’s teachings, but we must honor the man; we may be justified in condemning a man’s standards, but we must honor his office or position. Neither must we accept a man’s teachings solely because of his office or position, for a righteous man may teach an error, and a wicked man may teach some truth.
Eventually all of those who criticize God’s people because of their dress, poverty, manners or character, do so at their own expense. To disagree with or question what a man says or believes is everyone’s prerogative, but criticism or attack against his character is without justification.
Prominent citizens of the great Jewish nation probably found fault with or criticized John the Baptist because his raiment was of “camels hair” and a “leathern girdle” and his food consisted of “locusts and wild honey.” (Matt. 3:4) Similarly, there were those who saw the Prophet Enoch and said, “a wild man hath come among us,” and so “all men were offended because of him.” (Moses 6:37-8) Then when Moses was to accept his divine calling, he recognized how poorly he might be accepted by the people because of his “slow speech.” Then when his sister Miriam criticized him for taking another wife, God smote her with leprosy. (Num. 12:1, 9, 10) When foolish children criticized and mocked Elisha for his bald head, God brought vengeance in the form of two bears  to destroy them. (II Kings 2:23-24) Laman and Lemuel suffered for their criticism of their brother Nephi, just as the brothers of Joseph did for criticizing and selling him as a slave in Egypt. A host of others throughout the scriptures have suffered for unwise and unjust criticism of God’s servants. In our own dispensation, Oliver Cowdery and David Whitmer fell into apostasy for their criticisms of the Prophet Joseph Smith.
When men are critical of other men, they will soon criticize his position, then his teachings, and eventually find that they have criticized God’s prophets, His Church, or else the work of the Lord. In the hour of their trial they become critical and lose the Spirit of God and may eventually fall into apostasy.
From trials and tests there will occur faults and failures. Most men weaken from the tests and temptations of wealth, lust, praise, pleasure, or ease. God has given all men the freedom to choose those things dearest to their heart and therefore obtain the reward of their choice. If men barter eternal inheritances for the temporal, it is by their own decision. However, men are not to be criticized for their own personal selections. He that is not capable of management may still excell in some craft. A man may not be qualified to manage an airline, but he may be suited to be a pilot. If a man’s limited capacity does not qualify him to carry the burden of priesthood, he still may be perfectly qualified for a lesser responsibility.
The Prodigal Son was not condemned by his father; his son would still be a worthy servant. Esau was not condemned because he chose a bowl of pottage. These men were not cast out because their simple desires did not select the more worthy decision. Esau and the Prodigal Son obtained the rewards of their own choice–but God could never use them as spiritual  leaders or His chosen prophets. If men cannot be trusted with eternal principles, they cannot be trusted with the spiritual gifts and powers of the priesthood. A man who lacks the courage or the wisdom to defend true principles, cannot be a spiritual leader. Anyone who is so unwise as to trust a Prodigal Son with his temporal wealth or an Esau with his salvation, deserves to inherit the same rewards. Both leader and disciple are free to make choices which will affect their eternal salvation.
Criticism or condemnation has little place among the righteous, but proper judgment does. Although the scriptures say, “Judge not that ye be not judged” (Matt 7:1), this translation in the King James version is not correct. If judging was not to be done, no one could become a member of a jury with a clear conscience. No bishop or stake president could judge those worthy to be baptized, or to enter the temple; nor would an employer judge character qualifications for employment. The correct translation of this verse appears in the Prophet Joseph Smith’s Inspired translation:
Judge not unrighteously, that ye be not judged; but judge righteous judgment. (Matt. 7:2)
And the Lord further explains the manner in which this is to be done by revealing:
And now, verily, verily, I say unto thee, put your trust in that Spirit which leadeth to do good–yea, to do justly, to walk humbly, to judge righteously, and this is my Spirit. (D. & C. 11:12)
 The purpose of mortality and the plan of salvation is founded upon making correct judgment of that which is of God and that which is of the devil. In every age and dispensation, men have been required to judge light from darkness, truth from error, true prophets from false prophets. If we judge righteously, then we will have God’s spirit with us, It is in the manner which we judge that we are to be judged.
Isaiah gave us the key by which we can distinguish God’s servants: “To the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them.” (Isa. 8:20)
Honors, education, appearances, or riches are not standards for making judgments, for the Prophet Joseph Smith said:
Outward appearance is not always a criterion by which to judge our fellow man; but the lips betray the haughty and overbearing imaginations of the heart; by his words and his deeds let him be judged. (T.P.J.S., p. 137)
By properly judging the principles that men teach and live, we can understand that which is of God and that which is not. The character of a man is formed by principles, and by them he is exalted or condemned.
It is by the eternal principles of the Gospel that all men are tried, tested, and judged; therefore, those who believe and practice those principles become the chosen, the elect, the prophets of God. Thus, in every dispensation, and under every condition, they will remain faithful and obedient to those same eternal and everlasting principles.
A prophet of God will never attack the eternal principles of the Gospel. Opposition to any part of  the Gospel will cause a loss of the Spirit of God, and suffering or repentance will be the final result. The Prophet Joseph warns us that:
The devil has no power over us only as we permit him. The moment we revolt at anything which comes from God, the devil takes power. (T.P.J.S., p. 181)
The devil, through his cunning and powers, will attack every man who advocates God’s principles. A man of God will suffer every temptation, flattery, or persecution that hell can devise to sway him from believing, teaching or obeying those heavenly principles. Joseph Smith cautioned:
It is thought by some that our enemies would be satisfied with my destruction; but I tell you that as soon as they have shed my blood, they will thirst for the blood of every man in whose heart dwells a single spark of the spirit of the fulness of the gospel. It is not only to destroy me but every man and woman who dares believe the doctrines that God hath inspired me to teach to this generation. (Fate of the Persecutors, by N. B. Lundwall, p. 144)
Thus a faithful man will suffer the refiner’s fire from within, and opposition from without. He will be tempted to sin; he will be flattered to trust in himself; he will have society entice him to join with them; or he may suffer from a mob, his family, or his own brethren. From all sources and in all points he must be tried to prove his trust in eternal principles.
Joseph Smith’s loyalty to true principles was so firm that he said:
 It mattereth not whether the principle is popular or unpopular, I will always maintain a true principle, even if I stand alone in it. (T.P.J.S., p. 332)
And how can we determine a true principle from a false one? Once again the Prophet Joseph instructs:
A key: Every principle proceeding from God is eternal and any principle which is not eternal is of the devil. (T.P.J.S., p. 181)
But many false prophets teach so close to the truth that deception is almost inevitable. For this reason each man must know true principles to discern the true prophets.
The world always mistook false prophets for true ones, and those that were sent of God, they considered to be false prophets, and hence they killed, stoned, punished and imprisoned the true prophets. (T.P.J.S., p. 206)
False prophets always arise to oppose the true prophets, and they will prophecy so very near the truth that they will deceive almost the very chosen ones. (T.P.J.S., p. 365)
A man’s salvation may depend on what kind of prophet he chooses to believe and follow. How can a false prophet be judged from a true one?
- If he contradicts a former revelation of God.
- If he does not live according to the principles of former prophets.
- If his teachings and doctrine disagree with other dead or living Prophets.
 4. If he fails to bring forth revelations of God.
- If he has an absence of spiritual gifts–such as tongues, visions, angels, etc.
- If he fails to prophesy, or if his prophecies fail.
- If he teaches for doctrine the commandments of men.
- If he supports and promotes false or erroneous leaders.
- If he seeks to acquire wealth, fame, and the honors of men.
- If he fails to teach according to the scriptures.
- If he opposes those who live and teach the fulness of the Gospel.
- If God reveals to you that such a man is not a chosen and faithful prophet.
Hence, gods and devils are created by the principles and the prophets they choose to obey or oppose.
 Chapter VI
A wonderful and horrible thing is committed in the land; The prophets prophesy falsely and the priests bear rule by their means; and my people love to have it so: and what will ye do in the end thereof? (Jeremiah 5:30-31)
Free democracy is a government ruled by majority vote of the governed. Public opinion, or the preponderant will of the people, directs the course of an organization or society, Popular vote forms their law. Because public opinion may be persuaded to good or evil, a democracy can thus become good or evil. By democratic rule it is possible for a nation or a people to be reduced to legal tyranny or a destructive mob. The purpose of democracy is for freedom, but it has often descended to an unprincipled multitude ripened for destruction. Common consent governed the ancient Nephite nation–and its church. They were often exalted and blessed, while at other times they plunged into chaos. King Mosiah warned his people:
And if the time comes that the voice of the people doth choose iniquity, then is the time that the judgments of God will come upon you; yea, then is the time he will visit you with great destruction even as he has hitherto visited this land. (Mosiah 29:27)
And later from Helaman:
For as their laws and their governments were established by the voice of the  people, and they who chose evil were more numerous than they who chose good, therefore they were ripening for destruction, for the laws had become corrupted. (Helaman 5:2)
A similar circumstance occurred with Israel while Samuel the Prophet was leading them. The majority of Israel decided to depose Samuel and select another to be their king.
But the thing displeased Samuel, when they said, Give us a king to judge us. And Samuel prayed unto the Lord. And the Lord said unto Samuel, Hearken unto the voice of the people in all that they say unto thee: for they have not rejected thee, but they have rejected me, that I should not reign over them. (I Sam. 8:6-7)
Israel told Samuel that they wanted a king so “that we also may be like other nations.” Samuel warned them of all the dangers of having a king, but they chose to have a king rather than the Prophet Samuel. When Samuel returned to the Lord with their desire, the “Lord said to Samuel, Hearken unto their voice, and make them a king.”
The leaders of a democracy, or the people under a democracy, may cause the collapse of such a system. The direction of this type of sovereign rests with the vote of more than 51 percent of its people. The administration of a nation, a state, an organization, or even God’s church, has a more equitable and just management through democracy than by any other form of government. For this reason God has chosen this system to be adopted by His people. He has also directed the course of His Church in this manner by saying:
 All things shall be done by common consent in the church, by much prayer and faith…. (D. & C. 26:2)
* * *
For all things must be done in order, and by common consent in the church, by the prayer of faith (D. & C. 28:13)
* * *
The elders are to receive their licenses from other elders by the vote of the church…. (D. & C. 20:63)
* * *
No person is to be ordained to any office in this church where there is a regularly organized branch of the same, without the vote of that church; (D. & C. 20:65)
* * *
And a commandment I give unto you, that you should fill all these offices and approve of those names which I have mentioned, or else disapprove of them at my general conference. (D. & C. 124:144)
* * *
Just as the government functions “from the consent of the governed,” so does God’s Church. But every officer in the Church should be called by the Lord to that position. However, that person may or may not be accepted by the consent of the people.
Every officer of the priesthood or auxiliary organizations, though properly nominated, holds his position in the Church only with the consent of the people…even the president of the church, before he can  fully enter upon his duties, or continue in the office; must be sustained by the people. (John A Widtsoe, Priesthood and Church Government, p. 233)
The one weakness of a democracy is that the Lord may choose certain principles or prophets, and the people may, by common consent, choose differently. Brigham Young concurred with this by saying:
Who called Joseph to be a Prophet? Was it the people or God? God, and not the people called him. Had the people gathered together and appointed one of their number to be a Prophet, he would have been accountable to the people; but, inasmuch as he is called of God, he is accountable to God, and the angel that committed the Gospel to him, and not to any man on earth. (Manuscript History of Brigham Young, July 29, 1843)
And again he said:
Joseph presided over the church by the voice of the Church. Perhaps it would make some of you stumble, were I to ask you a question–Does a man’s being a prophet in this Church prove that he shall be president of it? I answer, no! A man may be a prophet, seer and revelator, and it may have nothing to do with his being the president of the Church. Suffice it to say that Joseph was the president of the Church, as long as he lived. The people chose to have it so. He always filled that responsible station, by the voice of the people. Can you find any revelation appointing him the president of the Church? The keys of the priesthood were committed to Joseph, to build up the Kingdom of God of the earth,  and were not to be taken from him in time or in eternity; but when he was called to preside over the Church, it was by the voice of the people; though he held the keys of the priesthood independent of their voice. (Brigham Young, Contributor 10:3)
President Brigham Young infers that if God appoints a man to be his spokesman or prophet on earth, then that man is accountable to God–no matter what his position among men may be. However, if men–in the Church or out of it–appoint one of their number to be their leader, then he is accountable to them for what he does or says. To reiterate, the choice of men may not always be the choice of God.
Joseph Smith, on certain occasions, acted independently of the Church, or their vote. At such times he was directed by God to advocate or obey certain laws of the priesthood. Occasionally he was acting contrary to Church rule or law–and to the objection of many, or perhaps most, of the Church members, When this happened, considerable confusion and irresolution occurred in the Church. From Brigham Young comes the following account of the crisis that occurred throughout the rank and file of the Church during the years of 1836 and 1837:
At this time the spirit of speculation, disaffection and apostacy imbibed by many of the Twelve, and which ran through all the Quorums of the Church, prevailed so extensively that it was difficult for any to see clearly the path to pursue.
On a certain occasion several of the Twelve, the witnesses to the Book of Mormon, and others of the Authorities of the Church, held a council in the upper room of the Temple. The question before them was to ascertain how the Prophet Joseph could be deposed, and David Whitmer ap-pointed President of the Church, Father John Smith, Brother Heber C. Kimball, and others were present, who were opposed to such measures. I rose up, and in a plain and forcible manner told them that Joseph was a Prophet, and I knew it, and that they might rail and slander him as much as they pleased, they could not destroy the appointment of the Prophet of God, they could only destroy their own authority, cut the thread that bound them to the Prophet and to God and sink themselves to hell. Many were highly enraged at my decided opposition to their measures, and Jacob Bump was so exasperated that he could not be still. Some of the brethren near him put their hands on him, and requested him to be quiet; but he writhed and twisted his arms and body saying, “How can I keep my hands off that man?” I told him if he thought it would give him any relief he might lay them on. This meeting was broken up without the apostates being able to unite on any decided measures of opposition. This was a crisis when earth and hell seemed leagued to overthrow the Prophet and Church of God. The knees of many of the strongest men in the Church faltered. (Manuscript History of Brigham Young, August 1836, p. 16)
* * *
During this siege of darkness, I stood close by Joseph, and with all the wisdom and power God bestowed upon me, put forth my utmost energies to sustain the servant of God, and unite the quorums of the Church.
The spirit of apostasy continued to rage in and around Kirtland however, until President Young, as well as the prophet Joseph and Sidney Rigdon had to flee for their lives.
 “On the morning of December 22nd (1837),” says President Young, “I left Kirtland, in consequence of the fury of the mob, and the spirit that prevailed in the apostates, who threatened to destroy me because I would proclaim, publicly and privately, that I knew, by the power of the Holy Ghost, that Joseph Smith was a prophet of the Most High God, and had not transgressed and fallen as apostates declared.” (Brigham Young, Contributor 10:2)
The Prophet Joseph Smith knew what power was activating the men who were his persecutors, and who disbelieved in some of God’s revelations. He said:
It is thought by some that our enemies would be satisfied with my destruction; but I tell you that as soon as they have shed my blood, they will thirst for the blood of every man in whose heart dwells a single spark of the spirit of the fullness of the Gospel. The opposition of these men is moved by the spirit of the adversary of all righteousness. It is not only to destroy me, but every man and woman who dares believe the doctrines that God hath inspired me to deliver to this generation.” (D.H.C. 6:498)
Many of God’s servants have, in like manner, suffered most from the hands of their own brethren. It was Judas the Apostle who led the murderous mob to Christ; and the Prophet Joseph Smith was finally murdered by a mob that was led by one of his own Apostles, Jesus had to listen to similar indignities, endure their mockery, and feel the pain of affliction. His eyes, like many of His servants, were filled with bitter tears. Every true disciple of Christ will also feel the burden of mistreatment,  unjust judgment, and often prison bars, or death; for the disciple is not above his Master, and the principles of His Gospel will never be popular.
The persecutors of Christ were not ignorant peasants of the field, nor calloused men of the military; but they were letter of the law theologians, lawyers, educators and money men, who sought for, and obtained common favor from their society. The people, and their leaders, reflected the spirit of darkness because of their contempt for gospel principles. While they professed a love of God, they became persecutors of God’s prophets.
As mankind trust more in the formalities of worship rather than in the revelations of God, their religion becomes a form of servitude and ritual. Religious offices become filled with men who seek popular favor, political ambition, or temporal wealth. God’s prophets and His revelations are excused away, substituted, or discarded by those who trust in men more than in God. The generation that crucified Christ had much in common with the society of today–for the Prophet Joseph commented that:
This generation is as corrupt as the generation of the Jews that crucified Christ; and if He were here today, and should preach the same doctrine He did then, they would put him to death. (TPJS, p. 328)
Thus we may see that the fulness of the Gospel will never be commonly accepted, and only a few faithful Saints will prove valiant to those principles. Popularity or common consent is not a measurement of God’s prophets or principles.
The Church may therefore choose or reject a truth or an error, a man of the world, or a prophet of God. Good spiritual leadership will encourage  God@s laws and will bring those laws and principles from Him to the people, while poor leadership will usually discard many of God’s laws and principles. False leaders will teach contrary to former revelations. Such men will usually perpetrate their fraud by wrongly using their office or calling. They may claim the right to change God’s laws on the basis of their “authority” or their “priesthood.” They may vote unanimously in a council, or by popular vote and claim that such is “God’s will.” They may say that God will never allow them to be led wrongly; and they may be so convinced of this position, that they assume infallibility or else infer that whatever they say, right or wrong, will be a blessing to those who obey. However, all such presumptions are not a substitute for the revelations of God.
Political or religious leaders who teach contrary to correct principles are incapable of producing light for themselves, not to mention the masses of people who look to them for direction, They are not the Lord’s “sheep”; they are the “goats”–Judas goats who lead the Lord’s sheep to the slaughter. They may be blind to what they do; nevertheless, they will continue to lead for the honors of men and popular acclaim.
Righteous leaders will labor to elevate the members of society above the standards of the world. The Prophet Joseph, knowing the difficulty of this task, commented that “even the Saints are slow to understand” the truth and,
If the Church knew all the commandments, one-half they would condemn through prejudice and ignorance. (T.P.J.S., p. 112)
When the revelation and principle of baptism for the dead (D. & C. 124:32) was revealed, a great portion of the Church was ready to apostatize. But the Prophet said that
 If there is one word of the Lord that supports the doctrine of baptism for the dead, it is enough to establish it as a true doctrine, (T.P.J.S., p. 201)
Hence, when the Lord gives his word upon a true principle, it is established as true, regardless of favorable or popular sentiment. A law of the priesthood must be obeyed by those who preside over the priesthood. Priesthood laws are obligatory upon those who bear that priesthood. Common consent or democratic vote will never change such a law. If men “revolt at anything which comes from God, the devil takes power.” (T.P.J.S., p 181)
This teaching has become a basic principle of Mormonism, for the Saints are warned in the temples that if they break God’s covenants they will be in the power of the devil.
When the Lord reveals a law or principle for His people to obey, they have their choice in accepting or rejecting it. If they reject His laws, then He will select someone else to carry out His work.
…for the Lord will have a place whence His word will go forth, in these last days, in purity; for if Zion will not purify herself, so as to be approved of in all things, in His sight, He will seek another people; for His work will go on until Israel is gathered, and they who will not hear His voice, must expect to feel His wrath. (T.P.J.S., p. 18)
Under such trying circumstances what course can men pursue and be safe? In the hour of darkness where can light be found or in a time of trouble to whom can we turn? In such trying times as the Kirtland crisis, Heber C. Kimball said that there were  not twenty men on earth who would claim Joseph Smith to be a true prophet. But that limited number knew that Joseph was still a true prophet and stood against everyone else. Why? Because as Brigham Young said, “I would proclaim, publicly and privately, that I knew, by the power of the Holy Ghost, that Joseph Smith was a prophet of the Most High God, and had not transgressed and fallen.” For years afterwards he continued to teach this lesson to the Saints by saying:
We need the light of the Holy Spirit continually, day by day, as you have been told hundreds of times. How easy it would be for your leaders to lead you to destruction unless you actually know the mind and will of the Spirit yourselves. That is your privilege. (J.D. 4:368)
When so many had turned from the Prophet Joseph Smith, it was necessary for him to know whom he could trust, or who were still faithful to his appointment. He too had to turn to the Lord, for he said:
The way I know in whom to confide–God tells me in whom I may place confidence. (T.P.J.S., p. 301)
For these reasons every person must know who is sent of God and what principles are of God. Then when it comes time to sustain a man, in government, in God’s Church, or anywhere else, it is necessary to know his platform–the principles which he believes and advocates. For when your vote or your hand is raised in his support, you become a part of his principles–whether they be of men or of God.
 Chapter VII
SETTING IN ORDER
For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God: and if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God? (I Peter 4:17)
National calamity stares everyone in the face; yet there are but few who seek the Lord for a means of escape. Our ultra-modern and mechanized civilization faces a potentially greater disaster than any previous era since the days of Noah. Our temporal geniuses are spiritually bankrupt. Space age accomplishments have surpassed our wildest dreams–yet we know practically nothing about God and His will concerning us. This computerized, automated, atomic powered age continually emerges with new discoveries that seem like fairy-tale wonders; but spiritually we are creeping along at a prehistoric pace. Our national spiritual image resembles Ichabod Crane’s headless horseman–a body without a head, dashing through the darkness of night!
Because we live in perilous times, men should seek direction from scriptures and the prophets of God. Presently there are dangers which are almost beyond the capacity of men to cope with. When a fire is burning down a man’s house, he needs aid from firemen; or when he is robbed by a criminal, he calls upon policemen. So also when men realize these hazardous times and understand the crisis of the international calamities, they should seek guidance from God and His prophets.
Assuming the title of a prophet, however, is not a substitute for revelation. A prophet must be  investigated, examined and weighed carefully. The true prophets of God must of necessity produce the will and the revelations of God, because without such spiritual direction the office or title or prophet becomes a fraud.
But men often act apprehensive, if not cowardly, towards inquiring about the validity of a man’s position as a true prophet. Their anxiety is caused by a fear of throwing doubt upon a genuine prophet of God. But a true prophet welcomes people to inquire and obtain certainty in this matter. Only an imposter will fear examination. It is a duty, a privilege, and a blessing for people to know which men are sent of God as distinguished from those that are not, and to appoint men of God to lead them. Brigham Young said:
I want you to have faith enough concerning myself and my Counsellors for the Lord to remove us out of the way, if we do not magnify our calling, and put men in our places that will do right. (J.D. 9:142)
Men who inquire of God, and obtain a testimony of His servants, will defend and support them with a greater power and conviction than anyone else. However, only a few men ever grow spiritually enough to obtain such a certain knowledge. Others are either unworthy of obtaining such an answer, their faith is feeble, or they are just not concerned enough in such matters. But men who don’t have sufficient faith in the Lord to be guided by Him, will trust in themselves or lean upon other men.
Men who do not possess enough of the Spirit of God to obtain revelation for themselves are those who “walk in darkness at noonday.” Their faith is blind and if the spiritually blind are leading those who are spiritually blind, then they both shall fall.
 When a man is appointed and sustained as president of the Church, he assumes the office and calling of a Prophet, Seer and Revelator. Whether that man is one at the time of his appointment, or whether he ever attains that distinction, is a matter decided by the Lord. Appointment to that position with all of the vote, voice, and will of the people can never make a man a prophet–that is God’s choice and gift. Similarly, an appointment to the office and calling of an Apostle does not mean that he immediately meets all of the qualifications to fulfill that position. He must prove himself worthy of the Lord’s trust and gifts.
Whenever God’s Church or Kingdom was governed by men who did not qualify as prophets or apostles, these signposts marked the decline:
- Revelation ceased
- There was a loss of spiritual gifts.
- Persecution ceased and friendship with the world was obtained.
- Temporal prosperity overshadowed the spiritual.
- The Saints ceased to be united, but became scattered worldwide.
- Sin and worldly standards became prevalent, especially among the youth.
- Their teachings clashed with former prophets.
- Their sermons lacked the Holy Spirit, and they would have to read their sermons.
- The spirit of God would whisper to every faithful Saint that something was out of order!
The decline and fall of Christ’s Church in America during the Third Century is graphically described by Mormon who added the following items:
 . . .there began to be among them were lifted up in pride, such as wearing of costly apparel, . . .and of fine things of the world. And from that time forth they did have their goods substance no more common among them. (4 Nephi 24-25)
* * *
Nevertheless, the people did harden their hearts, for they were led by many priests and false prophets to build up many churches, and to do all manner of iniquity. And they did smite upon the people of Jesus; but the people of Jesus did not smite again . . . . (4 Nephi 34)
On the other hand, what were the results when men were chosen by God to lead His Church as prophets, seers, and revelators?
- These prophets prophesied of future events and were able to warn others of them. Seership, seerstones and the Urim and Thummim were used. Revelations directing, comforting, and encouraging the Saints continued to be added to the canon of scripture.
- All of the spiritual gifts abounded with members and leaders of the Church giving them Divine guidance and testimony.
- The Saints worked together and lived together. Gentile work, money, manners, and styles were not a part of their life.
Under these conditions faith and power from on High would reign in the midst of Israel so that “every man might speak in the name of God,” and then the Scriptures might be fulfilled when the “Lord shall have power over his saints and shall reign in their midst.”
 Mormon’s account of Christ’s Church in America, while it was adhering to all of the Gospel, exceeds the grandeur and beauty of any other people:
And it came to pass that there was no contention among all the people, in all the land; but there were mighty miracles wrought among the disciples of Jesus.
And it came to pass that there was no contention in the land, because of the love of God which did dwell in the hearts of the people.
And there were no envyings, nor strifes, nor tumults, nor whoredoms, nor lyings, nor murders, nor any manner of lasciviousness; and surely there could not be a happier people among all the people who had been created by the hand of God.
There were no robbers, nor murderers, neither were there Lamanites, nor any manner of -ites; but they were in one, the children of Christ, and heirs to the kingdom of God. (4 Nephi 13, 15, 16, 17)
Such is the description of Zion–the condition under which the people of the Lord should always be found!
The Lord has often alluded to His Church as His bride, (See Eph. 5:23, Rev. 21:9, etc.) This allegory is excellent because the Church needs the Lord just as a wife relies upon her husband for increase, direction, and protection.
Ezekiel’s Chapter 17 gives a parable for the benefit of all Israel. It is about Jerusalem forsaking the Lord and compares it to a woman who deserts her master. He said, “As is the mother, so is her daughter.” Therefore, this parable would apply as a future warning to whatever people the Lord may choose to call His own.
 This parable describes Jerusalem as a little baby untended, dirty, and alone in a barren field. The Lord came by, cleaned her up, cared for her with tenderness and love, adorned her with all the fine things that could be bestowed upon her. As the child grew into maturity, she blossomed with comeliness, honor, and virtue until she was “exceeding beautiful,” and she “didst prosper into a kingdom.” Her renown and fame went everywhere among the heathen, but the Lord then said, “Thou didst trust in thine own beauty,” or rather her own wisdom and strength instead of trusting to her Lord. Her own wisdom was insufficient for protection and she became seduced (or influenced) by the demands and desires of the heathen. She played the part of a harlot with “gold and silver,” thus using it in the manner that the gentiles used it. Then she took the “meat” or precious doctrines (Heb. 5:12-14; John 6:27) and gave them away to the heathens who wanted to take them from her. She had forsaken and given up those precious things that had been bestowed upon her by the Lord, and He called her more contrary than a common harlot because a harlot was wise enough to keep gifts for herself; so He said, “Thou givest thy gifts to all thy lovers and hirest them, that they may come unto thee on every side.” Jerusalem, or the Lord’s people, had been “seduced” by the gentiles because they abandoned the principles of the Lord by taking up the ways of the world.
Jeremiah, too, dwells on this comparison by saying:
Can a maid forget her ornaments, or a bride her attire? yet my people have forgotten me days without number.
They say, If a man put away his wife, and she go from him, and become another man’s, shall he return unto her again? shall not that land be greatly polluted?  but thou hast played the harlot with many lovers; yet return again to me, saith the Lord. (Jer. 2:32; 3:1)
In every former dispensation when the Gospel has been revealed, the bride of Christ has become independent, self-willed, acting upon feelings more than principles, straying to left or to the right, flirting with unbelievers until she was overcome with temptations. When the woman goes too far by forsaking her husband, and corrupts herself with heathens, then her divorce is finalized and apostasy is complete. Then a new marriage, or a new church, must be obtained.
From the Inspired Translation of the Bible, Joseph Smith clarified the 12th Chapter of the Book of Revelation. In Verse Seven the dragon (devil) would not prevail over (destroy or completely corrupt) “the woman which was the church of God.” The woman, or Church, in the last days would not be completely overthrown because there would always be men within the Church who would honor God’s laws, and by their priesthood would remain faithful to the eternal principles of the fulness of His Gospel.
If the Lord is the Groom and the Church is the Bride, then the Priesthood with its principles is the authority that binds them together. As long as the woman obeys the laws of the Priesthood, the marriage is in force; but if she departs from the principles of the Gospel, then the tie is weakened and she separates herself from the Lord. The more she turns from the commandments, ordinances, principles, and doctrines of the Priesthood, the further away and fainter becomes the voice (revelations) of the Lord to guide her. When she strays away, the Lord can either call her back and put her in her place (set the Church in order) or else she will finalize her departure in a total rejection.
 It is necessary for the Church to be bound to the Priesthood, but the Priesthood does not require a church. Priesthood can exist without a church, but the Church never is acceptable to the Lord without the Priesthood. The Priesthood can survive only upon the “meat” of true principles or it will die; but the Church may survive or even temporarily prosper in a spiritual wilderness.
As the majority of the membership of the Church honor all of God’s revelations, He will continue to bless them with more revelations. But if they speak against or fail to obey His laws, they will lose His Spirit. It is then that the spirit of the evil one will speak to them with a thousand excuses to justify their disobedience. If men are ignorant of God’s laws, there is no condemnation; but if they know the law and reject it, then it is sin.
For it had been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than after they have known it, to turn from the holy commandment delivered unto them. (2 Peter 2:21)
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And he that will contend against the word of the Lord, let him be accursed; and he that shall deny these things, let him be accursed; for unto them will I show no greater things, saith Jesus Christ; for I am he who speaketh. (Ether 4:8)
When the prophets of God are rejected, and the majority of the people choose to have it so, God then is placed beyond the means of saving them from disaster. In such a condition they are left to the danger of the calamities that are to come upon the earth.
 There is one principle I would like to have the Latter-day Saints perfectly understand–that is, of blessings and cursings. For instance, we read that war, pestilence, plagues, famine, etc., will be visited upon the inhabitants of the earth; but if distress through the judgments of God comes upon this people, it will be because the majority have turned away from the Lord. Let the majority of the people turn away from the Holy Commandments which the Lord has delivered to us, and cease to hold the balance of power in the Church, and we may expect the judgments of God to come upon us; but while six-tenths or three-fourths of this people will keep the commandments of God, the curse and judgments of the Almighty will never come upon them,… (Brigham Young, J.D. 10:335)
At the present time 70% of the Church is inactive!
“AND UPON MY HOUSE SHALL IT BEGIN…”
The Lord has revealed that His destructions and judgments upon the world would begin at His house:
Verily, verily, I say unto you, darkness covereth the earth, and gross darkness the minds of the people, and all flesh has become corrupt before my face. Behold, vengeance cometh speedily upon the inhabitants of the earth, a day of wrath, a day of burning, a day of desolation, of weeping, of mourning, and of lamentation; and as a whirlwind it shall come upon all the face of the earth, saith the Lord.
And upon my house shall it begin, and from my house shall it go forth, saith the  Lord; First among those among you, saith the Lord, who have professed to know my name and have not known me, and have blasphemed against me in the midst of my house, saith the Lord. (D. & C. 112:23-26)
* * *
These revelations and testimonies are before you. Let my Saints search the Word of the Lord and treasure up wisdom and be prepared for that which is to come. As I have decreed, so shall my judgments begin at the House of God. *** Judgments will begin upon my house, and from thence will they go forth unto the world and the wicked cannot escape. (Revelation to Wilford Woodruff, Jan. 26, 1880, #24, 25, 31)
The Apostle Peter prophesied that “the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God:… and if the righteous scarcely be saved, where shall the ungodly and the sinner appear?” (I Peter 4:17-18) Peter is inferring that when these judgments come, they will be so severe that the “righteous scarcely be saved,” which implies that God’s terrible judgment has not yet come upon the earth.
Heber C. Kimball and Moses Thatcher also pointed out that the judgments of God would begin at the House of God and then commence upon the nations:
There will not many calamities come upon the nations of the earth, until this people first feel their effects, and when hard times commence they will begin at the house of God, and if there is any house of God on the earth where is it? It is here, is it not? (Heber C. Kimball, Des. News, March 2, 1856)
* * *
 …I will say when this nation, having sown to the wind, reaps the whirlwind; when brother takes up sword against brother; when father contends against son, and son against father; when he who will not take up his sword against his neighbor must needs flee to Zion for safety–then I would say to my friends come to Utah; for the judgments of God, commencing at the house of the Lord, will have passed away,… (JD 26:334)
“A PEOPLE OUT OF THIS PEOPLE…”
The Lord revealed to the Saints in July of 1831 (D. & C. 57) that the land of Missouri was the land of Zion. It was the place for the gathering of his Saints, and the appointed place of the New Jerusalem, where His great temple was to be built. Every student of history recognizes why Zion was not redeemed and the Saints were expelled from Missouri and Illinois. It was due to their failure to live the higher laws of God. For the next quarter of a century Brigham Young, Heber C. Kimball, and other leaders spoke rather dejectedly towards their hopes of ever seeing those people accomplish such a task. They prophesied a general failure among the Saints in obeying the higher laws of the Gospel, but they also prophesied that a portion of this people would carry out the responsibility of keeping a fulness of God’s laws, and finally accomplish that great work. They have said:
Many of this people have broken their covenants….
But you cannot do that, for God will cut you off and raise up another people  that will carry out his purposes in righteousness unless you walk up to the line in your duty. (H. C. Kimball, J.D. 4:108)
* * *
…for if Zion will not purify herself, so as to be approved of in all things, in His sight, He will seek another people; for His work will go on until Israel is gathered, and they who will not hear His voice, must expect to feel His wrath. (T.P.J.S., p.18)
* * *
But the time will come when the Lord will choose a people out of this people upon whom he will bestow his choicest blessings. (Heber C. Kimball, Des. News) Nov. 9, 1865; see also J.D. 11:145)
* * *
Many of this people are perhaps preparing themselves, by following after the world in its mad race for wealth and pleasure, to go down with Babylon when she crumbles and falls; but I know there is a people, in the heart’s core of this people, that will arise in their majesty in a day that is near at hand, and push spiritual things to the front; a people who will stand up for God, fearing not man nor what man can do, but believing as the prophet Joseph says, that all things we suffer are for our best good, and that God will stand by us forever and ever. (Orson F. Whitney, Des. News, Aug. 11, 1889)
* * *
 What would be necessary to bring about the results nearest the hearts of the opponents of Mormonism? Simply to renounce, abrogate, or apostatize from the New and Everlasting Covenant of Marriage in its fulness. Were the Church to do that as an entirety, God would reject the Saints as a body. The authority of the Priesthood would be withdrawn with its gifts and powers and there would be no more heavenly recognition of the administrations. The heavens would permanently withdraw themselves, and the Lord would raise up another people of greater valor and stability, for his work must, according to his unalterable decrees, go forward; for the time of the second coming of the Savior is near, even at the doors. (John Taylor, Des. News, April 23, 1885)
* * *
God will preserve a portion of this people, of the meek and the humble, to bear off the kingdom to the inhabitants of the earth, and will defend His Priesthood; for it is the last time, the last gathering time. (Brigham Young, Contributor 10:362)
* * *
I do not know but that it would be an utter impossibility to commence and carry out some principles pertaining to Zion right in the midst of this people. They have strayed so far that to get a people who would conform to heavenly laws it may be needful to lead some from the midst of this people and commence anew somewhere in the region round about in these mountains. (Orson Pratt, J.D. 15:357)
* * *
 Many will doubtless make shipwreck of their faith and will be led away by the allurements of sin into by and forbidding paths; yet the kingdom will not be taken from this people and given to another, but a people will come forth from among us, who will be zealous of good works, willing to do the bidding of the Lord, who will be taught in His ways, and who will walk in His paths. (Daniel H. Wells, Des. News, Nov. 6, 1875)
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And if we as a people do not hold ourselves on the altar ready to be used with our means and all that God has bestowed upon us, according to the Master’s bidding, for the upbuilding of His kingdom upon the earth. He will pass on and get somebody else; because He will get a people that will do it. I do not mean to say that He will pass on and leave this people; no, there will come up from the midst of this people that people that has been talked so much about. (Daniel H. Wells, Des. News, Dec. 9, 1882)
* * *
Let the weak knees quake, and the false hearts flutter and tremble; let those of little faith ignore and forsake, if they choose, the holy principles of eternal life committed to their care! Let the winds howl, and the waves dash, and the storms burst forth in all their fury! There are those remaining whom God hath reserved for perilous times, whose knees have never bowed to Baal, whose hands have never faltered, whose hearts have never trembled;… These shall stand steadfast, firm-rooted as  the Rock upon which their hopes are built, and though the floods come and the rains descend and the winds blow and beat upon their house, it shall not fall. (Mill. Star editorial, May 15, 1882, 44:314)
* * *
Before the great day of the Lord shall come, and the day of righteousness and peace dawn upon this fair creation two potent cleansing processes shall be in active operation. The first of these is a preparation of a choice people, purified by an application to their lives, as individuals and a community, of the principles of the gospel of peace. Such a body will evolve from those called Latter-day Saints, who as a Church possess the fulness and power of the pure plan of salvation. Out of this community at present in the merely incipient stages of development and from the remnant of the whole house of Israel, will emanate the nucleus or foundation from which will spring the righteous millennial population of our globe. (George Q. Cannon, Mill. Star 42:585)
* * *
Do we expect or hope that all the people that are now numbered among the Latter-day Saints will be true and faithful to the end? No, we may justly fear that many will fall by the way. But there will be a sufficient number of this people, and of their children’s children, and of the honest in heart who are at present in darkness but who will yet come to a knowledge of the truth, who will be sufficiently faithful  to the covenants that they make with God, that the kingdom will never fall or be left to another people. (Joseph F. Smith, Des. News, July 7, 1883)
* * *
Here you will make a place for the winter; and here you will travel west until you come to the valley of the Great Salt Lake. You will build cities to the north and to the south, and to the east and to the west; and you will become a great and wealthy people in that land. But, the United States will not receive you with the laws which God desires you to live, and you will have to go to where the Nephites lost their power,…
You will live to see men arise in power in the church who will seek to put down your friends and the friends of our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ. Many will be hoisted because of their money and the worldly learning which they seem to be in possession of; and many who are the true followers of our Lord and Saviour will be cast down because of their poverty. (Mosiah Hancock Journal, printed by Pioneer Press, p. 19)
* * *
FAILURE OF THE PEOPLE
Former prophets have described these perilous times and the powers of darkness that would become so powerful against the Saints in the last days. But through weakness, most of the world, including many of the Saints, would fail. Isaiah prophesied:
 The earth also is defiled under the inhabitants thereof; because they have transgressed the laws, changed the ordinance, broken the everlasting covenant. Therefore hath the curse devoured the earth, and they that dwell therein are desolate: therefore the inhabitants of the earth are burned, and few men left. (Isa. 24:5-6)
He describes the failure of men in the last days by saying:
As for my people, children are their oppressors, and women rule over them. O my people, they which lead thee cause thee to err, and destroy the way of thy paths. (Isa. 3:12)
Isaiah is talking about the days prior to the millennium when the whole world would be visited with God’s judgments–the time when
thy men shall fall by the swords and thy mighty in the war. (3:25) And it shall come to pass, that he that is left in Zion, and he that remaineth in Jerusalem, shall be called holy,… (4:3)
The people of the world are failing to keep the Lord’s principles of righteousness; therefore, they will be destroyed. But it is only the Lord’s people who are able to sin against–
His laws–by breaking them
His ordinances–by changing them
His covenant–by breaking it
 ALL IS NOT WELL IN ZION
The Saints are warned in the Book of Mormon that in the last days the devil would stir men up “to anger against that which is good” and others he would “pacify, and lull them away into carnal security” so that they would say: “All is well in Zion.” He accomplishes this because he “leadeth them carefully down to hell.”
People who know that things are not well in Zion, are those who are not being carefully led away from the laws, ordinances and covenants of the Lord.
The great challenge of all men is to be sure that those laws, ordinances, and covenants are not altered, changed, or done away. God never has nor can He ever change His laws, ordinances, covenants, doctrines, principles or commandments. If God cannot, then man has no right to try. Those who obtain the celestial kingdom must abide by eternal and celestial laws–there is no backdoor! If people are unworthy of His highest laws, He will give them lesser laws; but they will obtain lesser rewards and a lesser kingdom.
In 1856 Heber C. Kimball met with a small group of people and discussed the isolated condition of the Saints:
“Yes,” said Brother Heber (by which name he was so familiarly known),” we think we are secure here in the chambers of the everlasting hills, where we can close those few doors of the canyons against mobs and persecutors, the wicked and the vile, who have always beset us with violence and robbery, but I want to say to you, my brethren, the time is coming when we will be mixed up in these now peaceful valleys to  that extent that it will be difficult to tell the face of a Saint from the face of an enemy to the people of God. Then, brethren, look out for the great sieve, for there will be a great sifting time, and many will fall; for I say unto you there is a test, a TEST, a TEST coming, and who will be able to stand?”
* * *
His (HCK) public discourses about this time were the most earnest and impressive that I had ever heard; and on several occasions in the Provo meeting house, he clearly fore-shadowed the time of trial the Saints are now passing through, and to a period still before us. He often used the language, “A test, a test, is coming.” (Life of Heber C. Kimball, O. F. Whitney, p. 445 & 447)
The nature of this prophecy indicates a different test than the usual persecution, poverty, Indian troubles or crickets that they had been enduring. The most destructive element to the Gospel that has ever occurred was the gradual deterioration from within rather than the powers that come from without.
Elder Kimball’s prophecy of a test upon the Lord’s house will be–
- a TEST to see if God’s laws, ordinances, and covenants are changed, transgressed, or broken.
- a TEST to see if every presiding leader will take the responsibility of carrying out the teaching, advocating, and living of all those laws as his duty.
 3. a TEST upon the lay member to see if he knows if God’s laws, ordinances, and covenants have been changed–and to know if His leaders are defending and living all of those laws.
The devil’s subtle infiltration into Christ’s Church in the meridian of time did not occur in the 2nd or 3rd century, as many have supposed. The seeds of dissension and of departure from principles occurred within the Church while Christ was alive, and during the ministry of His Apostles. President Brigham Young commented on this by saying:
…In the early days of the Christian Church we understand that there was a good deal of speculation among its members with regard to their belief and practice, and the propagation of these speculative ideas created divisions and schisms. Even in the days of the Apostles there was evidently considerable division, for we read that some were for Paul, some for Apollos, and others for Cephas. The people in those days had their favorites, who taught them peculiar doctrines not generally received and promulgated. The Apostles had the truth, and thought that they were so established in it in their day that they really had the power to unite the Church together in all temporal matters, as Jesus prayed they might be, but they found themselves mistaken….
…The question might arise, if the ancient Apostles believed doctrines as absurd as these, why were they not handed down to after generations that they might avoid the dilemma, the vortex, the whirlpool of destruction and folly? We will not  say that they did or did not believe and teach, but they did differ one from another, and they would not visit each other. This was not through the perfection of the gospel, but through the weakness of man.
The principles of the gospel are perfect, but are the Apostles who teach it perfect? No, they are not. Now, bringing the two together, what they taught is not for me to say, but it is enough to say this, that through the weaknesses in the lives of the Apostles many were caused to err. Our historians and ministers tell us that the church went into the wilderness, but they were in the wilderness all the time. They had the way marked out to get out of the wilderness and go straight-forward into the Kingdom of God, but they took various paths, and the two substantial churches that remain–a remnant from the apostles, that divided, are now called the Holy Catholic Church and the Greek Church. You recollect reading in the Revelations of John what the angel said to John, when he was on the Isle of Patmos, about the Seven Churches. What was the matter with those Churches? They were not living according to the light that had been exhibited. Do the Latter-day Saints live according to the light that has been exhibited to them? No, they do not. (Brigham Young, J.D. 12:64 & 66)
* * *
 “ONE MIGHTY AND STRONG”
Considerable speculation has been aroused concerning the 85th Section of the Doctrine and Covenants ever since 1832 when that revelation was given. The Lord speaks of a “mighty and strong” who will come to “set in order the house of God.”
And it shall come to pass that I, the Lord God, will send one mighty and strong, holding the scepter of power in his hand, clothed with light for a covering, whose mouth shall utter words, eternal words; while his bowels shall be a fountain of truth, to set in order the house of God, and to arrange by lot the inheritances of the saints whose names are found, and the names of their fathers, and of their children, enrolled in the book of the law of God;… (D. & C. 85:7)
Over 100 men have claimed that title–with more continually being added to the number. However, in 1905 an epistle in the Improvement Era (Vol. 10:929) concluded the prophecy already had been fulfilled; therefore, the subject was supposedly closed. Elder Edward Partridge, a bishop in Missouri, was considered to have been the man who was the “one mighty and strong.”
However, several items should be considered in regard to this prophecy:
- Since the House of God must be set in order, it is obvious that it would first become out of order.
- The purpose of this setting in order is for the establishing of inheritances in Zion for the righteous.
 3. The inheritances of the Saints would take place immediately after the house of God is set in order.
- The one “holding a scepter of power and clothed with light for a covering” describes an immortal being.
- If conditions of the Lord’s house were out of order at the time of Edward Partridge, and a setting in order was considered, then another “mighty and strong” will certainly be required in the near future for the same reasons.
The above mentioned article purports that Orson Pratt believed Elder Partridge was the one mighty and strong. No references were produced to substantiate this–rather to the contrary. When Apostle Pratt divided the Doctrine and Covenants into chapters and verses, with footnotes, in 1879, he made a footnote for this verse which read, “A future messenger promised.” This has been deleted from all editions of the Doctrine and Covenants since 1921. Also in 1873 he said that he believed God would raise Joseph Smith up “from the tomb” to lead this people “out of bondage.” (J.D. 15:363)
“MY HOUSE IS A HOUSE OF ORDER”
The Lord has said his “house is a house of order, and not a house of confusion.” (D. & C. 132:8) Therefore, when it becomes tainted with confusion, disorder, or disobedience, the Lord must set it back into its proper course. When a man’s house obtains a certain amount of disorder and his patience can endure no more, he then takes action. So will God.
 The Lord gave a parable pertaining to his house getting out of order, and subsequently following it with the redemption of Zion. This parable is found in Section 101, verses 43-62.
In this parable the Lord depicts His Church and Kingdom as a vineyard with many servants which He had called and chosen. For a “long time” some of the leading servants discussed the labor to which they were committed, and gradually they began to say, “What need hath my lord” of this and that, until they soon “were at variance one with another,” becoming “very slothful,” and they “hearkened not unto the commandments of their lord.” Eventually, the enemy came in and was able to take over and “destroyed their works.”
Finally the Lord of the vineyard returned and was angered for the “great evil” that had overtaken them, and He reprimanded them by saying, “Ought ye not to have done even as I commanded you?”
Things were certainly out of order; so the Lord of the vineyard appointed one of his servants to re-establish the work which had existed previously. He was to “gather together” the few remaining faithful–the “residue”–of his servants, and then go forth with more power and dominion than the enemy, and to “redeem” the Lord’s land.
As revealed in the 103rd Section of the Doctrine and Covenants (verse 21), Joseph Smith is the one to whom the Lord of the vineyard spake and directed him to gather the Saints to the land of Zion:
…my servant Baurak Ale (Joseph Smith, Jun.) is the man to whom I likened the servant to whom the Lord of the vineyard spake in the parable which I have given unto you.
 Joseph Smith holds the responsible keys of this dispensation so whatever correcting, regulating, or setting in order may prove necessary, will be done by him and his authority. At the proper time Joseph Smith will direct the gathering together of people and principles for the ushering in of the millennial reign of Christ.
Although some have presumed that “all is well in Zion” and that nothing in the least is out of order, it was not the opinion of Joseph Smith, Brigham Young, and many others–even in their day. Brigham Young once said:
I sometimes think that I would be willing to give anything, to do almost anything in reason, to see one fully organized Branch of this kingdom–one fully organized Ward…. Is there even in this Territory a fully organized Ward? Not one. It may be asked, “Why do you not fully organize the Church?” Because the people are incapable of being organized. I could organize a large Ward who would be subject to a full organization, by selecting families from the different Wards, but at present such a Branch of the Church is not in existence. (J.D. 10:20)
And again he said:
I have had visions and revelations instructing me how to organize this people so that they can live like the family of heaven, but, I cannot do it while so much selfishness and wickedness reign in the Elders of Israel…. There are many great and glorious privileges for the people, which they are not prepared to receive. How long it will be before they are pre-pared to enjoy the blessings God has in store for them, I know not–it has not been revealed to me. I know the Lord wants to pour blessings upon this people, but were he to do so in their present ignorance, they would not know what to do with them. They can receive only a very little, and that must be administered to them with great care (J.D. 9:269)
President Young carried only “one fear” concerning the Latter-day Saints–it was that they would fail to live their religion and put into practice their beliefs. He said:
I have but one fear concerning the people in the valleys of the mountains. I have but one trembling sensation in the nerves of my spirit, and that is, lest we do not live the religion we profess. If we will only practice what we profess, I will tell you we are at the defiance of all hell. But if we transgress the law God has given us, and trample his blessings, mercies and ordinances under our feet, and treat them with the indifference which I have thought that some do occasionally, not fully realizing the obligations that they are under to their God, I have feared that in consequence they would be overcome, and that the Lord would let them be scattered and smitten. (J.D. 2:186)
Then, nearly a quarter of a century later, while giving his last public address, he said:
And with regard to the conduct of this people–if an angel should come here and speak his feelings as plainly as I do, I think he would say, “O, Latter-day Saints!  why don’t you see, why don’t you open your eyes and behold the great work resting upon you and that you have entered into? You are blind, you are stupid, you are in the dark, in the mist and fog, wandering to and fro like a boat upon the water without sail, rudder or oar; and you know not whither you are going.” (August 19, 1877, J.D. 19:93-94)
President Young’s counselor, Heber C. Kimball expressed similar views in his last public address to the Saints:
I have not one word of reflection to make against you, yet you are living at a poor dying rate. (J.D. 12:190)
The next president of the Church, John Taylor, added:
We are getting into such a condition that if we were to meet the Lord, we could not look him in the face, and the way we are going it will soon be impossible to tell what we do believe. (Des. News, Mar 9, 1889)
The Apostle Orson Pratt commented upon Zion’s redemption and the class of people that will have to be gathered for that work:
When we go back to Jackson County, we are to go back with power. Do you suppose that God will reveal his power among an unsanctified people, who have no regard nor respect for his laws and institutions, but who are filled with covetousness? No. When God shows forth His power among the Latter-day Saints, it will be because there  is a union of feeling in regard to doctrine, and in regard to everything that God has placed in their hands; and not only a union but a sanctification on their part, that there shall not be a spot or wrinkle as it were, but everything shall be as fair as the sun that shines in the heavens.
In order to bring about this, who knows how many chastisements God may yet have to pour out upon the people calling themselves Latter-day Saints? (J.D. 15:360)
It appears that conditions would eventually become worse, for the Lord gives a prophecy showing the order of judgments that will be brought upon all of Zion’s inhabitants.
For it shall come to pass that the inhabitants of Zion shall judge all things pertaining to Zion. And liars and hypocrites shall be proved by them, and they who are not apostles and prophets shall be known. And even the bishop, who is a judge, and his counselors, if they are not faithful in their stewardships shall be condemned, and others shall be planted in their stead. (D. & C. 64:38-40)
These and other prophecies pertaining to Zion, indicate great judgments upon “the house of God”–insomuch that a general cleansing will take place from top to bottom–prophets, apostles and lay members!
Jesus gave the parable of dead limbs, representing members that were unfruitful and should be taken away from the tree. He also cursed one of the trees in an orchard because it would not produce acceptable fruit, thus giving the severity of His judgments  upon His people when they fail in their duties to Him.
Jesus also gave a rule for keeping His house in order. He clearly points out that it is possible for anyone to get out of order; therefore, extreme care must be taken in “trusting another.”
Therefore, if thy hand offend thee, cut it off; or if thy brother offend thee and confess not and forsake not, he shall be cut off. It is better for thee to enter into life maimed, than having two hands, to go into hell. For it is better for thee to enter into life without thy brother, than for thee and thy brother to be cast into hell; into the fire that never shall be quenched, where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched. And again if thy foot offend thee, cut it off; for he that is thy standard, by whom thou walkest, if he become a transgressor, he shall be cut off. It is better for thee, to enter halt into life, than having two feet to be cast into hell; into the fire that never shall be quenched.
Therefore, let every man stand or fall, by himself, and not for another; or not trusting another. Seek unto my Father, and it shall be done in that very moment what ye shall ask, if ye ask in faith, believing that ye shall receive. And if thine eye which seeth for thee, him that is appointed to watch over thee to show thee light, become a transgressor and offend thee, pluck him out. It is better for thee to enter into the kingdom of God, with one eye, than having two eyes to be cast into hell fire. (Mark 9:40-47, Ins. Ver.)
 The lesson to be gleaned from these instructions is not to be associated with or influenced by a hand (a brother), nor a foot (a leader who should be your standard) by whom you walk, nor the eye (the Seer) who “is appointed to watch over thee to show thee light.” For if they fail to obey the Lord in all things, then you are NOT justified in following them.
For this reason the Lord counsels everyone to “let every man stand or fall by himself, and not for another; or not trusting another.” Those who fail to do this will suffer His judgments when He comes to set his house in order.
 Chapter VIII
One of the most important things we may learn about our religion is that God is unchangeable, the same yesterday, today and forever.
By this we may know that the principles of salvation will always remain the same, and that we need not be disturbed by “new ideas” or “modern innovations” in the Gospel which may come our way.
The heaven we hope to achieve is eternal and unchangeable. Therefore, to bring the same human nature to the same goal, regardless of the time in which a person lives, requires the same steps and procedures. For that reason the saving principles must ever be the same. They can never change. (Deseret News, Church News, June 5, 1965)
All correct principles have their basis in truth. They are eternal and everlasting, and for this reason they are a standard by which to judge, and a law of morality by which to live–they embrace the whole gospel of Christ.
Every true principle emanates from the throne of God; therefore, everyone who wishes to obtain the blessings of peace, joy, and harmony with Him, must abide by those principles. The man, the church, or the nation that swerves from those truths must surely fail or suffer from their disobedience. The Apostle John warns the Saints:
 Whosoever transgresseth and abideth not in the doctrine of Christ, hath not God. He that abideth in the doctrine of Christ, he hath both the Father and the Son. If there come any unto you, and bring not this doctrine, receive him not into your house, neither bid him God speed: For he that biddeth him God speed is partaker of his evil deeds. (2 John 1:9-11)
And Paul also warned:
But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed.
As we said before, so say I now again, if any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed. (Gal. 1:8-9)
The Prophet Joseph Smith clearly understood the power of true principles. When asked how he was able to control so many people so well, he commented that he “taught them correct principles and they governed themselves.”
True principles always remain the same –in every age and among every class of people with whom the Lord has chosen to accept the gospel. Popularity or opposition has no bearing upon those laws.
That which is right does not become wrong merely because it may be deserted by the majority; neither does that which is wrong today become right tomorrow by the chance circumstance that it has won the approval or been adopted by overwhelmingly predominant numbers. Principles cannot be changed by nor accommodate themselves to  the vagaries of popular sentiment.
If, as I have already said, the gospel message has, as in the very nature of the case it must have, a universality of application, without limit as to time or locality or people, then it must have in it a specific cure for the ills of every age. (Albert E. Bowen, April 5, 1941, Conference Report)
When the Prophet Joseph Smith made his “Inspired” revision of the Bible, he added the word “not” to Paul’s letter to the Hebrews (Chap. 6:1):
Therefore NOT leaving the principles of the doctrine of Christ, let us go on unto perfection;…
For this reason he implies that when even the simplest principles have been established, we do not leave them, even in our course of advancement. We should never let society, friends, family, leaders, or any other object swerve us from adhering to true principles. Few men have ever understood this any better than Brigham Young, who said:
Let no being’s affections be placed upon me any further than mine are on eternal principles–principles that are calculated to endure and exalt me, and bring me up to be an heir of God and a joint heir with Jesus Christ. (J.D. 3:360)
And again when he first joined the Church, he expressed the obedience and trust he had in gospel principles, even over the Prophet and President of the Church, for Brigham Young said:
I recollect a conversation I had with a priest who was an old friend of ours, be-fore I was personally acquainted with the Prophet Joseph. I clipped every argument he advanced, until at last he came out and began to rail against “Joe Smith,” saying “that he was a mean man, a liar, money-digger, gambler, and a whore-master;” and he charged him with everything bad, that he could find language to utter. I said, hold on, brother Gillmore, here is the doctrine, here is the Bible, the Book of Mormon, and the revelations that have come through Joseph Smith the Prophet. I have never seen him, and do not know his private character. The doctrine he teaches is all I know about the matter, bring anything against that if you can. As to anything else I do not care. If he acts like a devil, he has brought forth a doctrine that will save us, if we will abide it. He may get drunk every day of his life, sleep with his neighbor’s wife every night, run horses and gamble, I do not care anything about that, for I never embrace any man in my faith. But the doctrine he has produced will save you and me, and the whole world; and if you can find fault with that, find it. (J.D. 4:77-78)
No matter how amiable, righteous or exemplary a man may be, if he teaches doctrine contrary to that which has been revealed from the Lord, we are not justified in accepting it.
With this understanding and firm foundation in correct principle, a man should never swerve from the truth. Why do men ever fail to remain true to correct principles after they have accepted them? They may weaken through lack of courage to face ridicule, opposition, prison, mobs or death. The sacrifice or the cost may exceed their limited feelings  for the value of those principles; or perhaps they are deceived by the cunning craftiness of men.
But there is more danger in abandoning principles than just losing the blessings. The great adversary of all righteousness has a power and influence over all who choose any other course than following God’s principles. This was illustrated by Joseph Smith to Elder Behunnin:
When the Prophet had ended telling how he had been treated, Brother Behunnin remarked: “If I should leave this Church I would not do as those men have done: I would go to some remote place where Mormonism had never been heard of, settle down, and no one would ever learn that I knew anything about it.”
The great Seer immediately replied: “Brother Behunnin, you don’t know what you would do. No doubt these men once thought as you do. Before you joined this Church you stood on neutral ground. When the gospel was preached, good and evil were set before you. You could choose either or neither. There were two opposite masters inviting you to serve them. When you joined this Church, you enlisted to serve God. When you did that, you left the neutral ground, and you never can get back on to it. Should you forsake the Master you enlisted to serve, it will be by the instigation of the evil one, and you will follow his dictation and be his servant.” (Juvenile Instructor 27:492)
A very stringent warning was placed upon all of the leading elders of Israel by the Prophet Joseph in 1839. It was published in the November Times and Seasons, and it reads:
 …You are the men that God has called to spread forth his kingdom, he has committed the care of souls to your charge, and when you received this priesthood, you became the legate of heaven, and the Great God demands it of you, that you should be faithful, and inasmuch as you are not, you will not be chosen; but it will be said unto you, stand by, and let a more honorable man than thou art take thy place, and receive thy crown; be careful that you teach not for the word of God, the commandments of men, nor the doctrines of men, nor the ordinances of men, inasmuch as you are God’s messengers; study the word of God and preach it, and not your opinions, for no man’s opinion is worth a straw; advance no principle but what you can prove, for one scriptural proof is worth ten thousand opinions;… (Times & Seasons, p. 13, Nov. 1839)
Since the principles, ordinances, doctrines, and commandments of the gospel cannot be changed, altered, or forsaken, it often becomes necessary to review those laws of the gospel that were established by the Lord through the Prophet.
Some of these principles and ordinances once again restored in our dispensation are listed in this chapter. Only a few representative quotations are compiled and presented under four general areas: (1) Scripture, (2) Joseph Smith, (3) Early Leaders, and (4) Contemporary Leaders.
It is not only interesting but essential that we note the differences between the present Church teachings as compared with those of the former leaders of the Church and the scriptures. Not to be critical, but to make proper judgment, we must discern between these two opposing stands.
 1. SAINTS TO BE GATHERED TOGETHER
Let both grow together until the harvest: and in the time of the harvest I will say to the reapers, Gather ye together first the tares, and bind them in bundles to burn them: but gather the wheat into my barn. (Matt.13: 30)
* * *
He that is not with me is against me: and he that gathereth not with me scattereth. (Luke 11:23)
* * *
…how often would I have gathered thy children together, as a hen doth gather her brood under her wings, and ye would not! (Luke 13:34)
* * *
From the Doctrine and Covenants:
So will I gather mine elect from the four quarters of the earth (33:6). Gather ye out from the eastern lands (45:64). A commandment I give unto all the churches, that they shall continue to gather together (101:22). The righteous shall be gathered out from among all nations, and shall come to Zion (45:71). And the remnant shall be gathered unto this place (45:43). Let the work of the gathering be not in haste, nor by flight (58:56). I will that my saints should be assemble upon the land of Zion (63:36). The city New Jerusalem shall be built by the gathering of the saints (84:4). That the work of the gathering together of my saints may continue (101:64). Gather yourselves together unto the land of Zion (103:22). Gather together for the redemption of my people (105:16). Go ye forth unto the land of Zion that her stakes may be strengthened (133:9) I must gather together my people according to the parable of the wheat and the tares (101:65). That ye may be gathered in one, that ye may be my people and I will be your God (42:9)… that the gathering together upon the land of Zion, and upon her stakes may be for a defense and for a refuge from the storm, and from wrath when it shall be poured out without mixture upon the whole earth. (115:6)
* * *
And ye are called to bring to pass the gathering of mine elect; for mine elect hear my voice and harden not their hearts; wherefore the decree hath gone forth from the Father that they shall be gathered in unto one place upon the face of this land, to prepare their hearts and be prepared in all things against the day when tribulation and desolation are sent forth upon the wicked. (D. & C. 29:7-8)
- JOSEPH SMITH:
It was the design of the councils of heaven before the world was, that the principles and laws of the priesthood should be predicated upon the gathering of the people in every age of the world. (T.P.J.S., p. 308)
* * *
…God will gather out his Saints from the Gentiles, and then comes desolation and destruction and none can escape except the pure in heart who are gathered (T.P.J.S., p. 71)
 C. EARLY LEADERS:
We are blessed in these mountains. This is the best place on the earth for the Latterday Saints. Search the history of all the nations, and every geographical position on the face of the earth, and you cannot find another situation so well adapted for the Saints as are these mountains. Here is the place in which the Lord designed to hide his people. (Brigham Young, J.D. 9:3)
* * *
…the Lord has required His people to gather in the last days, that they might escape the sins of the wicked, and the plagues which shall be poured out upon them, and that they might be taught in His paths, taught to govern themselves, to correct their foolish habits and customs, and to train themselves and their offspring that they may be able to build up Zion according to the law and order of Heaven. (Erastus Snow, J.D. 12:211)
- CONTEMPORARY LEADERS:
In the early days of this dispensation, in the very nature of things, if the saints were to survive as a people, they had to assemble together in chosen places. Otherwise, they would have been lost among the masses of men and overcome by the world. But now, in large measure, we are past that stage of our history; we are becoming a world church–not an American church, not a British church, but a church for all mankind, for the honest and upright in every nation. The place of gathering for the Mexican saints is in Mex-ico; the place of gathering for the Guatemalan saints is in Guatemala; the place of gathering for the Brazilian saints is in Brazil; and so it goes throughout the length and breadth of the whole earth. *** with the new world wide stature of the church comes a responsibility we have never had before, a responsibility to be worthy of our high position in the world, and to strengthen the church in all the nations where it shall be established. (Bruce R. McConkie, Church News, Sept. 2, 1972)
* * *
Number Emigrating from
Years England to the U.S.A.
1850 – 1859 12,355
1860 – 1869 9,924
1870 – 1879 6,913
1880 – 1889 8,219
1890 – 1899 4,849
1900 – 1909 3,195
1910 – 1919 892
1920 – 1929 786
1930 – 1936 360
(Taken from House of Israel, by Whitehead, pp. 510-513)
* * * * * *
 2. RE-BAPTISM AS A FUNDAMENTAL PRINCIPLE
Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen, and repent, and do the first works; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will remove thy candlestick out of his place, except thou repent. (Rev. 2:5)
* * *
…Behold, elders, priests, and teachers were baptized; and they were not baptized save they brought forth fruit meet that they were worthy of it. (Moroni 6:1)
- JOSEPH SMITH
I know that in my traveling and preaching, many a time, I have stopped by beautiful streams of clear, pure water, and have said to myself, “How delightful it would be to me to go into this, to be baptized for the remission of my sins.” When I got home Joseph told me it was my privilege. At this time came a revelation, that the Saints could be baptized and re-baptized when they chose, and then that we could be baptized for our dear friends,… (Brigham Young, J.D. 18:241)
- EARLY LEADERS:
This procedure (re-baptism), however, must not be regarded as casting any doubt upon the validity of their original baptisms, or repudiation of it as a sacrament. It was only to make more solemn the renewal of covenants with God. (B. H. Roberts, C.H.C. 2:286)
* * *
 After the arrival of the pioneers in the Salt Lake Valley, and subsequently for a considerable period, all those who entered the valley were baptized anew at the request of President Brigham Young, who, with the council of the Twelve, set the example to the people who were gathering from all parts of the world. (Joseph Fielding Smith, Doctrines of Salvation, 2:333)
* * *
That seems to be a kind of standing ordinance for all Latter-day Saints who emigrate here, from the First Presidency down; all are re-baptized and set out anew by renewing their covenants. (Orson Pratt, J.D. 18:160)
* * *
Be humble, and seek unto the Lord as children; put away your vain philosophies and strip yourself for the Kingdom. Preach Christ, and him crucified–preach life and salvation unto the Elders; the Saints first, and then unto the people. Begin at home in the office–purify and regenerate them; get the fulness of the Spirit, and the power of the Highest to rest down upon you, and then go forth to the people, and let a reformation be stirred up among the Saints; fire up each other, and then all the Saints; let all participate, and when they have sufficiently cleansed the inside of the platter, let them cleanse the outside, and renew their covenants in the waters of baptism, and abide in the truth, and be alive in the Church and Kingdom of God. (Mill. Star 19:97)
* * *
 D. CONTEMPORARY LEADERS
We hear a good deal of talk about re-baptism, and the First Presidency and Twelve have felt that so much re-baptism ought to be stopped. (George Q. Cannon, Conf. Rept., Oct. 1897, p. 68)
* * * * *
- UNITED ORDER
And when they had prayed, the place was shaken where they were assembled together; and they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and they spake the word of God with boldness. And the multitude of them that believed were of one heart and of one soul: neither said any of them that ought of the things which he possessed was his own; but they had all things common. And with great power gave the apostles witness of the resurrection of the Lord Jesus: and great grace was upon them all.
Neither was there any among them that lacked: for as many as were possessors of lands or houses sold them, and brought the prices of the things that were sold, And laid them down at the apostles’ feet: and distribution was made unto every man according as he had need. (Acts 4:31-35)
* * *
For verily I say unto you, the time has come, and is now at hand; and behold, and lo, it must needs be that there be an organization  of my people, in regulating and establishing the affairs of the storehouse for the poor of my people, both in this place and in the land of Zion–Or in other words, the city of Enoch (Joseph), for a permanent and everlasting establishment and order unto my church, to advance the cause, which ye have espoused, to the salvation of man, and to the glory of your Father who is in heaven; That ye may be equal in the bonds of heavenly things, yea, and earthly things also, for the obtaining of heavenly things. For if ye are not equal in earthly things ye cannot be equal in obtaining heavenly things;… (D. & C. 78:3-6)
- JOSEPH SMITH:
…The fact is this, a man is bound by the law of the Church, to consecrate to the Bishop, before he can be considered a legal heir to the kingdom of Zion; and this, too, without constraint; and unless he does this, he cannot be acknowledged before the Lord on the Church Book therefore, to condescend to particulars. (D.H.C. 1:364)
- EARLY LEADERS:
Temporal things are a type of heavenly things, as the Lord says, in one of the revelations, “All things have their likeness, both things which are temporal, and things which are spiritual.” Does this order of things–the equality of property–have its likeness? Yes, in the heavens, and it is typical of that celestial order that we are all praying for, that we all desire the Lord to bestow upon us. We all feel very anxious to enter into the fulness of Celestial glory, and inherit thrones and dominions, principalities  and powers, and to have kingdoms appointed to us, and to receive crowns and to sway a sceptre over kingdoms, as wise rulers. If we want to get there, we must begin here, and learn the order that is to be there. (Orson Pratt, J.D. 2:102)
* * *
With regard to those who wish to have new revelation they will please to accommodate themselves and call this a new revelation. On this occasion I will not repeat anything particular in respect to the language of revelation, further than to say–Thus saith the Lord unto my servant Brigham, Call ye, call ye, upon the inhabitants of Zion, to organize themselves in the Order of Enoch, in the New and Everlasting Covenant, according to the Order of Heaven, for the furtherance of my kingdom upon the earth, for the perfecting of the Saints, for the salvation of the living and the dead. (Brigham Young, J.D. 17:154)
* * *
There is another revelation still prior to this time (D. & C. 42, Feb. 9, 1831) stating that it is the duty of all people who go to Zion to consecrate all their property to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. This revelation was referred to at the April Conference in 1854. It was one of the first commandments or revelations given to this people after they had the privilege of organizing themselves as a Church, as a body, as the kingdom of God on the earth. I observed then, and I now think, that it will be one of the last revelations which the people will receive into their hearts and understandings, of their own free will and  choice, and esteem it a pleasure, a privilege, and a blessing unto them to observe and keep most holy. (Brigham Young, J.D. 2:299)
- CONTEMPORARY LEADERS:
What next? He gives us an inferior law, called the law of Tithing, suited and adapted to us. After we had been driven for neglecting to comply with the greater law of consecration of all we had, he thought he would not leave us without a law, but he gave us an inferior law, namely, that we should give in one-tenth part of our annual income. This law was given in May, 1838, I do not remember the exact date, and I believe that we have tried to comply with it; but it has been almost an impossibility to get the people universally to comply with it. (Orson Pratt, J.D. 17:109-110)
* * * * *
- THE LAW OF PLURAL MARRIAGE TO REMAIN
Jesus saith unto them, If ye were Abraham’s children, ye would do the works of Abraham. (John 8:39)
* * *
Go ye, therefore, and do the works of Abraham; enter ye into my law and ye shall be saved. But if ye enter not into my law ye cannot receive the promise of my Father, which he made unto Abraham, God commanded Abraham, and Sarah gave Hagar to Abraham to wife. And why did she do it? Because this was the law; and from Hagar sprang many people. . . . (D. & C. 132:32-34)
 B. JOSEPH SMITH:
They accuse me of polygamy, and of being a false Prophet, and many other things which I do not now remember; but I am no false Prophet; I am no impostor; I have had no dark revelations; I have no revelations from the devil; I made no revelations; I have got nothing up of myself. The same God that has thus far dictated me and directed me and strengthened me in this work, gave me this revelation and commandment on celestial and plural marriage and the same God commanded me to obey it. He said to me that unless I accepted it and introduced it, and practiced it, I, together with my people, would be damned and cut off from this time hence forth. And they say if I do so, they will kill me. O, what shall I do? If I do not practice it, I shall be damned with my people. If I do teach it, and practice it, and urge it, they say they will kill me, and I know they will. But we have got to observe it. It is an eternal principle and was given by way of commandment and not by way of instruction. (Contributor 5:259)
- EARLY LEADERS:
Now if any of you will deny the plurality of wives, and continue to do so, I promise that you will be damned; and I will go still further and say, take this revelation, or any other revelation that the Lord has given, and deny it in your feelings, and I promise that you will be damned. (Brigham Young, J.D. 3:266)
* * *
 Some people have supposed that the doctrine of plural marriage was a sort of superfluity, or non-essential to the salvation or exaltation of mankind. In other words, some of the Saints have said, and believe that a man with one wife, sealed to him by the authority of the Priesthood for time and eternity, will receive an exaltation as great and glorious, if he is faithful, as he possibly could with more than one. I want here to enter my solemn protest against this idea, for I know it is false. … The marriage of one woman to a man for time and eternity by the sealing power, according to the law of God, is a fulfillment of the celestial law of marriage in part…. But this is only the beginning of the law, not the whole of it. Therefore, whoever has imagined that he could obtain the fullness of the blessings pertaining to this celestial law, by complying with only a portion of its conditions, has deceived himself. He cannot do it…. it is useless to tell me that there is no blessing attached to obedience to the law (polygamy) or that a man with only one wife can obtain as great reward, glory or kingdom as he can with more than one, being equally faithful. Patriarchal marriage involves conditions, responsibilities and obligations…. Man cannot receive the fullness of the blessings unless he fulfills the law, any more than he can claim the gift of the Holy Ghost after he is baptized without the laying on of hands by the proper authority, or the remission of sins without baptism,…
“But,” says one, “how will it be with good men who believe the doctrine, but are prevented, or cannot enter into the practice of it?” I reply that every man and woman will  receive all that they are worthy of, and something thrown in perhaps, on the score of the boundless charity of God….
I understand the law of Celestial Marriage to mean that every man in this Church, who has the ability to obey and practice it in righteousness and will not, shall be damned. I say I understand it to mean this and nothing less, and I testify in the name of Jesus that it does mean that…. (Joseph F. Smith, J.D. 20:28-31)
* * *
The reason why the Church and Kingdom of God cannot advance without the Patriarchal Order of Marriage is that it belongs to this dispensation, just as baptism for the dead does, or any law or ordinance that belongs to a dispensation. Without it the Church cannot progress. The leading men of Israel who are presiding over stakes will have to obey the law of Abraham or they will have to resign. (Wilford Woodruff, History of His Life and Labors, by Cowley, p. 542)
- CONTEMPORARY LEADERS:
That plural marriage has been practiced by a limited proportion of the people, under sanction of Church ordinance, has never been denied. But that plural marriage is a vital tenet of the Church is not true. What the Latter-day Saints call celestial marriage is characteristic of the Church, and is in very general practice; but of celestial marriage, plurality of wives was an incident, never an essential. Yet the two have often been confused in the popular mind. (James E. Talmage, The Story and Philosophy of “Mormonism”, p. 101)
 As President of the Church, I once again solemnly declare that no man living has the authority to solemnize a plural marriage; and I hereby announce that it is the bounden duty of every Latter-day Saint, male and female, who knows of any such pretended marriage being performed, to inform the proper officers of the Church, in order that the Church’s honor may be maintained and that such individuals may be dealt with according to the rules and regulations of the Church and excommunicated therefrom. (Heber J.Grant, Conf. Rept., Oct. 3, 1926, p. 12)
* * * * * *
- ENDOWMENT GARMENT UNCHANGED AND UNALTERED
Thou has a few names even in Sardis which have not defiled their garments; and they shall walk with me in white: for they are worthy.
Behold, I come as a thief. Blessed is he that watcheth, and keepeth this garments, lest he walk naked, and they see his shame. (Rev. 3:4; 16:15)
- JOSEPH SMITH:
Ordinances instituted in the heavens before the foundation of the world, in the priesthood, for the salvation of men, are not to be altered or changed. All must be saved on the same principles. (T.P.J.S., p, 308)
* * *
 C. EARLY LEADERS:
The Lord has given us garments of the Holy Priesthood, and you know what that means. And yet there are those of us who mutilate them in order that we may follow the foolish, vain and indecent practices of the world. In order that such people may imitate the fashions, they will not hesitate to mutilate that which should be held by them the most sacred of all things in the world, next to their own virtue, next to their own purity of life. They should hold these things that God has given unto them sacred, unchanged, and unaltered from the very pattern in which God gave them, Let us have the moral courage to stand against the opinions of fashion, and especially where fashion compels us to break a covenant and so commit a grievous sin. (Joseph F. Smith, Imp. Era, 9:812)
* * *
The following is to be regarded as an established and imperative rule.
The garments worn by those who receive endowments must be white and of the approved pattern; they must not be altered or mutilated, and are to be worn as intended, down to the wrist and ankles and around the neck. Admission to the temple will be refused to those who do not comply to these requirements.
The Saints should know that the pattern of endowment garments was revealed from Heaven and that the blessings promised in connection with wearing them will not be realized if any unauthorized change is made in their form or in the manner of wearing them. (In- structions in all temples, 1916; Joseph F. Smith, President)
- CONTEMPORARY LEADERS:
“TEMPLE GARMENTS GREATLY MODIFIED”
(Article appearing in S.L.C. Tribune,
Monday morning, June 4, 1923)
Coming not as an order, nor as a rule to be rigidly enforced, but rather permissive in character, is a recent outgiving of the First Presidency of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. It concerns the garments worn by members of the church who have been married in the temple, or who have participated in other ceremonies performed or rites observed therein…..
One good woman of long membership in the church, hearing of the change that has recently come about, went to the church offices and uttered fervid objection. “I shall not alter my garments, even if President Grant has ordered me to do so. My garments now are made as they were when I was married in the endowment house long before the temple was built. The pattern was revealed to the Prophet Joseph and Brother Grant has no right to change it,” she said.
Explanation was made that the first presidency had merely issued permission to those who so desired to make the modifying change; that any member of the church who preferred to adhere to the original style was at perfect liberty to do so….
(The complete article is reprinted on the following page.)
* * * * *
 TEMPLE GARMENTS GREATLY MODIFIED
CHURCH PRESIDENCY GIVES PERMISSION
Style Change Optional With Wearer
The Salt Lake Tribune Monday Morning, June 4, 1923
Coming not as an order, nor as a rule to be rigidly enforced, but rather permissive in character, is a recent outgiving of the First Presidency of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. It concerns the garments worn by members of the church who have been married in the temple, or who have participated in other ceremonies performed or rites observed therein.
While minor modifications of the temple garment, it is said, have been made at various times during past years, the latest order in permission is regarded by younger members of the church as most liberal and acceptable. Among the older membership the optional change is variously received. Some of the pioneer stock look upon any deviation from the old order as a departure from what they had always regarded as an inviolable rule. Others of long standing in the church accept the change as a progressive move intended to add to personal comfort.
OLD STYLE UNCOMFORTABLE
In the old days the temple garment was made of plain, unbleached cotton cloth. Unbleached linen was as far afield in “finery” as the devotee was permitted to go. No buttons were used on the garment. Tape tie-strings took their place. The garment itself was uncomfortably large and baggy. But despite these imperfections, the old-style garment is faithfully adhered to by many of the older and sincerely devout members of the church. These regard the garment as a safeguard against disease and bodily harm, and they believe that to alter either the texture of cloth or style, or to abandon the garment altogether would bring evil upon them.
One good woman of long membership in the church, hearing of the change, that has recently come about, went to the church offices and uttered fervid objection. “I shall not alter my garments, even if President Grant has ordered me to do so. My garments now are made as they were when I was married in the endowment house long before the temple was built. The pattern was revealed to the Prophet Joseph and Brother Grant has no right to change it,” she said.
Explanation was made that the first presidency had merely issued permission to those who so desired to make the modifying change; that any member of the church who preferred to adhere to the original style was at perfect liberty to do so.
President Charles W. Penrose says that modification of the garment Is elective with each individual member of the church who has gone through the temple. The change in style is permitted for various good reasons, chief among which are promotion of freedom of movement in the body and cleanliness. Formerly the sleeves were long, reaching to the wrists. While doing housework the women would roll up the sleeves. If sleeves were to be rolled up they might as well be made short in the first place for convenience, it was argued. Permission to abbreviate is now given, but it is not an order and is not compulsory, it is explained.
IS GENERALLY WELCOMED
Encasing the lower limbs the old style garment reaches to the ankles and is looked upon by young members as baggy, uncomfortable and ungainly. The young of the gentler sex complained that to wear the old style with the new and finer hosiery gave the limbs a knotty appearance. It was embarrassing in view of the generally accepted sanitary shorter skirt. Permission is therefore granted by the first presidency to shorten the lower garment. Also buttons are permitted to take the place of the tie-strings.
Young men of the church, especially those who take exercise or play games at gymnasiums, favor the shorter garment. The permission granted is hailed by them as a most acceptable and progressive one. Altogether, and except in few instances, the permissive modification is welcomed as a sanitary move and a change looking to the comfort and health of those who wear temple garments.
Instead of the old style, coarse, unbleached, irritating material of which temple garments were once made, the finer knitted goods, and even silks, are now used. These materials and modified styles are officially approved, but such alterations are optional with each individual, and by no means compulsory, church officials desire it understood.
 6. ADAM-GOD DOCTRINE
…and a genealogy was kept of the children of God. And this was the book of the generations of Adam. (Moses 6:8)
- JOSEPH SMITH:
When this earth was prepared for mankind, Michael as Adam, came down. He brought with him one of his wives, and he called her name Eve…. The grand patriarchal economy, with Adam, as a resurrected being, who brought his wife Eve from another world has been very finely elaborated by Brigham Young from the patriarchal Genesis which Joseph (Smith) conceived…. (Women of Mormondom, Tullidge, see pp. 178-190)
* * *
Now regarding Adam: He came here from another planet…an immortalized Being, and brought his wife Eve with him–and by eating of the fruit of the earth, became subject to death and decay…was made mortal and subject to death. (Joseph Smith, recorded by Anson Call; copied and distributed later by John M. Whitaker, Jr. See Michael/Adam, by Kraut, p. 83)
- EARLY LEADERS:
When our father Adam came into the garden of Eden, he came into it with a celestial body, and brought Eve, one of his wives, with him. He helped to make and organize this world. He is Michael, the Archangel, the Ancient of Days! about whom holy men have written and  spoken–He is our Father and our God, and the only God with whom we have to do. Every man upon the earth, professing Christians or non-professing, must hear it, and will know it sooner or later. (Brigham Young, J.D. 1: 50)
* * *
ADAM, THE FATHER AND GOD OF THE HUMAN FAMILY
The above sentiment appeared in Star No. 48, a little to the surprise of some of its readers…. Then Adam is really God! And why not? If there are Lords many and Gods many, as the scriptures inform us, why should not our Father Adam be one of them? (Samuel W. Richards, Mill. Star 15:801)
- CONTEMPORARY LEADERS:
Lashing out at persons who expound the belief that Adam is the God of this world, Elder Hunter stated that such doctrine is false and impossible and must be destroyed. “The idea that Adam is the God of this world or that he was transplanted here from another planet is false and misleading,” he declared. (Milton R. Hunter, Provo Daily Herald, March 22, 1949, p. 9)
* * *
This so-called Adam-God theory is false and contrary to all the body of revealed truth. It negates the essential features of the whole plan of salvation; belittles God, and makes mockery of the atonement of his Son, and postulates the utterly absurd notion that Christ, his Son, had to work out an atoning sacrifice which would bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of God the Father. (“Criticism of Factions,” by Bruce R. McConkie)
* * * * *
 7. THE TWELVE TRAVELING APOSTLES
Then the eleven disciples went away into Galilee, into a mountain where Jesus had appointed them. And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. (Matt. 28:16, 18, 19)
* * *
The twelve traveling councilors are called to be the Twelve Apostles, or special witnesses of the name of Christ in all the world–thus differing from other officers in the church in the duties of their calling.
And if they desire to take upon them my name with full purpose of heart, they are called to go into all the world to preach my gospel unto every creature (D. & C. 107:23 & 18:28)
- JOSEPH SMITH:
President Smith proposed the following question: What importance is there attached to the calling of these Twelve Apostles, different from the other callings or officers of the Church? They are the Twelve Apostles, who are called to the office of the Traveling High Council, who are to preside over the churches of the Saints among the Gentiles, where there is a presidency established; and they are to travel and preach among the Gentiles, until the Lord shall command them to go to the Jews. (D.H.C 2:200)
* * *
 …the Twelve will have no right to go into Zion, or any of the stakes, and there undertake to regulate the affairs thereof, where there is a standing high council; but it is their duty to go abroad and regulate all matters relative to the different branches of the Church. (T.P.J.S., p. 74)
- EARLY LEADERS:
What, says one, no seats provided (in the temples) for the Twelve, is not this their home? No, their homes are all over the earth, preaching the Gospel, building up the Kingdom, regulating the affairs of the kingdom of God upon the earth; and we take them in as visitors. *** the temples have seats provided for the First Presidency and the local authorities and not for the traveling ministry. The Twelve and the Seventies are traveling quorums to all the inhabitants of the earth. (Brigham Young, Des. News, June 6, 1877, p 275)
- CONTEMPORARY LEADERS:
President Joseph F. Smith related that at a Council meeting of the Presidency and Twelve, held August 22, 1901, President Lorenzo Snow remarked:
He had been thinking of late whether we were justified in keeping at home the Apostles and Seventies the way we were now doing. They were really ministers to the nations of the earth; their duties were clearly marked out by the Lord, and until the Gospel was preached thoroughly to the world he doubted whether the Savior would come. A few days later continuing on the same subject, he  said: He very much regretted that it should have become necessary for him to call the attention of the Apostles to their plain duty, that they should have sensed the situation themselves without rendering it necessary for him to point it out to them… And trembled at the thought that the Apostles were spending so much of their time in matters that should be attended to by others, while so little comparatively was being done in their own line of calling. (Juv. Ins. 36:689)
* * * * *
- ASSISTANTS TO THE TWELVE SHOULD BE THE SEVENTIES
It is the duty of the traveling high council (Apostles) to call upon the Seventy, when they need assistance, to fill the several calls for preaching and administering the gospel, instead of any others. (D. & C. 107:38)
- JOSEPH SMITH:
The Twelve also are not to serve tables, but to bear the keys of the Kingdom to all nations, and unlock the door of the Gospel to them, and call upon the Seventies to follow after them, and assist them, (TPJS, p. 109)
- EARLY LEADERS:
The Seventies are called to be assistants to the Twelve Apostles; indeed they are apostles of the Lord Jesus Christ, subject to the direction of the Twelve, and it is their duty  to respond to the call of the Twelve,… (Joseph F. Smith, Conf. Rept., April 1907, p. 5)
- CONTEMPORARY LEADERS:
The First Presidency and Twelve feel that to meet adequately their great responsibilities and to carry on efficiently this service for the Lord, they should have some help.
Accordingly it has been decided to appoint assistants to the Twelve, who shall be High Priests, who shall be set apart to act under the direction of the Twelve in the performance of such work as the First Presidency and the Twelve may place upon them,…
It is proposed that we sustain as assistants to the Twelve, the following named High Priests, who will labor under the supervision and direction of the First Presidency and of the Twelve:… (“111th Conference,” May, 1941, Imp. Era, p. 269)
* * * * *
 9. ELDERS ARE STANDING MINISTERS;
SEVENTIES ARE TRAVELING MINISTERS
…they (the elders) are ordained to be standing ministers to my church, saith the Lord. (D. & C. 124:137)
* * *
The Seventy are also called to preach the gospel, and to be especial witnesses unto the Gentiles and in all the world…. (D. & C. 107:25)
* * *
…the quorum of seventies; which quorum is instituted for traveling elders to bear record of my name in all the world, wherever the traveling high council, mine apostles, shall send them to prepare a way before my face. The difference between this quorum and the quorum of elders is that one is to travel continually, and the other is to preside over the churches from time to time;… (D. & C. 124:138-140)
- JOSEPH SMITH:
…the Church in council assembled, commenced selecting certain individuals to be Seventies,… to begin the organization of the first quorum of Seventies, according to the visions and revelations which I have received. The Seventies are to constitute traveling quorums, to go into all the earth, whithersoever the Twelve Apostles shall call them. (D.H.C. 2:202)
* * *
 C. EARLY LEADERS:
Are there places (in the temples) to be provided for the Seventies? No; the temples have seats provided for the First Presidency and the local authorities and not for the traveling ministry. The Twelve and the Seventies are traveling quorums to all the inhabitants of the earth. (Brigham Young, Des. News, June 6, 1877, p. 275)
- CONTEMPORARY LEADERS:
Percentage of Seventies Sent on Missions:
Year Seventies Percent
1890 230 81%
1895 493 92%
1900 732 92%
1905 198 27%
1910 169 19%
1915 105 17%
1920 103 12%
1925 112 9%
1930 68 8%
The Seventies’ calling is implicitly given in Scripture as missionary work abroad, to the nations, etc. Many of the Church leaders have reiterated this, It was expressed after  the change in policy that the reason for the change was the inability of Seventies to go on foreign missions because of family, business, and financial responsibilities. This would be a perfectly sound reason, except for one thing: how was it done before? The Seventies before 1911 surely had the same feelings and responsibilities as those after, and they were faced with building up a wilderness as well! Were they forced to go on missions? Did their families all suffer privations and hardships when they went? It is a strange paradox that they had so much less and did so much more missionary work than the Seventies of today.
While Seventies are designated ministers of the Gospel to the nations, Elders are designated as “standing ministers,” to minister at home. Today the Elders are going to the nations, while the Seventies have been left “standing.” It appears to be a reversal of callings. No one has ever undertaken to give any reason as to why this ought to be the case, (Unpublished Mss, “Roll & Function of the Seventies in LDS History,” by James N. Baumgarten)
* * * * *
 10. MISSIONARIES WITHOUT PURSE OR SCRIP
Provide neither gold, nor silver, nor brass in your purses, nor scrip for your journey, neither two coats, neither shoes, nor yet staves: for the workman is worthy of his meat. And into whatsoever city or town ye shall enter, inquire who in it is worthy; and there abide till ye go thence. (Matt. 10:9-11)
* * *
And again I say unto you, my friends, for from henceforth I shall call you friends, it is expedient that I give unto you this commandment, that ye become even as my friends in days when I was with them, traveling to preach the gospel in my power; for I suffered them not to have purse or scrip, neither two coats. Behold, I send you out to prove the world, and the laborer is worthy of his hire. *** Therefore, let no man among you, for this commandment is unto all the faithful who are called of God in the church unto the ministry, from this hour take purse or scrip, that goeth forth to proclaim this gospel of the kingdom. (D. & C. 84:77-79, 86)
- JOSEPH SMITH:
Sunday, Aug. 4, 1839, The Church came together for prayer meeting and Sacrament. I (Joseph Smith) exhorted the Church at length …. Many others also spoke; especially some of the Twelve, who were present, professed their willingness to proceed on their mission to Europe, without either purse or scrip. The Sacrament was administered; a  spirit of humility and harmony prevailed, and the Church passed a resolution that the Twelve proceed on their mission as soon as possible, and that the Saints provide for their families during their absence. (D.H.C. 4:5)
- EARLY LEADERS:
This generation have been calling along time for miracles; but one of the greatest miracles in the last days, in my estimation, is the fact that scores and hundreds of the missionaries of the Latter-day Saints are traversing the globe, going from nation to nation, upon the principle that the ancient Apostles travelled–namely, without purse or scrip. Is not that a miracle? Has there any such thing happened before for many generations as people travelling over the whole earth, starting from their homes without purse or scrip? ***
But where is there an example of any faithful man in this Church since the year 1830, that has gone forth trusting in the Lord God of Israel, with mighty prayer, but what has been sustained, upheld, and preserved to return again in honour, unless he has fallen, perhaps, by sickness? or has died a martyr in testimony of the truth? ***
Says one, That looks rather hard. It does not look hard at all; for that same God that gave the commandment is able to bear you up: he is able to sustain you…. (Orson Pratt, J.D. 6:270-71)
* * *
 Every young man who goes out–as in the case of our young men who are constantly going–goes without purse or scrip. What is the result? They have to feel after God. If they want a pair of pantaloons they have to ask God to obtain them. If they want a meal of victuals, they have to exercise faith on this account. In sending out my sons to preach the Gospel, or having them go, I would not give them one dollar to go with; and while I am on this subject I will say, the father who gives his sons money to go and preach the Gospel, does them the greatest injury he can do. I would not do it if I had millions at my disposal. I would not give them a dollar. Let them go out and feel after God, and obtain a knowledge of God through faith and through mighty prayer. When a man is without friends, when a man has no place to sleep, he will if he believes in God and His gifts, be certain to go to Him and ask Him to furnish that which he needs, and when his prayers are answered, he has greater faith next time. (George Q. Cannon, J.D. 24:345)
- CONTEMPORARY LEADER:
“In the old days missionaries went out without purse or scrip and depended on the Lord,” he said. “That’s how my father went. That’s how I went on my mission to the Southern States. And let me tell you, Nettle, after you’ve missed a few meals, you really get the spirit.” He grinned. “No community is too hostile, no door too tightly closed, if you’re hungry enough. Today,” he shrugged, “Elders in the field get money from home. They come to depend on the money and not on the Lord.” (John W. Taylor, Family Kingdom, p. 79)
* * *
 Many of those who are brought into the Church under the present system of preaching with purse and scrip instead of without purse and scrip, have not the faith to stand as they would have if they entertained the Elders and furnished them with what they needed, as God has commanded. I do not believe we are getting so good a class of converts under this system as under the old system which was followed by the early Elders of the Church. Our converts showed their faith by feeding and clothing the Elders and by giving them money when necessary. By taking this course they proved themselves to be the Disciples of the Son of God, for the Lord says “Whoso receiveth you receiveth me, and the same will feed you, and clothe you, and give you money.” (George Q. Cannon, Des. News, Oct. 27, 1900)
* * * * *
- SEVENTIES QUORUMS ARE NOT STAKE QUORUM
The Seventy are to act in the name of the Lord, under the direction of the Twelve or the traveling high council, in building up the church and regulating all the affairs of the same in all nations, first unto the Gentiles and then to the Jews; (D. & C. 107:34)
- JOSEPH SMITH:
…to begin the organization of the first quorum of Seventies, according to the visions and revelations which I have received. The Seventies are to constitute traveling quor-ums, to go into all the earth, whithersoever the Twelve Apostles shall call them. (D.H.C. 2:202)
- EARLY LEADERS:
The Presidency of stakes may proceed from the beginning, and without supervision, may organize, number, and manipulate the quorums of the elders without reference to any other presidency, but he can’t proceed so with the seventies quorums, which are not stake quorums, but general church quorums–he may not proceed so with the seventies quorums, then, without consulting with and direction by the general presidency of the seventy’s quorums which is the First Council (B. H. Roberts, Letter to Stake Pres. Henry D. Moyle, Cottonwood Stake, Feb. 29, 1928)
* * *
Seventies quorums are not stake quorums. They do not function as stake quorums. There is nothing for them to do as a quorum in a stake. They are not essential in any way to a stake organization. The Seventies quorums exist and have existed throughout their duration in the Church independent of Stake lines. Stakes may be fully organized without having a quorum of Seventies at all…. The 115th quorum of Seventies is not the 115th quorum of any Stake…but is the 115th quorum of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and should remain so unconfused with any Stake numbering. (B.H. Roberts, Letter to First Pres. & Quorum of Twelve, Oct. 25, 1926)
* * *
 D. CONTEMPORARY LEADERS:
All Melchizedek Priesthood quorums come under the supervision of the stake presidency. In the case of Seventies, the supervision is exercised in collaboration and cooperation with the First Council of Seventy. (Melchizedek Priesthood Handbook, pub. 1970, p. 7)
* * * * *
- PRESIDENTS OF THE SEVENTIES NOT TO BE HIGH PRIESTS
After these things the Lord appointed other seventy also, and sent them two and two before his face into every city and place, whither he himself would come. (Luke 10:1)
* * *
And they (the Seventies) form a quorum, equal in authority to that of the Twelve special witnesses or Apostles just named. (D. & C. 107:26)
- JOSEPH SMITH:
The Seventies are also members of the same Priesthood, (i.e. the High Priesthood), are a sort of traveling council or Priesthood, and may preside over a church or churches, until a High Priest can be had. The Seventies are to be taken from the quorum of Elders, and are not to be High Priests. They are subject to the direction and dictation of the Twelve, who have the keys of the ministry. (T.P.J.S., p. 112)
* * *
 Another subject of vital importance to the Church, was the establishing of the grades of the different quorums. It was ascertained that all but one or two of the presidents of the Seventies were High Priests, and when they had ordained and set apart any from the quorum of Elders, into the quorum of Seventies, they had conferred upon them the High Priesthood also. This was declared to be wrong, and not according to the order of heaven. New presidents of the Seventies were accordingly ordained to fill the places of such of them as were High Priests, and the ex-officio presidents, and such of the Seventies as had been legally ordained to be High Priests, were directed to unite with the High Priests quorum. (D.H.C. 2:476)
- EARLY LEADERS:
At the October conference of 1882, Elders Abraham H. Cannon and Theodore B. Lewis were selected to fill the vacancies in the first council of the Seventy; but it was learned that Elder Lewis was a high priest, and, consequently–for the reason that these presidents are to be “chosen from among the seventy”–he was found ineligible and was not ordained. (C.H.C. 6:105)
* * *
…in case the quorum of the Twelve should by any means become disorganized, that the Seventies held the jurisdiction and authority of Presidency of the Church in all the world wherever it might be found. That the High Priests’ duty would be the same as it is now; they have to attend to their affairs, but the authority of Presidency over the whole  Church belonged to the Seventies; and if all the Seventies were killed off except one Seventy, that Seventy would not only possess the right but would be in duty bound to stand in their place as the First Presidency of the Church. He said that Joseph Smith the Prophet undertook to establish this idea in the minds of the brethren in Kirtland, but the jealousies that began to arise in the minds of the High Priests prevented him from doing so…. He further stated that the difference between the authority of the Seventies and the High Priests was this: The High Priests possessed the High Priesthood, but the Seventies possessed the High Priesthood and the Apostleship, which was the highest power on the earth or in the Church. (Parley P. Pratt, Nauvoo Record Bk. B, p. 226)
* * *
The Seventies are Apostles; and they stand next in authority to the Twelve, … If through the providence of God the First Presidency and the Twelve were taken away, then it would be the duty of the Seventies to preach the Gospel, build up the Church, and ordain every officer requisite in order to establish the Church, and ordain High Priests, Bishops, High Counsellors, patriarchs, and set in order the whole church in all the world. This is according to the revelations given to us…. I suppose I ordained hundreds of Seventies in early days. Brother Joseph Smith has come to us many times, saying, “Brethren, you are going to ordain Seventies. Do not forget to confer the high priesthood upon them. Ordain each of them to the High Priesthood, and to be one of the Seventy Apostles.” This was my language in  the ordination of the Seventies, and that is the way I ordain them now. (Brigham Young, Des. News, June 6, 1877, p. 274)
- CONTEMPORARY LEADERS:
An announcement that members of the First Council of Seventy of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints had been ordained high priests to give them “power to set in order all things pertaining to the Church” as they visit among the stakes and missions was made Sunday morning in the Salt Lake Tabernacle.
President McKay’s statement on the occasion is as follows: “This morning four members of the First Council of Seventy were ordained high priests, and the other members of the First Council of Seventy will be so ordained. Under the direction of the Twelve Apostles the First Council of Seventy go out in all parts of the world to reorganize stakes and the missions, to set in order the affairs of the Church. That means ordaining high priests as presidents of stakes and the missions, to set in order the affairs of the Church.” (Des. News, June 12, 1961)
* * * * *
 13. PRIESTHOOD MUST BE CONFERRED
Upon you my fellow servants, in the name of Messiah, I confer the Priesthood of Aaron, which holds the keys of the ministering of angels, and of the gospel of repentance, and of baptism by immersion for the remission of sins;… (D. & C. 13:1)
* * *
….the church, in ancient days, called that priesthood after Melchizedek, or the Melchizedek Priesthood. All other authorities or offices in the church are appendages to this priesthood. (D. & C. 107:4-5)
- JOSEPH SMITH:
(When ordaining men to the office of Seventy,) …Brother Joseph Smith has come to us many times, saying, “Brethren, you are going to ordain Seventies. Do not forget to confer the high priesthood upon them. Ordain each of them to the high priesthood, and to be one of the Seventy Apostles.” That was my language in the ordination of the Seventies, and that is the way I ordain them now. (Brigham Young, Des. News, June 6, 1877, p. 274)
- EARLY LEADERS:
There is no office growing out of this priesthood that is or can be greater than the Priesthood itself. It is from the priesthood that the office derives its authority and power. No office gives authority to the Priesthood. No office adds to the power of the Priesthood. But all offices in the  Church derive their power, their virtue, their authority, from the Priesthood. (Joseph F. Smith, Gospel Doctrine, p. 242)
* * *
The revelation in Section 107, Doc. & Cov. verses 1, 5, 6, 7, 21, clearly points out that the priesthood is a general authority or qualification, with certain offices or authorities appended thereto. Consequently the conferring of the Priesthood should precede and accompany ordination to office, unless it be possessed by previous bestowal and ordination. Surely a man cannot possess an appendage to the Priesthood without possessing the Priesthood itself, which he cannot obtain unless it be authoritatively conferred upon him.
Take for instance, the office of a deacon: the person ordained should have the Aaronic Priesthood conferred upon him in connection with his ordination. He cannot receive a portion or fragment of the Aaronic Priesthood, because that would be acting on the idea that either or both of the Priesthoods were subject to subdivision, which is contrary to revelation. (Joseph F. Smith, Imp. Era 4:394)
- CONTEMPORARY LEADERS:
Compare: Prior to 1921, the priesthood was conferred, and then the office given:
In the name of Jesus Christ, and by the authority of the Melchizedek Priesthood vested in us, we lay our hands upon your head and confer upon you the Melchizedek Priesthood,  and ordain you to the office of Elder in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (See Elders manuals)
April 26, 1921: (as stated by Heber J Grant in a letter to all stake presidencies and Church leaders)
(Use full name) by the authority of the Holy Priesthood in us vested, we lay our hands upon your head and ordain you an Elder in the Church of Jesus Christ of latter-day Saints, and bestow upon you all the rights, powers and authority pertaining to this office and calling in the Melchizedek Priesthood, and we do this in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen. (See Missionary handbooks, after this date)
* * *
We have been making a mistake in ordinations. We have been conferring the Priesthood, and it ought not to be done. If we confer the Priesthood on a man, we give him all the offices and callings in the church. We should ordain directly to the office in the priesthood. There is only one man that holds the Priesthood. (Charles W. Penrose, 1st counselor to H. J. Grant, Stake Quarterly Conference, Provo, Utah Stake; about 1921)
* * *
NOTE:Thirty-six years later, in April of 1957, President David O. McKay had the conferring of priesthood reinstated in the ordinations ceremony.
* * * * *
 14. SERMONS NOT TO BE WRITTEN AND READ
…take no thought how or what ye shall speak: for it shall be given you in that same hour what ye shall speak. For it is not ye that speak, but the Spirit of your Father which speaketh in you. (Matt. 10:19-20)
* * *
Therefore, verily I say unto you, lift up your voices unto this people; speak the thoughts that I shall put into your hearts, and you shall not be confounded before men; for it shall be given you in the very hour, yea, in the very moment, what ye shall say. (D. & C. 100:5-6)
- JOSEPH SMITH:
All are to preach the Gospel, by the power and influence of the Holy Ghost; and no man can preach the Gospel without the Holy Ghost. (T.P.J.S., p. 112)
- EARLY LEADERS:
When I arise to speak I have never a premeditated subject. I let God by the Holy Ghost dictate me and control me just as a musician would his violin. It is the player on the instrument that plays the tune, the instrument does not dictate the player. So I should be in the hands of God, to be dictated by him, for we are told that the Holy Ghost the comforter will teach us all things past, present, and to come.
 The Holy Ghost knows the minds of this people and what is necessary to deal out to every man and every woman in due season their portion. If I am not dictated by the Holy Ghost I cannot communicate to you that which is necessary. (Heber C. Kimball, Aug 23, 1857; Des. News, Sept. 16, 1857)
* * *
With the Latter-day Saints the idea of writing sermons or preparing addresses beforehand is entirely discarded, it never was practiced amongst them. It was the order of God to choose the weak things of the world…. (George A. Smith, J.D. 13:292)
* * *
It is well known to the Latter-day Saints–though perhaps not to strangers–that no Elder or member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints who enters into this Tabernacle knows who is going to be called upon to speak to the people. Hence no man spends a week, a day, an hour, or a moment to prepare a discourse to deliver unto the people. We are all of us dependent upon the Spirit of the Lord, upon revelation, upon inspiration, upon the Holy Ghost, in order to be qualified to teach the people before whom we are called to speak,… (Wilford Woodruff, J.D. 24:236)
* * *
It is for this reason that the Lord has commanded His servants not to prepare their discourses, but to ponder upon His word, and in the very moment they needed to speak He would give unto them that which they should say. (George Q. Cannon, Des. News, Sept. 5, 1896)
 D. CONTEMPORARY LEADERS:
…we have the brethren at conference time, instead of following the simple instructions of the Master and speaking to the Saints as led by the Holy Ghost, reading from written statements laboriously prepared in the cold and lifeless environs of their studios. Is this straying off from the “simplicity of our ordinances and of our faith” the result of contact with the world? (Truth magazine editorial, April 1941, 6:11:253.)
* * *
- How to Memorize Discussions:
- Read all six discussions to get a picture of the plan as a whole. Write a brief summary of the contents of each discussion.
- Read discussion to be memorized several times, Compare text with outline
- Memorize basic conclusions and key questions.
- Reread dialogue leading to each conclusion until completely familiar with it.
- Give discussion aloud using flannel board or other visual aid procedure.
(Uniform System for Teaching Investigators, p. 4, August 1961, The Church of J.C. of L.D.S.)
(Note: It was mentioned in the April 1973 General Conference that topics had previously been assigned to the General Authorities.)
* * * * *
 15. OPPOSITION AGAINST THE TRUE GOSPEL
If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you. If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you. Remember the word that I said unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord. If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you;… (John 15:18-20)
- JOSEPH SMITH:
He that will war the true Christian warfare against the corruptions of these last days will have wicked men and angels of devils, and all the infernal powers of darkness continually arrayed against him. (T.P.J.S., p. 259)
- EARLY LEADERS:
Hatred and persecution has been the lot of every man that ever lived upon the earth holding the oracles of the kingdom of heaven to deliver to the children of men. Wicked men, Satan, and all the powers of hell and hate are at war with every holy principle that God wishes to place in the possession of his children. (Brigham Young, J.D. 8:13)
* * *
And when the spirit of persecution, the spirit of hatred, of wrath and malice ceases in the world against this people, it will be  the time that this people have apostatized and joined hands with the wicked, and never until then; which I pray may never come. (Brigham Young, J.D. 4:327)
* * *
There is nothing that would so weaken my hope and discourage me as to see this people in full fellowship with the world, and receive no more persecution from them because they are one with them. In such an event, we might bid farewell to the Holy Priesthood with all its blessings, privileges and aids to exaltations, principalities and powers in the eternities of the Gods. (Brigham Young, J.D, 10:32)
- CONTEMPORARY LEADERS:
I am thankful that wherever I have traveled during the past six months I have found a feeling of respect, a feeling of love in the hearts of many for the Latter-day Saints, in the hearts of those not of our faith. I heard many very splendid compliments while in Washington by members of the president’s cabinet, by senators and representatives, and by officials of the government in the Federal Reserve banking departments, and in others, wherever I went, and with all the people that I met, bankers in New York, Chicago, San Francisco and other cities. I heard good things said of the Latter-day Saints; we are coming into our own, so to speak. (Heber J. Grant, Conf. Rept., April 4, 1920, p. 12)
* * *
 One of the things I wished to say at the conference I will say now, and that is that I have never felt happier in my life than over the wonderful change that seems to have come over all the world in the attitude of people toward the Latter-day Saints…we have been able to get practically anything and everything that we desire printed in the newspapers. They give us the best kind of notices regarding our conferences there, favorable and honorable notices. (Heber J. Grant, April Conference, 1930)
* * * * *
- FRIENDSHIP WITH THE WORLD
… Know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? Whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God. (James 4:4)
- JOSEPH SMITH:
When all men speak evil of you falsely, blessed are ye. Shall a man be considered bad, when men speak evil of him? No. If a man stands and opposes the world of sin, he may expect to have all wicked and corrupt spirits arrayed against him. But it will be but a little season, and all these afflictions will be turned away from us, inasmuch as we are faithful, and are not overcome by these evils, (T.P.J.S., p. 259)
* * *
 …for we know that the world not only hate us, but they speak all manner of evil of us falsely, for no other reason than that we have been endeavoring to teach the fullness of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. (TPJS, p. 124)
- EARLY LEADERS:
When we see the time that we can willingly strike hands and have full fellowship with those who despise the Kingdom of God, know ye then that the Priesthood of the Son of God is out of your possession. (Brigham Young, J.D. 10:273)
* * *
When Mormonism finds favor with the wicked in this land it will have gone into the shade; but until the power of the Priesthood is gone, Mormonism will never become popular with the wicked. (Brigham Young, J.D. 4:38)
* * *
The adversary will not let us alone. The direst persecutions we ever had to suffer, occurred before the doctrine of polygamy was taught or believed in. There is nothing short of complete apostasy, a complete denial of every principle we have received, a throwing away of the Holy Priesthood, that can save us from persecution. When this takes place, when all the chief features of the Gospel are obliterated, when we can float along the stream and do as the world does, then and not till then will persecution cease,… (George Q. Cannon, J.D. 22: 373-374)
 D. CONTEMPORARY LEADERS:
I think that we as a people have very great cause to rejoice in the era of good will and fellowship that is existing today for us as a people, among those not of our faith, in comparison with the conditions that existed some years ago, I do not know of any single thing that has happened in my experience, during the long time that I have been one of the General Authorities of the Church, that has impressed me more profoundly with the change of sentiment towards the Latter-day Saints than the reception that was accorded me December last when I went to Kansas City and delivered a speech upon the accomplishments of “Mormonism.” (Heber J. Grant, Conf. Rept., April 3, 1921, p. 7)
* * *
My greatest happiness, I find in the good will and friendship that has developed among all classes of people at home and abroad toward the Latter-day Saints Church, during my lifetime; in place of everyday persecutions and bitterness we now enjoy the high regard and happy association with all denominations. (Heber J. Grant, Salt Lake Tribune, Nov. 22, 1938)
* * * * *
 17. FREEDOM OF THOUGHT
We claim the privilege of worshiping Almighty God according to the dictates of our own conscience, and allow all men the same privilege, let them worship how, where, or what they may, (11th Article of Faith)
- JOSEPH SMITH:
I will not seek to compel any man to believe as I do, only by the force of reasoning, for truth will cut its own way. (T.P.J.S., p. 313)
* * *
We deem it a just principle, and it is one the force of which we believe ought to be duly considered by every individual, that all men are created equal, and that all have the privilege of thinking for themselves upon all matters relative to conscience. Consequently, then, we are not disposed had we the power, to deprive any one of exercising that free independence of mind which heaven has so graciously bestowed upon the human family as one of it choicest gifts;… (T.P.J.S., p. 49)
- EARLY LEADERS:
I would rather be chopped to pieces at night and resurrected in the morning, each day throughout a period of three score years and ten, than to be deprived of speaking freely, or being afraid of doing so. (Brigham Young, J.D. 1:364)
 D. CONTEMPORARY LEADERS:
If a man even thinks a doctrine contrary to the accepted teachings of the present day leaders, he is to be tried for his membership. (1963 Stake President Handbook)
* * *
December 18, 1939
To the Presidency of the Rexburg Stake,
Rexburg Stake of Zion
We, the Stake Presidency, hereby make to you a charge of apostacy against Joseph T. Jones: and in support thereof allege as follows: That the said Joseph T. Jones, having been given an opportunity to sign a statement of his support and loyalty to the General Authorities of the Church, refused to sign the same.
We, respectfully suggest that the above named accused be called to answer this complaint, before yourselves and the High Council of this the Rexburg Stake of Zion as a court thereof.
Peter J. Ricks
(NOTE: Sample of a typical form containing a statement of loyalty to the Church leaders is reprinted on the following page.)
* * * * *
 TO WHOM IT MAY CONCERN:
This is to certify as follows:
- That I am a loyal member of the Church of Jesus Christ of latter-day Saints, living the gospel to the best of my knowledge, and sustaining the present day program of the Church.
- That I accept fully and endorse and endeavor to make a part of my life, the present day teachings of the General Authorities of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints with headquarters at 47 East South Temple Street, Salt Late City, Utah. I am sincerely in harmony with these teachings, including both the prohibitions embraced in them as well as their positive phases.
- That I sustain the present day leaders of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, with headquarters at 47 East South Temple St. Salt Lake City, as the authorized servants of God upon the earth. In doing so I sustain and accept their teachings as coming from the Lord, and I do so without any reservation upon my part. I regard President Joseph Fielding Smith as the prophet, seer and revelator of the Lord, and I accept his policies and doctrines upon all subjects.
- With respect to the subject of plural marriage, may I say truthfully, wholeheartedly and of my own free will, that I do accept and endorse present policies and teachings of the General Authorities of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, with headquarters at 47 East South Temple Street, Salt Lake City. I do not believe in, nor teach, nor in any advocate the present day practice of plural marriage. I accept the manifesto as published in the Doctrine & Covenants as the word of the Lord. I believe that it was published in harmony with a divine revelation instructing practice of plural marriage in the earth to be stopped, and that it was stopped upon the instruction of the Lord himself. Therefore, I believe that any person who teaches the present day practice of that manner of life is preaching that which is opposed to the wishes and teachings of God himself, that he is to that extent in rebellion against God.
- I sustain the laws of the State of Utah and the United States of America with respect to the practice of so-called plural marriage, recognizing that the laws of both the state and the nation make such marriage illegal and therefore adulterous.
- In view of the fact that both the laws of the land and the laws God are opposed to the present day practice of so-called plural marriage, I consider those persons entering into such marriage as being adulterous in practices.
- It is my intention to live my life in harmony with the present policies and practices of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-days, with headquarters at 47 East South Temple Street, Salt Lake City.
 18. GIFTS OF THE SPIRIT
…and these signs shall follow them that believe;… (Mark 16:17)
* * *
And now I speak unto 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 wo be unto the children of men if this be the case; for there shall be none that doeth good among you, no not one. For if there be one among you that doeth good, he shall work by the power and gifts of God. (Moroni 10:24-25)
* * *
We believe in the gift of tongues, prophecy, revelation, visions, healing, interpretation of tongues, etc. (7th Article of Faith)
- JOSEPH SMITH:
Because faith is wanting, the fruits are. No man since the world was had faith without having something along with it…. A man who has none of the gifts has no faith, and he deceives himself, if he supposes he has. (T.P.J.S., p. 270)
- EARLY LEADERS:
Have not the majority of this congregation made the most solemn covenants and vows that they will listen to, obey and be subject to the Priesthood? Have not the sisters made the same solemn covenants and  vows before God and angels, that they would be subjects to their husbands? Are you faithful to your vows? If you are you will have dreams, and visions, and revelations from the world of light, and you will be comforted by night and by day. But if you do not fulfill your covenants you cannot enjoy these blessings. (Heber C. Kimball, J.D. 3:112)
- CONTEMPORARY LEADERS;
I was somewhat startled a few days ago, while in conversation with a young brother who had just returned from a mission to Scandinavia, by hearing him remark that he had never in his life heard anyone speak in tongues. *** The remark was somewhat of a shock to me; because in the early days of the Church–where I was reared–there were so many of the Saints who enjoyed the gifts, and there were none among my acquaintances who had not heard the sweet sound of the gift of tongues. Many times there would be both speaking and singing in tongues, in the same sacrament meeting. The interpretation of tongues was equally as common as the tongues themselves. In fact, we were wont to regard the speaking in tongues, the interpretation of tongues, the relating of dreams and prophesying, as an essential part of the latter-day gospel. *** There is a question that comes into my mind: if men now think they can get along without the gifts of the gospel, may not the time come when they may believe they can get along without its ordinances? (by Dr. James X. Allen, Imp. Era, 8:109-111)
* * * * *
 19. THE KINGDOM OF GOD
But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you. (Matt 6:33)
* * *
Call upon the Lord, that his kingdom may go forth upon the earth, that the inhabitants thereof may receive it, and be prepared for the days to come, in the which the Son of Man shall come down in heaven, clothed in the brightness of his glory, to meet the kingdom of God which is set up on the earth. Wherefore, may the kingdom of God go forth, that the kingdom of heaven may come, that thou, O God, mayest be glorified in heaven so on earth, that thine enemies may be subdued; for thine is the honor, power, and glory, forever and ever. Amen (D. & C. 65:5-6)
- JOSEPH SMITH:
But it is proper for the reader to know that Joseph Smith when speaking strictly recognized a distinction between “the Church of Jesus Christ” and the “Kingdom of God” and not only a distinction but a separation of one from the other. The Kingdom of God according to his teaching is to be a political institution that shall hold sway over all the earth to which all other governments will be subordinate and by which they will be dominated. (Rise and Fall of Nauvoo, p. 180)
 C. EARLY LEADERS:
Joseph commenced the organization of a Council for the purpose of taking into consideration the necessary steps to obtain redress for the wrongs which had been inflicted upon us by our persecutors, and also the best manner to settle our people in some distant and unoccupied territory; where we could enjoy our civil and religious rights, without being subject to constant oppression and mobocracy, under the protection of our own laws, subject to the Constitution.
The Council was composed of about fifty members, several of whom were not members of the Church.
We prepared several memorials to Congress for redress of grievances, and used every available means to inform ourselves of the unoccupied territory open to settlers.
We held a number of sessions, and investigated the principles upon which our national government is founded; and the true foundation and principles of all governments. (Brigham Young, Mill. Star 26:328)
* * *
The Prophet gave the full and complete organization to this Kingdom the spring before he was killed. This Kingdom is the kingdom Daniel spoke of, which was to be set up in the last days; it is the kingdom that is not to be given to another people. Now I want to give you these few words–the kingdom of God that protects every person, every sect, and all people upon the face of the earth, in their legal rights. I shall not  tell you the names of the members of this Kingdom, neither shall I read you its constitution, but the constitution was given by revelation. (Brigham Young, Des. News, Aug. 1854)
* * *
God has established His Church, and we sometimes say his kingdom. What do we mean by “the Kingdom of God?”…There is the Church of God and the kingdom of God. The Church, of course, refers more particularly to spiritual things, and the kingdom to temporal rule and government and management and to temporal affairs. (John Taylor, J.D. 20:166)
* * *
We are asked, Is the Church of God, and the Kingdom of God the same organization? and we are informed that some of the brethren hold that they are separate.
This is the correct view to take. The Kingdom of God is a separate organization from the Church of God. There may be men acting as officers in the Kingdom of God who will not be members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. On this point the Prophet Joseph gave particular instructions before his death, and gave an example, which he asked the younger elders who were present to always remember. It was to the effect that men might be chosen to officiate as members of the Kingdom of God who had no standing in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The Kingdom of God when established will not be for the protection of the Church of Jesus Christ alone, but for the protection of all men, whatever their religious views or opinions may be. Under its rule, no one will be permitted to over-step the proper bounds or to interfere with the rights of others. (George Q. Cannon, Joseph Smith and World Government, by Hyrum Andrus, p. 9)
- CONTEMPORARY LEADERS:
The Church has existed and now continues in an organized form, without the kingdom as an established power with temporal authority in the world; but the kingdom cannot be maintained without the Church. *** They (the kingdom of God as identical with the Church of Christ) claim an authority that is spiritual, but also temporal in dealing with the members of the organization–Church or kingdom as one may choose to call it–but they make no attempt, nor do they assert the right, to assail, modify, or in any way interfere with existing governments, far less to subdue nations or to set up rival systems of control. (James E. Talmage, Articles of Faith, pp. 365-368)
* * *
The Kingdom of God is the Church established by divine authority upon the earth; this institution asserts no claim to temporal rule over nations its sceptre of power is that of the Holy Priesthood, to be used in the preaching of the gospel and in administering its ordinances for the salvation of mankind living and dead. (James E. Talmage, Jesus the Christ, p. 788)
* * * * *
 20. CONTINUOUS REVELATION
Surely the Lord God will do nothing, but he revealeth his secret unto his servants the prophets. (Amos 3:7)
* * *
We believe all that God has revealed, all that He does now reveal, and we believe that He will yet reveal many great and important things pertaining to the Kingdom of God. (9th Article of Faith)
* * *
For of him unto whom much is given much is required; and he who sins against the greater light shall receive the greater condemnation. Ye call upon my name for revelations, and I give them unto you; and inasmuch as ye keep not my sayings, which I give unto you, ye become transgressors; and justice and judgment are the penalty which is affixed unto my law. (D. & C. 82:3-4)
- JOSEPH SMITH:
If it requires the Spirit of God to know the things of God; and the spirit of the devil can only be unmasked through that medium, then it follows as a natural consequence that unless some person or persons have a communication, or revelation from God, unfolding to them the operation of the spirit, they must eternally remain ignorant of these principles; for I contend that if one man cannot understand these things but by the Spirit of God, ten thousand men can-not; it is alike out of the reach of the wisdom of the learned, the tongue of the eloquent, and the power of the mighty. And we shall at last have to come to this conclusion, whatever we may think of revelation, that without it we can neither know nor understand anything of God, or the devil. (T.P.J.S., p. 205)
- EARLY LEADERS:
Now we don’t expect ever to move without revelation and they that have the keys of the kingdom can get revelation. (Brigham Young, Times and Seasons 5:664)
* * *
When new revelation ceases to be given, officers cease to be called of God. (Orson Pratt, Orson Pratt’s Works, p. 40)
* * *
In all these various dispensations God has directly spoken from the heavens; he has communicated his will to the human family. He has raised up revelators and inspired them, he has filled his servants with the spirit of prophecy, that they should foretell the future. He has inspired them to write revelations, and hence in all these different dispensations the God of heaven has thus authorized the children of men to build up his Zion on the earth, and without these no such thing as Zion can be built up among the children of men. ***
When this spirit of revelation ceased Zion ceased; when people ceased to be called by direct revelation, and the Scriptures ceased  to receive any additional books, then Zion ceased among the children of men. When mankind came to the conclusion that their own wisdom was all-sufficient, independent of any more revelation, Zion ceased from off the earth. (Orson Pratt, J.D. 14:345)
* * *
God does not deprive the earth, nor the inhabitants of the earth of His knowledge without cause. When the Prophets disappeared from Israel before the coming of the Savior, there were reasons for their disappearance. When there was witchcraft, as we are told, in the days of Saul, and there was a time of famine in the land for the word of God, there were reasons for this. When communication ceased between heaven and earth in those and subsequent days, there were good reasons why that should be so. Communication never ceased when the people were faithful. When they honored God, when they kept the commandments of God, when they listened to the voice and admonitions of His Prophets, communication never ceased under these circumstances. But when the people turned unto idols, when they followed Baal, when they hardened their hearts against God, when they persecuted and slew His Prophets, then in his anger he withdrew from them, his face was hidden, his voice was no longer heard, there were no longer visions, there were no longer prophecies in the land–an unbroken stillness reigned between the heavens and the earth until the people again repented,… (George Q. Cannon, J.D 22:264-5)
* * *
 D. CONTEMPORARY LEADERS:
In a meeting in Pocatello some months since, one of the members of the Quorum of Twelve, in pleading for tolerance and patience toward the President (H. J. Grant) and in testimony of his sincerity and goodness stated in effect: He so frequently tells us in our quorum meetings, “O, if we could only get the word of the Lord upon the subject!”
Such a report was recently made by one of his associates in a public meeting in the Pioneer Stake. Speaking of attending a certain meeting with the President in the Temple, he said the President came into the meeting under the emotion of tears, and informed the brethren present he had pled with the Lord for direction in certain matters, but could get none. Said he, as reported, “The heavens are as brass over me.” (Truth magazine, Feb. 1939, p. 175)
(NOTE: There are people alive today that heard this statement made by Pres. Grant on other different occasions.)
* * *
…and I know as I know that I live that He has directed me from boyhood, that He has heard and answered my prayers, that I have had revelations, so to speak, from the Lord, and have endeavored to carry them out…. (Heber J. Grant, Imp. Era, Nov. 1938, p. 672)
* * *
 In President Joseph F. Smith’s day we heard him testify that he had received no new revelations from the Lord — certainly he announced none. Before the Senate Committee in the Reed Smoot case, 1904, he stated that he had not received direct revelation but had received “impressions of the Spirit of the Lord, *** just,” he said “as any good Methodist, or any other good church member might receive. *** I have had impressions of the Spirit upon my mind very frequently, but they are not in the sense revelations.” (See Reed Smoot Case, 1:483)
* * *
(NOTE: for over the past 80 years not one revelation has been published, presented or voted on at a General Conference, or has been added to the Doctrine and Covenants.)
* * * * *
 Thus, in 100 years changes have carefully been made, but the questions arise–how extensive can changes be made and still be authorized of God? How many changes are made by those holding the Priesthood until that Priesthood will cease to function with those changes?
One of the first errors made by the leaders of the early Christian Church was to presume the right and authority to change the principles, laws and ordinances of God. By the unanimous decision of their councils, and the assumed power of priesthood, they began to revoke, change, and disannul the Gospel. By changing those principles they lost the priesthood; but if they would have maintained those principles, they would have maintained the priesthood.
We have not time to enter into the various abuses of the Church of Rome, but will merely state that if they had continued pure, their priesthood would also have been pure; and their authority to administer in the ordinances of the church would have been legal; not because they had a succession of popes, but in consequence of their adherence to the pure principles of the gospel, for the priesthood can not continue when the gospel is perverted; hence John was commanded to write to the angels of the churches of Asia, and to tell several of them that if they did not repent, their candlesticks would be removed out of their place. (Times and Seasons, Nov. 15, 1841)
The Prophet Joseph Smith adds: “If there is no change of ordinances, there is no change of Priesthood” (TPJS, p. 158), and “Where there is no change of priesthood, there is no change of ordinances….”  (TPJS, p. 308). Conversely, we may say that “if there is a change of ordinances, there is a change (or loss) of priesthood!”
It signifies, then, that the ordinances must be kept in the very way God has appointed; otherwise their Priesthood will prove a cursing instead of a blessing. (TPJS, p 169)
In every age and every dispensation God has directed his servants to teach and obey the same principles, doctrines, and ordinances of the Gospel. They never clashed or contended in their teachings.
Although Paul had not been brought into contact with Peter and the rest of the Twelve for some years, he informs us that when he went to Jerusalem to meet with them, he found that he taught the same principles and was conversant with the doctrines of Jesus as they were; and so much was he impressed with the importance of him and his brethren and those who received the principles they taught, believing in one form of doctrine and one plan of salvation, that he left on record, to one of the Churches which he raised up, this sentiment,–“though we or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you; let him be accursed.” He endeavored to impress upon those with whom he had communication, and over whom he had influence, that the form of doctrine which he had delivered to them, and which, he says, he received by the Holy Ghost, was the only form of doctrine that could be preached to the inhabitants of the earth without the curse of Almighty God resting upon them who preached  and propagated it. Hence, it is but reasonable to suppose that had the doctrine which Paul taught, which he received from Jesus, and the doctrine which was taught by Peter, James, John and Andrew, and the rest of the apostles, been preached and adhered to, by the whole of the inhabitants of the earth, we should see, to-day, through all the nations of the earth, that which is witnessed in Utah–one form of worship and one faith, and all the people, everywhere worshipping in the same temples and tabernacles, and being governed by the same principles.
It cannot be expected by any person who has any faith or confidence in the plan of salvation, or in the scriptures which contain an account of that plan, that the Holy Ghost would reveal unto man two different kinds of faith; that it would lead them to believe in different forms of doctrine, or that it would teach one class of men that one portion of the Gospel was necessary, and another portion unnecessary; or cause any portion of the people to believe that a certain item of the Gospel was essential to salvation, and cause another portion of the people to believe that the same item of the Gospel was non-essential. Such a view is irreconcilable with the teachings of Jesus and his apostles and of all that is left on record concerning the gifts and power of the Holy Ghost and its office among the children of men….
….It may be supposed, therefore, that, this being the condition of things during the lives of the apostles, had the inhab-itants of the earth continued to practice the principles which they taught, the same results would have followed, not only in the first century of the Christian era, but through every succeeding century down to our day. For it is recorded in the Scriptures, and none who believe in them can doubt the truth of the saying, that God is the same yesterday, to-day and forever.
He, Himself, says, “For I am the Lord, I change not, therefore ye sons of Jacob are not consumed.” This is the character of our Father and our God….
Seeing that this is the character of our Father in heaven and of the Gospel of His Son Jesus Christ, how is it that, today, there is opposition strife and uncertainty among those who call themselves the disciples of Jesus, if He is, as the Scriptures say, “the same yesterday, to-day and forever?” (George Q. Cannon, J.D. 12:363-364)
Since the laws of the Gospel and of heaven are irrevocable, it proves that if any man gains a fullness of those blessings, it will be by virtue of his obedience to the same laws that all the prophets have obeyed.
 Chapter IX
UPON THIS ROCK
…and upon this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. (Matt. 16:16)
* * *
We believe ALL that God has revealed, ALL that He does now reveal, and we believe that He will yet reveal many great and important things pertaining to the Kingdom of God. (9th Article of Faith)
The Lord said that all those who heard his teachings and obeyed them would be likened to a wise man who built his house upon a rock. When the storms came the house survived. By similar analogy the Lord was to establish His house upon a spiritual rock which also could survive all the tempests of earth and hell.
However, Catholics, protestants, and Mormons have had various interpretations of the scripture which bestowed upon Christ’s Church that positive assurance of survival. (Matt. 16:18) The Catholics have written:
Our blessed Lord, in constituting St. Peter Prince of His Apostles, says to him: “Thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build My Church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.” Christ makes here a solemn prediction that no error shall ever invade His Church, and if she fell into error the gates of hell have certainly prevailed against her. (Faith of Our Fathers, Cardinal Gibbons, p. 66)
 Catholicism places Peter’s office, title, and authority as president of the Church with infallibility. If the presidency of Christ’s Church was infallible, then the Catholic argument is valid and so is their Church.
…if Jesus predicted the truth when He declared that the gates of hell should not prevail against His Church–and who dare deny it?–then the Church never has and never could have fallen from the truth; then the Catholic Church is infallible, for she alone claims that prerogative, and she is the only Church that is acknowledged to have existed from the beginning (Ibid. p 67)
If the Catholic interpretation is correct, then there should have existed only one church from the time of Christ to the present. But this passage of scripture was interpreted differently by the Prophet Joseph Smith, who said:
Jesus in His teaching says, “Upon this rock I will build my Church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.” What rock? Revelation! (T.P.J.S., p. 274)
Revelation from God is the one singular and infallible rock upon which the Church of Christ is safe to be built. The Church is no more infallible than the members who belong to it. When the Church does not receive revelation, it is then in the hands of men rather than God.
Joseph Fielding Smith has written:
If the time or condition should ever come to pass that a man, possessing human weaknesses, shall lead the Church, woe be to the Church; for it will then become like the churches of the world, man-made and man-led, and have no power of God or of life eternal and salvation connected with it; only the wisdom, the judgment and intelligence of man. (Gospel Doctrine, p. 138)
Individuals may take the following premise as a guide to the true church and the true prophets: To discover who possesses the oracles of God, one simply has to inquire where the revelations of God are. False teachers or false prophets may be exposed easily by asking this question as simply as the child who exposed the fraud of the emperor’s invisible clothes. All those who professed admiration for the emperor’s clothes, for fear of being accused of being “wicked”, became exposed to their deception when an innocent child asked the question, “Where are his clothes?” So also may the innocent expose a spiritual delusion by asking a “prophet”–“Where are the Lord’s revelations through you?”
God’s word–in the scriptures or through immediate revelation–is the only secure foundation or “rock” for a man or Christ’s church.
When the Bohemian reformer Jerome was brought for trial before the Catholic council for heresy and teaching doctrine contrary to the policy of the church, he was asked to submit himself to the council by renouncing his errors:
“Prove me from the Holy Writings that I am in error,” he said, “and I will abjure it.”
“The Holy Writings!” exclaimed one of his tempters, “is everything then to be  judged by them? Who can understand them till the church has interpreted them?”
“Are the traditions of men more worthy of faith than the Gospel of our Savior?” replied Jerome. (Wylie, Book 3, Ch. 10)
These great reformers had their faith fastened to the revelations of God in the scriptures. The leading men of Catholicism did not. One important factor of the Reformation came into being–the individual’s right to interpret and believe for himself.
Ellen G. White grasped the full context of the weaknesses of leadership when she penned:
…Satan seeks to divert men’s thoughts and affections from God, and to fix them upon human agencies; he leads them to honor the mere instrument, and to ignore the Hand that directs all the events of providence. Too often, religious leaders who are thus praised and reverenced lose sight of their dependence upon God, and are led to trust in themselves. As a result, they seek to control the minds and consciences of the people, who are disposed to look to them for guidance instead of looking to the word of God. (The Great Controversy, by Ellen G. White, p. 193)
Through the weakness of men the doctrine of infallibility supplants revelation when it cannot be obtained from God. Joseph Fielding Smith wrote:
This dogma sets forth the belief that the “Vicar of Christ” cannot teach error because he is promised divine protection from error…. infallibility is a fabrication devised by the powers of darkness to  act as a counterfeit for revelation.” (Religious Truths Defined, p. 183)
Yet strangely enough this same author who understood this doctrine so well, also wrote:
The time will never come when we will not be able to put confidence and exercise faith in the teachings and in the instruction of those who lead us…. Therefore it behooves us, as Latter-day Saints, to put our trust in the presiding authorities of the church….
SAINTS SAFE IN FOLLOWING CHURCH AUTHORITIES. No man ever went astray by following the counsel of the authorities of the Church. (Doctrines of Salvation, p. 243)
This ideology continually creeps into every church. Through weakness in men they have a tendency to make man or his office in the Church infallible. A recent editorial in the Church News began by offering some excellent and pertinent advice to all Latter-day Saints. It read:
Every one should control his own mind, and not be swayed by shifting winds of doctrine. He should know the facts and act honestly upon them. He should remember who he is, and govern himself accordingly.
People who have access to the guidance of the Holy Spirit should seek the direction of the Almighty. They should study the scriptures which will provide a guide to basic truth. They should pray, and invite the aid of their Father in Heaven. (Des. News Church Section, March 17, 1973)
 Then, after advising the Saints to trust in God for their guidance, it reverts all this wise counsel back to trusting in the arm of flesh by concluding with:
And they should follow the men whom they sustain as prophets, seers and revelators, for they will lead no one astray!” (Ibid.)
Much of this theory of infallibility of man has stemmed from a statement of Wilford Woodruff who once commented:
I say to Israel, the Lord will never permit me nor any other man who stands as the President of this Church, to lead you astray. It is not in the programme. It is not in the mind of God. If I were to attempt that, the Lord would remove me out of my place, and so He will any other man who attempts to lead the children of men astray from the oracles of God and from their duty. (Wilford Woodruff, History of His Life and Labors, Matthias F. Cowley, p. 572)
President Woodruff is explaining the impossibility of any president, or any other officer in the Church, to deliberately lead the members astray! This is not in the program of the Lord; however, the president and members are still susceptible to temptations and frailties of human beings. Surely President Woodruff was not attempting to teach the Catholic doctrine of infallibility pertaining to the office of the president.
One of Pres. Woodruff’s own apostles commented on the possibility of personal views differing from revelations of the Lord.
President Wilford Woodruff is a men of wisdom and experience, and we respect him, but we do not believe his personal views or utterances are revelations from God; and when “Thus saith the Lord” comes from him, the Saints investigate it: they do not shut their eyes and take it down like a pill. (Charles Penrose, Mill. Star 54:191)
One of the dangers that exists in the doctrine of infallibility of the president is that members may be required to follow the president rather than the truth. This occurred in a recent trial of an elder in the Church:
During the process of the trial it was admitted by President (Hugh B.) Brown and made apart of the record that it wasn’t a question of whether Brother Broadbent was right or wrong, but solely a question of harmony with the authorities of the Church and the church rules governing in such matters. (Case of Church of Jesus Christ of L.D.S. vs. J. Leslie Broadbent, p. 8)
Joseph Smith, Brigham Young, and many others had always cautioned the Saints about placing total confidence in the president of the Church, or in any other man, Apostles George Q. Cannon and Moses Thatcher aptly explained why:
Do not, brethren, put your trust in man though he be a bishop, an apostle, or a president: If you do, they will fail you at some time or place; they will do wrong or seem to, and your support is gone; but if we lean on God, He never will fail us. When men and women depend on God alone, and trust in Him alone, their faith will not be shaken if the highest in the Church  should step aside. They could still see that He is just and true, that truth is lovely in His sight, and the pure in heart are dear to Him.
Perhaps it is His own design that faults and weaknesses should appear in high places in order that His Saints may learn to trust in Him, and not in any man or men. Therefore, my brethren and sisters, seek after the Holy Spirit and the unfailing testimony of God and His work upon the earth. Rest not until you know for yourselves that God has set His hand to redeem Israel, and prepare a people for His coming. (George Q. Cannon, Mill. Star 53:673-4) * * *
We can see now that a few who have relied upon others, who have sought the counsel of their file leaders and have depended upon that counsel when they can no longer reach those leaders, falter and fall by the wayside. I believe that God intends that every man and every woman in His Church and kingdom shall exercise the faculties which He has given them, that in the exercise of their agency He designs to exalt them in eternal glory. So long therefore as the people rely upon their leaders they are not manifesting that degree of faith, they are not in a position to think and reflect for themselves as they should. (Moses Thatcher, J.D. 26:328)
* * *
 It is necessary for the Saints to understand why infallibility is not applicable to the Church in either former or latter days.
- Former prophets warned of influences and powers which would war against the Church and cause many to fall into deception and apostasy.
- Infallibility has never proved a true doctrine in any other former dispensation. They have all digressed.
- Infallibility in man is disclaimed by every ancient and latter-day prophet.
- All of the keys, gifts, and powers of this dispensation and presidency of the Church, were committed to Joseph Smith (greatest of all the prophets); yet the Lord warned him that he was capable of falling. (D. & C. 3:9)
- The majority vote of members of the Church can alter the course upon which God might choose to have them go. (Israelites used this prerogative with Samuel.)
- If the people of God should become unworthy of receiving more revelation, then it will cease–or else God will give them lesser laws to live until they return to the right to receive His revelations. (Israel under Moses)
- God said that the president of His Church could fall (D. & C. 43:2-6), and he warned members against teachings which were not from Him.
 8. Many latter-day prophecies and admonitions have been given to the Saints warning them that if they did not keep His laws and commandments, He would choose another people to continue them in purity.
Considerable care must be taken by members of the Church as they listen and accept the teachings of other members, for everything that is taught is not scripture. As B. H. Roberts wisely stated:
We believe in an inspired Priesthood for the Church; we believe in inspired teachers; but that does not require us to believe that every word that is spoken from the pulpit is the very word of God. Sometimes they speak merely from their human knowledge, influenced by passions; influenced by interests of men, and by anger, and vexation, and all those things that surge in upon the minds of every servant of God. When they so speak, then that is not scripture; that is not the word of God, nor the power of God unto salvation; but when they speak as moved upon by the Holy Ghost, their voice then becomes the voice of God. (Defense of the Truth, 2:456)
President Brigham Young also warned the saints not to place such full confidence in the leaders of the Church:
Some may say, “Brethren, you who lead the Church, we have all confidence in you, we are not in the least afraid but what everything will go right under your superintendence; all the business matters will be transacted right; and if Brother Brigham is satisfied with it, I am.” I do not wish any Latter-day Saint in this world,  nor in heaven, to be satisfied with anything I do, unless the spirit of the Lord Jesus Christ, the spirit of revelation, makes them satisfied. I wish them to know for themselves and understand for themselves, for this would strengthen the faith that is within them. (Brigham Young, J.D. 3:45)
When Catholics or Mormons place complete confidence in their leaders, they display a recklessness with their faith that thwarts the very purposes of God. It is destructive in its nature and is not the evidence of a spiritual people. If an ecclesiastical leader was so endowed with that type of infallibility, there would be no need for the other members of the Church to have hands laid upon their heads for the gift of the Holy Ghost to “lead them into all truth.” Each member should receive the Holy Spirit for his own guidance, and the president of the Church should receive it for the guidance of the Church as an organization. We should follow him and assist him in that capacity.
It is understandable, but not excusable, for lay members to place such complete faith in their leaders that they will never question, doubt, or evaluate their position or course. It is easier to put their total trust and confidence in someone else, rather than exert the necessary effort to obtain revelation for themselves. It takes no spiritual strength to lay all trust in the arm of another man as your guide–indeed it is usually the mark of the mentally lazy and the spiritually dead.
It pays to look ahead, inquire, and be certain that the course you take is correct; and it is just as wise to be sure the path that your leaders are following is also correct. This is well illustrated in the story of the processionary caterpillars:
Processionary caterpillars travel in long, undulating processions, one creature behind the other. Jean-Henri Fabre, the French naturalist, once led a group of these caterpillars onto the rim of a large flowerpot, so that the leader of the procession found himself nose-to-tail with the last caterpillar in the procession, forming a circle without end or beginning. Through sheer force of habit, the ring of caterpillars circled the flowerpot for seven days and seven nights, until they died from exhaustion and starvation. An ample supply of food was close at hand and plainly visible, but it was outside the range of the circle, so the caterpillars continued along the beaten path.
People often behave in a similar way. Habit patterns and ways of thinking become deeply established and it is easier and more comforting to follow them than to cope with change, even when change may be salvation. ***
But most people miss the boat because it’s easier and more comforting to follow …to follow without questioning the qualifications of the guy just ahead…than to do some independent thinking and checking.
A hard thing for most people to fully understand is that people in such numbers can be so wrong…like the caterpillar going around and around the edge of the flowerpot, with life and food just a short distance away. “If most people are living that way, it must be right,” they think. A little checking will reveal that throughout all the recorded history of mankind the majority has an unbroken record of being wrong about most things; especially the important things. * * *
It’s a good idea to step out of line every once in a while and look up ahead to see if the line is going where we want to go. If it is, it will be the first time. (Earl Nightingale, “Our Changing World,” #2559)
The Lord explains His reasons for the necessity of revelation to His people in Section One of the Doctrine and Covenants, wherein it states that revelation is needed and given–
- that every man might speak in the name of God.
- that faith also might increase in the earth.
- that mine everlasting covenant might be established.
- that the fulness of my gospel might be proclaimed by the weak and the simple.
- and inasmuch as they erred it might be made known.
- and inasmuch as they sought wisdom they might be instructed.
- and inasmuch as they sinned they might be chastened,
- and inasmuch as they were humble they might be made strong, and blessed from on high,
- and receive knowledge from time to time. (See D. & C. Sec. 1)
When God’s word and will is established among His people, they are under sacred and binding covenants to preserve those revelations. The devil seeks to divert, subvert, and overthrow the revelations of God by every conceivable means. The greatest danger to the Saints is that influence or power that will cause them to lose faith in the revelations of God. But God has promised His Saints that He would try their faith and integrity to see if they will remain steadfast to His revelations.
And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: That they all might be damned who believed not the truth,… (2 Thes. 2:11-12)
In these last days God has sent many revelations to His people. Some have been accepted, some rejected, and others have failed to obtain proper faith and support. The controversy over God’s revelations among His own people continues, and it appears strange that so many conflicting reasons or excuses are made for the neglectful attitude of many Saints toward the revelations of God.
Some revelations have been given to the Church but have failed to receive the acceptance of the general Church membership. These revelations have had a most peculiar history–a few of them will be considered here.
REVELATION OF 1880
In 1880 a revelation was given to Wilford Woodruff which was in answer to his prayers concerning the persecution of the Saints and the destiny of America. This was recorded in his journal and also published in Cowley’s book on the life of Wilford Woodruff. The Improvement Era published an article pertaining to this revelation, stating that it was resubmitted to President John Taylor and the Council of Apostles and (was) accepted by them….” (Imp. Era 1:874). Yet this revelation has never officially been submitted to or voted upon by the Saints–nor has it ever been published in the Doctrine and Covenants, Why? It may be justifiably excused from being printed for the first few years because of the political pressures upon the Church at that time; but since it had been “accepted” by the Council of Twelve and published elsewhere, why was it not published in the Doctrine and Covenants?
Selections from the
DOCTRINE and COVENANTS
THE CHURCH OF JESUS CHRIST
OF LATTER-DAY SAINTS
Containing Revelations Given Through
JOSEPH SMITH THE PROPHET
The Church of Jesus Christ of
Salt Lake City, Utah, U. S. A.
[176b] In 1930 the Church published a book entitled LATTER-DAY REVELATION. This book was a new modernized edition of the Doctrine and Covenants; however only a portion of the revelations were selected as being applicable to our time.
The following 96 sections of the Doc. & Cov. were omitted entirely:
3, 5, 6, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 14, 15, 16, 17, 21, 23, 24, 25, 26, 28, 30, 31, 32, 33, 34, 35, 36, 37, 39, 40, 41, 44, 47, 48, 49, 50, 51, 52, 53, 54, 55, 57, 60, 61, 62, 66, 67, 69, 70, 71, 72, 73, 74, 75, 77, 78, 79, 80, 81, 82, 83, 85, 86, 90, 91, 92, 94, 95, 96, 97, 99, 100, 102, 103, 104, 105, 106, 108, 109, 111, 112, 113, 114, 115, 116, 117, 118, 120, 122, 123, 125, 126, 127, 128, 129, 132, 135, 136
Parts of 32 additional sections were omitted, leaving only eight sections as they were printed in the original Doctrine and Covenants. The general membership of the Church wisely refused to accept this greatly abridged version of the revelations of God, and only one edition was ever published.
* * * * *
 REVELATION OF 1882
In October 1882 a revelation was given to Pres. John Taylor, calling George Teasdale and Heber J. Grant to the apostleship, and also calling all the Saints of Zion to put their houses in order. By 1888 it had received enough recognition to be included as Section 137 in the Swedish edition of the Doctrine and Covenants. In 1893 it was added to the German Doctrine and Covenants, and in 1900 it was printed in the Danish Doctrine and Covenants; but as yet it has never been printed in an English edition. There is nothing in that revelation that limits it to those three countries; on the other hand, the message is nearly all directed to this country and its people.
Why the limited printing of this revelation? Why was it never acceptable to the English speaking people and included in the American Doctrine & Covenants?
REVELATION OF 1883
In 1883 a revelation pertaining to the calling and organization of the Seventies was given to John Taylor. This revelation was also published in the German, Swedish, and Danish editions of the D. & C.– but never in the English editions. B. H. Roberts, one of the Seven Presidents of the Seventies, published it in the Seventy’s Course in Theology. Later it was mentioned in the Comprehensive History of the Church, (Vol. 6:107-108); but strangely it has never been presented to the Saints in Zion or added to an English D. & C.
REVELATION OF 1886
In September 1886 a revelation was given to John Taylor stating that everlasting covenants were to stand forever and that men should use their free  agency concerning God’s laws. A year later, at the death of his father, John W. Taylor found this revelation which has been recognized as being written in the handwriting of Pres. John Taylor and is considered authentic by many students of Church history. This revelation has had its share of controversy ever since its discovery. Because so many people have been swayed pro and con on this particular revelation, it is most essential that a revelation be obtained to expose it as a fraud, if it is such. For example, Hiram Page received a revelation which was not from the Lord which caused considerable dissention in the Church. The Lord immediately gave a revelation to clear up the matter. (See D. & C. Sec. 28) Since no revelation has ever been given to refute the 1886 revelation, then it stands as good evidence that it was authentic. But it has neither been authoritatively refuted, nor has it been placed beside the other revelations in the Doctrine and Covenants.
REVELATION OF 1889
In November 1889 another revelation was given to President Wilford Woodruff in answer to his prayers over the Church@s making concessions to the Government. It warns the Church Presidency not to deny God’s laws, and stands as one of the most outstanding and beautiful revelations ever written–it carries a message of tremendous spiritual impact. The importance of this revelation cannot be overstated. And sadly, it marked the end of an era of revelation to the Church.
If this revelation was from the Lord, it defines a course from which the priesthood dare not depart. If it is from the Lord, it signals a reason why no other revelation since then has ever been written or added to the Doctrine and Covenants. If this revelation is from God, then it substantiates and veri-fies the Revelation of 1886, which is its predecessor and teaches the same principles.
In an issue of such vital importance, it requires immediate revelation to the individual to know what has come from God and what has not. In this instance a man’s salvation may depend upon his desire and worthiness to obtain revelation for himself pertaining to these key issues.*
* * *
*These revelations are reprinted in a booklet entitled “Revelations 1880-1890” by the same author.
Since 1890 the Church has never obtained a revelation for the vote of its members, nor has any more been added to the Doctrine and Covenants. For over 80 years not one revelation has been published for the members of the Church to read, to study, and to apply as a guide in their life. All of the written revelations (in and out of the D. & C.) were received during the first 60 years of Church history. If God “surely will do nothing save he revealeth His secret unto His servants the prophets” then something has occurred to block the flow of His revelations during the past 80 years. Six presidents of the Church have presided and passed away without adding one word from the Lord to the standard works of the Church. This is certainly a paradox to the divine calling and mission of a prophet of God!
One of the latter presidents of the Church, while under oath, gave the following testimony concerning revelations to him:
Sen. Dubois: Have you received any revelation from God, which has been submitted by you and the apostles to the body of the church in their semi-annual conference, which  revelation has been sustained by that conference through the upholding of their hands?
Mr. Jos. F. Smith: Since when?
Sen. Dubois: Since you became President of the Church.
Mr. Smith: No, sir; NONE WHATEVER.
Sen Dubois: Have you received any individual revelations yourself, since you became President of the church under your own definition, even, of a revelation?
Mr. Smith: I CANNOT SAY THAT I HAVE.
Sen Dubois: Can you say that you have not?
Mr. Smith: No; I cannot say that I have not.
Sen. Dubois: Then you do not know whether you have received any such revelation as you have described or whether you have not.
Mr. Smith: Well, I can say this: That if I live as I should in the line of my duties, I am SUSCEPTIBLE, I THINK, of the impressions of the Spirit of the Lord upon my mind at any time, JUST AS ANY GOOD METHODIST or any other good church member might be. And so far as that is concerned, I say yes; I have had impressions of the spirit upon my mind very frequently, but they are not in the sense revelations. (Reed Smoot Case, Vol. 1, 483-484)
Unfortunately, other presidents and apostles may be compelled to admit a similar weakness in their testimonies.
We can conclude this chapter only by admonishing the Saints to build their faith and testimonies upon the unfailing “rock of revelation” and to follow the advice offered by the Prophet Joseph Smith when he said:
Search the scriptures–search the revelations which we publish, and ask your Heavenly Father, in the name of His Son Jesus Christ, to manifest the truth unto you, and if you do it with an eye single to His glory nothing doubting, He will answer you by the power of His Holy Spirit. You will then know for yourselves and not for another. You will not then be dependent on man for the knowledge of God; nor will there be any room for speculation. No; for when men receive their instruction from Him that made them, they know how He will save them. Then again we say: Search the Scriptures, search the Prophets and learn what portion of them belongs to you and the people of the nineteenth century. (T.P.J.S., p. 11-12)
 Chapter X
CALLING AND ELECTION
When the Lord has thorough by proved him, and finds that the man is determined to serve Him at all hazards, then the man will find his Calling and his Election made sure, then it will be his privilege to receive the other Comforter,… (Joseph Smith, D.H.C. 3:380)
Every son and daughter of God has his name written in the Lamb’s Book of Life, and none shall have it removed unless he becomes a son of Perdition. While we sojourn on earth we have the opportunity of obeying the laws and ordinances of the Gospel–baptism, receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost, endowments, marriage, etc. These are preparatory steps that lead to the greater blessings of second anointing and being ordained as kings and priests, queens and priestesses, and receiving the promise of eternal life and exaltation. The few chosen souls who continue to prove worthy will obtain one or all of the following blessings–
The Second Comforter
Membership into the Church of the Firstborn
Being begotten through the Savior
The seal of God in their foreheads
The more sure word of prophecy
Sealing by the Holy Spirit of Promise
Just men made perfect Calling and Election made sure
These are not given in any particular order but have similar meanings. The principle of calling and election is one of the most vital doctrines of the  Gospel for those who seek exaltation–yet one of he least understood or least talked about. Almost nothing has been written on this vital issue–yet its depth and scope is profoundly attractive to all who love the Lord and seek to be exalted in His Kingdom.
This principle [calling and election] ought (in its proper place) to be taught, for God hath not revealed anything to Joseph, but what He will make known unto the Twelve, and even the least Saint may know all things as fast as he is able to bear them, for the day must come when no man need say to his neighbor, Know ye the Lord; for all shall know Him (who remain) from the least to the greatest. How is this to be done? It is to be done by this sealing power, and the other Comforter spoken of, which will be manifest by revelation. (Joseph Smith, D.H.C. 3:380)
In the beatitudes Jesus said, “Blessed are the pure in heart for they shall see God.” The Lord would make no such promise unless it was possible to obtain it. The very foundation of true religion requires men to become like God, to know Him, and to speak with Him as one man speaks to another. This promise was not meant to be confined to the post-mortal life; for it is in this life that men are to prepare to meet God.” (Alma 34:32)
When Jesus prayed for his disciples, he asked the Father to bless them “that they may be one, as we are.” This was meant to be more than just one in faith–it was to be one in glory also, dwelling with him in the eternal realms of the celestial kingdom. To dwell with God and receive a portion of His kingdom, glory, and dominion means to become a joint-heir with Jesus Christ. This promise can be obtained by men while they are in mortality.
 How can such accomplishments ever be acquired? It is by accepting and living by “every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.” To accept the “fullness of the Gospel” means to believe in all that God has revealed, Only the pure in heart–only men of great faith–strive for the accomplishment of that principle.
This is why Adam blessed his posterity; he wanted to bring them into the presence of God. They looked for a city, etc., “whose builder and maker is God.” (Heb. 11:10) Moses sought to bring the children of Israel into the presence of God, through the power of the Priesthood, but he could not. (T.P.J.S., p. 159)
THE HOLY PRIESTHOOD
God’s authority, which is delegated to man, is comprised of the Aaronic and Melchizedek Priesthood. The Aaronic functions within the preparatory or first principles of the gospel. These principles and this priesthood prepare a man for the greater or higher order of laws and priesthood of Melchizedek. When John the Baptist conferred the priesthood of Aaron upon Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery, he told them that it possessed the keys of the “ministry of angels.” Later when the Melchizedek Priesthood was given to them, they were told that it held the power to bring men into the presence of God. This is the grand blessing of the restored gospel.
From a thousand various religious systems, priesthood is a silent factor. Joseph Smith said that he never found another church that claimed the Melchizedek Priesthood–there were none then and there are none now. Most ministers have taken their office in response to the beckon of men; and their  “call from God” is really the bloom of personal desire.
Priesthood is the authority, the power, and the right of men to act for God. It is a spiritual force that separates the “wheat from the chaff”–the sheep from the goats–and the sons of men from the sons of God. It is a wedge separating the natural man from the spiritual man. Priesthood is the power to bring men back into the presence of God.
And this greater priesthood administereth the gospel and holdeth the key of the mysteries of the kingdom, even the key of the knowledge of God. Therefore, in the ordinances thereof, the power of godliness is manifest. And 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.
Now this Moses plainly taught to the children of Israel in the wilderness, and sought diligently to sanctify his people that they might behold the face of God; But they hardened their hearts and could not endure his presence; therefore, the Lord in his wrath, for his anger was kindled against them, swore that they should not enter into his rest while in the wilderness, which rest is the fulness of his glory. Therefore, he took Moses out of their midst, and the Holy Priesthood also; And the lesser priesthood continued, which priesthood holdeth the key of the ministering of angels and the preparatory gospel; Which gospel is the gospel of repentance and of baptism, and the remission of sins…. (D. & C. 84:19-27)
 The purpose of these powers of blessings and cursings by God’s servants, was explained by the Prophet who said,
…you must faithfully warn all, and bind up the testimony, and seal up the law, and the destroying angel will follow close at your heels, and exercise his tremendous mission upon the children of disobedience; and destroy the workers of iniquity, while the Saints will be gathered out from among them, and stand in holy places ready to meet the Bridegroom when he comes. (TPJS, p. 92)
“THAT CERTAIN KNOWLEDGE” AVAILABLE TO ALL
All those who take upon them the name of Christ, as all do who are baptized, must learn to develop the character and attributes of God. This means relinquishing the natural man for the attainment of the spiritual man. By complying to the first principles we become justified before God–then by adhering to higher laws and principles we become sanctified. Thus from ordinance to ordinance and principle to principle we advance with increased faith until we obtain that precious certain knowledge of Jesus Christ!
Paul the Apostle explained that “without faith it is impossible to please God” for the same reasons that Parley P. Pratt, while teaching the School of the Prophets explained the importance of such faith because men could
….see by what means it was that God became an object of faith among men after the fall; and what it was that stirred up the faith of multitudes to feel after him– to search after a knowledge of his character, perfections and attributes, until they became extensively acquainted with him, and not only commune with him and behold his glory, but be partakers of his power and stand in his presence. (2nd Lecture on Faith, #34)
Strangely enough, however, many souls will not respond to the truths of the gospel, while others will accept, advocate and obey them at all hazards. The Good Shepherd has said that “My sheep know my voice”–but how could they know that voice–those principles–unless it had been by a previous acquaintance? That experience came in the world of pre-existence. The spirits of men could learn to love those principles before they came into mortal life and developed their talents, abilities, and receptiveness to truth–while only a few advanced to prove worthy of a commission in the priesthood. The Prophet taught that “every man who has a calling to minister to the inhabitants of the world was ordained to that very purpose in the Grand Council of heaven before this world was.” (T.P.J.S., p. 365) Some were predestined to mortality at a particular time and place with greater requirements or missions than others.
Unto every man is given a time, and a place, and a path. Some there be that walk only in their own time — and some above their time in a world of dreams. A few, their eyes cast on the eternities, their feet in the paths of men–walk in the path of eternal time.
Those who walk in their own time alone, are swept by the winds of adversity. Those who withdraw from the world to walk above their time, lose their grasp on the hearts of men.
Those who walk in advance of their time–their eyes on the heavens, their feet on the earth, reach upward and seek the principles of eternity and place them within the reach of men, that they may walk thereby, turning neither to the right nor to the left. These are prophets unto their time and unto their people. These be the prophets of the earth who speak, as Isaiah has said, “This is the way, walk ye in it.” (Story of the Pearl of Great Price, p. 244)
Some men were appointed to be prophets and to bear “witness” of Jesus Christ, for God has said: “If there be a prophet among you, I the Lord will make myself known unto him in a vision, and will speak unto him in a dream.” (Num. 12:6) But the Lord is desirous that all men should have a positive testimony of him as was explained at the time of Moses. When two of the elders in Israel were filled with the spirit of prophecy and revelation, they began to prophesy within the camp; but the other elders considered Moses to be the only man appointed to possess that power.
. . .and there ran a young man, and told Moses, and said Eldad and Medad do prophesy in the camp. And Joshua the son of Nun, the servant of Moses, one of his young men, answered and said, My lord Moses, forbid them. And Moses said unto him, Enviest thou for my sake? would God that all the Lord’s people were prophets, and that the Lord would put his spirit upon them! (Num. 11:27, 29)
In the latter days the Lord said that he would give His commandments to others “…that every man might speak in the name of God.” (D. & C. 1:20) President Brigham Young declared that the president of  the Church is not necessarily the only one with the gifts and powers of a prophet.
Perhaps it may make some of you stumble were I to ask you a question–does a man’s being a Prophet in this church prove that he shall be the President of it? I answer, no. A man may be a Prophet, Seer, and Revelator, and it may have nothing to do with his being President of the Church. (J.D. 1:133)
Although the gifts of prophecy and seership are very rare gifts, Joseph Smith taught that every man should possess these gifts and that they should also possess a seer stone. Brigham Young relates:
Dec. 27, 1841: I met with the Twelve at Brother Joseph’s. He conversed with us in a familiar manner on a variety of subjects, and explained to us the Urim and Thummim which he found with the plates, called in the Book of Mormon the Interpreters. He said that every man who lived on the earth was entitled to a seer stone, and should have one, but they are kept from them in consequence of their wickedness, and most of those who do find one make an evil use of it; he showed us his seer stone. (Mill. Star 26:118)
Only a few righteous men ever prove worthy of these gifts of the spirit, and are thereby able to speak with and for God. History has proved that men have seen and talked with God, although it is written in the scriptures that “No man hath seen God at any time.” (1 John 4:12) The Prophet Joseph Smith added in the Inspired Translation: “No man hath seen God at any time except them who believe.” Then from the verse that said, “And no man hath seen God  at any time…” (John 1:18), the Prophet wrote: “And no man hath seen God at any time, except he hath borne record of the Son….”
The scriptures are replete with many references of faithful men of God who obtained this testimony of seeing the Lord:
And Enoch walked with God after he begat Methuselah three hundred years, and begat sons and daughters. (Gen. 5:22)
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Noah was a just man and perfect in his generations, and Noah walked with God. (Gen. 6:9)
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And the Lord appeared unto Abram, … (Gen. 12:7)
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And when Abram was ninety years old and nine, the lord appeared to Abram, and said unto him, I am the Almighty God; walk before me, and be thou perfect. (Gen. 17:1)
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And the Lord appeared unto him (Isaac) the same night…. (Gen. 26:24)
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And Jacob called the name of the place Peniel: for I have seen God face to face, … (Gen. 32:30)
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And God appeared unto Jacob again,. . . (Gen. 35:9)
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Then went up Moses, and Aaron, Nadab, and Abihu, and seventy of the elders of Israel; and they saw the God of Israel. (Ex. 24:9)
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And the Lord spake unto Moses face to face, as a man speaketh unto his friend. (Ex. 33:11)
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Then Solomon began to build the house of the Lord at Jerusalem in mount Moriah, where the Lord appeared unto David his father…. (2 Chron. 3:1)
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The Lord appeared to Solomon the second time…. (1 Kings 9:2)
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…I (Isaiah) also saw the Lord sitting upon a throne high and lifted up…. (Isa. 6:1)
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…for he (Isaiah) verily saw my Redeemer, even as I (Nephi) have seen him. (2 Nephi 11:2)
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And when he (brother of Jared) had said these words, behold, the Lord showed himself unto him, and said: Because thou knowest these things ye are redeemed from the fall; therefore ye are brought back into my presence; therefore I show myself unto you. (Ether 3:13)
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And then shall ye know that I (Moroni) have seen Jesus and that he hath talked with me face to face, and that he told me in plain humility, even as a man telleth another in mine own language. (Ether 12:39)
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And I (Mormon) being fifteen years of age and being somewhat of a sober mind, therefore I was visited of the Lord…. (Mormon 1:15)
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In the New Testament there were many who bore witness of such a manifestation. Stephen the Apostle testified to the Jews that he saw God (Acts 7:56), and John the Revelator added his testimony to that of others. (Rev 8:2)
KNOWLEDGE AND TESTIMONY TO BE TESTED
However, as numerous as these passages are, proving that God has always manifest Himself to His servants, there were and are those false prophets and teachers who declare that such a revelation is not necessary. They seek to thwart the gospel principles–that pathway that leads to God. Moses warned Israel against all such men by saying:
If there arise among you a prophet, or a dreamer of dreams, and giveth thee a sign or a wonder, and the sign or the wonder come to pass, whereof he spake unto thee, saying, Let us go after other gods, which thou hast not known,and let us serve them; Thou shalt not hearken unto the words of that prophet, or that dreamer of dreams: for the Lord your God proveth you, to know  whether ye love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul. Ye shall walk after the Lord your God, and fear him, and keep his commandments, and obey his voice, and ye shall serve him, and cleave unto him. (Deut 13:1-4)
This prophet who had so “spoken to turn you away from the Lord” was of course supposed to be destroyed. (Verse 5)
In this, the Lord warns against prophets, ministers, or teachers who arise to prophesy, dream, or provide signs and wonders, to turn people away from the principles of the gospel. All of these tests “proveth you to know whether ye love the Lord,” and to see what means will sway His people from His laws. Every true prophet and every true principle will be tested by false prophets and false principles. The Prophet Joseph Smith warned the Saints that such testing would come upon them, for he said:
Oh! I beseech you to go forward, go forward and make your calling and your election sure; and if any man preach any other Gospel than that which I have preached, he shall be cursed; and some of you who now hear me shall see it, and know that I testify the truth concerning them. (Hist. Record, 7:548)
AFTER THE TRIAL COMETH THE BLESSING
The key by which to detect a fraud is by the eternal standards of God’s principles. For we know that He is a God of truth and cannot lie–in whom there is no variableness nor shadow of changing. A principle that is true today cannot be a sin tomorrow. Principles and commandments which lead to a  knowledge of God are ever the same–former-day and latter-day Saints earn the rewards of exaltation by walking on the same eternal pathway. By obedience to those laws, man can stand in the presence of God. Joseph Smith and Sidney Rigdon beheld those glories and they wrote:
But great and marvelous are the works of the Lord and the mysteries of his kingdom which he showed unto us, which surpass all understanding in glory, and in might, and in dominion; which he commanded us we should not write while we were yet in the Spirit, and are not lawful for man to utter; neither is man capable to make them known, for they are only to be seen and understood by the power of the Holy Spirit, which God bestows on those who love him, and purify themselves before him; to whom he grants this privilege of seeing and knowing for themselves; that through the power and manifestation of the Spirit, while in the flesh, they may be able to bear his presence in the world of glory. (D. & C. 76:114-118)
Some of the Prophet’s teachings concerning God’s manifestations to man are:
If you live up to these principles, how great and glorious will be your reward in the celestial kingdom! If you live up to your privileges, the angels cannot be restrained from being your associates. Females, if they are pure and innocent, can come in the presence of God; for what is more pleasing to God than innocence; you must be innocent, or you cannot come up before God; if we would come before God, we must keep ourselves pure, as He is pure. (T.P.J.S., p. 226-7)
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Having a knowledge of God, we begin to know how to approach him, and how to ask so as to receive an answer. When we understand the character of God, and know how to come to him, he begins to unfold the heavens to us, and to tell us all about it. When we are ready to come to him, he is ready to come to us. (T.P.J.S., p. 350)
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…the nearer man approaches perfection, the clearer are his views, and the greater his enjoyments, till he has overcome the evils of his life and lost every desire for sin; and like the ancients, arrives at that point of faith where he is wrapped in the power and glory of his Maker and is caught up to dwell with Him. (TPJS, p. 51)
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It is the privilege of every Elder to speak of the things of God; and could we all come together with one heart and one mind in perfect faith the veil might as well be rent today as next week, or any other time…. (T.P.J.S., p. 9)
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The Lord has also given promises that He would allow men in this dispensation to see Him and obtain that positive testimony:
Therefore, sanctify yourselves that your minds become single to God, and the days will come that you shall see him; for he will unveil his face unto you, and it shall be in his own time, and in his own way, and according to his own will. (D. & C. 88:68)
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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)
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And seek the face of the Lord always, that in patience ye may possess your souls, and ye shall have eternal life. (D. & C. 101:38)
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Then the Lord promised such manifestations at the dedication of the Kirtland Temple:
And inasmuch as my people build a house unto me in the name of the Lord, and do not suffer any unclean thing to come into it, that it be not defiled, my glory shall rest upon it; yea, and my presence shall be there, for I will come into it, and all the pure in heart that shall come into it shall see God. (D. & C. 97:15-16)
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Many of the brethren saw a heavenly vision of the Savior, and concourses of angels, and many other things, of which each one has a record of what he saw. (DHC, 1:335)
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On the first day of the dedication, President Frederick G. Williams, one of the Council of the Prophet, and who occupied the upper pulpit, bore testimony that  the Savior, dressed in his vesture without seam, came into the stand and accepted of the dedication of the house, that he saw him, and gave a description of his clothing and all things pertaining to it. (George A. Smith, J.D. 11:10)
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The visions of heaven were opened to them also. Some of them saw the face of the Savior, and others were ministered unto by holy angels, and the spirit of prophecy and revelation was poured out in mighty power; and loud hosannas, and glory to God in the highest, saluted the heavens, for we all communed with the heavenly host. (D.H.C., Vol. II:382)
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The veil was taken from our minds, and the eyes of our understanding were opened. We saw the Lord standing upon the breastwork of the pulpit, before us; and under his feet was a paved work of pure gold, in color like amber. His eyes were as a flame of fire; the hair of his head was white like the pure snow; his countenance shone above the brightness of the sun; and his voice was as the sound of the rushing of great waters, even the voice of Jehovah, saying: I am the first and the last; I am he who liveth, I am he who was slain; I am your advocate with the Father. Behold, your sins are forgiven you; you are clean before me; therefore, lift up your heads and rejoice. Let the hearts of your brethren rejoice, and let the hearts of all my people rejoice, who have, with their might, built this house to my name.
For behold, I have accepted this house, and my name shall be here; and I will manifest myself to my people in mercy in this house. Yea, I will appear unto my servants, and speak unto them with mine own voice, if my people will keep my commandments, and do not pollute this holy house. (D. & C. 110:1-8)
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THE CALLING OF AN APOSTLE
It has been written that the definition of an apostle was to be an “eye and ear witness” of Christ.
The first qualification for being an Apostle was to have “seen the Lord.” The witnessing of those who had “seen the Lord” supplied material for the New Testament writings (Luke 1:2) and gave spirit and power to the early Church. (Acts 4:33) (Harper’s Bible Dictionary, p. 27)
In latter days the Lord recognized this and revealed:
The Twelve traveling councilors are called to be the Twelve Apostles, or special witnesses of the name of Christ in all the world…. (D. & C. 107:23)
In 1835 when the Apostles of the Latter-days were ordained, Oliver Cowdery gave them the following charge of duties and principles which he declared were revealed to him for he had obtained that knowledge “in visions.”
The ancients passed through the same experience. They had this testimony that they had seen the Savior after He rose from the dead. You must bear the same testimony; or your mission, your labor, your toil, will be in vain. You must bear the same testimony, that there is but one God, one Mediator; he that hath seen Him, will know Him, and testify of Him. (D.H.C. 2:193)
Cowdery continues to instill the importance of the calling and duty of the Twelve to “see the face of God:”
You have been indebted to other men, in the first instance, for evidence; on that you have acted; but it is necessary that you receive a testimony from heaven for yourselves; so that you can bear testimony to the truth of the Book of Mormon, and that you have seen the face of God. That is more than the testimony of an angel. When the proper time arrives, you shall be able to bear this testimony to the world. When you bear testimony that you have seen God, this testimony God will never suffer to fall, but will bear you out; although many will not give heed, yet others will. You will therefore see the necessity of getting this testimony from heaven.
Never cease striving until you have seen God face to face. Strengthen your faith; cast off your doubts, your sins, and all your unbelief; and nothing can prevent you from coming to God. Your ordination is not full and complete till God has laid His hand upon you. We require as much to qualify us as did those who have gone before us; God is the same. If the Savior  informer days laid His hands upon His disciples, why not in latter days? (D.H.C. 2:195-196)
In conclusion Oliver gives this final admonition:
You have our best wishes, you have our most fervent prayers, that you may be able to bear this testimony that you have seen the face of God. Therefore call upon Him in faith in mighty prayer till you prevail, for it is your duty and your privilege to bear such testimony for yourselves. (D.H.C. 2:198)
The Lord spoke to all who were going into the mission fields in this dispensation by saying:
….verily I say unto you that it is your privilege, and a promise I give unto you that have been ordained unto this ministry, that inasmuch as you strip yourselves from jealousies and fears, and humble yourselves before me, for ye are not sufficiently humble, the veil shall be rent and you shall see me and know that I am–not with the carnal neither natural mind, but with the spiritual. (D. & C. 67:10)
A similar promise was given to the early apostles when the Lord said:
If ye love me, keep my commandments. And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you forever.
I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you. He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that lov-eth me, and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him.
If a man love me, he will keep my word: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him. (John 14:15, 16, 18, 21)
The Prophet Joseph Smith elaborated on these two comforters–the first being the Holy Ghost, the second, Christ.
There are two Comforters spoken of. One is the Holy Ghost, the same as given on the day of Pentecost, and that all Saints receive after faith, repentance, and baptism. This first Comforter or Holy Ghost has no other effect than pure intelligence. ***
The other Comforter spoken of is a subject of great interest, and perhaps understood by few of this generation. After a person has faith in Christ, repents of his sins, and is baptized for the remission of his sins and receives the Holy Ghost, which is the first Comforter, then let him continue to humble himself before God, hungering and thirsting after righteousness, and living by every word of God and the Lord will soon say unto him, Son, thou shalt be exalted. When the Lord has thoroughly proved him, and finds that the man is determined to serve Him at all hazards, then the man will find his calling and his election made sure, then it will be his privilege to receive the other Comforter which the Lord has promised the Saints….
Now what is this other Comforter? It is no more nor less than the Lord Jesus  Christ Himself; and this is the sum and substance of the whole matter; that when any man obtains this last Comforter, he will have the personage of Jesus Christ to attend him, or appear unto him from time to time, and even He will manifest the Father unto him, and they will take up their abode with him, and the visions of the heavens will be opened unto him, and the Lord will teach him face to face, and he may have a perfect knowledge of the mysteries of the Kingdom of God; and this is the state and place the ancient Saints arrived at when they had such glorious visions Isaiah, Ezekiel, John upon the Isle of Patmos, St. Paul in the three heavens, all the Saints who held communion with the general assembly and Church of the Firstborn. (T.P.J.S p. 150-1)
The Lord has promised the Saints that He would be in their midst (D. & C. 29:5), but there are few that ever attain to this certain knowledge. Even the Apostles have had a weakness of faith, for the Prophet Joseph once related:
I saw the Twelve Apostles of the Lamb, who are now upon the earth, who hold the keys of this last ministry, in foreign lands, standing together in a circle, much fatigued, with their clothes tattered and feet swollen, with their eyes cast downward, and Jesus standing in their midst, and they did not behold Him. The Savior looked upon them and wept. (D.H.C. 2:381)
Paul the Apostle bore witness that he knew the Savior, for he said, “…I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus….” (Phil 3:8)
 But the appearances of the Savior to individuals has not been just to a rare few, for Paul records:
…that he was seen of Cephas, then of the twelve: after that he was seen of above five hundred brethren at once; of whom the greater part remain unto this present, but some are fallen asleep. After that, he was seen of James; then of all the apostles. And last of all he was seen of me also,… (I Cor. 15:5-8)
Then the Savior made appearances on the American continent to the Nephite people, and there were numerous hosts of them who bore that witness:
And the multitude did see and hear and bear record; and they know that their record is true for they all of them did see and hear, every man for himself; and they were in number about two thousand and five hundred souls; and they did consist of men, women, and children. (3 Nephi 17:25)
When men receive their authority from God, they can bear a direct testimony — their authority no longer is by commission. This is shown in the instructions given by the Savior to the Nephites when He laid His hands on their heads and directed them to baptize others in this manner:
And now behold, these are the words which ye shall say, calling them by name, saying: Having authority given me of Jesus Christ I baptize you…. (3 Nephi 11:24-25)
All others who have not seen the Savior, but who have been commissioned with the Melchizedek Priesthood, must follow the directions in the Doc-trine and Covenants, wherein we are instructed to baptize by taking the person and “calling him or her by name: Having been commissioned of Jesus Christ, I baptize you….” (D. & C. 20:73)
In the early days of the Church these two various methods were noticeable–but now very rarely.
The following ceremony was used at a baptism by Erastus Snow:
Having authority given me of Jesus Christ, I baptize you….
Then C. C. Rich baptized others by saying, “Having been commissioned of Jesus Christ, I baptize you ….” (See Diary of Milando Pratt, Sept. 4, 1886)
This is one of the distinctions between an apostle who has fulfilled his calling in that office and had his calling and election made sure, and an apostle who has not. Joseph Smith said that “All the prophets had the Melchizedek Priesthood and were ordained by God himself.” (TPJS, p. 181) That has been the law anciently–and it should be so now.
KINGS AND PRIESTS
“Kings and priests” are titles not commonly found in the general organization of the Church. Those who receive this calling should obtain it from on High. These titles, however, were found among the early Christian Saints, for John the Revelator wrote that Jesus had
…made us kings and priests unto God and his Father; to him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. (Rev. 1:6)
 A man must be a king if he is to reign over a kingdom. To rule as a king and a priest, one must hold the keys of both temporal and spiritual power as a God.
Joseph Smith and Brigham Young taught the doctrine of king and priest ordinations:
Those holding the fulness of the Melchizedek Priesthood are kings and priests of the Most High God, holding the keys of power and blessings. (T.P.J.S., p. 322)
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Here, then, is eternal life–to know the only wise and true God; and you have got to learn how to be Gods yourselves, and to be kings and priests to God, the same as all Gods have done before you…. (T.P.J.S., p. 346)
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For any person to have the fulness of that Priesthood, he must be a king and a priest. (Manuscript History of Brigham Young, Aug. 6, 1843)
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The fact that Joseph Smith has been ordained as a king was admitted by William Marks and George Miller, both members of the Council of Fifty:
I was also witness of the introduction (secretly) of a kingly form of government, in which Joseph suffered himself to be ordained a king…. (Zion’s Barbinger and Baneemy’s Organ, St. Louis, July 1853, p. 53)
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In this council we ordained Joseph Smith as king on earth (“….political Kingdom of God in Mormon History,” masters thesis by Klaus Hansen, p. 114)
This was also confirmed by Dan Jones:
Dan Jones heard Wilson Law…declare that while he (Mr. Smith) was once preaching from Daniel 2nd chapter, 44th verse, said that the kingdom referred to was already set up, and that he was the king over it, (D.H.C. 6:568-569)
Klaus J. Hansen did a great deal of research on the Kingdom of God and related that:
The title of king may have been a metaphor, but the power deriving from the office was not. In this respect it is especially important to recall that Smith held his political office by divine right and not by popular sovereignty. However metaphorical these royal pretensions may have been, Smith apparently knew that they were so potentially dangerous as to be entrusted only to the initiated. (Quest for Empire, by Hansen, p. 67)
Further evidence as to Joseph Smith’s being anointed a king is–
This Priesthood, including that of the Aaronic, holds the keys of revelation of the oracles of God to man upon the earth; the power and right to give laws and commandments to individuals, churches, rulers, nations and the world; to appoint, ordain, and establish constitutions and kingdoms; to appoint kings, presidents, governors or  judges, and to ordain or anoint them to their several holy callings, also to instruct, warn, or reprove them by the word of the Lord. (Parley P. Pratt, Key to Theology, 1885, p. 66)
Joseph Smith bestowed these ordinations on others, as George Miller and William Smith testified:
Many of the Apostles and Elders having returned from England, Joseph washed and anointed as Kings and Priests to God, and over the House of Israel, the following named persons, as he said was commanded of God, viz: James Adams (of Springfield), William Law, William Marks, Willard Richards, Brigham Young, Heber C. Kimball, Newel K. Whitney, Hyrum Smith, and myself; and conferred on us Patriarchal Priesthood. This took place on the 5th and 6th of May, 1842. (Journal of George Miller, “De Tal Palo Tal Astilla,” p. 120-121)
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I was present with Joseph at the last council that was held previous to the Twelve and others going on their electioneering campaign to the east and various other parts of the United States; it was at this time that I received my initiation into the highest priesthood lodge, was washed and anointed, and clad with the sacredotal robe of pure white, and ordained to be priest and king, and invested with all the power that any man on earth ever did possess; power entitling me to preach the gospel, to bind up the Kingdom of God on earth, among all nations, and people of every tongue. In consequence of  these endowments and ordination received from under the hands of Joseph, I hold as much power and as many keys to seal and bind on earth, as can possibly belong to Brigham Young; the power was conferred equally on all the Twelve, and not therefore bestowed on one.” (Wm. Smith’s letter to the Warsaw Signal, Jan. 7, 1846)
Klaus Hansen went on to say that Brigham Young also held this title:
The scriptures indicated that Christ would rule as king over the kingdom of God. (Joseph) Smith took this idea quite literally and thought it only logical that he, as predecessor of the Saviour, should enjoy certain prerogatives of royalty. Consequently, shortly before his death, the prophet apparently had himself ordained as “King on earth.” Brigham Young, upon his arrival in the Salt Lake Valley, likewise reportedly had this ceremony performed in the Council of Fifty. (Quest for Empire, p. 66)
Heber C Kimball, in the following statements may also have intimated that Brigham Young was ordained a king:
The Church and kingdom to which we belong will become the kingdom of our God and his Christ, and brother Brigham Young will become President of the United States.
(Voices responded, “Amen.”)
And I tell you he will be something more; but we do not now want to give him the name: but he is called and ordained to a far greater station than that, and he is foreordained to take that station, and he  has got it; and I am Vice-President, and brother Wells is the Secretary of the Interior–yes, and of all the armies in the flesh.
You don’t believe that; but I can tell you it is one of the smallest things that I can think of. You may think that I am joking; but I am perfectly willing that brother Long should write every word of it; for I can see it just as naturally as I see the earth and the productions thereof. (J.D. 5:219)
There is strong evidence pointing to the fact that John Taylor was also anointed King. In the journal of Franklin D. Richards, also a member of the Council of Fifty, the following statement is recorded:
Feb. 4, 1885. At 8 p.m. Attended council at Endowment House where we had prayers consecrated oil and Prest. Jno Taylor was anointed K.P.R. of C.Z. & K.
Although the calling of kings and priests is a superior calling in the Priesthood, it has greatly diminished over the years.
The second anointing in the temple involves the ordination of men and women as kings and queens and is a major factor in the preparatory work of a man making his calling and election sure.
In the early days of the Church these blessings were generally much more numerous than they are today. Statistics indicate this to be true on the following temple record, which was signed by John T.  McAllister, President, and M. F. Farnsworth, Recorder, of the Manti Temple:
TOTALS, To YEAR ENDING DEC. 31, 1898
St. George 1342 1425
Logan 1530 767
Manti 1019 526
Salt Lake 1275 665
Total 2nd Anointings 5166 3383
Although this is a personal and sacred ordinance, there have been a few people mention their call to receive it. Below are related a small selection of these accounts:
There’s Sister Bathsheba Smith; she and I (Wilford Woodruff) both had our endowments under the hands of the Prophet Joseph Smith. I had my second anointing and sealings under his hands. There is not a single principle in this Church that he did not lay the foundation for. (Young Women’s Journal, Aug. 1894, Vol. 5, No. 11)
Tues., Mar. 13, 1877. Today I took Abigail and Sarah into the temple (St. George) and we received great and glorious blessings and powers which few of the children of Adam ever attained to. [They had already received their endowments.] (Journal of Charles Walker)
 Goudy Hogan
At the same time [that he was set apart as bishop, April 13, 1877] they [Brigham Young and Brigham Young, Jr.] recommended me (to) the temple for my second annointing, which I received with my two wives a few days later, great blessings being promised to us through this ordinance. (Journal of Gaudy Hogan, p. 52)
From Abraham Cannon
Oct. 7th, 1889. Pres. Woodruff spoke in regard to second anointing and said the presidents of Stakes were to be judges of who were worthy to receive them, but it was an ordinance of the eternal world which belonged particularly to old men. (Abraham Cannon Journal, Vol. XI, p. 129)
On December 1899, after receiving my “Second Blessings,” a messenger came to me from President Snow, stating I had been selected to enter plural marriage and to help keep the principle alive. (Journal of Joseph Musser)
Warren M. Johnson (as told by his son, Price)
When they sent word for him (Warren) to give up his plural wife, he fasted for about a week. At the end of the week, he went down to the river to look at the boats. And he knelt down there and he said, “Father, I can’t give her up. She has been a faithful companion to me and has had these fine children. And I won’t give her up to the devil!” Then he heard a voice say, “Will you give her up to me?” He said, “Yes, Father, as free as the water in the river there.” Later he went to Kanab to a conference, and one or two of the apostles were there,  John Henry Smith, I believe, and Brigham Young, Jr., Father told them this story. They said, “Brother Johnson, that was your supreme test. There is no power in the heavens that can take her from you now. She is yours. You go down to the St. George Temple with your wives and get your second anointings.” My father went as soon as he could after that and they got these great blessings. (Reminiscences of John and Lorin Woolley, by Mark and Rhea Baird, Vol. II, pp 38-39)
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This second anointing, sometimes called a second endowment, is not a special guarantee for exaltation, nor does it mean that those who obtain it can not still apostatize. For example, Fanny Stenhouse published her account of being called to this ceremony which occurred after the Saints arrived in Utah:
Not long after this, my husband one day told me that a select few had been chosen to receive their Second Endowments, and that we were to be honored with the same privilege. This I was told was one of the highest honors that could be conferred upon us, as the Second Endowments had never been given to any one since the Mormons left Nauvoo. ***
When we reached the Endowment House, we ladies were shown into one room and our husband into another. We then proceeded to array ourselves in our robes, caps, and aprons–the same as when we received our first Endowments–and when all was ready we were ushered into another room by one of the brethren, who was also dressed in his Temple robes. There we met our husband and several other brethren, all dressed in the same way. We sat down, and oil was  then poured upon the head of our husband, by two of the brethren–Daniel H Wells, and another–and he was then ordained a King and Priest to all eternity. After that, we two wives were anointed in like manner, and ordained Queens and Priestesses, to reign and rule with our husband over his kingdom in the celestial world. (Tell It All, Fanny Stenhouse, pp. 514, 517)
Although Fanny and her husband had received these blessings, they both later apostatized and turned bitter towards the restored gospel. Other apostasies have occurred following this ordinance and are recorded in Church history. However, in most cases a second anointing has proved to be a great blessing towards gaining one’s exaltation.
THE MORE SURE WORD OF PROPHECY
Seeing angels, visions, or having a knowledge of the heavens does not prove that a man may be exalted. The Prophet Joseph Smith was a witness of the Father and the Son in his first vision–but he was told that he could still fall. (D. & C. 3:9) Many are “called” as candidates for the Celestial Kingdom and eternal Life, but only a few become “chosen” and elected to exaltation.
Then I would exhort you to go on and continue to call upon God until you make your calling and election sure for yourselves, by obtaining this more sure word of prophecy, and wait patiently for the promise until you obtain it,… (TPJS, p. 299)
* * *
We have no claim in our eternal compact, in relation to eternal things, unless our actions and contracts and all things tend to this. But after all this, you have got to make your calling and election sure. If this injunction would lie largely on those to whom it was spoken, how much more those of the present generation! (T.P.J.S., p. 306)
Peter tells of his own personal witness of Christ by saying:
…we have not followed cunningly devised fables, when we made known unto you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eyewitnesses of his majesty. For he received from God the Father honour and glory, when there came such a voice to him from the excellent glory, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased. And this voice which came from heaven we heard, when we were with him in the holy mount. We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed…. (2 Peter 1:16-19)
Peter was on the Mount of Transfiguration and bore witness of the voice of God declaring Christ to be His beloved Son; but then Peter adds that he had “a more sure word of prophecy.”
The more sure word of prophecy means a man’s knowing that he is sealed up unto eternal life, by revelation and the spirit of prophecy, through the power of the Holy Priesthood. It is impossible for a man to be saved in ignorance. (D. & C. 131:5-6)
 Ignorance here means a man’s not knowing that he is sealed up unto eternal life. Without that knowledge, men cannot be exalted.
The Lord has said, “…this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent,” (John 17:3) Then later He said,
…no man knoweth the Son, but the Father; neither knoweth any man the Father, save the Son, and they to whom the Son will reveal himself; they shall see the Father also. (Matt. 11:28, Ins. Vers.)
Hence, if men do not receive this revelation, this knowledge, they are not worthy of eternal life because of their ignorance of God.
Again, the Lord gave the parable of the bridegroom which pertained only to the children of His Kingdom. Part of them came to meet the Savior and said, “Lord, Lord, open up unto us,” but he rejected them by saying, “Ye know me not.” (Matt. 25:11, Ins. Vers.)
To know the Lord means one has proved worthy to receive the knowledge that he has been sealed up unto eternal life. This, then, is the straight gate and the narrow way to eternal life and few there be that find it.
This more sure word of prophecy means more than seeing a vision or a dream of the Savior. Orson Whitney, Melvin J. Ballard, David O. McKay, and many other Saints have had marvelous dreams of Christ, but these–like other dreams–are for comfort and instruction, and do not assure exaltation.
Now for the secret and grand key. Though they might hear the voice of God and know that Jesus was the Son of God, this would be no evidence that their election and calling was made sure, that they had part with Christ, and were joint heirs with Him. They then would want that more sure word of prophecy, that they were sealed in the heavens and had the promise of eternal life in the kingdom of God. Then having this promise sealed unto them, it was an anchor to the soul, sure and steadfast. Though the thunders might roll and lightnings flash, and earthquakes bellow, and war gather thick around, yet this hope and knowledge would support the soul in every hour of trial, trouble and tribulation. Then knowledge through our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ is the grand key that unlocks the glories and mysteries of the kingdom of heaven. (T.P.J.S., p. 298)
The power of making one’s calling and election sure by the more sure word of prophecy is called a sealing by the spirit and power of Elijah.
Let us suppose a case. Suppose the great God who dwells in heaven should reveal himself to Father Cutler here, by the opening heavens, and tell him, I offer up a decree that whatsoever you seal on earth, with your decree, I will seal it in heaven; and this is the power of Elijah, and this is the difference between the spirit and power of Elias and Elijah; for while the spirit of Elias is a forerunner, the power of Elijah is sufficient to make our calling and election sure;… (TPJS, p.338)
 Although a man may have his calling and election made sure, yet he may continue through life making mistakes, committing sins or errors; but he will still come forth in the morning of the resurrection and be exalted.
…if a man marry a wife according to my word, and they are sealed by the Holy Spirit of promise, according to mine appointment, and he or she shall commit any sin or transgression of the new and everlasting covenant whatever, and all manner of blasphemies, and if they commit no murder wherein they shed innocent blood, yet they shall come forth in the first resurrection, and enter into their exaltation…. (D. & C. 132:26)
The Lord makes one reservation in this: murder. A man who commits murder–sheds innocent blood–cannot have forgiveness, nor can he ever come forth to be exalted. The Prophet says:
A murderer, for instance, one that sheds innocent blood, cannot have forgiveness…. the power of Elijah cannot seal against this sin, for this is a reserve made in the seals and power of the Priesthood. (T.P.J.S., p. 339)
King David received many of the greater blessings of the Priesthood, yet he never obtained “the fullness of the Priesthood” nor did he “obtain the spirit and power of Elijah.”
Although David was a king, he never did obtain the spirit and power of Elijah and the fullness of the Priesthood; and the Priesthood that he received, and the throne and kingdom of David is to be taken  from him and given to another by the name of David in the last days, raised up out of his lineage. (T.P.J.S., p. 339)
Hence, we may see the importance of men and women obeying the Lord through all hazards, honoring His ordinances and covenants, and keeping all of His commandments. They must prove this course until they obtain the more sure word of prophecy concerning their exaltation.
CHURCH OF THE FIRSTBORN
Those who become members of the Church of the Firstborn, receive the glory of those inheriting the celestial kingdom because their calling and election has been made sure. The Lord speaks of this Church as those
…who overcome by faith, and are sealed by the Holy Spirit of promise, which the Father sheds forth upon all those who are just and true. They are they who are the church of the Firstborn. They are they into whose hands the Father has given all things–They are they who are priests and kings, who have received of his fulness, and of his glory. (D. & C. 76:53-56)
* * *
And now, verily I say unto you, I was in the beginning with the Father, and am the Firstborn; and all those who are begotten through me are partakers of the glory of the same, and are the church of the Firstborn. (D. & C. 93:21-22)
* * *
They who dwell in his presence are the church of the Firstborn; and they see as they are seen, and know as they are known, having received of his fulness and of his grace; and he makes them equal in power, and in might, and in dominion. (D. & C. 76:94-5)
* * *
This Comforter is the promise which I give unto you of eternal life, even the glory of the celestial kingdom, which glory is that of the church of the Firstborn, even of God, the holiest of all, through Jesus Christ his Son…. (D. & C. 88:4-5)
* * *
Those who have made their calling and election sure and received that knowledge by the sure word of prophecy will receive that seal or blessing upon their heads:
And I looked, and lo, a lamb stood on the mount Sion, and with him an hundred forty and four thousand, having his Father’s name written in their foreheads. (Rev. 14:1)
* * *
Four destroying angels holding power over the four quarters of the earth until the servants of God are sealed in their foreheads, which signifies sealing the blessing upon their heads, meaning the everlasting covenant, thereby making their calling and election sure. (TPJS, p. 321)
* * *
These are they who have become members of the Church of the Firstborn.
 . . . BUT FEW ARE CHOSEN
A few men have received revelation that they are sealed up unto the Lord because their calling and election is made sure, they have received the more sure word of prophecy, and they belong to the Church of the Firstborn:
For I am the Lord thy God, and will be with thee even unto the end of the world, and through all eternity; for verily I seal upon you your exaltation, and prepare a throne for you in the kingdom of my father, with Abraham, your father.
I am with him (Joseph Smith) as I was with Abraham thy Father, even unto his exaltation and glory. (D. & C. 132:49, 57)
First, I give unto you Hyrum Smith to be a patriarch unto you, to hold the sealing blessings of my church, even the Holy Spirit of promise, whereby ye are sealed up unto the day of redemption, that ye may not fall notwithstanding the hour of temptation that may come upon you. (D. & C. 124:124)
I had the promise, years ago, that I never should apostatize and bring an evil upon this people. God revealed that through Joseph, long before he died; and if I am not doing right, you may calculate that the Lord is going to take me home. He will not send me to hell, but he will take  me home to himself. “I will take you up here, Brigham, and give you a few lessons.” I am going where He is, for I have that promise, and so have many others. I am telling you these things for your comfort. (Brigham Young, J.D 9:142; see also J.D. 12:103)
Heber C. Kimball
… The following words came to my mind, and the Spirit said unto me `write’ which I did by taking a piece of paper and writing on my knee, as follows: “Verily, I say unto my servant Heber, thou art my son in whom I am well pleased; for thou art careful to hearken to my words, and not transgress my law, nor rebel against my servant Joseph Smith, for thou hast a respect to the words of mine anointed, even from the least to the greatest of them; therefore thy name is written in heaven, no more to be blotted out, for ever,… (Life of Heber C. Kimball, Whitney, p. 241)
A vision of the future burst upon him. He saw Heaven opened and beheld the Lord Jesus Christ seated at the right hand of the Majesty on High, and had it made plain to his understanding, that the time would come that he would be admitted into His Presence to enjoy His society for ever and ever. (C.H.C. 1:85)
- H. Roberts
John Woolley is quoted as saying:
“Make your calling and election sure. This is more important than plural marriage or any other principle of the Gospel–make your calling and election sure! See to it that YOU KNOW the Savior while in this life. You must know Jesus Christ, personally, while in this probation.”
Carl Jentzsch, a friend of John and Lorin Woolley, reported the above and also mentioned that at one time he had a discussion with B. H. Roberts, who was then head of the Quorum of the Seventy in the Church. He says: For two or three hours he skirted around things and didn’t come quite to the point until finally he said, “Well, I am very discouraged with the Church, the officials and the way things are going and they know it because I have told them. But I want to say this to you–I have gone into Centerville Canyon, and I’ve fasted many days by a little stream of water. After many days, when I was so discouraged and I felt like I just couldn’t go another day, I started out of that canyon. The Savior appeared to me, and he laid his hands upon my head, and He said, “Brother Roberts, thou shalt have a part and lot in my Kingdom.” (Reminiscences of John and Lorin Woolley, by Mark and Rhea Baird, Vol. 1:6)
That when he (Lyman Wight) shall finish his work I may receive him unto myself, even as I did my servant David Patten, who is with me at this time, and also my servant Edward Partridge, and also my aged  servant Joseph Smith, Sen., who sitteth with Abraham at his right hand blessed and holy is he, for he is mine. (D. & C. 124:19)
* * *
There are others, of course, who have made their calling and election sure, but because of its sacred nature, very little has been written concerning it. This is the ultimate blessing that the Lord can bestow upon us while we live in mortality. This should be the heart’s desire of every worthy elder in Israel and be the goal of his life. No possession or honor among men can equal the joy of the man who knows his calling and election is sure–because he has fought the good fight, finished the course, and won the crown of exaltation as a joint heir with Jesus Christ.
The editor of the Millennial Star in 1852 wrote a most pertinent article which should be carefully considered by every man commissioned with the Melchizedek Priesthood.
…The captive Hebrew Daniel stood up boldly against all the governors and whole realm of Babylon with their monarch at their head. Daniel readily acknowledged that it was not from any wisdom in him, above other men, that he could surpass the astrologers and magicians. But holding intercourse with the God of heaven, he became endowed with a supernatural comprehension that effectually shielded him against supernatural delusion. Thereby those who take refuge in the name of the Lord and in immediate revelation from heaven, will be safe, and no others.
He that is not for God and the principle of immediate revelation, will be inevitably ensnared, overcome and destroyed. Because he that is not for Him must be against Him. No man in any age was ever for God or even a friend of God, that did not hold intercourse with Him personally, and receive for himself the revelations of His will. The rock of revelation, by which Peter knew Jesus Christ, is the only basis upon which any man can escape the strong delusion which God will send among the nations, through Satan and his mediums and coadjutors.
Now has Jesus Christ ever revealed God the Father to you, dear reader? Be honest with yourself, and do not err in your answer to this most important question. However much the Son may have revealed the Father to Prophets, Patriarchs, and Apostles of old, the question still remains in full force–has he revealed Him to you? A revelation to another man is by no means a revelation to you….
Now, reader, you need present revelation from God to your own dear self, in order to help you out of this nasty, confused labyrinth and to set your feet firmly upon the solid rock of revelation. Mere flesh and blood cannot help you now. It requires an Almighty arm to effect your deliverance. Therefore, put no more trust in man, for a curse rests upon him that will be guided by the precepts of man. (Mill. Star 15:276)
The Prophet Joseph Smith also emphasized this important principle to the Saints:
I want to ask this congregation, every man, woman and child, to answer the question in their own heart, what kind of a being God is? Ask yourselves; turn your thoughts into your hearts, and say if any of you have seen, heard, or communed with him. This is a question that may occupy your attention for a long time. I again repeat the question–What kind of a being is God? Does any man or woman know? Have any of you seen him, heard him, or communed with him? Here is the question that will, peradventure, from this time henceforth occupy your attention. The Scriptures inform us that “This is life eternal that they might know thee, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom thou hast sent.”
If any man does not know God, and inquires what kind of a being he is, –if he will search diligently his own heart–if the declaration of Jesus and the apostles be true, he will realize that he has not eternal life; for there can be eternal life on no other principle. (TPJS, p. 344)
Whatever accomplishment or victory a man may acquire while in mortality, nothing proves his honor more than his serving the Lord. Worldly fame or the conquering of nations offer no greater achievement than to be chosen of the Lord. Men may travel a thousand paths of interesting attainments, but only those who are blessed with the presence of the Lord have selected the one worth pursuing.
No other words can better explain man’s greatest destiny and accomplishment–
Oh, I beseech you to go forward, go forward and make your calling and your election sure;… (Joseph Smith)
 Chapter XI
THE LORD IS MY SHEPHERD
For there is one God and one mediator between God and man, the man Christ Jesus; (I Tim. 2:5)
If men should not put their trust in mortal men, then it is certain they must seek guidance in the heavens. The darkness of this world and the influences of evil are so powerful that only the more righteous with exceeding faith in Christ will “overcome all things.” The Lord must be their “shield and buckler,” their “strong arm,” and their “Shepherd.”
Men come as pilgrims into this world–as strangers upon a distant land–as emissaries away from the home of our Father. We live and owe our life to God. Our bodies are the temples of God–our gospel comes from God–the Priesthood is God’s–and we are the sons of God; therefore, He alone has the right to direct the course of our lives.
From the time of Adam’s altar in the beginning, sacrifices have been offered in remembrance of the Messiah–the Promised Son of God. He was the only perfect Being whom all others were to follow, trust, and depend on for their salvation; for there is “none other name under heaven given among men whereby we must be saved.” In Him the principles of heaven can be seen and heard. His countenance shines with divine love, and from His character celestial perfection is reflected.
In His innocence He voluntarily took away our guilt; in His purity He suffered for our shame. He  descended below all things to give us the chance to rise above all things. To save us He made His soul an offering. Though He was worthy of the light of heaven, it was for us that He suffered the deepest abyss of darkness. Though He was spotless in His character, for us He bled from every pore. Such endurance sprang from His desire to “proclaim liberty to the captives…comfort all that mourn” and to be their Savior and their example.
Concerning Jesus Christ, who may be termed his Father’s disciple, it is said that through him was the Father “manifested” to the world. In other language, the virtues, the disposition, and the character of the unseen Father were manifested in the life and conduct of the Son, who had studied him, practiced him, and was then acting him out; so that all who wanted to see what kind of a person the Father was could behold him in the words and actions of the Son. (Mill. Star 20:641)
For thousands of years the eyes of the righteous looked for His coming to earth; then for another two thousand years they have eagerly sought for His second coming. Why? Because during His short time on earth He healed the sick, gave sight to the blind, cleansed the lepers, brought sound to the deaf, and caused the lame to walk. He raised the dead, cast out devils, and preached the gospel to the poor. He drank of the bitter cup which was ours, and suffered the pains we deserve. The judgments meant for us were, through mercy, taken away by Him.
While the Majesty of heaven was scourged, mocked, beaten and burdened with a cross, He was taking our place. As the Son of God wept bitter tears, and with anguish of soul endured the worst of all pain, He was paying our debt–enduring hatred where He offer-ed love; and in bestowing good, He suffered every evil. Innocence was bearing our guilt and Purity was stained with our dross. When His hand was outstretched to offer us help, it was crushed with nails of iron. He was worthy of the glory and crown of His Father–yet for us He wore a crown of thorns. For these reasons we owe Him our faith, our trust-our all!
“HIS NAME SHALL BE…”
It is enlightening to reflect on the many names that have been given to such a noble Son of God:
The Lamb of God: He became the greatest sacrifice ever placed upon the altar of God. He was the Lamb slain from before the foundation of the world and His blood became our atonement.
The Good Shepherd: We, as sheep, need to be led. He is the only Shepherd in whom Israel may place all trust. As a shepherd He has promised to protect us from danger and to lead us to the green pastures of heaven.
The Redeemer: He alone has been given the power to bring men back into the presence of the Father. Only He can raise up men from their fallen nature.
The Savior: By His power to cleanse and purify, He can reclaim men from destruction and despair. His mission is to save and salvage the lives of men.
Holy One of Israel: He is the only person worthy of worship. His words and work should be obeyed without question or doubt.
 Wonderful: To those who know Him, His goodness and love exceed any words mortal man can express.
Counsellor: His arm is the only one in which men should trust–He alone knows the answer to everyone’s problems, and He will never fail.
Comforter: Whenever trouble, grief or despair burdens one’s soul, He is there to comfort and console. No one endures a pain or sorrow with which He is not acquainted.
Mediator: He acts as an agent to intervene between God and man–to reconcile differences and to bring together by communication and correction. It is in His name that we offer prayers and perform ordinances and ceremonies.
Advocate with the Father: No lawyer ever pled a more powerful defense or gained the favors of the Eternal Judge as Jesus has done and is still doing, He understands all the laws, and He will always defend us.
Desire of Ages: In every major or minor need, or in the day of final judgment, He is the ageless desire of men. In joy or sorrow the longings of the heart and soul desire Him. He is man’s deepest need.
The Promised One: Every prophet and every saint has looked ahead with anxiety for the promise of either His first or second coming. No two events in the history of man will affect the world as much as His advents to earth.
Prince of Peace: Only when His laws and His principles rule on earth will there be peace. The further men are from Him, the closer they are to war.
 Son of God: He was the Only Begotten Son of God in the flesh, possessing both immortality from his Father and mortality through his mother–thereby holding the power over death and the keys of resurrection.
King of Kings: Christ has the only legitimate kingdom in the world. He alone holds the keys of the Kingdom of Heaven and of the Kingdom of God on earth.
Lord of Lords: He holds the keys of salvation over all the priests and ministers–even lords–in the world. He is the only Lord that has the right to direct men’s lives.
The Bridegroom: Men may be sealed to Christ and His kingdom, just as a woman is sealed by covenant to a bridegroom. We can rely on our eternal welfare and happiness with Him as a bride does her husband.
Alpha and Omega: From the beginning, as the firstborn Son of the Father, Christ became the chosen leader of men. At the final culmination of the world, He will still hold all the rights, powers, and dominions over men and the earth. From beginning to end, His gospel, His example, and His guidance will be man’s only path by which to obtain eternal salvation.
“THIS IS MY BELOVED SON”
Whenever the Father has announced Christ, He has said, “This is my Beloved Son in whom I am well pleased Hear ye Him.” Such a proclamation is applicable to all mankind and it indicates that everyone should accept Him as their leader.
 Jesus also verified this by repeatedly saying, “Follow me.” He also said, “I am the way, the Truth, and the Life; no man cometh unto the Father but by Me.” Then again, “If any man will serve Me, let him follow me and take up the cross” for “all power is given unto me in Heaven and in earth.”
Righteous prophets and leaders have also taught men to place their trust in Him, for some of them wrote:
“God Himself is with us as our Captain.” (II Chron. 13:12) “It is better to trust in the Lord than to put confidence in men.” (Ps. 118:8) “Preserve me, O God: for in thee do I put my trust.” (Ps 16:1) “He is a shield to all them that trust in Him.” (II Sam. 22:31) “Trust in the Lord with all thy heart,…and He shall direct thy paths.” (Prov. 3:5, 6) “The Lord shall guide thee continually.” (Isa. 58:11) “Follow His steps.” (I Pet. 2:21) “The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord: and He delighteth in his way.” (Ps. 37:23) “The Lord your God goeth before you…to show you by what way ye should go.” (Deut. 1:30, 33) “Ye ought to say, If the Lord will, we shall live, and do this or that.” (James 4:15)
It is evident, then, that a man who places his trust in any other soul would not only be manifesting disrespect to Christ, but he would be committing a sin.
Jesus gave us this course to pursue: “If any will come after me,
(a) let him deny himself, and
(b) take up his cross, and
(c) follow me.” (Matt. 16:24)
 His first admonition requires men to lose their own will to His. The second means to forsake the desires for wealth, pleasures, and the honors of men, for sacrifice is an essential factor in the Gospel. The third requirement is to follow Him–not man, not the imperfect laws of men, nor anything else that conflicts with His will. He requires a servitude that does not dispute nor forsake His laws.
President Brigham Young joined the former prophets in counselling the saints to follow the Savior:
I will say a few words in regard to your belief in being led, guided, and directed by one man. Brother Jackman has said that our enemies hate the fact of our being led by one man. Thousands of times my soul has been lifted to God the Father, in the name of Jesus, to make that verily true in every sense of the word, that we may be led by the man Jesus Christ, through Joseph Smith the Prophet. (J.D. 9:149)
* * *
…But the greatest and most important of all requirements of our Father in heaven and of his Son Jesus Christ, is, to his brethren or disciples, to believe in Jesus Christ, confess him, seek to him, cling to him, make friends with him. Take a course to open and keep open a communication with your Elder Brother or file leader–our Saviour. (J.D. 8:339)
But the world is no more ready to accept His message now than it ever was before. Now the enemies of Christ have risen to positions of wealth, position, and international power. They are as much determined to blot out the name of Christ and His  doctrines and principles as they ever were. Thus by yielding to the world, we are forsaking Christ. To betray a principle is a betrayal of Christ. Judas fell into league with the gentiles, and for anyone else to submit to them is to follow his footsteps. Regardless of all the reasoning, pretensions, justifications and excuses, it is still a sin to yield gospel principles to the world. In the early Christian church some of the leaders–
…were in favor of yielding or modifying some features of their faith and uniting with those who had accepted a part of Christianity, urging that this might be the means of their full conversion. That was a time of deep anguish to the faithful followers of Christ. Under a cloak of pretended Christianity, Satan was insinuating himself into the church, to corrupt their faith and turn their minds from the word of truth. (The Great Controversy, by White, p. 43)
There are always some who profess to be followers of Christ who are the scholars, whose educational learning taught them to study the letter and the history of law. They understood the literary scope of their religious background, but their hearts were never inclined to the spirit of it. These were the educators, professors and doctors–men of wealth and position. Their mouths were near to the Lord but their hearts were far from Him.
Another class of followers were those of the poor and unsophisticated, yet faithful, They were humble enough to accept the word of the Lord as it was revealed. Their whole intent and purpose was to apply God’s law into their lives–to live every law and commandment, without compromise to unbelievers.  These knew by experience the meaning of the words sacrifice, poverty, weakness, rejection by their brethren and the world. They knew what it was to carry the cross of Christ. They were led by God, and enjoyed the gifts of His spirit, and they loved Christ more than any mortal.
There is no union between Christ and the devil, and there can be no compromise between their followers. All those half-converted followers of Christ who consent and compromise, are the first to enter the path of apostasy. No one can devise a means of opposing the truth better than those who were once its defenders. Semi-apostates always enter into league with their half-pagan companions to persecute and make war upon the true disciples of Christ. When such warfare exists among those who claim to be for Christ, there arises the same spirit by which Cain destroyed his brother. Through secret plots and malicious means, the disciples of Christ have endured their most severe trials from those who were considered brethren.
Although Christ is said to be the “Prince of Peace,” he declared that he “came not to send peace, but a sword.” He taught the gospel of peace, but it arouses war in the breasts of all who disbelieve in it. True saints have always aroused the wrath of apostates and the gentile world.
Jesus Christ is the only personality who ever walked upon this earth in the flesh whose life and conduct was above criticism or challenge. He displayed the masculinity of manhood, the fearlessness of a martyr, the tenderness of a saint, and the prowess of a soldier. Pacifists and appeasers have experienced great difficulty in trying to reconcile their spineless approach to life to the direct action of our  Lord when he took up the whip of cords and drove the money changers from the Temple. In His messages and in His life as well as His miraculous healings and His immortal words, he drew the issue and he ignited the fire of the foe. (The Cross and the Flag 21:9, Dec. 1962)
THE DEVIL’S DECEPTIONS
Satan was the first and greatest transgressor of God’s law. His mission is to tempt the sons of God away from God’s laws and ordinances. His hatred for Christ creates contention and war upon the Lord’s saints. When death and destruction will not sway them, he becomes a master magician to create special illusions and deceptions for them. He will make human ideologies appear attractive, while the laws of God are made to appear as a sin. For century upon century he has successfully led men to set aside the laws of God and has substituted something else. His most common victory is not total destruction, but rather infiltration and conversion.
Here we should recall the warning of the late Dean Inge: “History seems to show that the powers of evil have won their greatest triumphs by capturing the organizations which were formed to defeat them, and that when the devil has thus changed the contents of the bottles, he never alters the labels. The fort may have been captured by the enemy, but it still flies the flag of its defenders.” (Admiral Ben Moreell, Nov. 22, 1963, as quoted in Prophets, Principles and National Survival, by Jerreld L. Newquist, p. 339)
 For this reason Christ warned His saints to beware of “false prophets who come in sheep’s clothing” –in other words false prophets who would be in the confidence and society of the saints.
Jesus described the wayward children of disobedience by saying, “We have piped and ye have not danced.” Paul elaborated by saying:
What shall I profit you, except I shall speak to you either by revelation, or by knowledge, or by prophesying, or by doctrine? And even things without life giving sounds, how shall it be known what is piped or harped? For if the trumpet give an uncertain sound, who shall prepare himself to the battle? (I Cor. 14:6-8)
Our generation (with few exceptions) knows not the Lord; and when He sounds the alarm, they won’t know whether to dance or retire–to do battle or retreat!
Isaiah likened Christ to a Gardener who planted a vineyard “in a very fruitful hill” and he “fenced it, and gathered out the stones thereof, and planted it with the choicest vine.” With the utmost care he watered, nurtured, hedged it in and digged about it. So well did he care for his vines that he said, “What could have been done more to my vineyard, that I have not done in it?” But when he looked for it to “bring forth grapes it brought forth wild grapes.” (Isa 5:1-4)
The whole house of Israel have had hearts of stone, unexpressed love, and stubborn wills. They have had a love of the world more than the love of God. From the haughty daughters of Zion, and the rebellious sons of God, Christ has suffered His darkest hours.
 When Jesus makes his next appearance upon the earth, but few of this Church will be prepared to receive him and see him face to face and converse with him; but He will come to His temple. (Brigham Young, J.D. 7:142)
It is important to remember that Christ still recognizes and claims the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints; however, at His Second Coming only a few Saints will have remained faithful to His laws and principles, qualifying themselves to meet the Savior in his temple.
THE LOVE OF GOD
When Nephi was asked by an angel if he knew the meaning of the tree of life that his father Lehi saw in a dream, Nephi answered and said, “Yea, it is the love of God which sheddeth itself abroad in the hearts of the children of men.” The angel wisely and profoundly replied, “Yea, and the most joyous to the soul.”
Those who obey all of His principles, love Him most and they shall be abundantly rewarded; for “eye hath not seen, nor ear heard,…the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.” (I Cor. 2:9)
Paul instructed the Philippian saints by saying:
Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. (Phil. 2:9-11)
 In that final day when death has passed upon all the children of men, God’s children shall offer Christ the praise and honor He deserves. John the Revelator describes that occasion by saying:
And I beheld, and I heard the voice of many angels round about the throne and the beasts and the elders: and the number of them was ten thousand times ten thousand, and thousands of thousands; Saying with a loud voice, Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honour, and glory, and blessing. And every creature which is in heaven, and on the earth, and under the earth, and such as are in the sea, and all that are in them, heard I saying, Blessing, and honour, and glory, and power, be unto him that sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb for ever and ever. (Rev. 5:11-13)
In the final day of judgment, all men shall stand before Christ. Many will experience shame and sorrow for the conduct of their life in mortality–for the disrespect they have had for the fulness of His gospel. Only a few will stand with joy and rejoicing because the Lord truly became their Shepherd!
 Chapter XII
Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ. (Col. 2:8)
Truth is a pursuit too difficult for most men to accept, and the sacrificial demands at its altar will almost extinguish their numbers.
Many men, especially those who are false leaders, become a law unto themselves, while others are so independent that they cannot be led by men or the Lord. A true disciple of Christ follows true principles. Men cannot say they believe in true principles and not act upon them. A faith without works is dead. Believing religious principles but not obeying them is hypocrisy.
To love and live the principles of the fulness of the Gospel is the only course pleasing to God. We must learn to honor men, but serve the Lord; respect others, but always let the Lord lead. When men place more trust in Christ and less in each other, and live by the word of God rather than the words of men, they become His chosen disciples.
The full intent of Lucifer is to turn men’s hearts from God and their minds from the Gospel. And in this final dispensation he has employed increased powers of deceptions, deviations and devilry. Today is twistings and turnings are more cunning, subtle, and dangerous toward his work of carefully leading men down to hell. His cloak of darkness is more damaging than ever; for if it were possible, the very elect of God will be deceived. How would that  be possible? By thinking that Gospel principles can be changed or that God has changed them!
Whom would you trust with the priesthood–those who forsake the Lord in tribulation or those who have denied God’s revelations? How long will priesthood continue with those who seek to change ordinances, becloud the meaning of covenants, and reverse the standards of His laws? To what extent should God approve the voice and action of men who revile, condemn, and cast out those who are determined to keep all of God’s laws and commandments?
It is when the Church is filled with the weak, and the enemy threatens, that those quailing souls with their trembling knees cry out–“The gentiles will destroy us,” “we will lose our homes,” “they will imprison our leaders,” “our temples will be confiscated,” “our missionary labors will cease,” “therefore we must abandon the more offensive principles to the demands of our enemies.”
But are these the voices of God’s champions–the sounds of valiant men of the faith? Should the children of Zion look upon these words as exemplary from generation to generation? Can these be the voices of men destined for exaltation, for making the sacrifice of Abraham? Have such mutterings ever been reflected in the testimony of the ancient prophets and revelators?
Prison, torture, and the sword were blessings to the Christians, compared to their forsaking principles. In their darkest hour of trial and in the peril of death, weaklings will concede to their enemies. In such a moment of crisis, a man will prove himself to Christ or he will submit to man–he will either serve the Lord “at all hazards” or he will make appeasements with the world.
 True prophets place their fate with Christ rather than their fortunes with men. From prisons, persecutions and death, those valiant sons of God have given humanity a most noble example. In our own generation the Prophets Joseph and Hyrum went like lambs to the slaughter. There in the gloom of a prison, while their lives were about to expire, their last thoughts and reflections were upon Christ. Joseph asked John Taylor to sing the song of “The Poor Wayfaring Man of Grief.” With the words “in prison I saw him next,” the vivid reality of that message rang true–
He asked if I for him would die;
the flesh was weak,
My blood ran chill,
but the free spirit cried, “I will.”
What heart rending moments of sorrow they faced, knowing that their life was soon to be extinguished that they would never see their homes, their families, or their friends again. All they held dear would be sacrificed to the violence of a vicious mob. While they lived they labored for Christ, and in their death they would die for Him. Their consolation was in knowing that they had not compromised the Gospel for the sake of saving their temple, their homes, or their lives!
Within the pages of Church history, there have been but few others who accepted the challenge and proved their faithfulness to Christ in the dark hours. One of these noble Saints was John W. Taylor, who came into life with an abundance of the spirit and power of God. Even among the Twelve Apostles he was known as “the prophet of the Quorum.” His life and missions were filled with the spiritual gifts and manifestations of power from the Lord. Many of those early saints who knew him wrote in their private diaries and journals of hearing John W. Taylor bear  his testimony that he had seen and talked with the Lord, The author talked to one of his wives who said that while he was even a young boy he had a dream in which he saw the Lord. He later fulfilled the office and calling of an apostle of the Lord.
Apostle Taylor was a man who was uncompromising with evil or with anything that opposed true principles. His stalwart loyalty caused him considerable opposition from the world–and even from some of his own brethren. But he would not relinquish principles and doctrines which he knew were from the Lord. Because of political pressures of the land and discord from within the Church he was excommunicated, but he still continued to enjoy the favor of the Lord to the day of his death.
When the time came for him to die, he knew his life and mission in mortality was nearly finished, he asked his wife, Ellen, to wash his face, comb his hair, smooth his mustache–now he was ready.
“John. . . .” (spoke Ellen).
“Hush,” he whispered.
He needn’t have spoken, for the change in his face had taken her voice away. The gray and wasted countenance was transformed. It bloomed with an inner glow. Once again it was transformed with the light of the Spirit, as it had been in the old days upon the rostrum. Ellen had heard so many people tell of the times when John’s countenance came alight, and now at last the wife who had known him only during the years of the shadow saw this brilliance and felt the awesome warmth of the Spirit emanating from him. “Hush,” he whispered. “The Savior is passing,”
And the light died away as he followed Him.
(Family Kingdom, Sam Taylor, pp. 298-299)
 With the passing of Apostle Taylor, so also passed a unique era in Church history. He was one of the last apostles in the Church who left his witness of seeing the Savior.
All the prophets of God were uncompromising men who knew the Lord. Whether they died from brutal savagery of mobs or in the quiet peaceful solitude of their homes, their lives and testimonies left a heritage of faith and standard of principle for every other Saint to follow. Before pulpit or persecutors, clothed in temple robes or covered with tar, they were stalwarts for a cause–the everlasting, eternal, and unchangeable truths of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. They proved faithful to truth–they obtained their calling and election!
Their loyalty is our legacy–and our destiny will be determined by our receptiveness to those same eternal principles!
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