Updated: Oct 4, 2021
I have been through a series of experiences that lead me to begin a deep study of the scriptures. I have had thoughts impressed upon my mind, questions to study out, that as I’ve searched for answers from the scriptures and prayer, have had so much open up to me. I have memories of reading the scriptures as a child or youth and the spirit teaching me about what I was reading, but there was cognitive dissonance with what I learned in Sunday school, and I ultimately was dwindling in unbelief, and trusting in a volunteer calling or leadership position as way more capable of hearing God for me than I was. ...Which is breaking both the first and second great commandment. Love, which includes trust, God, above all else! With all the energy of my soul. And like unto it, love my neighbor as myself, equally in need of our great and merciful Savior. Not to be esteemed as greater or less than myself. Not to be trusted over or instead of the very promptings of the Spirit of my God!
I have gained a richer and fuller testimony of my Savior, of just how important it is to repent and come unto Him with a broken heart and contrite spirit, to truly seek Him and to come into His presence in this life. This is the Doctrine of Christ and it is contained in the Book of Mormon. Joseph Smith laid a foundation for the dispensation of the fulness of times.
Everything since Joseph has been after the order of Nehor (Alma 1): Our top most leaders are popular and supported by the people, and, while Nehor said all mankind would be saved, we limit it to you're saved if you’re mormon. For reals, I can show you the conference talk.
3 And he had gone about among the people, preaching to them that which he termed to be the word of God, bearing down against the church; declaring unto the people that every priest and teacher ought to become popular; and they ought not to labor with their hands, but that they ought to be supported by the people. 4 And he also testified unto the people that all mankind should be saved at the last day, and that they need not fear nor tremble, but that they might lift up their heads and rejoice; for the Lord had created all men, and had also redeemed all men; and, in the end, all men should have eternal life. 5 And it came to pass that he did teach these things so much that many did believe on his words, even so many that they began to support him and give him money. 6 And he began to be lifted up in the pride of his heart, and to wear very costly apparel, yea, and even began to establish a church after the manner of his preaching.
Immediately after Joseph, it was more clearly like Mosiah 11 - make sure to clear your mind of this carefully crafted depiction of King Noah, and really see what’s being said. Spoiler alert: there are no actual jaguars…
1 And now it came to pass that Zeniff conferred the kingdom upon Noah, one of his sons; therefore Noah began to reign in his stead; and he did not walk in the ways of his father. 2 For behold, he did not keep the commandments of God, but he did walk after the desires of his own heart. And he had many wives and concubines. And he did cause his people to commit sin, and do that which was abominable in the sight of the Lord. Yea, and they did commit whoredoms and all manner of wickedness. 3 And he laid a tax of one fifth part of all they possessed, a fifth part of their gold and of their silver, and a fifth part of their ziff, and of their copper, and of their brass and their iron; and a fifth part of their fatlings; and also a fifth part of all their grain. 4 And all this did he take to support himself, and his wives and his concubines; and also his priests, and their wives and their concubines; thus he had changed the affairs of the kingdom. 5 For he put down all the priests that had been consecrated by his father, and consecrated new ones in their stead, such as were lifted up in the pride of their hearts. 6 Yea, and thus they were supported in their laziness, and in their idolatry, and in their whoredoms, by the taxes which king Noah had put upon his people; thus did the people labor exceedingly to support iniquity. 7 Yea, and they also became idolatrous, because they were deceived by the vain and flattering words of the king and priests; for they did speak flattering things unto them. 8 And it came to pass that king Noah built many elegant and spacious buildings; and he ornamented them with fine work of wood, and of all manner of precious things, of gold, and of silver, and of iron, and of brass, and of ziff, and of copper; 9 And he also built him a spacious palace, and a throne in the midst thereof, all of which was of fine wood and was ornamented with gold and silver and with precious things. 10 And he also caused that his workmen should work all manner of fine work within the walls of the temple, of fine wood, and of copper, and of brass. 11 And the seats which were set apart for the high priests, which were above all the other seats, he did ornament with pure gold; and he caused a breastwork to be built before them, that they might rest their bodies and their arms upon while they should speak lying and vain words to his people.
A summary and juxtapostion:
I endeavored to learn about polygamy from the Lord and have come away from that labor convicted that Joseph did not practice polygamy. The early church after Joseph was murdered was rotten with sexual sin through spiritual wifery, and teachings that exaltation was increased and righteousness was added upon with each additional wife. (vs 2,4) Tithes were set up like with King Noah. (vs 3,6) This is not supported scripturally, and if you want some sources on that, check out this timeline on the history of tithing. Joseph and all the successors he named were murdered. Joseph's "chief priests," to borrow from the words of Mosiah, were excommunicated and Brigham kept his own inner circle about him. (vs 5) (But we can unpack this in another post.)
We’re deceived by the vain and flattering words - “a chosen generation,” “the only true church,” “Zion prospers,” ...maybe it’s time to get off our rameumpton! So many elegant and spacious buildings made of so many precious things. (vs 8,9) Even our churches all have an elevated stand and a pulpit! (vs 11)
Laman and Lemuel would have declared to Lehi the righteousness of Noah and his priests, just as they had the Jews. “These are good church going people! You’re just judging them, dad.”
Compare those scriptures above to the ones below from King Benjamin. In Mosiah 1, King Benjamin does not point to himself or even any of the prophets preceding him, to claim that by their word alone it would have been sufficient to keep the people from dwindling in unbelief! Today we practically discard the scriptures for what the most recent leader has to say. When I try to discuss the doctrine of Christ, I pull out the scriptures and get responded to with conference talks! Without the scriptures and the Spirit testifying to us, unfolding the mysteries to our view; we cannot suppose we would do any better than Lehi's people or King Benjamin's people to also be at risk to dwindle in unbelief and not believe the doctrine when it is plainly laid before us, because of traditions which are not correct.
Mosiah 1:3 My sons, I would that ye should remember that were it not for these plates, which contain these records and these commandments, we must have suffered in ignorance, even at this present time, not knowing the mysteries of God. 4 For it were not possible that our father, Lehi, could have remembered all these things, to have taught them to his children, except it were for the help of these plates; ... that thereby they could teach them to their children, and so fulfilling the commandments of God, even down to this present time. 5 I say unto you, my sons, were it not for these things, which have been kept and preserved by the hand of God, that we might read and understand of his mysteries, and have his commandments always before our eyes, that even our fathers would have dwindled in unbelief, and we should have been like unto our brethren, the Lamanites, who know nothing concerning these things, or even do not believe them when they are taught them, because of the traditions of their fathers, which are not correct.
Noah and his priests were supported by the people, the people themselves becoming idolatrous - lifting up and supporting and sustaining the people flattering them!
Mosiah 2:12 I say unto you that as I have been suffered to spend my days in your service, even up to this time, and have not sought gold nor silver nor any manner of riches of you; 13 Neither have I suffered that ye should be confined in dungeons, nor that ye should make slaves one of another, nor that ye should murder, or plunder, or steal, or commit adultery; nor even have I suffered that ye should commit any manner of wickedness, and have taught you that ye should keep the commandments of the Lord, in all things which he hath commanded you— 14 And even I, myself, have labored with mine own hands that I might serve you, and that ye should not be laden with taxes, and that there should nothing come upon you which was grievous to be borne—
This is in contrast to Alma 1:4 above where the order of Nehor is explained.
Mosiah 3:19 For the natural man is an enemy to God, and has been from the fall of Adam, and will be, forever and ever, unless he yields to the enticings of the Holy Spirit, and putteth off the natural man and becometh a saint through the atonement of Christ the Lord, and becometh as a child, submissive, meek, humble, patient, full of love, willing to submit to all things which the Lord seeth fit to inflict upon him, even as a child doth submit to his father.
Where’s our less than the dust mentality? We’re so special we hardly even need a Savior! I mean, we were the Lord’s very best! People from earlier dispensations will be in awe of us who came in the last days! Is that not what we get taught?
But what do the scriptures say? The Lord does not esteem one above another. And we must not either. Love your neighbor as yourself. No pedestals. No pits. We are all less than dust. We are all beggars. We are all damned unless we work out our salvation before the Lord with fear and trembling. Not ritualistic 8 year old baptisms for children that cannot actually bear fruit meet for repentance. Look in the scriptures what that really means! Moroni 6 & 8. I'll do a post on baptism soon. It's so important! But not to be used to keep everyone in line as they grow, to then be sealed to another speck of less than dust, instead of seeking to be sealed up unto the Lord. And if we are not sealed to Him, guess who claims us? The devil will seal you his. This is all in the Book of Mormon, it’s all available for us, and Moroni has a big ol', "I told you so," waiting for us at the bar of God, for missing it, for misunderstanding his words! Mor 10:27
Because as long as we are baptized at 8, and then married in the right place and go to church every week for the rest of our lives, we’re saved. Right? There’s nothing more than that. Where is that in scripture? It’s not there! I’ve been looking! What I have found is: (2 Ne 28:26,27)
Yea, wo be unto him that hearkeneth unto the precepts of men, and denieth the power of God, and the gift of the Holy Ghost! Yea, wo be unto him that saith: We have received, and we need no more!
If you are saved because you are of a certain religion, and you are not remotely interested in knowing how to come unto Christ and be saved, because you feel you have already received salvation and have no need of more, I would carefully re-examine that belief. And then work out your salvation with fear and trembling before the Lord. He is mighty to save, and denies no one who comes unto Him.
So as Alma, who heard Abinadi, lamented for participating in unrighteousness and serving its cause, I too lament and repent for not trusting the Spirit when God would try to show me disparity between the scriptures and my beliefs, and I would not look. I would not question. I questioned God. Because man said, “Question prophet bad,” and then man told me who the prophet was.
I finally found where the implicit trust in these leaders comes from.
Found in the Official Declaration 1 of the D&C:
“The Lord will never permit me or any other man who stands as 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.“ (Sixty-first Semiannual General Conference of the Church, Monday, October 6, 1890, Salt Lake City, Utah. Reported in Deseret Evening News, October 11, 1890, p. 2.)
But that directly contradicts scripture!
2 Nephi 4:34 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 Ne 12:22
Cease ye from man whose breath is in his nostrils for wherein is he to be accounted of?
D&C 1:19 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—
20 But that every man might speak in the name of God the Lord, even the Savior of the world;
2 Chronicles 32:7 Be strong and courageous, be not afraid nor dismayed for the king of Assyria, nor for all the multitude that is with him: for there be more with us than with him:
8 With him is an arm of flesh; but with us is the Lord our God to help us, and to fight our battles. And the people rested themselves upon the words of Hezekiah king of Judah.
If you read the entirety of the Declaration, it is in direct contrast to that last verse, and not inspired of God. ^
Trust God. Trust God. Trust God. Trust God. He is the only One. Do not even take my word for it. But if my experience leads you to look and finally hear what He’s been trying to teach you, like He was me, let me approach the stand like an Abinadi. Burn me at the stake, if you must, but I will declare God’s true doctrine to the best of my ability and humbly learn from my mistakes and correct them. I will preach against Babylon and secret combinations. I will be persecuted. I have been, and no doubt will continue to be, accused of being influenced by devils. So was Christ accused. Stone the prophets. That’s scriptural. It’s the antichrists that get the warm welcomes. Except, when the people have had a mighty change of heart and know the voice of their Shepherd. The people of Ammon bound and tossed out the guy who tried. (Alma 30:20) But, unless you can speak with the peace of Lehi upon his deathbed, "Behold, the Lord hath redeemed my soul from hell; I have beheld his glory, and I am encircled about eternally in the arms of his love," or as the people in Mosiah who had no more disposition to do evil or the people of Ammon who were born again, spiritually begotten of their Savior; not one soul should be at ease in their standing before God. That is the message of the prophets.