How do we Keep God’s commandments in this Day of Darkness and Confusion?
By Chris Layton
“The Church must be cleansed, and I proclaim against all iniquity. A man is saved no faster than he gets knowledge, for if he does not get knowledge, he will be brought into captivity by some evil power in the other world, as evil spirits will have more knowledge, and consequently more power than many men who are on the earth. Hence it needs revelation to assist us, and give us knowledge of the things of God.” (TPJS p.217)
Our common enemy, Lucifer, thrives on fear: fear of the unknown, fear of rejection, fear of loss, fear of deprivation all couched in the shroud of darkness and ignorance. All the things of this world Lucifer once had, he knows he has already lost. His wives and children, brothers and sisters, mothers and fathers and all past associations are gone. Now Lucifer preys on the fears of men and seeks to remove these things far from us by the means of “choice.” Just as Lucifer chose to do evil and rebel against his Father and God, he wants us to yield to temptation and sin and in the end curse God (rebel) and die.
Today, the church, because of their ignorance, is quickly succumbing to the hooks and gaffes of the enemy of righteousness by placing their traditions (which are their idols they have made for themselves) above the commandments which God has given. In this, they are placing other gods before Him which is a direct violation of God’s first commandment.
“Thou shalt have no other gods before me.” (Exodus 20:3)
Discerning Good From Evil
In the beginning, Adam was placed in the midst of the Garden of Eden and given dominion over it and all things in it. Adam was told to take care of this garden and to “dress it.” Adam and Eve were then told that they could partake of the fruits of the trees of the Garden of Eden except the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. They were given the choice to choose good or to choose evil.
Adam’s Father placed within Him, as He has for all of his children, divine attributes. Adam and Eve had an insatiable desire for light, knowledge, and wisdom, which all the Gods are divinely endowed with among many other divine attributes. Also inherent in this divine family is the desire to create and to bless their children. We have these very attributes as sons and daughters of Adam and Eve within each of us and they are endowed upon each of us as a blessing from our Eternal Father and Mother and these desires are “good” because they come from God.
However, in this fallen Telestial world, these divine attributes or this “light” under the veil of forgetfulness can however easily be “warped” by the unseen forces of evil. It was Adam and Eve’s divine nature to obey and to do good, so how could they fulfill all of God’s commandments when some seemed to conflict? How could they fulfill the commandment to multiply and repopulate the earth while living in innocence in Eden?
They knew of the war in Heaven. They knew that this previously destroyed Earth used to belong to Lucifer and his vast family kingdom once lived on it.
“I beheld the earth, and, lo, it was without form, and void (a more detailed flashback to Genesis 1); and the heavens, and they had no light… beheld, and lo, there was no man, and all the birds of the heavens were fled. I beheld and lo, the fruitful place (the earth which was once filled with cities and people and vegetation) was a wilderness (a place of devastation) and all the cities thereof were broken down at the presence of the Lord, and by his fierce anger.” (Jeremiah 4:23-26)
Lucifer was the “anointed cherub” who stood in the presence of God and was “in authority” according to Isaiah. A third of the hosts of heaven followed Lucifer in his rebellion, but the other two-thirds did not. Adam and Eve knew this. How do you save those who have not rebelled who are yet still bound by covenant to a father who had now rebelled? The kingdom itself had some difficult choices to make and not all would come out of it alive.
Adam and Eve did not know the identity of the original rebel until after they partook of the fruit of the forbidden tree (a representation of the family which was at risk of being entirely lost if someone did not come to redeem them). Then their eyes were opened now knowing good from evil. They hearkened to the voice of Lucifer and suffered the penalty. They became living witnesses of good and evil and they taught their children the laws that God had given to them. God segregated Adam’s posterity from the seed of the serpent and thus the light was separated from the darkness.
“And I, God saw the light, and that light was good. And I God, divided the light from the darkness.” (Genesis 1:7)
The first law that God gave His children is that they must “have no other gods before me” and as Christ taught “love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, soul, and mind.” So, we worship God which sounds simple enough until you ask the question. “Who is God?”
“It is the first principle of revealed religion to know God exists and to have a correct understanding of his character, nature, and attributes.” (3rd Lecture on Faith)
Who is the God We Worship?
We read in the scriptures that the disciples worshiped Jesus such as in the instance when Thomas said to Jesus: “My Lord and my God!” Also, when the wise men came to the infant Jesus they worshiped him as well as the blind man who was healed by Jesus: “And he said, Lord, I believe. And he worshiped him.” (John 9:38)
Why did Jesus Christ not correct His disciples who knelt down to worship Him according to the Law of God which says that “you shall have no other gods before me.”
In Revelations 22:8 John was about to fall down at the feet of the angelic messenger to worship him and he corrected him saying:
“See thou do it not: for I am thy fellow servant, and of thy brethren the prophets, and of them which keep the sayings of this book: worship God” (Revelations 22:9)
Did Jesus do away with His Father’s law? No. He said He did not come to destroy the law but to fulfill and Jesus is the bridegroom coming to take His bride. He will joyfully receive His kingdom at the hands of His Father and God at the marriage of the Lamb and we shall go with Him.
“….. For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife: and they twain shall be one flesh..” (Matthew 19:5)
“If we suffer, we shall also reign with him: if we deny him, he also will deny us:” (2 Timothy 2:12)
If we are commanded to worship God the Father only and yet worship Jesus Christ (the coming bridegroom) is this inconsistent with God’s commandment? No. And why? Because we are taught in the 1830 edition of the Book of Mormon more clearly the very nature and character of our God.
“….that the Lamb of God is the Eternal Father and the Saviour of the world; and that all men must come unto Him, or they cannot be saved;” (1 Nephi 13:40, 1830 ed.)
The things that seem to be inconsistent in the scriptures, under the proper light of revelation and the testimony of Jesus Christ, can be understood. Under this light, those things which seem to be inconsistencies will bring greater knowledge and the scriptures will take on new life. As a result, you will be made by this knowledge “a new creature in Christ.”
If you are confused and unsure in spite of all the different opinions that exist in all the different churches that conflict with one another, pray always, looking to the scriptures and to the prophets who have written their testimonies of Jesus Christ. Do not rely on the opinions and traditions of fallen man but let the Holy Spirit be your guide who will teach you all things you must do.
“3 Angels speak by the power of the Holy Ghost; wherefore, they speak the words of Christ. Wherefore, I said unto you, feast upon the words of Christ; for behold, the words of Christ will tell you all things what ye should do.
4 Wherefore, now after I have spoken these words, if ye cannot understand them it will be because ye ask not, neither do ye knock; wherefore, ye are not brought into the light, but must perish in the dark.
5 For behold, again I say unto you that if ye will enter in by the way, and receive the Holy Ghost, it will show unto you all things what ye should do.
6 Behold, this is the doctrine of Christ, and there will be no more doctrine given until after he shall manifest himself unto you in the flesh. And when he shall manifest himself unto you in the flesh, the things which he shall say unto you shall ye observe to do.”(2 Nephi 32:3-6)
God has given us markers along the way to know which way to turn, whether it be to the left or to the right, He will always be our light in this world. When God commands us to change course, it is not in violation of His law because He commanded it. Instead, if we choose to listen to Satan, which is to know God’s law and then violate it, the offering would be considered a blemished offering which God will not accept.
“And Cain loved Satan more than God. And Satan commanded him, saying, Make an offering unto the Lord. And in process of time it came to pass that Cain brought of the fruit of the ground an offering unto the Lord. And Abel, he also brought of the firstlings of the flock and of the fat thereof; and the Lord had respect unto Abel, and to his offering, but unto Cain, and to his offering, he had not respect. Now Satan knew this, and it pleased him, and Cain was very wroth, and his countenance fell.” (JST Genesis 5:6-8)
Cain’s sacrifice wasn’t rejected because it was of the fruits of the ground. Cain’s sacrifice was rejected because Satan commanded it and God cannot accept a sacrifice made to devils. You cannot get this understanding by reading this account in the KJV because it isn’t in there. You can only get this understanding in the Joseph Smith Translation of the Bible which is why we use the JST.
God can command and God can revoke, it is up to Him. Men have the wisdom of the world but even God’s folly, as it is written, is greater than man’s wisdom and when men think they are wise by their traditions, God will show them to be fools.
“Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men; and the weakness of God is stronger than men.” (1 Corinthians 1:26)
The Prophet Joseph Smith taught the following:
“That which is wrong under one circumstance, may be, and often is, right under another. God said, “Thou shalt not kill;” at another time He said, “Thou shalt utterly destroy.” This is the principle on which the government of heaven is conducted–by revelation adapted to the circumstances in which the children of the kingdom are placed. Whatever God requires is right, no matter what it is, although we may not see the reason thereof till long after the events transpire….”
In many cases, Satan’s knowledge is more than man’s and God uses man in his weakness for His purposes. We are all part of this great game of chess. God is always at least 2 moves ahead of Satan. God’s ways are revealed to man by revelation and confirmed by priesthood keys.
Joseph taught the following concerning the priesthood and the ordinances:
“The keys have to be brought from heaven whenever the Gospel is sent. When they are revealed from heaven, it is by Adam’s authority.”
Joseph taught about the change of ordinances equating to a change in priesthood:
“Where there is no change of ordinances there is no change of priesthood”.
Isaiah tells us in a parallel scripture that “they changed the ordinances and set at naught the ancient covenant.” (Isaiah 24:5)
There is more than one priesthood that is recognized by God, the lesser is the Aaronic or Levitical Priesthood and the greater is the Melchizedek Priesthood after the order of the Son of God. Even in our ordinances we have been taught that we remove our priesthood robes from the left to the right to change from the Aaronic Priesthood to the Melchizedek Priesthood. Does God condone this change in priesthood? He does because He commanded it. There are more ordinances, more blessings, more exaltations, more lives because with God there is eternal increase. Shall we put limits on what our God can do? Surely He will reveal more and greater things to man if they will humble themselves and have an eye single to His glory.
Our prophet James D. Harmston taught about changing the ordinances in the first model called “Belief Windows:”
“You change the ordinances and you change the Priesthood. You change the Priesthood and it is no longer God’s priesthood. All Satan has ever done from the beginning is take true Priesthood, corrupt it, and call it his own.”
Satan took the priesthood unto himself and took glory in it. No revelation from God, but rather his own will and not God’s will. This is the sin of “self-reliance” which is carnal, sensual and devilish.
Lucifer’s 5 pointed rebellion
“For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven. I will exalt my throne above the stars of God; I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north; I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the Most High. Yet thou shalt be brought down to hell, to the sides of the pit.” (Isaiah 14:13-15)
We Must Liken the Scriptures Unto Ourselves
If we are to avoid the pitfalls that cause men to fall, we must learn from the past. The prophets testify of the future in light of revelation but also from the lessons of the past. We are to teach, preach, expound, and exhort our fellow members of the body of Christ in the scriptures. We also must do the same with our children that have been placed in our charge.
Are we raising our children to be made in the image of God? Or, are we raising them as little golden calves in our own image or in the image of this fallen world? Do we discipline them as disciples of Jesus Christ? Or, do they instead discipline us? Who is the teacher? And who is the student? Who is the Lord? And who is the servant? Do we prepare them for the temple of our God? Or, do we prepare the temple of our God for them? It is unbecoming of a member of the body of Christ to tell God how He is going to save them. We must come to know His ways. He already knows ours.
“The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?” (Jeremiah 17:9)
“Hear the word of the Lord, ye rulers of Sodom; give ear unto the law of our God, ye people of Gomorrah….When ye come to appear before me, who hath required this at your hand, to tread my courts?… Your appointed feasts my soul hateth…. And when ye spread forth your hands, I will hide mine eyes from you; yea, when ye make many prayers, I will not hear; your hands are full of blood” (Isaiah 1:10-15)
“Woe to the wicked! For they shall perish; for the reward of their hands shall be upon them. And as for my people, children are their oppressors, and women rule over them. O my people, they who lead thee cause thee to err, and destroy the way of thy paths…. Moreover the Lord saith, Because the daughters of Zion are haughty, and walk with stretched-forth necks and wanton eyes, walking and mincing as they go, and making a tinkling with their feet; Therefore the Lord will smite with a scab the crown of the head of the daughters of Zion, and the Lord will discover their secret parts” (Isaiah 3: 11-12, 16-17)
I’ve had people in the church become angry with me for reading these Isaiah verses and applying it to ourselves and to our church which is what we’re supposed to do with the scriptures and they said: “That doesn’t apply to us! That only applies to them!” Well, if “them” are “they” then you are not His. In other words, if God’s chastisement only applies to them, then perhaps God’s affections have instead fallen upon another people and we ought to repent.
“For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth. If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not? But if ye be without chastisement, whereof all are partakers, then are ye bastards, and not sons.” (Hebrews 12: 6-8)
Is your church changing direction by the revelation of heaven or is it instead a church policy change to those “whom it may concern” as in the example of the 1890 manifesto on polygamy?
If you see error creeping into the church are you admonishing your brethren in the scriptures or are you just “moving on” in your agenda so that you can have your way? Or, are you sitting silent doing nothing while the enemy takes the field in this spiritual battle?
“All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:” (2 Timothy 3:16)
Joseph Smith taught: “If anything should have been suggested by us, or any names mentioned, except by commandment, or thus saith the Lord, we do not consider it binding”
It is by the revelation given by Adam who holds all the keys and the dispensations that we transcend or “change” from the lesser Aaronic Priesthood to the greater Melchizedek Priesthood and there is no condemnation in this change of priesthood when God commands it. If however you do it as Aarons sons Nadab and Abihu did it on their own authority without God’s revelation, that is what brings on the infernal results for the arrogance of self reliance rather than relying upon Gods word. It is on Aaron’s own initiative, by “popular demand” that he built the golden calf.
“When the people saw that Moses was so long in coming down from the mountain, they gathered around Aaron and said, “Come, make us gods who will go before us. As for this fellow Moses who brought us up out of Egypt, we don’t know what has happened to him.” (Exodus 32:1)
God never said to do such a thing and the children of Israel suffered greatly for this error when the earth was opened and swallowed up a great many of them and as it is written they “all went down alive to sheol.”
How could they have avoided this tragedy? By remembering the word of God. Everything the children of Israel needed to know about who to worship was tirelessly drilled into them by their prophet and God. They had no excuse.
Graven Images: Good or Evil?
God also commanded the children of Israel not to make graven images unto themselves when He said:
“Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth: Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the LORD thy God am a jealous God..”. (Exodus 20:4-5)
Yet, at the same time He commanded that they build an ark in which the law and the testament would rest and upon the top they would place “graven images” of two cherubim overlaid with gold. A conflict in Gods commandment? No, and why? Because God commanded it. The Pharisees and Saducees corrupted themselves because they set the law in stone and worshipped the stone over the one who made the law. Then when the rock of our salvation came, the one who made the law, they rejected Him.
“Man is not condemned for believing too much, but for the sin of unbelief.” (Joseph Smith)
“For what saith the scripture? Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness.”(Romans 4:3)
Symbols which are God’s Directions
When Lehi was in the wilderness God placed before his tent a compass which was known as the “Liahona” This compass had inscriptions written upon it each day that told Lehi which way they were to go:
“And there was also written upon them, a new writing, which was plain to be read, which did give us understanding concerning the ways of the Lord; and it was written and changed from time to time, according to the faith and diligence which we gave unto it; And thus we see, that by small means, the Lord can bring about great things.” (1 Nephi 16:29)
It was only when they began to quarrel that these directors failed to point the way. Every man was required to be obedient to God. That was the ultimate directive to Lehi and his family. Whatever God requires is right and if man’s opinion is in conflict with God’s Word, the Word of God must prevail.
Like the example of the Liahona, God has given us His word in the scriptures and in the words of His prophets which points the way we should go. Each of us who have made covenants with God in His house have His words and instructions written upon each of us. There are marks given that are instructional in nature which are as our own Liahona which will, if we keep these things sacred, bring us back into the presence of God. If we deny these things or make light of them, He will remove his word from us and give it to another. It is that simple. To remove God’s word from us is to invite death.
The Removal of the Garment of the Holy Priesthood is to Invite Death
The prophet Joseph Smith Jr. removed his garment shortly before his death on June 27, 1844 because by revelation he knew that they could not kill him if he was wearing them. Our prophet James D. Harmston removed his garment by revelation shortly before his death on June 27, 2013. At the same time, we also by covenant removed our garments just like the children of Israel did at the base of Mt Sinai.
“The LORD also said to Moses, “Go to the people and consecrate them today and tomorrow, and let them wash their garments; and let them be ready for the third day, for on the third day the LORD will come down on Mount Sinai in the sight of all the people.” (Exodus 19:10-11)
In God’s wisdom, He did for us what we could not do for ourselves, so that we (as Adam and Eve) would learn to discern once and for all, good from evil. We thought we were going on to happiness and bliss and straight on to glory. Yes, God was going to give us experience, having no idea we were instead going straight into the lion’s maw.
Many thought God said they would never put their garments on again, but God never said that. What He did say was “now, that you have removed your garments, you will never, ever, do anything to offend God, that you will labor with all your heart and soul to accomplish His purposes.” He also told us two weeks before he left us with a “Thus saith the Lord” that those who die from among our people must be dressed in the garments and robes of the Holy Priesthood.
It was a perfect example of a multitude remembering something that did not happen, also known as the “Mandela Effect.” It was the perfect setting for His people to receive “strong delusion” and they began to persecute those who did put their garments on again according to the revelation of heaven. As a result, the drunkenness and revelry (as it was at the base of Mount Sinai once Moses ascended) began to raise its head once again as Jesus prophesied:
“And from the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven suffereth violence, and the violent take it by force.” (Matthew 11:12)
How soon we forgot the lessons of the past. How soon we forgot the words of the prophets. How soon Israel once again showed herself to be helplessly tied to her illicit affairs with the things of the flesh which are the things of this world.
To our greatest sorrow and as an everlasting testament of the rebellion of this people is the lifeless body of our prophet on which no garment was placed with God’s instructions left unheeded. “Naked and ye clothed me not”(Matthew 25:43)
“The LORD said also unto me in the days of Josiah the king, Hast thou seen that which backsliding Israel hath done? she is gone up upon every high mountain and under every green tree, and there hath played the harlot.” (Jeremiah 3:6)
It was bound to happen but it was prophesied to happen in Revelations which says:
“And it was given unto him to make war with the saints, and to overcome them: and power was given him over all kindreds, and tongues, and nations.” (Revelations 13:7)
The reason power was given “him” is because this power was given to him by the saints. No one can give power to the adversary to overcome you except you yourself. The saints lusted after power and experience without having first counted the cost and God gave us exactly what we asked for and exactly what we deserved. You can never accuse God of being unfair because He is just in all His judgments.
In 1883, John Taylor had the following to say about these marks found in the garment of the Holy Priesthood:
“The “square” represents “the justice and fairness of our Heavenly Father, that we will receive all the good that is coming to us or all that we earn, on a square deal”, and the “Compasses” represents “the North Star”. In addition to the Square and Compasses, Taylor described the other symbols as follows: the collar represented the idea that the Lord’s “yoke is easy and [his] burden is light”, or the “Crown of the Priesthood”; the double-knotted strings represented “the Trinity” and “the marriage covenant”; the navel mark represents “strength in the navel and marrow in the bones”; and the knee mark represents “that every knee shall bow and every tongue confess that Jesus is the Christ.”
It wasn’t until 1926 that Apostle David O’ McKay offered the current version now being taught which differs greatly from what John Taylor originally taught. These symbols are instructional and directional in nature, they can work either way. It is up to God how He wishes to guide and direct His people.
Our prophet James taught the following in the first model about truth:
“Our perception of reality may be something entirely less than what it really is, because, we perceive everything through this window.”
This mirrors what Paul said:
“For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.” (1 Corinthians 13:12)
James continues in regards to the children of Israel at the base of the Holy Mount being afraid to ascend at God’s invitation.
“Moses, you go meet God, and you tell us about God……I will tell you about God, that you can meet God, and invite you to meet Him. If you don’t, you will be in the same situation that ancient Israel was in. Everything He gave them was nothing but a curse, a school master to bring them into the greater law which was an invitation to come to the Holy Mount.”
Banishment for Refusing God’s Call
As a consequence, what God left them was the lesser priesthood, the Aaronic Priesthood (since they chose to follow or “stand with Aaron” in building their golden calf). In fact, like Queen Vashti who refused to come by command of her King, The children of Israel were banished and never to enter into the promised land. They should have stood with God in keeping His commandments. You get what you pay for, and you reap what you sow. They got the lesser Aaronic priesthood with its accompanying laws and the ordinances (performances) when they could have ascended up the Holy Mount, into the presence of God and made an end to their wandering. Instead, they chose to stay on this earth and go get an education to prepare them for the world. So, according to their choices, according to their “agency” God gave them an education in this desolate world. He took Moses from their midst and the Holy Priesthood and not one of them who heard the call to the Holy Mount and refused got to go into the Promised Land. So much for being wise as to the things of this world and so much for God knowing their hearts and good intentions as many modern Saints would claim… “God knows my heart!”
“But behold, Jesus Christ hath shown you unto me, and I know your doing.” (Mormon 8:35)
Your actions speak louder than your words.
In Joseph Smith’s day the people did the same thing, some accusing him of running from the mob and leaving the flock to which he said “If my life is of no value to my friends, it is of no value to me” and so he was taken from their midst. Instead of establishing Zion, they were driven into the wilderness to start again and see if they could learn to be obedient to the word of the Lord.
So Which Way do we Turn?
God has given us His words by which we can rely on for our direction. He has given us His prophets to guide us and teach us how each of us can become prophets, seers and revelators. God has given to us signposts and markers whereby we can know by the revelation of heaven and not by the uninformed opinions of the brethren which way we must go. For the few who have received a true priesthood garment received by the revelation of Heaven, they have written upon them God’s instructions. In Joseph Smith’s day when he revealed to the saints the pattern of the garment he instructed them to go home, make their own garments and to put them on. These are as the Liahona which Lehi received of the Lord. Each mark “suggesting to the mind” divine principles for us to follow as ships guided by the North Star as John Taylor taught.
Our Prophet James taught us the following in the third model entitled “Segregation and Lineage:”
“A true garment of the Holy Priesthood is to the wrist, to the ankles, to the neck, and it has the collar representing the “yoke of Christ”. It has all the important components including the marks properly placed in the garment. The Latter Day Saints changed one of these, the only one they could change. The physical proof of that we readily have. It is all over the place. Even on grave markers up around the valley.”
Masonic Symbols on the Spring City Endowment House and Gravestone
Pictured below is the gravestone that has the shape of a head, neck and arms with 8 stars crowning the head of Patriarch James Allred that our Prophet James referred to which is next to his wife’s headstone. Notice the orientation of the square pointing to the left shoulder which is different than what you find on the garment. (There are multiple pictures of old drawings of the garment that date back to 1842 on the internet showing the reverse “L” as the mark of the square.)
This headstone, erected by Patriarch James Allred’s children for James and his wife Elizabeth was made in 1876, located in the Spring City, Utah cemetery, over which Apostle Orson Hyde presided at his funeral.
Here also is a stone shown in an older picture which was engraved interestingly enough also being made in 1876, the same year as Patriarch Allred’s headstone, over the endowment house. This stone sits over the entrance of what once was referred to as the Orson Hyde “Endowment House” in Spring City where temple ordinances were being performed before the completion of the Manti Temple.
Both pictures show the endowment house in its original condition before it was renovated with the stone exactly as it has always been. It shows both views of the building with the exact same stone, the exact same symbols in the exact same orientation with the reverse “L” as the mark of the square. Both stones would have been observed by Apostle Orson Hyde, the overseer of the construction of the Spring City Endowment House. Orson Hyde, by the way, is the apostle who prophesied that the Jews would return to Jerusalem. He is also buried in the Spring City cemetery with a large headstone dedicated by the LDS Church commemorating his prophesy over Jerusalem.
Does God Give us Conflicting Commands?
Is there a conflict in these images of these stones with these marks pointing in two completely different directions? Is it an example of God giving conflicting commands even perhaps at the same time?
If a square points to the right or to the left or to the top or bottom is it anything else but a square? Does it “suggest to the mind” anything other than what we were taught when you see it from a different perspective? Perhaps it deepens our understanding of the mind of God. Perhaps, as one sister suggested to me, it does make you think differently and that is good because it is of God.
If Lehi’s Liahona points to the left today and to the right tomorrow is God not faithful to His word? If the robe is worn by God’s command on the left shoulder today and God commands us to place it on the right tomorrow is God not truthful? Here is the key: It is by God’s command that we move and act. If we obey His voice he will turn it for a blessing to us. If, however, we list to obey the voice of the adversary, it would then, like as Cain of old, turn to a cursing. So how do we know the difference between the good and the evil? It is in the keys of the priesthood which we have received. Those things are constant and never change as our Prophet has taught us.
Here is a picture of Brigham Young wearing these same Masonic symbols of the compass and the square on a pendant and their orientation is different as well:
God said both in Isaiah and in 2 Thessalonians that He would choose “their delusions”
“I also will choose their delusions, and will bring their fears upon them; because when I called, none did answer; when I spake, they did not hear; but they did evil before mine eyes, and chose that in which I delighted not” (Isaiah 66:4)“And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie; That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness.” [i.e. their idols] (2 Thessalonians 2:11)Their delusion is because they are ignorant and do not know the scriptures and grumble at the direction of the prophets even in the least of things“my people are destroyed for lack of knowledge.” (Hosea 4:6)
Following the Example of our Prophet James
James taught us early on that he and Elaine in their desire to receive further light and knowledge from the Lord while still members of the LDS Church put on their temple robes and prayed in the true order of prayer in their home. That was a big gamble on their lives. He said that if God approved, they would quickly know, and if not, they would be “toast”. God poured out a blessing on them because they did as the Holy Spirit directed them to, as they were taught to (and as we all were taught to) in the endowment.
Following the Pattern of our Prophet
This pattern of revelation from God to guide us is the same pattern that I have followed with my wife and others. Regrettably we were accused and told we were “out of order” for doing the very things we were shown by our Prophet and cast out from them. Our Lord testified that this time would come:“All this I have told you so that you will not fall away. They will put you out of the synagogue; in fact, the time is coming when anyone who kills you will think they are offering a service to God. They will do such things because they have not known the Father or me. I have told you this, so that when their time comes you will remember that I warned you about them. I did not tell you this from the beginning because I was with you” (John 16:1-4)
In light of the visions and revelations I have received from the Father and the Son, I felt to exclaim as did the Prophet Joseph:“So it was with me. I had actually seen a light, and in the midst of that light I saw two Personages, and they did in reality speak to me; and though I was hated and persecuted for saying that I had seen a vision, yet it was true; and while they were persecuting me, reviling me, and speaking all manner of evil against me falsely for so saying, I was led to say in my heart: Why persecute me for telling the truth? I have actually seen a vision; and who am I that I can withstand God, or why does the world think to make me deny what I have actually seen? For I had seen a vision; I knew it, and I knew that God knew it, and I could not deny it, neither dared I do it; at least I knew that by so doing I would offend God, and come under condemnation.” (Joseph Smith History 1:25)
“How can I pray with you when I can’t even stand to look at you?”
“What, don’t you trust us?”
“We don’t need to place James’ words on a pedestal”
We were ridiculed for what we had received. Unbelievable but true, we were condemned for believing God. Is this a right way for a Bishop or any ecclesiastical leader or member of the body of Christ to respond to a request for the church to come together in the true order of prayer? Our covenant with God is:
“If any one of you have any unkind feelings towards another in the circle, you are invited to withdraw.”
Is it wrong to call for greater purity in God’s temple by the revelation of heaven, that those who would enter would only be those who had received their endowment having made covenant with God?
“Is this what it is all about? Our children getting an endowment?”
“Therefore whatsoever ye have spoken in darkness shall be heard in the light; and that which ye have spoken in the ear in closets shall be proclaimed upon the housetops.” (Luke 12:3)
Again, coming from one who should know better. One who has been taught at the feet of our Prophet the same as the rest of us and so I must ask: “When was our religion about anything else but preparing ourselves and our children for making and receiving covenants with God in His house? If your purpose to coming into the House of the Lord was anything other than making and keeping these covenants, why do you pretend to be religious?”
“But woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye shut up the kingdom of heaven against men: for ye neither go in yourselves, neither suffer ye them that are entering to go in.” (Matthew 23:13)
When you use your power and influence over the church of God to instead cause your brethren to hate their brother or sister in an act of unrighteous dominion because you disagree with the revelations received (which testify of the exact same thing our Prophet as well as the scriptures testifies of) as it is written, “amen to the priesthood of that man.”
“Whosoever hateth his brother is a murderer: and ye know that no murderer hath eternal life abiding in him.” (1 John 3:15)
At that moment, you are no longer building the church up unto God, but rather building up churches unto yourselves, a grave violation of God’s commandments and this is where the church goes into darkness. This is where God’s people begin to let go of the iron rod and fall into forbidden paths. This pattern of apostasy has repeated itself over and over again throughout history. It happened with the LDS Church, it happened with the Allred Church, the AUB, the Short Creek Church and yes, the TLC Church. Would I say that “I know the church is true”? To be honest it depends on the day. Has Israel always been true to God? I know what the Prophet Jeremiah would say. He’d say they’ve all gone off in the hills to commit adultery. I know what Ezekiel would say. He’d say that they are a rebellious house (Ezekiel 2), drunkards of Ephraim (Isaiah 28:1), that are half baked (Hosea 7:8). No doubt God can make them true, as He has throughout history, with His rod, at least for a while.
All of the Mormon churches including their myriads of offshoots have fallen into apostasy and have fallen short of the glory of God because they do not know Him. One cannot say that Zion has been established. It hasn’t. All that we’ve been successfully doing now for the past hundred years or so is building up Babylon. It is time to finally admit before God that we are all sinners and in deep need of repentance and begin to worship HIM in the way He has commanded for the Lord of the vineyard is coming.
James said during the first model that his testimony wasn’t based on the Bishop and neither is mine. God’s will is the only thing that matters and not anyone else. God is my head and I am His Apostle, a special witness of Jesus Christ having received His anointing at His hand. I’ve asked for His special blessings to be upon me for many years and I guess the situation I was thrown into is His answer. He didn’t flatter me and tell me how wonderful I am because I’m not. Rather, He purged and chastened me as he does to all whom He loves. I know Him and by His revelations. He has revealed Himself to me through His Word. He LIVES!
“O ye wicked and perverse and stiffnecked people, why have ye built up churches unto yourselves to get gain? Why have ye transfigured the holy word of God, that ye might bring damnation upon your souls? Behold, look ye unto the revelations of God; for behold, the time cometh at that day when all these things must be fulfilled.” (Mormon 8:33)
Obedience to His Word is what is required of each of us. In our endowment we make promises to God that if we keep them, He makes promises that He keeps with us whereby we can be blessed.
Components of a True Endowment
We were taught by our Prophet James that there are components of the true endowment that are unchangeable that you must know and this is what he said:
“There are three components to a true endowment. The first are the keys of the Priesthood that are transmitted. The second part is the covenants that are made where God makes certain promises to you, if you keep certain promises to Him. Covenants, done by oath. Both of these are couched in an instructional setting. The covenants and keys can never change. Never, in time or eternity, can these two change. It is impossible to change them and keep the Priesthood. Heber Grant made the first change in those covenants in 1921. The instructional setting, however, can be changed to meet the circumstances of the times and needs of the dispensation to which they were given.”
So the two unchangeable parts are: 1) The “keys which are transmitted” meaning they are given from one person to another as a means of recognition. This becomes essentially the “safety net” so that we can discern “true” messengers from “false” ones. 2) The covenants or the promises. Those two things cannot be changed and will always remain the same but it doesn’t mean that God cannot give you further instructions and ask for more covenants from you. The Bible is full of accounts of prophets who made further specific promises or covenants to God that we have not. For instance, Samson made a covenant not to shave his hair and not to touch a dead carcass. These covenants were uniquely between him and God. We, too, may also make unique covenants to God, but the basic covenants will never change.
The instructional parts of the true endowment as we have been taught can be changed when God commands it. By their very nature those markings are instructional. The ones we have now, we are taught, correspond with the marks in the temple veil. The veil that was in Moses’ tabernacle and also in Solomon’s temple was entirely different than the ones in our modern temple veils. That means they were not always the same. Our current markings would not by any means match with the veil at Solomon’s time (see the picture below which is the representation of what the veil would have looked like).
“And thou shalt make a veil of blue and purple and scarlet, and fine twined linen of cunning work; with cherubim shall it be made” (Exodus 26:31)
“Dress this Garden”
God has made commandment from the days of our Father Adam to those who would be fathers and mothers that they teach their children the gospel, to read to them the scriptures and to “clothe them in righteousness:”
Our Prophet James taught in the model called “Segregation and Lineage:”
“The true Garment of the Holy Priesthood, which we do have, was given by revelation. It represents the former glory that some of you had and the glory that you may yet attain. That is what it represents, an emblem of glory. Unless you have received a true garment and hold the keys of the Priesthood, it is pretty unlikely that you are going to have resurrected beings show up and administer to you, because you are without the right to have that done. Once these things are introduced to a dispensation, they are requirements. If you intend on conversing with Deity in the presence of Deity, you must be clothed in the proper garment of the Holy Priesthood, or you will not be able to enjoy their divine presence. Those are the facts.”
Two more facts which you cannot escape: As it was in the days of Joseph, so it is now. When Joseph removed his garments before his martyrdom it brought death and he paid the price of our sin if we will repent. In the history of this church, the removal of the garment has always been a disciplinary move with the same predictable results.
In the words of King Benjamin:
“And ye will not suffer your children that they go hungry, or naked; neither will ye suffer that they transgress the laws of God, and fight and quarrel one with another, and serve the devil, who is the master of sin, or who is the evil spirit which hath been spoken of by our fathers, he being an enemy to all righteousness.
But ye will teach them to walk in the ways of truth and soberness; ye will teach them to love one another, and to serve one another.
And also, ye yourselves will succor those that stand in need of your succor; ye will administer of your substance unto him that standeth in need; and ye will not suffer that the beggar putteth up his petition to you in vain, and turn him out to perish.
Perhaps thou shalt say: The man has brought upon himself his misery; therefore I will stay my hand, and will not give unto him of my food, nor impart unto him of my substance that he may not suffer, for his punishments are just—
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.” (Mosiah 4:14-18)
The day is coming when God in His glory will come to judge between the righteous and the wicked and few there will be that will enter into the marriage as the five wise virgins. All who will come to the wedding, as it is written in the scriptures, will have on the “wedding garment” except one who will not be wearing one and will be cast out into outer darkness. As our Prophet taught us: “The way we think they are, may not be the way things really are because the way we see things is skewed.” (JDH Belief Windows)
And then will the meaning of the trees be revealed to you for when Adam was given the command to take this garden and dress it, He was commanded to clothe His children in the garments and robes of the Holy Priesthood and to teach them how to pray to God that they might know which way to go.
“Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: For I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in: Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me. Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink? When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee? Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee? And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me. Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels: For I was an hungered, and ye gave me no meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me no drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me not in: naked, and ye clothed me not: sick, and in prison, and ye visited me not. Then shall they also answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, or athirst, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not minister unto thee? Then shall he answer them, saying, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye did it not to one of the least of these, ye did it not to me.” (Matthew 25:34-45)