Believe Jesus.

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My writings have been a labor of love. Because this blog has been receiving visitors from all around the globe on a daily basis, I have decided to upgrade it to remove all advertisements so that everyone may read without the distraction of all the banner ads. As a side note, the primary purpose of this blog is to persuade all visitors to believe in Jesus Christ, but not only to believe in Him, but also to believe Him. Believe His words as found in the scriptures. And if you do believe, please go and do the things that He has said to do. May your faith be demonstrated by good works, not in order to be saved though, for it is only by the grace of Jesus Christ that one may be saved, but that your good works bear witness to Him that you believe the words He has taught. Find His words in Matthew chapters 5 through 7 where He explicitly teaches us how to live and Matthew chapter 25 where those who keep His sayings find themselves at the last day.

And to the Lamanites of these last days, I reiterate what the prophet Mormon wrote specifically for you:

Mormon 7:1 And now, behold, I would speak somewhat unto the remnant of this people who are spared, if it so be that God may give unto them my words, that they may know of the things of their fathers; yea, I speak unto you, ye remnant of the house of Israel; and these are the words which I speak:
Know ye that ye are of the house of Israel.
Know ye that ye must come unto repentance, or ye cannot be saved.
Know ye that ye must lay down your weapons of war, and delight no more in the shedding of blood, and take them not again, save it be that God shall command you.
Know ye that ye must come to the knowledge of your fathers, and repent of all your sins and iniquities, and believe in Jesus Christ, that he is the Son of God, and that he was slain by the Jews, and by the power of the Father he hath risen again, whereby he hath gained the victory over the grave; and also in him is the sting of death swallowed up…
10 And ye will also know that ye are a remnant of the seed of Jacob; therefore ye are numbered among the people of the first covenant; and if it so be that ye believe in Christ, and are baptized, first with water, then with fire and with the Holy Ghost, following the example of our Savior, according to that which he hath commanded us, it shall be well with you in the day of judgment. Amen.

Believe. Be baptized with water and with fire. Demonstrate your belief by your good works.

John 3:5 Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.
That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.
Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again.
The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the Spirit.

What Seek Ye?

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This is the first question on page 2 of a New Testament study guide that I’ve been looking at. As I have thought about this question, I find myself rewording it to “whom seek ye?” The answer that comes to mind is in the form of a series of passages that I have found and have been bookmarking:

Deuteronomy 4:29 But if from thence thou shalt seek the Lord thy God, thou shalt find him, if thou seek him with all thy heart and with all thy soul.
30 When thou art in tribulation, and all these things are come upon thee, even in the latter days, if thou turn to the Lord thy God, and shalt be obedient unto his voice;
31 (For the Lord thy God is a merciful God;) he will not forsake thee, neither destroy thee, nor forget the covenant of thy fathers which he sware unto them.

Jeremiah 29:11 For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the Lord, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.
12 Then shall ye call upon me, and ye shall go and pray unto me, and I will hearken unto you.
13 And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart.

Jeremiah 33:3 Call unto me, and I will answer thee, and shew thee great and mighty things, which thou knowest not.

Proverbs 2:Yea, if thou criest after knowledge, and liftest up thy voice for understanding;
If thou seekest her as silver, and searchest for her as for hid treasures;
Then shalt thou understand the fear of the Lord, and find the knowledge of God.

John 14:21 He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him.
22 Judas saith unto him, not Iscariot, Lord, how is it that thou wilt manifest thyself unto us, and not unto the world?
23 Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him.

D&C 130:3 (John 14:23)—The appearing of the Father and the Son, in that verse, is a personal appearance; and the idea that the Father and the Son dwell in a man’s heart is an old sectarian notion, and is false.

Ether 4:And in that day that they shall exercise faith in me, saith the Lord, even as the brother of Jared did, that they may become sanctified in me, then will I manifest unto them the things which the brother of Jared saw, even to the unfolding unto them all my revelations, saith Jesus Christ, the Son of God, the Father of the heavens and of the earth, and all things that in them are.
And he that will contend against the word of the Lord, let him be accursed; and he that shall deny these things, let him be accursed; for unto them will I show no greater things, saith Jesus Christ; for I am he who speaketh.
And at my command the heavens are opened and are shut; and at my word the earth shall shake; and at my command the inhabitants thereof shall pass away, even so as by fire.
10 And he that believeth not my words believeth not my disciples; and if it so be that I do not speak, judge ye; for ye shall know that it is I that speaketh, at the last day.
11 But he that believeth these things which I have spoken, him will I visit with the manifestations of my Spirit, and he shall knowand bear record. For because of my Spirit he shall know that these things are true; for it persuadeth men to do good.
12 And whatsoever thing persuadeth men to do good is of me; for good cometh of none save it be of me. I am the same that leadeth men to all good; he that will not believe my words will not believe me—that I am; and he that will not believe me will not believe the Father who sent me. For behold, I am the Father, I am the light, and the life, and the truth of the world.
13 Come unto me, O ye Gentiles, and I will show unto you the greater things, the knowledge which is hid up because of unbelief.
14 Come unto me, O ye house of Israel, and it shall be made manifest unto you how great things the Father hath laid up for you, from the foundation of the world; and it hath not come unto you, because of unbelief.
15 Behold, when ye shall rend that veil of unbelief which doth cause you to remain in your awful state of wickedness, and hardness of heart, and blindness of mind, then shall the great and marvelous things which have been hid up from the foundation of the world from you—yea, when ye shall call upon the Father in my name, with a broken heart and a contrite spirit, then shall ye know that the Father hath remembered the covenant which he made unto your fathers, O house of Israel.

2 Nephi 32: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.
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.
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.

D&C 93:Verily, thus saith the Lord: It shall come to pass that every soul who forsaketh his sins and cometh unto me, and calleth on my name, and obeyeth my voice, and keepeth my commandments, shall see my face and know that I am;

Second Lecture of the Lectures on Faith, Question 146: How do men obtain a
knowledge of the glory of God, his perfections and attributes?
Answer: By devoting themselves to his service, through prayer and supplication
incessantly, strengthening their faith in him, until like Enoch, the brother of
Jared, and Moses, they obtain a manifestation of God to themselves. (See
2:55)
Lecture 2:55 Let us here observe, that after any portion of the human family are
made acquainted with the important fact that there is a God who has created and
does uphold all things, the extent of their knowledge, respecting his character
and glory, will depend upon their diligence and faithfulness in seeking after him,
until like Enoch the brother of Jared, and Moses, they shall obtain faith in God,
and power with him to behold him face to face.

jesus

Image credit and copyright owner: Akiane Kramarik

To All Mormons: An Open Letter

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Recently members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints around the world learned that President Nelson announced the building of twelve temples. That seemed like a very impressive list. But missing from that list is the temple yet to be built in Independence, Missouri. There in Jackson county sits an empty lot today waiting for Lamanites to build it, assisted by repentant Gentiles. In 1975, During General Conference, President Spencer W. Kimball, giving his First Presidency message said:

“When I was a young man living among the Lamanites more than seventy years ago, the destruction of the Lamanites was a stark reality. It seemed impossible to me that this broken people could ever rise from the destruction and become a mighty people once more, as the Lord had promised. I remember reading the words of President Wilford Woodruff, spoken in a day when the Lamanites were literally the “vanishing Americans”:

“The Lamanites will blossom as the rose on the mountains. I am willing to say here that, though I believe this, when I see the power of the nation destroying them from the face of the earth, the fulfillment of that prophecy is perhaps harder for me to believe than any revelation of God that I ever read. It looks as though there would not be enough left to receive the Gospel.” (Journal of Discourses 15:282.)

For a thousand years after the closing of the Book of Mormon record, these people wandered in spiritual darkness and were scattered upon the American continents and the isles of the sea. They lost their written language, their high culture, and, worst of all, their knowledge of the living God and his work. Faith was replaced by fear, rich language by crippled dialects, and an understanding of God and his ways by idolatry, even human sacrifice. Since the coming of the white man to the Americas, they have been driven mercilessly, killed, and degraded…Someone said, “If my pen might have the gift of tears I would write a book and call it ‘The Indian,’ and I would make the whole world weep,” Only the most brazen soul could fail to weep when contemplating the fall of this people, and yet it was the decree of the Lord that the Lamanites should be preserved in the land, that this remnant of Joseph should again come into their promised inheritance.”–Our Paths Have Met Again

In 1963, while an apostle, Spencer W. Kimball said:

“I’ve known people who have been promised in their patriarchal blessings that they would live to see the temple built and some of them are dying and haven’t seen the temple built. Do you know why? In my estimation, the Lord’s time table is directed a good deal by us. We speed up the clock or we slow the hands down and we turn them back by our activities or our procrastinations. And do you know why I think people who are actually promised that they would live to see the temple built are dying before the completion of the temple? Because we haven’t converted the Indians in large enough numbers; never shall we go to Jackson County until we have converted and brought into this church great numbers of Lamanites. Now you just as well set that down as a basic fact.”–From a copy of the December 1963 talk obtained from President Kimball’s secretary as quoted in Book of Mormon Student Manual (Salt Lake City: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 2nd ed., 1981), 427-28

I have spent a great deal of time studying and writing about the Lamanites of the last days, which resulted in two recent blog entries, which I hope everyone reads or will have read:

To The Lamanites
To The Lamanites, Part 2

Nephi and other Book of Mormon prophets concerned themselves with two distinct categories of people:

1: Jews
2: Gentiles

There is a subset of Jews, which dissented from the covenant people:

3: Lamanites

If you read the title page, it becomes clear. By the end of their civilization, Moroni acknowledges and writes concerning them in his title page:

“Written to the Lamanites, who are a remnant of the house of Israel; and also to Jew and Gentile…”

He knew that it would be a Gentile who brought forth their record:

“…Sealed by the hand of Moroni, and hid up unto the Lord, to come forth in due time by way of the Gentile…”

The Hebrew word for repent is “teshuvah” which literally translated means to return. This is the fulcrum of the message of the prophets of the Book of Mormon. They are calling us to repentance. Ultimately those who will “return” and build the New Jerusalem are:

1: Lamanite remnant
2: Repentant Gentiles

The Book of Mormon did come by way of repentant Gentiles when Joseph Smith and the early saints ushered in the restoration of the gospel of Jesus Christ. They were tasked to take the gospel to the Lamanites, which they attempted briefly, but instead they took the gospel to the rest of the Gentile world. To reiterate what Orson Pratt said, which I quoted in an earlier blog entry:

“We can pray to the Father, in the name of Jesus, to convert these Indian tribes around us, and bring them to a knowledge of the truth, that they may fulfill the things contained in the Book of Mormon. And then when we do return, taking them with us, that they shall be instructed not only in relation to their fathers and the Gospel contained in the record of their fathers, but also in the arts and sciences. They will also be instructed to cultivate the earth, to build buildings as we do, instructed how to build Temples and in the various branches of industry practiced by us; and then, after having received this information and instruction, we shall have the privilege of helping them to build the New Jerusalem. The Lord says—“They,” the Gentiles, who believe in the Book of Mormon, “shall assist my people, the remnant of Jacob, that they may build a city, which shall be called the New Jerusalem.”

Now, a great many, without reading these things, have flattered themselves that we are the ones who are going to do all this work. It is not so; we have got to be helpers, we have got to be those who cooperate with the remnants of Joseph in accomplishing this great work; for the Lord will have respect unto them, because they are of the blood of Israel, and the promises of their fathers extend to them, and they will have the privilege of building that city, according to the pattern that the Lord shall give…We have got to be sent forth as missionaries to all parts of this American continent. Not to the Gentiles, for their times will be fulfilled; but we must go to all those tribes that roam through the cold regions of the north—British America, to all the tribes that dwell in the Territories of the United States, also to all those who are scattered through Mexico, and Central and South America, and the object of our going will be to declare the principles of the Gospel unto them, and bring them to a knowledge of the truth…

These are some few things pertaining to the redemption of Zion. I would to the Lord that we were righteous enough to know a few more! There are a great many things that I would like to know about the redemption of Zion that I do not know, and I presume that you also would like to know them. But what the Lord has revealed is very plain when connected together; and when we reflect upon it, it is astonishing to us to think that in our day the Lord has decreed to perform such a great work in the midst of the earth. It will be astonishing to us when the time comes for the Lord to gather in, from every part of this great continent, these poor, miserable, degraded Lamanites, that his servants may have power over them in order to bring them to civilization. It looks impossible to us, but remember that that is the day of the Lord’s power, and that then will be fulfilled the saying in the Book of Doctrine and Covenants, that the Spirit of the Lord shall be shed forth upon the hearts of those who are ordained to that power; that every man among these remnants of Joseph will hear the Gospel in his own tongue, by the power of the Holy Ghost shed forth upon those who are ordained unto this power. There is such a saying as that in the Book of Covenants, and when that day comes the Lord God will work mightily by signs, wonders and miracles in various ways that will have an influence over these remnants of Joseph to convert them and bring them to a knowledge of the truth, that the prayers of their ancient fathers, and of the Prophets and Elders who once dwelt on this American continent, may be fulfilled upon their heads.” –(source: http://jod.mrm.org/17/289)

We read about this succinctly in some of Moroni’s final words to us:

Ether 13:6 And that a New Jerusalem should be built up upon this land, unto the remnant of the seed of Joseph, for which things there has been a type.
For as Joseph brought his father down into the land of Egypt, even so he died there; wherefore, the Lord brought a remnant of the seed of Joseph out of the land of Jerusalem, that he might be merciful unto the seed of Joseph that they should perish not, even as he was merciful unto the father of Joseph that he should perish not.
Wherefore, the remnant of the house of Joseph shall be built upon this land; and it shall be a land of their inheritance; and they shall build up a holy city unto the Lord, like unto the Jerusalem of old; and they shall no more be confounded, until the end come when the earth shall pass away.

New Jerusalem will never be built until the Lamanites in the latter days have been gathered up to accomplish their duty. The world may become dotted with temples and yet if this temple in Independence, Missouri (or be it somewhere else) is not built up and the New Jerusalem established, the Lord will not come. The world will continue to languish in corruption and decay. As I mentioned in my previous blog entry, a corrupt tree cannot bring forth good fruit until all the fruit is equal. The master of the vineyard labors tirelessly that perhaps the tree might bring forth fruit equally. So if you have wondered, like I have, why the Lord delays His coming, it is not He who delays, it is we who delay it.

D&C 49:24 But before the great day of the Lord shall come, Jacob shall flourish in the wilderness, and the Lamanites shall blossom as the rose.

The Lamanites cannot do it without the Gentiles. And the Gentiles will never do it without the Lamanites.

Moroni Timbimboo

Moroni Timbimboo, 1888-1975 “Service Is A Way of Life For First Indian Bishop,” Deseret News, March 28, 1970

 

A Corrupt Tree

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3 Nephi 14:17 Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit.
18 A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit.
19 Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire.
20 Wherefore, by their fruits ye shall know them.

Those were the words of our Savior Jesus Christ. In Zenos’ allegory in Jacob chapter 5, there is only one condition that exists whereby the vineyard becomes good, producing good fruit. And it occurs at the end as the Lord prunes away the corrupt branches “only this once.” (v. 69)

Jacob 5:73 And there began to be the natural fruit again in the vineyard; and the natural branches began to grow and thrive exceedingly; and the wild branches began to be plucked off and to be cast away; and they did keep the root and the top thereof equal, according to the strength thereof.
74 And thus they labored, with all diligence, according to the commandments of the Lord of the vineyard, even until the bad had been cast away out of the vineyard, and the Lord had preserved unto himself that the trees had become again the natural fruit; and they became like unto one body; and the fruits were equal; and the Lord of the vineyard had preserved unto himself the natural fruit, which was most precious unto him from the beginning.
75 And it came to pass that when the Lord of the vineyard saw that his fruit was good, and that his vineyard was no more corrupt, he called up his servants, and said unto them: Behold, for this last time have we nourished my vineyard; and thou beholdest that I have done according to my will; and I have preserved the natural fruit, that it is good, even like as it was in the beginning. And blessed art thou; for because ye have been diligent in laboring with me in my vineyard, and have kept my commandments, and have brought unto me again the natural fruit, that my vineyard is no more corrupted, and the bad is cast away, behold ye shall have joy with me because of the fruit of my vineyard.

It is not until ALL the Lord’s covenant people have become equal that the vineyard is no more corrupt. Until then, as we read throughout the entire allegory over and over again in chapter five that the Lord labors with some very few servants that…

4…that perhaps it may shoot forth young and tender branches, and it perish not.

11…that perhaps I might preserve the roots thereof…

53 And this will I do that the tree may not perish, that, perhaps, I may preserve unto myself the roots thereof…

54…perhaps they may bring forth good fruit unto me…

59 And this I do that, perhaps, the roots thereof may take strength because of their goodness; and because of the change of the branches, that the good may overcome the evil…

60…that, perhaps, the trees of my vineyard may bring forth again good fruit; and that I may have joy again in the fruit of my vineyard, and, perhaps, that I may rejoice exceedingly…

The Master does not ever force the branches to grow or to bear good fruit. But He labors tirelessly with all His heart, might, mind, and strength to nourish us that perhaps He might preserve good fruit. He has never and will never force us to be good, or to do good. He will never force us to make ourselves equal in earthly things (D&C 78:5-6). That is up to us. The trees and branches are all going to be burned. What He wants is the good fruit. He wants those covenant people who do not enrich and exalt themselves as the lofty branches that have taken strength unto themselves and are good for nothing but to be cut down and cast into the fire. He wants those covenant people who can learn to have all things common among them (4 Nephi 1:3), where there are no rich and no poor. They are silently serving, doing good, anxiously engaged in a good cause, not needing to be commanded in all things, but of their own free will wasting and wearing out their lives in His service. His servants are few.

 

 

Reign of Judges: Title of Liberty

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I cannot emphasize to you how much the scriptures mean to me. I have read the Bible over and over again in my life. I spent two years studying the Book of Isaiah alone and how much he emphasized the coming of our Savior, Jesus Christ to the Earth. Isaiah also wrote concerning a remnant who would tread down the Gentiles in the last days if the Gentiles do not repent. The prophets of the Book of Mormon loved the words of Isaiah, especially Nephi, from which he extensively quoted. From the Book of Mormon, we get four important commentaries on Isaiah. They are given by Nephi, Jacob, Abinadi and at length, the resurrected Jesus Christ when He visited the ancestors of this remnant at Bountiful. We can find Christ’s commentary in 3 Nephi chapters 20 through 23. In His commentary, as he taught the people at Bountiful, He declared:

3 Nephi 23:1 And now, behold, I say unto you, that ye ought to search these things. Yea, a commandment I give unto you that ye search these things diligently; for great are the words of Isaiah.

In my own life, I have taken these words to heart and have searched Isaiah diligently, but not only that, I have searched deeper and deeper the entire Book of Mormon. In the span of the last thirty years of my life so far, I have read (and listened on audio) the Book of Mormon about 120 times. I have honestly lost count. Now I am not sharing this to brag or boast, but to emphasize just how much this book means to me.  Having said all of that, I want to share something else that I have come to believe in, and that is a project that an acquaintance of mine and a friend on Facebook has been tirelessly working on for several years. His name is Darin Southam:

 

I personally believe in being anxiously engaged in a good cause, which is something we have been admonished in scripture to do. I have done and am doing as much as I am able to help Darin, including signing up as an extra. I’m not being paid to do it or to endorse his project. I may or may not become a part of it on screen and that is okay with me. I am not seeking recognition of any kind. It is something I choose to do because I care about his efforts, which have become the efforts of many volunteers. And honestly, I would really, really love to see this on the big screen and I would love to be able to buy the full length film whenever it becomes available on DVD. I hope Darin’s video above resonates with you as it does me. Here is the link to check out to see lots of behind the scenes content and to contribute whatever you are able and to buy a copy of the teaser clip of the movie, which was funded as a kickstarter:

Own Reign of Judges: Title of Liberty on Blu-ray/DVD

reign

 

The actor who portrayed the Lamanite King Aaron, Ben Cross, has starred in many movies including the 2009 Star Trek, playing the Vulcan Sarek, shared his thoughts on participating in this role. I hope to see this project finished and to be able to watch the full length feature. Thank you for taking the time to read this today and to visit Darin’s website for more information. Please feel free to share on Facebook to help spread the word.