LDS Gospel Topics 2

What Satan Taught Eve in the Garden

Milk vs Meat

Core Message of the Gospel

The Latter-Day Babylonian Captivity

 

What Satan Taught Eve in the Garden

Clearly whatever it was that Satan shared with Eve in the Garden of Eden it had something to do with their ultimate expulsion. Was this the apple?

The Garden story as we have it in the scriptures and the temple ceremony is clearly figurative. However, the details do have meaning. For example, the Tree of Life represents eternal life. Which is why Adam and Eve could not partake until after their lifelong trials and tests of worthiness.

We are also informed by the Lord through Lehi’s and Nephi’s dreams that the Tree of Life as well as its fruit represents the Love of God. This may be understood as having to do with experiencing Heavenly Father’s love for us, his children. Partaking of this fruit may also be understood as our reciprocation of that love—in other word, our respective love of God and willingness to keep His commandments.

So, the two trees in the Garden could be considered in opposition to each other. The one being the Love of God, and the other, the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, being its opposite. This is the one that, figurative or not, got them evicted from the Garden. Since they were instructed not to partake of this tree, it represented some form of disobedience.

We might say, therefore, that as the one tree represents the Love of God, and the other standing in opposition to it, could be considered as the Love of Self—that is, the blessed state of doing the will of the Lord, on the one hand, versus the propensity to and consequences of doing one’s own will on the other hand. This dichotomy pretty much wraps up the whole program of life. Typically we learn by a combination of rewards and punishments largely by the way we use the agency we were given in the Garden.

So what was the issue of conflict between the will of the Lord and the will of Eve that got this mortality ball rolling?

We will here suggest for your consideration that it was the Divine Order. This point will prove to be a mystery of God and godliness. In this Order the man is the president and patriarch in the home and the family. The woman is his first counselor, and the Holy Ghost is the second counselor. Notice that neither the Holy Ghost nor the women is in charge. And that the women, rather than the Holy Ghost is first counselor. The Holy Ghost does not supersede the agency of either the man or the women. Consequently, this only works well, as one might expect, when all three are in sync. [1]

So, back to the expulsion issue or issues, how do you suppose Eve felt when Heavenly Father laid out the rules and delegated the primary authority to Adam (and possibly without a lot of explanation)? Wasn’t she at least as intelligent as he? Affirmative! And that was part of the problem.

Desperate to get the show going on his terms, Satan taught Eve how to reverse what might be considered the marriage power equation, and to actually get the upper hand. Satan understood and was taking advantage of the fact that the Divine Order that Heavenly Father instituted was one that challenged both sexes to their limits. In this Order the man was required to take the lead and the woman to follow and support. And that this was the only way that both Adam and Eve or, in other words, both men and women, could be perfected, was to follow this path or role and authority assignments. It would only be by following the Divine Order that both Adam and Eve could return to and partake of the fruit of the Tree of Life and receive eternal life as a couple. This fact is portentous.

And since no other program would work, Lucifer’s intention was to create a counterfeit order which would negate the true Order, effectively shutting the gate to exaltation in the Celestial Kingdom to Adam and Eve and their children. This counterfeit required the woman to take the lead, a role for which she was, in fact, well qualified.

And without the priesthood the man would not stand a chance in the almost inevitable power struggle. Nor would he, even if he had it, be able to secure the priesthood for exaltation and eternity (see GT 4: Oath & Covenant of the Priesthood) without the woman taking the designated (but often hated) role of support. This support role was definitely the greatest challenge for the woman because it required taking in some measure a backseat, having great patience and consummate trust in the Lord. It required suffering and high intelligence applied to many unnatural and challenging situations. It required faith that if she preformed her difficult sojourn in life her man would one day be perfected even though it often looked like an impossible task.

 

His job is equally difficult for him. Besides all the challenges of providing for a wife and family and acquiring the necessary leadership skills devoid of any unrighteous dominion, he must also provide the sacred space in which his wife may flourish and find inspiration to develop her talents and nurture and reciprocate his love. Unless he has the inspired support of his wife he will likely never sufficiently magnify his callings and mission in life. Essentially the keys are more in the woman’s hands than the man’s. She has great power but unless channeled through the Divine Order neither she nor her husband are likely to be sanctified and perfected. For this arrangement to work each must put the Lord at the highest priority in their lives, each other next, and then the children (an order that is generally confused to some degree).

Unless each partner seeks the Lord and acquires the necessary changes in character through regular repentance they will grow apart. Even if remaining married, they will lack the desire as well as the merits to be with each other in eternity. And a similar problem will exist with the children. If the parents do not put the Lord first and each other next the children will not receive and embrace the Divine Order in their own relationships, nor will they have acquired the benefits that the Divine Order would have caused to flow more purely in their respective developmental stages of life.

Thanks to Satan’s success, most marriage or joint relationships in this world are created without this knowledge or even with the priesthood as a mitigating factor. There are not many models or examples to learn from or emulate. However, this is very possibly the key issue in life, certainly with respect to exaltation and eternal life. Heavenly Father has laid out the Plan and it is the only one that works. The marriage covenant and the Divine Order of the priesthood in the home and family is the key to the realization and success of the New and Everlasting Covenant and its intended object of exaltation in the Celestial Kingdom.

It was necessary that the Garden scenes ended the way they did. Because of the nature of the man and of the women it is the same in every creation. However, one can see that, with respect to exaltation in the Celestial Kingdom—becoming gods and having eternal procreation, strait is the gate and narrow is the way, and few there be that find it (see also: White Papers WP2: Some Broader Implications of Frequency Testing).

1) This essential relationship of each partner in marriage with the Lord also relates to what is taught by L Lamar Adams as The Divine Triangle. As each marriage partner moves up their side of the triangle closer to the Lord, and if each are so engaged, the distance between them, first acquired in the Garden, diminishes, and they become spiritually closer to each other--until united at the top of the triangle with the Lord.

 

Milk vs Meat

The concept of the milk of the gospel of Jesus Christ versus the meat is brought to our attention by the writings of the apostle Paul. Paul was attempting in chapter five of his epistle to the Hebrew saints to explain the meaning, significance and operation of the Melchizedek priesthood in its divine eternal order being after the order of the Savior—He being the Great High Priest of whom the priesthood and its power is derived (see also: Oath & Covenant).

In his letter Paul expresses a degree of criticism of the Hebrew members as to their readiness and ability to understand the more serious concepts of the gospel of Christ.

For when for the time ye ought to be teachers, ye have need that one teach you again which be the first principles of the oracles of God; and are become such as have need of milk, and not of strong meat. For every one that useth milk is unskilful in the word of righteousness: for he is a babe. But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil. (Heb 5:12-14)

We may note that, though the first principles and ordinances of the gospel are certainly part of the milk of the gospel, they are also part of the meat. So that if the first principles are followed religiously they will ultimately arrive at and embrace the meat.

It is evident, however, that the meat of the gospel requires some experience and maturity. We could spend a lot of time on this subject, but in stead lets make it simple. The words of the Savior at the Samaritan well give us the perfect point. After teaching the Samaritan women and other members of her village, the disciples, who have gone to get food, are concerned that he has not eaten and are puzzled by his response to their admonition to eat.

In the mean while his disciples prayed him, saying, Master, eat. But he said unto them, I have meat to eat that ye know not of. Therefore said the disciples one to another, Hath any man brought him ought to eat? Jesus saith unto them, My meat is to do the will of him that sent me, and to finish his work. (John 4:31-34, italics added)

This, we believe, provides the simplest distinction between the milk and meat of the gospel. As long as we as regular members of Christ’s church are doing our own will we are partaking of the milk of the gospel. It is when our experience and maturity in the gospel has led us to put our agency on the altar of sacrifice that we are digesting the meat of the gospel.

To the Nephites the Savior explained:

Behold I have given unto you my gospel, and this is the gospel which I have given unto you—that I came into the world to do the will of my Father, because my Father sent me. And this is the word which he hath given unto the children of men. And for this cause he fulfilleth the words which he hath given, and he lieth not, but fulfilleth all his words. And no unclean thing can enter into his kingdom; therefore nothing entereth into his rest save it be those who have washed their garments in my blood, because of their faith, and the repentance of all their sins, and their faithfulness unto the end. Now this is the commandment: Repent, all ye ends of the earth, and come unto me and be baptized in my name, that ye may be sanctified by the reception of the Holy Ghost, that ye may stand spotless before me at the last day. Verily, verily, I say unto you, this is my gospel; and ye know the things that ye must do in my church; for the works which ye have seen me do that shall ye also do; for that which ye have seen me do even that shall ye do; (3 Nephi 27: 17-21, italics added)

In doing the works of out great Exemplar, under the direction of the Lord’s Spirit, we are also doing the will of the Father. Our purpose is the same as He whom we worship. But this power derived from gospel compliance in administration to the children of men is only made possible in us by serious and steady repentance—in conjunction with the direction or revelation that such repentance evokes. And it is generally not until we have tested the Lord and He has tested us, that we have arrived at a point in our gospel maturity in which we understand that placing our agency on the altar is not a sacrifice but rather a portal to true freedom. This is the meat of the gospel.

When we struggle with my will versus Thy will, our fruits are always compromised and seldom if ever achieve the seal of the Holy Spirit of Promise—being transitory and of little, if any, eternal effect. Whereas if we are operating under the direction of the Spirit of the Lord, the Holy Ghost, our works are justified and have eternal effect. As our founding Prophet of this last dispensation said, “Let us here observe, that a religion that does not require the sacrifice of all things, never has power sufficient to produce the faith necessary unto life and salvation” (Lectures on Faith, 6:7).

More than anything else we have to give, our will or our agency is the greatest gift we can give the Lord, and it is the one that He values the most. This is the one that opens the portals of Heaven.

 

Core Message of the Gospel

There are two basic spiritual laws operating in the universe. The first we will call the Law of the Father. This is Heavenly Father’s perfect law. It is the law lived by all who are gods. In it there is no place for imperfection. Gods have no need of repentance. There is no room for spiritual hiccups or personal down days in this realm.

The second law we will call the Law of Redemption. This is the law that is extended to us through the Atonement and suffering of Jesus Christ on our behalf. It is this law that makes the ultimate objective of living the first, or higher law, a possibility.

To my mind there are a few scriptures that embody the main or core message of the Restored Gospel of Jesus Christ and how to satisfy the demands of gospel law. The first is this declaration by the Father as follows:

For behold, this is my work and my glory—to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man.  (PofGP 1:39)

We understand that the term eternal life, as used here, refers to God’s life—living, experiencing and acquiring the feelings, attributes and powers of God our Heavenly Father. In the above reference Heavenly Father declares that this is the very objective of His existence. Also, in the Lectures on Faith Joseph Smith instructed us that what the Father set out to do in the creation of mankind was to make us like Himself (Section 7:16).

So, when you think about it, that is a very tall order…for us, that is.  Consequently, to fail as a partner in this extremely generous process constitutes a nullification of the very purpose of God and places a constriction on the personal glorious effects of Christ’s Atonement.

In order to become holy beings, and for this necessarily vast transformation in our characters to occur, it is necessary that all our weaknesses must become strengths. Again, this is a tall order. However, the answer to this challenge is outlined as follows:

 

And if men come unto me I will show unto them their weakness. I give unto men weakness that they may be humble; and my grace is sufficient for all men that humble themselves before me; for if they humble themselves before me, and have faith in me, then will I make weak things become strong unto them. (Ether 12:27, italics added)

Our weaknesses actually play a very important role in our salvation. The transformative work of the Lord can only be accomplished with the humble. In order for our weaknesses to become strengths we must allow ourselves to see our weaknesses and use them to humble us and come unto Christ. And we come unto Christ only in the manner he has specified:

And behold, I have given you the law and the commandments of my Father, that ye shall believe in me, and that ye shall repent of your sins, and come unto me with a broken heart and a contrite spirit. Behold, ye have the commandments before you, and the law is fulfilled. (3 Ne 19, italics added)

Regardless of whatever else we do, the only way we can come unto Christ is to repent of our sins with a broken heart and contrite spirit. Otherwise the law referred to above, the Law of Redemption, is not fulfilled. Speaking of the Redemptive Law of Christ, Nephi tells us that:

Behold, he [Christ] offereth himself a sacrifice for sin, to answer the ends of the law, unto all those who have a broken heart and a contrite spirit; and unto none else can the ends of the law be answered. (2 Ne 2:7, italics added)

This aspect of answering to the Redemptive Law of Christ, that is of the absolute necessity of regular broken hearts and a contrite spirit is actually little understood. And considering the distance to cover, once this is understood, this repentant activity, involving a broken heart and contrite spirit, requires a daily commitment. Otherwise the ends of the Law or its purpose of perfecting the saints will not nor cannot be achieved.

The necessary character transformation required to be perfected in Christ and gain eternal life in the Celestial Kingdom, becoming gods in the full expression that the Father has offered, requires each individual to partake of the divine nature of Christ. It is Christ’s divine nature that changes us. And it is only through the regular offering of the broken heart and contrite spirit that this exchange or replacement of sins or weaknesses for strengths takes place. It is only by this means that our sins and weaknesses are removed and replaced by gifts of Christ’s divine nature. We must also willingly perform the service for which we are commissioned by the Spirit of the Lord as we receive the remission of sins and the instructions that the successful broken heart prayer offering elicits.

It is by this means, as the Savior himself has instructed, that we come unto Him, that we may abide in His grace and become perfected in Him. In his very final mortal comments to us Moroni provides a powerful summary about the principle of personal perfection.

Yea, come unto Christ, and be perfected in him, and deny yourselves of all ungodliness; and if ye shall deny yourselves of all ungodliness, and love God with all your might, mind and strength, then is his grace sufficient for you, that by his grace ye may be perfect in Christ; and if by the grace of God ye are perfect in Christ, ye can in nowise deny the power of God. And again, if ye by the grace of God are perfect in Christ, and deny not his power, then are ye sanctified in Christ by the grace of God, through the shedding of the blood of Christ, which is in the covenant of the Father unto the remission of your sins, that ye become holy, without spot. (Moroni 10: 32-33, italics added)

Please note, then, that if we have followed the Savior’s instructions, served and loved Him with all our might, and have allowed Him to make weak things strong, and to change our character to be devoid of all ungodliness, we may be perfected in Christ and be eligible for Celestial glory.

According to Moroni if we do this we will have avoided denying the power of God. But if we will have not followed this course of perfection in Christ we will have denied the power of God and personally nullified the purpose of Heavenly Father’s existence. We can only acquire a Celestial character that can dwell or even survive in God’s presence by following the steps here outlined. Otherwise we are preparing by default to go somewhere else.

This is hard doctrine, but the perfection that both the Father and the Son are talking about in the scriptures, and the broken heart and contrite spirit is the essential and necessary key, for without it, as Nephi explained above, the ends of the law, the Law of Redemption, cannot be satisfied. Otherwise the Son cannot present us personally to the Most High God, the Creator of worlds without end, as being holy and without spot.

 

The process herein described is simple, profound and, unfortunately, rarely understood.

 

The Latter-Day Babylonian Captivity  (08/03/2021)

The history of Israel is cyclical. The adversaries used by the Lord to humble Judah and Israel anciently were and are also symbolic of the latter-day challenges that the people of the Lord face already now and in the future. For example, the members of the church have already been carried into modern day Babylonian captivity. Our dependence upon the current national and world structure and culture has provided the enemy of our souls and his minions a stealthy creeping and overpowering control of our lives, thought processes and options. Despite the fact that the Lord created for us a nation based on democratic principles and Judeo-Christian concepts we are letting its blessings slip through our fingers. Though, as of this writing, the encroaching burden has recently hit a crescendo there will, of course, be more to come.

So, in this context, who would have supposed that missionaries would be called home, Chapels empty, temples closed  and work for the dead hamstrung? That the three-fold mission of the Church could be crippled overnight? We were blindsided. And, on a perfectly related matter, how many members voted in the 2016 and 2020 elections for some of the most evil, vile political persons on the planet? People running for office representing a political party that supports and even advocates heinous crimes including late-term abortion (e.g. infanticide)? 1

And we were told this is OK? Do we really suppose that the Lord will not hold us accountable even if we did it in ignorance? “My people have gone into captivity, because they have no knowledge.” (Isaiah 5:13) An examination of the context of this observation by the Lord through the Prophet Isaiah is that it is clearly a prophecy of the latter-days. Our present ignorance allowed us to be totally caught off guard by a colossal hoax. A very pernicious hoax perpetrated by a powerful secret combination.

Also, unfortunately relevant are the LDS member McMansions, pools, RV’s, boats, ski-doo’s, jet skis, mountain cabins and all the necessary toys and paraphernalia—the trappings required to be esteemed in our Babylonian sub-culture. The poor or those who cannot afford to keep up appearances are marginalized. They will not be given leadership positions. Many have gone and will go into the next life thinking they have no chance of exaltation because they were non-entities in the church culture hierarchy—that only leaders have a shot at Celestial glory. They have not been taught and little do they know that the last shall be first and the first shall be last in the eyes of the Lord (see Luke 14:16-24). The poor, the lame, the halt and the leprous shall find grace before the wealthy and proud. The only leaders that will survive the Celestial Kingdom cut are those who truly availed themselves of being “the least in the Kingdom” (Luke 7:28) and “the servant of all,” like their Exemplar (See Mark 9:35, 10:43-45).

The next serious challenge to both the world and the Lord’s people will come from a modern day alliance symbolized by ancient Assyria. This treacherous Assyrian alliance and its geopolitical arrival on the scene will liberate us from Babylon and all its requirements and trappings.  When Babylon falls the Lord says, “Rejoice over her, thou heaven, and ye holy apostles and prophets; for God hath avenged you on her.” (Rev 18:20) God will avenge Babylon on us because of the great havoc and spiritual destruction spiritual Babylon, the Whore, wrought not only on the world at large, but particularly upon us. The spiritual cost has been extremely high. So the Lord has arranged a deliverance for the saints and others. But it will not be pretty.

The catch associated with this deliverance is that it is provided by Israel’s other enemy, in the form of global conquest, including a national invasion. The bondage of extensive and nonessential merchandise and dishonest business dealings with which we yoked ourselves is replaced by an iron sinew of subjugation. And many people will perish in uninspired vain and foolish efforts to deal with this necessary purging prelude to building Zion and the New Jerusalem.

To the righteous and the elect the Lord warns and instructs, “Come, my people, enter thou into thy chambers, and shut thy doors about thee: hide thyself as it were for a little moment, until the indignation be overpast. For, behold, the LORD cometh out of his place to punish the inhabitants of the earth for their iniquity: the earth also shall disclose her blood, and shall no more cover her slain. (Isaiah 26:20-21) And many of the slain will be those of us that did not stand in holy places. Though this certainly includes temples and church facilities, it means also being where the Lord wants us to be and doing what He wants us to do—regardless of how it looks to those not receiving personal revelation.

We as a people, and our recent leaders, did not see the Babylonian captivity coming. We just went into it eagerly and have been there now a long time. And few of us saw the current globalist end-time warmup coming either. Where were our watchmen? Well, unfortunately what we really wanted to hear was “smooth things” (Isaiah 30:10).

Ought ye not to have done even as I commanded you, and—after ye had planted the vineyard, and built the hedge round about, and set watchmen upon the walls thereof—built the tower also, and set a watchman upon the tower, and watched for my vineyard, and not have fallen asleep, lest the enemy should come upon you? And behold, the watchman upon the tower would have seen the enemy while he was yet afar off; and then ye could have made ready and kept the enemy from breaking down the hedge thereof, and saved my vineyard from the hands of the destroyer. (D&C 101: 53-54, italics added)

This initially referred to the failure of the early saints to build and redeem Zion, but applies even more particularly to us today. We should not delude ourselves that we are collectively any better than the early saints, many of whom were called upon to make great sacrifices and yet were still chastened severely by the Lord.

The hedge in this parable represents the protection of the Lord. The enemy succeeds in braking down the hedge when the members of the Church no longer warrant or deserve the protection of the Lord. While the watchman who does not see the enemy coming from afar off is lacking spiritual vision and failing in his assigned job, it is so that the people generally get the watchmen they deserve.

Since we were clearly warned by Moroni (see Ether 8:21-26) about the latter day secret combination that would seek to overthrow the freedoms of all lands, and were instructed not to let this evil organization get “above us,” alas, we have done exactly that, and we will suffer for it. We were in fact warned many years ago, while the enemy was still afar off. Elder Ezra Taft Benson, and later as President Benson, a former member of US President Dwight Eisenhower’s Cabinet, persecuted by liberal members for his distinct insights, couldn’t have been more clear about the approaching enemy. Unfortunately the following divine observation now applies to those checkbox, cruise-control and so-called mainstream members:

Why have ye polluted the holy church of God? Why are ye ashamed to take upon you the name of Christ? Why do ye not think that greater is the value of an endless happiness than that misery which never dies—because of the praise of the world? (Mormon 8:38, italics added)

Joseph McConkie, in his BYU religion classes, often observed that the Church culture was consistently about two years behind the world (e.g. Babylon). Sad, but true! See also: Is There a Scourge Remaining for the People of the Lord?

Since Moroni, Joel, Daniel, Isaiah (the “Prophet of the Restoration”) and other of the prophets warned us particularly pertaining to this critical period of time, it behooves us to make sure we are living at a level of personal sanctification that allows the Lord to protect and direct us individually and as families in the troubling times ahead.

 

If we maintain a level of sanctification (daily remission of sins) we will have peace when all around us do not. If we have taken the Holy Spirit for our guide we will not be deceived or led astray and we will look forward in confidence to the Coming of our Lord in power and glory. (See D&C 45:56-59).