Saturday, October 5, 2019

"I've always just been blessed to have great faith"

Galatians 2:

20 I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.

If your faith is fully and completely built upon Jesus Christ, this post will fill your heart with even greater Trust in Him.

If your faith is in anything other than will know it by the end of this post.

Since we have opened up to others about our Journey to Christ, we have had those who are lovingly concerned for us share their testimony of, "I've always just been blessed to have great faith" and that they have always had "faith to never question or have any doubts about the church".

That got me thinking...

What is Faith? 

Merriam Webster dictionary defines faith as:

1. Belief and trust in and loyalty to God.
2. Complete Trust.

Faith is TRUST

You could substitute the phrase 'trust in God' every single time the scriptures say 'faith' and you would be saying the exact same thing.

Question: Does God want us to have faith/trust in the church or church leadership?


In my quest to understand if I was 'lacking faith', I have read every single verse that uses the word 'faith' in the Old Testament, New Testament, Book of Mormon, Doctrine and Covenants, and Pearl of Great price. Never once did any verse say to have "faith" in man or an institution. To have faith/trust in man or to make flesh your arm would be doing what 2 Nephi 4:34 describes:
O Lord, I have trusted in thee, and I will trust in thee forever. I will not put my trust in the arm of flesh; for I know that cursed is he that putteth his trust in the arm of flesh. Yea, cursed is he that putteth his trust in man or maketh flesh his arm. 
Let's look at the Joseph Smith translation of James 2:1 
My brethren, ye cannot have the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory, and yet have respect to persons.

Question: What does the opening chapter in the Doctrine and Covenants have to say on the matter?

D&C 1:

18 And also gave commandments to others, that they should proclaim these things unto the world; and all this that it might be fulfilled, which was written by the prophets—
19 The weak things of the world shall come forth and break down the mighty and strong ones, that man should not counsel his fellow man, neither trust in the arm of flesh—
20 But that every man might speak in the name of God the Lord, even the Savior of the world;
21 That faith [trust in God] also might increase in the earth;
Question: What did Joseph Smith have to say about putting our faith/trust in man?

“President Joseph Smith read the 14th chapter of Ezekiel–said the Lord had declared by the Prophet, that the people should each one stand for himself, and depend on no man or men in that state of corruption of the Jewish church–that righteous persons could only deliver their own souls–applied it to the present state of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saintssaid if the people departed from the Lord, they must fall–that they were depending on the Prophet, hence were darkened in their minds, in consequence of neglecting the duties devolving upon themselves…” (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, 237-38). 
Question: What did Moses say about other people having faith and trust in God (rather than depending on Moses)?

Numbers 11: 
24 And Moses went out, and told the people the words of the Lord, and gathered the seventy men of the elders of the people, and set them round about the tabernacle.
25 And the Lord came down in a cloud, and spake unto him, and took of the spirit that was upon him, and gave it unto the seventy elders: and it came to pass, that, when the spirit rested upon them, they prophesied, and did not cease.
26 But there remained two of the men in the camp, the name of the one was Eldad, and the name of the other Medad: and the spirit rested upon them; and they were of them that were written, but went not out unto the tabernacle: and they prophesied in the camp.
27 And there ran a young man, and told Moses, and said, Eldad and Medad do prophesy in the camp.
28 And Joshua the son of Nun, the servant of Moses, one of his young men, answered and said, My lord Moses, forbid them.
29 And Moses said unto him, Enviest thou for my sake? would God that all the Lord's people were prophets, and that the Lord would put his spirit upon them
What was Moses reaction to people outside of the tabernacle rising up and prophesying? Did he tell leadership to get back in their purview? Did he tell them they weren't part of the 70 and to stop?? Did he say that he was the only one authorized to prophesy?


Moses' response was: "Would to God that ALL THE LORD'S PEOPLE were PROPHETS and the Lord would put His spirit upon them!" Moses, like all prophets, was the messenger, not the message.

Question: So what IS great (or exceeding) faith?

Ether 3:

9 And the Lord said unto him: Because of thy faith thou hast seen that I shall take upon me flesh and blood; and never has man come before me with such exceeding faith as thou hast; for were it not so ye could not have seen my finger. Sawest thou more than this?
10 And he answered: Nay; Lord, show thyself unto me.
11 And the Lord said unto him: Believest thou the words which I shall speak?
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.
Later we see what WE are promised if WE have FAITH:
Ether 4:

7 And in that day that they shall exercise faith in me, saith the Lord, even as the brother of Jared did, that they may become sanctified in me, then will I manifest unto them the things which the brother of Jared saw, even to the unfolding unto them all my revelations, saith Jesus Christ, the Son of God, the Father of the heavens and of the earth, and all things that in them are. 
Ether 12: 

19 And there were many whose faith was so exceedingly strong, even before Christ came, who could not be kept from within the veil, but truly saw with their eyes the things which they had beheld with an eye of faith, and they were glad.

Question: So where are we at with our faith as a people?


If we're not exercising the kind of faith the Brother of Jared did...then we are still working on the Aaronic level of faith (which is the ministering of angel's [...who stand as sentinels] ) versus possessing the Melchizedek priesthood level which requires speaking with God face to face (see our paper here for scripture references to further explore the Melchizedek priesthood).

Moroni gives us something to think about when we examine our lives:
Moroni 7:

37 Behold I say unto you, Nay; for it is by faith that miracles are wrought; and it is by faith that angels appear and minister unto men; wherefore, if these things have ceased wo be unto the children of men, for it is because of unbelief, and all is vain

Question: So how do we have perfect faith, or TRUST in the Lord???

2 Nephi 9: 

23 And he commandeth all men that they must repent, and be baptized in his name, having perfect faith in the Holy One of Israel, or they cannot be saved in the kingdom of God.
Consider reading all of James 2 to understand what "perfect faith" looks like in action (hint: think Abraham). Perfect faith leads to receiving your calling and election and as you continue in "perfect faith", it will lead to your calling and election made sure.

What does your endowment in the Temple point to? What is each sign and token leading you to? Does it say anywhere that your endowment is rewarded to you upon death...or is it to be obtained NOW?
Alma 34:

32 For behold, this life is the time for men to prepare to meet God; yea, behold the day of this life is the day for men to perform their labors.
33 And now, as I said unto you before, as ye have had so many witnesses, therefore, I beseech of you that ye do not procrastinate the day of your repentance until the end; for after this day of life, which is given us to prepare for eternity, behold, if we do not improve our time while in this life, then cometh the night of darkness wherein there can be no labor performed.

Was it by faith in an institution that Abraham offered his son, Isaac, as a sacrifice? Or faith in a man that caused Moses to part the Red Sea? Or faith in the history of his people that saved Daniel in the Lion's den?

1 Corinthians 2:

5 That your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God.
If you feel that temple attendance, tithing, hours in service, callings accepted and magnified, and even how far you get in the hierarchy of your ward, stake, and church, enhances your salvation...YOU HAVE MISSED THE MARK.

Question: What is "the mark"? Don't you think that seeking a personal relationship with Jesus, in this life, is missing the mark?


He IS the the sure place.

No amount of works will save you. None. Zero. Only faith in JESUS saves, totally and completely. 
James 2:

18 Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works. 
We often read those verses and don't bother to understand the entire chapter. What was James getting at..."showing our faith by our works". Temple work? Family History work? Charity work? Missionary work? What "work"??? 

Let's look further at the verses in James 2 and substitute the word "works" with "seeking and doing the Lord's will". It's a little brain bending to read but stick with it. Don't be that person who skims it and succumbs to a tictok level of an attention span!
14 What doth it profit, my brethren, though a man say he hath faith, and have not works [and does not do what the Lord prompts him]? can faith save him?
15 If a brother or sister be naked, and destitute of daily food,
16 And one of you say unto them, Depart in peace, be ye warmed and filled; notwithstanding ye give them not those things which are needful to the body; what doth it profit? (I pay my tithing and a generous fast offering, I don't have to give to the beggar on the street)
17 Even so faith, if it hath not works [if you don't follow what the Lord prompts you to do], is dead, being alone.
18 Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works [I follow the promptings of the Lord]: shew me thy faith without works [without following the promptings of the Lord], and I will shew thee my faith by my works [by following what the Lord prompts me to do].
19 Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble.
20 But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works [faith without following the promptings of the Lord] is dead?
21 Was not Abraham our father justified by works [justified by following the promptings of the Lord], when he had offered Isaac his son upon the altar?
22 Seest thou how faith wrought with his works [Abraham's trusted/had faith in the Lord], and by works [by following the promptings of the Lord] was faith made perfect?
23 And the scripture was fulfilled which saith, Abraham believed God, and it was imputed unto him for righteousness: and he was called the Friend of God.
24 Ye see then how that by works [by following the promptings of the Lord] a man is justified, and not by faith only.
25 Likewise also was not Rahab the harlot justified by works [justified by following the promptings of the Lord], when she had received the messengers, and had sent them out another way?
26 For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works [faith without following the promptings of the Lord] is dead also.

1 Peter 1:

21 Who by him do believe in God,...and gave him glory; that your faith and hope might be in God.
1 Nephi 12:

11 And the angel said unto me: Look! And I looked, and beheld three generations pass away in righteousness; and their garments were white even like unto the Lamb of God. And the angel said unto me: These are made white in the blood of the Lamb, because of their faith [trust] in him.
Hebrews 11:

6 But without faith [trust in God] it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.
And lastly...
Hebrews 12:

2 Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.

In Christ Alone 


Caleb + Kelsey 

Monday, September 30, 2019

Under Condemnation

In D&C 88: 33 it says: “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.”

Joseph Smith recorded in the introduction of the Book of Mormon: 
“I told the brethren that the Book of Mormon was the most correct of any book on earth, and the keystone of our religion, and a man would get nearer to God by abiding by its precepts, than by any other book.”

We’ve all seen an arch with a keystone at the top holding up both sides. Remove the keystone, the entire archway crumbles.

The LDS Church has done an amazing job preserving the Book of Mormon and sharing it with the world - the Church’s growth is a testament to that. If our religion were to ever replace the Book of Mormon as its keystone with something else, it would fail. 

When the Church was only a year and a half old the Lord revealed something shattering and humbling to the Saints in section 84 of the Doctrine and Covenants:
54 And your minds in times past have been darkened because of unbelief, and because you have treated lightly the things you have received—
In the April 1986 General Conference, President Benson expounded on this section by saying:
Unless we read the Book of Mormon and give heed to its teachings, the Lord has stated in section 84 of the Doctrine and Covenants that the whole Church is under condemnation: “And this condemnation resteth upon the children of Zion, even all.” (D&C 84:56) The Lord continues: “And they shall remain under this condemnation until they repent and remember the new covenant, even the Book of Mormon and the former commandments which I have given them, not only to say, but to do according to that which I have written.” (D&C 84:57)
 President Benson continues:
“... we not only need to say more about the Book of Mormon, but we need to do more with it. Why? The Lord answers: “That they may bring forth fruit meet for their Father’s kingdom; otherwise there remaineth a scourge and judgment to be poured out upon the children of Zion.” (D&C 84:58.) We have felt that scourge and judgment!”
President Benson concludes: 
"The Book of Mormon has not been, nor is it yet, the center of our personal study, family teaching, preaching, and missionary work. Of this we must repent.”
In the nearly 190 years since the Lord gave that revelation - the Lord has not lifted that condemnation for the church. We have treated lightly the things we have received, which is the Book of Mormon, and we are still under condemnation for having done and continuing to do so.
I don’t know when or even if the condemnation will be lifted for the church. But I do know and can stand as a witness that the Lord is merciful and will bless those who are willing to do the work necessary to lift the condemnation for themselves and their family. 

About seven years ago, my husband and I read this section together and had a deep desire to repent and to lift the condemnation for our family. We knelt down and told the Lord the desires of our hearts and prayed that our family might be guided in the steps necessary to remove the condemnation. We followed the promptings of the Spirit and put forth great effort coupled with sincere repentance. Since that time we have experienced profound blessings in our home and family. Two that we cherish beyond expression are that revelation flows more freely and that every member of our family who is able to express themselves with words, has experienced visions and dreams with the Savior and more. Repenting and remembering the new covenant, even The Book of Mormon has borne fruit and we see that the fruit is good. 

What blessings might flow to your family, and to the church as a whole, if this burden of condemnation were thrown off by humble repentance to not only to say, but to do according that that which He has written?

What does it mean to “treat lightly the things [we] have received”?

Here are some of the ways we may treat it lightly:  We pass over and don’t read the Book of Mormon at all. Or, we read it but we don’t think about it and study it out. Or, we read it and simplify it down to inspirational stories and labor to map out timelines and remember names. Or, maybe we read the Book of Mormon but fail to have eyes to see and ears to hear the Lord speaking to us personally in the patterns and the promises and the covenants that are offered.   

Remember the Joseph Smith quote from earlier when he said that “a man (or woman) will get nearer to God by abiding by The Book of Mormons precepts than by any other book"? If we are trying to take the book seriously then we will see patterns and examples of people in the Book of Mormon coming close to God and in some cases - even standing in the Lord’s presence in mortality. 

We can ask ourselves, “How near to God can I get? How near to God have others attained?" Not everyone desires the same closeness with God. But God desires great familiarity with each of us. **He will invite and allow us to be as close to Him as we individually desire.** Remember God doesn’t stiff arm us, He desires to embrace us. We are the ones who choose to either keep God at arm’s length or to humbly, and tenaciously approach our Savior who loves us so much. 

Here are a few examples from the scriptures of just how near He desires us to be with Him. How much He longs for that embrace: 

3 Nephi 9:14 Yea, verily I say unto you, if ye will come unto me ye shall have eternal life. Behold, mine arm of mercy is extended towards you, and whosoever will come, him will I receive; and blessed are those who come unto me.
2 Nephi 26:24 He doeth not anything save it be for the benefit of the world; for he loveth the world, even that he layeth down his own life that he may draw all men unto him. Wherefore, he commandeth none that they shall not partake of his salvation.
25 Behold, doth he cry unto any, saying: Depart from me? Behold, I say unto you, Nay; but he saith: Come unto me all ye ends of the earth, buy milk and honey, without money and without price. 
26 Behold, hath he commanded any that they should depart out of the synagogues, or out of the houses of worship? Behold, I say unto you, Nay. 
 27 Hath he commanded any that they should not partake of his salvation? Behold I say unto you, Nay; but he hath given it free for all men; and he hath commanded his people that they should persuade all men to repentance. 
 28 Behold, hath the Lord commanded any that they should not partake of his goodness? Behold I say unto you, Nay; but all men are privileged the one like unto the other, and none are forbidden. 
2 Nephi 1:15 But behold, the Lord hath redeemed my soul from hell; I have beheld his glory, and I am encircled about eternally in the arms of his love.

Listen to Moroni and “seek this Jesus” who so anxiously seeks us:
39 And then shall ye know that I have seen Jesus, and that he hath talked with me face to face, and that he told me in plain humility, even as a man telleth another in mine own language, concerning these things;
40 And only a few have I written, because of my weakness in writing.
41 And now, I would commend you to seek this Jesus of whom the prophets and apostles have written, that the grace of God the Father, and also the Lord Jesus Christ, and the Holy Ghost, which beareth record of them, may be and abide in you forever. Amen.

What if you decided you wanted to come out from under condemnation? What would that look like? What if you humbled yourself, hiked a mountain, built an altar and cried out to the Lord until He cried back to you? 
(Enos 1, 1 Nephi 2:7, 2 Nephi 16:6, Alma 17:4)

Micah Tyler