God’s Desire; A Holy City On Earth; Does It Fire Your Soul With Joyful Anticipations?

“The building up of Zion is a cause that has interested the people of God in every age; it is a theme upon which prophets, priests, and kings have dwelt with peculiar delight; they have looked forward with joyful anticipation to the day in which we live; and fired with heavenly and joyful anticipations they have sung and written and prophesied of this our day; but they died without the sight; we are the favored people that God has made choice of to bring about the Latter-day glory; it is for us to see, participate in and help to roll forward the Latter-day glory, the dispensation of the fulness of times, when God will gather together all things that are in heaven, and all things that are upon the earth, even in one, when the Saints of God will be gathered in one from every nation, and kindred, and people, and tongue, when Jews will be gathered together into one, the wicked will also be gathered together to be destroyed, as spoken of by the prophets; the Spirit of God will also dwell with His people, and be withdrawn from the rest of the nations, and all things whether in heaven or on earth will be in one, even in Christ.”

“The heavenly Priesthood will unite with the earthly, to bring about those great purposes; and whilst we are thus united in one common cause, to roll forth the kingdom of God, the heavenly Priesthood are not idle spectators, the Spirit of God will be showered down from above, and it will dwell in our midst.”

“The blessings of the Most High will rest upon our tabernacles, and our name will be handed down to future ages; our children will rise up and call us blessed; and generations yet unborn will dwell with peculiar delight upon the scenes that we have passed through, the privations that we have endured; the untiring zeal that we have manifested; the all but insurmountable difficulties that we have overcome in laying the foundation of a work that brought about the glory and blessing which they will realize; a work that God and angels have contemplated with delight for generations past; that fired the souls of the ancient patriarchs and prophets; a work that is destined to bring about the destruction of the powers of darkness, the renovation of the earth, the glory of God, and the salvation of the human family.”

(TPJS, p.231, Further divided into paragraphs for ease of reading. Emphasis mine.)

Keith Henderson

Honey, I love you!

Last night in the fellowship meeting I attended I looked around and saw several single individuals in attendance. My thoughts and concern went out to them as I remember many of the circumstances I have been privy to in the course of baptizing others. Some who come seeking baptism, both men and women, have come to the point of asking for it without the agreement, and in some cases without the knowledge of their spouse. The pain of this rift between partners is all too evident when listening to the accounts of their belief in this doctrine, and the unbelief of their spouse.

Some believe it to be their duty to God, over the stability of their marriage, to go ahead with their baptism or to attend fellowship meetings regardless of the outcome. In these things, and many others, we face great challenges in our marriages. We forget sometimes that our greatest accomplishment can be to make our marriages holy. “Our marriages must become holy.”(Denver Snuffer.) With this in mind I would like to bring to our remembrance some things which have been said both recently, and things said around 180 years ago:

. To the teachers and baptizers I would like you to remember that the 1835 edition of the D&C contained an official article on marriage which stated: “It is not right to persuade a woman to be baptized contrary to the will of her husband, neither is it lawful to influence her to leave her husband.”

. To all of us I think another quoting of Hyrum’s epistle to the church in England, as the then co-president of the Church, may serve to set many minds at ease about this topic:

“To our well beloved brother Parley P. Pratt, and to the elders of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in England, and scattered abroad throughout all Europe, and to the Saints–Greeting:
Whereas, in times past persons have been permitted to gather with the Saints at Nauvoo, in North America–such as husbands leaving their wives and children behind; also, such as wives leaving their husbands, and such as husbands leaving their wives who have no children, and some because their companions are unbelievers. All this kind of proceedings we consider to be erroneous and for want of proper information. And the same should be taught to all the saints, and not suffer families to be broken up on any account whatever if it be possible to avoid it. Suffer no man to leave his wife because she is an unbeliever. These things are an evil and must be forbidden by the authorities of the church or they will come under condemnation; for the gathering is not in haste nor by flight, but to prepare all things before you, and you know not but the unbeliever may be converted and the Lord heal him; but let the believers exercise faith in God and the unbelieving husband shall be sanctified by the believing wife; and the unbelieving wife by the believing husband, and families are preserved and saved from a great evil which we have seen verified before our eyes. Behold this is a wicked generation, full of lyings, and deceit, and craftiness; and the children of the wicked are wiser than the children of light; that is, they are more crafty; and it seems that it has been the case in all ages of the world.
And the man who leaves his wife and travels to a foreign nation, has his mind overpowered with darkness, and Satan deceived him and flatters him with the graces of the harlot, and before he is aware he is disgraced forever; and greater is the danger for the woman that leaves her husband. The evils resulting from such proceedings are of such a nature as to oblige us to cut them off from the church.
And we also forbid that a woman leave her husband because he is an unbeliever. We also forbid that a man shall leave his wife because she is an unbeliever. If he be a bad man (i.e., the believer) there is a law to remedy that evil. And if the law divorce them, then they are at liberty; otherwise they are bound as long as they two shall live, and it is not our prerogative to go beyond this; if we do, it will be at the expense of our reputation.
These things we have written in plainness and we desire that they should be publicly known, and request this be published in the STAR.
May the Lord bestow his blessings upon all the Saints richly, and hasten the gathering, and bring about the fullness of the everlasting covenant are the prayers of your brethren.”
(The forgoing was written by Hyrum Smith the Patriarch and co-president of the church, and any emphasis is mine.)

I can’t hardly believe how apropos this foregoing is for us today.

. “God has something in mind for each one of us. Each one will be cared for in His due time. Trust in Him. Take your problems to Him and weary Him.”

It is such a joy when the man and the woman are as one in their belief of the Doctrine of Christ, in what the scriptures truly say, in their desires together for their future, and in their collective belief in God and His commands to them. I heard once, somewhere, that it is such a rare thing when this is so that even the angels come down to see this phenomenon. But regardless of whether it exists between us as marriage partners today or not, our effort needs to be always in that direction. it is such an important thing in its scope and potential that it must be pursued always and only with persuasion, always in long suffering, by gentleness and meekness, and by love unfeigned; by kindness and pure knowledge. Perhaps you have just realized this is all a priesthood thing, which is as applicable to women as it is to men. God bless us all!

Keith Henderson

An Education Like None Other

I attend a fellowship meeting once each month with a group that meets in Riverdale. Last night was our scheduled meeting. For me it was a milestone meeting.

When Denver Snuffer gave the portion of his talk “Remembering the Restoration” in Grand Junction Colorado, he made a statement to the effect that “if you want an education like none other, then gather a group together and pay your tithing among yourselves, and help the poor among you.” Some who are very close to me and my family decided without further persuasion that was exactly what we would do. We began immediately to meet as two families which also included married children and their spouses, and began to pay the money previously given to the LDS Church to ourselves for use among “our” poor.

Almost from the beginning, in this quite intimate setting of 13 individuals, the idea was expressed that we should all affix our names to an agreement which would state our intent as a group and include a statement to the effect that anyone could withdraw at any time, but they must realize they would not receive any money back if they left, or any effects their donated money might have produce.

Shortly after the 10th portion of that talk, when it was re-iterated that we should begin to form fellowships, our small group was besieged with requests to join us in our meetings. That group has now swollen to the size that about 100 attend each meeting and I’m sure that many more have attended although perhaps not regularly. Throughout this growth the “Entry Promise” [which it came to be called] has been used to identify “members” who would have voting status on any group decisions which were to be made, particularly on how any collected tithing money should be used, and up until last night has continued to identify what was expected of those who would be a member. It was a good thing to know what we were about, and to be able to “control” somewhat, this increasingly diverse group. And I, particularly had a vested interest in this document, as it was me that wrote the damned thing.

Some things transpired over the last couple of weeks that made necessary a re-visiting of that agreement, and its intended effect, and result, and its potential to wreak havoc on those who had affixed their names to it, and what it was doing to those who wanted to fellowship with us, but would not sign the document. I don’t feel it necessary to go into all that input, but only to say that it began to make me burn with shame that I had essentially been the instigator of such a thing, and although I try not to speak very much in our fellowship meetings anymore, something I had written over a year ago continued to control how [and by who] our meeting was administered. I have since learned that when my opportunity came to instigate the insertion of that document way back when, we all would have been better off if I’d have just gotten on my horse and rode west.

Last night in our scheduled fellowship meeting I stood up and made it known that I would be blotting my name off that document. I stated my reasons why, which was that I essentially have made a grevious error in ever signing it, and then I proposed to the group that the “Entry Promise” be abolished.
Brothers and sisters. Below is a synopsis of what transpired:

Brothers and Sisters

In the meeting this evening a proposal was made and seconded, and then voted on in the affirmative by as far as I could tell every individual present, to abolish the “Entry Agreement.”

In effect I would surmise that what this primarily means is that the fellowship will be comprised of whoever is attending on any given evening.

If any of you reading this have a copy of that agreement, it is no longer supported by the original, as it was shredded in full view of all present tonight, and therefore should be considered null and void.

So, this puts this group back into the realm of an “idea” and not an institution with agreements and requirements.

I can’t tell you how happy this makes me. I hope all feel the same way, but if you don’t, [I was going to say, tough, but instead I will say I personally feel this way is more appropriate.]. It’s a done deal, and has the absolute, unanimous, common consent of everyone who came to the meeting.

Keith Henderson

There are save two churches only

Thoughts, I Think Worth Having

Behold there are save two churches only; the one is the church of the Lamb of God and the other is the church of the devil; wherefore, whoso belongeth not to the church of the lamb of God belongeth to that great church, which is the mother of abominations; and she is the whore of all the earth. (1 Nephi 14: 10.)

If a person looks to the Doctrine of Christ and repents, believes in Christ, and is baptized, and therein accepts the promise of The Father that he will receive the Baptism of Fire, and the Holy Ghost (3 Nephi 11: 35.), which the scriptures say showeth all things, and teacheth the peaceable things of the kingdom (D&C 39: 6.), and if he doeth them and endure to the end (2 Nephi 31: 15.), then Jesus Christ says of that man, “he is of my church.” (D&C 10: 67.)

That man, as described above, has received an assurance of Jesus Christ that, he is of The Church of the Lamb of God.

If that man belongs simultaneously to another church, which does not applaud and promote the acts of that man, but would instead decry, and excommunicate one from their fellowship who follows that doctrine; who by so doing becomes a member of the Church of the Lamb of God; then that other church, which he also holds membership in, has proven itself to him, and to God, that it is not of Christ, but is against Christ, and therefore is the church of the devil.

Any man or institutional policy, which would do such a thing to a righteous man, or try to persuade him that it is not proper to follow the commands of God in such a doctrine, and the sacraments which Jesus Christ has instituted to follow this doctrine, “…………the same is not of me, but is against me; therefore he is not of my church.” (D&C 10: 68.) Such a person or institution is therefore anti-Christ.

Now, this written above, shows the fallacy and danger of hopping between two boughs, so to speak, and God no longer approves of us wasting 3 hours each Sunday attending meetings in which we [seem to] draw near to Him with our mouths, but are actually far from Him in the heart of our content and doctrine, thereby requiring additional [unapproved] time rectifying erroneous doctrine taught to ourselves, and to our children; which now begs the question, how long will we as a people keep attempting to serve God, and whatever Mammon we serve? Can we stretch so far as to keep one foot in one church, and the other in another, and still serve our intended master? If we believe the scriptures, we will know we cannot.

I am reminded of a scene in “Fiddler on the Roof”, in which the Jewish peasant Tevye confronts his daughter Havah about marrying a gentile. She says to him, “Papa, can’t you just accept us?” Tevye turns inward a moment to introspect on his beliefs and who he is, asking himself, “accept them? How can I accept them?” Then using a violent gesture which symbolically pushes them from him, Tevye cries out in anguish, “no Havalah, no! If I bend that far, I’ll break.”

I certainly am not unsympathetic to the issues we face in these times of new requirements placed upon us through the word of God to His servant, and the terrible turmoil which that can unleash upon a family, when children, and parents, and brothers and sisters will not or cannot understand our seemingly aberrant desires to obey God’s forgotten commandments. I am one of us, out here, weeping over my many problems, just as you do over yours:

But….

What if the night falls, and we find our souls not saved in our intended Zion, because we have maintained allegiance with the devil, and his church one hour too long?

Keith Henderson