A Late Conversation

Last night I was invited to a friends house to talk about the scriptures. A while back, I loaned him a book written by D. Snuffer concerning the 2nd comforter (entering into the presence of Christ in the flesh). He said he read the book, and wanted to give me a write-up of his feelings concerning the author. I wanted to talk about what the scriptures said concerning the second comforter, but it was clear that his objective was to discredit the author. His arguments were against a man, and they were void of any connection to the words of Christ. He warned me about following a wolf in sheep’s clothing, and he left, forgetting his scriptures in my front room (very symbolic). Rather than taking his write-up, I gave it back to him. I told him that I already knew how he felt about the author, but my concern is what the words of Christ says concerning the truth of the second comforter.

It has been almost 6 months since that conversation. I sat next to him in Sunday school, and I nudged him saying, “So, when are we going to have a real conversation concerning the words of Christ, and not just share our feelings or perceptions?” He accepted the challenge and invited me over last night.

We set some ground rules. We agreed to keep the conversation based on the words of Christ, and not upon our perceptions. That way the words of Christ could teach us, instead of getting caught up in perceptions. When the words of Christ are at the center, no matter who is right, both would be edified because the words of Christ would become clearer. The idea was good in theory, but harder for him to implement than he expected.

I started talking about the difference between the House of Israel and the Gentiles (3 Nephi 15-16). We disagreed upon who the Gentiles were. He felt that the Gentiles were the American Nation who rejects the Mormon church. I showed him that the scriptures state that the Gentiles are the members of the Mormon church who reject the fulness, as stated in Jacob 5 (the allegory of the olive tree), 3 Nephi chapters 15 and 16.

We moved from identifying the Gentiles to identifying what is meant by “the fulness.” He said that he always felt that it was the church, baptism, temple ordinances, etc. I asked him, “What does the scriptures define as the fulness?” So we looked at D&C 84:19-24 where it says that the fulness is to enter into the rest of God. Then we looked at D&C 76:12 where it says that the fulness is “the son.” The pattern throughout the scriptures always states the fulness as being in the presence of God. I told my buddy that I am not making this stuff up. You can read it for yourself, that’s the great thing about the words of Christ, it doesn’t depend on the method of delivery. It only matters if your heart is sincere, and you seek with real intent (Moroni 10:4-5).

He asked me why I was the only one who thought of the scriptures this way. I told him that I am not the only one thinking this way. Those who read the scriptures see it this way too. He took offense at my response. He asked, “I think that over 82% of our ward studies their scriptures diligently, what do you think?” I said, “I think that less than 2% would be more accurate, and even they/we are clueless.” He told me that the gospel is supposed to be positive, but the way I put it seems so negative. I responded, “All I did was point out the words of Christ, …but I am the negative one for doing so?” He argued that it was not what I said, but how I said it.

Boy, if I had a nickel for every time I was accused of being negative in how I say things, when all I did was read the scriptures, I could be a rich man (capitalistically that is…LOL). So I read Helaman 13:22-28:

Helaman 13:22-28

“22. Ye do not remember the Lord your God in the things with which he hath blessed you, but ye do always remember your riches, not to thank the Lord your God for them; yea, your hearts are not drawn out unto the Lord, but they do swell with great pride, unto boasting, and unto great swelling, envyings, strifes, malice, persecutions, and murders, and all manner of iniquities.

23. For this cause hath the Lord God caused that a curse should come upon the land, and also upon your riches, and this because of your iniquities.

24. Yea, wo unto this people, because of this time which has arrived, that ye do cast out the prophets, and do mock them, and cast stones at them, and do slay them, and do all manner of iniquity unto them, even as they did of old time.

25. And now when ye talk, ye say: If our days had been in the days of our fathers of old, we would not have slain the prophets; we would not have stoned them, and cast them out.

26. Behold ye are worse than they; for as the Lord liveth, if a prophet come among you and declareth unto you the word of the Lord, which testifieth of your sins and iniquities, ye are angry with him, and cast him out and seek all manner of ways to destroy him; yea, you will say that he is a false prophet, and that he is a sinner, and of the devil, because he testifieth that your deeds are evil.

27. But behold, if a man shall come among you and shall say: Do this, and there is no iniquity; do that and ye shall not suffer; yea, he will say: Walk after the pride of your own hearts; yea, walk after the pride of your eyes, and do whatsoever your heart desireth—and if a man shall come among you and say this, ye will receive him, and say that he is a prophet.

28. Yea, ye will lift him up, and ye will give unto him of your substance; ye will give unto him of your gold, and of your silver, and ye will clothe him with costly apparel; and because he speaketh flattering words unto you, and he saith that all is well, then ye will not find fault with him.

When people hear the words of the Lord, and associate them with negativity, you gotta ask yourself, “Which group do they belong to, those who hear the words of Christ and are angry because their deeds are evil, or those who love the council of the words of Christ?” I hear many say that it is not what I say, but how I say it. If I am simply reading the words directly from the scriptures, is it safe then to say, it’s the Lord’s fault? Since, it is His words right? The words of Christ has never been smooth for those who are not aligned with them. It was always hard to receive, it causes the sinner in us to be angry, it tempts people to cast out prophets, and want them dead. Those who want smoothness and gently seasoned corrections, are grouped by the Lord in verses 27 and 28.

Our conversation lasted for over 6 hours. Whenever he spoke, we talked about how he felt, what he perceived to be true, the things he has heard others say. He tried to credit Denver Snuffer for the scriptural references that I shared, as if to say that I had not the ability to read and discover the words of Christ for myself. No matter what scriptures were opened, he relied upon his perception as his defense. Although the initial rule was that we would talk about the words of Christ only, his comments were always based on scriptures taken out of context, feelings of disloyalty by Denver Snuffer, or perceptions of doctrines that traditionalism defends. This is common when we are ignorant towards the words of Christ.

The 182 year old condemnation stops us, damns us, so that we cannot move forward in our progression, because we refuse to search the words of Christ. Just because I read it, doesn’t make the condemnation mine. The Lord issued this condemnation. The condemnation that the Lord issued was because we rest the new covenant, even the Book of Mormon and the other commandments which we have been given (D&C 84:55).

How in the world can we right this ship if we do not escape this condemnation? We will be left to opinions and perceptions that lull us into a positive mental attitude, while ignoring the words of Christ, that demands repentance. The value of a positive mental attitude is in the repentance process, not in justifying our sins and the ignoring of the words of Christ.

Let’s not stone those who use the words of Christ to point out our failures, get angry with them and cast them out, in exchange for someone who uses smooth language to make us feel warm and fuzzy inside, as we make little or no changes in our lives to make room for the words of Christ. We gotta free ourselves from the perceptions and opinions that keep us captive. We must shift our emphasis in capitalism as our escape, to the words of Christ as our salvation. When we do so, then we can have great conversations that will remove our debts, free us from sin, fill us with light, and endow us with power from on high. Christ will be in the midst of that people.

Conclusion: Despite all the perceptions that my friend relied upon, and brought up all night long, into the morning (3 a.m.), …the fact that he talked about the words of Christ for 6 hours, and was willing to converse and not get offended, is a tribute only to him and the softness of his heart. He was willing to exchange and to think through and converse, rather than defend, reject, or take offense.

It is not the deliverer of the word that makes the difference. Wether it be Denver Snuffer, Thomas S. Monson, Joe Blow, it is the words of Christ that matters, and no none else. Only Christ matters. Our opinions and perceptions come from ignorance. When we are built upon a foundation of the words of Christ, only then are we built upon a rock (3 Nephi 15). That is why we don’t council the Lord, but seek to know His mind and will, in order to lay hold upon salvation.

Soften your hearts to make room for the words of Christ. They will tell you all things what you should do. Feast upon those words, there is nourishment in feasting there.

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3 thoughts on “A Late Conversation

  1. Hey Brother, Ryan here. Just thought I’d post some scriptures relevant to your conversation with your neighbor regarding who the Gentiles are in scripture. In D&C 109:30 we’re taught:

    60 Now these words, O Lord, we have spoken before thee, concerning the revelations and commandments which thou hast given unto us, who are identified with the Gentiles.

    This verse states that you are right, that the members of the church are part of the Gentiles but we also have 1 Nephi 13:

    2 And the angel said unto me: What beholdest thou? And I said: I behold many nations and kingdoms.

    3 And he said unto me: These are the nations and kingdoms of the Gentiles.
    …..12 And I looked and beheld a man among the Gentiles, who was separated from the seed of my brethren by the many waters; and I beheld the Spirit of God, that it came down and wrought upon the man; and he went forth upon the many waters, even unto the seed of my brethren, who were in the promised land.

    This is talking of the events preceding the colonization of America at a time when the Mormon church didn’t exsist so we can determine that Europeans are also Gentiles.
    Continuing in chapter 13:

    13 And it came to pass that I beheld the Spirit of God, that it wrought upon other Gentiles; and they went forth out of captivity, upon the many waters.

    So the pilgrims and the colonists are Gentiles. These are the founding fathers of most Americans today so we can determine that your friend is correct in saying that Americans are Gentiles as spoken of in the Book of Mormon and we can also determine that members of the Church are also Gentiles spoken of in scritpure as confirmed by Joseph Smith in D&C 109.

    Bun then the question becomes, who is Mormon and Moroni speaking to? The answer to that question is simple in my opinion, they are speaking to, and warning, the only people that will be reading their book, Latter Day Saints. It would be a waste space on the plates to put warnings and instructions for a people who won’t read them. Non-LDS Americans don’t read the Book of Mormon. Only Mormons do so we must take the Book of Mormon as a critique of our own preceptions and our own church which Mormon and Moroni saw in vision.

    Now thats not to say that there isn’t a place for us to read, know the scriptures and warn our Gentile neighbors and countrymen. That is our charge as well for we know the law and we are responsible to warn our neighbor whether that neighbor is Jew or Gentile.

    D&C 88
    81 Behold, I sent you out to testify and warn the people, and it becometh every man who hath been warned to warn his neighbor.

    82 Therefore, they are left without excuse, and their sins are upon their own heads.

    83 He that seeketh me early shall find me, and shall not be forsaken.

    84 Therefore, tarry ye, and labor diligently, that you may be perfected in your ministry to go forth among the Gentiles for the last time, as many as the mouth of the Lord shall name, to bind up the law and seal up the testimony, and to prepare the saints for the hour of judgment which is to come;

    The Lord directs his servants to go both among Gentiles and to the Saints.

    Conclusion:
    Who are the scriptures written to? Latter Day Saints and through their warning, to the rest of the world. So you both are correct but I thought these scriptures would add some clarification.

    Man I love the scriptures! Where would we be if we only had the bible??????

    All the best,
    Ryan

    • Great comment Ryan. I agree that the Gentiles include both the members of the church and the other groups you’ve stated. I can see that you recognize my emphasis is on the only population of Gentiles that have the ability to reverse the condemnation, repent, and receive “the fulness.” While all Gentiles must be warned to seal up the judgements of the Lord upon their heads, we can both agree that their is a huge complacency amongst the saints to see our institution as “home base.” However, all throughout the scriptures we see that it is the population who had the records, and then failed to lay hold upon that record, who were destroyed. They knew better. They rejected the gift. The Lord reached out to them, …but they would not.
      Thank you for adding your voice of testimony, by using the scriptures, rather than merely your perceptions. Your words hold a penetrating and piercing ring.
      Mahalo,
      Rob

      • Thanks Rob,
        Yeah, the over arching principal about warnings is that God is just and before any judgement is poured out, he warns the people whether it’s the wicked or the righteous saints. Thus was the case with Samuel the Lamanite who warned the Nephites of many things including their destruction. I find it interesting that at the time there was a church among the Nephites with a prophet or many prophets, (Nephi was one if I’m not mistaken who was probably also crying repentance) and yet the Lord sent his warning through Samuel the Lamanite. Why that was the case, I don’t know but it’s noteworthy nonetheless.

        10 And now, because I am a Lamanite, and have spoken unto you the words which the Lord hath commanded me, and because it was hard against you, ye are angry with me and do seek to destroy me, and have cast me out from among you. (HEL 14)

        Now at this time there we’re righteous among them, that’s why Zarahemla was preserved. So there we’re righteous members of the Church but there was also a lot of wicked members of the church that hailed false prophets. How can we discern between the two servants of God or Mammon? Like you stated, we must know the words of Christ and if we lack wisdom still, ask God and with these two methods we can know the truth of all things.
        Moroni 10:5

        5 And by the power of the Holy Ghost ye may know the truth of all things.

        In these last days there will be many false prophets, many decievers and it’s incumbent upon each of us to determine truth and I believe it’s going to get harder and harder without major increases of knowledge, faith and personal revelation.
        To make things even tricky-er, a righteous person may become a false prophet and then repent and become righteous again. Such was the case with Martin Harris who was called to the sacred task of working with Joseph Smith to bring forth the Book of Mormon but then he is identified as a wicked man :

        6 Behold, they have sought to destroy you; yea, even the man in whom you have trusted has sought to destroy you.

        7 And for this cause I said that he is a wicked man, for he has sought to take away the things wherewith you have been entrusted; and he has also sought to destroy your gift. D&C10

        And yet Martin Harris repented became a witness to the plates and the angel…… so we cannot put our trust in man, any man. We have to take the holy spirit as our guide and trust in Jesus Christ alone like you we’re explaining in your post on capitolism.

        My other thought about the judgments is this.
        I served a mission in Poland where basically nobody would hear the gospel message. I struggled with the Lord as to why we we’re laboring in Poland. One reason I came to believe may be true is, we we’re there to offer the Gospel to those Gentiles even knowing that they would reject. And because of their rejection, the future judgements of the Lord would be just like we read in

        D&C 88
        81 Behold, I sent you out to testify and warn the people, and it becometh every man who hath been warned to warn his neighbor.
        82 Therefore, they are left without excuse, and their sins are upon their own heads.

        So I labored out of love for the people, love of Jesus Christ and his gospel and in part to wash my hands of their sins. I don’t know if I’m interpreting these principals correctly but it’s worth discussing anyways.

        OK, I’ll stop hijacking your blog. Good topic. it’s challenging but got my wheels turning none the less!

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