CHAPTER ONE

                                                             The Nature of God our Heavenly Father  

I believe Adam and Eve, our first parents, were created by God in the image and likeness of God: 
And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness...So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them. 
(Old Testament | Genesis 1:26-27)












  








When Jesus’ disciples ask him to show them the Father, he answered:  …he that hath seen me hath seen the Father; and how sayest thou then, Shew us the Father? (John 14:9)   Some interpret this passage to support the belief that the Father and the Son are the same substance, but much of the New Testament speaks of the Son praying to the Father and in other ways identifying them separate individuals.
For example, the following passage helps us understand the verse above as it makes it clear what Jesus meant when he said “he that hath seen me hath seen the Father”: 

1 GOD, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets,   2 Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds;   3 Who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high; (Hebrews 1:1 - 3) 

It also makes it clear that Jesus and God are separate beings and that God has a body, with a right hand.
The testimony of Stephen as he was being stoned clarifies the nature and being of God:






























 
55  But he, being full of the Holy Ghost, looked up stedfastly into heaven, and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing on the right hand of God,  56  And said, Behold, I see the heavens opened, and the Son of man standing on the right hand of God.  (Acts 7:55 - 56)
Many believe that God and Christ are the same personage who has manifest himself in different times as the Father, the Son “of one substance” as is represented in the Nicene Creed.
​​

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/English_versions_of_the_Nicene_Creed_in_current_use  

There are passages that would indicate as much, such as John 10:30: 

I and my Father are one. 

I believe, however, that the true interpretation of this scripture is made easy by the Lord’s petition where he pleads with the Father that all of his followers will be one as he and the Father are one: 

20 Holy Father, keep through thine own name those whom thou hast given me, that they may be one, as we are… 21Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word;  That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me.  (John 17:11, 20- 21)


Another very powerful scriptural passage on this subject is the response of Jesus when he first met Mary Magdalene near his tomb the morning of the resurrection:

17 Jesus saith unto her, Touch me not; for I am not yet ascended to my Father: but go to my brethren, and say unto them, I ascend unto my Father, and your Father; and to my God, and your God.  (John 20:17)




























I believe it is clear in the scriptures that God the Father is a perfect and divine immortal and glorified personage in whose image and likeness Jesus and we are.  I believe it is very clear that Jesus Christ is the only begotten Son of God, separate and distinct personages with one unified purpose.


God is the Father of our spirits:


I believe that …we are the offspring of God…(Acts 17:29) as spirits in a pre-mortal life, where we learned and progressed and even made choices that impacted our lives on this earth.  Some had no faith in the plan of the atonement of Christ and chose to follow Satan and rebel.  There was a war in heaven and Satan and his followers were overcome and cast out to the earth where they continue to tempt and deceive mankind away from following Christ: 

7  And there was war in heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon; and the dragon fought and his angels,  8  And prevailed not; neither was their place found any more in heaven.  9  And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him.  (Revelation 12:7 - 9)


I believe the angels who fought with Michael included those of us who have born into mortality.  We obviously had enough faith to be willing to be born and to prove ourselves in a mortal state, face mortal death with the hope of a resurrection.  The war in heaven, I believe was a war of words and testimony concerning the pending atoning sacrifice of Jesus Christ: 

11  And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death.  (Revelation 12: 11)

To me, the scriptures are clear on our relationship with our Heavenly Father: 

The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God:   And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together.  (Romans 8:16 - 17)
Furthermore we have had fathers of our flesh which corrected us, and we gave them reverence: shall we not much rather be in subjection unto the Father of spirits, and live? (Hebrews 12:9)
These passages help me know who I am and where I came from.  They tell me I was born as a spirit son of a Heavenly Father who loves me and who has a plan for me to inherit a place in his kingdom. 
The Poet Wordsworth wrote:  “We do not suddenly flare into existence, but with trailing clouds of glory, do we come from God, who is our Home”.   Knowing that we are “offspring of God” (Acts 17:29) gives added meaning to the passage: 

3 And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent. (John 17:3).  

I believe that “life eternal”  means life forever in the presence of our Father in Heaven and that knowing him clarifies our divine purpose, which is if we “suffer with him” or “be in subjection” to him we can inherit his kingdom as “heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ…(Romans 8:17)  "... whom he hath appointed heir of all things" ... (Hebrews 1:2) 

21 To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne.  (Revelation 3:21) 
Some say that for us to claim to be in the image of God and that we have faith that by following Christ we can become his heirs, joint heirs with Christ who is heir of all things, and to become like him, belittles or lessons the divinity of an unfathomable God, but I believe that God is not unfathomable.  Though he is all-knowing, all-powerful and his influence is everywhere present, he is yet a loving Father and wants us to have all that he has and is.  This will include a resurrected, immortal and celestial, glorified body (see 1 Corinthians 15: 40-42) and eventually a perfected nature: 

Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect. (Matthew 5:48)


A modern day apostle and prophet, Elder Jeffrey R. Holland, speaks concerning the nature of God:









                                                                                                             CHAPTER TWO​​
                                                                 Who is Jesus Christ?  Are Mormons Christian?
 
  
Jesus Christ is the center of our Church as the name implies: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  As a devoted
member of this church, I attempt to make the Lord the center of my life and the center of our family life.  This is not easy
in today’s world but I have faith that if I do my best, the atonement of the Savior will make up the difference and I can be
redeemed.  I will enlarge upon this later.
 
Christ was the Firstborn of God the Father and thus received the birthright that entitled him to receive the power to create
the Earth and become our Savior.

















 










When we speak of Jesus Christ as the Son of God, we are referring not only to his being the Only Begotten Son of God on
the earth, born of Mary, but also the firstborn of all of our Heavenly Father's spirit children, "...the firstborn of every
creature."    (Colossians 1:15)
 
Jesus Christ, referred to as the Word in the following passage, was in the beginning with God and created the earth under
the personal direction of the Father: 

1  IN the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.  2  The same was in the beginning
with God.  3  All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.…  14  And the Word
was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace
and truth.  (John 1:1-3, 14)
 
I, with  Paul, am eternally grateful to and for Jesus Christ: 

14  In whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins: 15  Who is the image of the invisible God,
the firstborn of every creature: 16  For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and
invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him:
17  And he is before all things, and by him all things consist. 18  And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the
beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence. 19  For it pleased the Father that
in him should all fulness dwell; (Colossians 1:13 - 19)
 
Jesus – in the image of the Father
 
Here again is the passage quoted above that reveals Christ as being in the express image of his Father, also reiterates that
it was by Christ that the worlds were created:
 
1  GOD, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets,  2  Hath in these
last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds; 
3  Who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his
power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high; 
(Hebrews 1:1 - 3)
 
…he that hath seen me hath seen the Father; (John 14:9)
 
… Let us make man in our image, after our likeness... (Genesis 1:26)
 
Jesus Christ – Jehovah was the God of the Old Testament
 
I believe that Jesus was known as Jehovah in the heavenly realms and was the very God who appeared to and spoke to the
ancient prophets: 

And I appeared unto Abraham, unto Isaac, and unto Jacob, by the name of God almighty, but by my name JEHOVAH was
I not known to them.   (Old Testament | Exodus 6:3)
 
He was with the Father in the Garden and participated in the formation of Adam and Eve:

… Let us make man in our image, after our likeness...So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created
he him; male and female created he them.  (Old Testament | Genesis 1:26-27) 
 
His mission to the earth, to suffer for the sins and shed his blood to atone for mankind was the very issue of the - 

“7… war in heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon; and the dragon fought and his angels, 8  And
prevailed not; neither was their place found any more in heaven.  9  And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent,
called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out
with him.  10  And I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, Now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God,
and the power of his Christ: for the accuser of our brethren is cast down, which accused them before our God day and
night.  11  And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives
unto the death.  (Revelation 12:7 - 11)
 

The virgin birth of Christ 
 
I believe that Jesus was conceived by the power of God with Mary, his virgin mother as was announced by the Angel Gabriel
as shown below: 




























Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being
interpreted is, God with us.  (Matthew 1:23)
 
The Lord’s birth was announced to shepherds by an angel and hailed by a heavenly choir:











 


















8  And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. 9  And, lo,
the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid.
10  And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.
11  For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. 12  And this shall be a sign unto
you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger. (Luke 2:8 - 12)

13  And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, 14  Glory to God in
the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.  (Luke 2:13 - 14)
 
I have received questions about our celebration of Christmas as the specific holiday it is said to have originated from some
pagan celebration.  But regardless of its origin, I love Christmas and even though Jesus was not born on that specific day,
I feel it a wonderful thing to hear the songs and the exchange of gifts at that special time of year.  I would wish the spirit of
Christmas could be felt more throughout the year.   The birth of the baby Jesus ushered in the most important events in
the history of all mankind.






















 
 



Understanding and believing in this virgin birth is of critical importance because, as the Begotten Son of God on earth, the
Lord had the capacity to accomplish his mission here, which was to live a sinless life as an example for us and also so that
he could atone for the sins of the world.  His divine nature inherited from the Eternal Father gave him power to overcome
death.
 

The earthly ministry of Jesus Christ
 

The Lord began his ministry in his early thirties by going on a 40 day fast which ended with a series of bold temptations
by Satan (Matthew 4:1-10). 

He then went to John to be baptized: 

























13  ¶ Then cometh Jesus from Galilee to Jordan unto John, to be baptized of him. 14  But John forbad him, saying, I have
need to be baptized of thee, and comest thou to me? 15  And Jesus answering said unto him, Suffer it to be so now: for
thus it becometh us to fulfil all righteousness.  Then he suffered him. 16  And Jesus, when he was baptized, went up
straightway out of the water: and, lo, the heavens were opened unto him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a
dove, and lighting upon him: 17  And lo a voice from heaven, saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.
(Matthew 3:13 - 17) 

This passage not only emphasizes the importance of baptism as an act to begin his ministry and as he said, “to fulfill all
righteousness”, but also points out the individual existence of the Father, and his Son and even the Holy Ghost.  
  

In what is now called the Sermon on the Mount in Matthew the 5th , 6th  and 7th chapters, the Lord declared that he had
come to fulfill the Law of Moses and that he now brought a higher law:



























17 Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil.  (Matthew 5:17) 

38 Ye have heard that it hath been said, An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth:  39  But I say unto you, That ye resist
not evil: but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also.  (Matthew 5:38 - 39)


The Lord’s actual ministry only lasted a few years, but it was filled with many miracles such as restoring the sight of the
blind, healing the sick and the lame, such as shown below, Jesus raising Jairus's daughter  (Matt. 9:18–19, 23–25;
Mark 5:22–24, 35–43; Luke 8:41–42, 49–56) 













 
 
 
 
 
 





...turning the water into wine, feeding the multitude with a few fish and loaves, calming the storm as shown below,   
(Matt. 8:23–27; Mark 4:36–41; Luke 8:22–25)




















 
 
 






...walking on the water (Matt. 14:22–33; Mark 6:45–51),




















 
 





...and even raising the dead as shown below of Jesus raising Lazarus from the dead .  (John 11:1–46)



















 
 
 






These miracles attracted many followers and this was a threat to the leaders of the day, so much so, that they plotted for
his death, 
 
Christ’s Primitive Church
 
Many of those who were drawn to Christ became members of his newly organized church.  The purpose of the Church,
and some of the offices, Paul explains: 

11  And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers;  ​12  For the
perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry,  for the edifying of the body of Christ:  13  Till we all come in the unity
of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of
Christ:  14  That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by
the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive;  (Ephesians 4:11 – 14 






























The Lord also gave the charge:  ​   

Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. 16  He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved;
but he that believeth not shall be damned.  (Mark 16:15 - 16) 

I have written in Chapter Five on Christ’s ancient church and what I believed happened to it.
 
  
  
​CHAPTER THREE

Last Week of Christ’s Earthly Sojourn and on through the Judgment

Triumphal Entry into Jerusalem
 
The last week of the Lord’s mortal life began with his triumphal ride on the donkey as admirer strew palm leaves in his path crying,  

























Hosanna: Blessed is the King of Israel that cometh in the name of the Lord.  (John 12:13). 

This was the week of the Feast of the Passover, the celebration of the Jews of the morning the destroying angel passed over their sons as the firstborn of all of Egypt died as warned of Moses.   (Exodus Chapter 12)

The Last Supper 

It was Thursday of that week that Jesus gathered his disciples in the upper room for the last supper, after which he washed their feet and then brake bread, blessed and passed it saying:

“Take, eat: this is my body, which is broken for you: this do in remembrance of me”.  After the same manner also he took the cup, when he had supped, saying, This cup is the new testament in my blood: this do ye, as oft as ye drink it, in remembrance of me.  (1 Corinthians 11:25) 






















In our weekly worship services, we typically have what we call a sacrament service where the bread and water are blessed and passed in remembrance of the body and blood of the sacrifice of the Lord. 


























The Lord then announced that the time was at hand for which he had come into mortality. He was well aware of the pending agony and would that he could avoid it but knew of its essential need:

Father, save me from this hour: but for this cause came I unto this hour. ( John 12:27) 

While yet in the upper room, he prayed thus: 

1  …Father, the hour is come; glorify thy Son, that thy Son also may glorify thee…  5  And now, O Father, glorify thou me with thine own self with the glory which I had with thee before the world was.  (John 17:1 - 5)   

He identified Judas as the one who would betray him and who then got up and left.  

Suffering in the Garden 

With the remaining eleven, he went down to the Garden of Gethsemane.   He invited Peter, James and John into the Garden with him as the others remained by the entrance.  He then asked Peter, James and John to wait.  

41  And he was withdrawn from them about a stone's cast, and kneeled down, and prayed,  42  Saying, Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from me: nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done.  43  And there appeared an angel unto him from heaven, strengthening him.  44  And being in an agony he prayed more earnestly: and his sweat was as it were great drops of blood falling down to the ground.  (Luke 22:41 - 43) 

We believe that this was the beginning of an infinite suffering of the Lord which answered the demands of justice for the sins of the world so that those who will have faith in him enough to repent, be baptized and receive the gift of the Holy Ghost (Acts 2:38) and endureth to the end shall be saved (Matthew 10:22) from what otherwise would be the horrible consequences or their own sins.  This redemption will mean that those thus saved will be cleansed or sanctified by the Holy Ghost (Romans 15:16) and able to dwell in the presence of God. (See Atonement of Jesus Christ) 





































Following his agony in the garden, The Lord ‘s act of  atonement continued as  he:  

45 … rose up from prayer, and was come to his disciples, he found them sleeping for sorrow,  46  And said unto them, Why sleep ye?  rise and pray, lest ye enter into temptation.  47  ¶ And while he yet spake, behold a multitude, and he that was called Judas, one of the twelve, went before them, and drew near unto Jesus to kiss him.  48  But Jesus said unto him, Judas, betrayest thou the Son of man with a kiss?  49  When they which were about him saw what would follow, they said unto him, Lord, shall we smite with the sword?  50  ¶ And one of them [Peter] smote the servant of the high priest, and cut off his right ear.  51  And Jesus answered and said, Suffer ye thus far.  And he touched his ear, and healed him.  (Luke 22:41 - 51)   

Night of Torture and Mock Trial 

Of the beginning of suffering during the night that following the betrayal, Luke wrote: 

Then took they him, and led him, and brought him into the high priest's house…  And the men that held Jesus mocked him, and smote him. 64  And when they had blindfolded him, they struck him on the face, and asked him, saying, Prophesy, who is it that smote thee? 65  And many other things blasphemously spake they against him. 
(Luke 22:54, 63-65)

The account of John added: 

And the soldiers platted a crown of thorns, and put it on his head, and they put on him a purple robe,  3  And said, Hail, King of the Jews!  and they smote him with their hands.  12  Pilate said to his accusers: Behold your King!  15  But they cried out, Away with him, away with him, crucify him. ( John 19:15)  









 







The Crucifixion of Christ (Ps. 22:16; Matt. 27:31–50; Mark 15:20–37; Luke 23:33–46; John 19:16–37)

17  And he bearing his cross went forth into a place called the place of a skull, which is called in the Hebrew Golgotha:  18  Where they crucified him, and two other with him, on either side one, and Jesus in the midst.  19  ¶ And Pilate wrote a title, and put it on the cross.  And the writing was, JESUS OF NAZARETH THE KING OF THE JEWS.   (John 19:17-19)   Then said Jesus, Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do.  (Luke 23:34)   He said to contrite malefactor hanging beside him, To day shalt thou be with me in paradise. (Luke 23:43)  He committed his mother into John’s care.  He said he was thirsty and was given vinegar.   44  And it was about the sixth hour, and there was a darkness over all the earth until the ninth hour.  45  And the sun was darkened, and the veil of the temple was rent in the midst.  46  ¶ And when Jesus had cried with a loud voice, he said, Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit: and having said thus, he gave up the ghost.  (Luke 23:44-46) 




























We believe that Jesus, begotten of Heavenly Father as he was, had power over death, but born of an earthly mother, it remained with him to give up his life. 

17 …I lay down my life, that I might take it again. 18  No man taketh it from me, but I lay it down of myself.  I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. (John 10:17-18) 

He told the repentant their hanging beside he would greet him in Paradise:  

43 And Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, To day shalt thou be with me in paradise.  

Darkness and tempest ensued:

44 And it was about the sixth hour, and there was a darkness over all the earth until the ninth hour. 45 And the sun was darkened, and the veil of the temple was rent in the midst.  (Luke 23:43 - 45)

  
The Lord’s body lain in a tomb 

38  ¶ And after this Joseph of Arimathæa, being a disciple of Jesus, but secretly for fear of the Jews, besought Pilate that he might take away the body of Jesus: and Pilate gave him leave.  He came therefore, and took the body of Jesus. 39  And there came also Nicodemus, which at the first came to Jesus by night, and brought a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about an hundred pound weight.  40  Then took they the body of Jesus, and wound it in linen clothes with the spices, as the manner of the Jews is to bury.  41  Now in the place where he was crucified there was a garden; and in the garden a new sepulchre, wherein was never man yet laid.  42  There laid they Jesus therefore because of the Jews' preparation day; for the sepulchre was nigh at hand. 
(John 19:38-42) 






























Taught the spirits in prison:

18 For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit:
19 By which also he went and preached unto the spirits in prison;
20 Which sometime were disobedient, when once the longsuffering of God waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was a preparing, wherein few, that is, eight souls were saved by water.  (1 Peter 3:18 - 20)


6 For for this cause was the gospel preached also to them that are dead, that they might be judged according to men in the flesh, but live according to God in the spirit.  (1 1 Peter 4:6)

This will be discussed more in the section on the purpose of temples and the submect "Salvation for the Dead".

The Resurrection of Jesus Christ 

Each of the four gospels have a slightly different version of the resurrection of Jesus Christ, but common to all is that the stone was rolled away and the tomb was empty.  To some appeared angels declaring

: He is not here, but is risen: (Luke 24:6) 

Mary also saw the two angels and then the Resurrected Lord.  It was then that he said: 

…Touch me not; for I am not yet ascended to my Father: but go to my brethren, and say unto them, I ascend unto my Father, and your Father; and to my God, and your God.  (John 20:17) 

































He later appeared to the disciples,   (Luke 24:33–43; John 20:19–20)  

36  And as they thus spake, Jesus himself stood in the midst of them, and saith unto them, Peace be unto you.  37  But they were terrified and affrighted, and supposed that they had seen a spirit.  38  And he said unto them, Why are ye troubled?  and why do thoughts arise in your hearts?  39  Behold my hands and my feet, that it is I myself: handle me, and see; for a spirit hath not flesh and bones, as ye see me have.  40  And when he had thus spoken, he shewed them his hands and his feet.  41  And while they yet believed not for joy, and wondered, he said unto them, Have ye here any meat?  42  And they gave him a piece of a broiled fish, and of an honeycomb.  43  And he took it, and did eat before them.  (Luke 24:36 - 43) 

This passage tells us a lot about the nature of a resurrected body and of the nature of Christ today because it was in that resurrected body that he ascended to heaven.   

Christ’s Ascension  

























Christ gave his commission to his disciples then ascended into heaven.  Angels appeared and promised the Lord would return as they had seen him go into heaven: 

19 Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:  20  Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world.  Amen.  (Matthew 28:19-20) 

9  And when he had spoken these things, while they beheld, he was taken up; and a cloud received him out of their sight.  10  And while they looked stedfastly toward heaven as he went up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel;  11  Which also said, Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven?  this same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven.  9  And when he had spoken these things, while they beheld, he was taken up; and a cloud received him out of their sight.  (Acts 1:9-11) 

Christ’s visit to Ancient America 

During Christ’s earthly ministry, he stated: 

And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold: them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one fold, and one shepherd.  (John 10:16) 

Some have thought that he was referring to the gentiles, but he had made it clear that he was not personally going to minister to any other than the house of Israel:

I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel.  (Matthew 15:24) 

We claim that these other sheep were the inhabitants of Ancient Americas and that Jesus Christ appeared to and ministered to them and organized his church among them following his resurrection in the Holy Land.  He said to them: 



























21  And verily I say unto you, that ye are they of whom I said: Other sheep I have which are not of this fold; them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one fold, and one shepherd.  22  And they understood me not, for they supposed it had been the Gentiles; for they understood not that the Gentiles should be converted through their preaching.  (Book of Mormon | 3 Nephi 15:21 - 22)   

Legends of Quetsaquoatl, the great white, bearded God who had visited the continent and promised to return, were carried by the descendants of the ancient inhabitants of the Western Hemisphere.  These included that held by Montezuma, the emperor of Mexico who received Cortez, the Spanish conqueror as the promised one.   There will be more about Christ in Ancient America in the Chapter on the Book of Mormon. 

Christ’s Opening the Dispensation of the Fullness of Times 

We believe the Christ’s original church did not survive after the death of the apostles, but was promised to be restored to the earth in days preceding the Second Coming of Christ,

21  Whom the heaven must receive until the times of restitution of all things, which God hath spoken by the mouth of all his holy prophets since the world began.  (Acts 3:21) 

That in the dispensation of the fulness of times he might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; even in him:
(Ephesians 1:10) 

We claim that Jesus Christ personally appeared to open this dispensation of the gospel in these latter days.  I will elaborate upon this in the chapter The Church of Jesus Christ

The Second Coming of Jesus Christ – 

I personally believe we are in the latter days and I look forward to the Second Coming of Jesus Christ.  I do not know if it will occur in my lifetime, but I can see and am sure that his coming is near as evidenced by the events prominent in the world.  The 24th chapter of Matthew is as thorough an account as there is in the New Testament of events leading up to and including the Lord’s return to the earth. 







































3  And as he sat upon the mount of Olives, the disciples came unto him privately, saying, Tell us, when shall these things be?  and what shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world?  4  And Jesus answered and said unto them, Take heed that no man deceive you.  5  For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many.
  6  And ye shall hear of wars and rumours of wars: see that ye be not troubled: for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet.  7  For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places.  8  All these are the beginning of sorrows. 
9  Then shall they deliver you up to be afflicted, and shall kill you: and ye shall be hated of all nations for my name's sake.  10  And then shall many be offended, and shall betray one another, and shall hate one another.  11  And many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many.  12  And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold.  13  But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved. 14  And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come.  21  For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be.  22  And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved: but for the elect's sake those days shall be shortened. 23  Then if any man shall say unto you, Lo, here is Christ, or there; believe it not.  24  For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect.  25  Behold, I have told you before.  26  Wherefore if they shall say unto you, Behold, he is in the desert; go not forth: behold, he is in the secret chambers; believe it not. 27  For as the lightning cometh out of the east, and shineth even unto the west; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.  28  For wheresoever the carcase is, there will the eagles be gathered together.  29  ¶ Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken:  30  And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.  31  And he shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.   36  ¶ But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only.   42  ¶ Watch therefore: for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come.  (Matthew 24:3-14, 21-31, 36, 42) 

Jesus Christ’s Millennial Reign  

Satan will be bound and peace will prevail for a thousand years then released for a period leading up to the final day of Judgment: 


When the Lord comes in his glory, I believe that he will personally reign on the earth for a thousand years of peace.  The righteous will rise in the first resurrection and will reign with Christ: 

4  And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given unto them: and I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God, and which had not worshipped the beast, neither his image, neither had received his mark upon their foreheads, or in their hands; and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years.  5  But the rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years were finished

This is the first resurrection. 

6  Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection: on such the second death hath no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years.  (Revelation 20:4-6) 
 
Peace will prevail even among the animals: 

6  The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid; and the calf and the young lion and the fatling together; and a little child shall lead them.  7  And the cow and the bear shall feed; their young ones shall lie down together: and the lion shall eat straw like the ox.  8  And the sucking child shall play on the hole of the asp, and the weaned child shall put his hand on the cockatrice' den.  9  They shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain: for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the LORD, as the waters cover the sea.  (Isaiah 11:6 - 9) 























I also believe additional LDS doctrine regarding the millennium:

29 And there shall be no sorrow because there is no death.  30  In that day an infant shall not die until he is old; and his life shall be as the age of a tree;  31  And when he dies he shall not sleep, that is to say in the earth, but shall be changed in the twinkling of an eye, and shall be caught up, and his rest shall be glorious. 
(Doctrine and Covenants | Section 101:29 - 31) 

The Final Judgment –
 
We will all be judged by the Lord according to the way we have lived our lives: 

10. …we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ.  11  For it is written, As I live, saith the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall confess to God.  12  So then every one of us shall give account of himself to God. (Romans 14:10 - 12) 

12  And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works.  13  And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works.  (Revelation 20:12-13) 

Eternal Life with Jesus Christ and our Father in Heaven 

We do not believe in the traditional notion of a simple division the earth’s inhabitants leaving this life into either heaven or hell. 

In my Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you.  I go to prepare a place for you.  (John 14:2) 

I will elaborate on my beliefs in this regard in the chapter entitled The Plan of Salvation. 
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CHAPTER FOUR

The Holy Ghost
 
I believe the Holy Ghost the third member of the Godhead is a spirit in the form of man, but without a mortal body.  I am aware of accounts of many near death experiences recounted by individuals that have been recounting of the ability of these departed spirits being able to communicate not by word of mouth, but by thoughts and feelings.  I mention this, because I believe this is why the Holy Ghost has remained a spirit while Jesus has obtained an immortal perfected body of flesh and bone:  …for a spirit hath not flesh and bones, as ye see me have.  (John 43:39)  The Holy Ghost has a specific role which is to communicate to our spirits.  I believe that this spiritual communication can be transferred from our spiritual mind into our conscious mind in the form of thoughts and feelings.  Some recognize these thoughts as inspiration.   

Personal Revelation  - Why do you persist in your beliefs?

Here is what Paul teaches about the Holy Ghost: 

9  But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.  10  But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God.  11  For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him?  even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God.  12  Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God.  13  Which things also we speak, not in the words which man's wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual.  14  But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.  (1 Corinthians 2:9-14) 

John explains the mission of the Holy Ghost as follows: 

15  ¶ If ye love me, keep my commandments.  16  And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever;  17  Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you…  26  But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.  (John 14:15; 26) 

Peter explains that even a true understanding of the scriptures must be received by the inspiration of the Holy Ghost: 

20  Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation.
21  For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.  (2 Peter 1:20-21) 

Even a sure conviction of the divinity of Jesus Christ is given by spiritual revelation: 

13  ¶ When Jesus came into the coasts of Cæsarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, saying, Whom do men say that I the Son of man am?  14  And they said, Some say that thou art John the Baptist: some, Elias; and others, Jeremias, or one of the prophets.  15  He saith unto them, But whom say ye that I am?  16  And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.  17  And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Bar-jona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven.  (Matthew 16:13-17) 

It is a natural question to ask, “How does one obtain such divine direction?”  The Lord himself gave the formula: 










7  Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you:  (Matthew 7:7)  

James adds additional light on how to receive such inspiration: 

5  If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.
6  But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering.  For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed.  (James 1:5-6) 

The Gift of the Holy Ghost  






The Gift of the Holy Ghost, as conferred following baptism by the laying on of hands, is a required ordinance: 

5  Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.  (John 3:5) 

Though the influence of the Holy Ghost can inspire individuals with an assurance of the truth, this spirit does not remain with one until that individual has exercised enough faith to repent and be baptized and then receive the Gift of the Holy Ghost.  I believe this special gift of spiritual influence can direct us in our lives by helping us make the right decisions, warning us of danger, prompting us to avoid evil and witnessing to us of the truth.  I believe in ministering angels, who certainly must work under the direction of the Holy Ghost, who are present to help the worthy with these spiritual promptings (see Book of Mormon 2nd  Nephi 32:2).
  


  
CHAPTER FIVE

The Ancient Church of Jesus Christ  -

One of the most important things that was done by Jesus Christ during his earthly ministry, was to organize a church, his true church.  The organization included offices as outlined by Paul with a purpose of strengthening the saints (members of Christ’s church): 

11  And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers;  12  For the perfecting of the saints for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ:  13  Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ:  14  That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive;  (Ephesians 4:11 - 14) 

Other offices in Christ’s church were:  

Elders:  23  And when they had ordained them elders in every church, and had prayed with fasting, they commended them to the Lord, on whom they believed.  (Acts 14:23)
Seventies:   1  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) 
High Priests 1  For every high priest taken from among men is ordained for men in things pertaining to God, that he may offer both gifts and sacrifices for sins:  (Hebrews 5:1) 
Deacons and Bishops:  1 Paul and Timotheus, servants of Jesus Christ, to all the saints in Christ Jesus which are at Philippi, with the bishops and deacons:  (Philippians 1:1) 

Priests:  7  And the word of God increased; and the number of the disciples multiplied in Jerusalem greatly; and a great company of the priests were obedient to the faith.  (Acts 6:7

He organized his followers to these various offices and commissioned them to teach the gospel, lead in the church according to the authority and responsibility associated with their specific office and to administer the ordinances of the gospel such as baptism, the giving of the gift of the Holy Ghost as previously mentioned, to heal the sick and to take the gospel to all of the world. 

This authorization was accomplished by the Lord inviting his followers to serve and then to ordain them: 

16  Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit…. (John 15:16)









I believe that the priesthood authority to function in the name of the Lord in these callings is sacred and is not something that individuals could then or can now just take upon themselves: 

4  And no man taketh this honour unto himself, but he that is called of God, as was Aaron.  [Aaron was called to serve and was consecrated or ordained by the prophet Moses (See Exodus 28:41)] 







5  So also Christ glorified not himself to be made an high priest; but he that said unto him, Thou art my Son, to day have I begotten thee.  (Hebrews 5:4 - 5)

We have learned that these offices operated under two orders, …the order of Melchisedec (Hebrews 5:6) and …the order of Aaron.  (Hebrews 7:11)  The Levitical priesthood or the priesthood after the order of Aaron was the authority under which the Law of Moses functioned, while the priesthood after the order of Melchisedec was needed for the higher laws introduced by Jesus: 

11  If therefore perfection were by the Levitical priesthood, (for under it the people received the law,) what further need was there that another priest should rise after the order of Melchisedec, and not be called after the order of Aaron?  12  For the priesthood being changed, there is made of necessity a change also of the law.  (Hebrews 7:11 - 12) 

I think it is a worthy question, to ask, “Where are these two orders of the priesthood today and what church, if any has all of the offices of Christ’s Church mentioned in the New Testament?”  More will be said about this later. 

According to Paul, the office of apostles and prophets was the most important, even critical, next to Christ:  

19  Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God;  20  And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone;  (Ephesians 2:19 - 20) 

It was the intent that there remain a quorum of twelve apostles, evidenced by the selection of Mathias to replace Judas after his death:

23  And they appointed two, Joseph called Barsabas, who was surnamed Justus, and Matthias.  24  And they prayed, and said, Thou, Lord, which knowest the hearts of all men, shew whether of these two thou hast chosen,  25  That he may take part of this ministry and apostleship, from which Judas by transgression fell, that he might go to his own place.  26  And they gave forth their lots; and the lot fell upon Matthias; and he was numbered with the eleven apostles.  (Acts 1:23 - 26) 

Of course, Paul, who was later converted, became an apostle as did others as was needed to complete the quorum. 
Eventually, as the apostles were scattered in their ministries, and were eventually all killed, this pattern was impossible to continue.    

Judas committed suicide after betraying Christ, 34 A.D.
Peter was crucified head down in Rome, 66 A.D.  
​Andrew was bound to death. He preached until his death in 74 A.D.        
James , son of Zebedee, was beheaded in Jerusalem by the sword.   (Acts 12:1-9).        
John was banished to the Isle of Patmos, 96 A.D. (Rev. 1- 9).        
Phillip was crucified at Heirapole, Phryga, 52 A.D.        
Bartholomew was beaten, crucified, then beheaded by the command  of a king, 52 AD.  
Thomas was run through by a lance at Corehandal, East Indies, 52 A.D.        
Matthew was slain by the sword in the city of Ethiopia about 60 A.D.        
James son of Alphaeus, was thrown from a pinnacle, then beaten to death, 60 A.D.        
Thaddeus was shot to death by arrows, 72 A.D.        
Simon was crucified in Persia, 74 A.D.


 
The reason that the office of apostles and prophets was so critical, was because the twelve apostles and prophets received revelation from the departed Lord who still led the Church as long as there were apostles and prophets who were there to receive his divine guidance.  Paul wrote: 

11  But I certify you, brethren, that the gospel which was preached of me is not after man.  12  For I neither received it of man, neither was I taught it, but by the revelation of Jesus Christ.  (Galatians 1:11 - 12) 

7  Surely the Lord GOD will do nothing, but he revealeth his secret unto his servants the prophets.  (Amos 3:7)

When Peter declared,  16…Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God. 

17  And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Bar-jona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven.  18  And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.  (Matthew 16:16 - 18) 

To me it is clear that revelation from the Lord is essential, if in fact, the Lord is leading his church the gates of hell will never prevail against it.  The scriptures, themselves, as mentioned earlier, exist resulting from revelation:  20  Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation. 

21  For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost. (2 Peter 1:20 - 21) 
  

  
CHAPTER SIX

                                                                The Falling Away and the Renaissance and Reformation 

Didn’t the Lord say that the gates of hell should not prevail against the church?

The wickedness that prevailed at the time of Christ was severe and the Lord knew that his church would not remain.  I believe he inspired men to make a written account of his life and ministry and the organization and purpose of his church as published in the New Testament.  He knew that by preserving those writings, which were eventually made available to the world, they would be a standard to which his followers could refer in his own due time. 

One important thing that was revealed to Paul was that there would be a “falling away” before the Second Coming of Jesus Christ: 

1  Now we beseech you, brethren, by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and by our gathering together unto him,  2  That ye be not soon shaken in mind, or be troubled, neither by spirit, nor by word, nor by letter as from us, as that the day of Christ is at hand.  3  Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first,  (2 Thessalonians 2:1 - 3) 

Peter warned: 

1  BUT there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction.  2  And many shall follow their pernicious ways; by reason of whom the way of truth shall be evil spoken of.  3  And through covetousness shall they with feigned words make merchandise of you: whose judgment now of a long time lingereth not, and their damnation slumbereth not.  (2 Peter 2:1 - 3)

That falling away was clinched when the last of the apostles and apostles was killed and of course as John was banished to the Isle of Patmos.  The divine revelation and priesthood authority by which they had led the Church was lost.  I believe the sacred ordinances, authority and organization of the Lord’s church were taken from the earth so that the gates of hell could not prevail against it.


                                        -      Judas committed suicide after betraying Christ, 34 A.D.
                                 -     Peter was crucified head down in Rome, 66 A.D.  
                                 -     Andrew was bound to death. He preached until his death in 74 A.D.        
                                 -     James , son of Zebedee, was beheaded in Jerusalem by the sword.   (Acts 12:1-9).        
                                 -     John was banished to the Isle of Patmos, 96 A.D. (Rev. 1- 9).        
                                 -     Phillip was crucified at Heirapole, Phryga, 52 A.D.        
                                 -     Bartholomew was beaten, crucified, then beheaded by the command  of a king, 52 AD.  
                                 -     Thomas was run through by a lance at Corehandal, East Indies, 52 A.D.        
                                 -     Matthew was slain by the sword in the city of Ethiopia about 60 A.D.        
                                 -     James son of Alphaeus, was thrown from a pinnacle, then beaten to death, 60 A.D.        
                                 -     Thaddeus was shot to death by arrows, 72 A.D.        
                                 -     Simon was crucified in Persia, 74 A.D.

​                                                                                                                        
  


















The scattered local leaders of the Church over the following few hundred years struggled for direction, then for recognition and power.  It became a scene of chaos and even violence.  Only when Constantine, the non-Christian emperor of the Roman Empire, called the Council of Nicaea in 325 A.D. did there begin to be a recognized consolidation of what by then was a popular movement stemming from the original church.




























T




To quote Elder Dalliin H Oaks a former law professor a the University of Chicago and University President, who is now, a modern day living apostle of the Lord in his LDS conference address in April of 1995:

"The collision between the speculative world of Greek philosophy and the simple, literal faith and practice of the earliest Christians produced sharp contentions that threatened to widen political divisions in the fragmenting Roman empire. This led Emperor Constantine to convene the first churchwide council in A.D. 325. The action of this council of Nicaea remains the most important single event after the death of the Apostles in formulating the modern Christian concept of deity. The Nicene Creed erased the idea of the separate being of Father and Son by defining God the Son as being of “one substance with the Father."


The lack of living apostles and prophets who would lead the Church by divine revelation giving a continuation of light and divine guidance to mankind led to what we call the Dark Ages. 


The Renaissance and Reformation 

One outcome of the Renaissance beginning in the late 1300’s with the invention of the printing press and the new availability of the Holy Bible led to courageous individuals such as Joan of Arc, John Wycliffe, John Knox, Martin Luther, John Calvin, and Roger Williams openly claiming that the church and/or gospel of their time was not the same as in the scriptures and they attempted to initiate a reformation.  The Protestant churches of today were born out of their and others protests.  

  Roger Williams 1603 - 1683     



















In the late 1600’s, Roger Williams, for example: “…became convinced that the ordinances having been lost in the apostasy could not be validly restored without a special divine commission, making the following statement upon his departure from the sect: ‘There is no regularly constituted church of Christ on earth, nor any person qualified to administer any church ordinances; nor can there be until new apostles are sent by the Great Head of the Church for whose coming I am seeking’.”   (Picturesque America, p. 502.)  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Roger_Williams_(theologian)    
 
  Martin Luther 1483 - 1546


















History tells us that Martin Luther, a Catholic Monk, is famous for his list of 95 statements that he nailed to the Whitenburg church door in Germany.  These statements pointed out differences in the doctrines which he was being asked to teach and what he found in the Holy Bible.  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Martin_Luther 

A Free Land of Worship 

  Mayflower


















The persecution of some of the factions resulting from the Protestant movement prompted the Pilgrims to board The Mayflower sail to what we now call New England where they sought religious freedom.   

  Bill of Rights

After the Revolutionary War the United States was founded with a Bill of Rights ratified December 15, 1791 guaranteeing religious freedom.  I believe that the renaissance, reformation, the colonization of America and the creation of a land offering a freedom of worship all came about by the will of the Lord in preparation for restoring his true church back to the earth  before his Second Coming as promised as shown in the following chapter.
  
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CHAPTER SEVEN

The Restoration of Christ’s Church  

Just as the scriptures foretell of the falling away of the Church before the return of Christ to the earth, it also promises that there would be a restoration:

19  ¶ Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord;  20  And he shall send Jesus Christ, which before was preached unto you:  21  Whom the heaven must receive until the times of restitution of all things, which God hath spoken by the mouth of all his holy prophets since the world began.  (Acts 3:19 - 21)   
 
Paul also saw the day when all that had been spoken by the prophets since the beginning would be restored.  He wrote: 


10  That in the dispensation of the fulness of times he might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; even in him:  (Ephesians 1:10) 

I believe that this is the dispensation of the fullness of times.






  







  


Daniel’s interpretation of King Nebuchadnezzar's dream wherein he sees his kingdom represented by the head of a large image eventually becoming 10 kingdoms (which he describes as kings) represented by the ten toes relates to these latter days and the establishment of God’s kingdom once again upon the earth.  History shows that the modern countries now existing in that area once comprising Nebuchadnezzar’s kingdom is broken into to those 10 kingdoms seen as spoken of  by Daniel: 

44  And in the days of these kings shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom, which shall never be destroyed: and the kingdom shall not be left to other people.  (Daniel 2:44) 

It would be as a stone was cut out of the mountain without hands (Daniel 2:45) … and it would roll forth until it… filled the whole earth.  (Daniel 2:35)

Isaiah, also knew and wrote of these last days: 

6  Thou shalt be visited of the LORD of hosts with thunder, and with earthquake, and great noise, with storm and tempest, and the flame of devouring fire.  7  And the multitude of all the nations that fight against Ariel [Jerusalem]  9 Stay yourselves, and wonder; cry ye out, and cry: they are drunken, but not with wine; they stagger, but not with strong drink. 10  For the LORD hath poured out upon you the spirit of deep sleep, and hath closed your eyes: the prophets and your rulers, the seers hath he covered.  [apostacy or falling away].  13  Wherefore the Lord said, Forasmuch as this people draw near me with their mouth, and with their lips do honour me, but have removed their heart far from me, and their fear toward me is taught by the precept of men:  14  Therefore, behold, I will proceed to do a marvellous work among this people, even a marvellous work and a wonder [restoration]: for the wisdom of their wise men shall perish, and the understanding of their prudent men shall be hid.   (Isaiah 29:6-7,9-10,13-14)

Realistically, if the Lord was to set about restoring his church and all that had been spoken by all of the Holy Prophets since the world began, how would he do it?  It is obvious to me that he would raise up another prophet and then apostles and prophets and communicate through them as he had always done in the past: 

7  Surely the Lord GOD will do nothing, but he revealeth his secret unto his servants the prophets.  (Amos 3:7)

This is exactly what we declare has taken place.  Interestingly, it began within a generation of the establishment of a free land of worship with the ratification of the Bill of Rights in 1791.   It was within fourteen years, in 1805, that prophet was born in Vermont and began to be prepared for his work of restoration.   His name was Joseph Smith.  As a teenager, he moved with his family to rural New York where there was at that time an unusual atmosphere of religious revival.  Joseph was interested, but noted that the preachers of the various denominations differed in their interpretation of the scriptures. 

  
















  
There was one passage he heard quoted that sank deep into his soul and he could not get it out of his mind.  It passage was one that I mention above: 

5  If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.  6  But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering.  For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed.   (James 1:5-6) 

A modern day apostle and prophet, Elder Thomas L Perry narrates a video of the first vision which inaugerated the restoration of the gospel as the scriptures promise:
  




















  
I will summarize here in print, what Elder Perry narrated in the video:  It was spring 1820 when young Joseph, then 14 years of age, arose early and went to a grove of trees a few hundred yards from his home there on the family farm.   He found an appropriate spot and knelt in prayer.  He recounts: 

I saw a pillar of light exactly over my head, above the brightness of the sun, which descended gradually until it fell upon me… I saw two Personages, whose brightness and glory defy all description, standing above me in the air.  One of them spake unto me, calling me by name and said, pointing to the other—“This is My Beloved Son.  Hear Him!” … No sooner, therefore, did I get possession of myself, so as to be able to speak, than I asked the Personages who stood above me in the light, which of all the sects was right (for at this time it had never entered into my heart that all were wrong)—and which I should join.

I was answered that I must join none of them, for they were all wrong; and the Personage who addressed me said that all their creeds were an abomination in his sight; that those professors were all corrupt; that: "they draw near to me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me, they teach for doctrines the commandments of men, having a form of godliness, but they deny the power thereof”.  He again forbade me to join with any of them; and many other things did he say unto me, which I cannot write at this time.  (Pearl of Great Price | JS-History 1:16-20)

Note the words the Lord used as compared to those written by Isaiah concerning these times:  Isaiah – About 850 B.C. - "

13  ...Forasmuch as this people draw near me with their mouth, and with their lips do honour me, but have removed their heart far from me, and their fear toward me is taught by the precept of men:  (Isaiah 29:13) 

The Lord in 1820 said to young Joseph:

"they draw near to me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me, they teach for doctrines the commandments of men, having a form of godliness, but they deny the power thereof.” (JS History 1:15)

I can just imagine the reaction of the religious leaders when young Joseph recounted this experience.  From that time until he was killed by a mob at the age of 38, he was persecuted, mocked and driven as were his followers.  It was a harsh pronouncement but many of the early reformers had come to similar conclusions.  In that first vision, Joseph learned that if he remained worthy, he would be the prophet through whom the restoration of Christ’s church would be accomplished.

During the following years many revelations, heavenly manifestations and even visitations of a number of heavenly messengers were needed to communicate the information necessary to restore the Church, the true gospel, gospel ordinances such as proper baptism, and the priesthood authority to perform them.  This to fulfill the promise to restore all that had been “spoken by the mouth of all his holy prophets since the world began”.

Another modern apostle and prophet narrates a video depicting the personal visitation of heavenly messengers to restore the priesthood authority mentioned in Chapter Four regarding the Ancient Church of Jesus Christ:
  






















  

Again, as Elder Bednar presented, on May 15, 1829, the resurrected John the Baptist appeared to Joseph and Oliver Cowdery who was with him and ordained them with the Priesthood after the order of Aaron, called the Aaronic Priesthood. 

  




















  
Within a few weeks, Peter, James and John also appeared to the same two and ordained them by the laying on of hands the Priesthood after the order of Melchisidec or the Melchisidec Priesthood.  These two orders of priesthood authority are those mentioned above as mentioned in Hebrews the 5th , 6th and 7th chapters.




























The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints which was the result of this latter day restoration, is the only church on the earth today that operates under these two orders of the priesthood.  Every worthy and willing male who is a member of the Church is called and ordained to serve in the Church beginning as deacons in the Aaronic Priesthood at the age of 12. 

To my knowledge, it is the only church, besides a few that have spun off from it, that has a quorum of twelve apostles and prophets.   I have observed these special men throughout my life and I can honestly say that I am not aware of anyone more worthy, more capable nor more inspired.  Shown here is the First Presidency, the equivalent to Peter, James and John who were with Jesus at the time of his transfiguration (Matthew 17:1-2).  Also shown is the quorum of the Twelve Apostles and Prophets as was the pattern in the Savior's ancient Church.




























Many will claim that Joseph Smith was a fraud oreven that he was  immoral, but they are clearly not aware of all that was accomplished by the Lord through him.  He, nor was any prophe perfect; only Jesus was perfect,  but he was strong and honorable to his death. 

Note that in every manifestation of heavenly messengers, at least one other person was involved as a witness.  This was not the case, during the first appearance of the Father and  the Son, but later the heavens were opened to Joseph and Sidney Rigdon and they saw God and Christ and this was their testimony:

9 And while we meditated upon these things, the Lord touched the eyes of our understandings and they were opened, and the glory of the Lord shone round about. 20 And we beheld the glory of the Son, on the right hand of the Father, and received of his fulness;  21 And saw the holy angels, and them who are sanctified before his throne, worshiping God, and the Lamb, who worship him forever and ever.  22 And now, after the many testimonies which have been given of him, this is the testimony, last of all, which we give of him: That he lives!  23 For we saw him, even on the right hand of God; and we heard the voice bearing record that he is the Only Begotten of the Father— 24 That by him, and through him, and of him, the worlds are and were created, and the inhabitants thereof are begotten sons and daughters unto God.  (Doctrine and Covenants | Section 76:19 - 24)


Why would Joseph Smith endure so much persecution and struggle all during his life, having been rideculed and driven from his homes?  During those early years of the Church, as they were driven from New York, Ohio, Missouri and Illinois, it was not too different from the persecution of the ancient saints (members) of Christ’s Church.  In Ohio, he was beaten and tarred and feathered.  In Missouri, he was imprisoned in a dungeon jail for six month and in Carthage he was murdered.  It must be noted that powerful witnesses and spiritual gifts were manifest to many others in those early days of the newly restored Church as the Lord certainly felt the need to support Joseph the prophet and his testimony.  

Joseph Smith and his brother, Hyrum were shot and killed by a mob on June 27, 1844 at the jail in Carthage, Illinois where they were being held on trumped up charges.  The enemies of the Church had tried many times before to prove wrong doing by him and this was one of the many times he had been arrested on one phony charge after another.  This time, he knew would be the last.  When Joseph and his older brother, Hyrum, went to Carthage to deliver themselves up to the pretended requirements of the law, two or three days previous to his assassination, he said: "I am going like a lamb to the slaughter; but I am calm as a summer's morning; I have a conscience void of offense towards God, and towards all men.  (Doctrine and Covenants | Section 135:4)  Why would an older brother, and in fact all of his family, stand by him if they were not convinced he was a true prophet?

Here is a video narrated by a living apostle and prophet, Elder Jeoffry R Holland, describing the martyrdom of Joseph and Hyrum Smith as they read from The Book of Mormon in their very last hours of mortal life:
  















  





One of his closestt associates and who was sorely wounded himself as he was with him in the jail at the time he was killed, is quoted to have said of the Prophet Joseph Smith:

3 Joseph Smith, the Prophet and Seer of the Lord, has done more, save Jesus only, for the salvation of men in this world, than any other man that ever lived in it. In the short space of twenty years, he has brought forth the Book of Mormon, which he translated by the gift and power of God, and has been the means of publishing it on two continents; has sent the fulness of the everlasting gospel, which it contained, to the four quarters of the earth; has brought forth the revelations and commandments which compose this book of Doctrine and Covenants, and many other wise documents and instructions for the benefit of the children of men; gathered many thousands of the Latter-day Saints, founded a great city, and left a fame and name that cannot be slain. He lived great, and he died great in the eyes of God and his people; and like most of the Lord's anointed in ancient times, has sealed his mission and his works with his own blood; and so has his brother Hyrum. In life they were not divided, and in death they were not separated!
(Doctrine and Covenants | Section 135:3)   John Taylor is also quoted in regards to his close associate, the Prophet Joseph Smith;  ​"He was a virtuous man".


The prophet’s murderers thought that his death would end the Church, but the leader of the twelve apostles was consecrated the next prophet and led the body of the Church to the Utah Territory first arriving July 24, 1848. 
  
























  
I am deeply grateful for those of my ancestors who suffered this journey because of their faith in the restored gospel.  I have deep personal conviction that Jesus Christ has personally directed the restoration of His Church in these latter days; His true gospel, priesthood authority and organization as was prophesied by the apostle Peter:

19 ¶ Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord; 20 And he shall send Jesus Christ, which before was preached unto you: 21 Whom the heaven must receive until the times of restitution of all things, which God hath spoken by the mouth of all his holy prophets since the world began.  (New Testament | Acts 3:18 - 21)

The organization including living apostles and prophets who receive divine revelation from the Lord to lead His Church in the effort to take the gospel to all the world before the Second Coming of Christ:

14 And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come.  (New Testament | Matthew 24:14)

19 ¶ Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord; 20 And he shall send Jesus Christ, which before was preached unto you: 21 Whom the heaven must receive until the times of restitution of all things, which God hath spoken by the mouth of all his holy prophets since the world began.  (New Testament | Acts 3:18 - 21)

The organization including living apostles and prophets who receive divine revelation from the Lord to lead His Church in the effort to take the gospel to all the world before the Second Coming of Christ:

14 And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come.  (New Testament | Matthew 24:14)

There are currently nearly 80,000 young men and women including my own grandchildren, who are serving full time two year missions.  That means that nearly 40,000 a year respond to this call, to help take the gospel to the world.

The Church, since led by prophets and apostles has since grown to over 15 million in 165 countries and is truly fulfilling the prophecies: 

And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come.  (Matthew 24:14)  It is as a …stone was cut out of the mountain without hands (Daniel 2:45) … and it would roll forth until it… filled the whole earth.  (Daniel 2:35)  It is truly “a marvelous work among this people, even a marvelous work and a wonder:”  (Isaiah 29:15)

I have deep personal conviction that Jesus Christ has personally directed the restoration of His Church in these latter days; His true gospel, priesthood authority and organization as was prophesied by the apostle Peter:

  




















  
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                                                        CHAPTER EIGHT​​
 
                                                                 The Book of Mormon  - 
                                                    Another Testament of Jesus Christ

 
                                                                 https://www.lds.org/scriptures/bofm?lang=eng
 
You will notice that most of the scriptures I use here to substantiate my beliefs are from the Holy Bible.  I believe the Bible to be the word of God.  We use the King James Version of the Bible as we believe it to be the most correct of the many translation of the Bible that have occurred through the centuries.
 
To me, every aspect of the Church, when fully understood is evidence of the restoration of Christ’s true church and that it was restored and now operates under his personal direction.  Probably the most tangible evidence of the truth and divine involvement in the restoration of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the Book of Mormon. 
 
  




















Three and an half years after the first vision, as it is called, of God and Christ in the grove that Spring of 1820, Joseph, by then 18 years of age, prayed with concern that he had heard no further word.  As he prayed the room lit up and a heavenly messenger appeared.  He introduced himself as Moroni who had been the last of a long line of prophets who lived in Ancient America.  He explained that he was custodian of ancient set of scriptural records, written by the prophets who had lived in this land from about 600 BC to 421 AD and that it was time for those writings to be brought forth as part of the restoration of that spoken by all of the prophets from the beginning of the earth.  The messenger came three times during the night and then again the next day in the field where he instructed Joseph to go tell his father of what was transpiring and then meet him on the side of the Hill Cumorah near the farm.  Moroni there showed Joseph the set of records and forbade him to get them until it was time.  Each year, Joseph met Moroni at the hill and received instructions from him. 
























  
On the 23rd day of September, 1827 Moroni delivered the records into the hands of Joseph and instructed him to seek the inspiration of the Lord to translate them into English.  As Joseph Smith had little formal education, and the delivered records were written in a reformed Egyptian Hieroglyphics, the translation was only possible by the gift and power of God.  Included with the records was a set of seer stones called the Urim and Thummim (See Exodus 28:30, Leviticus 8:8,  Deuteronomy 38:8, Ezra 2:63 and Nehemiah 7:65) which when used in faith and worthiness provided the translation from the ancient language in which the record was written.

  
One Martin Harris took a transcription of these hieroglyphics to a Professor Charles Anthon, a professor of classical languages in New York’s Columbia College (Now Columbia University).  Martin’s account of the meeting was that the Professor gave a certification that these were indeed Egyptian Hieroglyphics, but tore the paper up when he learned that he could not have access to the ancient record himself.  He was quoted as saying, “I cannot read a sealed book.”  This account, we declare is a direct fulfillment of another of Isaiah prophecies in that same 29th chapter where Isaiah speaks of the marvelous work that was to come forth: 

And the vision of all is become unto you as the words of a book that is sealed, which men deliver to one that is learned, saying, Read this, I pray thee: and he saith, I cannot; for it is sealed:  And the book is delivered to him that is not learned, saying, Read this, I pray thee: and he saith, I am not learned.  (Isaiah 29:11 - 12) 

The Angel Moroni commanded Joseph to translate only a third of the records, that the other two thirds were to remain sealed until a later time.  That, by the way, is one of the reasons the records were returned to Moroni when the translation the third of the record was finished and remain in his custody today. 


The word got out that the records were kept on gold plates and there were all kinds of connived efforts to get them away from him.  Because of the difficulties, it was only in a few months in 1829 that most of translation was done.  The transcripts were type set and published under the title of The Book of Mormon in 1829.   I will explain why we use both the Bible and the Book of Mormon.


The Book of Mormon has now been translated in over 100 languages in fulfillment of the prophecy: 

6  And I saw another angel fly in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach unto them that dwell on the earth, and to every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people,  7  Saying with a loud voice, Fear God, and give glory to him; for the hour of his judgment is come: and worship him that made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and the fountains of waters.  (Revelation 14:6 - 7)


The Book of Mormon, consists of the writings of a number of prophets who lived in Ancient America for a little over a thousand years from 600 B.C. to 421 A.D.  It actually originates in the City of Jerusalem with the account of a prophet named Lehi, a contemporary of Jeremiah as both were warning the inhabitants of that city of their pending destruction by the Babylonians if they continued their wickedness.  Jeremiah was eventually imprisoned and Lehi and his family were warned to flee for their lives.  They were led to a promised land which turned out to be what we would call Ancient America. 


Not long after they arrived, father Lehi passed away and the two oldest brothers, Laman and Lemual, rebelled and the younger brothers led by Nephi were told to separate themselves.  Most of the thousand year history includes conflicts between the followers of the older brothers known as Lamanites and of Nephi known as Nephites.  The Lord promised the Nephites as long as they were keeping his commandments, they would be preserved from the warring Lamanites, if they ever turned away from the Lord, he would allow the Lamanites to destroy them.  This actually finally occurred in the years leading up to 400 A.D.  Moroni was the sole Nephite survivor and was given custody of the record that had been prepared by his father, Mormon.  The record on the gold plates Mormon delivered to his son, were a result of Mormon tireless abridgement of the masses of records that had been kept up to that time.  He was under the command of the Lord to record the parts of the records that would carry the everlasting gospel to the earth in the latter days.  It is after Mormon that the record is named.

Evidences of the Truth of the Book of Mormon


There are many, especially some religious leaders and others who sponsor anti-Mormon websites that want to imply that Joseph Smith was the author of the Book of Mormon.  Well, as a student of the Book of Mormon, my first impression is that anyone who thinks that just is not aware of the facts.  First of all, Joseph was the one referred to in Isaiah 29 as not learned and the truth is that he did have very little formal education and was a very young man when the Book of Mormon was published.  Anyone who would read it with an open mind and an honest heart, will see that no one could concoct such a record of such complexity that would stand the test of time over 150 years.  There are many evidences that the Book of Mormon was written anciently by inspired prophets and that it has a divine purpose.  There are also strong physical evidences of its truth which I will discuss next. 


Scriptural Evidences


Many ask if the Book of Mormon is mentioned in the Bible and the answer is, “yes” but not by name.   Lehi knew that he was a direct descendant of Joseph, the one with the coat of many colors (I can relate to him.), who was sold by his brothers into Egypt.   When Joseph’s family joined him in Egypt prior to father Jacob’s death, the sons received prophetic blessings from father Jacob.  Jacob blessed Joseph: 

22  Joseph is a fruitful bough, even a fruitful bough by a well; whose branches run over the wall …26  The blessings of thy father have prevailed above the blessings of my progenitors unto the utmost bound of the everlasting hills: they shall be on the head of Joseph, and on the crown of the head of him that was separate from his brethren.  (Genesis 49:22 - 26) 

We have reason to know that this prophecy refers a branch of Joseph’s descendants, Lehi, who would run over the wall (ocean) to the umost bound (opposite side of the world) of the everlasting hills.  Only on this Western hemisphere is there a continual range of mountains starting with the Aleutian Islands of Alaska growing into  the Canadian Rockies, continuing as the Rocky Mountains in the Western U. S. and the Guadalupe Mountains in Mexico ending at the Southern tip of South America with the Andes Mountains.  The continent of North and South America is the “land of everlasting hills” foreseen as the home of a branch of Joseph’s descendants.
The prophet Ezekiel was aware of the record of this branch of Joseph. 

15  ¶ The word of the LORD came again unto me, saying,  16  Moreover, thou son of man, take thee one stick, and write upon it, For Judah, and for the children of Israel his companions: then take another stick, and write upon it, For Joseph, the stick of Ephraim, and for all the house of Israel his companions:  17  And join them one to another into one stick; and they shall become one in thine hand.  ( Ezekiel 37:15 - 17) 

The stick or record of Judah (the Jews) is the Holy Bible.  The stick or record of Joseph (Lehi) is the Book of Mormon.  They are now used together in our church “one in thine hand” to teach the gospel.



















  
Earlier, I mentioned that the resurrected Jesus Christ visited Ancient America.  The account of this visit is an important part of the Book of Mormon.  I quoted the statement of Jesus to the Jews: 

16  And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold: them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one fold, and one shepherd. (John 10:16) 

Throughout the entire Book of Mormon, reference is made to Jesus Christ and his gospel which is the doctrine taught therein.  His visit to the Book of Mormon people is promised and the account of his personal visit is a precious writing.  As mentioned earlier, he told these people:

And verily I say unto you, that ye are they of whom I said: Other sheep I have which are not of this fold; them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one fold, and one shepherd.  (Book of Mormon | 3 Nephi 15:21)  























Because the Book of Mormon contains the fullness of the gospel of Jesus Christ and offers a second witness of a nation to whom he ministered, the Book of Mormon is subtitled, Another Testament of Jesus Christ.


Special Witnesses


There were three prominent men who saw the heavenly messenger, Moroni, and was commanded of him to be witnesses of its divine origin. 


THE TESTIMONY OF THREE WITNESSES








  






  









  
1  BE IT KNOWN unto all nations, kindreds, tongues, and people, unto whom this work shall come: That we, through the grace of God the Father, and our Lord Jesus Christ, have seen the plates which contain this record, which is a record of the people of Nephi, and also of the Lamanites, their brethren, and also of the people of Jared, who came from the tower of which hath been spoken.  And we also know that they have been translated by the gift and power of God, for his voice hath declared it unto us; wherefore we know of a surety that the work is true.  And we also testify that we have seen the engravings which are upon the plates; and they have been shown unto us by the power of God, and not of man.  And we declare with words of soberness, that an angel of God came down from heaven, and he brought and laid before our eyes, that we beheld and saw the plates, and the engravings thereon; and we know that it is by the grace of God the Father, and our Lord Jesus Christ, that we beheld and bear record that these things are true.  And it is marvelous in our eyes.  Nevertheless, the voice of the Lord commanded us that we should bear record of it; wherefore, to be obedient unto the commandments of God, we bear testimony of these things.  And we know that if we are faithful in Christ, we shall rid our garments of the blood of all men, and be found spotless before the judgment–seat of Christ, and shall dwell with him eternally in the heavens.  And the honor be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost, which is one God.  Amen.


            OLIVER COWDERY
            DAVID WHITMER
            MARTIN HARRIS
(Book of Mormon | Preface 3 Witnesses:Heading - 1)


In addition, there were eight men who saw and handled the gold plates.

 
THE TESTIMONY OF EIGHT WITNESSES


1  BE IT KNOWN unto all nations, kindreds, tongues, and people, unto whom this work shall come: That Joseph Smith, Jun., the translator of this work, has shown unto us the plates of which hath been spoken, which have the appearance of gold; and as many of the leaves as the said Smith has translated we did handle with our hands; and we also saw the engravings thereon, all of which has the appearance of ancient work, and of curious workmanship.  And this we bear record with words of soberness, that the said Smith has shown unto us, for we have seen and hefted, and know of a surety that the said Smith has got the plates of which we have spoken.  And we give our names unto the world, to witness unto the world that which we have seen.  And we lie not, God bearing witness of it.


            CHRISTIAN WHITMER
            HIRAM PAGE
            JACOB WHITMER
            JOSEPH SMITH, SEN.
            PETER WHITMER, JUN.
            HYRUM SMITH
            JOHN WHITMER
            SAMUEL H. SMITH
(Book of Mormon | Preface 8 Witnesses:Heading - 1)


Some of the witness were at different times offended and left the Church for varying periods of  time, some for the rest of their lives, but in spite of bitter feelings, none at any time ever denied their testimonies.  To me this is very significant.


Archeological Evidences


Books have been written about evidences supporting the validity of the Book of Mormon by archeological findings in the areas supposed to be the habitation of its people.  Though none of these findings offer what some would call proof, I personally am satisfied that many evidences exist that could definitely substantiate the existence and traditions of the Book of Mormon people. 


One interesting example is an object that was found in Southern Mexico of the tree of life, especially the one called Izapa Stela 5 or the Lehi Stone  because it so closely depicts the vision or dream of Lehi recorded in the 8th chapter of the Book of Mormon, (1 Nephi 8) centered around what he referred to as the tree of life.  

                                     https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ei3cKPMu71A

























  
Here is a photo of one of the many pyramids in Mexico, Central and South America, which I believe to be the habitation of the Book of Mormon people.   To me it is perfectly logical to believe that those who built these pyramids were descendants of those who built similar structures in Egypt prior to the exodus to the Holy Land which was led by Moses.  In fact, It is now known that the cubit was the unit of measure used in both Egyptian and Ancient American structures.  The Book of Mormon people came from the Holy Land after the exodus from Egypt.






















  
Like any other such artifact or archeological structure, these do not nor cannot convince anyone who is otherwise not inclined to believe. 


Legends

  
Cortez and Montezuma at Mexican Temple












The Spaniard Hernando Cortez,  conqueror of Mexico, enters the Aztec temple. He is welcomed by Emperor Montezuma II, who thought Cortez was a god.

Quetzalcoatl - “‘He's that Feathered Serpent of Ancient Mexico"…  a bearded, white God who was suppose to return from the East to reclaim his power, but the Indians and Montezuma mistook the Spanish Conqueror, Cortez for him instead’.”  http://weber.ucsd.edu/~anthclub/quetzalcoatl/quetzal.htm


Quetzalcoatl, god of civilization, was identified with the planet Venus and with the wind;  http://www.encyclopedia.com/topic/Quetzalcoatl.aspx


I have heard of one legend that explains the plumed serpent and the connection with the new star that appeared at Christ's birth  as stemming from a night of light experienced by the inhabitants of Ancient America, and the new star, as a sign to them at the time of Christ’s birth (Book of Mormon 3rd Nephi Chapter 1).  It was said that the new star that appeared  flaring into its present orbit glowing and with a tail like a comet.  The glowing comet and trail of light steaming behind as it streaked across the night sky, lighting it up as noon and afterward referred to as a plumed serpent according to that legend and in my mind logically connect that event to the birth of Jesus Christ.
  























  
Linguistic Evidences
To me some of the most compelling evidence of the validity of the Book of Mormon is relates to the subtle linguistic embedded in the translation. 
Quoting from an article:  Mounting Evidence for the Book of Mormon by Daniel C. Peterson:   “The Book of Mormon claims to have been written in “reformed Egyptian” (Book of Mormon,  Mormon 9:32).  Most who have studied the subject conclude that this signifies writing the Hebrew language in modified Egyptian characters. In recent years, we have learned that several ancient documents were written in precisely that fashion.”   (John A. Tvedtnes and Stephen D. Ricks, “Jewish and Other Semitic Texts Written in Egyptian Characters,” JBMS, fall 1996, 156–63; William J. Hamblin, “Reformed Egyptian” (Provo: FARMS, 1995). See also John Gee, “Two Notes on Egyptian Script,” JBMS, spring 1996, 162–76.) 

Peterson continues:  The name of Lehi’s wife, Sariah, previously unknown outside the Book of Mormon, has been found in ancient Jewish documents from Egypt. 21 Likewise, the nonbiblical name Nephi belongs to the very time and place of the first Book of Mormon figure who bears it. The imagery in Nephi’s vision is deeply rooted in ancient Near Eastern symbolism with which Joseph Smith could not have been familiar. 24 Moreover, its predictions are strikingly accurate.
On simple little example of which I am aware is in the Book of Mormon, the honey bee is called deseret.   That this was the actual term of the bee in the ancient Arabic languages has only recently been discovered by language experts.   There is no way that Joseph Smith could have know this in the 1830’s, as far as I know, it was not known then by anyone.  This is a simple example, but it is a strong evidence. 
Spiritual Confirmation
I personally believe that it is the intention of the Lord, that the truth Book of Mormon is to be determined by each individual, not by any physical evidence, but by spiritual confirmation.  In the very last chapter of the Book of Mormon, the last prophet, Moroni promised: 

4  And when ye shall receive these things, I would exhort you that ye would ask God, the Eternal Father, in the name of Christ, if these things are not true; and if ye shall ask with a sincere heart, with real intent, having faith in Christ, he will manifest the truth of it unto you, by the power of the Holy Ghost.  5  And by the power of the Holy Ghost ye may know the truth of all things.  (Book of Mormon | Moroni 10:4 - 5)
I  personally have studied The Book of Mormon along with the Bible and have received a personal witness of its truth.  I know it is the word of God.
  
A living apostle and prophet of our day, Elder Jeoffrey R Holland, speaks of The Book of Mormon largely in answer to those who would discount it:








  











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CHAPTER NINE

The Atonement of Jesus Christ

What does it mean to be saved? 

Problem - The Fall of man – God warned Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden that if they partook of the forbidden fruit they would surely die.  When Eve then Adam made the choice to partake of the fruit so they could “multiply and replenish the earth” as also commanded they were cast out of the garden and the presence of God and they became subject to growing old and dying.  The death or the fall, then, of which they were warned came in two forms: 

1)  Physical Death – The separation of the body and the spirit.




















2)  Spiritual Death – The separation of Adam and Eve and their posterity from the presence of God.  Our doctrine teaches, and I believe, that no unclean thing can dwell with God; therefore, whether this spiritual death as initiated by the transgression of Adam and Eve continues for any individual eternally depends upon the worthiness of that individual.























Solution - The Atonement  -  Broken down, the word at-one-ment simply means overcoming these two deaths or  separations to be at one with God.  Jesus Christ suffered in the Garden of Gethsemane to the extent the he bled at every pore


























and suffered severe pain at the hands of his tormentors culminating in being nailed to a cross where he died. 


























By so doing, he paid for Adam and Eve’s transgression which had brought about physical death which he subsequently overcame in the resurrection.




























1)  Resurrection –

20  But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept.  21  For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead.  22  For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.  (1 Corinthians 15:20 - 22)

2)  Eternal Life -  (Life with God and Christ forever)

For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.  (Romans 6:23) 

I believe this means that the wages of sin is a continuation of spiritual death or being separated from our Heavenly Father and his kingdom, which eternal life.

Jesus taught that to obtain that life (eternal life), we must: 

13 Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction [spiritual death], and many there be which go in thereat:  14  Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto [eternal] life, and few there be that find it.  (Matthew 7:13 - 14)


5  Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. 
(John 3:5)



As Peter spoke to a crowd of people, they were filled with faith and asked what they needed to do: 

37  Now when they heard this, they were pricked in their heart, and said unto Peter and to the rest of the apostles, Men and brethren, what shall we do?  38  Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.  (Acts 2:37 - 38) 


The message of the scriptures, to me, is that to obtain eternal life or to be saved from spiritual death in the eternities, we must acquire enough faith in Jesus Christ’s atonement to repent of our sins, be baptized for the remission of sins and receive the Holy Ghost by the laying on of hands. 

Baptism and the laying on of hands to be divinely acceptable must be performed by those truly authorized who have been appropriately called and ordained with true priesthood authority as we have discussed earlier.   The scriptures also make it clear that:  

Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. (Matthew 7:21) And …he that endureth to the end shall be saved  (Matthew 10:22) [from spiritual death].
                       
Salvation to me and according to the doctrine of our church has two meanings: 

1)  Being saved from physical death in the resurrection by grace alone and
2) Salvation from spiritual death through the grace of Christ and our following him by living by his teachings, his gospel.

There are many who challenge my belief that we must live righteous lives to be saved and they quote:  

8  For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:  9  Not of works, lest any man should boast.  (Ephesians 2:8 - 9)

I understand and accept this teaching, for without the atonement of Christ, no matter what we did, we could not be saved from spiritual death (remember that all are resurrected as they are saved from physical death).  I do, however, see in the complete scripture clearly taught the things we must do to qualify for the salvation from spiritual death (eternal life with Father).  One passage that seems, on the surface to contradict the scripture above is the following:

17  Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone.  18  Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works. 19  Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble.  20  But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead?  21  Was not Abraham our father justified by works, when he had offered Isaac his son upon the altar?  22  Seest thou how faith wrought with his works, and by works was faith made perfect?  (James 2:17 - 22)

To me, there is no question, that we are required to follow Jesus by living his gospel and keeping his commandments to take full advantage of his grace, his Atoning Sacrifice.  

I have a deep personal conviction that Jesus Christ is our Savior, our Reteemer.   That he rose in the resurrection and now lives and by so doing has saved us all from physical death as we will all be resurrected as was he.  I know that he suffered for our sins and answered the demands of justice for those who will be "born again" (John 3:3-5) by their faith in Christ, repentance of their sins, being baptized for the remission of sins and receiving the Holy Ghost and enduring to the end:  

22  ...he that endureth to the end shall be saved.  ( Matthew 10:22)

I am so very grateful for our Heavenly Father's love:

16 ¶ For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
17 For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.  (New Testament | John 3:16 - 17)


 Please note that this oft quoted passage is in the same chapter a few verses following the command to be born of the water and of the spirit to be saved (from spiritual death and dwell in the kingdom of God)​:

Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water (baptized) and of the Spirit (receive the Holy Ghost), he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.  (John 3:5)

























I have a strong conviction that we have true apostles and prophets of our day, who are special witnesses for Christ and his restored gospel.  Here are some of their testimonies:
     

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CHAPTER TEN

The Plan of Salvation –  


















Where did we come from?     

I believe that the spirit that dwells in our body and gives us life is the offspring of God, (Acts 17:29) as we have discussed in the chapter, The Nature of God.  The scriptures do not leave any doubt that Jesus dwelled in the presence of his Heavenly Father prior to his mortal birth: 

4  I have glorified thee on the earth: I have finished the work which thou gavest me to do.  5  And now, O Father, glorify thou me with thine own self with the glory which I had with thee before the world was.  (John 17:4-5)

Even Satan and his angels lived and rebelled in that pre-mortal society: 

 7  And there was war in heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon; and the dragon fought and his angels,  8  And prevailed not; neither was their place found any more in heaven.  9  And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him.  (Revelation 12:7-9)

The following two passages are worth repeating as they tell us a lot about our purpose here:

16  The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God:  17  And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together.  (Romans 8:16 - 17)

Furthermore we have had fathers of our flesh which corrected us, and we gave them reverence: shall we not much rather be in subjection unto the Father of spirits, and live?  (Hebrews 12:9)

Why are we here? 

I believe that suffering with Christ and being in subjection unto the Father both mean that, if we expect to be glorified with God and Christ in the next life, this life should be about learning and learning to live by their will. 

I also believe that a fundamental purpose of this life is to gain a mortal body that will at some point be resurrected into an immortal body in some degree of glory, depending upon how well we learn and learn to live by the true gospel of Christ (See below).

Where are we going after death? 

When Jesus hung on the cross, he responded to the repentant malefactor who hung near him: 

43  Verily I say unto thee, To day shalt thou be with me in paradise.  (Luke 23:43) 

Paradise describes is promise for the righteous in the spirit world where after our physical death, we await the resurrection and judgment.  It is a place of peace, rest and love.  The wicked will experience a place of darkness where they will suffer for their sins where the scriptures promise “weeping, wailing and gnashing of teeth”.

11  Now, concerning the state of the soul between death and the resurrection—Behold, it has been made known unto me by an angel, that the spirits of all men, as soon as they are departed from this mortal body, yea, the spirits of all men, whether they be good or evil, are taken home to that God who gave them life.
12  And then shall it come to pass, that the spirits of those who are righteous are received into a state of happiness, which is called paradise, a state of rest, a state of peace, where they shall rest from all their troubles and from all care, and sorrow.
13  And then shall it come to pass, that the spirits of the wicked, yea, who are evil—for behold, they have no part nor portion of the Spirit of the Lord; for behold, they chose evil works rather than good; therefore the spirit of the devil did enter into them, and take possession of their house—and these shall be cast out into outer darkness; there shall be weeping, and wailing, and gnashing of teeth, and this because of their own iniquity, being led captive by the will of the devil.
14  Now this is the state of the souls of the wicked, yea, in darkness, and a state of awful, fearful looking for the fiery indignation of the wrath of God upon them; thus they remain in this state, as well as the righteous in paradise, until the time of their resurrection.  (Book of Mormon | Alma 40:11 - 14)

It is my impression that most Christian religions believe this to be the final reward of heaven and hell mentioned in the scriptures.

The Resurrection:

As discussed in the chapter on the Atonement of Jesus Christ, He paid for the transgression of Adam on the cross and overcame physical death in the resurrection for all:

21  For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead.
22  For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.  (New Testament | 1 Corinthians 15:21 - 22)

The Judgment:

12  And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works.
13  And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works. (New Testament | Revelation 20:12 - 13)

4  And even unto the great and last day, when all people, and all kindreds, and all nations and tongues shall stand before God, to be judged of their works, whether they be good or whether they be evil—
5  If they be good, to the resurrection of everlasting life; and if they be evil, to the resurrection of damnation; being on a parallel, the one on the one hand and the other on the other hand, according to the mercy, and the justice, and the holiness which is in Christ, who was before the world began. (Book of Mormon | 3 Nephi 26:4 - 5)

Three Degrees of Glory:

As the scriptures indicate, the final judgment comes after the resurrection which itself will be a sort of a judgment, as we will rise with a glorified body varying in glory depending upon the lives we lived: 

40  There are also celestial bodies, and bodies terrestrial: but the glory of the celestial is one, and the glory of the terrestrial is another.  41  There is one glory of the sun, and another glory of the moon, and another glory of the stars: for one star differeth from another star in glory.  42  So also is the resurrection of the dead.  It is sown in corruption; it is raised in incorruption:  (1 Corinthians 15:40 - 42)


















































These three degrees of glory were revealed in some detail to Joseph Smith and Sidney Rigdon who was with him in Hyrum, Ohio, February 16, 1832.   It was learned that the resection to the celestial glory will qualify the individual for the celestial kingdom, the place where God and Christ dwell.  It is eternal life reserved for the devoted and true followers of Jesus as the scriptures teach.  The terrestrial glory will be the everlasting home for the good and honorable people who lived on the earth, but who did not accept and follow the fullness of the gospel.  The glory compared to the stars, it was learned is called the telestial kingdom reserved for the wicked, those who cannot be trusted.   There will be a few who will suffer a second death and will become subject to Satan and will go into outer darkness with them.  All of the degrees of glory, even the telestial kingdom, will be a glory far beyond our fondest imagination as all are children of our Father in Heaven and there will be eternal glory for the least righteous even though it will compare to the celestial kingdom as the stars compare to the sun.  The terrestrial kingdom is compared to the moon relating to the other kingdoms of glory.


​The Prophet Joseph Smith and an associate, Sidney Rigdon,expeienced a special spiritual vision of the details of the three degrees of glory and of those who would qualify to dwell in each:       https://www.lds.org/scriptures/dc-testament/dc/76

  ​​
  
Chapter Eleven

Temples –

What are the purpose of your temples?  Can anyone attend temple services?


























               The Ancient Temple of Soloman                                                                      Slide Show of Modern Temples

Temples were a part of worship anciently, even when the Israelites were in the wilderness, the constructed a portable edifice in which they could participate in temple worship.  The building of temples and the reinstitution of temple worship is an important part of the restitution of all things, which God hath spoken by the mouth of all his holy prophets since the world began. (Acts 3:21)    There at this writing one hundred and fifty temples in operation around the world with many more in the construction or planning stages. 

http://www.lds.org/temples/geographical/0,11380,1899-1,00.html>   

We call a temple the House of the Lord and I personally love to attend as I can feel a special spirit of peace there.  The dress in temples is all white symbolic to me of purity and cleanliness. 
























What is the purpose of LDS temples and why can’t non-LDS go into operating temples? – This is a common question and the answer is straightforward. Temples are not used for regular Sunday worship services like the other meeting houses of the Church.  When a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints participates in the temple ceremony, he or she enters into sacred covenants, or in other words, offers vows to live by specific principles of the gospel of Jesus Christ.  Only those who have demonstrated a willingness and ability to live by these principles are invited to enter into such sacred promises.   Membership of the Church through baptism is an obvious prerequisite, for example.  We believe that it would be detrimental to any individual to enter into such covenants without being prepared to make such commitments.   The ceremonies and the covenants involved are sacred and are not discussed outside of the temples.  Of course there are those who, contrary to their promises, have exposed the sacred temple ceremonies and clothing that are associated with it.  This is hurtful to me, personally, as I do consider the temple covenants as very sacred. 

Before a temple is dedicated, there is typically an open house for several weeks, and the public is invited through.  After the dedication, the temples are closed to the public and are reserved for their sacred purposes.  The sacred ceremonies in the temple involve entering into covenants or promises with the Lord to live his gospel and to serve him willingly.  His part of these covenants is the promise of exaltation in his celestial presence with our families forever and ever.

Temple Marriage  - 

The most sacred and special of the temple covenants we call eternal marriage.   Worthy couples can be married there or if already married can have their marriage sealed for eternity.   Their children are sealed or bound to them forever.  The lofty promises that accompany this most sacred covenant are contingent upon the parties keeping their promises made in the temple.   Shown here is a sealing room typical of those found in all of the over 150 temples now operating in the world.  The San Diego Temple is shown  in the background of this couple who have been bound or sealed for eternity.  


























The priesthood keys to perform such binding covenants were given to Peter by the Lord as he said: 

And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.  (Matthew 16:19) 

Those same keys were a part of the restoration of the Lord’s Church when Peter, James and John and other heavenly messengers returned and bestowed them upon Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery.
























 

I am most grateful to know that I am bound by these keys of priesthood authority to my eternal companion, Susan, forever with our children bound to us as we are sealed or bound to our parents in a patriarchal chain that promises to be an important part of the fullness of joy promised in the Celestial Kingdom:

Thou wilt shew me the path of life: in thy presence is fulness of joy; at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore.  (Psalms 16:11)   

Let me explain a doctrine that has to do with eternal families that  is not understood and is even criticized and mocked  by some mainstream Christian leaders: To me, the generations of families is a prototype of our Heavenly Father's eternal purpose, by that I mean that as I have described in the first chaper, The Nature of God, we are the "offspring of God" as indicated in Acts 17:29 and as documented in Romans 8:16-17, he is the father of our spirits and as his heirs and joint heirs with Christ if we will suffer with him, or in other words follow him, we will be glorified together with him.  To be joint heirs with Chirst is more than just a little significant, because as indicated in Hebrews 1:2, he has been appointed "heir of all things".  This  means that if we follow Christ, we will also be heirs of all things, that is we will have grown to be like our Heavenly Father as is suggested in Matthew 5:48:  

48 Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.

How this ties in to eternal family, is simply that those who are true followers of Christ will have the divine capacity to bear spirit children, and therein lies the  generation concept wherein family generations in mortality or earth life, is a prototype of eternal family generations.  This eternal opportunity is a part of the  promise made in what is called The New and Everlasting Covenant of Marriage.  Couples who keep their covenants and remain worthy will be privelegded to provide the next generation in the eternal family of God, our Heavenly Father and so on forever.  Think of these passages:

21 To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne
(Revelation 3:21 )

5 And from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, and the first begotten of the dead, and the prince of the kings of the earth. Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood, 6 And hath made us kings and priests unto God and his Father; to him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.  (Revelation 1:5 - 6)

16 For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him:  (Colossians 1:16)

As joint heirs of Christ, we also have the capacity to inheret these same divine opportunities as has been clarified in this modern day revelation:

29 All thrones and dominions, principalities and powers, shall be revealed and set forth upon all who have endured valiantly for the gospel of Jesus Christ.   (Doctrine and Covenants | Section 121:29)

This includes the capacity and opportunity to participate in procreating spirits who will then begin their eternal sojourne as have we.  It has to be noted that those who ignore this potential and opportunity will suffer what the scriptures call damnation, which actually means their progression will be damned up or stopped.

29 And shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life (meaning the continuation of lives); and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation.   (John 5:29)

John understood forever families and eternal generations.

It is a serious lifetime effort to be worthy of such a great blessing.  We have established this as goal of our family's  mission statement:        To Be a Family  Together Forever in the Celestial Kingdom of God.

Salvation for the Dead –

I have written earlier about the spirit world being divided into Paradise and a place of darkness and misery often referred to as Hell.  Spirit Prison is referred to as a state of ignorance of the truth of the gospel.  All will remain in this spirit world until the resurrection and judgment following that period of waiting as spirits beings.  Remember what Jesus said to the theif who was crucified beside him:  "...To day shalt thou be with me in paradise. (Luke 23:43)




























When the Lord’s body was in the tomb, he went in the spirit to preach the gospel to those who were in spirit prison: 


18  For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit: 19  By which also he went and preached unto the spirits in prison; 20  Which sometime were disobedient, when once the longsuffering of God waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was a preparing, wherein few, that is, eight souls were saved by water.  (1 Peter 3:18 - 20)

6  For for this cause was the gospel preached also to them that are dead, that they might be judged according to men in the flesh, but live according to God in the spirit. (1 Peter 4:6) 

Knowing that the gospel is offered to departed spirits answers this great question: “What will happen to those who do not have a chance to hear and accept or reject the gospel during their lives on earth?”  Another question is: "Do those who hear and accept the gospel in the spirit world have to be baptized and receive the Gift of the Holy Ghost?  A hint to the answer to that question in the Bible is: 


Else what shall they do which are baptized for the dead, if the dead rise not at all?  why are they then baptized for the dead? (1 Corinthians 15:29)   

This is the only place in the entire scriptures that mentions this sacred act, but in the restoration of temples, the practice of baptism for the dead has been revealed and is practiced.

 

































Names of those who have deceased can be taken to the temple and baptism, the Gift of the Holy Ghost, the temple covenants including eternal marriage can be performed by proxy in their behalf.  It important to understand that all involved realize that the choice to accept the baptism and other ordinances performed for a departed person, remains with that person.  If he or she accepts the gospel, which we do not know at this time, the work is done and they can progress having this essential work completed.  If they do not accept the gospel the work done in their behalf is of naught.  
















                                                                                    See:    https://familysearch.org/search/





Families are encouraged to search out their ancestors and submit their names to the temple.  To support this effort, the Church has the largest genealogical library in the world and is busy microfilming records for this research.

I believe this is the Lord’s loving way to make sure that every last soul who ever lived upon the earth will have an even chance to accept the gospel and to have the earthly ordinances such as baptism performed for them.  It is a work of love and service and carries a beautiful spirit with it.  Like the Savior provided something for us through a vicarious act of grace, he has provided a way that we can participate in a small way in helping provide for the salvation from spiritual death of others who did not have the proper chance in their lives.

  







  
CHAPTER TWELVE

The Church Today

Missions and Missionaries
























15 And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.  16 He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.  (Mark 16:15 - 16)

14 And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come.  (Matthew 24:14)


When I was a young man, I served a full time mission in what was called The Great Lakes Mission which included Michigan, Ohio and Indiana.  My wife, Susan and I have serve as public affairs missionaries in the United Kingdom for a year and a half and in Nauvoo, Ill for a half of a year then in Chicago for another half.   My four sons have served in Spain, Argentina, Chicago and Northern California for two years and now my grandsons are beginninng to serve.  So far, seven of my grandchildren, five young men and two young women (eighteen months), have or are serving with two more waiting to go in the next few months.  It has been a marvelous thing to see them leave as boys and girls come back as men and women.  .   There are currently nearly 80,000 full time missionaries.  Just think that means 40,000 each year respond to the call to take two years or eighteen month for women, from their educations or work and spend full time fulfilling the prophesy of the Lord himself that the gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations.  (Matthew 24:14)  They are young and inexperienced, but they go forth with faith and power and are very effective at sharing our beliefs with those who are openly searching for the truth.   The missionaries are trained in giving five or so discussions explaining the basics of our faith.   Those who are called to foreign speaking missions spend two months in the training center studying the lessons and the language.  Most become fluent in the foreign languages before their two year missions are completed.

Church Headquarters 





























The headquarters of the Church is in Salt Lake City, Utah, USA.   The office complex covers a ten acre square with a high rise office building and other administrative office buildings.  It also features Brigham Young’s pioneer home. 
























Temple Square is a popular tourist attraction featuring the Salt Lake City Temple, the Tabernacle, home of the famous Mormon Tabernacle Choir, and two visitors centers.























Across the street north of Temple Square, is the huge 21,000 seat Conference Center.  Semi annual conferences are broadcast world wide featuring talks by the Apostles and Prophets and other  general authorities of the Church.   To me, this modern auditorium/broadcast studio designed to help proclaim the gospel to the world with translations to into over one hundred languages, is another part of the fulfillment of the Lord’s promise in Matthew 24:14 quoted above.     https://www.youtube.com/user/LDSGeneralConference   


The Law of Tithing –




















I believe in the law of tithing.  I consider it a choice privilege to pay tithing (1/10th of ones earnings) for the support of the Lord’s work.  I believe I have been greatly blessed when I pay my tithing.   Active members of the LDS Church are by and large quite faithful in the payment of tithes and that is the reason the Church is able to keep up with the growth in membership by completing between one and two chapels each day.  This is in addition to the building of the temples in different places around the world.

I have found in my own experience and and have learned of those of others that the Lord’s beautiful promise concerning the payment of tithes is a promise upon which the Lord will not default: 

10  Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the LORD of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it.  (Malachi 3:10)


Humanitarian Aid - 




















​​
31  ¶ When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory:  32  And before him shall be gathered all nations: and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats:  33  And he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left.  34  Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world:  35  For I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in:  36  Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me.  37  Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, and fed thee?  or thirsty, and gave thee drink?  38  When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in?  or naked, and clothed thee?  39  Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee?  40  And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.  41  Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels:  42  For I was an hungred, and ye gave me no meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me no drink:  43  I was a stranger, and ye took me not in: naked, and ye clothed me not: sick, and in prison, and ye visited me not.  44  Then shall they also answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, or athirst, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not minister unto thee?  45  Then shall he answer them, saying,  Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye did it not to one of the least of these, ye did it not to me.  46  And these shall go away into everlasting punishment [spiritual death]: but the righteous into life eternal.  (Matthew 25:31 - 46)

I cannot see how it could be made more clear.  Humanitarian aid is a huge part of the true gospel of Jesus Christ.  We believe first in looking out for our families, other members of our church and then the needy in the world.  The members of our church contribute generously so that tons of food, clothing, medicine, and millions of dollars in cash have been provided to those in the world in dire need.  It has been reported that the LDS response to major disasters in usually the first both in shipments of needed supplies and in volunteer labor. 

In addition to water, tents, food,  helping hands and money in response to major disasters, the humanitarian supplies provided by the Church include clothing, hygiene and school kits, emergency medical modules, and quilts. These items are processed and prepared for shipment to where they are needed most. In a typical year, the Latter-day Saint Humanitarian Center will ship about 8 million pounds of shoes and clothing, 300,000 hygiene and school kits, and 12,000 quilts to relieve suffering in more than 50 countries. 

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints conducts humanitarian activities worldwide. From 1985 to 2008 Humanitarian Services provided more than $1.11 billion in total assistance to needy individuals in 167 countries.  Hundreds of service missionaries are serving around the world to manage, for example, the drilling of wells in third world countries and the training of doctors in neonatal care resulting in the saving of many lives of infants who would have otherwise not survived.  Doctor missionaries are also teaching the latest practices for removing cataracts, thus preventing blindness for many.  Missionaries are helping those in poverty ridden nations to learn how to improve their agriculture.  Wheel chairs are provided by the thousands to those in poverty ridden countries who would otherwise remain immobile through their lives.  You may see the list of current Humanitarian Projects being carried out in the world on http://www.providentliving.org/project/0,13501,4607-1-2008,00.html .

Welfare Program - The Welfare program of the Church owns many farms, canneries, warehouses, graineries and Deseret Industries thrift stores where we clean, repair and sell clothing, furniture, appliances and other consumer goods for a fraction of the original price.  

Deseret Industries also provides empoyment for many who are otherwise unemployed.  The Welfare Program of the Church also provides employment servises for those members seeking jobs.   Volunteer service missionaries are often involved in helping manage these endeavors.  

We are so blessed to have the facility to look after each other in ways described by the Lord in the passage above.  The first Sunday of the month, members fast two meals and donate the financial equivalent or more, much more in many cases, to a welfare fund for the poor in the Church.  Members volunteer to work in these facilities that are scattered around the world to which members of the church can turn in times of need.

Shown below is a crew of volunteers sorting peaches for canning.  The photo on the right shows one of the hundreds of LDS welfare stores, where those members in need are issued gift certificates to obtain the food provided.   The food offered in these welfare stores is high quality.


















I do not point these matters out to boast, but to present this aspect of our worship as another evidence of the true church restored to the earth in these latter days.  We could not claim to be true followers of Christ if we did not do our best to bless the lives of those in need.  I feel doubly blessed for ever dollar I have paid in tithing and to the Humitarian Aid and Welfare Programs.  It brings great joy to volunteer to work in these endeavors to provide for the welfare of others.


  


  
CHAPTER THIRTEEN
 
Marriage and Family – 



Our belief that families who are sealed or bound in the Holy Temples can be together forever gives additional motivation to keep close and remain worthy for this great blessing.  My parents and Susan's parents were diligent in having family prayers, and they lived their lives in a way to set wonderful examples of true discipleship of Jesus Christ for their children.  I believe these family practices and providing such wholesome examples have had more to do with our life’s direction as a family than any other influence.  Reason tells us that the best way to teach positive behavior is by example.

Family Prayer   





















The Church encourages us to have daily family prayers.  Kneeling in prayer together and taking turns voicing the prayers, tends to create a closeness in the family like nothing else.

Reading the Scriptures Together: 

I believe that regular study of the scriptures provides a measure of spiritual strength that helps shield us from the onslaught of temptation in our sinful world.  Memebers of our Church are encouraged to study the scriptures every day as much possible.  The best way to instill this habit in the children in the family is to study them together.  This practice, if done with loving persuasion, so as not to alienate the children, will help create spiritual strength for each family member and it significantly adds to family togetherness.

Family Home Evenings: 























The Church encourages weekly family home evenings because they are so powerful in helping keep the family close and helping the children develop faith and character.  Monday nights have been designated and preserved from conflicting Church activities for the family.  There are many outside influences that tend to interfere, but those who see the value of Family Home Evenings will make every effort to hold these family nights on a regular basis the best they can.   The potential positive value of this practice in strengthening families and each family member is obvious to me.

Attending Church Services:



























I believe it is important for the family to attend church services regularly and review the teachings of the Lord and partake of  the sacrament of the Lord’s supper in remembrance of his atoning sacrifice. 

Applying Christ’s Teachings in the Home:  I personally believe that following the teachings of Jesus Christ in the way we treat each other, is a huge key in developing family love and togetherness.  The Lord’s Sermon on the Mount in the 5th, 6th and 7th chapters of Matthew teaches principles that are essential in maintaining an atmosphere of love and togetherness in a family.  In that sermon, the Lord taught:

Forgiveness:  It is even a part of the Lord’s Prayer:  12  And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.  13  And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever.  Amen.  The Lord then expands upon the importance for us to “forgive our debtors”: 

14  For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you:  15  But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.  (Matthew 6:12 - 15)

Judge not, that ye be not judged

2  For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again.  3  And why beholdest  thou the mote that is in thy brother's eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye?  4  Or how wilt thou say to thy brother, Let me pull out the mote out of thine eye; and, behold, a beam is in thine own eye?  (Matthew 7:1 - 4)

Turn the other cheek: 

…whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also.  40  And if any man will sue thee at the law, and take away thy coat, let him have thy cloke also.  41  And whosoever shall compel thee to go a mile, go with him twain. … bless them that curse you, do good to them that  hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you;  (Matthew 539-:44)

Law of chastity – fidelity in marriage.

27  ¶ Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not commit adultery:  28  But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart.  (Matthew 5:27 - 28)

Our church teaches the law of chastity, which is to have no sexual intimacy before marriage and pure fidelity in marriage.   The Church teaches abstinence from pornography and any other activity that may be deemed to be of a prurient interest and which may be harmful to the family relationships.  We know that "…no unclean thing can dwell with God;"  (Book of Mormon | 1 Nephi 10:21)

It is clear to me that these principles are essential in developing and maintaining a loving and close knit family.

A Proclamation to the World 

By The First Presidency and Council of the Twelve Apostles of  The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

We, the First Presidency and the Council of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, solemnly proclaim that marriage between a man and a woman is ordained of God and that the family is central to the Creator’s plan for the eternal destiny of His children.

All human beings—male and female—are created in the image of God. Each is a beloved spirit son or daughter of heavenly parents, and, as such, each has a divine nature and destiny. Gender is an essential characteristic of individual premortal, mortal, and eternal identity and purpose.

In the premortal realm, spirit sons and daughters knew and worshipped God as their Eternal Father and accepted His plan by which His children could obtain a physical body and gain earthly experience to progress toward perfection and ultimately realize their divine destiny as heirs of eternal life. The divine plan of happiness enables family relationships to be perpetuated beyond the grave. Sacred ordinances and covenants available in holy temples make it possible for individuals to return to the presence of God and for families to be united eternally.

The first commandment that God gave to Adam and Eve pertained to their potential for parenthood as husband and wife. We declare that God’s commandment for His children to multiply and replenish the earth remains in force. We further declare that God has commanded that the sacred powers of procreation are to be employed only between man and woman, lawfully wedded as husband and wife.

We declare the means by which mortal life is created to be divinely appointed. We affirm the sanctity of life and of its importance in God’s eternal plan.
Husband and wife have a solemn responsibility to love and care for each other and for their children. “Children are an heritage of the Lord” (Psalm 127:3). Parents have a sacred duty to rear their children in love and righteousness, to provide for their physical and spiritual needs, and to teach them to love and serve one another, observe the commandments of God, and be law-abiding citizens wherever they live. Husbands and wives—mothers and fathers—will be held accountable before God for the discharge of these obligations.

The family is ordained of God. Marriage between man and woman is essential to His eternal plan. Children are entitled to birth within the bonds of matrimony, and to be reared by a father and a mother who honor marital vows with complete fidelity. Happiness in family life is most likely to be achieved when founded upon the teachings of the Lord Jesus Christ. Successful marriages and families are established and maintained on principles of faith, prayer, repentance, forgiveness, respect, love, compassion, work, and wholesome recreational activities. By divine design, fathers are to preside over their families in love and righteousness and are responsible to provide the necessities of life and protection for their families. Mothers are primarily responsible for the nurture of their children. In these sacred responsibilities, fathers and mothers are obligated to help one another as equal partners. Disability, death, or other circumstances may necessitate individual adaptation. Extended families should lend support when needed.

We warn that individuals who violate covenants of chastity, who abuse spouse or offspring, or who fail to fulfill family responsibilities will one day stand accountable before God. Further, we warn that the disintegration of the family will bring upon individuals, communities, and nations the calamities foretold by ancient and modern prophets.

We call upon responsible citizens and officers of government everywhere to promote those measures designed to maintain and strengthen the family as the fundamental unit of society.

This proclamation was read by President Gordon B. Hinckley as part of his message at the General Relief Society Meeting held September 23, 1995, in Salt Lake City, Utah.  © 1995, 2008 by Intellectual Reserve, Inc. All rights reserved. Printed in the United States of America.



  ​​


CHAPTER FOURTEEN

Common Questions


Polygamy –  

It should first be noted that there is no connection between those who practice plural marriage and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, even though they are often called “Fundamentalist Mormons”.  The Book of Mormon makes our doctrine clear: 

27  Wherefore, my brethren, hear me, and hearken to the word of the Lord: For there shall not any man among you have save it be one wife; and concubines he shall have none;  28  For I, the Lord God, delight in the chastity of women.  And whoredoms are an abomination before me; thus saith the Lord of Hosts.  29  Wherefore, this people shall keep my commandments, saith the Lord of Hosts, or cursed be the land for their sakes. 30  For if I will, saith the Lord of Hosts, raise up seed unto me, I will command my people; otherwise they shall hearken unto these things. 
(Book of Mormon | Jacob 2:28 - 30)
Joseph Smith and Plural Marriage:

No doubt the most difficult thing the Lord asked the prophet Joseph to do was to initiate this practice in the mid 1800’s, but he did, to raise up seed unto him in the early and infant days of the Church.  The dissenters and protaginasts of our Church are of late quoting journals and other sources to show that Joseph Smith himself, practiced plural marriage and are attempting to prove that he was dishonest and immoral.  When viewed on the surface, this is an easy sell, especially to those who are looking for ways to either renounce their membership in the Church or for those who, for some reason, feel to attack our faith. The actual history of the beginnings of plural marriage are sketchy at best and "Mormon Haters" are quick to attempt to read between the lines and conclude things that are not true.  Those early beginnings, it also seems that the command to begin this practice, left much up to those who were called upon to enter into it were left to sort of work it out and things were done that were not a part of the practice as it  became more understood.  It should be known that this commandment to Joseph was really very difficult for Joseph and surely for his wife, Emma, who, it is told, vascilated between being supportive and not, which is understandable.  It is also recorded that Joseph was visited by heavenly messengers more than once issuing this command and after he hesited, was threatened with his distruction if he did not restore this ancient practice for at least the early days.  

It is known that Joseph was sealed to a number of women, some of whom were married to other men.  To be sealed, at that time, did not mean that he entered into a marriage relationship with these women, but accomodated those who sought the sacred and lofty promises that accompanies this covenant or promise.  There is no evidence that Jospeh ever actually lived with any of the worman to whom he was sealed, in fact, to date, there has been no individuals found with his DNA except through his wife Emma.

To read more about this practice and Joseph's part in it, check out:  

https://www.lds.org/topics/plural-marriage-in-kirtland-and-nauvoo?lang=eng


When the territory of Utah applied to become a state and as there were federal laws against the practice of plural marriage, the Lord simply revealed to the Prophet head of the Church at that time, Wilford Woodruff , that the practice was to be discontinued.   From that time until now, those who chose to go against the policy of one wife was cut off from the Church.   


It is amazing to me that this misunderstanding is held up in criticism so much after all of this time.  I can understand that those who do not believe that we could have a living prophet who did in fact receive guidance from the Lord might say that we changed this as a matter of convenience, but believe me; the practice of plural marriage was never easy for that small percentage who actually were called upon to practice it.


Word of Wisdom  -   Why don’t you believe in drinking alcohol or coffee or tea?


In 1833, the Lord revealed a “law of health” for Church members.  It specified that tobacco, wine or strong drink, and hot drinks, which was subsequently specified as coffee, and tea, were harmful.  The revelation also emphasized the value of fruits, vegetables and whole grains in their season.  It also suggested “sparing” use of meats except in times of famine and winter.  (Doctrine and Covenants Section 89)


I am amazed that 175 years later, medical science and common sense has proven that these substances are harmful and that the veggies, fruits and whole grains are especially healthy foods.  I know that there are reports that a limited amount of wine has some value, but try to tell that to anyone close to someone addicted to alcohol.  Caffeine is now known to be addictive and the amounts in coffee and tea harmful when used especially in excess, which I have observed is common place.


I do my best to live by the Word of Wisdom and I believe it has been a great health benefit to me and my family.


Priesthood Withholding from women and in the past from men of African descent– 

Actually, the priesthood has been restricted to those the Lord calls in his way and in his own time:

16  Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain: that whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in my name, he may give it you.  (John 15:16)

1  FOR every high priest taken from among men is ordained for men in things pertaining to God, that he may offer both gifts and sacrifices for sins:  2  Who can have compassion on the ignorant, and on them that are out of the way; for that he himself also is compassed with infirmity.  3  And by reason hereof he ought, as for the people, so also for himself, to offer for sins. 4  And no man taketh this honour unto himself, but he that is called of God, as was Aaron.  5  So also Christ glorified not himself to be made an high priest; but he that said unto him, Thou art my Son, to day have I begotten thee.  6  As he saith also in another place, Thou art a priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec.  (Hebrews 5:1 - 6)


In ancient Old Testament times, the descendants of Levi inherited the authority to care for the Arc of the Covenant, to perform the sacrifices and other sacred duties.  That authority was even called the Levitical Priesthood and was a lesser priesthood by which the lesser law, the Law of Moses, was administered.  It received its name from the fact that the descendants of Levi inherited this special authority and were the ones who were authorized to minister to and in the temple.  The importance of this authority is emphasized in the account of Uzzah who did not have the God given authority to handle the Arc of the Covenant, the portable temple, so to speak, of the days of the Exodus:


6  ¶ And when they came to Nachon's threshingfloor, Uzzah put forth his hand to the ark of God, and took hold of it; for the oxen shook it. 7  And the anger of the LORD was kindled against Uzzah; and God smote him there for his error; and there he died by the ark of God.  ( 2 Samuel 6:6 - 7)


When Christ came and instituted the higher law, the higher Priesthood after the order of Melchisedec was needed:


11  If therefore perfection were by the Levitical priesthood, (for under it the people received the law,) what further need was there that another priest should rise after the order of Melchisedec, and not be called after the order of Aaron? 

(Hebrews 7:11)

To fully understand and accept the real answer to this question, one must first understand and believe that the Lord himself is in communication with living prophets and that he instructs them in matters concerning his gospel, the organization of his church and particularly pertaining to callings and ordinations to his holy priesthood authority. 


7 Surely the Lord GOD will do nothing, but he revealeth his secret unto his servants the prophets.  (Amos 3:7) 


As outlined before, we claim The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is led by prophets and apostles and that the Lord leads his church in these latter times through them.  He is the one for his reasons and according to his timing who determines priesthood callings and ordinations.  Political correctness will never dictate to the Lord how he has organized his kingdom both in heaven or on this earth.  Withholding the priesthood from men of African descent, was difficult for those who led in the early days of the Church and after much prayer and in due time, the Lord revealed that it was time for this to change.  The revelation that initiated this change occurred in a miraculous nature and was witnessed by the apostles and prophets who were present in the Salt Lake Temple that day.  Today, one of the fastest growing areas of the Church is in Africa and those of African descent in all parts of the world and those members are wonderfully devoted and faithful. 

We do not know why the priesthood is not given to women.  We can reason that the primary calling of women is their role in creating life and in rearing the children.  This infuence and contribution , in my opinion, is a higher calling than to be ordained to the priesthood and to administer the affairs of the Church and again, contrary to accepted political correctness today.  It is my observation that if  women were authorized to lead and administer the affairs of the Church, the men would likely step aside and let them do the work and the men would atrophy and not grow in love and service as they do in carrying out priesthood duties.  Certainly, women in the Church, are active in leadership roles in the Relief Society, the largest women’s organization in the world and in organizing the activities of the young women and the children.  We are sure that all of the blessings offered by our Father in Heaven will be shared equally with husbands and wives in the eternities.


Why is there so much suffering in the world? 


This was in one form or another the most frequently asked question and is difficult to answer.  Every individual is called upon to suffer sooner or later and to some degree in their lives, but some, it seems have much more than their share.  Some suffering comes because of individual choices, but the suffering that individuals endure through no fault of their own, is a serious test to the faith of many.  Some have difficulty believing that there is a God who would allow such terrible sorrow to occur.  This is also beyond me, but does not threaten my faith and trust in God and his purposes.
The only answer that I can come up with is what is offered in passages scripture, which, to some does little to take away the pain. 

33 In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.  (John 16:33)
Confirming the souls of the disciples, and exhorting them to continue in the faith, and that we must through much tribulation enter into the kingdom of God.  (Acts 14:22)


3  And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience; 4  And patience, experience; and experience, hope:  (Romans 5:3 - 4)


2  Grace be to you and peace from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ.  3  Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort;  4  Who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God.  5  For as the sufferings of Christ abound in us, so our consolation also aboundeth by Christ.  6  And whether we be afflicted, it is for your consolation and salvation, which is effectual in the enduring of the same sufferings which we also suffer: or whether we be comforted, it is for your consolation and salvation.  (2 Corinthians 1:2-6)


The Book of Mormon prophet, Moroni, wrote of the value of trials:


I would show unto the world that faith is things which are hoped for and not seen; wherefore, dispute not because ye see not, for ye receive no witness until after the trial of your faith.  (Book of Mormon | Ether 12:6)


The most clear statements were given to the prophet Joseph Smith who suffered much.  The following revelation was given to Joseph Smith relative to the suffering of the members of the Church in Missouri: 


2  For verily I say unto you, blessed is he that keepeth my commandments, whether in life or in death; and he that is faithful in tribulation, the reward of the same is greater in the kingdom of heaven.  3  Ye cannot behold with your natural eyes, for the present time, the design of your God concerning those things which shall come hereafter, and the glory which shall follow after much tribulation. 4  For after much tribulation come the blessings.  Wherefore the day cometh that ye shall be crowned with much glory; the hour is not yet, but is nigh at hand.  (Doctrine and Covenants | Section 58:2 - 4)


The answer to his pleading prayer as he spent six months in the dungeon of the Liberty Jail in Missouri  on trumped up charges has always been touching to me:


7  My son, peace be unto thy soul; thine adversity and thine afflictions shall be but a small moment; 8  And then, if thou endure it well, God shall exalt thee on high; thou shalt triumph over all thy foes.  (Doctrine and Covenants | Section 121:7 - 8)


I am an old man, now, and looking back on my life, I can see the value of the difficulties that I have had to face, from pain to poverty.  I suppose the biggest challenge some have to face is ease and prosperity.

  ​​

  
CHAPTER FIFTEEN

Conclusion and Invitation

My beliefs combine to complete my faith which is the guiding light, the anchor of my life.  I am so very grateful that Susan, my wonderful wife and mother of our four sons and three daughters who are united in this faith.  I honor my mother and father and my brothers and sister who have all remained devoted members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  My siblings have all done much to support our Church including sending their children on two year missions as have Susan and I.  I do want to emphasize, however, that we are not devoted to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints just because our parents happen to be of that faith.  We each have concluded the truth of it for ourselves.

As I have indicated, our parents taught us to pray, and it is through prayer and the study of the scriptures combined with an effort to follow the teachings of the Lord (Matthew 7:7) that one opens himself or herself to receiving the spiritual conviction, that alone can really offer the conviction that could prompt someone to say, “I know it is true.  I know that Jesus Christ is our Savior and Redeemer.  I know that God is our Father and that he loves us and sent us here to see who would prepare to live with him eternally.  I can even say, by this personal spiritual inspiration, that Joseph Smith was a true prophet and was instrumental in helping restore Christ true church to the earth as was promised.”  (John 14:16-26)

I have studied the scriptures including the Book of Mormon and the Bible and I can see and am convinced that the Jesus Christ taught the same gospel in both hemispheres.  I have applied the promise in the last chapter of the Book of Mormon and have come to know it is true:  4  And when ye shall receive these things, I would exhort you that ye would ask God, the Eternal Father, in the name of Christ, if these things are not true; and if ye shall ask with a sincere heart, with real intent, having faith in Christ, he will manifest the truth of it unto you, by the power of the Holy Ghost.  5  And by the power of the Holy Ghost ye may know the truth of all things.  (Book of Mormon | Moroni 10:4 - 5)

I have seen the teachings of other faiths and have observed the actions of those of other beliefs, and I have seen nothing in the teachings or practices that would begin to dissuade me from my convictions.

I greatly respect people of all faiths who are devoted to their beliefs and I am certainly aware that what I have written here will not be accepted by everyone.  I would like, however, to take this opportunity to invite anyone who is searching for the truth to: 

7 Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you:  (Matthew 7:7) 

Ask means to pray, seek means to study and knock means to search and try and the promise is that you will be given the direction you seek. 

5  If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.  6  But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering.  For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed.  (James 1:5 - 6)


Invitation

The Lord offers these invitations: 






















Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.  (Rev. 3:20) 

28  ¶ Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.  29  Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.  30  For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.  (Matthew 11:28 - 30)

I urge you investigate, to pray and to try to find the truth.  I invite you to ask me question verldoman@gmail.com.

Thank you for your interest in My Beliefs.

God bless you,

Verl Doman


  

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