Sunday, January 15, 2017

Tolerance and Charity

                                   
                                                       
                   
              Tolerance and Charity


       I've been interested in restudying the Renaissance lately. It was a period of time where so much changed in the world and with it brought forth enlightenment and freedom. It didn't come without upheavals and terrible events. That period of time also happens to overlap with the period of time when the Christian Reformation began with figures like Martin Luther.

       I was doing some reading on a website that has been dedicated to commemorating the 500th anniversary of that reformation. Here is an excerpt from what I was reading: 


          "Despite the attention given to the 95 Theses, Martin Luther’s greatest contribution to the Protestant Reformation was another project: the translation of the Bible into the common German language, making it possible for laymen to learn the content of scripture. The New Testament was published in 1522 and the complete Bible (including the Apocrypha) in 1534. This was the event that made permanent the fracture between Protestants and Roman Catholicism. Once the language of the Bible could be read by the common man, the false traditions, hypocrisy and violation of Jesus’ teachings were exposed to view. Those who were most religious were unable to reconcile Catholic conduct with the Biblical canon, and soon the Bible was being translated into the commonly spoken languages of Dutch (1526), French (1530), Polish (1563), Spanish (1569), Czech (1549), and English (1526). Like a stone cut out of the mountain without hands, gathering energy and strength as it rolled forward, Martin Luther set events in motion that forever changed the history of Western Civilization.

Religious societies multiplied as different bodies placed greater emphasis on different facets of the Bible. Unfortunately, the example of persecution learned over a millennium and a half of Roman Catholic intolerance was not abandoned by the different Christian societies. Most of these daughters of Rome opposed, sanctioned and even violently persecuted those holding different religious views from the locally organized majority faith—thus the Protestants followed the unfortunate example of the church in Rome.

The early American colonialists fled to a new continent to escape persecution, but likewise proved to be intolerant of minority religious practices in their new land. By the time of the American Revolution the revolutionary political leaders had centuries of history to draw upon to deal with the question of how to address freedom of religion. The American Constitution, including the First Amendment, is the product of events set in motion by Martin Luther 500 years ago this year. 

The influence of Luther’s life on the world cannot be overstated. He began a revolution that a half-millennium later still affects the world culturally, politically, religiously and educationally. He was far more than merely a religious figure. He is one of the few people who have literally changed the world."  
http://www.christianreformation500years.info/martin-luther.html


          As I was reading I was reminded again about the importance of tolerance. There is a quote that has really stuck with me on that topic. It was coincidentally said by the same person who's articles on this subject I happen to be reading. He said, " Tolerance requires disagreement. Insisting on agreement is not tolerance, but its opposite." - Denver C. Snuffer     

         This statement has resonated with me so much because it seems to be easy to lose sight of what tolerance really means. History inevitably  repeats itself when we can't learn from the lessons of the past. No matter what we all believe or what strongly held convictions we strive to stand up for, I believe there is wisdom in learning to be tolerant. Being tolerant means we allow for and give room for others to disagree with us and to have the freedom to live according to the dictates of their own conscience. Of course there should be some limiting factors on that such as when people seek to cause others physical harm and injury. I believe that thoughts and beliefs should not be restricted or limited and should remain as free as possible. We cannot restrict thoughts and beliefs without eventually restricting everyone's freedom and ability to live the way they choose including our own. What good is preaching tolerance if we only apply it to those we agree with? That is not tolerance at all. There is a tenant or article of the mormon faith that I strongly believe in.
  1. "We claim the privilege of worshiping Almighty God according to the dictates of our own conscience, and allow all men the same privilege, let them worship how, where, or what they may."
   
      All men should have that privilege as well as the privilege to believe and act in accordance to whatever their beliefs are even if that belief is that there is no God or that there are endless gods. I believe in a God who loved us and loves us enough still to allow us to choose for ourselves. Whatever any of us believe I think we should be careful not to trammel others or persecute them. I do not believe opposition is evil or that criticisms are necessarily evil. As a general rule I think it is better not to be critical of individuals and I try not to judge people because we judge based on outward things but we often don't know the reasons behind things and the intent of peoples hearts. I believe that is something best left to God to judge and I am grateful to not have that responsibility. On the other hand, I do believe we have an obligation and a responsibility to judge between truth & error and at times criticize ideas. Institutions seem to be inherently at risk when it comes to discouraging dissent and becoming intolerant to criticism. As history has shown this applies to all institutions including churches. I think dissent can be done and should be done without attacking people and disrespecting their right to live according to the dictates of their own conscience. It isn't something I am perfect at myself by any means but it is something I try to strive for.  Speaking the truth for the truths sake alone is never evil. It takes courage to stand for whatever convictions we may have and many times that comes at a personal sacrifice and cost.  I am grateful for figures like Martin Luther and all other figures in the past who had the fortitude to voice their dissent. I do not believe we are ever harmed by it when it is tempered with tolerance and charity.

“If we have the truth, it cannot be harmed by investigation. If we have not the truth, it ought to be harmed.”
– President J. Reuben Clark
 There is also a line between voicing dissent and becoming a persecutor of others and then a hypocrite. This is something I have been continually reminded of and I think in many ways how we treat each other says more about us and our beliefs and matters more than those differences we might have. I believe there is wisdom in tolerance and that knowledge without wisdom can be reckless. We need both. We can have all the knowledge in the world but if we don't have charity, we are nothing. I believe charity is the bedrock of all other desirable, righteous and Christ like attributes.

1 Corinthians 13

Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal.
And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing.
And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing.
Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up,
Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil;
Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth;
Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.
Charity never faileth: but whether there be prophecies, they shall fail; whether there be tongues, they shall cease; whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away.
For we know in part, and we prophesy in part.
10 But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away.
11 When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things.
45 And charity suffereth long, and is kind, and envieth not, and is not puffed up, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil, and rejoiceth not in iniquity but rejoiceth in the truth, beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.

Moroni 7

46 
Wherefore, my beloved brethren, if ye have not charity, ye are nothing, for charity never faileth. Wherefore, cleave unto charity, which is the greatest of all, for all things must fail—
47 But charity is the pure love of Christ, and it endureth forever; and whoso is found possessed of it at the last day, it shall be well with him.
48 Wherefore, my beloved brethren, pray unto the Father with all the energy of heart, that ye may be filled with this love, which he hath bestowed upon all who are true followers of his Son, Jesus Christ; that ye may become the sons of God; that when he shall appear we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is; that we may have this hope; that we may be purified even as he is pure. Amen.
          

Monday, July 7, 2014

Eternal Life means to Know God

 Eternal Life Means to Know God

     

       The lectures on Faith teach how when we first start off on the path we are first indebted to others for a knowledge of God's existence and how to come unto Him. That's always how its been. We are indebted at first to the testimony of others and those testimony's are hopefully what inspire us to go on and receive our own. But that is the goal. The goal is to become independent in our relationship with God. We cannot rely upon borrowed light forever. To the extent that we do it does us no good and it defeated the purpose. The aid then becomes a hindrance if we don't come to know God on an individual basis. The church is a good example. It is undoubtedly an aid to our progression and it has an important and even vital role in helping to gather fish into the larger gospel net and spread the news of the restoration of the gospel. The church can also be a hindrance if we let it become such. To the extent that we look to the church as an idol to save us or to other human beings to save us it becomes a hindrance and its purpose is defeated. The purpose should be to Come unto Christ and to come to know Him. But when and if we take our focus off of Him and look to anyone or anything else for our salvation we miss the mark.

There is so much I'd like to post from the lectures on faith but I'll just leave it to other people to go and study it for themselves. There are a lot of profound and important things discussed about the process of developing faith.

The following scriptures are so important and can help us to understand our own day and situation better.

D&C 84

18 And the Lord confirmed a priesthood also upon Aaron and his seed, throughout all their generations, which priesthood also continueth and abideth forever with the priesthood which is after the holiest order of God.
 19 And this greater priesthood administereth the gospel and holdeth the key of the mysteries of the kingdom, even the key of the knowledge of God.
 20 Therefore, in the ordinances thereof, the power of godliness is manifest.
 21 And without the ordinances thereof, and the authority of the priesthood, the power of godliness is not manifest unto men in the flesh;
 22 For without this no man can see the face of God, even the Father, and live.
 23 Now this Moses plainly taught to the children of Israel in the wilderness, and sought diligently to sanctify his people that they might behold the face of God;
 24 But they hardened their hearts and could not endure his presence; therefore, the Lord in his wrath, for his anger was kindled against them, swore that they should not enter into his rest while in the wilderness, which rest is the fulness of his glory.
 25 Therefore, he took Moses out of their midst, and the HolyPriesthood also;
 26 And the lesser priesthood continued, which priesthood holdeth the key of the ministering of angels and the preparatory gospel;
 27 Which gospel is the gospel of repentance and of baptism, and the remission of sins, and the law of carnal commandments, which the Lord in his wrath caused to continue with the house of Aaron among the children of Israel until John, whom God raised up, being filled with the Holy Ghost from his mother’s womb.

The children of Israel kindled the Lord's anger because they hardened their hearts and they could not be sanctified and prepared so that they might Behold the face of God and enter into His rest and receive the fulness of His glory. 
But why did they harden their hearts and why could they not be prepared to behold the face of God and receive these things?

 It was because the children of 
Israel didn't want to converse with the Lord for themselves. They were afraid to do it for themselves and to enter the Lord's presence so they told Moses they'd rather he talk to God for them. They feared and so they wanted to keep a middle man. This kindled God's anger and wrath because when he offers us an opportunity to establish Zion and to receive the greater things and we reject the opportunity we are always cursed with a lower law and left with types and shadows that only point to Him and the way instead. It is remnants of a far greater glory and blessings which  could have been received, had we been willing. 
Joseph Smith taught this in the temple grove sermon he gave in August of 1843.
Different Degrees of the Priesthood of Melchizedek, By Joseph Smith

"Was the Priesthood of Melchizedek taken away when Moses died? [Answer by JS] All Priesthood is Melchizedek, but there are different portions or degrees of it. That portion which brought Moses to speak with God face to face was taken away; but that which brought the ministry of angels remained. All the prophets had the Melchizedek Priesthood and were ordained by God himself." TPJS, pp. 180-81

The Prophet Joseph Smith observed: “God cursed the children of Israel because they would not receive the last law from Moses. . . . When God offers a blessing or knowledge to a man and he refuses to receive it he will be damned. . . . The Israelites [prayed] that God would speak to Moses [and] not to them in consequence of which he cursed them with a carnal law. . . . [The] law revealed to Moses in Horeb . . . never was revealed to the [children] of Israel.”[2] Thus, the children of Israel wandered an unnecessary forty years in the wilderness as God tried to teach them to rely on Him.
[2] Andrew F. Ehat and Lyndon W. Cook, eds., The Words of Joseph Smith, (Provo, UT: Religious Studies Center, Brigham Young University, 1980), 244, 247; emphasis added.



Doctrine and Covenants 88

 32 And they who remain shall also be quickened; nevertheless, they shall return again to their own place, to enjoy that which they are willing to receive, because they were not willing to enjoy that which they might have received.
 33 For what doth it profit a man if a gift is bestowed upon him, and he receive not the gift? Behold, he rejoices not in that which is given unto him, neither rejoices in him who is the giver of the gift.
In the verses above it mentions how after the Lords wrath was kindled against them and so he swore they could not enter His rest while in the wilderness. And He later took Moses out of their midst and the greater Priesthood also as a consequence and they were left with the law of carnal commandments, the preparatory gospel and they were left with the Aaronic Priesthood while the greater Priesthood which would allow them to enter God's presence was removed. Not only were they afraid to enter the Lord's presence and to speak with Him face to face but they worshipped a golden calf. They essentially turned down worshiping and conversing with the one true God because they felt more comfortable with their  traditions. It's what they knew and when Moses left their midst to converse with God on the mount they speedily went back to what they knew which was their idolatrous traditions. The ironic thing about the golden calf is that it was a true symbol pointing towards the truth of our eternal creator. The symbol they worshiped all testified of the one true God and Moses whom they followed also testified of God but instead of allowing the symbols to instruct them and point their focus to Him (the one true God) they stopped short and worshiped the symbols themselves as god. There are a few things I want to bring up and discuss such as:

What is the fulness?
What does it mean to enter the Lord's rest?
If entering His rest is the same as receiving a fulness of His glory what is that?

Lets go back to these scriptures:

23 Now this Moses plainly taught to the children of Israel in the wilderness, and sought diligently to sanctify his people that they might behold the face of God;
 24 But they hardened their hearts and could not endure his presence; therefore, the Lord in his wrath, for his anger was kindled against them, swore that they should not enter into his rest while in the wilderness, which rest is the fulness of his glory.
Does beholding the face of God have something to do with these things? The scriptures are filled with this astonishing doctrine. Filled to the brim with it. Especially the Book of Mormon. I want to appeal to some scriptures to discuss these things more but first I wanted to share this excerpt from a prayer in Joseph Smith's journal.

January 11, 1834.  This evening Joseph Smith Jr.,  Frederick G. Williams Newel K. WhitneyJohn  JohnsonOliver Cowdery, and Orson Hyde united  in prayer and asked the  Lord to grant the following petition: [p. 43]

Fifthly, That the Lord would protect our printing press  from the hands of evil men, and give us means to send forth his word, even his gospel that the ears of all may hear it, and also that we may print his scriptures; and also that he would give those who were appointed to conduct the press, wisdom sufficient that the cause may not be hindered, but that men’s eyes may thereby be opened to see the truth.

Sixthly, That the Lord would deliver Zion, and gather in his scattered people, to possess it in peace; and also, while in their dispersion, that he would provide for them that they perish not with hunger nor cold. And finally, that God in the name of Jesus would gather his elect speedily, and unveil his face that his saints might behold his glory and dwell with him; Amen. [p. 47]
You can go and read the entire thing HERE on the Joseph Smith Papers website.
You see, Joseph hoped to bring about and accomplish the same thing that Moses was trying to bring about and accomplish. Zion. There are two events in history which the majority of all prophecy's revolve around in the scriptures. That is the Lord's first coming in the meridian of time to be a Savior of the world and the establishment of Zion preceding His second Coming when He comes in Glory and in judgement. The Lord periodically offers opportunities to establish Zion but failure is the norm while success is rare. The reason is because of free agency. The Lord can offer us greater things but it is up to us to receive them and more often than not we are not willing to give up our idols and our worldly comforts and our sins to truly know Him. 
Receiving the Lord always has been an individual journey and individuals can always receive Him regardless of what time they live in or what others do. That opportunity is always there. The opportunity for a group to receive Him together is not as often offered. This really might be a good thing considering that when something greater is offered and then rejected cursings normally follow. Even still the Lord is patient and merciful and His arm is stretched out all the day long.

Joseph diligently sought like Moses to try to prepare the people so they might be sanctified and they might be able to behold the Lord's face and behold His glory so they could dwell with Him in Zion. This is required for Zion. There must be a group of people who are prepared and sanctified who won't burn up in His presence. But lets get back discovering the answers to those questions and to what it means to receive eternal life. Here is a good quote from the lectures on faith.

“For where faith is, there will the knowledge of God be also, with all things which pertain thereto — revelations, visions, and dreams, as well as every necessary thing, in order that the possessors of faith may be perfected, and obtain salvation; for God must change, otherwise faith will prevail with him. And he who possesses it will, through it, obtain all necessary knowledge and wisdom, until he shall know God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, whom He has sent — whom to know is eternal life. Amen.”



To know God IS eternal life. Eternal life is not something to be had at some future place in time. Eternity is the past, is the present, is the future. When we come to know God for ourselves that is what it means to receive eternal life. It was never meant to be something we received after we passed from this mortal life. It was meant to be received now while in the flesh. It always has been meant to be received in the flesh and while we are yet "in the world". This is what the temple teaches us. This is what the scriptures and all the prophets who came before taught. The book of mormon is a very special book because it teaches these sacred truths more plainly than ANY other book of scripture because it hasn't had these things removed from it. Lets take a look at some scriptures in Ether. 

 Ether 3
12 And he answered: Yea, Lord, I know that thou speakest the truth, for thou art a God of truth, and canst not lie.
 13 And when he had said these words, behold, the Lord showed himself unto him, and said: Because thou knowest these things ye are redeemed from the fall; therefore ye are brought back into my presence; therefore I show myself unto you.
 14 Behold, I am he who was prepared from the foundation of the world to redeem my people. Behold, I am Jesus Christ. I am the Father and the Son. In me shall all mankind have life, and that eternally, even they who shall believe on my name; and they shall become my sons and my daughters.

We might read these verses and gloss over them and not realize just what is being said here. This is what it truly means to be redeemed from the fall. It means to be brought back into God's presence. When we are brought back into His presence we are redeemed from the fall. But in order for a person to reach this point in mortality they need faith and knowlege. Lets break this down and see what's happened here to the Brother of Jared.

* The Lord showed himself unto him
* "because thou knowest these things ye are redeemed from the fall"
* "therefore ye are brought back into my presence"
* "therefore I show myself unto you"

This is what it means to be redeemed from the fall. It is to be brought back into the Lord's presence and have Him unveil His face unto us. If the fall meant to leave the Lord's presence than it makes sense that to redeemed from it means to be brought back into His presence and enjoy and association with Him as was enjoyed before the fall. It is common knowlege that the goal is to return to live with Him. It is to commune with Him and the general assembly and church of the firstborn. It is to join an innumerable company of Angels. When we are brought back  into His presence and able to commune with Him we join that Heavenly host. We become a part of this Heavenly Family. These sacred things were not told us over and over in scriptures so we could be mere spectators. These things are told us and testified to us so that we might come to experience these same gifts and blessings for ourselves. This is the role of the prophets. To point to Christ and to preach repentence and to teach us how we can go on and receive these same blessings for ourselves.

 Someone else may have their own connection with Heaven but someone elses connection cannot save us. The only way their connection helps us is when they share what they have learned in order to give us the knowlege and hope that we need to go on and 
receive of the same. If the message does not inspire us to receive Christ here and now or we fail to walk the path for ourselves then what good was the message? It was nothing but a vain idol to us and we are no different than the children of Israel worshiping types and shadows and symbols of what could have been. 

Abinadi had to teach and rebuke King Noah and those in his court for thier hardness of heart and for failing to see that the law of performances and ordinances were not themselves the end or what saves but that they were types and shadows/ teaching tools/ symbols used to teach man about how to tread the path back to God. They failed to understand that though these things were good and were divinely given it was done so in order to teach and instruct and keep them in remembrence of their duty towards God. These things meant nothing unless they went on to receive true redemption that can only come from God Himself though Jesus Christ. 
Mosiah 13
30 Therefore there was a law given them, yea, a law of performances and of ordinances, a law which they were to observe strictly from day to day, to keep them in remembrance of God and their duty towards him.
 31 But behold, I say unto you, that all these things were types of things to come.
 32 And now, did they understand the law? I say unto you, Nay, they did not all understand the law; and this because of the hardness of their hearts; for they understood not that there could not any man be saved except it were through the redemption of God.

The outward ordinances that we receive such as baptism and those we receive in the temple are not truly saving unless they are ratified by Heaven. They become ratified when we receive the spiritual counterparts these symbols are pointing us to. For example Joseph Smith taught that you might as well baptize a bag of sand as a man if not done for the purpose of receiving the Holy Ghost. The spiritual counterpart of the outward ordinance of water baptism is the baptism of fire and the Holy Ghost. For some, they may receive the inward spiritual counterpart at the same moment they receive the outward ordinance but this is not always the case. This is even easier to see when we consider the symbolic ordinaces we participate in during the temple rites.  This is branching out into another subject however. Yet, it is an important one to be understood.

The scriptures teach us that he who fears is not made perfect in love and that fear hath torment. It has always been a trick of the adversary to get us to beleive that we are not worthy or to have us so afraid of being deceived that we do not approach God for ourselves. God is very approachable and there are a great many things that tend to hold us back from truly knowing Him. Often times it is not the things we think. We need to go and ask Him and let Him teach us what we lack. He knows better than we do.

 Some may beleive that these blessings are only possible for some elite few or that they were only meant for the apostles etc. But this is not true. The same blessings are available to ALL. God is no respecter of persons. And who were apostels but those who humbly sought after God until they obtained a relationship with Him? God intends to save us ALL. Christ would not have condescended to come down here to this telestial world and endure and suffer all that He did for each and every one us if He didn't intend for each of us to receive eternal life. If God would appear to a 14 year old farm boy, a shepherd, travelers on the road the road to Emmaus and women than He has already shown he is no respecter of persons. He has appeared to both old and young, bond and free, male and female. The same blessings are available to all. In fact, just after His ressurrection Christ first appeared to a woman, then to two travelers on the road to Emmaus, then to His disciples. He truly is no respecter of persons. His work and His glory IS to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man. This is what He is about. This is His work.

Joseph Smith plainly taught about how receiving the Lord is to receive eternal life and so do the scriptures. He is often referred to as the Second Comforter or another comforter.

John 14
16 And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever;
 17 Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you.
 18 I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you.
 19 Yet a little while, and the world seeth me no more; but ye see me: because I live, ye shall live also.
 20 At that day ye shall know that I am in my Father, and ye in me, and I in you.
 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.

D&C 88
 Wherefore, I now send upon you another Comforter, even upon you my friends, that it may abide in your hearts, even the Holy Spirit of promise; which other Comforter is the same that I promised unto my disciples, as is recorded in the testimony of John.
 This Comforter is the promise which I give unto you of eternal life, even the glory of the celestial kingdom;
 Which glory is that of the church of the Firstborn, even of God, the holiest of all, through Jesus Christ his Son—

Joseph Smith expounded upon these scriptures and others regarding this subject when he said:

"The other Comforter spoken of is a subject of great interest, and perhaps understood by few of this generation. After a person has faith in Christ, repents of his sins, and is baptized for the remission of his sins and receives the Holy Ghost, (by the laying on of hands), which is the first Comforter, then let him continue to humble himself before God, hungering and thirsting after righteousness, and living by every word of God, and the Lord will soon say unto him, Son, thou shalt be exalted.
When the Lord has thoroughly proved him, and finds that the man is determined to serve Him at all hazards, then the man will find his calling and his election made sure, then it will be his privilege to receive the other Comforter, which the Lord hath promised the Saints, as is recorded in the testimony of St. John, in the 14th chapter, from the 12th to the 27th verses.
Note the 16, 17, 18, 21, 23 verses: [Quoted.]
Now what is this other Comforter? It is no more nor less than the Lord Jesus Christ Himself; and this is the sum and substance of the whole matter; that when any man obtains this last Comforter, he will have the personage of Jesus Christ to attend him, or appear unto him from time to time, and even He will manifest the Father unto him, and they will take up their abode with him, and the visions of the heavens will be opened unto him, and the Lord will teach him face to face, and he may have a perfect knowledge of the mysteries of the Kingdom of God; and this is the state and place the ancient Saints arrived at when they had such glorious visions--Isaiah, Ezekiel, John upon the Isle of Patmos, St. Paul in the three heavens, and all the Saints who held communion with the general assembly and Church of the Firstborn."

As we read previously from the lectures on faith eternal life IS to know the only wise and true God. It is not to know about Him. But to truly know Him. What is it that the Lord says to the unwise virgins who are late to meet with the bridegroom?

The Joseph Smith translation gives us a more accurate version of what the Savior said unto them.
 JST Matthew 25:11
10 Afterward came also the other virgins, saying, Lord, Lord, open unto us.
 11 But he answered and said, Verily I say unto you, Ye know me not.

If we do not come to know Him for ourselves than we become as the foolish virgins in the parable of Matthew. Now is the time and this is the day of our Salvation and we must come to know Him and receive Him in this day and while we are yet in the flesh and in the world for those who receive Him hereafter mortality will receive a lesser glory.
D&C 76
71 And again, we saw the terrestrial world, and behold and lo, these are they who are of the terrestrial, whose glory differs from that of the church of the Firstborn who have received the fulness of the Father, even as that of the moon differs from the sun in the firmament.
 72 Behold, these are they who died without law;
 73 And also they who are the spirits of men kept in prison, whom the Son visited, and preached the gospel unto them, that they might be judged according to men in the flesh;
 74 Who received not the testimony of Jesus in the flesh, but afterwards received it.

[
2nd Nephi 9: 
37 Yea, wo unto those that worship idols, for the devil of all devils delighteth in them.
 38 And, in fine, wo unto all those who die in their sins; for they shall return to God, and behold his face, and remain in their sins.]
 75 These are they who are honorable men of the earth, who were blinded by the craftiness of men.
 76 These are they who receive of his glory, but not of his fulness.
 77 These are they who receive of the presence of the Son, but not of the fulness of the Father.
 78 Wherefore, they are bodies terrestrial, and not bodies celestial, and differ in glory as the moon differs from the sun.
 79 These are they who are not valiant in the testimony of Jesus; wherefore, they obtain not the crown over the kingdom of our God.
I'd like to return back to this quote for a minute:
When the Lord has thoroughly proved him, and finds that the man is determined to serve Him at all hazards, then the man will find his calling and his election made sure, then it will be his privilege to receive the other Comforter, which the Lord hath promised the Saints, as is recorded in the testimony of St. John, in the 14th chapter, from the 12th to the 27th verses.
Note the 16, 17, 18, 21, 23 verses: [Quoted.]
Now what is this other Comforter? It is no more nor less than the Lord Jesus Christ Himself; and this is the sum and substance of the whole matter; that when any man obtains this last Comforter, he will have the personage of Jesus Christ to attend him, or appear unto him from time to time, and even He will manifest the Father unto him, and they will take up their abode with him, and the visions of the heavens will be opened unto him, and the Lord will teach him face to face, and he may have a perfect knowledge of the mysteries of the Kingdom of God; and this is the state and place the ancient Saints arrived at when they had such glorious visions--Isaiah, Ezekiel, John upon the Isle of Patmos, St. Paul in the three heavens, and all the Saints who held communion with the general assembly and Church of the Firstborn."  

And followed by these quotes:
Now, there is some grand secret here, and keys to unlock the subject. Notwithstanding the apostle exhorts them to add to their faith, virtue, knowledge, temperance, etc., yet he exhorts them to make their calling and election sure. And though they had heard an audible voice from heaven bearing testimony that Jesus was the Son of God [Mt 17:5], yet he says we have a more sure word of prophecy, where unto ye do well that ye take heed as unto a light shining in a dark place. Now, wherein could they have a more sure word of prophecy than to hear the voice of God saying, This is my beloved Son?
Now for the secret and grand key. Though they might hear the voice of God and know that Jesus was the Son of God, this would be no evidence that their calling and election was made sure, that they were sealed in the heavens and had the promise of eternal life in the kingdom of God. Then, having this promised sealed unto them, it was an anchor to the soul, sure and steadfast. Though the thunders might roll and lightnings flash, and earthquakes bellow, and war gather thick around, yet this hope and knowledge would support the soul in every hour of trial, trouble and tribulation. Then knowledge through our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ is the grand key that unlocks the glories and mysteries of the kingdom of heaven.
  I beleive the testimony of Jesus includes something He gives and has of us and not limited to something we have of Him. It is to receive knowledge through Him by communing directly with Him. It is the spirit of prophecy. It is revelation. In the quote above Joseph mentions a secret and grand key. That though we may even hear an audible voice from Heaven knowing that Jesus Christ is the Son of God it is no evidence that we are sealed up to eternal life. We must receive His testimony to us and of us that we "have a part and lot in that Kingdom". 
Here is a description of Celestial inhabitants: 
51 They are they who received the testimony of Jesus, and believed on his name and were baptized after the manner of his burial, being buried in the water in his name, and this according to the commandment which he has given—
 52 That by keeping the commandments they might be washed and cleansed from all their sins, and receive the Holy Spirit by the laying on of the hands of him who is ordained and sealed unto this power;
 53 And who overcome by faith, and are sealed by the Holy Spirit of promise, which the Father sheds forth upon all those who are just and true.
 54 They are they who are the church of the Firstborn.

56 They are they who are priests and kings, who have received of his fulness, and of his glory;
62 These shall dwell in the presence of God and his Christ forever and ever.
 63 These are they whom he shall bring with him, when he shall come in the clouds of heaven to reign on the earth over his people.
 64 These are they who shall have part in the first resurrection.
 65 These are they who shall come forth in the resurrection of the just.
 66 These are they who are come unto Mount Zion, and unto the city of the living God, the heavenly place, the holiest of all.
 67 These are they who have come to an innumerable company of angels, to the general assembly and church of Enoch, and of the Firstborn.
Here are yet more verses about receiving Him while yet in the world or while in the flesh.
D&C 103
21 Verily, verily, I say unto you, except ye abide my law ye cannot attain to this glory.
 22 For strait is the gate, and narrow the way that leadeth unto the exaltation and continuation of the lives, and few there be that find it, because ye receive me not in the world neither do ye know me.
 23 But if ye receive me in the world, then shall ye know me, and shall receive your exaltation; that where I am ye shall be also.
 24 This is eternal lives—to know the only wise and true God, and Jesus Christ, whom he hath sent. I am he. Receive ye, therefore, my law.
 25 Broad is the gate, and wide the way that leadeth to the deaths; and many there are that go in thereat, because they receive me not, neither do they abide in my law.

D&C 76

116 
Neither is man capable to make them known, for they are only to be seen and understood by the power of the Holy Spirit, which God bestows on those who love him, and purify themselves before him;
 117 To whom he grants this privilege of seeing and knowing for themselves;
 118 That through the power and manifestation of the Spirit, while in the flesh, they may be able to bear his presence in the world of glory.
 119 And to God and the Lamb be glory, and honor, and dominion forever and ever. Amen.

Now after having laid out some of those scriptures we can return to the first scriptures I mentioned from Doctrine and Covenants.

D&C 84
 23 Now this Moses plainly taught to the children of Israel in the wilderness, and sought diligently to sanctify his people that they might behold the face of God;
 24 But they hardened their hearts and could not endure his presence; therefore, the Lord in his wrath, for his anger was kindled against them, swore that they should not enter into his rest while in the wilderness, which rest is the fulness of his glory.
Now what was it that Moses plainly taught to the children of Israel?
18 And the Lord confirmed a priesthood also upon Aaron and his seed, throughout all their generations, which priesthood also continueth and abideth forever with the priesthood which is after the holiest order of God.
 19 And this greater priesthood administereth the gospel and holdeth the key of the mysteries of the kingdom, even the key of the knowledge of God.
 20 Therefore, in the ordinances thereof, the power of godliness is manifest.
 21 And without the ordinances thereof, and the authority of the priesthood, the power of godliness is not manifest unto men in the flesh;
 22 For without this no man can see the face of God, even the Father, and live.

These scripture verses add to this as well.

D&C 107
 18 The power and authority of the higher, or Melchizedek Priesthood, is to hold the keys of all the spiritual blessings of the church—
 19 To have the privilege of receiving the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, to have the heavens opened unto them, to commune with the general assembly and church of the Firstborn, and to enjoy the communion and presence of God the Father, and Jesus the mediator of the new covenant.
 20 The power and authority of the lesser, or Aaronic Priesthood, is to hold the keys of the ministering of angels, and to administer in outward ordinances, the letter of the gospel, the baptism of repentance for the remission of sins, agreeable to the covenants and commandments.
 Melchizedek Priesthood holders possess the keys to the spiritual blessings (counterparts) while the Aaronic Priesthood is to hold the keys to receiving/administering the outward ordinances, letter of the gospel etc. The scriptures teach that no man can behold the face of God and live without being in possession of this greater Melchizedek Priesthood. Well what of Joseph then? He received a manifestation of the Father and Son during the first vision and there was no lds church then and nor had he been ordained to any Priesthood in the lds church.

We know we need both the outward and inward counterparts to take place but God does not work within a linear 
construct of time as we do. All things are before Him. All of the ingredients will happen at one time or another but they may not all happen in the same exact way and order for everyone. A careful reading and study of Alma chapter 13 with the aid of the spirit can really open ones mind up to understanding some of these things better. But for time purposes and to keep from going into something I'd rather not I'll just say that I do beleive Joseph Smith did in fact posses this greater Priesthood at the time that He saw God the Father and Jesus Christ. 

So, if this greater Priesthood is required to see the face of God and live and not be burned up in His presence what would be the result of the Lord swearing and taking this greater Priesthood away from the children of Israel? Would this be a fitting consequence of them having hardened their hearts and not being prepared and sanctified to enter His presence and receive a fulness of His glory and enter into His rest? What need would they have of this greater Priesthood if their hearts were hardened and they were fearful about entering God's Presence? What need would they have of this Priesthood if they were content and preferred to have Moses remain the middle man and converse with God for them? What need would they have of another Comforter when they preferred to comfort themselves through their idols? Are we better at or more equipped to see ourselves in our own day in our true state than the Jews of old were? Are there any similarities between them and their situation and our latter day situation? What would we find if we were to liken these scriptures and their situation to ourselves? Would their be parallels?

End of Part 1

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