Monday, October 13, 2014

Possession (Part 2)

Red scare politics =/= prophecy.

As I stated in the last post, the Book of Mormon tells us much about the concept of possession.

Lehi, before his death, explains clearly how possession works in 2 Nephi 2:

28 And now, my sons, I would that ye should look to the great Mediator, and hearken unto his great commandments; and be faithful unto his words, and choose eternal life, according to the will of his Holy Spirit;
 29 And not choose eternal death, according to the will of the flesh and the evil which is therein, which giveth the spirit of the devil power to captivate, to bring you down to hell, that he may reign over you in his own kingdom.

There is evil in the flesh. We call it the natural man. The will of the natural man, according to Lehi, prefers eternal death over eternal life. Hence, the natural man's goal is to betray you. If you read the rest of this chapter in Nephi, you will realize that this is all part and parcel to the notion of there being opposition in all things.

Think about it, and be honest. If there is a Holy Ghost that partners with the Light of Christ that is within you, then there is an opposite also.

Verse 29 states that it is the natural man that betrays us into the captivity of the devil. So what we have is something internal that partners with something external to make you a slave. This is what always results from sin. To think of something bad is one thing. That's just the natural man letting you know what he wants, and to be tempted is really still just between you and the natural man.

To execute the sin is what involves the outsider. Which is why sin always enslaves. Not only is the will of the natural man gratified when you sin, but the enemy of your soul is given power that he never would have had if you had not sinned. Room is made for your enemy to sit at your table and to direct decisions concerning you. The sin itself then becomes a symbol of their partnership concerning your soul. Which is where Nephi's words come into play 24 chapters later:
22. ...and he leadeth them by the neck with a flaxen cord, until he bindeth them with his strong cords forever.
Most people, when you ask them about possession, think of examples from popular culture like The Exorcist. But possession, according to the Book of Mormon, is much more gradual and deliberate than what happens so quickly to characters in movies. It is also much more common than we are led to believe by the world and by our religious culture.

Flaxen cords first, then strong cords. One step at a time, carefully down. Nephi spoke extensively about this problem in the latter days. Examine chapter 28:
20 For behold, at that day shall he rage in the hearts of the children of men, and stir them up to anger against that which is good.
 21 And others will he pacify, and lull them away into carnal security, that they will say: All is well in Zion; yea, Zion prospereth, all is well—and thus the devil cheateth their souls, and leadeth them away carefully down to hell.
Tell me, what current group of people think that they are "Zion"? Do you think that Nephi is talking about the Catholics or Baptists in this verse? Do you think that he means the Jews?

If Mormon saw our day, and knew we would be the audience of the Book of Mormon, then the presence of verse 21 should wake you up in the night if you think all is well in the Mormon Corridor. If you somehow think that everything is fine, and that the Brethren should be followed, then of what use is this scripture to you?

Henry Eyring: "Wherever I go in the Church, whoever the prophet is at the time, members will ask, “When you get back to Church headquarters, will you please tell the prophet how much we love him?” That is far more than hero worship or the feelings we sometimes have of admiring heroic figures. It is a gift from God."

Get real, Henry. If verse 21 above is true, then what you are talking about is hero worship, period. You are ignoring the model from Alma Chapter 1 where all are equal, and teachers and priests are not esteemed above hearers and learners (verse 26). What you are stating instead is that an inordinate, special love for the President of the Church is a gift from God. I reject your worldly philosophy because I follow Christ, who is no respecter of persons.

Even the scripture that you cite (D&C 121: 45-46) does not suggest the principle you are putting forth:

45 Let thy bowels also be full of charity towards all men, and to the household of faith...

A prophet, as an individual, is not worthy of special attention and veneration. We sing Praise to the Man in church (a hymn that contains a blatant reference to Brigham Young's notion of blood atonement) because there is far too much truth that the people who came out of Nauvoo never understood.

One of those truths is that no one is worthy of special praise except for Christ. There are prophets that are very helpful in their example, but not a single one of them deserves a church. Nor do they need an entourage of bodyguards, sycophants, and button men.

Section 76 of the Doctrine and Covenants tells us clearly that there will be "...some of one and some of another—some of Christ and some of John, and some of Moses, and some of Elias, and some of Esaias, and some of Isaiah, and some of Enoch..." (verse 100-101) but that none of these respecters will enter the Celestial Kingdom.

Are you going to preach of revelation, Elder Eyring? Then preach of what verse 101 speaks of:

101 But received not the gospel, neither the testimony of Jesus, neither the prophets, neither the everlasting covenant.
These are the things that are to be had through honest-to-God revelation. A "testimony of Christ" isn't mere belief in Him. It is to know that He testifies to the Father that you are worthy of the kingdom. "Receiving the prophets" isn't about standing when they enter the room. It is about receiving the word of God that they bear. And "receiving an everlasting covenant" isn't merely about participating in an ordinance. It is about Christ making a personal offer to you by revelation, a la 2 Nephi 32:6, for which the temple rite is merely a temporal invitation.

The hero worship you are preaching serves the ego. Hence, it is an enslaving sin that invites a demon into the temple body of those that will follow your words. The Lord decries this sin as idol worship in scripture, and Jacob makes it plain in 2 Nephi 9 that this is something that we do not want to happen to us:

37 Yea, wo unto those that worship idols, for the devil of all devils delighteth in them.
38 And, in fine, wo unto all those who die in their sins; for they shall return to God, and behold his face, and remain in their sins.
Verse 38 sounds familiar with regards to possession, doesn't it? It brings Amulek's words in Alma 34 to mind:

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.
 34 Ye cannot say, when ye are brought to that awful crisis, that I will repent, that I will return to my God. Nay, ye cannot say this; for that same spirit which doth possess your bodies at the time that ye go out of this life, that same spirit will have power to possess your body in that eternal world.
 35 For behold, if ye have procrastinated the day of your repentance even until death, behold, ye have become subjected to the spirit of the devil, and he doth seal you his; therefore, the Spirit of the Lord hath withdrawn from you, and hath no place in you, and the devil hath all power over you; and this is the final state of the wicked.
 36 And this I know, because the Lord hath said he dwelleth not in unholy temples, but in the hearts of the righteous doth he dwell; yea, and he has also said that the righteous shall sit down in his kingdom, to go no more out; but their garments should be made white through the blood of the Lamb.
Get this concept straight, Hank. I love you dude, but you are participating in shrouding the world under the veil of darkness when you preach that loving the President of the Church simply for the office that he holds is "a gift from God". 

It is imperative to know the difference between worshiping Christ and worshiping men. Why? Because the scripture above indicates that possession does not end when you die. You must repent here and now in mortality, or your spiritual enslavement continues as an inverted form of sealing.

Read verse 35 again, and take it for what it says. Sin = possession, which then eventually = a sealing by the father of lies. Leading the people to rationalize idol worship of anyone who is not Christ will not do them any favors when all must go before the judgment bar of God.

Russell Nelson: "The Church today has been organized by the Lord Himself. He has put in place a remarkable system of governance that provides redundancy and backup. That system provides for prophetic leadership even when the inevitable illnesses and incapacities may come with advancing age. Counterbalances and safeguards abound so that no one can ever lead the Church astray."
This quote is filled with shenanigans that are incongruent with the notion of direct prophetic revelation. A system of governance? Redundancy and backup? Counterbalances and safeguards?

You seem to trust an apparatus as if it were the Lord. But you've got it backwards. You have forgotten about the Liahona, and how it worked. Examine 1 Nephi 16:

12 And it came to pass that after they had bound me insomuch that I could not move, the compass, which had been prepared of the Lord, did cease to work.
13 Wherefore, they knew not whither they should steer the ship, insomuch that there arose a great storm, yea, a great and terrible tempest, and we were driven back upon the waters for the space of three days; and they began to be frightened exceedingly lest they should be drowned in the sea; nevertheless they did not loose me.
Disobedience causes the Lord's tools to become useless. The binding and silencing of true prophets causes your ship to be driven back and your journey to be put in peril. An apparatus of God will cease to work if it is wielded unrighteously, and if you do not repent, trusting its "guides" thereafter will only steer you into doom.

Alma expounded on this concept of tool use to his son Helaman in Alma 37:

38 And now, my son, I have somewhat to say concerning the thing which our fathers call a ball, or director—or our fathers called it Liahona, which is, being interpreted, a compass; and the Lord prepared it.
39 And behold, there cannot any man work after the manner of so curious a workmanship. And behold, it was prepared to show unto our fathers the course which they should travel in the wilderness.
40 And it did work for them according to their faith in God; therefore, if they had faith to believe that God could cause that those spindles should point the way they should go, behold, it was done; therefore they had this miracle, and also many other miracles wrought by the power of God, day by day.
41 Nevertheless, because those miracles were worked by small means it did show unto them marvelous works. They were slothful, and forgot to exercise their faith and diligence and then those marvelous works ceased, and they did not progress in their journey;

You'd better be sure, Russ. You are telling people to trust in an apparatus that only works within the bounds of righteousness. If Brigham was wrong to change the Endowment ceremony as he did following the deaths of Joseph and Hyrum, then this tool has likely been malfunctioning since they were put in the ground. If revelation was neither sought nor received when the saints voted to follow the Twelve over Sidney Rigdon during the succession crisis, then the descendants that came out of Nauvoo have profaned their offering just as Cain did, and thus our current performances are not consecrated unto the welfare of our souls at all.

The Mormons of Nauvoo recorded no visitation from Christ as part of the dedication of the incomplete temple constructed there. That simply does not follow what was promised in Section 124. Hence, this apparatus has been malfunctioning ever since, and will continue to do so until we confess the truth, admit we were wrong, and repent en mass to preserve Joseph's restoration.

What LDS history tells me, and what your words tell me, Russ, is that you are pretending. I really wish you wouldn't. To infer that all of these shenanigans that dot LDS history are the work of Jesus Christ, and that he would remove a man's agency to lead the church astray simply because he lives long enough to rise in seniority above the other presidential hopefuls is just the perpetration of a destructive cultural myth. And when others, my loved ones and yours, rely on a myth like this that has no basis in scripture, you are in truth appealing to our collective LDS ego by stating that the tool is to be trusted. You are asking us to enter into carnal security by stating that you cannot be led astray simply because of the office that you hold.

The apostles in scripture were led astray. They were also rebuked by Christ for allowing themselves to be possessed by evil spirits. Examine Luke 9:

52 And sent messengers before his face: and they went, and entered into a village of the Samaritans, to make ready for him.
53 And they did not receive him, because his face was as though he would go to Jerusalem.
54 And when his disciples James and John saw this, they said, Lord, wilt thou that we command fire to come down from heaven, and consume them, even as Elias did?
55 But he turned, and rebuked them, and said, Ye know not what manner of spirit ye are of.
56 For the Son of man is not come to destroy men’s lives, but to save them. And they went to another village.

It should be as clear to you as it is to me that when you seek to destroy the lives of other people, simply because you perceive that they are insulting your authority, that you are allowing the natural man within you to cater to spirits that are the enemies of Jesus Christ.

The church is just a tool for delivering the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Christ is the one that is true, and the church is only "true" if it follows Him. To participate in a tradition of claiming that "the church is true" when it is merely the pen that writes the love letter is to perpetuate yet another destructive myth. It is to fall in love with the pen instead of the Bridegroom. They are not the same thing.


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    1. 2 Nephi 2 should be basic for anyone who believes in the scriptures Joseph Smith revealed.