Friday, December 25, 2009

Do the Scriptures say that 50% of church members gain Eternal Life?

A doctrine has become widely spread throughout the church, quoting some verses to present that half the church will gain Eternal Life. The support for this is almost entirely derived from parables. So let's examine the arguments for and against.

Supporting the 50% Concept

Matthew Chapter 12:1-12 States _ "Then shall the kingdom of heaven be likened to ten virgins, that took their lamps, and went forward to meet the bridegroom. And five of them were wise, and five were foolish. They that were foolish took their lamps, and took no oil with them: But the wise took oil in their vessels with their lamps. While the bridegroom tarried, they all slumbered and slept. And at midnight there was a cry made, Look, the bridegroom is coming; go you out to meet him. Then all those virgins arose, and trimmed their lamps. And the foolish said to the wise, Give us of your oil; for our lamps are gone out. But the wise answered, saying, Not so; in case there is not enough for us and you: but you go instead to them that sell, and buy for yourselves. And while they went to buy, the bridegroom came; and they that were ready went in with him to the marriage: and the door was shut. Afterward came also the other virgins, saying, Lord, Lord, open to us. But he answered and said, surely I say to you, I don't know you."

There is also quotes of a just as opposed to an unjust steward, wheat and tares growing together etc. But are these statistical figures or just opposites Christ used? Was half just an obvious choice for this parable of virgins. The other parables showing opposites say nothing of 50% at all and therefore aren't worth quoting here.

Matthew 24:38-42 says _ "For as in the days that were before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noe entered into the ark, And knew not until the flood came, and took them all away; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. Then shall two be in the field; the one shall be taken, and the other left. Two women shall be grinding at the mill; the one shall be taken, and the other left. Watch therefore: for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come."

Again the question arises as to whether we should take this figure used by Christ as more than merely suggesting that some will be taken in the resurrection and some won't?

Opposing the 50% Concept

If we are to use the parable of the ten virgins as statistics it would pose some serious problems. Let's examine another parable Christ taught.

Matthew 25:14-30 states _ " For the kingdom of heaven is as a man travelling into a far country, who called his own servants, and delivered to them his goods. And to one he gave five talents, to another two, and to another one; to every man according to his several ability; and straight away took his journey. Then he that had received the five talents went and traded with the same, and made them another five talents. And likewise he that had received two, he also gained another two. But he that had received one went and digged in the earth, and hid his lord's money. After a long time the lord of those servants came, and took account with them. And so he that had received five talents came and brought another five talents, saying, Lord, you delivered to me five talents: look, I have gained, beside them, five talents more. His lord said to him, Well done, you good and faithful servant: you have been faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things: you enter into the joy of your lord. He also that had received two talents came and said, Lord, you delivered to me two talents: look, I have gained two other talents beside them. His lord said to him, Well done, good and faithful servant; you have been faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things: you enter into the joy of your lord. Then he which had received the one talent came and said, Lord, I knew you that you are a hard man, reaping where you have not sown, and gathering where you have not strawed: And I was afraid, and went and hid your talent in the earth: so, there you have what is yours. His lord answered and said to him, you wicked and slothful servant, you knew that I reap where I didn't sow, and gather where I have not strawed: You should therefore to have put my money to the exchangers, and then at my coming I should have received mine own with usury. Take therefore the talent from him, and give it to him which has ten talents. For to every one that has shall be given, and he shall have abundance: but from him that has not shall be taken away even that which he has. And cast you the unprofitable servant into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth."

This parable was given straight after the one of ten virgins. But it has 3 stewards with 2 gaining more and only one being sent to outer darkness. So should we conclude that Christ had changed his mind and decided that 66.6% of the church would make it instead? These are just convenient figures used in parables not statistics.

We have the parable of the merchant who went and sold all he had for the pearl. Should we then conclude that Christ meant 100% of the church would make it? I could go on with how silly this would be from the parables point of view. But what other Scriptures refute this?

"Look, there are many called, but few are chosen…" D&C 121:34

So many are called to positions of responsibility within the priesthood, but FEW will actually measure up to the responsibility. While still in this same discussion (it ends in verse 40) we are informed that "almost all men" given such authority will fail to measure up (verse 39). Therefore few priesthood leaders would be among the 50%. And considering that this 50% that are righteous would have to consist of almost no men (as the converse of "almost all men"), sensibly we would have to conclude that the 50% would almost entirely be women. Thus making almost 100% of the women in the church making it (sounds great for the women).

"Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in your name? And in your name have cast out devils? And in your name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess to them, I never knew you: depart form me, you that work iniquity." Matt 7:22-23

So what percentage of the church members have cast out devils, prophesied and done many wonderful works?


It would be my opinion that far more than 50% of church members would deem themselves unable to perform these tasks. Yet Christ says that many, even having done so, won’t enter into the kingdom of heaven.

Monday, December 07, 2009

Intelligence = Academia (learning in schools)?

I often hear it quoted that "the glory of God is intelligence, or, in other words, light and truth" (D&C 93:36).

This is immediately related, by the speaker, to education. It is claimed that if we go and do academic studies at a state or private learning institution, our intelligence will increase. Yet that interpretation detracts from the real message being delivered there in D&C 93. If our education facilities were teaching just truth, that would even then only have slight relevance. The truth and light referred to in this section are spiritual truths that will cause a person not to sin.

The verses following the one above say, [verses 37-39] "Light and truth forsake that evil one. Every spirit of man was innocent in the beginning; and God having redeemed man from the fall, men became again, in their infant state, innocent before God. And that wicked one comes and takes away light and truth, through disobedience, from the children of men, and because of the tradition of their fathers."

This doesn't seem to refer to our ability to add and subtract.

Intelligence is increased, not by going to school, but by accepting spiritual truth and obeying it (as is demonstrated as the obvious converse of the scripture text quoted above).

It seems to me that our level of intelligence is demonstrated by our ability to take in correct information, recognise and reject false information, and then the right application of that correct information.

Therefore the school where intelligence is achieved, is where we listen to and follow Heavenly Father, Jesus Christ and the Holy Ghost, as instructors.

Monday, November 16, 2009

We are BOTH Predestined and Foreordination - There isn't a conflict

On my mission I had the experience where my companion was in debate with a Protestant on this issue. My companion was strongly arguing that we aren't predestined, but foreordained. The Protestant was strongly contending that the Bible was right and we are predestined. In listening to them they were both saying the same thing, but insisting on different words. So in looking at this subject it is important to look at what we are talking about, rather than being pedantic about words.

There are those that have incorrect ideas on what predestination actually means in Scripture. So often I have heard the statement within the church that we aren't predestined, but are foreordained. Yet what is it that has caused this to become an issue?

One of the doctrines of the religious reformer, Calvin, is a doctrine referred to as "unconditional election." This doctrine espouses that God made some people whom he will make do the right thing: That they have no free choice.

Some people expand this to make it that ALL people have been selected by God to either go to heaven or hell: That in all things we do we have no real choice and that God preset that we would do those things. Paul's statements in regard predestination are the source of this doctrine.

In regard this the Wikipedia states _

"The doctrine does not hold that every influence of God's Holy Spirit cannot be resisted, but that the Holy Spirit is able to overcome all resistance and make his influence irresistible and effective. Thus, when God sovereignly purposes to save someone, that individual certainly will be saved."

To battle this false doctrine it has been presented that it must be a false translation. Yet the word from which it is translated is a compilation of two words that mean "before" and "limiting the bounds." So the word comes to a meaning of a preset limit of bounds - predestined.

Looking at one such Scripture we have _

"According as he has chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love: Having predestinated us to the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will." Eph 1:4-5

Those in favor of "unconditional election" interpret this to mean that God has felt pleased to randomly choose these people and save them. Yet our understanding of the pre-existence makes this clear. God is pleased that 1. He can save them because of Christ's atonement. And 2. He is glad because he knew they would be righteous. As that was the type of spirits they were "before the foundation of the world."

However confusion still exists as there is question on how a person can be both predestined, yet have choice?

There are 2 levels on which we are predestined. The first is that God knew what type of person we were and would therefore become. The second relates to the time-eternity factor and is more likely to be what Paul is referring to.

Tomorrow I will get out of bed at a certain time. What that time is I don't presently know. Yet if I could see in eternity (as God does) that would be answered. A deeper point in this regard is that there is only one time I will get out of bed tomorrow. So even though I have a choice in when I get out of bed, I am destined to get out of bed at that time: There is no other time I will get out of bed tomorrow - choice or no choice.

God has shown the future to many righteous people. Moroni said that he had seen us _

"Behold, I speak to you as if you were present, and yet you are not. But see, Jesus Christ has shown you to me, and I know your doing." Mormon 8:35

So what he saw us doing we will do. Not because we have to, but because that is what we will choose.

God worked out the best things for us to do for our individual growth. And he put us in a place and circumstance where we would have those things (AS BEST AS IS AVAILABLE). In doing this he knew what opportunities we would develop with and those we'd fail with. Yet in all this, these are our choices.

Paul's statement doesn't propose that those he is speaking to were there by luck.

"For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren. Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified." Rom 8:29-30

If this were merely a foreordination spoken of here (from which some could fail) how could he have them all "glorified"?

Obviously this is proposing that ALL those who had a knowing relationship with God before coming here WILL live so as that they will be glorified. Yet this is done by their choices.

Could Jesus have chosen to sin? Yes. But did he? No. Was this foreknown? Yes. Was it his destiny, therefore, not to sin? Yes. Was it by his choice that he didn't? Yes. - Foreordained yet predestined.

Monday, November 09, 2009

Does the Church Teach that we should be Right Wing? - A bit of Humour

I thought I'd break away from my usual heavy stuff and put out a bit of offbeat fluff.

The church is generally considered to be somewhat right wing by its conservative approach to life: That old fashioned ideas shouldn't be discarded. But does the church tend to mind-wash us to support right wing political parties?

Suspicion does arise when we look at such things as CTR rings etc. - Choose the left? No, Choose the RIGHT!

And what does the hymn say? "Choose the RIGHT when a choice is placed before you." Could this be suggesting what to choose at the polling booth? This brings grave concerns of buried inference.

We have the statement that it is those on Christ's RIGHT-hand side that will be caught up into heaven. And those on the LEFT...well... Very suspicious, indeed.

As I sit there singing "God Speed the Right," I find myself pondering further.

And when Jacob blessed Ephraim and Manasseh, what was it that indicated that Ephraim got the greater blessing? - Jacob placed his RIGHT hand on to Ephraim.

What of the Psalm that says, "Hear the right, O LORD.."? Is this suggesting that God doesn't listen to left wing people?

Then next I find I'm singing "do what is RIGHT let the consequence follow." Hmmm????

Yet there is hope for the left wing. Christ said that he would like to take those in Jerusalem and protect them as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings. Note it says "wings" plural. So this would seem to suggest that even lefties have a chance, after all.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Is it True that it Doesn't Matter what Day of the week you Observe as a Sabbath?

Many of the Scriptures I have used in discussing the Saturday and Sunday arguements (in previous posts) could be used here. But I'll refrain from using most of them as I have presented this argument to some degree in refuting the other 2 arguments. However some will be used.

Exo 20:9-10 "Six days shall you labour, and do all your work: But the seventh day is the Sabbath of the LORD your God: in it you shall not do any work, you, nor your son, nor your daughter, your manservant, nor your maidservant, nor your cattle, nor your stranger that is within your gates"

This states that 6 days (it doesn't state which 6 days) you should do any work you need to do. And then on the seventh you should rest from such physical labours and honour as a Sabbath day (again, no mention of it being compulsory to select a specific day of the week to do this on).

Another argument is that if God were fussy about which actual day of the week was to be observed why didn't he make it clear, like all the other commandments. God has gone to great lengths to explain which foods were not to be eaten. He went to great lengths to explain priestly duties. He went into so much detail as to how to treat lepers. The tabernacle specifics go on and on. He has explained the different penalties for murder depending. He has explained in detail who not to marry in the family. And I could go on. So are we to believe that he made such a serious oversight as to not make it plain which day he was insistent that we have our Sabbath on?

Along with this comes the question that if it was a particular day of the week that had to be observed or else, why didn't he make some sign turn up on that day each week so there would be no confusion? That way no one would have an excuse to confuse it. And that way all would know what he wanted them to do. He could have made it that the sky goes purple once a week through some strange phenomenon.

The next point is, did God rest on a Saturday? This would be pure speculation to conclude that we know he did. Our sun (from which we draw our night and day periods) wasn't even created until the fourth day of creation (Genesis 1:16-19). The scriptures tell us that a day with God is as a thousand years (2 Peter 3:8, and this is demonstrated in the days mentioned in some revelations which took that many thousand years to occur). So if this applies here then he rested for a thousand years which included every day of the week.

The next point in this same vein is, "which day was even observed by Israel initially" (when the law was received by Moses)? Again we have no scriptural support for any specific day. But one thing bears keeping in mind if anyone claims they know for sure that it was a specific day; Israel spent many years in captivity through worshipping idols, and left the following of God many times anyway. Are we to believe that on all these occasions they even considered to begin holding their sabbath day on the day of the week they used to observe, when they finally returned to worshipping God? They would naturally work six days and rest on the seventh, as commanded, from that day (whatever day it was).

In Summary

Nowhere in scripture is anyone commanded to observe any specific day of the week. There is no certainty whatsoever as to what day God rested on after creation. There is no certainty what day Moses originally got Isreal to rest on. There is no foundation for a debate on what day of the week God insists on us having as a Sabbath. God has made no such insistence. This is the leaven of the Pharisees Christ warned against: Doctrine invented by man. It is trying to strain at a gnat while swallowing a camel. What matters is how you observe your Sabbath day, not when. Don't get sucked into believing such things to be doctrines of God.

Thursday, October 08, 2009

Must a Sabbath be held on Sunday?

This follows on from the last post which was about the Sabbath and Saturday. So you may wish to read that first.

When the church was restored in 1830 it was common practice to hold a Sabbath day on Sunday. Shops closed on Sunday and there was no work available. Consequently it was obvious that Sunday was the perfect day for holding Sabbath meetings and practicing the Sabbath commandment.

Yet some hold that God is insistent on the Sabbath being practiced on this particular day of the week. ie that we couldn't hold it on some other day if we were in a Moslem country (for example).

Let's look at some of the scripture quotes they use to support this idea.

"The first day of the week cometh Mary Magdalene early, when it was yet dark, to the sepulchre, and saw the stone taken away from the sepulchre." & "Then the same day at evening, being the first day of the week, when the doors were shut where the disciples were assembled for fear of the Jews, came Jesus and stood in the midst, and said to them, Peace to you." & "And after eight days again his disciples were within, and Thomas with them: then came Jesus, the doors being shut, and stood among them, and said, Peace be to you." Jn 20:1&19&26

Here it is proposed that the apostles began to worship on the first day of the week (Sunday) because Christ was resurrected on that day in acceptance of a new sabbath. It appears to be true that Christ was resurrected on a Sunday. But to say that was to show respect to the day would need to be shown in Scripture, not just proposed. It says the apostles were gathered together on Sunday but doesn't present that this was necessarily a religious service (and considering they weren't even aware of his resurrection at this point they couldn't be honouring Sunday because of it). Then it says EIGHT days later they were together again. Some use the twist of concepts used in regard the 3 days and 3 nights Christ was in the earth to say they must have been counting the day they were in and the day they had been in. However this not only has no evidence, but, as I have shown before, is incorrect. As surely as Christ spent 3 days and 3 NIGHTS in the tomb so these occurrences are 8 days apart. So this would make Monday the new day of worship (if we were to believe such).

"And on the first day of the week, when the disciples came together to break bread, Paul preached to them, ready to depart the next day; and continued his speech until midnight." Act 20:7

Clearly here they are together on a Sunday having a service of some sort. But does this mean they hadn't just observed the Jewish Sabbath and Paul done his usual of debating with them out of the Scriputes on Saturday? The next text poses some extra questions in this regard and so I will quote this and discuss them together.

"Now concerning the collection for the saints, as I have given order to the churches of Galatia, you do the same. On the first day of the week let every one of you lay by him in store, as God has prospered him, that there be no gatherings when I come." I Cor 16:1-2

What "gatherings" are referred to here? Obviously he's not saying not to have any church gatherings when he comes. So he is speaking of gathering the collections of whatever for the saints (church members) of things that he doesn't want collected when he gets there. The collections are obviously involved. Could I propose collecting food, clothing, furniture etc would be the things he wouldn't want people involved in when he arrived to preach to them. Is this work the sort of thing for people to be involved in on a Sabbath? I'll leave you to answer that one, but plainly there was a tendency for them to see the first day of the week as a day to attend to things not done while at synagogues preaching on Saturday. But neither of these demonstrate that God insists on Sunday as a new Sabbath. Surely if this were a new day or commandment he would have made it clear?

"I was in the Spirit on the Lord's day, and heard behind me a great voice, as of a trumpet" Revelation 1:10

Yep, that's right, this was also used by those claiming Saturday is the day God insists on. The Sunday supporters claim this to be a new day Christ was instituting called "the Lord's day" to replace the Sabbath day. This text doesn't say what day this "Lord's day" even is. So the argument has no foundation.

The final argument against Saturday worth mentioning (as stated before statements of darkness being evil etc as a claim for SUNday worship will be ignored as nonsense for the ignorant) is to point out that the Sabbath command is not repeated in the New Testament.

Yet this wouldn't support the idea that Sunday is some new day, even if we were to accept it had some significant message. There is no statement that categorically declares that no one should now live a Sabbath day or that it can't be practiced on a Saturday, if you wish to, and must be practiced on Sunday.

As Sunday is a day that some still close their businesses on it is only logical to continue observing the Sabbath on Sunday. But to make it a commandment that we must make it a Sunday isn't supported in Scripture, in my opinion.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Should we observe the Sabbath on Saturday?

I have heard much debate over what day of the week God insists we observe as a Sabbath. This isn't a new debate but existed after the church had lost revelatory direction (ie no one was worthy of revelation from God any more). At least three concepts emerged during this time, and still are debated today. This subject may seem very confusing, so I hope the following will clear this up for you. Even though what I'm about to present is involved I will endeavour to make it simple at the time of conclusion. These three arguments are 1. That we must have a Sabbath day on Saturday. 2. That we must have a Sabbath day on Sunday. 3. That it doesn't matter what day you observe it on, as long as you have one.

This particular post will only be examining the concept of whether we should be holding our Sabbath days on Saturday. I will get to the rest in further posts.

Talk about people being sun worshippers because they worship on Sunday and other such superstitious nonsense will be avoided: Using such logic I would therefore have to conclude a person worshipping on Saturday to be a Saturn worshipper - as Saturday is named after Saturn. Also the claim that the sun is symbolic of the light of the gospel and so worshipping on Sunday brings us out of spiritual darkness is an argument to the ignorant. So I will be sticking to logical arguments from Scripture only.

Let's look at the Scriptures quoted by those trying to prove that you MUST worship on Saturday.

"Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all the host of them. And on the seventh day God ended his work which he had made; and he rested on the seventh day from all his work which he had made. And God blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it: because that in it he had rested from all his work which God created and made." Genesis 2:1-3

This is quoted to point out that God has had a Sabbath, and to propose that because the Jews honoured the Sabbath on Saturday at the time of Christ, it must have been a Saturday that God honoured at the creation. I will come back to examining this claim when the other scriptures have been presented.

"In the end of the Sabbath, as it began to dawn toward the first day of the week, came Mary Magdalene and the other Mary to see the sepulchre." Mark 16:1-2&9 "And when the Sabbath was past, Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James, and Salome, had bought sweet spices, that they might come and anoint him. And very early in the morning the first day of the week, they came unto the sepulchre at the rising of the sun." & "Now when Jesus was risen early the first day of the week, he appeared first to Mary Magdalene, out of whom he had cast seven devils." Luke 23:54-56 "And that day was the preparation, and the Sabbath drew on. And the women also, which came with him from Galilee, followed after, and beheld the sepulchre, and how his body was laid. And they returned, and prepared spices and ointments; and rested the Sabbath day according to the commandment." Matthew 28:1

These are quoted to suggest that Christ rested on the Sabbath day, which at this time was a Saturday. However, firstly, Saturday was the day that they were holding their Sabbath. Therefore even if this was a demonstration of a Sabbath rest, it doesn't hold that he would not have rested on Thursday (for example) had the Jews observed that day. The rest of this interpretation could only be the case if there is no doubt that A. Christ stayed in the tomb, and actually did rest: B. That he only spent the Sabbath (one day) in the tomb: and C. That he stayed in the tomb to demonstrate a Sabbath rest. However all of these are questionable. A. I Peter 3:18-19 suggests that when put to death Christ's spirit went and preached to spirits. B. It is proposed that when Christ said he would spend three days in the earth that he must have meant Friday night, Saturday and the night, and the beginning of Sunday. But is this true? In Matthew 12:40 Christ said, "For as Jonas was three days and three NIGHTS in the whale's belly; so shall the Son of man be three days and three NIGHTS in the heart of the earth." This means all Thursday, all Friday and then all Saturday. Then to rise on Sunday morning. Confusion arises because the Scriptures talk of the body needing to be quickly buried because of the coming Sabbath. But the coming Sabbath spoken of wasn't the weekly Sabbath (in the law of Moses there were several Sabbaths, not just the weekly one). That year there was another Sabbath due on Thursday. So he was crucified on Wednesday and quickly buried to be "in the heart of the earth" for the three days and nights and arose Saturday night to be already risen when the women came to the tomb Sunday morning. C. Neither Christ, any of the apostles with him nor Paul (ie the New Testament) ever claimed Christ stayed in the tomb to demonstrate a Sabbath rest. Which they would have done had it been a point Christ wished to demonstrate.

Luke 4:16 states regarding Christ, "And he came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up: and, as his custom was, he went into the synagogue on the Sabbath day, and stood up to read."

This is presented to show that Christ had a custom of going into synagogues on the Sabbath day (a Saturday at this time). Two points stand out regarding this. Firstly he spent 40 days in the wilderness (Matthew 4:1-2) not going to the synagogue on a Saturday. Secondly he obviously would obey the Law of Moses and observe the Sabbath on the Saturday they were observing it on. This, again, doesn't prove that a Sabbath must be held on Saturday.

Revelation 1:10 "I was in the Spirit on the Lord's day, and heard behind me a great voice, as of a trumpet." Along with this is quoted Ephesians 3:9 "And to make all men see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the world hath been hid in God, who created all things by Jesus Christ."

It is stated that the Lord made the Sabbath in the beginning (during creation). Then this Sabbath is associated with this quote of the Lord's day (saying it must be the same day). Then it is proposed that because Saturday was the Sabbath at the time of Christ and the Lord made the Sabbath originally, that this Lord's day is a Saturday. This is pure supposition however. I should briefly point out here that there isn't even any evidence that the original Sabbath was a Saturday (as this claims).

"For the Son of man is Lord even of the Sabbath day." Matthew 12:8

This is quoted to present the idea that Christ ("the Son of Man") is here accepting the Sabbath (Saturday) as important and his. However when we look at what he is talking about we find very differently. Verse 1 of this chapter has stated, "At that time Jesus went on the Sabbath day through the corn; and his disciples were hungry, and began to pluck the ears of corn, and to eat." Christ then mentions to the Pharisees (who were accusing him of letting his apostles break the Sabbath) of people breaking the law where necessary, to justify his apostles breaking the Sabbath commandment. An example being verse 5, "Or haven't you read in the law, how that on the Sabbath days the priests in the temple profane the Sabbath, and are blameless?" So in verse 8 he is stating his ability to ignore the Sabbath, as its Lord.

"But the seventh day is the Sabbath of the LORD your God: in it you shall not do any work, you, nor your son, nor your daughter, your manservant, nor your maidservant, nor your cattle, nor your stranger that is within your gates" Exo 20:10

No one denies the existence of the Sabbath commandment in the law. But this states nothing about this day being observed on a Saturday. Nor do any Old Testament books claim that Saturday was the day they observed, at the time Moses gave the law to them.

"But pray you that your flight be not in the winter, neither on the Sabbath day" Matt 24:20

This is used to present that the Sabbath was still observed after Christ (as this was presented regarding the future - particularly just before Christ's coming). It is then proposed that this Sabbath must be the Saturday then observed. We would have to ask, though, why would people be worried about fleeing on a Saturday (these days) when they aren't even observing a Sabbath on Saturday? There are more people observing other days as Sabbaths in Jerusalem today. Then there is the point that we still don't have a statement here that Saturday is the day this Sabbath would be on. On top of that we have no statement that Saturday is the day it has to be on. So it's still all speculation and unstated inference (ie no statement of Saturday at all).

"For as the new heavens and the new earth, which I will make, shall remain before me, says the LORD, so shall your seed and your name remain. And it shall come to pass, that from one new moon to another, and from one Sabbath to another, shall all flesh come to worship before me, says the LORD." Isaiah 66:22-23

This speaks in future tense and mentions the observance of Sabbaths. It should be noted, on the other hand though, that it also mentions new moons (an observance of the Law of Moses not practiced today). So it is questionable whether this pertains to a time after Christ (remembering this was written around 700 years before his birth). All that aside, we again have nothing about a Sabbath being on Saturday (the object of the claim).

"And he said to them, The Sabbath was made for man, and not man for the Sabbath" Mark 2:27-28

What is Christ presenting here? He was answering those who were complaining because of him healing on the Sabbath. He has stated that the Sabbath was made to serve man, not man being made to serve the Sabbath. In other words people are more important than the Sabbath day. Should we then believe that this same Christ will send people to hell for holding their Sabbath on some specific day of the week?

"And Adam said, This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man. Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave to his wife: and they shall be one flesh." Gen 2:23-24

With this it is stated that as God hasn't changed this law of marriage given just after the creation neither has he changed his Sabbath given at this time also. And therefore he wouldn't change the day. But we know that God has given different laws to different people depending on their readiness to observe them. Hebrews 3:16-4:2 tells us that the people that Moses lead out of Egypt had the gospel of Christ preached to them, but they rejected it. Thus God gave them what is termed "the Law of Moses". Sacrifices also became unnecessary with Christ having come and demonstrating their point. So God has changed laws given. And therefore why would I believe that something as simple as what day of a week something is done on, could not easily be changed - if we are to believe that was originally a Saturday anyway?

"And when the Jews were gone out of the synagogue, the Gentiles besought that these words might be preached to them the next Sabbath." & "And the next Sabbath day came almost the whole city together to hear the word of God." Act 13:42&44

Here we have Paul and Barnabas attending a Jewish synagogue. But did they attend it to honour the Sabbath day on Saturday or did they attend to preach to the Jews there? Some may argue, "both". This isn't stated either way. But two things come to mind. Firstly Acts 21:24&26 has Paul going into the temple and purifying himself ready to do sacrifices. These things were no longer necessary observances. Yet Paul did them so that it could not be said that he had no respect for the law (verse 24). Attendance at a synagogue would say exactly the same. Secondly he not only preached to the Jews there, but the Gentiles showed interest also. Where could he find a better audience to preach to? So to claim that their purpose in going to the synagogue was to worship God on Saturday is a guess at best. Whatever we believe it would be purposeless to go on another day, because Saturday is the day that people would be there for a service.

"And Paul, as his manner was, went in to them, and three Sabbath days reasoned with them out of the Scriptures." Acts 17:2

This isn't saying anything different, but just mentions that going into synagogues and reasoning with them was his "manner" (something he did). In fact it points more to the idea that he was there for that specific purpose rather than to honor Saturday.

In summary of this subject the only reasonably provable argument is that Christ was brought up going on Saturday and didn't say anything in objection to the day of the week he was observing. Yet this argument can only have possible merit if we are to believe that God now insists that we practice it on some other day of the week (such as Sunday) instead - thus making the particular day observed an issue.

This idea seems to be an example of where Christ warned to beware of the leaven (added ideas) of the Pharisees.

I'll come to the Sunday only concept next.

Monday, September 14, 2009

An Examination of Hebrews Chapter 7

1 "This Melchizedek was King of Salem and priest of the God Most High. He met Abraham returning from the defeat of the kings and blessed him,"
2 "To whom also Abraham gave him a tenth of everything. First, his name means 'King of righteousness'; then also, 'King of Salem' meaning 'King of peace.'"

Some confusion arises here by the term "King of peace." Some wonder if this is Christ being spoken of. Yet Christ is referred to as the "Prince of Peace' not "King of Peace." I would interpret this as saying that the word "Salem" means "peace."

This confusion continues into the next verse.

3 "Without father, without mother, without genealogy, without beginning of days or end of life, like the Son of God he remains a priest forever."

Some ask whether this refers to Christ? But the answer to this is answered simply.

We have 3 statements _

(a). "Without father." Is this true that Christ was "without father?"

Matt 16:16 answers this question - "And Simon Peter answered and said, You are the Christ, the Son of the living God." Also refer Matt 14:33, 8:29 and 26:63

(b). "Without mother." Was Christ "without mother?"

Matt 1:18 answers this question - "Now the birth of Jesus Christ was on this wise: When as his mother Mary...." Also refer Matt 1:23 & 25, 2:11 & 13, Luke 1:30-31

(c). "Without genealogy."

Matt 1:1 "The book of the generations of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham." Also refer Matt 21:9, Isa 11:1 and Jer 23:5

As a spirit Christ was also the Son of God.

"Who is the image of the invisible God, the firsborn of every creature."

Also the text states in regard Melchizedek that LIKE the Son of God he remains a priest forever. So this doesn't come over as if he is speaking of Melchizedek as the Son of God.

The text states that the Melchizedek priesthood remains with people who are given it forever. As it is eternal it seems logical to conclude that this reference is to the priesthood itself, and that the holder maintains it continuously as it has no beginning or end.

4 "Just think how great he was: Even the patriarch Abraham gave him a tenth of the plunder!"

This makes reference to the greatness of Melchizedek.

5 "Now the law requires the descendants of Levi who become priests to collect a tenth from the people--that is, their brothers--even though their brothers are descended from Abraham."

Only those of the tribe of Levi could become priests (whether Aaronic or Levitical priesthood). Aaron was also of the tribe of Levi (he and Moses were great grandchildren of Levi). And as the other tribes of Israel were also children of Jacob (Israel) and he was the grandson of Abraham, all tribes of Israel are brothers.

6 "This man, however, did not trace his descent from Levi, yet he collected a tenth from Abraham and blessed him who had the promises."
7 "And without doubt the lesser person is blessed by the greater."

In spite of not being of Levi, Melchizedek collected tithes from Abraham and blessed him. Therefore Melchizedek must have been greater than Abraham.

8 "In the one case, the tenth is collected by men who die; but in the other case, by him who is declared to be living."

The Levitical priesthood dies when the person does. But Melchizedek's priesthood (the Melchizedek priesthood) is eternal and so remains with him even though he is physically dead ("he remains a priest forever" verse 3).

9 "One might even say that Levi, who collects the tenth, paid the tenth through Abraham,"
10 "because when Melchizedek met Abraham, Levi was still in the body of his ancestor."

Abraham was the Great-great-great-great Grandfather of Levi, through whom the priests at Paul's time could all attribute their priesthood, and as Abraham was paying tithing to Melchizedek, so Levi, in a sense, paid tithing to the holder of the greater priesthood.

11 "If perfection could have been attained through the Levitical priesthood (for on the basis of it the law was given to the people), why was there still need for another priest to come--one in the order of Melchizedek, not in the order of Aaron?"
12 "For when there is a change of the priesthood, there must also be a change of the law."

Paul is presenting that a greater priesthood can only be necessary where a greater law is given.

13 "He of whom these things are said belonged to a different tribe, and no one from that tribe has ever served at the altar."
14 "For it is clear that our Lord descended from Judah, and in regard to that tribe Moses said nothing about priests."

The Jews were descended from Judah, which was Levi's brother. Jews had no right to priesthood. All priesthood holders were from the tribe of Levi. John the Baptist was a descendant of Aaron, for example (of Levi). Thus he had authority to baptise. Jesus, being of Judah, was from a tribe not entitled to priesthood.

15 "And what we have said is even more clear if another priest like Melchizedek appears,"
16 "one who has become a priest not on the basis of a regulation as to his ancestry but on the basis of the power of an indestructible life."
17 "For it is declared: 'You are a priest forever, in the order of Melchizedek.'"
18 "The former regulation is set aside because it was weak and useless"
19 "(for the law made nothing perfect), and a better hope is introduced, by which we draw near to God."

So the new priesthood for the gospel is the Melchizedek priesthood; and the lower priesthoods aren't required within it (though we use the Aaronic priesthood for preparing men for the greater priesthood).

20 "And it was not without an oath! Others became priests without any oath,"
21 "but he became a priest with an oath when God said to him: "The Lord has sworn and will not change his mind: 'You are a priest forever.'""

God made a promise that holders of the Melchizedek priesthood would have that priesthood forever. But to the lesser priesthood holders no such promise was given.

22 "Because of this oath, Jesus has become the guarantee of a better covenant."

Because God gave this promise in regard to Melchizedek priesthood holders and Jesus has that priesthood also, we can have a guarantee that the ordinances Jesus did are permanent.

23 "Now there have been many of those priests, since death prevented them from continuing in office;"

Again Paul is reminding us that the death of a priest of the other priesthoods ends their priesthood rights.

24 "but because he continues, he has an everlasting priesthood."

The meaning of this sentence isn't very clear in English. What he is saying is in line with the whole course of the conversation here. He is really saying that because the priesthood that Jesus has continues, rather than ending at death, and he (Jesus) holds that priesthood, it is everlasting.

25 "Therefore he is able to save completely those who come to God through him, because he always lives to intercede for them."

This idea that Jesus always "lives" may seem a little odd, as many were resurrected also when Jesus was resurrected, and could also be said to be always alive. But this refers to the fact that he is alive with the ever living priesthood (as Paul has been demonstrating throughout the conversation) which allows him to make constant intercession.

26 "Such a high priest meets our need--one who is holy, blameless, pure, set apart from sinners, exalted above the heavens."
27 "Unlike the other high priests, he does not need to offer sacrifices day after day, first for his own sins, and then for the sins of the people. He sacrificed for their sins once for all when he offered himself."
28 "For the law appoints as high priests men who are weak; but the oath, which came after the law, appointed the Son, who has been made perfect forever."

Here Paul is pointing out that Jesus is the perfect one to interceed. He points out that the other priests that are under the law have to keep making sacrifices for their own sins, as they are spiritually weak. But now God has given us this perfect priesthood of promise (the Melchizedek priesthood), for those no longer under the law, he has, with it, appointed a priest that is perfect forever also.

It must be remembered that sacrifices weren't the only calling of a priest. He had to do such things as declare lepers free of leprocy. They had judgement callings also. Revelation was required by the President of the priesthood (Chief High priest). Baptism required such, as does the sacrament/communion.

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

A Deeper Examination of Priesthood and lines of Authority - Ecclesiology

Ecclesiology (priesthood offices) relative to God is far more than ecclesiology within the church structure itself. This also looks at personal ecclesiology with God.

Relative to members, the church is an organisation where people can be certain of having the correct ordinances done as God would have them. This is important so that the true meaning of symbols can be found (as the symbol is done correctly and with the right words). Also it ensures that all necessary ordinances are performed. For new members the church provides a doctrinal beginning. For weak members it provides a continual source of basic instruction. Also it gives opportunities for service to others. It provides a forum for religious education for families and individuals. Along with this it provides a system of emotional and physical support. Then there are social and sporting activities.

However the church is only where we start our trip to God. And this must be remembered in this examination. Each person must create their own personal relationship with Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ. That becomes the “church” that is going to matter to each person. Each member must make themselves a prophet of God in their church (whether male or female). They must seek to walk and talk with God face to face. And be in tune with the Holy Ghost to obtain direction as required. Then secondly men must create a church of their family and become the prophet of that also. THEN we get to the LDS church.

To explain this point more clearly - some may question why it is that I believe in the church and yet this or that person in authority made this or that mistake? But my belief ISN’T in church people. My belief is in the Godhead. I have failed them, they have never failed me. I have been wrong, but they are ALWAYS right. Yet church leaders will fail. They will get things wrong. D&C 121 makes that extremely clear. But God never will. Christ set up the church as his church for us. So I fully support it and those in positions of responsibility (within the realms of their authority), regardless of their faults.

My doctrine is built on revelation and guidance that I have received while I read the Scriptures, hear talks at church and talk with Heavenly Father and the Holy Ghost. So the ecclesiology that is most important to me as an LDS is my priestly position in my personal church to God. God could send me out into the desert for the rest of my life, never to see the church again, and my spirituality wouldn’t be affected in the slightest, because God is there too.

Having made that clear (hopefully) I turn to ecclesiology in the church.

The church itself isn’t a monarchy with a leader that tells everyone what they will believe about everything in their own personal church. Nor are the local leaders to establish what members will believe. While some local leaders may tend to see themselves this way due to worldly influences (D&C 121:39), it isn’t the way it is intended (D&C 121:37). The church is a theocratic democracy. Thus it is called the Church of Jesus Christ (theocratic) of Latter-Day Saints (democracy).

Yet there is a responsibility placed upon local leaders to ensure that things stated from the pulpit and by teachers don’t seriously conflict with Scripture (our standards for belief).

This situation was also demonstrated by the early Apostles, who had varying opinions about doctrine and what commandments to obey. Circumcision and food offered to idols were two of these subjects. While decisions were reached on some subjects, disputes still went on. So there is some degree of flexibility of doctrine and personal feelings on what level of commandments to follow and how. In other words, while it is necessary to obey basic commandments to maintain church membership, there is no actual doctrinal domination beyond extreme basics. This is in harmony with the principle that we are to learn the truth line upon line and precept upon precept, individually.

The crux is that Christ can only give, the church generally, doctrinal understanding and commandments according to the ability of the Saints to accept and obey those concepts and commandments (1 Cor 3:1-3, D&C 89:3, D&C 119 Heading, Heb 4:2). These general concepts and commandments given to the Saints come through revelation to the President of the Melchizedek Priesthood for the church (termed “The Prophet”). In reality the church should be full of prophets. And there certainly are many in the church. Prophecy is one gift of the Spirit.

So as far as doctrine goes, while an individual may be able to speak on behalf of God relative to revelation he/she has received on a particular subject, no one can authoritatively speak on behalf of over 13 million people, in regard anything but extremely basic concepts. Beside this point the amount of subjects to cover and knowledge in each required by any one person to be able to do so proficiently, would be beyond comprehension. i.e. the enormous web of interlocked concepts within the church’s theology and the depth you could go to on so many is virtually endless. Then there would be the problem of passing many immensely deep concepts onto the general membership and having them be able to understand them. It would be as ridiculous as taking a five year old starting school and getting them to do a doctorate.

However God has chosen some great individuals to fill the office of “The Prophet” in these latter days. Though it has to be remembered also that if God has an Elijah (similar type person) living today he obviously wouldn’t make him “The Prophet”, as it would be hard to explain a man not dying (for starters). Different people grow by different challenges. So I don’t believe God always chooses the most righteous and knowledgeable person on earth in choosing “The Prophet”. But chooses the most appropriate person available, that wouldn’t be held back by such position.

There is a quorum of 12 Apostles, who are called to be special witnesses of Jesus Christ. “The Prophet” usually has 2 councillors, who are also Apostles. “The Prophet” is also an Apostle. The church works opposite from the world in that “The Prophet” is at the bottom serving all. Then the 12 Apostles are next up the line, and so on until the general membership, who are at the top, being served the most. The membership all sustain these servants, by raised hand, twice yearly.

There are 2 priesthoods available at this time. That is the Aaronic Priesthood and the Melchizedek Priesthood. Present offices within the Aaronic Priesthood are deacon, teacher and priest. Present offices within the Melchizedek Priesthood are elder and high priest. As impressive as the latter may sound it is extremely common in the church. Offices generally come by age provided the recipient is worthy.

The Aaronic Priesthood is organised by the bishop of each “ward” (collection of Saints in a prescribed area). Whereas the Melchizedek Priesthood is organised by the Stake President. A “stake” contains several wards.

Women don’t receive these priesthoods, as their callings are in a different direction. God has never had any desire to turn women into pseudo men or visa-versa.

The priesthood is a line of authority to act in the name of Jesus Christ. There are “keys” (automatic right to revelation for an office) associated with callings within the priesthood. That is all that priesthood is. Yet these 2 things are extremely important to running the church.

There is a power within us that can be used while using the priesthood for healing etc: Sort of like the power in a power cord situation - the cord (priesthood) isn’t the power (electricity) but the power is IN the cord when the power is switched on through personal righteousness and faith.

Mostly independent of priesthood office there are callings within the church. These are positions of service within the church which I would have to include in a discussion on ecclesiology, as they are part of the administrative structure. There are so many I will just describe each general area.

There is Relief Society and Young Women’s for women, Primary for children, Sunday School for all and Priesthood Quorums for men. Sporting, social and education also have administrative structures, usually reporting to the Stake leader. Then there are missions, administered through a different structure from the wards and stake. Also the Church Education System is separate, yet the bishop chooses the actual ward seminary teacher. But all these eventually report to the Apostles, and from there to “The Prophet”. So it is a branched out organisation, not a single line.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Sabbath - What are Correct Sabbath Activities?

What should a person honouring the sabbath day do, and be expecting of the day?

In regard the first of these I have heard mothers say that the Sabbath is a constant run around; getting the kids ready for church and getting home to prepare meals etc. Then it has added challenge if they have a teaching calling. They question what kind of a rest day is it? I knew a man who went to church and then slept most of the day, as that was his rest day. Should I watch TV or listen to the radio?

Exodus 35:2-3 states _ "Six days shall work be done, but on the seventh day there shall be to you a holy day, a sabbath of rest to the LORD: whoever does work in it shall be put to death. You shall kindle no fire in a place you inhabit on the sabbath day."

To light a fire required cutting and carrying wood, starting a fire. This would have restricted food preparation which would have additionally required heavy lifting of cooking utensils. It was quite a chore compared to switching on a stove or microwave and carrying a saucepan. Obviously though, involved cooking would be an infringement still. But this is for you to decide, with help from the Holy Spirit. Whatever you do must rest well with your conscience in reality.

To understand this we need to consider what the idea of a sabbath day actually is. Why did God give the sabbath day commandment? How can taking one day aside out of seven help us spiritually?

To answer that let's look at what if God gave no sabbath day. What spiritual thought would the average Israelite have had? The vast majority would have had almost none. And would quickly have turned to idol worship and sacrificed their firstborn children in the fires of Molech etc. This is an extreme example to demonstrate God's wisdom and purpose in making a sabbath day.

In reality we should attempt to make our entire life built around spiritual things and being more God like. Thus we would have seven sabbath days a week in our hearts. However because we don't do this we need to have a sabbath day. This day should be a day of spiritual rest from unspiritual things of the world. These unspiritual things don't include motherly or fatherly duties. In regard such work on the sabbath day Jesus said, "My Father has been working up until this time, and I am working" (John 5:17). That work for the Father is looking after us His children.

So is watching TV or listening to the radio what would constitute "unspiritual things of the world"? I don't see too much spirituality on the TV myself (though I hardly ever watch it for that reason anyway). There are spiritual things that could be watched on the sabbath, such as conference videos or wholesome religious movies. The LDS distribution centre put out some of these. And the radio commentators often express sexual inuendo to suggest this thinking is normal. Thus it lowers moral standards in people's heads, suggesting we should think like that. As a side issue here, I find it a typical trick of Satan that those with one track minds are termed "broad minded", to hide the opposite reality.

To summarise then it is important to remain focused on the whole point of a sabbath. Whatever you do it should support God's concept of increasing you as a spiritual person by getting closer to Him. Scripture study, pondering upon spiritual things, prayer and service to others are the best things to accomplish this.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Protestants and Judgement - God is Love?

As an LDS I know that an acceptance of Jesus as my Savior is necessary. Yet I also know that this salvation is from the hell faced after sinning. And that then sanctification is required to obtain the greatest gift of following God - eternal life. Yet Protestantism believes that there is only one hell situation and only one other state - Heaven (that the "Paradise" referred to is the same as the Kingdom of Heaven etc). Therefore they conclude that salvation from hell automatically MUST put you in heaven.

In this post I will create a glimpse into this judgement, as mankind are judged; for you to explore how scripturally and morally correct or incorrect Protestant judgement seems to you.

The prophet Abraham questioned God and asked, "...Shall not the judge of all the earth do right?" Gen 18:25

God's response to this question was to demonstrate to Abraham that he would do right (by Abraham's standard) (Gen 18:23-32).

In Romans 3:5-6 Paul poses that if God were not ethical in his judgement " could God judge the world?"

"...That God is unjust ... (speaking from a MAN'S viewpoint). Certainly not! If that were so, how could God judge the world?"

A clear statement that God's judgement is FAIR and true from OUR perspective of such also. This is further evidence that God's judgement will be right by a standard that even we can understand.

However the Protestants inform us that the criteria for God's judgement is that all those who have accepted Jesus as their personal Savior while alive will go to heaven, regardless of their spiritual lifestyle. They further claim that the rest will all go to the final hell: You must accept the name of Jesus or spend forever burning. They say that those living before Jesus are to be judged by a different criteria. They are to be judged by their obedience to the Laws that God gave to Moses or those before.

This afore mentioned acceptance of Jesus is proposed to only need be performed with the mouth, and that inside you passively accept the idea that God raised him from the dead. And Romans 10:9 is quoted to support this claim.

"For if you will confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus, and shall believe in your heart that God has raised him from the dead, you shall be saved."

Their interpretation of this verse makes it that this acceptance can even be done on your death bed.

So I would like to make an examination of the final judgement looking at it from a Protestant viewpoint. This following is a glimpse of the judgement as books are opened and the dead are judged, by the God of Protestantism, from those things written (Rev 20:12). Remember that we are informed that even we humans will realise the judgement of the real God is just.

I've made an unconfirmed assumption in regard one historical figure, purely for the sake of the point. We begin our look as one person's judgement has been concluded and the next needs to be called in.

God speaking: "Who is next to be judged, clerk?"

Clerk: "Jim Brown, Your Worship."

God: "Well send him in."

God: "Jim, the books say that you spent your life as a thief. You did help your mother sometimes: Apparently she was suffering with an inability to move. However you murdered the butcher when caught stealing from him. There is a large list of other medium offences. This should send you to hell, of course. But the books further inform us that you confessed the name of Jesus. You will go to heaven. Clerk, send him to heaven and bring in the next one."

Clerk: "This next person is Wati Haini."

God: "Wati you risked your life to save your tribe from tigers on several occasions and did many other good things. Only some minor bad things occurred. But I note you didn't get to confess the name of Jesus before you died."

Wati: "I never heard such a name."

God: "Ignorance is no exception to the law. You MUST have confessed the name of Jesus to get into heaven, regardless of where you are born. Clerk, send him to hell forever."

God: "Clerk, there is no sense sending in anyone who never heard the name of Jesus in their lifetime, as they will be automatically going to hell, having not accepted his name. So just send them to hell and that should at least save the court's time with many senseless cases."

Clerk: "Yes, Your Worship. I'll see to that. The next case is Adolf Hitler."

God: "Adolf, it is noted that you didn't smoke or drink alcohol. Those were, at least, good examples to others. However it mentions that you are responsible for the death of millions. You murdered and began wars that caused not only death but many other atrocities. You would be well and truly a candidate for hell. But I note here that you confessed Jesus as your Savior before dying. You will therefore go to heaven. Clerk, send him to heaven and bring in the next one."

Clerk: "The next one is Gandhi, Your Worship."

God: "It says here that you were a pacifist and curbed a lot of potential violence in India. And it also says that you did a lot of service and gave encouragement to others. Unfortunately it says nothing of you confessing Jesus as your personal Savior. Clerk, send him to hell and bring in the next."

Clerk: "We felt it easier to bring in the next two together as they both got struck by a bus at the same time. Paul Amos died instantly, but his brother Peter lived for about 5 minutes before dying."

God: "I see here that both of you lived lives of about the same value: Some small good, some small bad. No major infringements. However I note here Peter that you decided to confess the name of Jesus in the 5 minutes before dying. You therefore go to heaven and your brother, who didn't get such time to confess, goes to hell. Next case."

Clerk: "Since we did so well with the last dual case we thought we may present the next 2 together as well." We have Samuel Ben Joseph an Israelite who lived before Christ and Thomas Handel who lived after Christ."

God: "I see Samuel that you lived a very upright life overall. You visited those in prison, gave relief to the sick, clothed the naked, fed the poor and did very little wrong. So you can go to heaven. Yet you, Thomas, stole from people, raped women, murdered children and did almost no good at all. But it states here that you confessed Jesus as your Savior. You both obviously go to heaven. Next."

Clerk: "I've got 2 men here who lived before Christ, David Ben Judah and Levi Ben Eli."

God: "David, your good works obtain a good work value (GWV) of 10,001 and your evil works obtain a evil work value (EWV) of 10,002 in your lifetime. As you lived before Jesus you are judged on these works and your bad ones outweigh your good ones by 1, you go to hell forever. Levi, you get 10,002 in GWV but only 10,001 in EWV. As your good works outweigh your bad works by 1 you go to heaven forever."

Clerk: "We've got 2 women here who lived next to each other. Jill Smith and Betty Jones."

Jill Smith: "Yes, God, I told Betty that if she didn't come to church with me she would go to hell. And that I would look down from heaven and say to her, 'I told you that you should have listened to me and come to church.'"

God: "I see here that you both lived lives about the same. But, of course, Jill is right Betty, you should have listened; and now she can spend eternity telling you that, as you are burning in hell. Next case."

Clerk: "Purity Young is next."

God: "Purity, I see you were well named. Truly a beautiful person. An enormous love of others. A dedication to your husband, children and grandchildren. Appreciated for all your hard work for others. You apparently risked your life on several occasions to save other people. And eventually gave your life in such an event. However it is noted that you had some problem accepting that I, the God of Protestantism, could be a true God, yet so unjust. You quoted 1 John 4:8 that says, 'God is love.' You failed to understand that was just propaganda. As you therefore haven't accepted Jesus you go to hell. Next."

Clerk: "The next one was Doug Towers. But he said that if you're God he'd feel more comfortable with his conscience by going and burning in hell with Purity and Gandhi, so he went there."

Monday, August 03, 2009

The Effect We can have in Eternity

As I have pondered upon just how the whole system of eternity and intelligences is, I have from time to time come across the thought of how Heavenly Father has effected things.

We know that we all have a spirit body (including the animals D&C 77:2A) that was born to heavenly parents (Heb 12:9). And we know that we have always (even before our spirit body was born) been an intelligence that was never created or made, and can't be (D&C 93:29).

When this time has ceased if we have been faithful we know that we will take upon ourselves to assist existing Heavenly Fathers and Mothers by becoming Heavenly Fathers or Mothers elsewhere.

So what is it that they do?

"For behold, this is my work and my glory - To bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man." Moses 1:39

Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ work in our service 24-7.

"Jesus said to them, 'My Father is always at his work to this very day, and I, too, am working.'" (NIV) John 5:17

"And whoever of you will be the chiefest, shall be the servant of all. For even the Son of man didn't come to be ministered to, but to minister..." Mark 10:45

Part of our heavenly parents' work was to bear our intelligence a spirit body. It would seem that eternity is not only full of endless space, but also endless intelligences within it. So heavenly parents provide the opportunity for these intelligences (as ourselves) to receive a fullness of joy through providing a spirit body and a process whereby we obtain a physical body. This gives us greater experience and enlargens us as individual intelligences.

As we know Heavenly Father also had a Heavenly Father who taught him. And this is an endless process back, as eternal as "time" (written for simplicity) and space itself - having neither beginning nor ending.

When I consider upon the endless intelligences and this process that exists, I can't help but see the eternally increasing immense difference one man or one woman can make by living correctly. Even if, on this planet, only 14 million women receive eternal life, can you begin to perceive the eternal consequences of our Heavenly Father's actions?

Each of those 14 million women will end up having countless future heavenly parents. Who will go on and do the same. And the man's effect is even greater in the numbers sense.

The mind truly boggles at what we can do, as just one individual, by assisting in this continued act of service.

Monday, July 20, 2009

A Second Revolution

Over the history of man, talk of a need for revolution hangs around. Today is no different. People feel that the government isn't doing this or that the right way. Often there is something to what is being said.

Many countries have had great bloodbaths of revolutions. Yet the blood keeps flowing long after the revolution, because there never was agreement on what to change to and the problems haven't been solved.

The French revolution must be the most repulsive I am aware of. Not only did they murder the monarchy and all relatives, but all their servants. They murdered all the rich and their servants. They murdered the founders of the revolution and anyone else they felt like murdering to appease the crowds. From all this finally came Napoleon, who continued the rampage of murder through his armies (hardened to conquest through such a bloody revolution).

Doctrine and Covenants 87 gives prophesy in regard the wars of the latter-days. Amidst it all it says that the Gentiles (meaning those who aren't Lamanites) shall have a terrible time (v5). Obviously this is speaking of the United States, as where but the Americas are there Israelites in such large number mixed with Gentiles in such large number?

"And it shall come to pass also that the remnants who are left of the land will marshal themselves, and shall become exceedingly angry, and shall vex the Gentiles with a sore vexation."

Verse 6 seems to extend out to a earth wide problem.

"And thus, with the sword and by bloodshed the inhabitants of the earth shall mourn; and with famine, and plague, and earthquake, and the thunder of heaven, and the fierce and vivid lightning also, shall the inhabitants of the earth be made to feel the wrath, and indignation, and chastening hand of an Almighty God, until the consumption decreed hath made a full end of all nations;"

So it seems we will have more than what we could term a "Second Revolution." Yet I don't think those calling for one would be too happy with what they will get. The trouble with starting revolutions is the question of who is going to stop it and where.

Jesus Christ was raised in the midst of a terrible regime. Corruption was that wide that John the Baptist made mention of it to the soldiers who asked what they should do.

"And the soldiers likewise demanded of him, saying, And what shall we do? And he said unto them, Do violence to no man, neither accuse any falsely; and be content with your wages." (Luke 3:14).

Yet note that even though he could have, Christ knew that changing the government was pointless unless the people were different. A revolution can't help unless it is against a government in another place (as the American Revolution was). For the government is only an extension of the people. In other words people only get the government they deserve.

Christ knew that the answer to improving the government was to improve the people.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Jesus Christ - a Deeper Evaluation

I would first state that people's opinions of Deity is based on personal perception rather than a universal religious opinion. Therefore what I'm to present here is my personal opinion only, and not the opinion of all Latter-Day Saints.

Generally I find evaluations of Jesus Christ as being somewhat airy-fair, with the suggestion of him being some half man - half God type of thing. I therefore felt it necessary to mention some of the more ignored facts about what he actually was/is.

Jesus Christ is Jehovah of the Old Testament. He is the only begotten of the Father (Heavenly Father) in the flesh (meaning fallen flesh). He is the Lord God of Israel. He isn’t the Father himself, but he is the Father in the sense that he reflects the feelings, actions and thoughts of the Father (John 14:8-12). Therefore in the flesh he is the Son, but by the feelings of his heart, and subjecting his will to the Father, he becomes a reflection of the Father in actions. Thus he can be said to be the Father and the Son (Mosiah 15:2).

The Father is always greater than the Son (John 14:28). But by Jesus living the perfect life he lived and the things he has done, he has an equality of STATUS with the Father.

As with all living beings Jesus Christ is made of three parts (not to be confused with the false trinity concept) - intelligence, spirit body and physical body. He is an eternal intelligence; as all intelligences are eternal (including ours). He was eventually born as a spirit: The first born spirit child to our Heavenly Father (Col 1:15). Thus he received a spirit body at that time. We were all born after him. So he is our elder brother as spirit children of our Heavenly Father (Matt 6:9 - note "OUR father").

Jesus (from his personal growth point of view) came to earth to get a physical body. He had to go through the same process we all do, of learning and growing as a physical individual (Luke 2:52). He had to gain the experience of raising a family and learning to be a good husband and father (I'll go into this further down). He had to die and be resurrected to obtain exaltation. He learnt to make the right choices by watching the problems sin caused in others, rather than having to experience any himself (as we do because we aren’t as intelligent as he is. Abr 3:19). i.e. we often have to make mistakes to learn particular things, yet some things we learn by seeing the problems those things give to others. This requires us to also listen to the Holy Spirit often. Because He learnt everything by others mistakes and listening to the Spirit, rather than having to make any mistakes himself, He didn’t sin.

Jesus Christ’s special mission consisted of 2 essential parts. Firstly he atoned for the sins, of those who truly repent, in the garden of Gethsemane and on the cross. Secondly as he is the firstborn as a spirit, so he also was the firstborn from the dead (1 Cor 15:20 & 23). He made the resurrection of all occur by his death and resurrection.

Luke 1:35 presents, in regard the birth of Christ, that the Holy Ghost came upon Mary to assist her, and the Father came, and by the action performed Jesus was the son of God (which is virtually an instantaneous action, done strictly in great love). Science claims that a person whose sweat was as great drops of blood (as Jesus' blood was - Luke 22:44) would die long before reaching such a stage. Having a glorified resurrected father made it possible for Jesus to perform the atonement without his body dying in the process.

As a side mission he also set up his church at that time, by teaching the fulness of the gospel and giving authority.

Before we came here he had the special position of being in charge of the creation of the earth. Heavenly Father was the instigator. Jesus Christ was the foreman. And we (those able and interested in helping) were the learners. However it is Jesus Christ that is governing this area. He therefore can be considered our God in that sense. To get to the Father you MUST go through the Son. All communication with the Father is channelled through the Son. So he is our mediator in several ways.

As you would probably be aware, the name “Jesus” is the English version of a Greek word (as the NT was written in Greek). His real name was most likely “Yeshua”, as he was a Jew. Several titles are given to Jesus. Firstly we have “Messiah”, which is the OT equivalent of “Christ” as used in the NT, B of M, D&C and P of GP. That is referring to the fact that he was the chosen one that was anointed (as the word means) in the pre-existence for the special work that he performed.

He also has titles such as “Saviour” and “Redeemer” that relate to the fact that he saves those repentant from hell by his atonement, and that he redeems us all from physical death by his resurrection.

As Jesus Christ is the key within the whole plan Heavenly Father laid before us, we talk of “the gospel of Jesus Christ”. The good news includes the fact that we can have forgiveness of sins and resurrection (this body will be repaired and we will live forever in it) because of Jesus Christ.

When we pray, we pray to Heavenly Father through Christ, as he stated (John 16:23). We don’t pray to the Lord (Jesus Christ) through Jesus Christ. Therefore any thinking LDS, if quoting the Lord’s prayer, should conclude it with, “in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.”

Having taken upon himself the sins of mankind in the garden and suffered to relieve us of the pain for our sins; his body being a mess after such a feat; and having completed his task, he went to fulfil the final act of dying an ignominious death. Thus, in a sense, he took our sins and nailed them to the cross. He died because he had saved us from our sins. Paul made great point of this particular part of the act, probably because it was the only part that people could understand the pain involved in. However his greatest pain, by far, was in the garden where he bled from every pore. He required an angel to help him (Luke 22:43), and did it in stages, not all at once (Matt 26:38-44). The shear agony of that act is far beyond our comprehension. He not only suffered for EVERY sin individually, that every person on earth who truly repents has done, but (it is suggested) also for all repentant on many other planets.

His premature death also served to quicken the time for resurrection of those awaiting it that rose at that time (Matt 27:52-53). Thus Christ was eager to die then for that purpose also.

Jesus Christ, as the High Priest and a leader (Heb 5:10, Heb 6:20), definitely was married or he would have been rejected (the law of Moses makes NO exceptions) (Lev 21:10+13). Also he needed a wife for eternal marriage, as is required to be a God.

Immediately after death, while still a spirit, Jesus Christ organised the teaching of the gospel to the dead (1 Pet 3:18-20). He spent 3 days and 3 nights in the heart of the earth (Matt 12:40). It would seem that he was crucified on Wednesday and placed in the tomb. He spent Wed night, Thur night and Fri night in the tomb. Making the 3 days Thur, Fri and Saturday. He rose during Saturday night (remembering that their day went from morning to morning, not the middle of the night to the middle of the night, as ours does. When the women came early in the morning of the Sunday he was already resurrected. There is confusion about the reference of him being needed to be put in the tomb quickly for the coming sabbath. However this wasn’t the weekly sabbath as has been supposed, but one of the other sabbaths of the law of Moses observed at that time of year.

After resurrection he went to the Americas and taught the gospel there. He also went to many other places.

He directs the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints to the degree members are prepared to hear. He has given it his full authority to perform those functions required.

He will return again for what is termed his “second coming”. He will also have what could be termed a “third coming” at the end when everything will be finalised. He and Adam will present the whole thing, completed, back to Heavenly Father at the end.

Monday, May 25, 2009

What was the Original Sin (transgression)? - Answered by Oaks.

I'm not one to deviate too far from the Standard Works of the Church (the Scriptures) in establishing doctrine. I therefore don't hold to just taking things GAs say as gospel. However I did find two interesting statements in Brother Oaks (an apostle) talk in the Sunday afternoon session. Both are supported in the Scriptures anyway. The one I wish to discuss here is his statement about what the original sin (transgression) actually was.

Some Anti-Mormon literature quotes Satan claiming that Adam and Eve could become as Gods.

"For God knows that in the day you eat of it, then your eyes shall be opened, and you shall be as Gods, knowing good from evil." Gen 3:5

It then proposes that Joseph Smith taught this, so must be following Satan. However in the same chapter (verse 22) it says,

"And the LORD God said, See, the man is become as one of us to know good and evil: and now, least he put forward his hand, and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live for ever:"

So God has supported the concept that Adam and Eve had become as them in that they knew good from evil. I had always viewed that as the end of the subject.

However Brother Oaks presents the following,

"Some people think the fall of man had something to do with sex, but that is a mistake. . . . What Satan put into the heads of our remote ancestors was the idea that they could ‘be like gods’—could set up on their own as if they had created themselves—be their own masters—invent some sort of happiness for themselves outside God, apart from God." Unselfish Service

I have many times searched to understand what the original sin was. I felt strange that God had not seen that the answer was there somewhere. Yet here Brother Oaks has declared his opinion that it is.

When I heard this it just made such sense. For starters the answer IS under our nose. Secondly we have a transgression only, not a sin (transgression of the law). Yet a feeling that would lower their righteousness enough to begin the fall.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Television - The Drug of a Nation or a Useful Tool?

Having been a TV technician for some years I had to listen to the droll conversations on some of the daytime soaps. It was required to test TVs after repair or to re-create problems where failure was intermitent. Such things as "Daze of our Wives," "General Despicable" and "the Bald and the Beautiful" were suffered with great despair (these channels were picked up easily). When I did repairs at home I put on test patterns with decent music (oh, what relief).

A person could ask why these women watch such rubbish? I did find (in the defence of some) that there was a bit of a social requirement. To be able to join in conversation with other older women an old woman could feel forced to begin watching this stuff.

Yet even the rest of the things that are on TV seem a bit of an insult to my intelligence. Even watching so called "documentaries" I feel I am being mindwashed with loads of unestablished "facts."

Also watching nature studies I'm plagued with hypothetical concepts such as things being millions or even tens of thousands of years old. They begin by saying "scientists believe." But after saying that once or twice they then proceed by talking as if these beliefs are facts. They then build "fact" upon "fact."

As I don't really have great interest in watching someone else play games (sport) I am left with nothing to watch but the news (????). Yet for those able to enjoy watching sport it at least has some purpose.

The news is always negative. They say one positive story toward the end of the news, and then all smile, as if to say, "there, we give positive news too." Consequently I rarely watch the news either. People tell me anything that is important.

It seems a strange set of events that here I am as an ex-TV technician, and I rarely watch television. I borrow some movies from the video library. But that is a difficult choice. I can spend an hour looking through a video library and walk out with nothing. Just as well there are computer games.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Death - How should we Respond and Deal with it - What is the State of the Dead?

First I should mention that I have been dead twice; and remember it well. Secondly I have seen the dead in their everyday existence, as I see spirits from time to time. I bring this up to point out that things I'm saying are more than me just speculating.

A point I would like to raise at the beginning is that those left behind should try and consider the feelings of the person who has passed on. This person is still present. They haven't actually gone anywhere (I have discussed this point before, and it can be read on my "Obscure Doctrines" site - the link is at the top of the page). Their spirit is watching and listening.

Now consider how you would feel if you had passed on and everyone is absolutely miserable? What is more, they are ignoring your presence altogether. They are not listening to you trying to comfort them that you are OK.

So for those who have had someone pass on, just keep that thought in mind too.

As LDS we can tend to be philosophical about death, and just accept it as part of the eternal plan. While this understanding is a huge advantage, it still is difficult when we are faced with the passing of a loved one, or are called upon to comfort those who have.

Some left behind attempt to find some justice in the death. They see death as some ultimate penalty (after all it is given as such in scripture and in some justice systems). Therefore they search to understand what the deceased did wrong, in disbelief that they were that bad. They may tend to blame God for some injustice, in having allowed this person to die. Yet all LDS should be aware that it is just an inevitable step in God's plan, that happens to all at some point. Heavenly Father knows the best time for this to occur in each individual's life. He has taken this into account for each individual he places in any situation (before birth).

We are all different, and therefore require different lessons in life. Heavenly Father seeks to provide the lessons that each person needs for that individual to achieve their highest potential. And some of that experience will be provided in the spirit world, in the vast majority of cases.

We came here to earth to get a physical body. Obviously upon death we will miss that extra thing we have got used to having and went to all this trouble to get.

"For the dead had looked upon the long absence of their spirits from their bodies as a bondage." D&C 138:50

Fortunately Jesus Christ came and made resurrection available to all. And that is what I look forward to; along with going home (to Heavenly Father) upon being resurrected.

The dead have the same situation we have in that they are here: Their lives are normal. Spirit Prison, Hell and Paradise are all mental states, not areas. And missionary work there is by members as much as missionaries (or should be - as here).

When I was working as a night-patrolman for a security firm I was assigned a place we referred to as "the Wool Sheds" (as part of my area). We had to enter the sheds and walk through them and check various areas. Those who had done this place made mention of the fact of it being haunted: They could feel the presence of something other than themselves. One adamantly denied the existence of a God but said, "you know you are not alone in the Wool Sheds."

I could feel them also. One night I looked and saw many spirits standing around talking. These were those who had worked at the sheds during the over a century it had been there for. Their clothes demonstrated their eras. Some on one side saw me coming and eagerly came over to try and scare me. The rest over that side just took vague notice of this situation and went on with their various conversations or just watched me.

My experience only contributes to the enormous amount of sittings of the dead that so many others have also experienced. The only reason I mention it is that it was obvious from the experience that these people were neither in fire (and, obviously, the ones coming to scare me didn't have good intent) and that there were no prison walls or bars: People interact freely, as here.

General Authorities have pointed out that the generation now living will be there for Christ's second coming. I would add my testimony to that which I have also received through the Spirit. Therefore we live in a fortunate time in that the resurrection of the righteous will soon be upon us. Even those righteous dying now will have little time to spend without their bodies. All the Celestials and Terrestial dead will be resurrected. I certainly look forward to this.

It will be a great thing to see our friends and relatives who are now in the spirit state.

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

All's Well in Zion VS Dissension and Murmuring - the Right(?) to Question

The devil is prophesied to use several tricks in the latter days, in order to keep mankind from gaining eternal life. Among these tricks one is particularly centred at church members.

"And others will he pacify, and lull them away into carnal security, that they will say: All is well in Zion; yea, Zion prospereth, all is well--and thus the devil cheateth their souls, and leadeth them away carefully down to hell." 2 Nephi 28:21

Naturally no one uses this exact term. But many times I find members saying that all is well in the church (Zion). Any question or challenge to the way things are running is frowned upon by some. Words such as "dissension" and "murmuring" are used to suggest the person having a desire for improvement is off with the devil.

Now we all know that dissension isn't good. And just winging isn't good either. Neither of these things are likely to create a better situation. But is all critique negative? If so Jesus Christ would stand accused of being negative and of the devil. As would Isaiah, Abinadi, and the list is almost endless.

Modern day prophets have often spoken of the positive things that are happening in the church. But the prophets also speak of the improvements we need to make as individuals. This isn't an "all's well" preaching. Yet mentioning the problems doesn't make them guilty of dissension or murmuring against us, either.

D&C 121:34-40 warns us that leaders in the church will make errors, and that all won't be well. So is God guilty of murmuring against church leaders? Sensible examination is important. And questioning of decisions that a person can't accept isn't dissension away from God either. I have questioned God and his decisions; and he took no offence. Neither did he propose that I had no right to question. Neither did he propose that I was off with the devil for questioning.

Abraham questioned God's decision and posed that surely he would do the right thing in regard destroying Sodom and Gomorrah (Gen 18:23-25). Is this dissension? Murmuring? The Lord didn't take offence at it. In fact he fully answered all his questions.

So is all well in the church? Obviously not. God gave the word of wisdom directed at the "weak and weakest of Saints". Has he added to it since because of advancement of the Saints? No. In fact he had to turn part of it into a commandment - a backward step. Then there is tithing. Another Law of Moses concept we still are called upon to practice - though let me state that great blessings come from obeying the Law of Moses.

Then we have bishops etc leaving their families to take the chief seats in the synagogues, also contrary to Christ's statement against this (Matt 23:6). Obviously if a person is speaking or conducting the meeting it is logical to be there. I can also see that for general (or stake) conferences, to get the idea of church structure, every six months.

The Book of Mormon presents that God inspired (Protestant(?)) reformers to question. And where would we be without it?

So is saying, "hey, what's going on?" murmuring and dissension?

I believe that sensible questioning is our responsibility. If we start leaving the church because of it, then we are off line. But I believe in the right to question.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Psychiatry/Psychology a Science or another false Religion? - ADD/ADHD or just NDS

In the 1940's if a child started belting into other children he was smacked severely. This curbed his behaviour. Order was maintained in class rooms with straps or sticks where considered necessary. Children went to school with a large degree of safety (which was particularly relevant to boys). This continued through the 50's and 60's. However in the 70's Dr. Spock (a Psychiatrist) wrote a book "informing"(?) everyone that smacking is actually harmful to raising children: That it teaches violence.

Interestingly the people who accepted this idea were people who had (of course) been smacked themselves, and yet felt such pacifism (though often it was just laziness) that the idea appealed to them. Yes, this was the 70's: The decade where all these smacked children protested against war and many were more prepared to go to goal than war. In the late 60's and 70's so many strived to promote peace, with people using the two fingers in a peace symbol. It was a time when people were saying that criminals shouldn't be executed, and that serious effort should be put into reforming them. The time when people began to talk of saving trees and animals. So Dr. Spock's book was welcomed with open arms.

So where were all these violent people produced by this smacking? There were violent people; as there always is. Yet strong ideas of pacifism came forward.

Today, we live in a generation where a large proportion are unsmacked children. Have we seen a decrease in violence; as Dr. Spock promised? If a child belts another child today he is sent to a psychiatrist who declares he has ADHD (or some such thing) and drugs are prescribed to sedate his behaviour. Isn't it great that we have learnt how to solve violent children problems without smacking? We don't need to give them a smack, we can just give them smack (ie. drugs)!

I came across a person in goal for bank robbery in counselling. He had been "analysed" as having ADHD and given drugs when young. He got used to the drugs and increased his dosage. It became so bad that he eventually took to bank robbing to support his habit.

The question that arises is just how accurate is this whole child syndrome concept? Was his problem really ADHD or was it just NDS (No Discipline Syndrome)? Would a smack (or even some other form of discipline) have saved him from becoming a drug using bank robber? I believe the answer is, "Yes."

This is not to claim that all people who rob banks have never been smacked, of course. But I believe that in many instances these syndromes are utter nonsense. When young (and since) I watched children behave exactly the same, who got smacks and ceased such behaviour. How did these kids get by without drugs and being "diagnosed". They managed to control themselves without any psychiatrists.

I'm not against the concept of having good psychiatry or psychology. But, as with medical practice, if an method doesn't produce the proposed cure it is time to discard it.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Requirements to Commit the Unpardonable Sin

The Scriptures lay out some fairly stiff requirements for us to qualify as a person able to commit the unpardonable sin. It isn't just a case of having been baptised. In fact this isn't even given as a requirement. But, obviously, spiritual rebirth would be a requirement.

And if a person commits the unpardonable sin, what is their situation?

In regard the fornication that Alma's son, Corianton, committed, Alma said_

"Know you not, my son, that these things are an abomination in the sight of the Lord; yes, most abominable above all sins save it be the shedding of innocent blood or denying the Holy Ghost? For see, if you deny the Holy Ghost when it once has had place in you, and you know that you deny it, see, this is a sin which is unpardonable; yes, and whosoever murders against the light and knowledge of God, it is not easy for him to obtain forgiveness; yes, I say to you, my son, that it is not easy for him to obtain a forgiveness." Alma 39:5-6

This sets forth the idea that upon committing the unpardonable sin forgiveness has to be worked for, and is difficult. So why is it unpardonable if forgiveness can be obtained even if by difficulty?

"Wherefore I say to you, All manner of sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven to men: but the blasphemy against the Holy Ghost shall not be forgiven to men." Matt 12:31

This is setting forth that this blasphemy can't be forgiven at all. Why this apparent contradiction of statement? This is further brought up by Luke.

"And whosoever shall speak a word against the Son of man, it shall be forgiven him: but to him that blasphemes against the Holy Ghost it shall not be forgiven." Luke 12:10

The D&C also supports the idea that the sin can't be forgiven at all.

"The blasphemy against the Holy Ghost, which shall not be forgiven in the world nor out of the world, is in that you commit murder wherein you shed innocent blood, and assent to my death, after you have received my new and everlasting covenant, says the Lord God.." D&C 132:27

Paul appears to answer this apparent contradiction.

"For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Ghost, And have tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the world to come, If they shall fall away, to renew them again to repentance; seeing they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put him to an open shame." Heb 6:4-6

In other words they can't have Christ suffer on behalf of their sins again. The Scriptures above are pointing out that while forgiveness can be worked at, Christ's atonement can't help. You have to do it yourself. This is mentioned in the D&C.

"For see, I, God, have suffered these things for all, that they might not suffer if they would repent; But if they would not repent they must suffer even as I." D&C 19:16-17

The big emphasis on being able to commit the unpardonable sin is the knowledge of the person. Note the following statement (about himself) by Paul _

"Who was before a blasphemer, and a persecutor, and injurious: but I obtained mercy, because I did it ignorantly in unbelief." 1 Tim 1:13

Also note _

"For if after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, they are again entangled therein, and overcome, the latter end is worse with them than the beginning. For it had been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than, after they have known it, to turn from the holy commandment delivered to them." 2 Pet 2:20-21

For those who make no effort to redeem themselves in any way from the situation of having committed the unpardonable sin we should note the following _

"Thus says the Lord concerning all those who know my power, and have been made partakers of it, and allowed themselves through the power of the devil to be overcome, and to deny the truth and defy my power-- They are they who are the sons of perdition, of whom I say that it had been better for them never to have been born; For they are vessels of wrath, doomed to suffer the wrath of God, with the devil and his angels in eternity; Concerning whom I have said there is no forgiveness in this world nor in the world to come-- Having denied the Holy Spirit after having received it, and having denied the Only Begotten Son of the Father, having crucified him to themselves and put him to an open shame. These are they who shall go away into the lake of fire and brimstone, with the devil and his angels-- And the only ones on whom the second death shall have any power; Yes, surely, the only ones who shall not be redeemed in the due time of the Lord, after the sufferings of his wrath. D&C 76:31-38

So, in summary, we see that there is quite a lot to actually committing the unpardonable sin. It isn't just a case of joining the church and then murdering someone. A great spiritual change is first required.

And this only makes sense. To rise high enough to gain eternal life we must gain a high level of knowledge and spirituality. To go low enough to go with the devil we must have an equal understanding and spirituality, to fall from. Or, as the saying goes, "the higher they are the harder they fall." Yet life is always better at the top (in spiritual things, anyway).