Previously, I wrote about two ladders of ascension, Jacob’s ladder and the corporate ladder. In it I suggested that Jacob’s ladder reaches far beyond that of the tower of Babel, and into the eternities. I also offered a reminder that in order to ascend Jacob’s ladder, one must descend the corporate ladder. We have often associated our church as rungs on Jacob’s ladder. However, we have failed to recognize that both ladders are offered in the teachings of the scriptures, and were written in our scriptures to provide those who read them the ability to discern and identify the ladder they choose to ascend. Those who want to identify which ladder they are on can do so by reading what Nephi described as indicators (2 Nephi 28).
Words are significant. It is first important to differentiate between sin and abomination. While sin is acting in disobedience to what you know is true, Abomination is taking truth and tweaking it with false beliefs (mingling scripture with false philosophy). Often times it is called unbelief. Joseph Smith was told not to join any of the churches because all of their creeds were an “abomination” in his sight (JSH 1:19). When we teach that “faith is like a little seed” in opposition to faith being likened unto the word (Alma 32), this is abomination. When we teach “follow the prophet” in opposition to following no man, but Christ, we introduce abomination. The intentions may be well, but we have failed to know the words of Christ, which never encourages man to follow a prophet, for all men are flesh.
Discernment can only be obtained as we know the God in whom we claim to worship. The recommended path to knowing God is to:
- feast upon the words of Christ
- which will naturally lead to revelations, dreams, angels, miracles, etc.
Then we can accumulate truth from a multiplicity of sources of truth in like manner. We are not restricted to one set of scriptures & conference talks. In this fashion we do not “follow a prophet,” instead we hear the words of the prophet, then we compare it with the words of Christ that we have feasted upon, and finally we pray to know the truth of all things (pray/word/angel). For this reason, James advises that we ask God that giveth to all men liberally and upbraideth not, and it shall be given him (James 1:5).
The two churches are the church of Christ (the firstborn), and the great and abominable church. Don’t confuse membership in the church of Jesus Christ of latter-day saints as equivalent to the church of the firstborn (D&C 76:53-54). Our church is the separating point, to sift the wheat from the tares (the sweet fruit from the bitter). Always the wheat and the tares were allowed to grow together (D&C 86:4-7). Having grown together, it is required of us to identify which we are, or which we want to be, wheat or tare. Then we can emphatically claim which master we serve, which ladder we choose to ascend, or which church we want to associate with.
The following will give you some fundamentals to identify what tares look like. If these attributes are yours, then you can work toward looking more like wheat (by your fruit you will be known). Their are four behaviors of tares that Nephi identifies in 2 Nephi 28:
- They will be angry with true saints of God
- They will equate “good works” with economic prosperity
- They will trade the “Power of God” and the “gift of the Holy Ghost” for the Precepts of men (by trusting in the arm of flesh, rather than the arm of God)
- They will complain that the true saints are looking beyond the mark
2 Nephi 28:18-21, 24-26,, 29,31, 32
“18. But behold, that great and abominable church, the whore of all the earth, must tumble to the earth, and great must be the fall thereof.
19. For the kingdom of the devil must shake, and they which belong to it must needs be stirred up unto repentance, or the devil will grasp them with his everlasting chains, and they be stirred up to anger, and perish:
20. For behold, at that day shall he rage in the hearts of the children of men, and stir them up to anger against that which is good.
21. And others will he pacify, and lull them away into carnal security, that they will say: All is well in Zion; yea, Zion prospereth, all is well- and thus the devil cheateth their should, and leadeth them away carefully down to hell.
24. Therefore, wo be unto him that is at ease in Zion!
25. Wo be unto him that crieth: All is well!
26. Yea, wo be unto him that hearkeneth unto the precepts of men, and denieth the power of God, and the gift of the Holy Ghost.
29. Wo be unto him that shall say: We have received the word of God, and we need no more of the word of god, for we have enough!
31. Cursed is he that putteth his trust in man, or maketh flesh his arm, or shall hearken unto the precepts of men, save their precepts shall be given by the power of the Holy ghost.
32. Wo be unto the gentiles,saith the Lord God of Hosts! For notwithstanding I shall lengthen out mine arm unto them from day to day, they will deny me; nevertheless, I will be merciful unto them, saith the Lord God, if they will repent and come unto me; for mine arm is lengthened out all the day long, saith the Lord God of Hosts.”
Conclusion: Do not be angry and kick against the pricks of the truth. Read the words of Christ for yourself and ask God. God gives liberally and will not reprimand your seeking. He will not upbraid you. To him that seeks, finds.
Do not trust in the arm of flesh, that arm will always fail you. Recognize that within the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints we have been given the scriptures as a tool. Our membership is not salvation, but an invitation to salvation to all those who have ears to hear, eyes to see, and a heart to understand.
Christ’s miracles in the scriptures offer our def ears to be opened so we can hear His voice, our blindness to the covenant language to be restored, and our hearts to be softened to receive further light and truth. He who receives more and more light will receive all the mysteries of God, until he knows them in full (Alma 12:10). Reject light and truth and you will know nothing of the mysteries of God and are doomed to be chained to hell (Alma 12:11). Choose ye this day which master ye will serve. Choose which ladder you want to ascend. Choose which of the two churches you want to belong to. Your salvation depends on this choice.