Thursday, May 28, 2015

Obedience to Priesthood Authority

"According to examples which are recorded in sacred writ, and which have actually been witnessed by many of the Saints of the present dispensation, men are called to receive the Priesthood, and in virtue of it, perform a certain work for which they seem adapted, and afterwards they are suffered to dishonor that Priesthood by using the influence which they have gained, to lead others astray; and thereby dishonour and reproach have at times been brought upon those who considered it a duty to listen to their counselBy being enabled thus to accomplish their covetous, lustful, and unlawful ends, they have brought disgrace and suffering upon others, incurred the wrath of God and the disapprobation of His people upon themselves, and the power of the Priesthood has altogether departed from them, for its virtue will not abide with those who violate its laws.  
Because of these facts, and the apparent imperfections of men on whom God confers authority, the question is sometimes asked, -- to what extent is obedience to those who hold the Priesthood required? This is a very important question, and one which should be understood by all saints. In attempting to answer this question, we would repeat, in short, what we have already written, that willing obedience to the laws of God, administered by the Priesthood, is indispensable to salvation; but we would further add, that a proper conservative to this power exists for the benefit of all, and none are required to tamely and blindly submit to a man because he has a portion of the Priesthood. 
We have heard men who hold the Priesthood remark that they would do anything they were told to do by those who preside over them [even] if they knew it was wrong; but such obedience as this is worse than folly to us; it is slavery in the extreme; and the man who would thus willingly degrade himself, should not claim a rank among intelligent beings, until he turns from his folly. A man of God would despise the ideaOthers, in the extreme exercise of their almighty (!) authority have taught that such obedience was necessary, and that no matter what the saints were told do by their presidents they should do it without any questions. When Elders of Israel will so far indulge in these extreme notions of obedience as to teach them to the people, it is generally because they have it in their hearts to do wrong themselves. 
-- Elder Samuel Richards, president of the European Mission and editor of the Millennial Star, Volume 14Nov. 13, 1852, pages 594-595. Italics in the original; bold and underlining emphasis added.)
Sadly, I have seen this in the course of my days. 

One of the high priests who sat upon the high council that excommunicated me, actually said to me: "Why do we even need the Holy Ghost when we have a living prophet?"

Why, indeed.

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Signs of the times

Thousands of current (and former) Latter-day Saints are becoming increasingly (and painfully) aware that LDS leaders, beginning before the death of Joseph Smith, manipulated historical narratives, changed and abused sacred ordinances and associations, and reinterpreted supposedly “unchanging” and “unchangeable” gospel principles and practices. This “evolution” in LDS theology and practice continues (and accelerates) today. LDS “believers” generally classify these remarkable changes as “evidence we are lead by a living prophet” while the incredulous, wary and (perhaps) better informed are branded as “apostates” — even if they yet believe in the divinity of Jesus Christ, the prophetic ministry of Joseph Smith and the veracity of the Book of Mormon.

The practice of systemic, on-going, Church-wide correlation and massive internal and external media marketing campaigns have kept most Mormons blissfully unaware of these changes. For good reason the book Mormon Doctrine is no longer offered on Deseret Book's shelves nor is the topic frankly or thoroughly discussed in any Church meeting (open to the public). That’s because yesterday’s Mormon “faithful” are today’s “apostates” and yesterday’s orthodoxy is today’s heresy. That tiny faction of saints who first worshipped the Father and Son while embracing both the Bible and the Book of Mormon has morphed into a multi-billion dollar corporate behemoth, whose expansive holdings and fiduciary interests, coupled with legal liability, require the Church to conform to earthly standards, expectations and constraints. The Mormon Church, for the most part, is no longer controlled and directed by divine revelation at the local level but managed and manipulated from Salt Lake at the direction of the world at large.

Just as the world has forced changes of LDS doctrine and practice (with threats of military occupation and legal disincorporation unless the Church changed its stance regarding polygamy) and just as the Church has changed its stance on race and the priesthood, family planning, "obeying" the word of wisdom, homosexuality and homosexual civil unions, the Church will continue to change with the times; thus, the myriad, accelerating, and dramatic changes to Mormon practice and doctrine currently underway and yet to come.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015


I have often wondered why God, with His omniscience and omnipotency, doesn’t just tell us everything. Straight up. Right now. In full.

For instance, how and when will I die?

Aside from the fact that such knowledge would enable me to destroy God — making Him a liar, by my simply refusing to show up for my own “appointment” with the Grim Reaperknowledge in the hands of the wicked is a menace to the universe. 

Even so, by nature of the Fall, are we not all, at some time, “wicked”? And thus being subject to darkness and diminished capacity, do we not all, often, err in our application of knowledge?

Even the “righteous” but untrained and unproven are ill-equipped to handle knowledge of all things.

Only a fool would give a loaded handgun to a toddler! A responsible holder of potentially destructive power is careful to whom he gives it.

The nature of acquiring knowledge — line upon line, precept upon precept — presupposes and guarantees that some will not completely understand or well apply truth. (Who among us does?) Therefore, there will always be those who give and take offense. (However, whether we take offense is given unto us to choose.)

Mankind has existed, more or less, for thousands of years in ignorance. Only now, with knowledge of and access to advanced technology, can some threaten all with thermonuclear holocaust and global tyranny. (Perhaps God’s breaking up the nations at the tower of Babel “delayed” this eventuality.) Now incomplete understanding, coupled with technology, enables some to fly advanced aircraft into mighty buildings and others to persecute saints while ignorant (or beguiling) techno-fascists seek to curb essential carbon dioxide and global monopolists ban light bulbs, thus gaining for themselves advantage (as they suppose) over others by exercising unrighteous dominion.

Those who can be entrusted with omniscience are willing to submit to Divine Will and not exercise unrighteous control over others. They will not use their knowledge to subvert the purposes of God or aggrandize themselves or disrespect the agency and essential development of others. Those desiring to know all things must be willing to voluntarily accept (and submit to) knowledge of their own demise (or the “death” of all they hold dear) in the service of others and their God. They must be willing — and able — to say “not my will but thine be done” in all things and do accordingly. Indeed, they must prove they would never do otherwise.

A true servant of God willingly “shows up” for his own execution and "dies daily", even though he could — and would! — avoid it and pray to let this cup pass from him, if it were possible, in the wisdom of God.

Only those fully unpreoccupied with self or acquiring the substance and glory of this world can be entrusted with omniscience.

Knowledge vs Power

I used to think just “understanding the facts” was the challenge. “Once you know the principles and get the information out there, putting them into practice is relatively easy!”

How naive.

From a child’s perspective, obeying the law of chastity or traveling to the moon seems like child’s play.

Until you try it for real.

This video proves how knowledge without understanding (or faith without works) is insufficient. Knowledge is indeed power, but real knowledge can only be gained by experiential practice.

A testimony is only as good as it what it enables you to do.

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Family Reunion

I am resolved to attend the gathering this weekend in Grand Mesa, making the 12-hour drive today from Southern California to Colorado (with a pit stop overnight in Las Vegas). I am not seeking Jesus in the desert or a spiritual epiphany on a snowy mountain top. I am not going to hear a prophet's voice or to give a sermon. (Though I may do all of those things!) I am endeavoring to be among friends to lend my support to the burgeoning fellowship of believers in Christ who acknowledge and embrace the restoration of the fulness of the gospel begun through Joseph Smith.

If our gathering together in Christ's name welcomes and invites His presence and Spirit among us, so be it.

It is expedient to know one's course is approved of God. I wish to find (and stay on!) that strait and narrow path attended to by the Holy One of Israel. (See 2 Nephi 9:41.) I suspect I will spend many years yet with my family, travailing in the "wilderness", forsaking the world as we strive to learn humility, to exercise faith in God, to obey His commandments and follow His directives, that we might "qualify" and prepare for the Promised Land, to become "Zion".

I recognize that, in this life, weakness and corruption are our common (and continuous!) lot. But the love of God and truth are perfect, and our intentions to embrace both and follow God can be. I believe that through the atonement of Christ I (and my family) may be saved. Ultimately I wish for us to be proven, to be judged "faithful" and "worthy" by Christ Himself, whereby He undertakes to make a covenant with us to do whatever it takes to see that we receive and experience all that is necessary for us to experience eternal life with Him.

Fortunately, He has already done the "heavy" lifting: by bearing the burdens which His Father placed upon Him; by being lifted upon a cross for our sakes; and by lifting Himself (and the world) from death by walking out of that tomb.

Now it is incumbent upon us to do our part and follow Him.

During this trip I plan to partake of the Lord's Supper as it was originally administered, using the emblems Christ originally authorized and established. I will be doing this for the first time in 53 years. I confess it causes me no small amount of trepidation. I am loath to "break with tradition" and embrace a practice that has been discouraged, even condemned, by my former peers and religious leaders. Over many years I have embraced layers of disbelief, the traditions of men, and "false" religious practices, preventing me from "seeing" and coming unto Christ.
5 The earth also is defiled under the inhabitants thereof; because they have transgressed the laws, changed the ordinance, broken the everlasting covenant. (Isaiah 24:5)
Did not Christ ordain that water could be used in place of wine to administer the sacrament, for expedience? (See D&C 27:2.) But, by our traditions, have we embraced that exception to make it the rule?

Did not Christ command us to not take our enemies to court or revile again, but to give to them who ask and not to cast any out, to bless and not to curse, but to forgive and turn the other cheek? Do we do this? Or do we transgress His laws by making exceptions to the rule?

Were we not once administered temple ordinances that involved the taking of oaths (with implied penalties), with washing and anointing of bodies in fact and not just symbolically? Did we change those ordinances for expedience? So that old men and women (and those who couldn't do so) might not be asked to stand and sit repeatedly? So that unbelievers might not criticize oaths and penalties? So that the litigious and fearful and misunderstanding and aggrieved might not sue the Church when they were touched underneath a veil? So that the carnal might not succumb to temptation and pervert the right ways of the Lord? Were all these things changed and done away with, thereby breaking the everlasting covenant?

I am amazed that I am yet so fearful to do what Christ has plainly taught and commanded because, over years, I have embraced and followed those who taught for doctrines the commandments of men. I confess I have, to some extent, exhibited false pride in being a member of the "Not Even Once Club", to my detriment.

For example, I have never once imbibed coffee, tea, or alcohol or used tobacco since I first joined the LDS Church.

But I have also never once partaken of the sacrament as Christ originally commanded.

Things once given not by commandment or by constraint have generally become "the rule" and have supplanted my worship of Christ in many ways, even preventing me from partaking of the symbols of our Lord's death and sacrifice with my friends and family. My religion, to some degree, has become (and still is) a loathsome parody and a stumbling block, preventing me from fully worshipping and fully following Christ.

That has got to end.

Those scales of darkness and disbelief -- the traditions and teachings of men masquerading as the doctrine of Christ -- must be cast off.

I hope I have better success and become more inclined and equipped to do so by making this "pilgrimage" this weekend.

Wish me luck! I hope to see many of you there.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Tender mercies

Almost six years ago I absentmindedly left my sleeping two-year-old strapped in a car seat, trapped in a locked car, with the windows rolled up, on a hot summer day. I abandoned that vehicle in an isolated parking spot, in the middle of a large parking lot, without a second thought. I forgot she was with me.

But God did not forget her.

Two years ago my wife just happened to look see our one-year-old flailing underwater in the swimming pool. (Unable to swim, yet fearless of the water, he somehow waded in.) Another few seconds, he would have drowned.

But God had other plans for him.

Last night my one year old miraculously survived being crushed in a "human mousetrap" -- suffering only minor scrapes and bruising.

I have no explanation for these tender mercies. Why were we spared unimaginable grief and tragedy when others have been called upon to suffer being sorely tested is beyond me.

I would like to think that God answers prayers. But mine are no more earnest or "worthy" to be answered than others, I imagine. Perhaps the prayers of others, offered on my children's behalf, have spared them from calamity. I would like to think so. If so, I thank them.

I'd like to think that angels sometimes step in when and where we fail to do so.

I have no other explanations.

I know that even the most watchful parents sometimes turn their backs, collapse from exhaustion, or simply forget, doing something stupid that places their children in harm's way. I know I have. Many times.

I am grateful that Heaven has not (yet) required us to pay a terrible price for doing so.

I hope I never have to.

I sorrow for those who have.

And I offer a special prayer of gratitude. Many such prayers, in fact.

Praise God from whom all blessings flow.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Failure to follow counsel and faulty reasoning

Occasionally I quote another blogger's post verbatim. My first post on this blog was just such a "rip off". I didn't have the courage to write my own post and so I borrowed another's words, with attribution. (Thanks, Lisa, for getting me started!) This post is likewise a "robbery". Below "Clean Cut" speaks on the hazards of obedience, particularly with regard to LDS Church teachings and authority figures. (Few of us would imagine there would ever be any such hazards, but there are!) Clean Cut likewise quotes liberally from an essay developed from remarks delivered almost 30 years ago by L. Jackson Newell at a Sunstone Theological Symposium, later expanded for delivery to the B. H. Roberts Society. (It is interesting that this issue was "percolating" even that long ago!)

A lot of damage is now being done in the name of "obedience" to Jesus Christ and "submission to authority" in His Church. Rock Waterman addressed this issue in a recent post (as always, in his humorous, homespun manner). Jackson's remarks (particularly the selection promoted by Clean Cut) strike forcefully at the heart of the issue. (I quote them below.)

Perhaps this issue tears so violently still at me because the damage is on-going. Those who think they serve the Lord (or the LDS Church) by persecuting me and my family actually think they are doing God a favor(!) by being "obedient" to His servants (or their "counsels") in the service of His Church. Barbara Hanks well encapsulated the matter with this quote on Rock's blog: "Morality is doing what is right no matter what you are told. Obedience is doing what you are told no matter what is right."

On a bright note, Denver Snuffer (in the first 5 minutes of his tenth talk on Zion), addresses our inability (by divine design) to keep all the commandments of God. We are given inherent weaknesses. We are prevented (by heavenly handicap!) from enjoying a fulness of the Spirit without measure and living as we otherwise would live (as Jesus lived). We are here to be proven -- in this circumstance of weakness and darkness -- not to prove. He came to prove. (He has already demonstrated His ability and unique worthiness to do so.) Our weakness is but a gift to help us keep this important status in perspective, lest we take strength to ourselves and be blinded by basking in the spotlight of our own brilliance (as others have been). 

Jesus came to serve, not to be served; to bless, not to curse; to communicate, not to excommunicate or coerce; to recover and reclaim, not to condemn and cast out. Those who forsake the former to do the latter follow a spirit and a master that are not from above. The limits of power and influence demarcated for us by D&C 121:41-44 demonstrate how utterly out of tune we may be with the heavens and identify for us what more we may need to repent of before we can be approved.

Those who now undertake to judge, condemn or destroy in the service of "obedience" to an institution, a principle, or other mortal authority figures -- in the absence of definitive, direct, and personal revelation from God -- do so at their peril.

Those who choose to act on others choose to be acted upon by others in like manner -- for they demonstrate how they would like to be treated! As they judge, so they shall be judged. As they condemn, so they shall be condemned. As they cast out, so they shall be cast out.

The Lord, in His grace, does not invite such to accompany Him in His kingdom unless and until they repent. Their present behavior is incompatible with the manner of happiness and He cannot look upon sin (or them) with the least degree of allowance. I, being a principal offender in this regard, have much yet to learn before I may be invited to ascend where He is.

Now to this excerpt from the essay by L. Jackson Newell:

Do we all passively note the increasing references to obedience as the first commandment, and the passing of free agency as a tangible LDS belief, without remembering the beauty of Matthew 22: 36-40, or the savage rationalizations and emotions that led to Dachau, My Lai, or Mountain Meadows? The obedience path is one which has a ditch on either side, and I am convinced that present fears of the disorder on the one side are pushing us toward the abyss on the other. 
The abyss is described by Stanley Milgram in his 1974 book, "Obedience to Authority", which reports his extensive work on the destructive consequences of blind obedience of being submissive to control from others. In a famous series of laboratory experiments begun at Yale University and repeated at different sites around the world, student assistants were instructed by university researchers to administer electric shocks to fellow students who were participating in a study to determine the effect of negative feedback on learning. The more mistakes the learner made, the higher the intensity of the charge sent by the student behind the one-way glass. As the learners writhed increasingly from the pain being inflicted upon them when they made mistakes, some of the student assistants said they did not want to hurt the subjects and wished to stop. Their consciences were speaking to them. When reassured by the white jacketed scholars that this was an important experiment that had to be carried on to conclusion and that many other people had been willing to carry through with these same responsibilities in previous runs of the experiment, most of the students proceeded to inflict well-nigh unbearable suffering, even when those behind the glass begged and pleaded to be unwired and one subject screamed, "I've got a weak heart!'', then slumped in his chair. In truth, the electric shocks were not actually being sent; the recipients were all actors. The real subjects in the study were the student assistants themselves. Milgram was trying to determine the limits of obedience and the vulnerability of personal conscience when authority and precedent press hard against it. He was sobered by what he found. A pre-experiment prediction was that not even one in a hundred assistants would go to the limit of the electronic equipment. In reality, nearly two-thirds of them did.
Why did students lack the courage to say no to their superiors? The fact that the experiment was described to them as being highly important, the assurances that others had obediently carried these responsibilities through in the past, and the air of confidence shown by the authorities, all contributed to the successful suppression of personal judgment and the courage to act on it. When interviewed following the experiments, many of the students said they felt sure what they were doing was wrong, but their belief that they were part of something larger, and the authorities' calm assurances, led them to surrender the claims of their own conscience. 
People of any age, but especially the young, are susceptible to control by others. This is particularly true among Mormons, precisely because of our strong emphasis on respecting those in authority. Even those who believe that obedience to religious authorities can never be excessive must recognize that a blindly obedient mentality nurtured within a religious context can lead to extreme vulnerability outside it. The scale of scams and success of swindlers in Utah is one evidence that Mormons too easily defer judgment to others if, for whatever reason, they decide to trust them. An obedient people is a people easily led--by whoever comes along. 
The analogy of the fasces -- the bundle of flimsy sticks bound tightly with cords to form a mighty instrument -- is often used to justify organizational discipline and obedience to a single person or elite. It illustrates the strength of directed thought and action, yet despite the fact that this image appeared on the American dime for decades, we must remember that it was the symbol from which the fascists (or Nazis) took their name. Willingness to blindly accept orders from other persons involves the transfer of control from inside the self to an external locus. The individual feels an increasing sense of duty to the leaders but loses a sense of responsibility for his or her own actions and their consequences, thus producing the "crimes of obedience'' that have ravaged virtually all totalitarian societies and from which no society or group can claim immunity. 
Free societies, however, are based on the ideal that each individual is an irreducible, independent moral agent. Those who are able to think for themselves, are not only essential to the existence of free institutions but also fully prepared to enjoy and benefit from the blessings of life itself. For them, obedience is to principles, not persons; an informed conscience is their guide. General Alexander W. Doniphan possessed the unusual courage to resist a written military order, and Joseph Smith was spared execution on the morning of 1 November 1838 (HC 3:190-99). We honor Doniphan for disobeying his military superior; his ultimate loyalty was to principle. 
The irony today, regarding the obedience issue within the LDS Church, is that distinctions are rarely made between loyalty to leaders and loyalty to principle. It is simply assumed that they are one and the same. Yet this union would require a claim of infallibility, not only for the president of the Mormon Church but for the entire priesthood. Omni-infallibility. Since such a claim has never been made and scriptures clearly warn us about the dangers of exercising unrighteous dominion (D&C 121:39), we inevitably face the task of making distinctions about obedience. My ultimate loyalty may be to God, but how do I know God's will? Through the study of scripture? By listening to Church leaders? By applying gospel principles? Or, by sensing the still small voice? These sources of understanding are not always consistent; but even if they were, they could not fully anticipate or inform every action or judgment I must make. New situations constantly confront me; only an enlightened and prayerful conscience can blend divine intent with personal knowledge to guide my decisions. No one has the wisdom or right to do this for me. 
Gospel principles and the Church are not synonymous. But one reason these concepts have become so blurred is that we seem to be making obedience to Church into a terminal principle, rather than an instrumental one. It has become an end in itself. Therein lies the confusion about the first commandment: "Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it. Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets" (Matt. 22: 37-40). Loyalty to God and love of neighbor are the ends. Obedience to enduring principles is a means. Once obedience itself becomes an end, however, the believer no longer takes full responsibility for the consequences of his or her own actions. If things go awry, the sin be on someone else's head. Never mind those sinned against. Fortunately, "love thy neighbor as thyself," the ultimate principle, dams this stream of faulty reasoning.

Sunday, May 3, 2015

Like Hell I Will!

It can be difficult to love -- and sacrifice -- for some, especially for those who seem to  be so undeserving and/or unwilling to provide for themselves. It can be difficult to obey Christ’s injunction to “give to every man who asketh of thee”, even “good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over”.

But will we be like our Lord — “who giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not” — and serve others who are clearly undeserving, often ungrateful, and sometimes even rebellious and disobedient (like ourselves)? Or will we refuse to be like, and follow, Jesus?

Our hearts may recoil at the prospect of taking from our stores to give to monsters and reprobates, but it is not they who are "on trial", but we.

"Like hell I will!" you might say.

But then like hell you would be.

Friday, May 1, 2015

Law of Zion

I am convinced that "Zion", for me, must be established in my heart and family before I am ever to partake of it elsewhere. 

Sadly, I have learned that I am yet far from Zion.

I have been trying to apply Log's -- really, the Lord's --  Golden Rule or Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5-7) for some time, especially the requirement to "give to every man who asketh of thee" -- without judging, without condemning, without withholding, without coveting one's own. This rule requires that we give (or do unto others) even as we would like to receive (or have others do unto us).

Do we wish to have our petitions granted? Then we must learn to grant the petitions of others, every one, within our power and means to do so, to fulfill all righteousness. 

It would be even better if we, like the Brother of Jared, would cry unto God (and not just "pray", but petition on behalf of others, interceding), calling upon the powers of heaven to fulfill all righteousness, even those requests we cannot fulfill ourselves! For thus is the power of godliness made manifest in the flesh! (He welcomes the opportunity to reward such demonstrations of faith in Him by manifesting His power!)

Imagine, by doing so -- by granting every request, without sinning, without doing evil, but by exercising faith in Christ -- what confidence we would have in the presence of God! By such small and simple things, great things are brought to pass.

"Lord, You have commanded me to give to others liberally -- without upbraiding, without holding back, without judging or condemning or coveting my own -- to give to all who ask of me, even as I would wish to receive. And I have done all that You have commanded me to do.

"You have told me not to judge, lest I be judged; that I would be judged even as I have judged.

"I have judged no one, Lord.

"But I have given when asked and not upbraided. I have given liberally, of my best, and not hid, as it were, my own flesh from the poor and needy. I have condemned no one, nor turned any out or away that they might perish.

"Wherefore, I pray, do not judge me, Lord! Do not upbraid me! Do not condemn me! Do not hold back Your blessing from me or refuse to grant my petition! Do not let me perish! But do even unto me as I have done to othes, even as You have asked me to do unto them!

"I have now exhausted the means I have to do Your will, Lord. I now call upon You to sustain and support me in this, our labor together. Enable me to continue as I have done. O God, hear the words of my mouth! Answer my prayer, O Lord! Grant my petition, even as I have granted the petitions of all those who have asked of me!

Multiply the loaves and fishes! (That those whom I serve in Your name might be filled.) Provide a gold coin! (That one who believes and obeys You might be redeemed.) Let Your light so shine from these small stones! (That those who otherwise would sit in darkness might be blessed to see by Your light.)

For You are all powerful and can do all things which please You, even whatsoever You will."

To such God will say: "I will."

He is bound to do so. He must abide by His own law or cease to be God! He is bound to honor our requests once we demonstrate we ourselves are bound by those same laws (and thus bound to Him thereby). He is bound to answer every petition we ask of Him in faith, believing, nothing wavering, showing forth by our own works our abiding faith in Him and in His law.*

In a recent comment on this blog, Log summarized the gospel thusly:
"Those who enter into a covenant with God agree to do his will in all things; in return, he agrees to do to them what will make them what he is."
This is the reason we keep the Golden Rule and follow the Sermon on the Mount: to show God that we have become even as He is, binding ourselves to obey His law, even as He is bound. (We prove, by what we receive and obey, what society we will keep and are thus fit to inherit hereafter!) Like us, God will do everything in His power to fulfill all righteousness and help us to become even as He is, if we will follow Him. To God, all are alike and invited to partake of His salvation. He is no respecter of persons.

He can do all things (which can be done) in righteousness. He has demonstrated this is so.

As we follow Him, doing His will, we shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God, or of someone else. If it be of God, then the powers of God and the doctrine of the priesthood shall distill upon our souls as the dews from heaven. Thus we may experiment upon the word.

Then equity -- and not iniquity -- shall reign in our midst and Zion shall be established, even welcomed and redeemed.

*By so saying I do not wish to minimize God's grace. He can answer our prayers -- and will answer them -- even in HIs mercy, by His grace, despite our unworthiness, because He loves us! And His charity covers a multitude of sins. He causes the rain to fall on the just and unjust. Even so, He invites us to "rise up" and become like Him.