Faith, Sacrifice and Prayer

by Chris Layton
“Let us observe, that a religion that does not require the sacrifice of all things never has power sufficient to produce the faith necessary unto life and salvation; for, from the first existence of man, the faith necessary unto the enjoyment of life and salvation never could be obtained without the sacrifice of all earthly things” (6th Lecture on Faith)
Both my wife and I grew up in Mormonism having ancestry that were part of the restoration and being involved in polygamy. We had both read all of what was considered to be the standard works. Our upbringing lead us to do the things that we knew to be right. We were baptized, paid full tithes, attended our church meetings and fulfilled our callings which included fulfilling a mission call to Connecticut.
We both attended the temple as often as we could and our faith and desire for truth kept us on the path to where we are now. We both loved the things that we were taught and hoped to instill that same love of the gospel in our children.
I suppose that it was the temple where all the changes in our lives began and it was from this edifice that we have now journeyed to a place that has given us a greater view of God’s interaction with each of us in our lives as we pray for His direction.
When we were introduced to the prophet James D Harmston in October 1997, we listened to him teach about the plan of salvation and exaltation in what was called “the Models”. It was in these models that we began to see to a greater extent the inner workings of the divine family in our behalf. We began to see as we were taught by the 6th lecture on faith that sacrifice was essential to please God and was the only means whereby we could in fact know that we were pleasing to Him, that the course we were pursuing was in fact pleasing in the sight of God.
If there was one thing that we knew more often in the gathering was the blessings associated with sacrifice and the importance of prayer. We were taught as Adam taught His children how to pray. This form of prayer, known as True Order of Prayer which we offered up each day dressed in our garments and robes of the Holy Priesthood was essential to forming a deeper relationship with God. We discovered as Brigham proclaimed that “Adam is our Father and God” and thus we were enabled to begin to comprehend the love of God and the means whereby we can become as He is, a son of God and a daughter of God respectively.
It is my witness and testimony that the prophet James was sent by God to bring once again the fulness of the gospel to the elect of God’s children. His witness and testimony of the Gospel has fed and enlightened me and my family for nearly 20 years and we will continue to study the scriptures and those things that he taught. He is God’s prophet and though he is gone his testimony is not forgotten and is now sealed and in force.
“And for this cause he is the mediator of the new testament, that by means of death, for the redemption of the transgressions that were under the first testament, they which are called might receive the promise of eternal inheritance. For where a testament is, there must also of necessity be the death of the testator. For a testament is of force after men are dead: otherwise it is of no strength at all while the testator liveth.”
(Hebrews 9:15-17)
What a rare blessing and privilege it was to be taught at his feet.

2 thoughts on “Faith, Sacrifice and Prayer”

  1. Why does the LDS Church not teach the Adam-God doctrine? I read somewhere that this was never really taught as doctrine but was merely Brigham Young’s opinion.

    1. The most outspoken contemporary antagonist (that I’m aware of) to the Adam God Doctrine was Bruce R. McConkie in his excerpt entitled “The Seven Deadly Heresies” when he said the following:

      “Heresy six: There are those who believe or say they believe that Adam is our Father and our God, that he is the father of our spirits and our bodies, and that he is the one we worship. The devil keeps this heresy alive as a means of obtaining converts to cultism. It is contrary to the whole plan of salvation set forth in the scriptures, and anyone who has read the Book of Moses, and anyone who has received the temple endowment, has no excuse whatever for being led astray by it. Those who are so ensnared reject the living prophet and close their ears to the apostles of their day. “We will follow those who went before,” they say. And having so determined, they soon are ready to enter polygamous relationships that destroy their souls. We worship the Father, in the name of the Son, by the power of the Holy Ghost; and Adam is their foremost servant, by whom the peopling of our planet was commenced.”

      The problem is even when Brigham revealed this doctrine it was met with differing opinions even among the early brethren. To this Brigham said:

      “I will give you a few words of doctrine upon which there has been much inquiry, and with regard to which considerable ignorance exists. Brother Watt will write it, but it is not my intention to have it published; therefore pay good attention, and store it up in your memories. Some years ago, I advanced the doctrine with regard to Adam being our Father and God. that will be a curse to many of the Elders of Israel because of their folly. With regard to it they yet grovel in darkness and will. It is one of the most glorious revealments of the economy of Heaven, yet the world hold it [in] derision. Had I revealed the doctrine of baptism for the dead instead of Joseph Smith there are men around me who would have ridiculed the idea until doomsday. But they are ignorant and stupid like the dumb ass.”

      There were men who were part of Joseph’s inner circle to whom he revealed these sacred truths. Brigham was among his most trusted and it is why Brigham was given the assignment by Joseph to “organize and systematize” the endowment.

      This same sentiment against the things that Brigham taught is now rearing its head again in what appears to be a major ground swelling of people disaffected with the LDS church who are now also willing to throw out anything that Brigham ever taught which includes polygamy and the Adam God doctrine and it is a trap that has been set as a snare by our adversary.

      Joseph taught us “It is the first principle of the Gospel to know for a certainty the Character of God, and to know that we may converse with him as one man converses with another.”

      It would be impossible to gain our salvation and exaltation without such knowledge and it is why the Book of Mormon is a powerful witness to the character and nature of God.

      “1 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.

      2 And because he dwelleth 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—

      3 The Father, because he was conceived by the power of God; and the Son, because of the flesh; thus becoming the Father and Son—

      4 And they are one God, yea, the very Eternal Father of heaven and of earth.” (Mosiah 15: 1-4)

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