Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.
When we first read this, we might think it means we need to be worried for our eternal future. Even anxious. Maybe even stressed out. Just look at the words!
FEAR – A painful emotion or passion excited by an expectation of evil, or the apprehension of impending danger. Anxiety.
TREMBLE – To shake involuntarily, as with fear, cold or weakness; to quake; to quiver; to shiver; to shudder.
Are there examples in the scriptures where people are told to suffer a painful expectation of impending danger? Yes.
Wherefore, verily I say, let the wicked take heed, and let the rebellious fear and tremble; and let the unbelieving hold their lips, for the day of wrath shall come upon them as a whirlwind, and all flesh shall know that I am God.
But behold, and fear, and tremble before God, for ye ought to tremble; for the Lord redeemeth none such that rebel against him and die in their sins; yea, even all those that have perished in their sins ever since the world began, that have wilfully rebelled against God, that have known the commandments of God, and would not keep them; these are they that have no part in the first resurrection. Therefore ought ye not to tremble? For salvation cometh to none such; for the Lord hath redeemed none such; yea, neither can the Lord redeem such; for he cannot deny himself; for he cannot deny justice when it has its claim.
1 Nephi 22:23
For the time speedily shall come that all churches which are built up to get gain, and all those who are built up to get power over the flesh, and those who are built up to become popular in the eyes of the world, and those who seek the lusts of the flesh and the things of the world, and to do all manner of iniquity; yea, in fine, all those who belong to the kingdom of the devil are they who need fear, and tremble, and quake; they are those who must be brought low in the dust; they are those who must be consumed as stubble; and this is according to the words of the prophet.
Finally, I bid you farewell, until I shall meet you before the pleasing bar of God, which bar striketh the wicked with awful dread and fear. Amen.
When talking about the enemies who oppose the servants who go forth to preach the gospel for the last time, the Lord says:
For when the Lord shall appear he shall be terrible unto them, that fear may seize upon them, and they shall stand afar off and tremble.
Those scriptures all talk about the wicked needing to fear and tremble, which makes sense, there is great impending danger for them. But what about the righteous? Does God expect the righteous to have a painful expectation of evil? Is the good news of the gospel of Jesus Christ that we have anxiety about impending danger for the rest of our lives? If so, why did the Master say the opposite?
Luke 12:32 Fear not, little flock; for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom.
According to Webster’s 1828 Dictionary:
In scripture, fear is used to express a filial or a slavish passion. In good men, the fear of God is a holy awe or reverence of God and his laws, which springs from a just view and real love of the divine character, leading the subjects of it to hate and shun every thing that can offend such a holy being, and inclining them to aim at perfect obedience. This is filial fear. Slavish fear is the effect or consequence of guilt; it is the painful apprehension of merited punishment.
Fear for the righteous is awe and reverence for God that leads them to shun everything that can offend God. Many modern English translations will use worship instead of fear to better convey the correct meaning. What about trembling?
Psalm 2:11 Serve the Lord with fear, and rejoice with trembling.
Rejoice with trembling? Like, be so happy that you can’t sit still? That would mean we serve the Lord with awe and reverence, and jump for joy. That doesn’t sound like a gospel of anxiety, that sounds like a gospel of love. Not a gospel of apprehension or dread, but a gospel of hope.
Because Paul was talking to righteous Saints when he told them to work out their salvation with fear and trembling, it’s most likely that he meant “work out your salvation by serving God and rejoicing.” Here are some more scriptures from the Old Testament (the scriptures Paul had as a reference) that tell us how the righteous should “fear”:
I am a companion of all them that fear thee, and of them that keep thy precepts.
Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man.
There was a man in the land of Uz, whose name was Job; and that man was perfect and upright, and one that feared God, and eschewed evil.
Moreover thou shalt provide out of all the people able men, such as fear God, men of truth, hating covetousness; and place such over them, to be rulers of thousands, and rulers of hundreds, rulers of fifties, and rulers of tens:
That thou mightest fear the Lord thy God, to keep all his statutes and his commandments, which I command thee, thou, and thy son, and thy son’s son, all the days of thy life; and that thy days may be prolonged. Hear therefore, O Israel, and observe to do it; that it may be well with thee, and that ye may increase mightily, as the Lord God of thy fathers hath promised thee, in the land that floweth with milk and honey. Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God is one Lord: And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might.
Here is what some of Paul’s contemporaries wrote about fearing God:
Acts 10:2 A devout man, and one that feared God with all his house, which gave much alms to the people, and prayed to God always.
Wherefore we receiving a kingdom which cannot be moved, let us have grace, whereby we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear:
And here’s what Paul himself wrote:
2 Corinthians 7:1-2 Having therefore these promises, dearly beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God. Receive us; we have wronged no man, we have corrupted no man, we have defrauded no man.
Fear for the righteous doesn’t mean dread, it means respect, love, and awe. It means keeping God’s commandments, which is what the righteous do. If the righteous are supposed to have a painful apprehension of merited punishment, why did Christ say the opposite?
John 14:27 Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.
John 16:33 These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.
It wasn’t just Jesus that told the righteous they need not have anxiety.
1 John 4:15-18 Whosoever shall confess that Jesus is the Son of God, God dwelleth in him, and he in God. And we have known and believed the love that God hath to us. God is love; and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him. Herein is our love made perfect, that we may have boldness in the day of judgment: because as he is, so are we in this world. There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love.
Isaiah 41:10 Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness.
Psalm 34:4 I sought the Lord, and he heard me, and delivered me from all my fears.
Paul himself wrote:
2 Timothy 1:7 For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.
Yes, for those living in wickedness, punishment awaits them. But our message to them should not be repentance to avoid punishment. It should be on the benefits of turning to God. The joy, peace, and happiness that comes from accepting Christ. For those who have accepted Christ and are trying to obey him as they understand his will for them, the gospel is supposed to be joyful, not dreadful.
Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.
For those that come unto Christ, the yoke is easy. We still have to do the work, be when we take his yoke upon us the burden is light. He did not say “Come unto me, and have depression and anxiety that you’ll never be good enough, and worry whether I will accept you or not.” The wicked have reason to fear. The righteous have reason to rejoice.
1 Nephi 22:22-23
And the righteous need not fear, for they are those who shall not be confounded. But it is the kingdom of the devil, which shall be built up among the children of men, which kingdom is established among them which are in the flesh—For the time speedily shall come that all churches which are built up to get gain, and all those who are built up to get power over the flesh, and those who are built up to become popular in the eyes of the world, and those who seek the lusts of the flesh and the things of the world, and to do all manner of iniquity; yea, in fine, all those who belong to the kingdom of the devil are they who need fear, and tremble, and quake; they are those who must be brought low in the dust; they are those who must be consumed as stubble; and this is according to the words of the prophet.
In parting, let’s remember the whole reason Christ came.
For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. He that believeth on him is not condemned.
I am indebted to Watcher. The work he has done on the history of the church, the mission of Joseph, and clarifying many of the false doctrines that we have been raised with is invaluable. I had been searching for years, with disconnected pieces of truth, but couldn’t figure out a model to explain the contradictions and put the pieces together. His model gave clarity to confusion, provided a framework upon which to hang all the truths and insights I had gained, and increased my faith in God. He has truly done a great work.
That being said, his latest series, The Doctrine of Nehor, has been troubling. He has espoused theories that I believe contradict scripture and destroy faith in God. One of these being that God created us out of either celestial material, terrestrial material, telestial material, or perdition material, and that despite our best efforts or the infinite sacrifice of Jesus, we cannot ever become more than what we started out as and must return to whatever kingdom we were made from.
As I engage on this next series of posts, it is not my intention to attack Watcher. Watcher has years of writings that support the scriptures. I’d estimate over 95% of what Watcher has taught is consistent with scripture, and I do not want to diminish or damage that in any way. But this small portion that contradicts the scriptures must be challenged. 2 Nephi 28:14 teaches us that during these days of darkness even the “humble followers of Christ…in many instances they do err.” We all make mistakes. That doesn’t make us evil. That doesn’t invalidate all our good works.
But we can’t stick our heads in the sand either. When we see teachings that contradict the scriptures, we need to measure those doctrines against the scriptures. In this case, I fear that these incorrect teachings will damage the credibility of the rest of Watcher’s work. That would be a tragedy, because the overwhelming majority of his work is not only good, but essential.
If you see areas where I am taking scriptures out of context, use the comments to point it out and to quote (not paraphrase) the scriptures that contradict what I am writing. I won’t censor opposing viewpoints. My goal here isn’t to “win”, it’s to find the truth.
Section 89 can be difficult to understand. Between the undefined terms (what is a hot drink?) and the traditions we’ve grown up with, trying to understand what the Lord really intended can be tough. One subject that we see confusion around is eating meat.
And again, verily I say unto you, all wholesome herbs God hath ordained for the constitution, nature, and use of man—every herb in the season thereof, and every fruit in the season thereof; all these to be used with prudence and thanksgiving. Yea, flesh also of beasts and of the fowls of the air, I, the Lord, have ordained for the use of man with thanksgiving; nevertheless they are to be used sparingly; and it is pleasing unto me that they should not be used only in times of winter, or of cold, or famine.
Here the Lord is telling us herbs and fruits are ordained as food for man. Also that the flesh of beasts and fowls are to used, not only in times of winter, or cold, or famine, but presumably all year round. (The comma between “should not be used” and “only in times of winter” was added in 1921, so I ignore it). One definition of sparingly is moderately, tenderly, or not lavishly. Other times sparingly can mean seldom or not frequently, but the next scripture seems to not support that definition here.
And whoso forbids to abstain from meats, that man should not eat the same, is not ordained of God; for, behold, the beasts of the field and the fowls of the air, and that which cometh of the earth, is ordained for the use of man for food and for raiment, and that he might have in abundance. But it is not given that one man should possess that which is above another, wherefore the world lieth in sin. And wo be unto man that sheds blood or that wastes flesh and has no need.
That’s a second witness that the beasts of the field and fowls of the air are ordained for the use of man. But the Lord gives two warnings. First, that one man should not possess more than another. We should not have people starving while others have plenty (insert law of consecration here). And secondly, wasting the flesh of animals, killing them when there is no need, is bad. But we are also to have this food in abundance. Abundance means ample sufficiency. This isn’t gluttony. It’s enough. More than the minimum, but not to excess.
God gives a third witness.
Verily I say, that inasmuch as ye do this, the fulness of the earth is yours, the beasts of the field and the fowls of the air, and that which climbs upon the trees and walketh upon the earth; yea, and the herb, and the good things which come of the earth, whether for food or for raiment, or for houses, or for barns, or for orchards, or for gardens, or for vineyards; yea, all things which come of the earth, in the season thereof, are made for the benefit and the use of man, both to please the eye and to gladden the heart; yea, for food and for raiment, for taste and for smell, to strengthen the body and to enliven the soul. And it pleases God that he hath given all these things unto man; for unto this end were they made to be used, with judgment, not to excess, neither by extortion.
To be used. For food. With judgment, not to excess.
Now that we’ve established this, let’s go back to Section 89 and read the next verses.
14 All grain is ordained for the use of man and of beasts, to be the staff of life, not only for man but for the beasts of the field, and the fowls of heaven, and all wild animals that run or creep on the earth;
15 And these hath God made for the use of man only in times of famine and excess of hunger.
What exactly has God made for the use of man only in times of famine and excess hunger?
Most people will assume he’s referring to eating meat again. But that contradicts all those previous scriptures that tells us meat is ordained for the use of man, to be used abundantly but not to excess.
Some interpret this to mean we’re only supposed to eat grain during times of famine and excess of hunger. But that seems to ignore the next verse.
16 All grain is good for the food of man; as also the fruit of the vine; that which yieldeth fruit, whether in the ground or above the ground
I think the answer is right there in the scriptures.
14 All grain is ordained for the use of man and of beasts, to be the staff of life, not only for man but for the beasts of the field, and the fowls of heaven, and all wild animals that run or creep on the earth; and these hath God made for the use of man only in times of famine and excess of hunger.
This is the first time wild animals has been used in Section 89. The previous verses talk about eating beasts of the field, but do not mention wild animals.
Let’s use a bit of English grammar to decode this. These is plural. In verse 14, all grain is singular. Wild animals are plural. We also have the difference between these and those. When you have two groups, the closer group is referred to as these, and the more distant group is referred to as those. The closest group to the word these is wild animals, not grain, not beasts of the field, and not fowls of heaven.
While grammar can help us understand the meaning, we really need some scriptural witnesses to confirm that. Is there a difference between beasts of the field and wild beasts or wild animals?
1 Nephi 18:25
And it came to pass that we did find upon the land of promise, as we journeyed in the wilderness, that there were beasts in the forests of every kind, both the cow and the ox, and the ass and the horse, and the goat and the wild goat, and all manner of wild animals, which were for the use of men.
Here Nephi seems to be making a distinction between beasts (cows, oxen, horses, and goats) and wild animals. Nephi talks about hunting wild beasts to feed his family during a time of excess hunger.
1 Nephi 16
19 And it came to pass that we did return without food to our families, and being much fatigued, because of their journeying, they did suffer much for the want of food.
21 Now it came to pass that I, Nephi, having been afflicted with my brethren because of the loss of my bow, and their bows having lost their springs, it began to be exceedingly difficult, yea, insomuch that we could obtain no food.
31 And it came to pass that I did slay wild beasts, insomuch that I did obtain food for our families.
Later in the Book of Mormon we have another description that distinguishes between domesticated animals and wild beasts.
3 Nephi 4:2-3
2 But behold, there were no wild beasts nor game in those lands which had been deserted by the Nephites, and there was no game for the robbers save it were in the wilderness. And the robbers could not exist save it were in the wilderness, for the want of food; for the Nephites had left their lands desolate, and had gathered their flocks and their herds and all their substance, and they were in one body.
It seems that wild beasts and wild animals are one in the same. The emphasis is on the wild part. The Lamanites were hunting game in the wilderness. The Nephites had flocks and herds. Alma also describes wild animals as living in the wilderness.
And they came from there up into the south wilderness. Thus the land on the northward was called Desolation, and the land on the southward was called Bountiful, it being the wilderness which is filled with all manner of wild animals of every kind, a part of which had come from the land northward for food.
It seems that hunting wild animals is what the Lord is referring to in D&C 89:15 when he says they are only to be used in times of famine and excess hunger. Hunting isn’t forbidden, but it is restricted. Enos went to hunt beasts in the forest when he kneeled down in prayer. Nephi hunted food in the wilderness to provide for his family. So this isn’t a sin outright. But who are the examples of those that hunt to excess? Nimrod, the founder of Babel, was a mighty hunter. Esau was a cunning hunter. And Enos tells us of the Lamanites.
And I bear record that the people of Nephi did seek diligently to restore the Lamanites unto the true faith in God. But our labors were vain; their hatred was fixed, and they were led by their evil nature that they became wild, and ferocious, and a blood-thirsty people, full of idolatry and filthiness; feeding upon beasts of prey; dwelling in tents, and wandering about in the wilderness with a short skin girdle about their loins and their heads shaven; and their skill was in the bow, and in the cimeter, and the ax. And many of them did eat nothing save it was raw meat; and they were continually seeking to destroy us.
Nephi and his family ate raw meat in the wilderness and the Lord blessed them. The Lamanites at raw meat and it was a cursing. So eating raw meat in and of itself isn’t sin. During times of famine and excess hunger it’s fine. But if that becomes your staple diet, you’ve gone too far. So it seems with hunting in general. The Nephites farmed extensively, with both grains and flocks of animals, and hunted occasionally. The Lamanites didn’t farm, and either pillaged or hunted for their sustenance.
I can’t help but notice that our hunting laws restrict hunting to specific times of the year, and limit the number of animals that can be killed. I suspect that if these laws were repealed, some percentage of hunters would hunt to excess, much like what happened with the wild buffalo in the 1800s. Our hunting laws seem to be implementing the will of the Lord to some degree (albeit by coercion). An outright prohibition on hunting for food is not God’s will. Trophy hunting, where blood is spilled when there is no need, seems to be a different story.
So what does this mean for us? Beef, poultry, and other domesticated meats are fine to eat year round, in abundant moderation but not to excess. Grains, herbs, and fruits are fine to eat year round. Wild animals, however, should only be eaten in times of famine and excess hunger.
I was reading Moses 7 this evening, where Enoch has an extensive discussion with the Lord. It’s quite confusing if you believe the LDS tradition about Elohim being the Father and Jehovah being the Son.
In the previous chapter, Enoch had been preaching to the people and taught:
Moses 6:57 Man of Holiness is his name, and the name of his Only Begotten is the Son of Man, even Jesus Christ, a righteous Judge, who shall come in the meridian of time.
Man of Holiness = Father = Elohim.
Son of Man = Jesus Christ = Jehovah.
In Chapter 7, Enoch is talking to the Lord, which is ambiguous. But when the Lord responds to Enoch, he gives away his identity.
Moses 7:35 Behold, I am God; Man of Holiness is my name; Man of Counsel is my name; and Endless and Eternal is my name, also.
So Enoch is talking to Elohim, God the Father. As a second witness:
Moses 7 50 And it came to pass that Enoch continued his cry unto the Lord, saying: I ask thee, O Lord, in the name of thine Only Begotten, even Jesus Christ, that thou wilt have mercy upon Noah and his seed, that the earth might never more be covered by the floods. 51 And the Lord could not withhold; and he covenanted with Enoch, and sware unto him with an oath, that he would stay the floods; that he would call upon the children of Noah;
The Lord Enoch is speaking to is the Father, because he is asking in the name of his Only Begotten, Jesus Christ. The next verses seem to support it being the Father doing the talking.
54 And it came to pass that Enoch cried unto the Lord, saying: When the Son of Man comes in the flesh, shall the earth rest? I pray thee, show me these things. 55 And the Lord said unto Enoch: Look, and he looked and beheld the Son of Man lifted up on the cross, after the manner of men; 56 And he heard a loud voice; and the heavens were veiled; and all the creations of God mourned; and the earth groaned; and the rocks were rent; and the saints arose, and were crownedat the right hand of the Son of Man, with crowns of glory; 57 And as many of the spirits as were in prison came forth, and stood on the right hand of God; and the remainder were reserved in chains of darkness until the judgment of the great day.
OK – the Son of Man is also God. We’re still safe, right?
59 And Enoch beheld the Son of Man ascend up unto the Father; and he called unto the Lord, saying: Wilt thou not come again upon the earth? Forasmuch as thou art God, and I know thee, and thou hast sworn unto me, and commanded me that I should ask in the name of thine Only Begotten; thou hast made me, and given unto me a right to thy throne, and not of myself, but through thine own grace; wherefore, I ask thee if thou wilt not come again on the earth. 60 And the Lord said unto Enoch: As I live, even so will I come in the last days, in the days of wickedness and vengeance, to fulfil the oath which I have made unto you concerning the children of Noah;
Stop the presses! Enoch asks the Father in the name of the Only Begotten if the Father will come again on the earth. And the Father says he will come in the last days. Doesn’t Elohim realize that Jehovah is supposed to do that? Elohim is having a serious identity crisis.
62 And righteousnesswill I send down out of heaven; and truth will I send forth out of the earth, to bear testimony of mine Only Begotten; his resurrection from the dead; yea, and also the resurrection of all men; and righteousness and truth will I cause to sweep the earth as with a flood, to gather out mine elect from the four quarters of the earth, unto a place which I shall prepare, an Holy City, that my people may gird up their loins, and be looking forth for the time of my coming; for there shall be my tabernacle, and it shall be called Zion, a New Jerusalem.
65 And it came to pass that Enoch saw the day of the coming of the Son of Man, in the last days, to dwell on the earth in righteousness for the space of a thousand years;
Does Elohim come again, or the Son of Man? The Lord seems to thinks it’s both. I don’t know how anyone can reconcile this chapter of scripture with the Elohim/Jehovah concept the LDS Church preaches. It’s too bad the LDS Church doesn’t believe the Book of Mormon, which explains Moses 7 easily.
Mosiah 13:28, 33-34
And moreover, I say unto you, that salvation doth not come by the law alone; and were it not for the atonement, which God himself shall make for the sins and iniquities of his people, that they must unavoidably perish, notwithstanding the law of Moses.
For behold, did not Moses prophesy unto them concerning the coming of the Messiah, and that God should redeem his people? Yea, and even all the prophets who have prophesied ever since the world began—have they not spoken more or less concerning these things? Have they not said that God himself should come down among the children of men, and take upon him the form of man, and go forth in mighty power upon the face of the earth?
And now Abinadi said unto them: I would that ye should understand that God himself shall come down among the children of men, and shall redeem his people. And because he dwells in flesh he shall be called the Son of God, and having subjected the flesh to the will of the Father, being the Father and the Son-The Father, because he was conceived by the power of God; and the Son, because of the flesh; thus becoming the Father and Son-And they are one God, yea, the very Eternal Father of heaven and of earth. And thus the flesh becoming subject to the Spirit, or the Son to the Father, being one God, suffers temptation, and yields not to the temptation, but suffers himself to be mocked, and scourged, and cast out, and disowned by his people.
And now, the plan of mercy could not be brought about except an atonement should be made; therefore God himself atones for the sins of the world, to bring about the plan of mercy, to appease the demands of justice, that God might be a perfect, just God, and a merciful God also.
Behold, I am he who was prepared from the foundation of the world to redeem my people. Behold, I am Jesus Christ. I am the Father and the Son. In me shall all mankind have life, and that eternally, even they who shall believe on my name; and they shall become my sons and my daughters.
Those verses fly in the face of the Elohim/Jehovah doctrine. But they actually support Moses 7. Maybe we should just believe the Book of Mormon.
In parting, here’s another verse the LDS Church should embrace.
Teach them that redemption comes through Christ the Lord, who is the very Eternal Father. Amen.
In a recent episode of the Iron Rod Podcast, we discussed:
2 Nephi 13:9
The show of their countenance doth witness against them, and doth declare their sin to be even as Sodom, and they cannot hide it. Wo unto their souls, for they have rewarded evil unto themselves!
Searcher made the observation that most modern Christians assume this sin is homosexuality, but the Old Testament spells out what the sin of Sodom was.
49 Behold, this was the iniquity of thy sister Sodom, pride, fulness of bread, and abundance of idleness was in her and in her daughters, neither did she strengthen the hand of the poor and needy. And they were haughty, and committed abomination before me: therefore I took them away as I saw good.
Afterwards, a listener contacted me with another great observation. In the 1833 Book of Commandments, the Lord said:
And now if this generation do harden their hearts against my word, behold I will deliver them up unto Satan, for he reigneth and hath much power at this time, for he hath got great hold upon the hearts of the people of this generation: and not far from the iniquities of Sodom and Gomorrah, do they come at this time: and behold the sword of justice hangeth over their heads, and if they persist in the hardness of their hearts, the time cometh that it must fall upon them.
This listener pointed out that there wasn’t a large LGBTQ demographic in 1833, so the iniquities of Sodom and Gomorrah that the Lord is referring to don’t appear to be sexual in nature. What was going on in 1833? Poor immigrants struggling to survive after fleeing poverty in their home countries. Slavery. Oppression.
That got me thinking about how we are doing 200 years later. While we don’t have institutionalized slavery, we hear of isolated cases of immigrants basically being used as slaves here in the US. Lurking in the shadows are more insidious forms of enslavement. The press has just barely begun to shine the light into the doings of Jeffrey Epstein and the rich and famous he catered to. The Super Bowl is coming up soon – supposedly the largest sexual trafficking event in the world.
Tragically, you and I are indirectly supporting many of these sins of Sodom and Gomorrah. There are rare earth materials used in modern electronics that are primarily found in war-torn regions of Africa like the Congo. Known as conflict minerals, they provide the economic engine that enables local warlords to kidnap children to be part of their army and then use them to enslave local populations to mine for these conflict minerals. To its credit, the electronics industry has been working to establish procedures to certify minerals as coming from conflict-free suppliers. Yet someone is still buying and using the minerals mined by the warlords. Sadly, they are almost assuredly in the phones and computers we are using to read this blog, listen to the Iron Rod Podcast, and search the scriptures.
Truly we live in Babylon. I’m not sure it’s possible for anyone to live today without being contaminated in one degree or another with the blood and sins of this generation. Awful is our state. We are captives in Egypt waiting for a Moses to deliver us, because only power from on high can save us from our current state.
For behold, this life is the time for men to prepare to meet God; yea, behold the day of this life is the day for men to perform their labors.
And we see that death comes upon mankind, yea, the death which has been spoken of by Amulek, which is the temporal death; nevertheless there was a space granted unto man in which he might repent; therefore this life became a probationary state; a time to prepare to meet God; a time to prepare for that endless state which has been spoken of by us, which is after the resurrection of the dead.
1 Nephi 10:21
Wherefore, if ye have sought to do wickedly in the days of your probation, then ye are found unclean before the judgment-seat of God; and no unclean thing can dwell with God; wherefore, ye must be cast off forever.
2 Nephi 23:9
I also have charity for the Gentiles. But behold, for none of these can I hope except they shall be reconciled unto Christ, and enter into the narrow gate, and walk in the strait path which leads to life, and continue in the path until the end of the day of probation.
If we just take those verses in isolation, it’s so simple. This life is all we get to prepare. Once we die, game over. Were you born 600 years ago in an African nation that practiced witchcraft? Sorry, tough luck. Were you born into a Christian nation that didn’t have the fullness of the gospel? Sorry, you have to have received the gift of the Holy Ghost in order to be saved. Thanks for playing! Were you born and raised in the LDS Church during the 20th Century, and not only had your temple endowments but also the second anointing? Sorry, you’re screwed too.
One could come to the conclusion that God is a respecter of persons. If he didn’t choose to let you live in the right time and place to be exposed to the fullness of the gospel, he basically closed the door to your salvation. Some may even try teaching some form of predestination, that God created you inferior to others, and that’s why they can be saved and you can’t. Don’t feel bad, you wouldn’t have been happy in a better place! It doesn’t matter how much you try to repent in life, if God didn’t want you to be saved, your efforts will be futile. That’s a depressing outlook. Why bother commanding all men to repent if only a select few are rewarded for doing so? Could it be there is more in the scriptures that gives us context to this time of preparation?
2 Nephi 9:27
But wo unto him that has the law given, yea, that has all the commandments of God, like unto us, and that transgresseth them, and that wasteth the days of his probation, for awful is his state!
You have to have the law given to you to waste the days of your probation. Specifically, given unto you like unto the Nephites. I’ve already covered just how many spiritual blessings they received and sinned in the face of. What about the billions of people that haven’t had the law given to them? We’re told that the Millennium is when the world will be filled with the fullness of the gospel, and everyone will know it. So most people can’t begin to waste their days of probation until after the Millennium begins.
And thus did I, the Lord God, appoint unto man the days of his probation—that by his natural death he might be raised in immortality unto eternal life, even as many as would believe; and they that believe not unto eternal damnation; for they cannot be redeemed from their spiritual fall, because they repent not;
When we first read that, we may conclude that when we suffer death in this life, the clock stops. Our days of probation are over. But notice that he links this death to being raised in immortality (and notice, once again, it’s a binary end state, eternal life or eternal damnation).
2 Nephi 2:21
And the days of the children of men were prolonged, according to the will of God, that they might repent while in the flesh; wherefore, their state became a state of probation, and their time was lengthened, according to the commandments which the Lord God gave unto the children of men. For he gave commandment that all men must repent; for he showed unto all men that they were lost, because of the transgression of their parents.
Wait a minute! We can repent while in the flesh. Does that mean during the restoration, when everyone is restored in their flesh to life, we can still repent?
2 Nephi 10:7
But behold, thus saith the Lord God: When the day cometh that they shall believe in me, that I am Christ, then have I covenanted with their fathers that they shall be restored in the flesh, upon the earth, unto the lands of their inheritance.
That would seem to indicate that the clock doesn’t stop with our mortal death. It gets paused, and then resumes once we are restored in the flesh upon the earth. That makes a lot more sense. In fact, let’s do a thought experiment of what would happen if the clock stopped permanently at our mortal death.
When Lazarus died, his probation ended. Four days later when he was restored to life, was his time of probation still over? Was he now free to do anything without consequences because he had already died? If the clock stopped once-and-for-all when his body was put into the tomb, then this raised-from-the-dead Lazarus would be free to commit any and all sins, with absolutely no consequences. Same thing for the daughter of Jairus and all the other people who were raised from the dead. Of course, that is ridiculous. So why would it be any different when the rest of humanity is raised from the dead?
The Celestials will be raised from the dead before the 2nd Coming of Christ. The Terrestrials will be raised from the dead at his coming – the beginning of the Millennium. And the Telestials will be raised around the end of the Millennium and the beginning of the Little Season. Yet we still have the Little Season, when Satan is leading people astray again. The scriptures make it clear we need to endure to the end. The probation continues until the final judgment after the Little Season. If we don’t choose correctly during the Little Season, we will have to pay for it.
Mosiah 16:10-11 (again, notice the binary judgment)
Even this mortal shall put on immortality, and this corruption shall put on incorruption, and shall be brought to stand before the bar of God, to be judged of him according to their works whether they be good or whether they be evil—If they be good, to the resurrection of endless life and happiness; and if they be evil, to the resurrection of endless damnation, being delivered up to the devil, who hath subjected them, which is damnation
And I soon go to the place of my rest, which is with my Redeemer; for I know that in him I shall rest. And I rejoice in the day when my mortal shall put on immortality, and shall stand before him; then shall I see his face with pleasure, and he will say unto me: Come unto me, ye blessed, there is a place prepared for you in the mansions of my Father. Amen.
Do ye exercise faith in the redemption of him who created you? Do you look forward with an eye of faith, and view this mortal body raised in immortality, and this corruption raised in incorruption, to stand before God to be judged according to the deeds which have been done in the mortal body?
And Amulek hath spoken plainly concerning death, and being raised from this mortality to a state of immortality, and being brought before the bar of God, to be judged according to our works.
And the day soon cometh that your mortal must put on immortality, and these bodies which are now moldering in corruption must soon become incorruptible bodies; and then ye must stand before the judgment-seat of Christ, to be judged according to your works; and if it so be that ye are righteous, then are ye blessed with your fathers who have gone before you.
All these verses place being raised to immortality happening at the end of the Little Season, not the beginning. When the scriptures tell us we need to endure to the end, and he who doesn’t endure to the end will have reason to mourn, they really mean the end. Our probationary period goes until the final judgment. Which means the days we have available to repent extend also to the final judgment.
1 Nephi 13:37
And blessed are they who shall seek to bring forth my Zion at that day, for they shall have the gift and the power of the Holy Ghost; and if they endure unto the end they shall be lifted up at the last day, and shall be saved in the everlasting kingdom of the Lamb; and whoso shall publish peace, yea, tidings of great joy, how beautiful upon the mountains shall they be.
2 Nephi 9:23-24
And he commandeth all men that they must repent, and be baptized in his name, having perfect faith in the Holy One of Israel, or they cannot be saved in the kingdom of God. And if they will not repent and believe in his name, and be baptized in his name, and endure to the end, they must be damned; for the Lord God, the Holy One of Israel, has spoken it.
This life (both the first and second half) is the time to prepare to meet God. Some of us will be able to make better preparations in the first half, which will give us an advantage in the second half. But we all get to hear the voice of Lord, at which point everyone has the same knowledge, and then we can choose whether to listen or not, and then none of us can complain that God’s final judgment is unjust.
But this cannot be; we must come forth and stand before him in his glory, and in his power, and in his might, majesty, and dominion, and acknowledge to our everlasting shame that all his judgments are just; that he is just in all his works, and that he is merciful unto the children of men, and that he has all power to save every man that believeth on his name and bringeth forth fruit meet for repentance.
And now, it came to pass that after Abinadi had spoken these words he stretched forth his hand and said: The time shall come when all shall see the salvation of the Lord; when every nation, kindred, tongue, and people shall see eye to eye and shall confess before God that his judgments are just. And then shall the wicked be cast out, and they shall have cause to howl, and weep, and wail, and gnash their teeth; and this because they would not hearken unto the voice of the Lord; therefore the Lord redeemeth them not.
You would think this would be easy. The word millennium, derived from the Latin mille (one thousand) and annum (year) literally means 1,000 years. We have several scriptures that describe the period known as the Millennium as lasting one thousand years.
For I will reveal myself from heaven with power and great glory, with all the hosts thereof, and dwell in righteousness with men on earth a thousand years, and the wicked shall not stand.
101 And these are the rest of the dead; and they live not again until the thousand years are ended, neither again, until the end of the earth.
110 And so on, until the seventh angel shall sound his trump; and he shall stand forth upon the land and upon the sea, and swear in the name of him who sitteth upon the throne, that there shall be time no longer; and Satan shall be bound, that old serpent, who is called the devil, and shall not be loosed for the space of a thousand years.
And again, verily, verily, I say unto you that when the thousand years are ended, and men again begin to deny their God, then will I spare the earth but for a little season;
That seems pretty straight forward. One thousand years. What’s so tricky about that? Well, how will those one thousand years be measured? We already saw this verse, yet it contains an important clue.
And so on, until the seventh angel shall sound his trump; and he shall stand forth upon the land and upon the sea, and swear in the name of him who sitteth upon the throne, that there shall be time no longer; and Satan shall be bound, that old serpent, who is called the devil, and shall not be loosed for the space of a thousand years.
This is repeated a few more times in other places.
The Lord has redeemed his people; And Satan is bound and time is no longer. The Lord hath gathered all things in one. The Lord hath brought down Zion from above. The Lord hath brought up Zion from beneath.
5 And the angel which I saw stand upon the sea and upon the earth lifted up his hand to heaven,
6 And sware by him that liveth for ever and ever, who created heaven, and the things that therein are, and the earth, and the things that therein are, and the sea, and the things which are therein, that there should be time no longer:
But the scriptures also uses the 1,000 years reference multiple times:
2 And he laid hold on the dragon, that old serpent, which is the Devil, and Satan, and bound him a thousand years,
3 And cast him into the bottomless pit, and shut him up, and set a seal upon him, that he should deceive the nations no more, till the thousand years should be fulfilled: and after that he must be loosed a little season.
4 And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given unto them: and I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God, and which had not worshipped the beast, neither his image, neither had received his mark upon their foreheads, or in their hands; and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years.
5 But the rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years were finished. This is the first resurrection.
6 Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection: on such the second death hath no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years.
7 And when the thousand years are expired, Satan shall be loosed out of his prison,
When time is no more, how do you measure 1,000 years? Why would several prophets talk about this period lasting one thousand years if there is no time?
Alma gives us an important perspective.
8 Now whether there is more than one time appointed for men to rise it mattereth not; for all do not die at once, and this mattereth not; all is as one day with God, and time only is measured unto men.
And we can link this to Peter’s writings.
2 Peter 3
8 But, beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day.
Time is only measured unto man. And all time is as one day with God. So when Jesus is reigning personally on the earth as our God, time ceases and all is as one day. Time not existing is a tough concept for humans to understand, so I suspect the 1,000 years number was used by God so we could understand it would last a long while, far longer than our normal experience, but that it would also eventually end. At some point Satan will be released and begin to deceive men during the little season before the end. How long will it last? God could say a really long time, but that isn’t very satisfying to most people, so one thousand years works.
Remember a previous post talking about “the eternal world” and how we think that means after the final judgment, but Alma uses it to describe where we go after death? If you are in a place where there is no time, you are in eternity. One second lasts forever, and forever lasts an instant. That is eternity. The Millennium is part of the eternal world. Christ reigns personally upon the earth, and time is only measured unto man, not God.
So what about these Telestials?
86 These are they who receive not of his fulness in the eternal world, but of the Holy Spirit through the ministration of the terrestrial;
The unrepentant Telestials in this eternal world (the Millennium) do not receive the fulness of God during the Millennium. But as they repent and are raised up after “1,000 years”, they now live on an earth ruled by Christ in person.
111 For they shall be judged according to their works, and every man shall receive according to his own works, his own dominion, in the mansions which are prepared;
112 And they shall be servants of the Most High; but where God and Christ dwell they cannot come, worlds without end.
This verse can cause some problems for people. Worlds without end is not used anywhere else in scripture. World without end is used once in the Bible, in Ephesians 3:21. But it doesn’t actually say “world without end” in Greek, but aionos ton aionon, which is literally eon of eons. An eon is a period of time. This isn’t talking about worlds, it’s talking about time. Not infinite time, but rather a long time that will eventually come to an end.
This use of world when we should be using eon happens often in the King James Translation. Remember the parable of the wheat and the tares?
37 He answered and said unto them, He that soweth the good seed is the Son of man;
38 The field is the world; the good seed are the children of the kingdom; but the tares are the children of the wicked one;
39 The enemy that sowed them is the devil; the harvest is the end of the world [aionon – time period]; and the reapers are the angels.
40 As therefore the tares are gathered and burned in the fire; so shall it be in the end of this world[aionon – time period].
Jesus wasn’t talking about this happening at the end of the world, but at the end of this time period. Here’s another example from Mark 10.
29 And Jesus answered and said, Verily I say unto you, There is no man that hath left house, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my sake, and the gospel’s,
30 But he shall receive an hundredfold now in this time, houses, and brethren, and sisters, and mothers, and children, and lands, with persecutions; and in the world [aionon – time period] to come eternal life.
Go to biblehub.com and search and see just how many times the KJV translators used the word world when they should have been using age/era/eon or some other word denoting a period of time. (Here’s the link of aionos and here’s the link for aionon).
Joseph Smith did use the phrase “worlds without end” in a discourse in Nauvoo and said it meant forever. Unfortunately, this was in the King Follett Discourse in which he also said, “We have imagined and supposed that God was God from all eternity. I will refute that idea.” It might not be wise to trust Joseph’s definition of eternity regarding the sons of perdition when it comes from the exact same talk in which he claims the eternal God isn’t eternal. Just saying.
What does God himself say eternal means?
4 And surely every man must repent or suffer, for I, God, am endless.
5 Wherefore, I revoke not the judgments which I shall pass, but woes shall go forth, weeping, wailing and gnashing of teeth, yea, to those who are found on my left hand.
6 Nevertheless, it is not written that there shall be no end to this torment, but it is written endless torment. 7 Again, it is written eternal damnation; wherefore it is more express than other scriptures, that it might work upon the hearts of the children of men, altogether for my name’s glory.
8 Wherefore, I will explain unto you this mystery, for it is meet unto you to know even as mine apostles.
9 I speak unto you that are chosen in this thing, even as one, that you may enter into my rest.
10 For, behold, the mystery of godliness, how great is it! For, behold, I am endless, and the punishment which is given from my hand is endless punishment, for Endless is my name. Wherefore—
11 Eternal punishment is God’s punishment.
12 Endless punishment is God’s punishment.
God is telling us the eternal punishment doesn’t last forever. He let’s men believe this because it works upon their hearts, I presume to make them fearful enough to be less likely to procrastinate their repentance. God’s punishment is eternal because that’s his name, but it doesn’t last forever.
If God says the Telestials can never come where he is, eon of the eons, it doesn’t mean forever. Just until the end of this special time period. Which time period is that? I think it’s the Millennium, this time period where time doesn’t exist. It’s eternity, because there is no time. But eventually, there will be an end of the torment and the Telestials will be released.
We have some other times where absolute pronouncements are made in scripture, only to be qualified.
For the natural man is an enemy to God, and has been from the fall of Adam, and will be, forever and ever…
…unless he yields to the enticings of the Holy Spirit, and putteth off the natural man and becometh a saint through the atonement of Christ the Lord, and becometh as a child, submissive, meek, humble, patient, full of love, willing to submit to all things which the Lord seeth fit to inflict upon him, even as a child doth submit to his father.
For no man has seen God at any time in the flesh…
…except quickened by the Spirit of God.
Wherefore, no man can behold all my works…
…except he behold all my glory; and no man can behold all my glory, and afterwards remain in the flesh on the earth.
In these cases, the Lord makes an absolute statement, then qualifies it. In D&C 76:112, he makes an absolute statement:
but where God and Christ dwell they cannot come, worlds without end.
I think between worlds without end not meaning worlds without end but a long period of time, combined with D&C 19 where the Lord teaches that those found on the left hand of God will suffer for a long period of time, but he clarifies that he never said it wouldn’t end, gives us the qualifying clause that should at least make us open to the possibility that what the Lord means is the Telestials, while they remain in their filthy state, will never come where God and Christ dwell. But once they have paid for their sins, that prohibition may no longer exist.
But to argue that “worlds without end” means forever when the only scriptural references we have indicate that it doesn’t mean forever, and to ignore that God says this punishment will end and he intentionally uses wording to make humans think punishment will last longer than it really does, all in favor of a single reference from the King Follett Discourse, seems to be trying harder to support the tradition of our fathers than to grapple with what the scriptures actually say. There is no definitive answer on either side of this question. But I will stack the ambiguity of the scriptures against the certainty of the King Follett Discourse any day.
Here’s a simple test for everyone. Download and print the Three Degrees Test. Grab a pen and get started. Read each scripture, and then write Celestial, Terrestrial, Telestial, and Lake of Fire into the appropriate kingdom box. When you’re done, if your answers aren’t consistent, you might have a vain or foolish doctrine.
One of the readers, Mike, made some good comments on the last post. I decided one of the issues he raised should be its own post rather than a comment. He raised the concern that if sinners believe they will get a second chance in the Little Season, what is the disincentive to eat, drink, and be merry in this life and procrastinate repentance. That’s a valid concern that is addressed in the scriptures. Before we dive in to see what the scriptures say, let’s look at how the traditional three degrees of glory addresses this:
God: Forsake your sins and obey my commandments, and you will be saved in the kingdom of God.
Sinner: Hmm….that sounds nice, but I really like to eat, drink, and be merry. What happens if I just keep doing that?
God: You’ll be punished for a little while, and then you’ll be saved in the kingdom of God.
Sinner: You mean the same place I’d go if I stopped eating, drinking, and being merry right now?
God: Not quite. You wouldn’t get the best place, but you will get a better place than you currently have.
Sinner: Better than eating, drinking, and being merry?
Sinner: How much better?
God: Better than you can comprehend.
Sinner: Waiter, another round of drinks! And bring the dessert menu!
There’s plenty of incentive in the traditional three degrees of glory to procrastinate repentance.
First of all, let’s read what Nephi actually wrote about this situation.
2 Nephi 28
8 And there shall also be many which shall say: Eat, drink, and be merry; nevertheless, fear God—he will justify in committing a little sin; yea, lie a little, take the advantage of one because of his words, dig a pit for thy neighbor; there is no harm in this; and do all these things, for tomorrow we die; and if it so be that we are guilty, God will beat us with a few stripes, and at last we shall be saved in the kingdom of God.
9 Yea, and there shall be many which shall teach after this manner, false and vain and foolish doctrines, and shall be puffed up in their hearts, and shall seek deep to hide their counsels from the Lord; and their works shall be in the dark.
10 And the blood of the saints shall cry from the ground against them.
This vain and foolish doctrine is that if we are guilty, God will punish us with a few stripes and we’ll be saved in the kingdom of God. No repentance required! No baptism required! No spiritual birth required! In that traditional theory, we can rape, murder, pillage, and steal, and still be saved in the kingdom of God without having to repent, be baptized, and come unto Christ. As long as we don’t get righteous enough to risk becoming a son of Perdition, we are GUARANTEED a seat in the kingdom of God. Talk about encouraging sin! No wonder it’s a vain and foolish doctrine.
Do you think it’s a coincidence that this vain and foolish doctrine is immediately followed by the next verses:
2 Nephi 28
11 Yea, they have all gone out of the way; they have become corrupted.
12 Because of pride, and because of false teachers, and false doctrine, their churches have become corrupted, and their churches are lifted up; because of pride they are puffed up.
13 They rob the poor because of their fine sanctuaries; they rob the poor because of their fine clothing; and they persecute the meek and the poor in heart, because in their pride they are puffed up.
14 They wear stiff necks and high heads; yea, and because of pride, and wickedness, and abominations, and whoredoms, they have all gone astray save it be a few, who are the humble followers of Christ; nevertheless, they are led, that in many instances they do err because they are taught by the precepts of men.
What church teaches that we can commit all these sins, never repent or be baptized, and be saved in the kingdom of God? I only know of one Christian denomination that teaches that. And that very same church has over $100 Billion in one stock market fund, yet insists the poor continue to pay 10% of their income. That church doesn’t use the money to alleviate poverty among its members but to build no-expense-spared temples and conference centers, shopping malls and luxury condominiums. Just a few verses later Nephi says this same people will say “All is well in Zion; yea, Zion prospers, all is well.” There is one church today that sings “All is well” and calls itself “Zion”, and teaches that those who don’t repent will be beaten with a few stripes and then be saved in the kingdom of God. Can we denounce these other errors yet continue to embrace this vain and foolish doctrine?
So how do the scriptures address this concern about people thinking they’ve gamed the system and can procrastinate their repentance?
33 And now, as I said unto you before, as ye have had so many witnesses, therefore, I beseech of you that ye do not procrastinate the day of your repentance until the end; for after this day of life, which is given us to prepare for eternity, behold…
The first thing to notice is that if you believe the traditional three degrees doctrine is true, then people thinking they can procrastinate repentance is still a problem. Alma has to teach against it. The traditional three degrees doctrine does not prevent people from procrastinating their repentance. Continuing on.
…if we do not improve our time while in this life, then cometh the night of darkness wherein there can be no labor performed.
34 Ye cannot say, when ye are brought to that awful crisis, that I will repent, that I will return to my God. Nay, ye cannot say this; for that same spirit which doth possess your bodies at the time that ye go out of this life, that same spirit will have power to possess your body in that eternal world.
This night of darkness, this eternal world, is spirit prison and hell during the Millennium. The wicked can’t repent at the beginning of the Millennium and get out of suffering. What did Jesus teach about getting out of prison?
25 Agree with thine adversary quickly, whiles thou art in the way with him; lest at any time the adversary deliver thee to the judge, and the judge deliver thee to the officer, and thou be cast into prison.
26 Verily I say unto thee, Thou shalt by no means come out thence, till thou hast paid the uttermost farthing.
Now the next verse in Alma 34 is problematic, I will admit. But if we take it at face value it’s a deal breaker for both my theory and the three degrees doctrine.
35 For behold, if ye have procrastinated the day of your repentance even until death, behold, ye have become subjected to the spirit of the devil, and he doth seal you his; therefore, the Spirit of the Lord hath withdrawn from you, and hath no place in you, and the devil hath all power over you; and this is the final state of the wicked.
In three degrees doctrine, the Telestials are delivered from the devil and allowed to enter in the lowest level of the kingdom of God. That violates this scripture that says the final state of the wicked is under the power of the devil. So you can’t condemn my theory without also condemning the three degrees of glory theory.
This is where I refer back to the fact that the Nephites had the fullness of the gospel. They had enough knowledge that if they refused to repent, they were willfully rebelling against God. If they delayed their repentance until they died, it was too late. They were a son of Perdition, and they would always be subject to the devil, and that would be their final state. That is the audience he is addressing, so there is no point in telling them about a second chance they don’t qualify for.
For those of us who do not have the fullness, who have not received the Holy Ghost and been spiritually born of God, there is a second chance. But, the same spirit we exit this life with will be the same spirit that is restored to us.
3 And it is requisite with the justice of God that men should be judged according to their works; and if their works were good in this life, and the desires of their hearts were good, that they should also, at the last day, be restored unto that which is good.
4 And if their works are evil they shall be restored unto them for evil. Therefore, all things shall be restored to their proper order, every thing to its natural frame—mortality raised to immortality, corruption to incorruption—raised to endless happiness to inherit the kingdom of God, or to endless misery to inherit the kingdom of the devil, the one on one hand, the other on the other—
5 The one raised to happiness according to his desires of happiness, or good according to his desires of good; and the other to evil according to his desires of evil; for as he has desired to do evil all the day long even so shall he have his reward of evil when the night cometh.
6 And so it is on the other hand. If he hath repented of his sins, and desired righteousness until the end of his days, even so he shall be rewarded unto righteousness.
Keep in mind Alma is talking to his son, who had the fullness. For him, dying in his sins was final, not so for the Lamanites (or most of humanity). The key message for us is that if we have sought evil all our days in this life, even if we somehow did immediately have a desire for righteousness upon reaching the spirit world, we can’t get out until we have paid the utmost farthing. Our works in this life will follow us into the next.
I believe this is what Joseph was referring to when he said, “If a person gains more knowledge and intelligence in this life through his diligence and obedience than another, he will have so much the advantage in the world to come.” I don’t think he was talking about after the final judgement, but in the Millennium and the time of the restoration. If we have feasted on the words of Christ now and sought to do righteousness, when we are restored to life we’ll have an advantage over those that didn’t feast on the words of Christ and did works of darkness. We will recognize the truth faster, accept it sooner, and suffer less. Of course, if we have already received the fullness and then rebel against God, it would have been better than we had never been born and nothing we do after we die will get us out of the hole we’ve dug for ourselves.
And the final disincentive to procrastinating our repentance?
15 Therefore I command you to repent—repent, lest I smite you by the rod of my mouth, and by my wrath, and by my anger, and your sufferings be sore—how sore you know not, how exquisite you know not, yea, how hard to bear you know not.
16 For behold, I, God, have suffered these things for all, that they might not suffer if they would repent;
17 But if they would not repent they must suffer even as I;
18 Which suffering caused myself, even God, the greatest of all, to tremble because of pain, and to bleed at every pore, and to suffer both body and spirit—and would that I might not drink the bitter cup, and shrink—
19 Nevertheless, glory be to the Father, and I partook and finished my preparations unto the children of men.
20 Wherefore, I command you again to repent, lest I humble you with my almighty power; and that you confess your sins, lest you suffer these punishments of which I have spoken.
That doesn’t sound like being beaten with a few stripes. If that isn’t going to convince someone that sinning isn’t worth it, what would? And how does telling him if he doesn’t repent he’s guaranteed to end up in a better place convince someone to give up sin?
The key problem with the traditional interpretation of the three degrees of glory is that it has incorrectly been assigned to the final judgment, when it is really a revelation about the first judgment that happens around Christ’s Second Coming and the beginning of the Millennium. This wrong timeline then causes all sorts of contradictions with the scriptures, and all sorts of mental and linguistic gymnastics to prop up this incorrect tradition.
We’ve all grown up with this depiction of the plan of salvation. It is false. This post will show what the scriptures actually say about the final judgment and how it cannot account for three degrees of glory at the final judgment. The model below is a more accurate depiction of what the scriptures teach.
We know that during the Little Season, Satan reigns once again and leads the children of men astray, leading up to the great and final battle between good and evil.
111 And then he shall be loosed for a little season, that he may gather together his armies.
112 And Michael, the seventh angel, even the archangel, shall gather together his armies, even the hosts of heaven.
113 And the devil shall gather together his armies; even the hosts of hell, and shall come up to battle against Michael and his armies.
114 And then cometh the battle of the great God; and the devil and his armies shall be cast away into their own place, that they shall not have power over the saints any more at all.
115 For Michael shall fight their battles, and shall overcome him who seeketh the throne of him who sitteth upon the throne, even the Lamb.
116 This is the glory of God, and the sanctified; and they shall not any more see death.
7 And when the thousand years are expired, Satan shall be loosed out of his prison,
8 And shall go out to deceive the nations which are in the four quarters of the earth, Gog and Magog, to gather them together to battle: the number of whom is as the sand of the sea.
9 And they went up on the breadth of the earth, and compassed the camp of the saints about, and the beloved city: and fire came down from God out of heaven, and devoured them.
10 And the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are, and shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever.
14 And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death.
15 And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.
Now we are at a binary division of the people. You are either part of the army of Michael, or the army of the devil. The devil and his armies are cast away into the lake of fire. The armies of God are sanctified. There is no third (or fourth) option. You can’t be in the army of God and not be sanctified. You can’t be a conscientious objector in this war. If you aren’t in God’s army, you are in the devil’s army.
30 He that is not with me is against me; and he that gathereth not with me scattereth abroad.
31 Wherefore I say unto you, All manner of sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven unto men: but the blasphemy against the Holy Ghost shall not be forgiven unto men.
At this point you are either completely on the Lord’s side, or completely on the devil’s side. There is no middle ground.
23 Behold, Jesus Christ is the name which is given of the Father, and there is none other name given whereby man can be saved;
24 Wherefore, all men must take upon them the name which is given of the Father, for in that name shall they be called at the last day;
25 Wherefore, if they know not the name by which they are called, they cannot have place in the kingdom of my Father.
All men must take upon them the name of Christ before the last day, otherwise they must be cast out. That’s a binary judgement. If your name isn’t written in the book of life, you are cast in to the lake of fire. Who gets their names written in the book of life?
57 And now I say unto you, all you that are desirous to follow the voice of the good shepherd, come ye out from the wicked, and be ye separate, and touch not their unclean things; and behold, their names shall be blotted out, that the names of the wicked shall not be numbered among the names of the righteous, that the word of God may be fulfilled, which saith: The names of the wicked shall not be mingled with the names of my people;
58 For the names of the righteous shall be written in the book of life, and unto them will I grant an inheritance at my right hand. And now, my brethren, what have ye to say against this? I say unto you, if ye speak against it, it matters not, for the word of God must be fulfilled.
Can anyone show me a scripture that says that those who received not the gospel nor the testimony of Jesus can have their names written into the book of life? If we believe the Bible, only a celestial-level person can have their name written in the book of life. Anyone else falls short of the requirement, and anyone whose name isn’t in the book of life is cast out with the sons of perdition. That means that Terrestrials and Telestials are sons of perdition (if we adhere to the traditional interpretation), which obviously violates the traditional interpretation. These inconsistencies demonstrate that our interpretation of the three degrees is flawed. This isn’t an isolated verse in Revelation that contradicts the traditional interpretation.
27 And there shall in no wise enter into it any thing that defileth, neither whatsoever worketh abomination, or maketh a lie: but they which are written in the Lamb’s book of life.
Anyone that defiles, works abominations, or makes a lie won’t be written in the book of life. Doesn’t that describe Telestials?
103 These are they who are liars, and sorcerers, and adulterers, and whoremongers, and whosoever loves and makes a lie.
If Telestials can’t be written in the book of life, they must be cast out at the final judgment with the devil, his angels, and the sons of perdition. This should tell us that our notion of the telestial kingdom being a final state in perpetuity is incorrect. You cannot claim that God saves the Telestials without ignoring the scriptures on the book of life.
The names of the righteous are written in the book of life. Are the Telestials righteous? How can sorcerers, whoremongers, and the like have their names written in the book of life? Maybe we’re just taking one verse out of context. Surely there aren’t other places that contradict our traditional interpretation.
5 He that overcometh, the same shall be clothed in white raiment; and I will not blot out his name out of the book of life, but I will confess his name before my Father, and before his angels.
Who will Jesus confess before the Father?
32 Whosoever therefore shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before my Father which is in heaven.
33 But whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I also deny before my Father which is in heaven.
There is no middle option. What else does Revelation say about these people clothed in white?
9 After this I beheld, and, lo, a great multitude, which no man could number, of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues, stood before the throne, and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, and palms in their hands;
10 And cried with a loud voice, saying, Salvation to our God which sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb.
D&C 76 says that only people who have overcome are those who are Celestial status:
51 They are they who received the testimony of Jesus, and believed on his name and were baptized after the manner of his burial, being buried in the water in his name, and this according to the commandment which he has given—
52 That by keeping the commandments they might be washed and cleansed from all their sins, and receive the Holy Spirit by the laying on of the hands of him who is ordained and sealed unto this power;
53 And who overcome by faith, and are sealed by the Holy Spirit of promise, which the Father sheds forth upon all those who are just and true.
54 They are they who are the church of the Firstborn.
55 They are they into whose hands the Father has given all things—
56 They are they who are priests and kings, who have received of his fulness, and of his glory;
57 And are priests of the Most High, after the order of Melchizedek, which was after the order of Enoch, which was after the order of the Only Begotten Son.
58 Wherefore, as it is written, they are gods, even the sons of God—
59 Wherefore, all things are theirs, whether life or death, or things present, or things to come, all are theirs and they are Christ’s, and Christ is God’s.
60 And they shall overcome all things.
But if they are the only ones whose names are written in the book of life, everyone else must be cast out into the lake of fire. Unless the telestial and terrestrial people are able to repent and progress during the Millennium and the Little Season, God is a liar, for these people must be cast out into the lake of fire with the devil and his angels. Yet God says he saves all except for the sons of perdition.
25 And I would that all men might be saved. But we read that in the great and last day there are some who shall be cast out, yea, who shall be cast off from the presence of the Lord;
26 Yea, who shall be consigned to a state of endless misery, fulfilling the words which say: They that have done good shall have everlasting life; and they that have done evil shall have everlasting damnation. And thus it is. Amen.
Hmm…those who are cast off from the presence of the Lord enduring endless misery. That doesn’t sound like a kingdom of glory to me. Yet the Telestials are excluded from the presence of the Lord forever according to the traditional interpretation. Can anyone argue that Telestials have done good? Are they clean?
21 And he doth not dwell in unholy temples; neither can filthiness or anything which is unclean be received into the kingdom of God; therefore I say unto you the time shall come, yea, and it shall be at the last day, that he who is filthy shall remain in his filthiness.
Only clean things can be received into the kingdom of God. Anything dirty remains dirty and is cast out.
102 And another trump shall sound, which is the fourth trump, saying: There are found among those who are to remain until that great and last day, even the end, who shall remain filthy still.
Where do the scriptures describe people at the last day being kind-of clean? Or only a little bit dirty? Nowhere. At that day we are either clean or filthy. Binary. There is no middle ground in the scriptures.
26 But behold, an awful death cometh upon the wicked; for they die as to things pertaining to things of righteousness; for they are unclean, and no unclean thing can inherit the kingdom of God; but they are cast out, and consigned to partake of the fruits of their labors or their works, which have been evil; and they drink the dregs of a bitter cup.
37 And I say unto you again that he cannot save them in their sins; for I cannot deny his word, and he hath said that no unclean thing can inherit the kingdom of heaven; therefore, how can ye be saved, except ye inherit the kingdom of heaven? Therefore, ye cannot be saved in your sins.
1 Nephi 10
21 Wherefore, if ye have sought to do wickedly in the days of your probation, then ye are found unclean before the judgment-seat of God; and no unclean thing can dwell with God; wherefore, ye must be cast off forever.
Wait a minute! I thought the Telestials would be saved in a kingdom of glory. All these prophets say if you aren’t clean, you are cast off forever and you cannot be saved. Maybe telestials can be made clean despite not repenting. How does one become clean?
59 That by reason of transgression cometh the fall, which fall bringeth death, and inasmuch as ye were born into the world by water, and blood, and the spirit, which I have made, and so became of dust a living soul, even so ye must be born again into the kingdom of heaven, of water, and of the Spirit, and be cleansed by blood, even the blood of mine Only Begotten; that ye might be sanctified from all sin, and enjoy the words of eternal life in this world, and eternal life in the world to come, even immortal glory;
60 For by the water ye keep the commandment; by the Spirit ye are justified, and by the blood ye are sanctified;
61 Therefore it is given to abide in you; the record of heaven; the Comforter; the peaceable things of immortal glory; the truth of all things; that which quickeneth all things, which maketh alive all things; that which knoweth all things, and hath all power according to wisdom, mercy, truth, justice, and judgment.
62 And now, behold, I say unto you: This is the plan of salvation unto all men, through the blood of mine Only Begotten, who shall come in the meridian of time.
3 Nephi 27
16 And it shall come to pass, that whoso repenteth and is baptized in my name shall be filled; and if he endureth to the end, behold, him will I hold guiltless before my Father at that day when I shall stand to judge the world.
17 And he that endureth not unto the end, the same is he that is also hewn down and cast into the fire, from whence they can no more return, because of the justice of the Father.
18 And this is the word which he hath given unto the children of men. And for this cause he fulfilleth the words which he hath given, and he lieth not, but fulfilleth all his words.
19 And no unclean thing can enter into his kingdom; therefore nothing entereth into his rest save it be those who have washed their garments in my blood, because of their faith, and the repentance of all their sins, and their faithfulness unto the end.
20 Now this is the commandment: Repent, all ye ends of the earth, and come unto me and be baptized in my name, that ye may be sanctified by the reception of the Holy Ghost, that ye may stand spotless before me at the last day.
Are the Telestials spotless? In their unrepentant state, absolutely not. But as Alma the Younger showed us, the minute they repent and call upon Jesus in faith, they are cleansed. But what happens if we haven’t repented before the final judgement and we aren’t spotless?
13 Then if our hearts have been hardened, yea, if we have hardened our hearts against the word, insomuch that it has not been found in us, then will our state be awful, for then we shall be condemned.
14 For our words will condemn us, yea, all our works will condemn us; we shall not be found spotless; and our thoughts will also condemn us; and in this awful state we shall not dare to look up to our God; and we would fain be glad if we could command the rocks and the mountains to fall upon us to hide us from his presence.
15 But this cannot be; we must come forth and stand before him in his glory, and in his power, and in his might, majesty, and dominion, and acknowledge to our everlasting shame that all his judgments are just; that he is just in all his works, and that he is merciful unto the children of men, and that he has all power to save every man that believeth on his name and bringeth forth fruit meet for repentance.
16 And now behold, I say unto you then cometh a death, even a second death, which is a spiritual death; then is a time that whosoever dieth in his sins, as to a temporal death, shall also die a spiritual death; yea, he shall die as to things pertaining unto righteousness.
17 Then is the time when their torments shall be as a lake of fire and brimstone, whose flame ascendeth up forever and ever; and then is the time that they shall be chained down to an everlasting destruction, according to the power and captivity of Satan, he having subjected them according to his will.
If we aren’t spotless, God can’t save us. He only has power to save men that believe on his name and bring forth fruit meet for repentance.
1 John 1
9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
5 Behold, your sins are forgiven you; you are clean before me; therefore, lift up your heads and rejoice.
28 But no man is possessor of all things except he be purified and cleansed from all sin.
6 O then ye unbelieving, turn ye unto the Lord; cry mightily unto the Father in the name of Jesus, that perhaps ye may be found spotless, pure, fair, and white, having been cleansed by the blood of the Lamb, at that great and last day.
14 Now I say unto you that ye must repent, and be born again; for the Spirit saith if ye are not born again ye cannot inherit the kingdom of heaven; therefore come and be baptized unto repentance, that ye may be washed from your sins, that ye may have faith on the Lamb of God, who taketh away the sins of the world, who is mighty to save and to cleanse from all unrighteousness.
If you still think Telestials can be saved in a kingdom of glory after the final judgement without repentance and without being spiritually reborn, please explain these verses.
6 If ye will repent ye shall be saved, and if ye will not repent, ye shall be cast off at the last day.
18 But I say unto you, O man, whosoever doeth this the same hath great cause to repent; and except he repenteth of that which he hath done he perisheth forever, and hath no interest in the kingdom of God.
1 Corinthians 6:9-11
Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you. But you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God.
If Telestials can’t repent after the Millenium, they are cast off at the last day and sent to the lake of fire with the devil, making them sons of perdition. They have “no interest in the kingdom of God”. Interest means “share, portion, or part.” Telestials have no portion of the kingdom of God. None. That violates the whole “saved in a kingdom of glory” notion. But the scriptures are consistent that at the last day, only those who have accepted Christ are saved.
3 Nephi 15
1 And now it came to pass that when Jesus had ended these sayings he cast his eyes round about on the multitude, and said unto them: Behold, ye have heard the things which I taught before I ascended to my Father; therefore, whoso remembereth these sayings of mine and doeth them, him will I raise up at the last day.
3 Nephi 28
34 And wo be unto him that will not hearken unto the words of Jesus, and also to them whom he hath chosen and sent among them; for whoso receiveth not the words of Jesus and the words of those whom he hath sent receiveth not him; and therefore he will not receive them at the last day;
28 Therefore I say unto you, that he that will not hear my voice, the same shall ye not receive into my church, for him I will not receive at the last day.
37 Counsel with the Lord in all thy doings, and he will direct thee for good; yea, when thou liest down at night lie down unto the Lord, that he may watch over you in your sleep; and when thou risest in the morning let thy heart be full of thanks unto God; and if ye do these things, ye shall be lifted up at the last day.
8 But behold, ye cannot hide your crimes from God; and except ye repent they will stand as a testimony against you at the last day.
22 And as many as repent and are baptized in my name, which is Jesus Christ, and endure to the end, the same shall be saved.
23 Behold, Jesus Christ is the name which is given of the Father, and there is none other name given whereby man can be saved;
24 Wherefore, all men must take upon them the name which is given of the Father, for in that name shall they be called at the last day;
25 Wherefore, if they know not the name by which they are called, they cannot have place in the kingdom of my Father.
1 Nephi 15
33 Wherefore, if they should die in their wickedness they must be cast off also, as to the things which are spiritual, which are pertaining to righteousness; wherefore, they must be brought to stand before God, to be judged of their works; and if their works have been filthiness they must needs be filthy; and if they be filthy it must needs be that they cannot dwell in the kingdom of God; if so, the kingdom of God must be filthy also. 34 But behold, I say unto you, the kingdom of God is not filthy, and there cannot any unclean thing enter into the kingdom of God; wherefore there must needs be a place of filthiness prepared for that which is filthy.
35 And there is a place prepared, yea, even that awful hell of which I have spoken, and the devil is the preparator of it; wherefore the final state of the souls of men is to dwell in the kingdom of God, or to be cast out because of that justice of which I have spoken.
The final state is to dwell in the kingdom of God, or be cast out. No unclean thing can enter the kingdom of God. It’s binary. There is no place for unrepentant sorcerers, adulterers, whoremongers, and makers and lovers of lies in the kingdom of God. You cannot be unrepentant and uncleaned without being cast out at the last day. How do we avoid being cast out?
2 Nephi 25
29 And now behold, I say unto you that the right way is to believe in Christ, and deny him not; and Christ is the Holy One of Israel; wherefore ye must bow down before him, and worship him with all your might, mind, and strength, and your whole soul; and if ye do this ye shall in nowise be cast out.
6 And also, what is this that Ammon said—If ye will repent ye shall be saved, and if ye will not repent, ye shall be cast off at the last day?
15 And it came to pass that after Aaron had expounded these things unto him, the king said: What shall I do that I may have this eternal life of which thou hast spoken? Yea, what shall I do that I may be born of God, having this wicked spirit rooted out of my breast, and receive his Spirit, that I may be filled with joy, that I may not be cast off at the last day? Behold, said he, I will give up all that I possess, yea, I will forsake my kingdom, that I may receive this great joy.
16 But Aaron said unto him: If thou desirest this thing, if thou wilt bow down before God, yea, if thou wilt repent of all thy sins, and will bow down before God, and call on his name in faith, believing that ye shall receive, then shalt thou receive the hope which thou desirest.
The only way to avoid being cast off at the last day is to repent, be born of God, and receive his Spirit. There is no other way.
Once you realize that the three degrees of glory was a revelation about the status of people during the Millennium (the first judgement), and not the final judgment, you see the scriptures in a whole new light. Our false tradition puts the three degrees of glory at the final judgement, not at the first judgment where it belongs. The final judgment is binary, you either follow Christ or follow the devil, there is no middle ground. God talks in binary terms about the final judgment: clean or dirty, righteous or wicked, sheep or goats, right hand or left hand.
With that in mind, I leave you with this extended selection from Alma, the man who personally spent time in hell and then repented. I think he, of all people, has a pretty good idea of what lies in store.
18 Or otherwise, can ye imagine yourselves brought before the tribunal of God with your souls filled with guilt and remorse, having a remembrance of all your guilt, yea, a perfect remembrance of all your wickedness, yea, a remembrance that ye have set at defiance the commandments of God? 19 I say unto you, can ye look up to God at that day with a pure heart and clean hands? I say unto you, can you look up, having the image of God engraven upon your countenances?
20 I say unto you, can ye think of being saved when you have yielded yourselves to become subjects to the devil? 21 I say unto you, ye will know at that day that ye cannot be saved; for there can no man be saved except his garments are washed white; yea, his garments must be purified until they are cleansed from all stain, through the blood of him of whom it has been spoken by our fathers, who should come to redeem his people from their sins.
22 And now I ask of you, my brethren, how will any of you feel, if ye shall stand before the bar of God, having your garments stained with blood and all manner of filthiness? Behold, what will these things testify against you?
23 Behold will they not testify that ye are murderers, yea, and also that ye are guilty of all manner of wickedness?
24 Behold, my brethren, do ye suppose that such an one can have a place to sit down in the kingdom of God, with Abraham, with Isaac, and with Jacob, and also all the holy prophets, whose garments are cleansed and are spotless, pure and white?
25 I say unto you, Nay; except ye make our Creator a liar from the beginning, or suppose that he is a liar from the beginning, ye cannot suppose that such can have place in the kingdom of heaven; but they shall be cast out for they are the children of the kingdom of the devil.
26 And now behold, I say unto you, my brethren, if ye have experienced a change of heart, and if ye have felt to sing the song of redeeming love, I would ask, can ye feel so now?
27 Have ye walked, keeping yourselves blameless before God? Could ye say, if ye were called to die at this time, within yourselves, that ye have been sufficiently humble? That your garments have been cleansed and made white through the blood of Christ, who will come to redeem his people from their sins?
28 Behold, are ye stripped of pride? I say unto you, if ye are not ye are not prepared to meet God. Behold ye must prepare quickly; for the kingdom of heaven is soon at hand, and such an one hath not eternal life.
29 Behold, I say, is there one among you who is not stripped of envy? I say unto you that such an one is not prepared; and I would that he should prepare quickly, for the hour is close at hand, and he knoweth not when the time shall come; for such an one is not found guiltless.
30 And again I say unto you, is there one among you that doth make a mock of his brother, or that heapeth upon him persecutions?
31 Wo unto such an one, for he is not prepared, and the time is at hand that he must repent or he cannot be saved!
32 Yea, even wo unto all ye workers of iniquity; repent, repent, for the Lord God hath spoken it!
33 Behold, he sendeth an invitation unto all men, for the arms of mercy are extended towards them, and he saith: Repent, and I will receive you.
34 Yea, he saith: Come unto me and ye shall partake of the fruit of the tree of life; yea, ye shall eat and drink of the bread and the waters of life freely;
35 Yea, come unto me and bring forth works of righteousness, and ye shall not be hewn down and cast into the fire—
36 For behold, the time is at hand that whosoever bringeth forth not good fruit, or whosoever doeth not the works of righteousness, the same have cause to wail and mourn.
37 O ye workers of iniquity; ye that are puffed up in the vain things of the world, ye that have professed to have known the ways of righteousness nevertheless have gone astray, as sheep having no shepherd, notwithstanding a shepherd hath called after you and is still calling after you, but ye will not hearken unto his voice!
38 Behold, I say unto you, that the good shepherd doth call you; yea, and in his own name he doth call you, which is the name of Christ; and if ye will not hearken unto the voice of the good shepherd, to the name by which ye are called, behold, ye are not the sheep of the good shepherd.
39 And now if ye are not the sheep of the good shepherd, of what fold are ye? Behold, I say unto you, that the devil is your shepherd, and ye are of his fold; and now, who can deny this? Behold, I say unto you, whosoever denieth this is a liar and a child of the devil.
40 For I say unto you that whatsoever is good cometh from God, and whatsoever is evil cometh from the devil.
41 Therefore, if a man bringeth forth good works he hearkeneth unto the voice of the good shepherd, and he doth follow him; but whosoever bringeth forth evil works, the same becometh a child of the devil, for he hearkeneth unto his voice, and doth follow him.
42 And whosoever doeth this must receive his wages of him; therefore, for his wages he receiveth death, as to things pertaining unto righteousness, being dead unto all good works.
43 And now, my brethren, I would that ye should hear me, for I speak in the energy of my soul; for behold, I have spoken unto you plainly that ye cannot err, or have spoken according to the commandments of God.