Tuesday, June 20, 2017

A person is defiled by what comes out of him or her

Part of D&C 89, the “Word of Wisdom,” is about avoiding certain harmful substances.

However, as always, the Savior also teaches higher spiritual principles:

“Not that which goeth into the mouth defileth a man; but that which cometh out of the mouth, this defileth a man. . . . whatsoever entereth in at the mouth goeth into the belly, and is cast out into the draught [aphedrōn, perhaps ‘toilet’] . . . But those things which proceed out of the mouth come forth from the heart; and they defile the man. For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies: These are the things which defile a man” (Matthew 15:11, 17-20).

“There is nothing from without a man, that entering into him can defile him: but the things which come out of him, those are they that defile the man. If any man have ears to hear, let him hear. . . whatsoever thing from without entereth into the man, it cannot defile him; Because it entereth not into his heart, but into the belly, and goeth out into the draught, purging all meats . . . That which cometh out of the man, that defileth the man. For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, Thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lasciviousness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness: All these evil things come from within, and defile the man” (Mark 7:15-6, 18-23).

For example, smoking cigarettes could be harmful to the physical body.

However, more of a concern is what smoking cigarettes could do to influence the things that come out of a person: thoughts, words, and actions.

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Run and not be weary

On the night of 6/9/17 I had a dream that I was being interviewed by Elder Jeffrey R. Holland; others were sitting around.

First he asked if I would rather donate 11 pints of blood or do something else (I don’t remember what it was). Since that amount is around the amount the adult body holds, to donate 11 pints is essentially to die. I don’t remember my answer, but it made them chuckle.

Then I was asked to interpret the phrase, “run and not be weary” from D&C 89:20.

First I mentioned there is a literal meaning; for example, someone who has emphysema from smoking may have trouble running.

They nodded their agreement and started getting up, but then I told them the spiritual meaning that we can spiritually “run,” or make an effort in the race of mortality; we can endure to the end.

“Know ye not that they which run in a race run all, but one receiveth the prize? So run, that ye may obtain” (1 Corinthians 9:24).

Christ is the only one worthy to receive the prize. Fortunately, He is willing to share the prize with anyone who runs, anyone who makes a sustained effort.

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Is not this real?

“And now, behold, is your knowledge perfect? Yea, your knowledge is perfect in that thing, and your faith is dormant; and this because you know, for ye know that the word hath swelled your souls, and ye also know that it hath sprouted up, that your understanding doth begin to be enlightened, and your mind doth begin to expand. O then, is not this real? I say unto you, Yea, because it is light; and whatsoever is light, is good, because it is discernible, therefore ye must know that it is good” (Alma 32:34-5).

If real is light, and light is good, and good is discernible, then unreal or illusion is darkness, evil, and “indiscernible.”

Nakedness is an absence of clothing

“And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat. And the eyes of them both were opened, and they knew that they were naked” (Genesis 3:6-7).

They knew that they lacked something.

Blindness is an absence of sight

“Jesus said, For judgment I am come into this world, that they which see not might see; and that they which see might be made blind. And some of the Pharisees which were with him heard these words, and said unto him, Are we blind also? Jesus said unto them, If ye were blind, ye should have no sin: but now ye say, We see; therefore your sin remaineth” (John 9:39-41).

Ignorance is an absence of knowledge; falsehood is an absence of truth

Dishonesty is an absence of honesty. Satan is the father of all lies (untruths).

“Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it” (John 8:44).

“Deceit is in the heart of them that imagine evil” (Proverbs 12:20).

Darkness is an absence of light

It is darkness, it is Satan’s supposed “power,” that is illusory in nature.

Moses said to Satan, “Blessed be the name of my God, for his Spirit hath not altogether withdrawn from me, or else where is thy glory, for it is darkness unto me? And I can judge between thee and God” (Moses 1:15).

“The devil has no power over us only as we permit him. The moment we revolt at anything which comes from God, the devil takes power” (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, 181).

“This then is the message which we have heard of him, and declare unto you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all” (1 John 1:5).

“The light of the body is the eye: if therefore thine eye be single, thy whole body shall be full of light. But if thine eye be evil, thy whole body shall be full of darkness. If therefore the light that is in thee be darkness, how great is that darkness!” (Matthew 6:22-3).

“And if your eye be single to my glory, your whole bodies shall be filled with light, and there shall be no darkness in you; and that body which is filled with light comprehendeth all things” (D&C 88:67).

Evil is an absence of good

“Wo unto them that call evil good, and good evil, that put darkness for light, and light for darkness, that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!” (2 Nephi 15:20).

Monday, May 29, 2017

Taste of death

“But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering [pathēma] of death, crowned with glory and honour; that he by the grace of God should taste [geuomai] death for every man” (Hebrews 2:9).

Some will not taste of death for an age

“Verily, verily, I say unto you, If a man keep my saying, he shall never [ou mē eis aiōn, ‘not for an age’] see [theōreō] death. Then said the Jews unto him, Now we know that thou hast a devil. Abraham is dead, and the prophets; and thou sayest, If a man keep my saying, he shall never [ou mē eis aiōn] taste [geuomai] of death” (John 8:51-2).

Some will not taste of death “till” Christ comes

“Verily I say unto you, There be some standing here, which shall not taste [geuomai] of death, till [heōs] they see the Son of man coming in his kingdom” (Matthew 16:28).

“And he said unto them, Verily I say unto you, That there be some of them that stand here, which shall not taste [geuomai] of death, till [heōs] they have seen the kingdom of God come with power” (Mark 9:1).

“But I tell you of a truth, there be some standing here, which shall not taste [geuomai] of death, till [heōs] they see the kingdom of God” (Luke 9:27).

“There are those of the rising generation who shall not taste death till Christ comes” (Joseph Smith, HC 5:336).

As I posted earlier this month, sometimes “till” can mean “until and after.” The following quotations would suggest this is the case with the above quotations.

Some will not taste of death, but will be changed from mortality to immortality

“And he said unto them: Behold, I know your thoughts, and ye have desired the thing which John, my beloved, who was with me in my ministry, before that I was lifted up by the Jews, desired of me. Therefore, more blessed are ye, for ye shall never taste of death; but ye shall live to behold all the doings of the Father unto the children of men, even until all things shall be fulfilled according to the will of the Father, when I shall come in my glory with the powers of heaven. And ye shall never endure the pains of death; but when I shall come in my glory ye shall be changed in the twinkling of an eye from mortality to immortality; and then shall ye be blessed in the kingdom of my Father. . . . And now behold, as I spake concerning those whom the Lord hath chosen, yea, even three who were caught up into the heavens, that I knew not whether they were cleansed from mortality to immortality—But behold, since I wrote, I have inquired of the Lord, and he hath made it manifest unto me that there must needs be a change wrought upon their bodies, or else it needs be that they must taste of death; Therefore, that they might not taste of death there was a change wrought upon their bodies, that they might not suffer pain nor sorrow save it were for the sins of the world. Now this change was not equal to that which shall take place at the last day; but there was a change wrought upon them, insomuch that Satan could have no power over them, that he could not tempt them; and they were sanctified in the flesh, that they were holy, and that the powers of the earth could not hold them. And in this state they were to remain until the judgment day of Christ; and at that day they were to receive a greater change, and to be received into the kingdom of the Father to go no more out, but to dwell with God eternally in the heavens” (3 Nephi 28:6-8, 36-40).

“And it was by faith that the three disciples obtained a promise that they should not taste of death; and they obtained not the promise until after their faith” (Ether 12:17).

“After this vision had closed, another great and glorious vision burst upon us; for Elijah the prophet, who was taken to heaven without tasting death, stood before us” (D&C 110:13).

Some will not taste of death because it will be sweet to them

“And it shall come to pass that those that die in me shall not taste of death, for it shall be sweet unto them; And they that die not in me, wo unto them, for their death is bitter” (D&C 42:46-7). These people experience physical death, but they do not taste the bitterness of death because they die in Christ.

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Sometimes “until” and “till” can mean “until and after”

“Then came Peter to him, and said, Lord, how oft shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? till [heōs] seven times? Jesus saith unto him, I say not unto thee, Until [heōs] seven times: but, Until [heōs] seventy times seven” (Matthew 18:22).

We should forgive people until and after 77 times.

“Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto [heōs] the end of the world” (Matthew 28:20).

Christ can be with the righteous until and after the end of the world.

“And they have done unto the Son of Man even as they listed; and he has taken his power on the right hand of his glory, and now reigneth in the heavens, and will reign till he descends on the earth to put all enemies under his feet, which time is nigh at hand” (D&C 49:6).

“For he must reign, till [achri] he hath put all enemies under his feet” (1 Corinthians 15:25).

Christ will reign until and after He descends on the earth.

“Abide ye in the liberty wherewith ye are made free; entangle not yourselves in sin, but let your hands be clean, until the Lord comes” (D&C 88:86).

We should strive to be clean until and after the Lord comes.

“Then Joseph being raised from sleep did as the angel of the Lord had bidden him, and took unto him his wife: And knew her not till [heōs] she had brought forth her firstborn son: and he called his name Jesus” (Matthew 1:25).

Joseph “knew” Mary after she gave birth to Jesus.

“So they took the money, and did as they were taught: and this saying is commonly reported among the Jews until [mechri] this day” (Matthew 28:15).

The saying was probably also reported after “this day.”

“And as they came down from the mountain, he charged them that they should tell no man what things they had seen, till [hotan] the Son of man were risen from the dead” (Mark 9:9).

They probably also told others after the Son of man was risen.

“And when it was day, certain of the Jews banded together, and bound themselves under a curse, saying that they would neither eat nor drink till [heōs] they had killed Paul” (Acts 23:12).

They probably also planned to eat and drink after they killed Paul.

“But their minds were blinded: for until [achri] this day remaineth the same vail untaken away in the reading of the old testament; which vail is done away in Christ. But even [heōs] unto this day, when Moses is read, the vail is upon their heart” (2 Corinthians 3:14-5).

“Israel hath not obtained that which he seeketh for; but the election hath obtained it, and the rest were blinded (According as it is written, God hath given them the spirit of slumber, eyes that they should not see, and ears that they should not hear;) unto [heōs] this day” (Romans 11:7-8).

The rest were probably also blinded after “this day.”

Monday, May 22, 2017

“Heathen” [gowy, ethnos] means “Gentiles,” which means “nations”

The Old Testament Hebrew gowy and the New Testament Greek ethnos are translated as “nation(s),” as “Gentiles,” and as “heathen.”

In a sense, it would have been less confusing if the King James translators did not even use the word “Gentiles” or “heathen.”

“Now these words, O Lord, we have spoken before thee, concerning the revelations and commandments which thou hast given unto us, who are identified with the Gentiles” (D&C 109:60).

Although LDS Church members are identified with the Gentiles, they are not identified as the Gentiles.

Various statements from Joseph Smith and the Standard Works imply that “Gentiles” are not exclusively LDS Church members.

Joseph Smith

“God will gather out his Saints from the Gentiles” (Joseph Smith, HC 2:52).

“They are the Twelve Apostles, who are called to the office of the Traveling High Council, who are to preside over the churches of the Saints, among the Gentiles, where there is a presidency established; and they are to travel and preach among the Gentiles, until the Lord shall command them to go to the Jews” (Joseph Smith, HC 2:200).

“We must use precaution in bringing sinners to justice, lest in exposing these heinous sins we draw the indignation of a Gentile world upon us (and, to their imagination, justly too)” (Joseph Smith, HC 5:20).

The Doctrine and Covenants 

“This being an ordinance unto you, that you are an elder under his hand, he being the first unto you, that you might be an elder unto this church of Christ, bearing my name— And the first preacher of this church unto the church, and before the world, yea, before the Gentiles; yea, and thus saith the Lord God, lo, lo! to the Jews also” (D&C 21:11-2).

“Therefore, tarry ye, and labor diligently, that you may be perfected in your ministry to go forth among the Gentiles for the last time” (D&C 88:84).

“That through your administration they may receive the word, and through their administration the word may go forth unto the ends of the earth, unto the Gentiles first, and then, behold, and lo, they shall turn unto the Jews” (D&C 90:9).

“The Seventy are also called to preach the gospel, and to be especial witnesses unto the Gentiles and in all the world . . . The Seventy are to act in the name of the Lord, under the direction of the Twelve or the traveling high council, in building up the church and regulating all the affairs of the same in all nations, first unto the Gentiles and then to the Jews . . . And these seventy are to be traveling ministers, unto the Gentiles first and also unto the Jews” (D&C 107:25, 34, 97).

“The Twelve are a Traveling Presiding High Council, to officiate in the name of the Lord, under the direction of the Presidency of the Church, agreeable to the institution of heaven; to build up the church, and regulate all the affairs of the same in all nations, first unto the Gentiles and secondly unto the Jews” (D&C 107:33).

“Let thy heart be of good cheer before my face; and thou shalt bear record of my name, not only unto the Gentiles, but also unto the Jews; and thou shalt send forth my word unto the ends of the earth” (D&C 112:4).

“Send forth the elders of my church unto the nations which are afar off; unto the islands of the sea; send forth unto foreign lands; call upon all nations, first upon the Gentiles, and then upon the Jews” (D&C 133:8).

The Book of Mormon

“And he said unto me: These are the nations and kingdoms of the Gentiles. And it came to pass that I saw among the nations of the Gentiles the formation of a great church” (1 Nephi 13:3-4).

Nations of Gentiles existed before the “great church” was even formed among them, so that does not make sense that Gentiles are exclusively LDS Church members.

“I looked and beheld a man among the Gentiles, who was separated from the seed of my brethren by the many waters; and I beheld the Spirit of God, that it came down and wrought upon the man; and he went forth upon the many waters, even unto the seed of my brethren, who were in the promised land. And it came to pass that I beheld the Spirit of God, that it wrought upon other Gentiles; and they went forth out of captivity, upon the many waters. And it came to pass that I beheld many multitudes of the Gentiles upon the land of promise” (1 Nephi 13:12-4).

“And the time cometh that he shall manifest himself unto all nations, both unto the Jews and also unto the Gentiles; and after he has manifested himself unto the Jews and also unto the Gentiles, then he shall manifest himself unto the Gentiles and also unto the Jews, and the last shall be first, and the first shall be last” (1 Nephi 13:42).

The Lord has manifested Himself to the Jews and some LDS Church members. However, He will also manifest Himself to all nations. Therefore, Gentiles do not necessarily have to be LDS Church members.

“I beheld other books, which came forth by the power of the Lamb, from the Gentiles unto them, unto the convincing of the Gentiles and the remnant of the seed of my brethren, and also the Jews who were scattered upon all the face of the earth, that the records of the prophets and of the twelve apostles of the Lamb are true. And the angel spake unto me, saying: These last records, which thou hast seen among the Gentiles, shall establish the truth of the first, which are of the twelve apostles of the Lamb, and shall make known the plain and precious things which have been taken away from them; and shall make known to all kindreds, tongues, and people, that the Lamb of God is the Son of the Eternal Father, and the Savior of the world” (1 Nephi 13:39-40).

The above scripture refers to “other books,” but we do not yet know if it refers to the Doctrine and Covenants and the Pearl of Great Price.

“And the Gentiles are lifted up in the pride of their eyes, and have stumbled, because of the greatness of their stumbling block, that they have built up many churches” (2 Nephi 26:20).

“Churches” is plural. The LDS Church has no reason to want to build up many (different) churches. (A church is different than a church building.)

“And because my words shall hiss forth—many of the Gentiles shall say: A Bible! A Bible! We have got a Bible, and there cannot be any more Bible” (2 Nephi 29:3).

It tends to be people who are not LDS Church members who do not believe there can be more scripture than what is in the Bible.

“Thou hast also made our words powerful and great, even that we cannot write them; wherefore, when we write we behold our weakness, and stumble because of the placing of our words; and I fear lest the Gentiles shall mock at our words” (Ether 12:25).

It tends to be people who are not LDS Church members who mock the words in the Book of Mormon.

At any rate, everyone (Jew, Gentile, LDS, etc.) needs to repent

“And also to the convincing of the Jew and Gentile that Jesus is the Christ, the Eternal God, manifesting himself unto all nations” (Title Page of the Book of Mormon).

“. . . all are alike unto God, both Jew and Gentile” (2 Nephi 26:33).

“Hearken, O ye Gentiles, and hear the words of Jesus Christ, the Son of the living God, which he hath commanded me that I should speak concerning you, for, behold he commandeth me that I should write, saying: Turn, all ye Gentiles, from your wicked ways; and repent of your evil doings . . . and come unto me, and be baptized in my name, that ye may receive a remission of your sins, and be filled with the Holy Ghost, that ye may be numbered with my people who are of the house of Israel” (3 Nephi 30:1-2).

Moroni writes, “Wherefore, O ye Gentiles, it is wisdom in God that these things should be shown unto you, that thereby ye may repent of your sins” (Ether 8:23).

“I say unto you that as many of the Gentiles as will repent are the covenant people of the Lord” (2 Nephi 30:2).

“Thou hast beheld that if the Gentiles repent it shall be well with them” (1 Nephi 14:5).

“But if the Gentiles will repent and return unto me, saith the Father, behold they shall be numbered among my people, O house of Israel” (3 Nephi 16:13).

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

The two churches: “the wife” and “the whore”

The church of God is symbolized as “the wife”

“For the husband is the head [kephalē] of the wife, even as Christ is the head [kephalē] of the church [ekklēsia]: and he is the saviour of the body” (Ephesians 5:23).

“And hath put all things under his feet, and gave him to be the head [kephalē] over all things to the church [ekklēsia], Which is his body, the fulness of him that filleth all in all” (Ephesians 1:22-3).

“And he is the head [kephalē] of the body, the church [ekklēsia]: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence” (Colossians 1:18).

“And it came to pass that king Mosiah granted unto Alma that he might establish churches throughout all the land of Zarahemla; and gave him power to ordain priests and teachers over every church. Now this was done because there were so many people that they could not all be governed by one teacher; neither could they all hear the word of God in one assembly; Therefore they did assemble themselves together in different bodies, being called churches; every church having their priests and their teachers, and every priest preaching the word according as it was delivered to him by the mouth of Alma. And thus, notwithstanding there being many churches they were all one church, yea, even the church of God; for there was nothing preached in all the churches except it were repentance and faith in God. And now there were seven churches in the land of Zarahemla. And it came to pass that whosoever were desirous to take upon them the name of Christ, or of God, they did join the churches of God; And they were called the people of God. And the Lord did pour out his Spirit upon them, and they were blessed” (Mosiah 25:19-24).

“That thy church may come forth out of the wilderness of darkness, and shine forth fair as the moon, clear as the sun, and terrible as an army with banners; And be adorned as a bride for that day when thou shalt unveil the heavens” (D&C 109:73-4).

The church of God is faithful to Christ alone.

The church of the devil is symbolized as “the whore”

“And it came to pass that he said unto me: Look, and behold that great and abominable church, which is the mother of abominations, whose founder is the devil. And he said unto me: Behold there are save two churches only; the one is the church of the Lamb of God, and the other is the church of the devil; wherefore, whoso belongeth not to the church of the Lamb of God belongeth to that great church, which is the mother of abominations; and she is the whore of all the earth. And it came to pass that I looked and beheld the whore of all the earth, and she sat upon many waters; and she had dominion over all the earth, among all nations, kindreds, tongues, and people. . . . the day cometh that the wrath of God is poured out upon the mother of harlots, which is the great and abominable church of all the earth, whose founder is the devil” (1 Nephi 14:9-11, 17).

“And there came one of the seven angels which had the seven vials, and talked with me, saying unto me, Come hither; I will shew unto thee the judgment of the great whore that sitteth upon many waters: With whom the kings of the earth have committed fornication, and the inhabitants of the earth have been made drunk with the wine of her fornication. So he carried me away in the spirit into the wilderness: and I saw a woman sit upon a scarlet coloured beast, full of names of blasphemy, having seven heads and ten horns. And the woman was arrayed in purple and scarlet colour, and decked with gold and precious stones and pearls, having a golden cup in her hand full of abominations and filthiness of her fornication: And upon her forehead was a name written, MYSTERY, BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS AND ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH” (Revelation 17:1-5).

The church of the devil is unfaithful to all.