Iron Rod 082 – Alma 36-38
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Alma gives instructions to Helaman and Shiblon.

Ether 3:2

Mormon 9:29

D&C 84:98

Mosiah 28:20

Alma 14:1

D&C 1:37-38

Alma 7:24

Helaman 12:24

Alma 26:22

Acts 6:36

1 Timothy 5:10

1 Timothy 6:17-19

Acts 4:13

James 3:2

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34 comments on “Iron Rod 082 – Alma 36-38

  1. Great podcast as always guys! I have always found Alma’s comparison of the Liahona to the word of God, which leads is to the land of promise, one of the most beautifully poetic parts in all of scripture. It’s also good to remember that the doctrine of the prosperity gospel and all is well in Zion is from Satan, so anyone teaching it can be put down as an imposter. Two scriptures come to mind:

    Section 45:
    11 Wherefore, hearken ye together and let me show unto you even my wisdom—the wisdom of him whom ye say is the God of Enoch, and his brethren,

    12 Who were separated from the earth, and were received unto myself—a city reserved until a day of righteousness shall come—a day which was sought for by all holy men, and they found it not because of wickedness and abominations;

    13 And confessed they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth;

    14 But obtained a promise that they should find it and see it in their flesh.

    and section 122

    5 If thou art called to pass through tribulation; if thou art in perils among false brethren; if thou art in perils among robbers; if thou art in perils by land or by sea;

    6 If thou art accused with all manner of false accusations; if thine enemies fall upon thee; if they tear thee from the society of thy father and mother and brethren and sisters; and if with a drawn sword thine enemies tear thee from the bosom of thy wife, and of thine offspring, and thine elder son, although but six years of age, shall cling to thy garments, and shall say, My father, my father, why can’t you stay with us? O, my father, what are the men going to do with you? and if then he shall be thrust from thee by the sword, and thou be dragged to prison, and thine enemies prowl around thee like wolves for the blood of the lamb;

    7 And if thou shouldst be cast into the pit, or into the hands of murderers, and the sentence of death passed upon thee; if thou be cast into the deep; if the billowing surge conspire against thee; if fierce winds become thine enemy; if the heavens gather blackness, and all the elements combine to hedge up the way; and above all, if the very jaws of hell shall gape open the mouth wide after thee, know thou, my son, that all these things shall give thee experience, and shall be for thy good.

    8 The Son of Man hath descended below them all. Art thou greater than he?

    I think verse 8 should always be kept in our minds. If all is well with us great, but that doesn’t mean we are righteous or unrighteous. Or that we will never face trials including, for some of us, being cast into hell. But the word of god and God’s presence will be there to bear us out of hell when God’s time of deliverance is come, and we will see Zion in the flesh if we have been faithful relying on Him. For the Son of Man hath descended below them all, and if we are Christians why should we expect a trial free life? As the actual doctrine of d&c states, Lecture 6:7: “A religion that does not require the sacrifice of all things, never has power sufficient to produce the faith necessary unto life and salvation”.

    Finally an anecdote on the WoW. When I was 7 or 8 my sunday school teacher had us sign a contract swearing before God that we would never even drink caffeine. And I never knowingly did till my mission. Since coke was a well known mission trick for an upset stomach. I think being coerced by a sunday school teacher to swear a vain oath before God to do something never commanded in scripture is pretty ridiculous, yet stuff like that happens in the church all the time.

    One final final thing on Gazalem. I find this guy’s etymology pretty convincing that it “derive(s) from Semitic gzr, yielding a very attractive etymology along the lines of biblical Aramaic gāzrîn, the “deciders/determiners (of fate),” used for the Babylonian magi : https://onoma.lib.byu.edu/index.php/GAZELEM

  2. Ranae Jul 1, 2020

    In my effort to see what the Book of Alma is telling us about our day, what jumped out at me was the chapter related to the preservation of the records. The scriptures are a record of God’s dealings among His people, kept for a wise purpose, to enlarge the memory of the people. At a time when our national history is under assault, when the public memorials to saints and sinners are being removed from view and defaced, this advice from a prophet is timely.

    Looking back at Alma’s various missions to reclaim his people, he usually reminds them of their existing knowledge of God by referring to their history of miraculous deliverance. [“they were in captivity, and again the Lord did deliver them out of bondage by the power of his word” Alma 5:5 (Zarahemela); “have ye forgotten so soon how many times he delivered our fathers out of the hands of their enemies, and preserved them from being destroyed, even by the hands of their own brethren? Alma 9:10 (Ammonihah); “I have seen much of his mysteries and his marvelous power; yea, even in the preservation of the lives of this people.” Alma 10:5 (Amulek in Ammonihah)] Even the sons of Mosiah were able to use the history of God’s preservation of their people in battle as a basis for teaching the Lamanites about God, and then taught the rebellion of Laman and Lemuel and “expounded unto them all the records and scriptures from the time that Lehi left Jerusalem down to the present time.” (Alma 18:38)

    Learning both the good and bad of history is of value to us. Helaman was not told to destroy the records of the secret combinations. He was told to use them to teach his people the destruction that results from wickedness, abominations and murder without giving them the “how to” manual. As the saying goes, “those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it.”

    I know there are many people who dispute the divine foundation of this country. I am grateful for this week’s reading, coming at the time we celebrate the Independence of our country to remind me to share with my own children the stories of our history and God’s hand in preserving us from bondage. If these stories had not been deleted from our classrooms and homes we might not have come to the point where so many people living in America question the existence of a just and merciful God, and others fear that this nation might not survive as a place of peace and safety for their children to enjoy.

    • I don’t think anyone here ever denied God’s intervention in establishing the US. Many of us simply pointed out that blind patriotism and fealty to either of the two major political parties and their leadership is a form of idolatry. On that same note I agree that we need to remember the past and learn from it with all the good and bad side by side to learn from. I actually just watched this lecture:
      https://oyc.yale.edu/classics/clcv-205/lecture-1
      yesterday and think it is the best summary of the importance of understanding the philosophical and political history of the West and the dangers of forgetting that history that I have ever seen.

      That being said I am sympathetic to the critiques of our existing police state and its ridiculous levels of violence, and I also question the need to use public monies to erect idols to mortals whether good or bad. The methods and ideologies of many of the protesters however seem deeply rooted in the nihilism that Dr. Kagan speaks of in the above lecture. I fear we are heading towards the breaking into tribes scenario that happened to the Nephites right before Christ’s coming.

      • Ranae Jul 1, 2020

        I didn’t say there are many people on this site who have denied God’s intervention in establishing the US. It was a general statement. My main point in commenting was because I feel that the Book of Alma is shining a bright spotlight on this particular moment in time and it is fascinating to me each week how closely our political and social news is tracking with what we are studying from the Book of Mormon.

        These few chapters with Alma speaking to his sons is like taking a reprieve from the battle and getting some personal advice which might be useful to anyone who looks around and wants to do something useful, but doesn’t know where to start. For me, it said, spend more time sharing stories with your kids, let your thoughts and affections be directed to the Lord, put your trust in the Lord, and don’t be lifted up in pride (spend time listening as well as talking about what you think you know).

        I am really curious going into the next few months how much the Nephite battles will be mirrored in the civil war going on in our own country. Are we going to see the standard of liberty raised? Will there be a time when the “kingmen” are put to death if they do not pledge to support their country? These are really relevant questions to me. It is really easy to see the “good guys” and “bad guys” in the Book of Mormon, can that pattern help us gain clarity in our own battles so that we don’t get lost in the smoke?

        As to using public monies to erect idols to mortals, many of the statues being destroyed were paid for by private donations. The purpose they serve to society (or anyone who actually bothers to learn why they were erected) could be similar to the story from Joshua 22 where the tribes of Reuben, Gad, and half of Manasseh returned to their land on the other side of the Jordan river and immediately built a huge altar. The other tribes heard about it and were so angry at the thought it was a sign of rebellion against God that they intended to go to war at this sign of apostasy. When given a chance to explain, those 2 1/2 tribes told them the altar was meant as a witness to their children that they were also part of the House of Israel, so that in future generations the Jordan River would not serve as a barrier between the physically separated tribes. Once the other tribes heard the reason for the altar, they were satisfied and departed in peace. How many people who want to remove or destroy historical memorials actually know the history behind why they are there in the first place? I don’t think anyone sees the statues as icons to be worshiped. (In our society those things more often take the form of tennis shoes and cars.)

        • I’m no expert on monetary and financial issues, but I’ve read enough that I’m sympathetic to the idea that our bondage and enslavement began around 1913 with the Federal Reserve Act and the creation of an income tax. Then we moved our monetary system off of being gold-based in the 1970s. Our currency is not a measure of value, but of debt. We live our lives exchanging claims on debt, not on anything of actual value.

          The hard part about this viewpoint, though is that it would appear many are living in comfort. The poor in this country often have a better standard of living than the wealthy in other countries – and certainly way better than kings did just a few centuries ago. I also think material wealth and comfort may be a false way to measure things.

          So what does it mean to “prosper in the land”? I think there is enough context to that idea that it clearly has to do with material things – food, shelter, etc and expanding their settlements. But I think there’s also a spiritual aspect to it. There’s no doubt that the wicked can appear to be just as prosperous as the righteous if you just count how many crops, livestock, houses, etc. they have. True prosperity would seem to me to include both material well-being and spiritual well-being. It does us very little good to live in comfort and ease in this life but to be cut off from God in eternity.

          The current strife throughout the land is interesting to behold. Each side is fighting for the future direction of the Republic. If you think the Republic was divinely inspired and continues to be so, you might find one side more compelling than the other. However, if you see the Republic as having changed and placed the inhabitants in bondage, then what the combatants are fighting over is a shell of its former self.

          I think the country is not yet ripe for destruction. Zion needs to be redeemed and then they will call the righteous out from all over the world and gather them to Zion. Then, in the scriptural pattern, will the land be ripe for destruction.

          • Ranae Jul 1, 2020

            MIke, we might not see the land as a whole becoming ripe for destruction yet, but what about cities where the mayor and city council disband the police services to poor communities at the same time that they hire private security for themselves at taxpayer expense? Businesses are moving out, because their investments have not been protected by the people elected to protect life and property. When they leave, the cycle of destruction continues. Did you know that most truckers have said they will not deliver into cities that disband police? The truckers are what kept us alive during the shutdown. What can those left in failing neighborhoods do when even food is unavailable, let alone police protection?

            Our reaction to the current situation may be exactly what is weighed in the balance to see if we survive as a nation or not. We live in interesting times.

            As to which side people are fighting for in this country, we have plenty of history to see what we are aiming for. One side wants to continue under a system of government that has led to the freedom and opportunity for people from all over the world, where we learn from our mistakes and work to be better in the future. The other side seems to be recreating the revolutions of France, Russia, and China, which have led to poverty, starvation, and mass murder. Unfortunately, most people do not know history well enough to see what they are supporting, nor do they know political science well enough to create an alternate government system if they reject the unique opportunity that the American Bill of Rights and Constitution have provided to this point.

            • I hold out hope that within those cities and areas that are suffering, there are many humble amongst the poor who will accept the call of the gospel when it comes. I think the more violence and less opportunities in those areas will lead to an exodus of many inhabitants. Once those who are the more righteous amongst them all leave, then watch out!

    • There’s a difference in seeing God’s hand in the establishment of this country and believing God is leading this country. It turns political views and differences from making the best of this fallen state to having God behind one and thus those on the other side must be aligned with Satan.

      There’s a historical disconnect for those who view the nation itself as having divine approval. It gives the false idea that God condoned and approved all the actions of the country.

      There’s a pattern throughout the scriptures where God’s chastisement comes through the enemies of God’s people. The northern tribes were defeated by the Assyrians. God’s wrath against them allowed them to fall to this heathen people. I don’t think anyone believes the Assyrians were God’s people or that God was leading the Assyrian army in their conquest. Rather, when the people reject God, he withdraws from them and they are left to their own devices.

      The southern kingdom was conquered by Babylon. This is the same pattern, Babylon was not lead by God, and was not the people of Zion. Later, the Romans ruled over Jerusalem and the children of Israel were continually chastised by their enemies.

      The Book of Mormon has the same tale to tell. The Nephites were defeated and enslaved by the Lamanites when they defied God and rejected His commandments. When they followed God, they prevailed against their enemies.

      I do not see a consistent pattern in the scriptures where God has His people go forth and attack and conquer and chastise the wicked. God will take care of the wicked in the end, it isn’t the role of His people to go around conquering other nations. The primary exception to this rule, is when it came to the promised land and then God led the house of Israel in removing the inhabitants from that land.

      So now we need to take a look at this country, the United States of America, and what role it has played in fulfilling prophecy. Is it used as an instrument to chastise and scatter God’s people after they have rejected the gospel? Or is it living in peace, seeking to do no harm to its enemies?

      The Book of Mormon tells how the Lamanites will suffer in the latter days:

      Helaman 15:12 Yea, I say unto you, that in the latter times the promises of the Lord have been extended to our brethren, the Lamanites; and notwithstanding the many afflictions which they shall have, and notwithstanding they shall be driven to and fro upon the face of the earth, and be hunted, and shall be smitten and scattered abroad, having no place for refuge, the Lord shall be merciful unto them.

      The Lamanites will be afflicted, they will be driven upon the face of the earth, they will be hunted, smitten and scattered. Who did this to the Lamanites? The United States of America did this. There’s some huge cognitive dissonance involved in believing that God was with the country as it did this to the Lamanites. It much better fits the pattern that God leaves His people to the mercies of their enemies after they have rejected the gospel.

      Also, look at the initial attempt to restore the gospel in the latter days. The people who joined the Church of Christ were followers of God. When they rejected the gospel, who filled the role of the enemy in the repeated scriptural pattern? Who scattered the saints and drove them out of the land? Who continued to send their armies against the wayward saints as they sought refuge in the desert?

      It was the United States. This country has fulfilled the role of the enemy who conquers and chastises God’s people. It does not fit the scriptural pattern of being God’s people.

      God did influence the creation of this Gentile nation and used it and will use it for His purposes in the restoration. This country does not fit the mold of having Christ at its head and being one and the same as the people of God, as Zion.

      As the nation celebrates independence day, we should recognize it for what it is: God set this up for His purposes, the nation appears a far better option than many other nations on earth – the lesser of bad options. We should all look forward to the redemption of Zion.

      • Mormon 4:5
        But, behold, the judgments of God will overtake the wicked; and it is by the wicked that the wicked are punished; for it is the wicked that stir up the hearts of the children of men unto bloodshed.

      • Ranae Jul 2, 2020

        “What then: are we better than they? No, in no wise: for we have before proved both Jews and Gentiles, that they are all under sin; As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one; There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God. They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one.” (Romans 3:9-12)

        I have a hard time following your argument because I see the situation differently. I don’t see the political parties as good guys and bad guys, or servants of God vs. servants of Satan. I see the leaders of this country as representatives of the people as a whole. If we have dishonest, unwise, or lazy leaders it is because we chose them and were too lazy and uninvolved to do anything about it when they showed their true colors. God will not usurp our agency in leadership any more than he will in any other part of our lives. It was the same back in the days of the Old Testament judges and kings. Our history doesn’t negate the promises concerning this land and the blessings if we repent and turn to God. If we have awoken to our awful state and tried to elect someone who is trying to restore us to our Constitutional and moral foundation, God will honor that choice as well. It is repentance, and the fact that part of the country is trying to repent while there is part of the country that wants nothing to do with God and His laws is the reason we are in a civil war currently.

        To your next point about who God’s chastisement comes through, I think you need to look a bit farther. He used the Israelites to clear the promised land when its inhabitants were ripe for destruction, and waited until the Israelites were sufficiently humble to do the job. The Assyrians listened to Jonah’s message of repentance before they conquered the Northern Tribes, and King Nebuchadnezzar became a believer in the god of Daniel (Jehovah). God doesn’t pick winners and losers, he blesses those who repent and curses those who do evil, regardless of their lineage.

        My final point relates to the idea that even if America is a Gentile nation, it was founded by Christians, and since then people from around the world have been gathered here. If your primary concern about who will prevail in the days to come is based on Gentile vs. House of Israel, how do you know who is who? The descendants of Lehi are identified as House of Israel, but what about the people who have come here since America was founded. Are they counted as Gentiles or not? According to Christ, the answer depends on whether or not they repent. (3 Ne 21)

        • You are really stretching the scriptures to try to paint the Assyrians and Babylonians as being followers of God. That’s the exact opposite of the case. As MD noted, God uses the wicked to chastise the wicked. You’ll note how out of step your interpretation of the scriptures are with the consistent theme between the defeat of Israel and the repeated pattern with the Nephites in the Book of Mormon.

          As to the people of Israel and the promised land, you’re missing the mark there as well. The race of giants that were placed in the promised land was an effort by opposing forces to prevent God from fulfilling His promise to His people. They were not a people who had become ripe for destruction. They were a people who had no business inhabiting this earth. That is why God instructed the Israelites to kill every last one of them.

          The confusion is in equating the nation that currently occupies the land where Zion is located with representing God’s people. It wasn’t so in Joseph Smith’s day and it isn’t so today. In this nation, as in nations all over the world, there exist humble people who will hearken to the call when the gospel goes forth.

          The redemption of Zion and the gathering to Zion is still a future event.

          • Ranae Jul 3, 2020

            Perhaps I was not clear. I did not say that the Assyrians and Babylonians were followers of God. I said that the Assyrians (Ninevah was the capital of Assyria when Jonah told them to repent) and Nebuchadnezzar were responsive to the message God sent them.

            You would have to show me where in the scriptures it says that the race of giants that were placed in the promised land was an effort by opposing forces to prevent God from fulfilling His promise to His people.
            “Speak not thou in thine heart, after that the Lord thy God hath cast them out from before thee, saying, For my righteousness the Lord hath brought me in to possess this land; but for the wickedness of these nations the Lord doth drive them out from before thee.
            “Not for thy righteousness, or for the uprightness of thine heart, dost thou go to possess their land; but for the wickedness of these nations the Lord thy God doth drive them out from before thee, and that he may perform the word which the Lord sware unto thy fathers, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.
            “Understand therefore, that the Lord thy God giveth thee not this good land to possess it for thy righteousness; for thou art a stiffnecked people.” (Deut. 9:4-6)
            Note, the message is repeated three times. I think God wanted them to understand the point.

            Nephi understood this as well:
            “And after they had crossed the river Jordan he did make them mighty unto the driving out of the children of the land, yea, unto the scattering them to destruction.
            “And now, do ye suppose that the children of this land, who were in the land of promise, who were driven out by our fathers, do ye suppose that they were righteous? Behold, I say unto you, Nay.
            “Do ye suppose that our fathers would have been more choice than they if they had been righteous? I say unto you, Nay.
            “Behold, the Lord esteemeth all flesh in one; he that is righteous is favored of God. But behold, this people had rejected every word of God, and they were ripe in iniquity; and the fulness of the wrath of God was upon them ; and the Lord did curse the land against them, and bless it unto our fathers; yea, he did curse it against them unto their destruction, and he did bless it unto our fathers unto their obtaining power over it.” (1 Ne 17:32-35)

            God’s people are whomever follows God’s commandments. There are certain groups who have promises related to them as a result of the faith of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and also Lehi, Nephi, Jacob, etc. However, the promises (apart from not being destroyed when they deserve to be) are still conditional on repentance and faith in Christ. If the Gentiles repent it will be well with them, and if the descendants of the house of Israel are wicked, they shall be destroyed. Because God is no respecter of persons.

            The redemption of Zion is still a future event, but participation in it is open to anyone who will accept the work God is doing. I keep getting the feeling that you think the Founding Fathers were usurpers of the continent, taking it away from the rightful inhabitants. I don’t think Nephi would agree with you on that. To paraphrase and liken unto ourselves:
            “Do ye believe that our fathers, who were [called Gentiles], would have been led away out of the hands of the [Europeans] if they had not hearkened unto the words of the Lord? Yea, do ye suppose that they would have been led out of bondage, if the Lord had not commanded [the Founding Fathers] that [they] should lead them out of bondage?” (1 Ne. 17:23-24)

            This is entirely consistent with the vision Nephi related in 1 Nephi 13 where “I, Nephi, beheld that the Gentiles who had gone forth out of captivity did humble themselves before the Lord; and the power of the Lord was with them. And I beheld that their mother Gentiles were gathered together upon the waters, and upon the land also, to battle against them. And I beheld that the power of God was with them, and also that the wrath of God was upon all those that were gathered together against them to battle.” (1 Ne. 13:16-18) The Native Americans are among those who were defeated when they gathered together against the early Americans, otherwise our history would be much different.

            Just to be clear, apart from Native Americans, who do think are the House of Israel that will be gathered to this land? Are you proposing that the people who have come here from Africa, Europe, Asia, and the islands of the sea are not in any way lost Israelites who have claim on the promises in the last days? Because I don’t think you would call them Gentiles (at least not in the sense that the Gentiles traditionally come from European nations). If the tribes are not to be found among those who have gathered here, where do you think they will come from?

            • Yes, the race of giants that had been occupying the promised land were not righteous. I can’t repeat all of Dr. Heiser’s work here, but this is why the Israelites were instructed to kill every one of them: man, woman, child, and even their animals.

              The interpretation in 1 Nephi 13 is misunderstood by most LDS to equate it with the founding of America and the conquest of this continent by the Europeans. I think that is a shadow fulfillment of that prophecy and there are clues throughout it that the events in establishing this country aren’t a great match for the events in the prophecy. The Gentiles who escape from captivity are the laborers who have died and will return to earth. That is something soon to happen (hopefully it’s happening really soon). The mother Gentiles who gather against them are those who currently possess this land and who will fight against Zion (as well as other nations from across the world).

              From your last questions, it seem that you haven’t understood what I wrote:
              “In this nation, as in nations all over the world, there exist humble people who will hearken to the call when the gospel goes forth.”

              I believe by now, the tribes have mixed with most of the people on the earth and the bulk of those who are Gentiles are of the house of Israel – typically of the tribe of Ephraim. I believe the tribes will be gathered from all over the world, but I also believe there may be quite a miraculous return of a large portion of the lost 10 tribes. Everyone who accepts the gospel will have a place in Zion. If they have no direct blood lineage, they will be adopted into the house of Israel.

              Some members of the house of Israel were gathered in by the LDS church shortly after they lost the fulness, but we have been re-scattered. The next gathering will not be limited just to members of the LDS church, but will go out to the entire world. Every tongue and every nation will hear the call – those who go out in power will not be stopped by communist or Islamist governments or by quarantines and lockdowns. They will take the gospel message to everyone.

  3. In Alma 36 we have a snipet of Alma’s experience of spiritual rebirth (particularly v 18-24). Alma declares that he was “born of God” and “filled with the Holy Ghost”.

    I very much agree with the statements made in the podcast that many have dumbed down the definition of being spiritually born of God; that experiences of being ‘born of God and filled with the Holy Ghost’ (like what Alma and others experienced) are exceptions to the rule of what to expect and even IF we were to experience something like it, it should be considered a sacred experience that should not be shared. I consider this in conflict with scripture (as many who listen and comment likely agree).

    I have recently been thinking a lot about experiencing (as Alma and many others experienced) being born of God and filled with the Holy Ghost. I can understand and appreciate the approach that being born of God and filled with the HG is not something that we can experience today due to apostasy. That approach, however, is not something that has set very well with me. The scriptures are FULL of personal invitations to come unto Christ, completely rely on his mercy, and this yields forgiveness and remission of sins (whether or not the fullness is currently in play). Admittedly, this forgiveness does not necessarily involve receiving the Gift of the HG, but it does seem to be attended with a witness or a sign (perhaps A baptism of fire rather than THE baptism of fire).

    I am interested in any scriptural insights/references regarding our current opportunity to be ‘born of God’ and ‘filled with the Holy Ghost’ that anyone would be willing to share. I know I need to do this ultimately between myself and God, but I have found that others often help me to get out of my own way and let God in.

    • I don’t have scriptures to back up your idea, but I’ve been getting the same sense the more I study the word of God. I don’t think we need to keep waiting for the servants to return to be able to have some form of the types of spiritual awakenings described in the Book of Mormon. I wonder if the feeling of being born again so many Christians describe is similar to that and they are doing better than those of us who grew up following the traditions of our fathers? It’s a lot of work to shed all the indoctrination and falsehoods I’ve been taught most of my life.

    • Ranae Jul 1, 2020

      I don’t know if this is what you are referring to, concerning scriptural insights, however, D&C 88:62 has stuck in my mind in reference to this topic. “And again, verily I say unto you, my friends, I leave these sayings with you to ponder in your hearts, with this commandment which I give unto you, that ye shall call upon me while I am near-“. This implies that there are times and seasons when that opportunity is not at hand. The preceding parable was about a lord who visited his servants as they worked in the field, each in their own hour. Jesus worked with the restoration saints in the days of Joseph Smith, but then the hour passed and we were left for a season to work without that light. In the meantime, there have continued to be Christian revivals popping out at various times and places throughout the world, which I believe are a means of digging and dunging the vineyard in preparation for the greater work that is coming.

      In the Jacob 5 parable, there was good fruit at various times in the orchard. However, just prior to the great work involving multiple servants every type of existing fruit was bad. Whether or not the experience you desire is available right now might depend on where we are in that prophetic timeline.

      • Ranae Jul 1, 2020

        Just to clarify, I don’t think being “born again” is the same thing as receiving the “baptism of fire and the Holy Ghost”. I associate the first with having a changed nature, which allows us to live as Christians in charity toward our fellows. I associate the second with having the mind of God by which all things are known to us, being able to converse with angels and having the faith and power to see the miracles testified of in the scriptures. (Those distinctions are my own, not based on any scriptures.)

      • Ranae, I think you make valid points. However, is seeing the face of God or enjoying His presence necessary to be ‘born again’ or to be ‘filled with the spirit’? I don’t believe that it is.

        D&C 76 teaches of details surrounding the degrees of glory. Among many other things, the Lord makes distinctions of the state/condition of people in the various glories. ( I will use only 1 or 2)
        Celestial: These shall dwell in the presence of God and his Christ forever and ever. (Doctrine and Covenants 76:62)
        Terrestrial: These are they who receive of the presence of the Son, but not of the fulness of the Father. (Doctrine and Covenants 76:77)
        Telestial: These are they who receive not of his [the Sons] fulness in the eternal world, but of the Holy Spirit through the ministration of the terrestrial (Doctrine and Covenants 76:86)

        As I currently understand it, the Lord was inviting the church to the Celestial level but VERY few accepted it. The invitation you shared from D&C 88 seems to be associated with a Terrestrial offering/invitation (the presence of the Son, but not he fullness of the Father). Christ even declared in D&C 38:7 (1831), “I am in your midst and ye cannot see me”. and D&C 88:66 (1832), “Behold, that which you hear is as the voice of one crying in the wilderness—in the wilderness, because you cannot see him”. He was there, but they simply could or would not see him.

        D&C 76 goes on to describe Telestial as “These are they who received not the gospel of Christ, neither the testimony of Jesus. These are they who deny not the Holy Spirit” (Doctrine and Covenants 76:82–83). Combine this with the definition of the testimony of Jesus found in Rev 19:10 (the Spirit of prophecy) and it seems to indicate that telestial is a condition of having not received the gospel of Christ (corrupting his simply doctrine), nor the spirit of prophecy (current revelation), but that do NOT deny the Holy Spirit. This telestial state receives the Holy Spirit by the ministration of the terrestrial (v86).

        I believe we are in no way (as a church or a collective people) in a terrestrial state. We are firmly in the telestial condition, which receives the Holy Spirit. Which brings me back to the original question of this reply:
        Is seeing the face of God or enjoying His presence necessary to be ‘born again’ or to be ‘filled with the spirit’?

        Once again, I do not believe it is. There is certainly a greater measure of the spirit, but the telestial condition receives the Holy Spirit. This is where I have loosely come to think of the telestrial as capable of A baptism of fire but not THE baptism of fire. But maybe I am wrong there or am applying it incorrectly.

        Thoughts?

        • We were recording the next episode while this flurry of comments was happening yesterday, so I made a comment about it that you’ll hear. I compared it to appetizers vs. the main course. I think we are able to have appetizers, small tastes that whet our appetite, but the main course has yet to be served. For those who have either been starving or eating bland porridge, a bite of an appetizer will be such a dramatic change that it could be mistaken for the main course and we think we’ve experienced the entire meal. Once the servants return, we will have the steak and lobster served that will completely overshadow the finger foods we thought were so amazing.

          As a reminder, in the Doctrine and Covenants the Lord repeatedly declares that this dispensation will receive the gift of the Holy Ghost by the hand of authorized servants. So while we can read about individuals in the scriptures who received the gift without the laying on of hands, the Lord has made it clear that, while the end result will be the same, the process we need to go through is different.

          D&C 20…the duty of an elder:
          41 And to confirm those who are baptized into the church, by the laying on of hands for the baptism of fire and the Holy Ghost, according to the scriptures;
          43 And to confirm the church by the laying on of the hands, and the giving of the Holy Ghost;

          D&C 25:8
          For he shall lay his hands upon thee, and thou shalt receive the Holy Ghost, and thy time shall be given to writing, and to learning much.

          D&C 33:15
          And whoso having faith you shall confirm in my church, by the laying on of the hands, and I will bestow the gift of the Holy Ghost upon them.

          D&C 36:2
          And I will lay my hand upon you by the hand of my servant Sidney Rigdon, and you shall receive my Spirit, the Holy Ghost, even the Comforter, which shall teach you the peaceable things of the kingdom;

          D&C 39:23
          And again, it shall come to pass that on as many as ye shall baptize with water, ye shall lay your hands, and they shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost, and shall be looking forth for the signs of my coming, and shall know me.

          I haven’t found anywhere in the Doctrine and Covenants where the Lord tells us we can skip the laying on of hands and still get the gift of the Holy Ghost. That leads me to conclude that we must wait for the servants to return. But in the meantime, try the hors d’oeuvres, they’re delicious!

        • Ranae Jul 2, 2020

          I guess I am a little confused about what exactly you are asking about. Are you asking about whether it is possible to have the constant presence of The Father while we still live in mortality (celestial)? Are you asking about the opportunity to see Christ while living in the flesh (terrestrial)? Are you asking about having the mighty change of heart that Alma and King Benjamin described, or something else?

          I agree that we are firmly in Telestial territory, which is where that change of heart needs to happen, and where we can see the consequences of sin which lead us to desire the change. We can receive a portion of the Spirit and practice living a higher law in this fallen state. I don’t know that we can raise ourselves much higher than this at this time because the level of false belief and tradition is so high and mixed with scriptural truth that we cannot untangle ourselves to even see where we are off track. How can you build a sturdy house without a clear set of blueprints and someone with experience to show you how? This is a time to learn wisdom through humility and what we gain now may be a great benefit later when circumstances change for the better (but the opportunity to learn through opposition is decreased).

          The terrestrial level of contact with divinity seems possible. There are even reports of wicked people who meet Jesus after death and are completely changed by the experience. However, at this time, the scriptures seem to indicate that a physical appearance is not to be found for the asking. As you mentioned, there are many verses that talk about Him being near, even in the midst, yet people cannot see him. The light IS shining in the darkness, but the darkness perceives it not. JST Matt 23:39-40 says, “you shall not SEE me henceforth, and KNOW that I am he of whom it is written by the prophets, UNTIL ye shall say, Blessed is he who cometh in the name of the Lord, in the clouds of heaven, and all the holy angels with him.” Perhaps one of the tasks for us at this time is to learn to see the evidence of His presence without a physical manifestation. Could it be that our awareness of the evil in the world is increasing because the light is shining in the darkness? We don’t see the light directly, but we can better see what has been here, hiding in the dark.

          I am not sure I agree with you that the early Saints were being invited to a celestial experience here in mortality, which they rejected. To have done so would have been the equivalent of “burning the vineyard”. My understanding is that we cannot endure a celestial glory unless we are changed. “But who may abide the day of his coming? and who shall stand when he appeareth? for he is like a refiner’s fire, and like fuller’s soap.” (Malachi 3:2) “For behold, the day cometh that shall burn as an oven, and all the proud, yea, and all that do wickedly shall burn as stubble; for THEY THAT COME shall burn them, saith the Lord of Hosts, that it shall leave them neither root nor branch.” (JS-H 1:37)

          God’s work is to bring to pass immortality and eternal life, not simply to destroy the wicked. He wants to root the wickedness out of our hearts, not destroy us, and by US I mean everyone who can be saved, not just those who are asking for proof that they have passed the test. (He wants the whole tree, not just a couple pieces of fruit to taste while the vineyard burns, so the methods used might be less direct than if he was just working to save you or me specifically.) At least those are my current thoughts on the topic.

          • Thank you for your thoughts Ranae.
            **As a side note** I agree with you that the early saints were NOT being invited to a Celestial condition (my previous comment on that was ignorant).

            I see that I was not clear in my thoughts, though what you have shared is pertinent. It was likely not clear because I am wresting with emotion, intellect, and desire and having a hard time communicating it. I am talking about experiencing a mighty change of heart and the possibility we have to receive the Holy Spirit/Ghost. (Similar to what we find in the beginning chapters of Mosiah). The reason I broke things out to Celestial > Terrestrial> Telestial was principally because there is a distinction of what can be enjoyed at the varying levels and I am trying to determine what can be enjoyed in our current state.

            As stated before, I believe (and you agree) that we are firmly Telestial at this time. Though D&C 76 specifically declares that there are varying degrees of the brightness of stars (telestial). I acknowledge (and have felt this way for some time) that receiving the HG (FULL BoF) is a Terrestrial offering and is unavailable to a Telestial condition until a Terrestrial condition is offered once again. I then ask the question (that spawns other questions): is a PARTIAL baptism of fire available in the Telestial condition we find ourselves in? Could a partial BoF be associated with singing the song of redeeming love or having Christ image engraven on our countenances (Alma 5)? Can we become a child of God without a FULL BoF? Or can we only hope for that day to come?

            D&C 39 seems to indicate that the FULL BoF is necessary to be given power to become the children of God
            To as many as received me [Christ], gave I power to become my sons; and even so will I give unto as many as will receive me, power to become my sons.
            And verily, verily, I say unto you, he that receiveth my gospel receiveth me; and he that receiveth not my gospel receiveth not me.
            And this is my gospel—repentance and baptism by water, and then cometh the baptism of fire and the Holy Ghost, even the Comforter, which showeth all things, and teacheth the peaceable things of the kingdom.
            (Doctrine and Covenants 39:4–6)

            This seems to indicate that to receive the gospel of Christ we must receive the FULL baptism of fire which, if terrestrial, is not available to us currently. Therefore we are left only to hope for that which is promised at some future time. BUT I WANT IT!! And I worry that I am getting in my own way by intellectually or scripturally confining God, therefore restricting my ability to receive what He has to offer. But perhaps, like Alma, I “do sin in my wish; for I ought to be content with the things which the Lord hath allotted unto me” (Alma 29:3). It is a wrestle for me right now. I want something I do not currently have, yet I find scriptural evidence indicating I cannot have it right now, but I worry that fully embracing that evidence is limiting Gods power and preventing myself from receiving more.

            • If your specific focus is on the Baptism of Fire and the Holy Ghost, here are some thoughts more specific to that topic. Have you considered that the baptism of fire and the baptism of the Holy Ghost are complimentary but different things? I could be totally out on a limb here because we do have the scriptural examples of disciples in both the New Testament and Book of Mormon being surrounded by what appear to be flames. However, if you look at just the meaning of “baptism of fire” in its normal context, it means something similar to being thrown in the deep end and having to swim. It could be used regarding soldiers in their first battle, or a new employee who faces a series of challenges during their first few days of work.

              The idea of our conversion being tried by fire is not without scriptural support. Here is an excerpt from a talk I wrote:
              “But who may abide the day of his coming, and who shall stand when he appeareth? For he is like a refiner’s fire, and like fuller’s soap. And he shall sit as a refiner and purifier of silver; and he shall purify the sons of Levi, and purge them as gold and silver, that they may offer unto the Lord an offering in righteousness.” (Mal. 3:2-3)

              “And I will bring the third part though the fire, and will refine them as silver is refined, and will try them as gold is tried; they shall call on my name, and I will hear them: I will say, It is my people; and they shall say, The Lord is my God.” (Zech.13:9)

              So what does the process of refining silver look like?

              Step 1: rock with the potential of precious metal is broken into pieces. This happens as we hear the word of God. Jeremiah 23:29 says, “Is not my word like as a fire? Saith the Lord; and like a hammer that breaketh the rock in pieces?”

              Step 2: the broken rock is placed into a crucible. A crucible is a melting pot that can withstand the heat of the fire. The rough stone is ready to be placed into the furnace to be burned. Here is what Peter had to say about the trials of life: “Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you; But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers in Christ’s suffering; that, when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy.”

              Step 3: as heat is applied, the dross rises to the surface to be removed. The dross is the impurity that exists with the precious metal in its natural state. As the refining process takes place, the dross is removed and the silver becomes pure. Alma 34:29 states, “Therefore, if ye do not remember to be charitable, ye are as dross, which the refiners do cast out (it being of no worth) and is trodden under foot of man.”

              Step 4: the process is repeated, as many as seven times, until the silver is pure enough to reflect the face of the refiner. What should the final result of our trials look like? Christ tells us in 3 Nephi 27:27 “What manner of men ought ye to be? Even as I am.”

              One thing to remember is that the refiner does not leave the ore to burn alone. He carefully watches throughout the process to extract the impurities without damaging the gold and silver. Those who see with eyes of faith will find that God has not abandoned them. He comforts and even walks with them as the fire burns.

              In the process of being refined to reflect Christ, we should not be surprised if our lives also reflect the trials he faced in mortality. Here are some of the descriptions: “He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief; and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised and we esteemed him not.” [end of excerpt]

              I don’t know if this makes sense to you, but it is a reflection of what I have seen take place in my own life. I am not the same person I used to be. I have been through fiery trials, and to some extent they continue, but once I recognized what those challenges were doing to my very nature, to my ability to relate to other people with charity and empathy, I began to accept the fire and trust God that the course of my life (with all its painful parts too) was according to His will and necessary for me to qualify for the blessings the scriptures promise. Is this the baptism of fire the scriptures promise? I don’t know for sure, but it fits the description I read in Alma 5 about the mighty change of heart. “And behold, he preached the word unto our fathers, and a mighty change was also wrought in their hearts, and they humbled themselves and put their trust in the true and living God. And behold they were faithful until the end; therefore they were saved.”

              Has anyone broken your heart? “And whoso cometh unto me with a broken heart and a contrite spirit, him will I baptize with fire and with the Holy Ghost, even as the Lamanites, because of their faith in me at the time of their conversion, were baptized with fire and with the Holy Ghost, and they knew it not.” (3Ne. 9:20) I think you might be closer to what you seek than you think.

        • Hi Q, I like your comment about “not seeing him”. I wrote a piece called “I hate Death” in which I dissect those passages in the New Testament where Lazarus is raised, and I argue that “they” can’t see Him (Jesus). I think you will enjoy the parallel based on your comments. It will confirm some of your thoughts using New Testament passages as a contrast. The meat of the text is towards the end, but it may make more sense if you read it in its entirety. https://theeverythinghousewife.com/i-hate-death/

          • Thank you for sharing your thoughts TEH (I abbreviated for convenience).

            I appreciate your pointing out the difference in the forms of love used in the Greek that is lost in English. Christ’s repeated questions to Peter “Lovest though me” take on a whole new depth when the distinction is made!

            • Thank you! I agree. When I read scripture, I see Peter, Mary, Martha, and even Paul, as types, shadows, and patterns for these “levels” we speak of in Mormonism. Calling and Election vs Calling and election made sure (telestial, terrestrial and celestial). Peter is described as doubter 3 times (and catholic tradition holds that he was “crucified upside down.” Peter confesses christ, but then doubts. Martha doubts in the chapter on Lazarus. There is a lot hidden in some of those chapters. These symbols hold more weight than we can ever imagine. Thanks for reading.

  4. In the discussion about keeping the commandments of God, I think this really applies:

    D&C 58
    26 For behold, it is not meet that I should command in all things; for he that is compelled in all things, the same is a slothful and not a wise servant; wherefore he receiveth no reward.
    27 Verily I say, men should be anxiously engaged in a good cause, and do many things of their own free will, and bring to pass much righteousness;
    28 For the power is in them, wherein they are agents unto themselves. And inasmuch as men do good they shall in nowise lose their reward.
    29 But he that doeth not anything until he is commanded, and receiveth a commandment with doubtful heart, and keepeth it with slothfulness, the same is damned.

    I think this is one of the best commandments God has given us: we should not be commanded on all things, but be anxiously engaged by our own free will to do good and bring forth righteousness.

    It’s not what a lot of people desire as they go through their temple recommend checklist…

  5. MD, sorry to hear about your daughter. That’s always stressful. The witch in me would tell her to take an herb called “lobelia” for her lungs and “oregan grape root” for its antibacterial/antiviral properties if she gets any worse, but don’t overdo the dosage on the lobelia because it is also an expectorant. I love herbs and Salem Mass. I’m confident I would have been burned at the stake in another time and season :-).

    Great podcast. Thanks again for your efforts to share the scriptures. Im gonna pull a Paul and probably confuse everyone, but here are my thoughts…

    When you spoke about the overzealous Pharisees and the rule book that leaves individuals bound up in knots, I was reminded of the description of Abraham, right before he is about to sacrifice Issac. There is a “ram” whose horns are “caught” in the thickets, that becomes the sacrifice instead of his firstborn. I think that is the “purposeful” and wise part of the balance between the “law” vs “spirit”. Paul references how the “law” reveals sin so that we ”know” what the sin was, hence, hopefully choosing to not continue in it. We find ourselves “bound up” in it’s imperfect “administration” by imperfect people administering it to us, as zealous followers of it, we then come to a knowledge of exactly what “sin” we are to repent of. For an opposite comparison, the Sons of Sceva attempt to bind an evil spirit in the New Testament, thus revealing that if evil spirits can be bound, so can we be spiritually bound under a “law.”

    Jeff Benner’s teachings say that everywhere “law” is translated in the New Testament scriptures, he says that it could actually be replaced with the word TORAH (first 5 books), which of course leads me to your references on the Brass Plates. This Torah, or Law is holy, and is also written in references in the psalms as a “tree of life.” The symbols they used to read the “Torah” in religious ceremonies are also of interest to me because they used a “finger pointer stick thing” to touch the words of the page and read the Torah. The word “touched” in the New Testament is also often translated to mean, “to know,” like in a carnal sense, i.e. or in other words to produce offspring or seed. That has a lot of symbolism there too when that word is studied in context. I like to think of the words on the pages “touching” our souls as we find ourselves bound up in our own sins (and also as an equal opposite, touching our souls to reveal righteousness, because we would not “know” it otherwise if we had only been walking in obedience to others or leaders who claim to know what “it” is) So by the law, we would at some point find ourselves in “conflict” to them, binding us, until the angel “reveals” a straight path to freedom).

    Paul describes the law as Holy, while also revealing sin and causing death. I think this paradox, for me anyway, ”nails down” exactly what we, as individuals, must repent of. Like the “Horns” of the ram that get caught in the thicket, or as an opposite, like a tree of life, the “Torah” that balances between the “spiritual” and the “temporal” and gives life, in that balance our own wickedness and righteousness is revealed. That sin, is then turned over as an offering (fruits worthy of repentance), while also simultaneously revealing our righteousness in doing so.

    Romans Chapter 7
    7 What shall we say then? Is the law sin? God forbid. Nay, I had not known sin, but by the law: for I had not known lust, except the law had said, Thou shalt not covet.

    12 Wherefore the law is holy, and the commandment holy, and just, and good.

    23 But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members.
    24 O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death?

    I feel like knowledge and revelation are two sides of the same coin. You have to repent (or experience a change of heart) to also receive revelation or knowledge. Which for me, sucks all the pride out of obtaining revelation, because someone had to “wash you” in order to even give you that knowledge because you were too filthy to receive it before you were washed. And therein lies those principles of establishing ZION where are are equals. To receive knowledge, we “know” WHAT we were washed of…hence we “KNOW” sin because we “SAW” it, and therein we are “righteous” because we “saw” it and did not continue in it, and therein we are all equals who balance between our own sins and righteousness where we continue on a road called “Straight” because we did not continue in sin. (Acts 9:11). Saul becomes Paul.

  6. Seeker Jul 4, 2020

    Ranae, i for one agree that the baptism of fire and baptism of the Holy Ghost are two separate yet complimentary things. I believe they are separate, yet they must operate together, in tandem & in quick succession. Together, they constitute the second part of the complete baptism. And i also believe that if we DON’T receive the bp of fire and of the H.G. today, it’s only due to our own lack of faith and repentance and humility, and our resulting failure to cry unto God with a fully broken heart & contrite spirit — not due to any human-theorized withholding of these things by God to people of our day. See Moroni 10:24-25, and Mormon 9:6-10, 19-27, and Moroni 7:33-48 (especially verse 36): God doesn’t change, and the way he has laid out for salvation doesn’t change from one age to another either. If you believe that the baptism of fire and the Holy Ghost CAN’T happen in our day, then of course it WON’T happen to you, because of your unbelief. But it is an essential part of the doctrine of Christ, in all times & in all places!

    We are shown examples & patterns in the Book of Mormon of people who didn’t have the fullness yet received the baptism of fire & H.G., even BEFORE receiving the water baptism, as some faithful Christians of other denominations do today. If they can receive it, then it’s possible for us to “awake and arise” too. In all ages receiving these blessings is contingent only upon FAITH, repentance, humility, and offering one’s broken heart 100% to God…and God operates the same way in all ages. He fulfills his promises, and he has promised the baptism of fire & H.G. repeatedly in the scriptures, to anyone & everyone who: has faith in Jesus Christ, sincerely repents with a broken heart & contrite spirit, prays with all the energy of his heart, and lays his ALL on the altar.

    A full, complete baptism comes in two parts. Joseph Smith taught, “You might as well baptize a bag of sand as a man, if not done in view of the remission of sins and getting of the Holy Ghost. Baptism by water is but half a baptism, and is good for nothing without the other half: that is, baptism of the Holy Ghost.”
    So, in the first part of the baptism, we know that the body is immersed to be cleansed (in water) and afterwards human hands are laid upon the person’s head, in connection with which the person is told to “receive the Holy Ghost.”

    From there, it’s solely between the recipient & God as to whether they will qualify themself to actually receive the gift.
    In the second part of the baptism, which may come soon after the water baptism, or many years later (or never, if not sought), the inner vessel is cleansed (by fire) & then heavenly hands are laid on the head to fill that vessel with the Holy Spirit. The CLEANSING in this 2nd part of the two-part baptism is done not by water this time, but by fire. The subsequent FILLING of the cleansed vessel is the baptism of holy ghost/spirit. Spirit element is poured in. It is done by the instrumentality of heavenly beings.

    So the shadow fulfillment, the outward physical ordinance (which LDS children receive at the age of 8, in two steps) is symbolic of the 2nd half of the baptism, which is the inward spiritual reality (the bp of fire & of H.G.). The water in the preparatory ordinance is symbolic of the cleansing fire of the REAL THING, the baptism of fire. Likewise, the laying on of human hands is symbolic of the real thing: the heavenly hands of the Lord himself & other heavenly beings, servants from the other side of the veil, bestowing his Spirit.

    Only God can endow a person with his Holy Spirit, the gift of the Holy Ghost, either personally or through his servants on the other side of the veil, since he’s the only one who knows the person’s heart. Mortal priesthood holders can’t “give” someone the Holy Ghost. The giving of the gift of the Holy Ghost is done by God himself, but only to the truly humble, truly penitent, truly faithful believer whose motives & heart come into alignment with God’s eternal law upon which the blessings are predicated. Nothing less than yielding 100% of one’s heart & mind to God will do. And God is the only one who can judge a person’s true level of faith, repentance, humility, and commitment, thus only He knows when the time is right to give the baptism of fire & the Holy Ghost to a person.

    The inner vessel (the person’s spirit) is first purified/cleansed, by fire, before being filled with the Holy Spirit, for as Jesus said, “no man putteth new wine into old bottles; else the new wine will burst the bottles, and be spilled, and the bottles shall perish.
    But new wine must be put into new bottles; and both are preserved.
    No man also having drunk old wine straightway desireth new: for he saith, THE OLD IS BETTER.”

    This means the natural man (especially pride-filled ones, who trust in themselves that they are righteous by going to church/temple, and living by the letter of the law like the Pharisees) think their old, individual traditions, habits, customs & ways are better and they don’t want to give them up, but in order to be redeemed, the ego (the old, natural man) must die, and every man & woman, even church-going members like King Benjamin’s people, must be born again, changed into a new creation in God’s image.
    (Mosiah 27:24-26): As C.T. Valluz pointed out, from this key passage we learn a number of things:
    “All mankind” must be “changed from their carnal and fallen state, to a state of righteousness” in order to “inherit the kingdom of God.”
    Several synonyms for this change from the carnal and fallen state to a state of righteousness are mentioned:
    1. “Redeemed of God”; 2. “Born of the Spirit”;
    3. “Born of God”; 4. “Born again”; 5. “Becoming [God’s] sons and daughters”; and 6. “Becom(ing) new creatures.”
    The first phrase, “redeemed of God,” is clearly used as an equivalent expression for the change from the carnal state to the spiritual state. The last five phrases, too, are synonymous with this redemptive change, and suggest the taking place of a divine regeneration. These synonyms for redemption, as well as other scriptural words and phrases such as “baptized with fire & the Holy Ghost”, “mighty change”, “change of heart”, “remission of sins”, “healed”, “made whole”, “delivered”, “forgiven”, etc., are helpful in identifying other instances in the scriptures where persons experienced this profound change in their natures and were redeemed of God.

    In the Bible, the “natural man” (lost and fallen man, carnal nature, enemy to God, unredeemed sensual and devilish man, which is the ego-self, or false self) is sometimes called the “old man” or “the body of sin”, which must be killed, be crucified with Christ, or be “put off” or “cast off”. It cannot be made better or propped up by feeding it positive self-esteem. Rather, it must die. Be given up completely.
    >Romans 6:6 —“Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin.”
    >Romans 7:18 —“For in me (that is, in my flesh) dwelleth no good thing.”
    >Romans 8:6 —“For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace.”
    >1 Corinthians 2:14 —“But the natural man receiveth not the things of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.”
    >Ephesians 4:22-24 —“That ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts; And be renewed in the spirit of your mind; And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.”
    >Colossians 3:9 —“ye have put off the old man with his deeds; And have put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him.”
    >1 Peter 2:24 —“that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness.”
    v.2 “as newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby.”

    >>So, the “old man” dies, and in its place a new creature suddenly appears: a newborn baby, i.e. the “new man” (i speak of things which are spiritual & not temporal). The reborn baby (babe in Christ, little child) is pure & innocent, and is adopted as a son/daughter of Christ. Then, the baby is fed Holy Spirit (the milk which is the word(s) of Christ, both by the “inner light” or spirit which God imparts, and by reading/feasting upon the words of Christ from the scriptures). The Spirit nourishes the little child to gradually grow into the perfect image and spiritual likeness of Christ.
    When this spiritual rebirth happens, the convert is justified (made just), by the merits & righteousness of Jesus Christ. He is redeemed, filled with the Lord’s spirit & love, and all his sins are remitted. He is saved. He is declared a son or daughter of Christ. After this miraculous Baptism of Fire/Spirit event, God will then impart day by day to every sincere convert His grace & mercy & virtues, light & truth, & the fruits of His Spirit will appear within the convert and God will gradually perfect (sanctify) the convert, in a long gradual process. So a sudden miraculous event must come first (justification), followed by a long slow process (sanctification), which will in the end make us perfect, after the image & likeness of Jesus Christ. Both justification & sanctification are accomplished 100% by the power & grace of God, as we yield our hearts unto him. Not of ourselves, lest we should boast.

    But the sudden miraculous event (bp of fire & of the H.G.) can’t be skipped! Just as there’s no point in baptizing a bag of sand, there’s no point in pursuing sanctification until AFTER we’ve come down into the depths of humility & despair, fully penitent, crying out to God with ALL our broken heart, might, mind, and strength, and received the baptism of fire & of the Holy Spirit.

    Miracles (including the bp of fire & of the H.G.) DO happen in our day. I can joyfully testify to that, and also heartily recommend a small book entitled HE IS MIGHTY TO SAVE by Vardell Taylor. He experienced the baptism of fire & the Holy Ghost too. Other instances may be seen at https://docs.google.com/document/d/12eZNmJX2T7l3qvSR2XJGG1Kd-oN0CrsCjEeCURCNynU (a document which was shared with me). Also, an article by Corbin T. Valluz in The Journal of Book of Mormon Studies vol. 3 no. 1 is recommended reading. It is entitled, “Cry Redemption: The Plan of Redemption as Taught in the Book of Mormon.” The full article is online in the Scholars Archive at https://scholarsarchive.byu.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1040&context=jbms

    • Seeker Jul 4, 2020

      Most of the 2019 book by Vardell Taylor which i mentioned, HE IS MIGHTY TO SAVE, may be read online at https://books.google.com/books?id=_qGqDwAAQBAJ&pg=PT5 (the full text was scanned by google books, but a portion is withheld by them. You can scroll down & read nearly all of it though).

      My own miraculous baptism of fire and the Holy Ghost was virtually identical to Vardell’s, as well as to the experiences & feelings described in the google doc linked above (the link is within my earlier post): namely, the detailed experiences by Lorenzo Snow, Heber C. Kimball, Luman Shurtleff, and “Finrock” all sound very similar to mine. But with me, the difference was that when it came, it was totally unexpected because i wasn’t seeking for it. i hadn’t been taught that i could, or should, seek for the baptism of fire & the accompanying miraculous gift. i was simply praying with all my heart not for myself, but for someone else. Someone who had hurt me very very deeply, that i had already been trying to mend the relationship with for several months by kind loving words & kind loving actions & everything i could think of, but nothing had worked. I don’t think i would have been capable of praying with such fervent sincerity and intensity and faith for myself, because my feeling is that i’m not important. I’m nothing, nobody. Why would God care about me? i’m not important. i had long felt that way deep down. Yet, i had very deep love for someone ELSE, and great motivation & desire to bless that person’s life in every way, & to bless their heart & soul. So when i prayed for those blessings to come to that person, in detail pouring out my heart & pleading with God to bless that person with joy, peace, hope, love, happiness, and everything good, my prayer was 100% genuine & heartfelt, & i prayed and cried out to God with all the energy of my heart might mind & strength. At the time i was a mess, crying and slobbering on the floor. i guess part of the prayer was that i’m sorry i’m such a stupid worthless whatever, & had done so many things wrong. why would anyone care about me? i just knew that i cared deeply about other people. i knew i couldn’t (wasn’t able) to bless that person’s life with happiness because they had pushed me away, and i didn’t understand why. So i was at the point where i had “hit bottom” or came to the end of my rope. i just gave up or surrendered trying to understand why, and gave up any thought of trying to fix things (since i’d already tried everything i could think of & it hadn’t worked). i surrendered. There was nothing else i could do but pray. My only desire was for God to truly bless that beloved person. Not with only a few blessings, but with every blessing He had to give. It didn’t matter what happened to me anymore. I was willing to give up everything i had. Even my life if that was to be the price. That was my offering of a broken heart i guess. I knew God could do it, i believed that God and his son Jesus Christ existed, and i really DESIRED fervently for the Lord’s blessings to be given to that person. Even if it meant i would have nothing, i was willing to give everything up.

      So if you have an ex or someone else who has hurt you very very very deeply and has broken your heart, try praying for that person. Not just a normal prayer, but with ALL your entire heart, might, mind & strength. Instead of turning to suicide, or to anger against another, cry out to God with your whole heart instead. Turn your hopes towards God for help. Pray for that beloved person. If you’re in such a desperate dark place of despair as i was, yet have faith & hope in God, he will surely hear you and send help. Determine in your heart & feelings to go beyond a grudging forgiveness for the person who has broken your heart, even beyond a wholehearted forgiveness: really pray fervently, fervently, with everything you’ve got, in detail for the Lord to bless that person. Pour out your whole heart in pleading for the Lord to bless them. Maybe it will work for you as it did for me: that the blessings you are praying for, to be given to another, will rebound upon your own head. At the time I was a mess, crying and slobbering on the floor, with my eyes closed and tears pouring down. So imagine my surprise when suddenly i felt a literal energy, like a “whoosh” of something tangible, literally flowing outward from my chest/heart area. That was some sort of spiritual energy of my wholehearted prayer flowing out, is my best guess now. Or maybe it was a clog being cleared from my heart. At the time, i didn’t have time to think. Immediately after the “whoosh”, i guess the term would be that “my spiritual eyes were opened” and i could see 360 degrees all around me and above me at the same time. I was taken by complete surprise & shock, & wasn’t able to process yet what was happening. It was so unexpected. I never thought or imagined such a thing could happen. This was 22 and a half years after my baptism at age 14, and nothing even remotely like this had ever happened to me before. In an instant I saw heavenly beings standing around me in a circle, in the manner of a circle of priesthood brethren bestowing a blessing, and i could see they were REAL, not imagined. I could see all around my head 360 degrees, like a panoramic view, and straight above at the same time. I guess my spirit was sitting upright at that point, because my body was still prostrate on the floor but “i” was sitting up. It’s such a surprise when you thought you were alone in a darkened room praying on the floor in such a humiliating condition, and suddenly you’re not alone. They see you and know everything you are feeling and thinking, and you can just FEEL their love & compassion. I guess my spirit had partially left my body, because from the voracious reading i did afterwards in an attempt to figure out what had happened to me, i realized it was similar to a near-death experience. It was much more REAL than anything in this life. It’s like my whole life had been a dream up to that point but now i was awake for the first time. Or like being dead before, but now alive. Or like i had been in dark foggy clouds before, but now i had come up onto a mountaintop, and saw the sun for the first time. But those impressions came AFTER, not before, those heavenly beings imparted the spirit/light (spirit element of fire & holy ghost) upon my head & into me. It happened like this: The beings of light surrounding me were wearing robes, but they were shining so i couldn’t see their features or any details. I saw what looked like a sphere of light which looked to be made of the same light (spirit matter) that they themselves were made of. They were holding the sphere of light, or rather it was floating just above my head and they were gently directing it downwards upon my head. The instant it touched me, the rest happened just as Lorenzo Snow, Heber C. Kimball, Luman Shurtliff, Finrock, Vardell Taylor, and many others have described (see the google doc). I hope all this is not “too sacred to share.” There’s more, but no time to write it now. Perhaps later. Happy 4th of July everyone! Love and blessings to all of you!

      • Ranae Jul 4, 2020

        Thanks for the details. It helps me see the connection between what I have experienced in my life and what people seem to be looking for. I have my own experience of having a blocked heart cleared with the energy flowing from the heart/chest outward as a result of a similar prayer, without the subsequent manifestation you described. However, I don’t feel that it was either the beginning or the end of what God is doing with me. It was the first of several experiences where God let me know he loves me personally. I don’t feel that it changed my heart in any way other than being better able to feel love from God and other people.

        Honestly, I am at peace with this subject in my life. CS Lewis (borrowing from George MacDonald) described what God does to us once we give ourselves to Him as Christians as a house remodeling. God’s idea of perfection is much different from what I have in mind for my house. I can understand when he fixes leaky pipes and damaged floors, but when he starts knocking out walls, I may start to wonder if this was such a good idea after all. I may be content with a comfortable cottage, but he is making a palace fit for His spirit to love in.

    • Ranae Jul 4, 2020

      Seeker, thanks for your contribution to the discussion here. I guess what I want to ask you is how your description of being redeemed from the fall fits with my outline of the refining fires. You say that baptism of fire and the baptism of the Holy Ghost are separate but related, and that sanctification takes place after spiritual rebirth. In this case, if someone sees the process of sanctification taking place in their lives, being able to recognize a portion of what God is doing through bringing them through what might be considered hell on earth as a changed person, more able to exemplify charity, with a heart that desires the well-being of their fellowmen, and bringing forth good works, such as visiting the prisoner, feeding the hungry, turning the other cheek, etc., would you take that as evidence that they have also received the mighty change of heart and been born again as a son or daughter of God?

      • Seeker Jul 5, 2020

        A person who has received it is the only one who knows for sure whether he/she has received the baptism of fire & H.G. & thus been “born again, changed from a carnal and fallen state to a state of righteousness, being redeemed of God, becoming his [son or daughter].” (Mosiah 27:23-29, see also Alma ch.5 and Moses 6:47-68). I think that’s why Joseph went into the grove to pray, to enquire of his status before God. We must do the same, and Lectures on Faith helps to teach us how. We may know of a surety, but only from God himself. If the spiritual rebirth has happened, the gift of charity accompanies it, giving a person instantly, as you described, “a heart that desires the well-being of their fellowmen, and bringing forth good works, such as visiting the prisoner, feeding the hungry, turning the other cheek, etc.” Their heart is changed. I believe that some people who have a full near-death experience receive this transformation during that event, because these persons testify that they have seen Jesus & have been utterly changed & transformed by the light/love of God permeating their spirit. I’m not very good at explaining things, so i hope the links i posted earlier will help (especially Vardell Taylor’s book HE IS MIGHTY TO SAVE). He explains it much more clearly & concisely than i do. I just discovered his book a few weeks ago.

        It (the baptism of fire & Holy “Ghost”) is a sudden miraculous EVENT in all examples given in the scriptures and is described by several synonymous words & phrases: being redeemed, saved, changed from a carnal & fallen state to a state of righteousness; the mighty change; justified (made JUST in the eyes of God because of Jesus’ atonement & righeousness, not our own); becoming a newborn babe in Christ & adopted as his son/daughter. So it seems to me that justification is a sudden miraculous EVENT (like a birth), and will be followed by a slow gradual PROCESS (which is like raising the child to its full stature). God/Jesus won’t abandon his adopted child! He will raise the child. That gradual slow process is called sanctification (being made into a saint, made perfect, perfected into the exact image & likeness of Jesus Christ, sharing in all his virtues).

        So through the sudden justification event (baptism of fire & Holy Spirit, the final step in the Doctrine of Christ) and then the subsequent sanctification process, humans may eventually become “JUST men made perfect” (D&C 76:69): by being first JUSTIFIED (made just, by the “mighty change”) and later SANCTIFIED (made saintly or perfect). Both the sudden justification & the gradual sanctification are imparted to us through the Holy Spirit, which is the mind & heart & intelligence/consciousness of the Father & the Son.

        Often we skip over the “mighty change” part, and focus on trying to become perfect or sanctified (like a pickle being changed into a cucumber, or like dust slowly settling on a shelf) without it. This won’t work.

        I think it’s true that sometimes the trials and hardships of life are part of the refining fire/sanctification process, but only IF we have already received the “mighty change” (justification, spiritual birth, baptism of fire & Holy Ghost). But if we have not yet received it (the mighty change) then they are not. In that case trials are given to humble us and get us to the point where we “hit bottom” so that then we will then cry out to God in humility, faith, desperation, etc. with all the energy of our hearts, and if we do so & are ready, he will gift us with the “mighty change”. We must pray to find out for ourselves if we have received this mighty change. I was very confused at first & didn’t know what had happened to me when God manifested himself unto me in great power, back in late fall 1994 in the event i have described. We must find out & know for ourselves of our status before God, as the sixth Lecture on Faith teaches (http://lecturesonfaith.com/6
        ).

        I hope this clarifies things. I didn’t mean to single you out or to direct my entire comments in my previous post to you only, so i apologize. Your comment about the baptism of fire and baptism of the Holy Ghost being two separate yet complimentary things caught my attention & got me started. I think they are separate, since the vessel must first be cleansed (acually changed inwardly into a whole new vessel) before the “new wine” can be put in, but yet these two, the fire & Holy Ghost, are inexorably linked & work in tandem. Together, they accomplish the “mighty change”: the spiritual rebirth which is called JUSTIFICATION. (SANCTIFICATION is a separate thing, being the slow gradual process which follows justification). Justification is the same thing as baptism of fire & the Holy Ghost. So perhaps it is a mistake to say the baptism of fire & Holy Ghost are separate, because they always come together, in tandem, one immediately following the other, working a sudden “mighty change”. The description of fire & Holy Ghost being two separate things, is only because there are different operations of the spirit upon us. When the spirit is bestowed upon us, first, like fire, it cleanses us suddenly. It feels wonderful though, so wonderful that it is beyond description. Next, it fills us: with joy, peace, love, pure testimony of God & Christ, communication & COMMUNION with all the heavenly host, with God/Jesus Christ above them all, at the top, smiling down upon you and loving you. When you experience that, you KNOW that he knows ALL about you yet he loves you anyway. He knows your every thought & feeling, because it is all part of His intelligence (his consciousness!), which he has set off into different spheres (each person) and given each one their separate agency for their portion. But he still knows them all. When you are taken up into communion with the hosts of heaven, you taste of the love of God in & through them all; all of it coming from God & flowing through God’s redeemed hosts to you. You experience all the love & joy & feeling of unity indescribable, knowing that they know all your thoughts & feelings & they are sharing all their thoughts & feelings of joy love etc. with you. They are all sharing ONE mind & heart: the Holy Spirit! They are all filled & quickened by the same pure light that carries & consists of perfect love, perfect joy, and perfect hope, all godly virtues & “every good thing” (the spirit matter/substance/intelligence), and within it they all COMMUNE with one another, and communicate, no matter how far away they are from each other. God’s personage or tabernacle is only in one place at a time, but his mind/consciousness/intelligence fills all the immensity of space and by it he knows all things, has all power, upholds all things, and gives life & light to all things, to whatever degree of brightness they will accept.

  7. Lee Williams Jul 5, 2020

    I am reminded of the 3rd verse lyrics of the Lutheran Hymn “Zions Stands With Hills Surrounded” written by Thomas Kelley in 1806. ” In the furnace God may prove thee, Thence to bring thee forth more bright. But can never cease to love thee; thou art precious in his sight.” I like the word precious in this verse and hearkens to the worth of precious metal that is born in our mortal experience, God’s holy furnace.