The following comments were given at a Q&A session on April 21, 2019 in Grand Junction, Colorado.
Apparently our ten minutes are up. And I hate to take away from the 1:00-5:00 lunch hour. I mean, you must be planning on Thanksgiving, Christmas, and Easter dinner all combined for a 1-5 lunch. And I hate to disappoint you, but I’ve been told that that’s a misprint on the schedule and that you will not be given a 1:00-5 p.m. lunch break, that things will resume at 2:30 with Rob Adolpho and his wife, Quintina. We call her “Q.” It’s spelled “Quintina.” [Inaudible audience comments.] “That’s right,” says a voice out of the dark that I assume is Q’s. We call her Q,; Rob calls her, “Yes, ma’am.”
Ten minutes for a bathroom break seems utterly unreasonable; so when they get back and they ask you what they missed, tell ‘em, “The most amazing stuff ever! And we’ve been sworn to not repeat it! And he told the folks to delete it from the recording.” [Audience laughter.]
But I guarantee you, you can’t warm coffee with a pillar of fire. And by the way, that is true.
Okay, so, [reading off the program] “Q&A with…me.” I guess I could ask myself questions that I really wanted to answer. I’m not obligated to follow any—
Look, one matter that should not come and go without observation is this date, this day, and this commemoration which, based upon all of our reckoning, is the Eastern Easter Sabbath. It also coincides with the Passover. In one of the groups that we were attending yesterday, the subject of the Passover and the various observances under the Law of Moses were discussed—the Holy Days.
And one observation that I made yesterday (and I want to repeat and maybe expand on) is that there are actually two Passovers. The one occurred anciently in Egypt—when the blood of the lamb was put on the lintel and posts, and the Destroying Angel passed over those who had been marked by that and preserved all of the firstborn in those households.
There will be a second Passover. This one is more expansive and will involve the destruction of all the wicked. It is referred to, as part of the covenant that we received (now in the Teachings and Commandments section 158, in
versesparagraphs 16-18), it says:
I will teach you things that have been hidden from the foundation of the world and your understanding will reach unto Heaven. And you shall be called the children of the Most High God, and I will preserve you against the harvest. And the angels sent to harvest the world will gather the wicked into bundles to be burned, but will pass over you (emphasis added) as my peculiar treasure.
So the Passover, which was instituted as a symbol prior to the Law of Moses, will be one of those observances that will be fully restored in due time, because Christ fulfilled the Law of Moses and brought it to an end. But all those things that had been instituted by God as an observance prior to the Law of Moses—which includes the Passover—that will be preserved, even though the Law of Moses was brought to an end and a completion.
So the Passover, which was instituted before the Law of Moses was established, is one of those observances that was not only relevant at the moment that the children of Israel were saved and freed from their slavery in Egypt anciently, but it is an observance that has relevance also to a second promised Passover in which, at some point in the future, the wicked will be gathered into bundles—as the scriptures describe it—and burned; and the covenant people of the Lord will be passed over, preserved, and allowed to continue safely. Therefore, Passover is relevant to our day as much as it is to them anciently.
All of the things that are most important in scripture relate to two (and only two) moments in time—largely two (and only two) generations of people. The first was that that was here at the time the Lord came into mortality, and the second is the time when the Lord will return again in glory to judge the world.
(I was asked also to announce that one of the organizers of this event, Brian Bowler, and another fellow, Jared Walter, are both celebrating their birthdays today. [Audience applause.] So happy birthday to both of them, and I’m sorry to impose on you to be here, instead of somewhere eating cake.)
The events that occurred on the morning of Easter occurred so early in the morning that the place was still dark when the Lord rose from the tomb.
You have to be on a place where you can see the horizon into the distance (and along the Wasatch Front in Utah, you don’t get a chance to see the sun or the moon rise on the horizon until it’s up, you know, 30 degrees above the horizon of the earth because the mountains obstruct your view, and you can’t see into that distance). But if you’re on the ocean, if you’re on a shoreline, if you’re in the plains and you can see the horizon (the curvature of the horizon), there’s a moment that occurs—and it can be anything from a split second to perhaps as long as a minute—when it arises. It’s the same atmospheric phenomenon as you witness at the poles in the Northern Lights. The Northern Lights are happening because of magnetic and curvature of the atmosphere, trapping of particles, and it sets off these dancing lights that you can see in the Northern Hemisphere.
On the horizon, there comes a moment each day, as the sun and the earth are moving, that the very first bit of light emerges as this brief, dancing, green light—green flash—on the distant horizon. That moment marks the “new day” anciently. So when you saw that, it would designate that now the day has arrived. It’s dark out. It will remain dark, but that instant, that flash, that atmospheric—
So if you’re charged with being a watchman to designate when a religious observance is going to occur and it is relevant to mark the moment at which the new day arises or arrives, you’re watching the horizon, and you’re looking for that instant when it occurs. That instant—which is long before the daylight surrounds you and you have something other than the darkness of night on you—that instant is actually memorialized in one of the titles that’s given both to the Lord and to his chief adversary, Lucifer; that’s a Son of the Morning—because that moment marks the instant that the morning arises.
Christ’s resurrection occurred then—on whatever the moment was that that occurred, on that morning, on the day of the resurrection—that was when the events were set in motion to honor that observance. And so, when they came to the tomb early that morning, it would be based upon that appreciation for how holy days (or days themselves) were reckoned and not based upon what we do with our clock and our reckoning. It was—it’s tied to nature. It’s tied to those circumstances that are built in as part of this creation.
And so, when the resurrection occurred, there’s only one gospel writer that observes that it was still dark, and that’s John; he points it out. It’s been in the Bible all along. But in all honesty, to me, “morning” meant “sun’s up,” daylight; we could see about.
The account that appears in Come, Let Us Adore Him (now will appear as one of the sections in the Teachings and Commandments) was something shown to me that I recorded in my journal—and in fact, the content of that is quoted directly out of my journal. I do not like the idea that any story, any account, is to be trusted to recollection weeks/months/years after the fact. In one of the criticisms that we have about some history involving Joseph Smith is that they’re later stories/later developments that got inserted into the narrative, and they weren’t contemporaneous with him. So I don’t trust anyone to record anything—or to preserve anything that I consider to be significant—other than myself, and I record it on the date in which it happened, at the moment that it occurred. And then if I, as was done with the book Come, Let Us Adore Him (or what is now part of the Teachings and Commandments), is later publicly disclosed (‘cause those things were not publicly disclosed for years), then when they are, the only account that gets disclosed publicly are word-for-word, exactly what got written at the time in which the event took place. So you’re getting the narrative and verbatim—exactly what was recorded by the witness on the day in which that occurred.
Now, when the stuff that just got added was shown to me as something that was proposed to be included, it lifted out a bunch of ellipses—you know, three dots (…). It lifted out a bunch of ellipses from the account that appears in Come, Let Us Adore Him. And I said, For purposes of putting it out there as something to be looked at, reviewed, and respected in the future, just drop all the ellipses out. And so all the ellipses were dropped out. That’s because there’s a bunch of stuff that went on that’s recorded in my journal (that is not in that account), that draws more attention and distracts away from what was important. What is important is in that account. The ellipses represent another moment of profound stupidity—ignorance on my part—that is in the journal account. But I thought, There’s no reason at all to focus on that. But I’ll tell you about it so that you know what got lifted out. (I’m past the point of being embarrassed about my own stupidity. I acknowledge that all the time—including my wife just a day or so ago, which she reminded me of a couple of times this weekend.) What happened was—
As I was recording the account, at the point in which I’m trying to put into words the joy, the exultation, of our Lord—because He had finished the course; He had actually arrived at the point that culminates everything that had been expected of Him, and He’d done it perfectly—at that moment, in the journal, I wrote the words that “the joy that He experienced on that morning made the sufferings in Gethsemane pale in comparison.” And as soon as I wrote those words, I felt instantly condemned. In fact, I had an angry God on my hands because that was not appropriate for me to have recorded. So it was so abrupt—it was so immediate—that I stopped writing altogether. I just drew a line in the journal, and I left, and I went to work.
I was haunted by that all day. And when I got back home, I got the journal out, and I wrote in there that what I wrote before was completely inappropriate because there is nothing that can make the suffering in Gethsemane pale by comparison. There simply is no joy, there is no triumph, that can make the obliteration of that thing that He endured on our behalf pale. It cannot pale. And so, once I confessed that I’d screwed up, then the condemnation lifted, and the account then continued and finished up. In between the ellipsis is my foolishness, and I saw no reason—in being required to bear testimony of the resurrection of the Lord—to insert into that me running around, ya know, marring the furniture and spilling Coke on the floor. I thought the best thing to do was to keep it focused exclusively—
The Lord did not make me a witness of His resurrection to have you focus any attention on me. It is all about Him and only Him; and therefore, the narrative needed to be excised to get the idiot-witness out of view and to put the Lord front and center and squarely within view.
It’s another example, in my view, of just how ill-fitted I am to what’s been asked of me. If I could lay hands on someone else’s head and say, “There you are; now go get ‘em,” and drift off into the background and not occupy any public attention again, it would relieve me of an extraordinary amount of anxiety and self-questioning at every turn.
It’s not enough to me to pray and get an answer. For me to pray and get an answer is an easy thing, but any answer that I get, I take it and I scrutinize it for motive, for desire, for my personal potential involvement with the content. I scrutinize it for any weakness of my own that may appear there. Then I take it to the scriptures, and I look for anything in there that could challenge, contradict, or raise an issue about what is recorded. And then when I’m satisfied that it is actually pure enough to be regarded as something that I can trust, then I take it back to the Lord to get re-confirmation before I’m willing to do or say anything regarding it. And there are many, many things that I’ve learned and been exposed to that I don’t talk about. It’s just not appropriate, and I assume that, at some point, it will be the kind of material that the Lord reveals to each person individually as His (and His prerogative alone) and not something that belongs to us.
I also don’t think that rapid-fire inquiries to God are appropriate. It’s a fearful thing to approach the Lord, but it’s also a fearful thing to then be entrusted with an answer from the Lord and to be accountable to Him for what you do (or you fail to do) with what He has provided. No one of us deserves the kind of responsibility that He alone can impose. No one deserves it. And anyone that feels the burden of it should fear their own weakness above anything and everything else. It’s not cause for celebration. It’s cause for questioning yourself, questioning your motives, and questioning whether or not—in the wisdom of the Lord—work can and should be done.
Now there were some questions that were provided to me, and some of them were actually answered in the talk, and so they don’t need to be answered again here. But there’s one question:
Question: In your opinion are the people ready to have the commandment to build the temple in our day? Are we ready to have the commandment? If not, could you offer suggestions on what more we could do to prepare more completely?
Answer: Well, my opinion on that really doesn’t matter because, unlike some other things, my view on that is that when you go to D&C section 124 (I don’t know what it is in the T&C; I need that set of leather scriptures so I can learn my new layout—these things are too heavy and bulky to carry around), it’s apparent—
They had decided on building a temple. They had chosen a location for the temple. They had begun digging at the spot for the temple before there was the inquiry and the commandment given in [section] 124, the January 1841 revelation. And the wording of the revelation says that “the spot that you have selected is acceptable” (see D&C 124:43-44). K?
If you think carefully about that language from the Lord, what it means is the Lord was willing to permit or entertain the ambition of the people, which doesn’t necessarily mean that the people should have been doing what they were doing. It doesn’t mean that the place was the right place, and it doesn’t mean that God was going to protect it. It means that He will allow them to do that. And then He warns them that if they want Him to come and restore, and they want Him to come and vindicate, and if they want Him to protect them so that they cannot be moved out of their place, then they need to dothings. And the things that they needed to do were a list of fairly specific things that they failed, subsequently, to do.
So, I think (I’m fairly certain) that I could pray and get permission to build a temple today. I’m not going to do that. I’m not going to inquire. I’m not going to suggest one thing to the Lord about either a location for the temple to be built or when a temple ought to be commenced in its construction. In my view, “asking and getting permission” are not the same thing as the angel Gabriel appearing next to the altar to respond to Zacharias and say, “The Lord is now going to redeem His people Israel, and you shall have a son, and he shall go before Him.” It must—must—be at Heaven’s initiative. It must be at Heaven’s timing. It must be at the place chosen by the Lord.
Why is it reasonable to expect the Lord to defend—and the earth to defend—the spot that is our choosing? All of these things are a matter of covenant and a matter of prophecy—and their prophecies will be vindicated. The covenants will be fulfilled. God fully intends to do exactly what He has foretold will be done. But for us to push the envelope when this is the great temple on this hemisphere, this is the building to which His tabernacle (meaning His person) will come and occupy that tabernacle (meaning the temple built for the establishment of Zion)—it needs to be entirely entrusted to the care of the Lord and only to the care of the Lord. And so, the issue of what my opinion is, is—
My opinion was, No, of course not; we’re not ready. I sat in on those meetings yesterday and took in things, and I was impressed. I was—we are—we are learning how to get along. In the scripture committee that I participated in, there are very strong personalities holding very strong opinions on a variety of very important topics, in which it’s expected that people with strong personalities and strong opinions would dig their heels in. And I have to tell you, there were lots of discussions. There were lots of exchanges of points of view. I don’t think there was ever a single dispute. There was never a fight. There was never an argument, even when it took time to come together. The process— I think everyone involved grew in ways that were extraordinary over the course of the whole thing.
And there were some people who came very late to the project and who came late after having spent years doing work that explored, more deeply, details that the other people who had been working on it for a couple of years had not plunged to that depth. And so when he came, you would think people that had spent a couple of years plunging into one level of understanding would sort of resent the newcomer who comes late to the party— and he was one of the younger fellows to participate—and yet, he was openly and warmly accepted, and all of his corrections and additions were welcomed. No one was egotistically involved in trying to get it their way. The only objective was to try to get it right. Everyone was keenly aware of how badly things had gone in the handling of the scriptures in 1833 and 1835, in 1840. Everyone was keenly aware of how mangled the text—in places, of all the volumes of scripture—had become and of how neglected the fullness of the scriptures, as defined by Joseph Smith, had been treated.
Literally, what is coming out in print is a historical marker, a milestone event in which, for the first time, what God intended to hand to people at the beginning of the restoration is finally capable of being handed to you. It is an historic moment that literally marks the beginning of a fulsome restoration. We now have scriptures upon which everything else will be possible to be built. That hasn’t existed until now. It is a new beginning, and I’m not sure that what was said made it clear enough, but we’re accustomed to the print on demand publishing industry. You do not make this quality of a publication by printing it on demand. You have to order exactly the number of books that you want printed, and you have to pay for every one of them before you receive the delivery of any one of them.
Right now the price break is 1,400 copies. The cost of that many books being paid for before we get delivery of any one of them is so great that we’re probably going to order 1,000 copies in order to eliminate the cost of paying in advance for an extra 400 of them, but it will cost more per copy for the 1,000. But in aggregate, it will cost less money to place that order than it will to get to the next price break. And so, the plan right now is to order 1,000 copies, and the mechanism for being able to do that is going to be to create a site at which you can purchase and pay for the scriptures in advance, so that you place the order for whatever volume you want (or volumes you want )printed. There’ll be a set of three: a Old Covenants, a New Covenants, and a Teachings and Commandments—an order will be for all three volumes. If you want one copy, you buy one. If you want ten, you buy ten. If you want twenty, you buy twenty, but you pay for them in advance, and then it will be months later that they will be delivered.
Unlike what happens with typical book publishing, there’s no markup on any of these. They have volunteers that are going to handle them. They’ll have volunteers that will drive copies down to some cities where distribution will be made. All of the costs of handling are gonna be borne by voluntary work. Now if you’re at a location where it has to be mailed, then the price to you will include the price of shipping to you as a direct cost. If these were handled the way books normally are handled in a scripture setting, the price of these to you would be probably double whatever the price is going to be as the order gets placed.
One of the things that we do not know right now is if there is enough demand to take advantage of the price break at 1400 copies so that we order and pay for 1400 copies to be made, or whether we’re going to pay a little more per volume but only incur the total cost for getting a 1000 of them printed. But whatever it is in terms of that number, when those are printed and when those are sold, that’s the end of printing the leather-bound version of the scriptures. There will be no plans for ever producing them again.
Undoubtedly there will be a second printing but that might be five years from now, that might be ten years from now. We don’t know when there may be a second printing of the scriptures. So the first printing will be an ordered, funded, paid for, complete, first printing, and that’s the only one that will exist—at least for some period of time, until demand drives a second printing. In the meantime, the way in which the scriptures will be available will be electronically (in your handheld), electronically (online on your computer), or a print-on- demand source that you can purchase through Amazon.
Yesterday, those who were present heard the report that the print-on-demand at Amazon has been taken down temporarily because all of the layout for the leather-bound scriptures are now completed. And those are being loaded into the Amazon print-on-demand version so that if you buy a paperback version from Amazon—the page, the layout, the page number, everything about that will be identical with the leather-bound version because the same layout is going to be used for both of them. I don’t know how you are with your scriptures, but for me, if I want to quote from D&C section 76, beginning with the description of the telestial—it’s on right side, lower; it’s about, beginning verse 99; and it’s in your book; it’s right there. Well, the utility of having the same layout for your paperback and for your leather-bound version is the ability to recall the page and the layout on the page from book to book to book, so that there’s no mistaking what you’re trying to find and where you’re trying to find it. This version (the print version that I’ve used), I have not invested the effort to try and know the page number, know the approximate location, know the—where it’s going to be on the page, because I’ve known that we’re going to get a new layout. But when the leather-bound ones come out, I intend to pore over those to find/to discover the new material that’s there and to find the old familiar stuff and relocate it. So when it becomes available for ordering, keep in mind that if you don’t get one of these, it may be many years before it’ll be possible to order them again.
Question: Okay, there was a question that was posed by Tim Malone about Layton Conference where I said:
God demands…our hearts turn to the fathers or we will be wasted at His return. This requirement is not to turn to them in just a figurative way, where we do genealogical work to connect ourselves with our recently deceased forbearers. That work is a wrong-headed effort to seal people to those kept in prison. The return of our hearts will require us to have the same religion, and the same beliefs in our hearts that the original fathers had beginning with Adam. Only in that way will our hearts turn to the
Then he says, Given the fact that the LDS church has spent hundreds of millions of dollars building temples specifically for the purpose of sealing individuals to their deceased ancestors, are you advocating that we cease family history research as a waste of time? If so can you provide some specific counsel how we could better utilize the time?
Answer: Okay, the answer is: I’m not saying you cease doing genealogical work. When work— Originally, umm…originally—[Denver chuckles.] How to put this—
The way in which temple work for the dead was intended to be done was that work of baptism for the dead was confined to only those ancestors you personally knew who you believed would have accepted the gospel with all their heart (had they been permitted to tarry) and were only kept from accepting the gospel because they died at a time before it was available for them to embrace. That’s one category.
A second category was those ancestors about whom you have enough information from their diaries, their letters, their journals, or accounts of their life so that you believe them to be the kind of people that would have embraced the gospel had they lived at a time when the gospel in its fullness was on the earth. So that is a second category.
And then the third category was those ancestors who appear to you and asked that their temple work be done.
Those were the only ones for whom temple work was supposed to be done, according to the criteria that was established by Joseph Smith at the beginning. It was not a, “If you know a name, go get a baptism for ‘em.” That was never the criteria. The criteria was limited to those three specific categories of people.
The place in which genealogical research for your ancestors becomes most important is that second category, in which—through genealogical research—you may be able to locate an ancestor about whom there is enough that you can recover (as information or biography) to know that they were the kind of people who would’ve embraced the gospel had they been permitted to tarry long enough to have accepted the gospel in its fullness while it was on the earth. You can’t figure that out unless you have genealogical research and something more than just a name on a name-extraction-program. It’s gotta be someone about whom you’ve dug long and hard and deep—to find out about them and their lives— to make some kind of an evaluation about them, to make a judgment call. Otherwise, what you’re left with are a bunch of names, and the only way to get those names in a position to do work is the third category—in which you know about their existence, but you have no way of telling whether they’re suitable for the ordinance; and therefore, they must come and request it. They must appear, and they must make the request—and so they slide into that third category.
The second category can only be achieved through a lot of hard work and genealogical study. The first category you should know from your ancestors that you were familiar with. That probably goes back no further than perhaps a great-grandfather or, more likely, a grandfather or a grandmother. It may go to a great-uncle, a great-aunt. It may go to a deceased aunt. But the criteria was as was outlined, and the second category is where the genealogical work the Church invests money is apt, suitable, just fine.
Question: What words of encouragement can you give to someone whose spouse is not on board with what is happening now?
Answer: Look—first of all, unlike the scriptures that other groups of people accept, we actually have an answer to this in our scriptures. It’s in the Teachings and Commandments, [section] 149, verse 3—it’s paragraph 3:
Suffer no man to leave his wife because she is an unbeliever, nor no woman to leave her husband because he is an unbeliever. These things are 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 that 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.
That’s one of the sections of the Teachings and Commandments that was from Hyrum Smith (who was, at the time, a president of the church—co-president, in fact—the prophet to whom Joseph said the church should give heed). That’s the instruction.
And I mentioned Tim Malone; he’s a great example of this. Tim and Carol Malone are separated, and he talks openly about that in the things he publishes, and he’s true and faithful to her. He’s doing the right thing. He’s the right example. He’s doing what Hyrum advised and what the Teachings and Commandments recommend that we do—and continue without haste.
Question: And then—oh, some guy named Adrian Larsen. I don’t know. Shoot—you really wanna go there?
Question: This is decidedly limited in what is appropriate to be said, but the question is about: Since Christ came to fulfill the law, and the practice of animal sacrifice was done away with, and what we’re to offer is a
contrite broken heart and a contrite spirit as a sacrifice, and animal sacrifice was a type to teach the people of the coming Messiah—He fulfilled that. Why would animal sacrifice be reinstated?
Answer: OK, as— I don’t want to get out ahead of where we are at this point, but let me say, it will be done for entirely appropriate purposes that will be perfectly satisfactory to the understanding of those that are involved. It’s not gonna be some kind of temple-turned- slaughterhouse. It’s not gonna be a production line in which the hems of your garments (and the blood shaking from the hems of your garment) becomes a cliché because of the abundance of the flowing of blood in the courtyards of the temple of Solomon and later the temple of Herod. It will be decidedly confined, limited, for purposes that will be adequately understood by those who, on the rare occasions when that practice is reinstated, participate, witness. But I think that’s all that can be said. You won’t be disappointed.
Question: We’re separated from the first Fathers—to whom our hearts must turn—by a vast expanse of time, language, and culture. How can we best reach out in our hearts and our minds to these successful mortals?
Answer: You know, that’s a great question. There is an enormous advantage that you’ll find in reading the new scriptures and all of the things that have been added that focus upon that, both in the Old Covenants and in the Teachings and Commandments, in particular those two, where our knowledge of what the Fathers were up to is enormously expanded; and then in parts of the New Covenants that have been added through the Joseph Smith translation. I think the scriptures equip us to accomplish something that—
Study them; look there.
Question: In the “Elijah” talk, you made reference to the fact that Adam and Eve partook of the fruit out of order—that they were to wait until after the Sabbath; that partaking prior to the Sabbath caused work to be done on the Sabbath. Can you
explain expand on this subject, please?
Answer: The problem was not that they were never going to be told—they were never gonna be told
to partake to not to ever partake of the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil, it’s that they were forbidden to partake so that there could be a day of rest—a Sabbath. Everything was supposed to stand down. And then, after they stood down for the day of rest, on the first day of the next week, they were then to introduce the knowledge of good and evil in a way that would’ve been benign, in a way that would’ve transitioned from the original paradisiacal state into a state in which knowledge of good and evil and mortality itself could enter the world, much as it will be present during the Millennium among the righteous.
But instead, in an act of defiance (that resulted in them being kicked out of the Garden because of transgression)—and an act that caused labor then to occur on the Sabbath— they partook out of season in obedience to the one who seeks to always counsel people to rebel against the order of Heaven, to disobey and to set at naught the commandments and instructions of the Father, even when doing so means harm to yourself or to others—because the adversary is only interested in the destruction of people, even those who trust and rely upon him. He has no good end in mind for them. And so they partook out of the ordinary course. As a consequence, there was a fall.
The Fall introduced, on the Sabbath day, the mortal experience. And so, the seventh day—the day of rest—would then require six days of labor to precede their next day of rest, which always put the Sabbath out of sync because of the original rebellion—which is why the Lord was resurrected on what they thought was the first day of the week. It was, in fact, the first day of the week—according to their reckoning—and the seventh day of the week—according to the original creation—had everything been honored in the original commandment and instruction. And so the worshipers moved the Sabbath day from Saturday to Sunday, to that first day of the week( which was, in reality, simply restoring back the original violated time frame). And the early Christians observed, as the seventh day of the week, the correct day of worship, the day that we worship on, which is Sunday and not Saturday, although the tradition of following, in a number of places remains to do so on Saturday.
It’s more important that you keep a day holy, that you set it aside as a day of worship, than it is to figure out the chronology of everything that’s gone on. If it was so important for us to get exactly the right day of the week aligned with everything, then we’d all be John Pratt. [Audience laughter.]
Question: [This question was not read aloud; Denver read it silently and then answered it: “We are obligated to teach our children that God intended marriage to be between one man and one woman and that chastity is important. As the LDS church has employed various strategies to promote these values in recent years, suicide rates among the young have climbed in Utah. Do you think this has to do with the way the LDS church has handled these issues, and if so, do you have any insights into what we might do differently to better help youth who struggle?”]
Answer: Oh, man. OK. Wow. Marriage. One man, one woman. Chastity is important, and there’s accommodation going on everywhere to try and allow divergent forms of marriage to be acceptable or tolerated. And some of that is being done as a desperate measure to try and reduce suicide rates among young people, where suicide rates in Utah have climbed.
Let me, as clearly as I can put it: Wickedness never was and never will be happiness. There is—embedded into each of us [inaudible comment], as deeply as our DNA itself—a course in life which, if pursued in the proper way, will result in the bearing of children and a fullness of joy, experienced as a consequence of introducing offspring into the world for whom you are granted the challenge, the privilege, and the opportunity of nurturing and caring and teaching. These are things that stretch you beyond your comfort zone. These are things that will tear at your heart. These are challenges that will befuddle you, that will make you question and reevaluate and reconsider—time and time again—who you are and what you’re saying and how you’re treating these, your children.
The institution of marriage was designed—by its very nature, by that God who created us— to allow us to engage in that god-like process. It can be experienced in the way that God intended in one, and only one, way—that is, through the marriage of the man and the woman together; through their union that is intended to produce offspring; through herstruggle to bear and bring forth the child; through his protection and providing for her during her period of inability and her period of nursing and caring for the infant (that is utterly dependent upon the body of the mother for its existence). All of these things are god-like. They are instructions; they are experiences that are intended to convey—through the mortal body and the mortal experience—things that replicate and reflect a divine perspective about life itself, about who God is. Because God is a male and a female, and they are productive; their love results in the creation of more life. They experience a fullness of joy, and when you have all joy in its fullness, the only way in which it is possible to make more joy is to create others in which they, too, can experience a fullness of joy. And so that increases through offspring, through family, through progeny.
You will not reduce suicide rates by pursuing a course that says wickedness can be entertained, the purposes of God can be frustrated, the experiences that God intended for us to go through and to have in this life can be set at naught, and you can approach the whole thing in a different mechanism in a different pretense. Because however deeply you may feel about that structure, at its core it is defective. It is desolation. It is a practice that if it were universally engaged in, then all who are here today will be the last generation that will ever live, because it produces desolation. And if, at the core of the relationship what you have is a desolate future, there is no amount of psychological treatment, anti-depressive medication, or lies you can tell to yourself that will make you say, “What I’m engaged in is not, in the eyes of God, abominable.” You cannot destroy that truth. If you want happiness—because of the way we were created by the Creator Himself—it is to be obtained by following the path ordained by the Creator to realize the results that He established in your heart, in your soul, in your spirit, in your body, even in your DNA. [Audience applause.]
Question: Did Emma know the same things that Joseph did? Was she taught from on high as he was? Was he allowed to share everything with her?
Answer: I would be shocked if Joseph Smith did not share everything with Emma. I would be shocked.
Question: [Reading] …I think I’ve already covered that.
Question: I noticed a phrase—pursue judgment—in both the “Answer and Covenant” and in our Heavenly Mother’s words, quoted in “Our Divine Parents.”
Answer: Pursue judgment is that you pursue the treatment of others as you would have yourself be treated. You treat them in the same standard.
Question: Oh, I love this question: Share some more of the ways that nature testifies of Christ.
Answer: I hope you garden. If you don’t, you should garden in order to experience all the plagues of Egypt [audience laughter], because that’s what happens whenever I attempt to garden. There are these loathsome pests that will come along and consume and destroy and invade your garden. They’ll eat everything except zucchini, as it turns out. And zucchini produces in such abundance and so quickly—and ripens so quickly—that all you’re left with is a bag of seeds, and they’re dreadful.
But there is a pest that invades the garden that will eat everything and destroy and wreak havoc that eventually entombs itself in a chrysalis. And the pest, while it’s inside this apparent self-made tomb, has died, and gone away, but eventually, it will arise from that cocoon, from that tomb, and it will come out, and it has assumed a wholly different form. Unlike that loathsome creature—that crawled around, ugly and haltingly, across your garden, consuming and destroying—once it emerges from the tomb, it now takes flight. It’s joined with the sky, with the heavens itself. And it goes about, thereafter, taking pollen and fertilizing the garden and becoming productive. Where before it had destroyed, now it helps create; now it becomes an agent that produces fruit, that produces vegetables. This little insect is a powerful sermon embedded in nature to testify of who Christ was and, more importantly, to testify of what Christ did that will affect you, that will turn you from what we are now into something glorious, heavenly, and capable of ascending in flight up on high.
Question: Oh, how does equality work when we’re all given different gifts, abilities, and levels of understanding, some of which may be more outwardly manifest? Should we encourage one another to use our gifts to benefit all, even though this makes us appear unequal?
Answer: Equal means that you do what you can do, to the best of your ability to do, for the benefit of all that can receive. Not everyone can do what someone with a gift or a talent can accomplish, but all can appreciate the benefits of that gift or talent. We’re supposed to find joy, worship God, and bless our fellow man through the gifts that are given. In fact—I don’t know what section it is now; I know what the old number was—but the gifts that are given, the Lord says, specifically, are given as a benefit for the church (the definition of the church being all those who repent and are baptized, not some institution). So the blessing that is given to one has been given in order to bless and benefit the lives of all others. And as a consequence of that, you’re depriving the community of faith—of the gifts—when you don’t do the best you can with the gifts you’ve been given. They are intended by you, to be a sacrifice by you, for the benefit of others. And if others look on and say, “Gee, I wish I could do that, but I’m not double-jointed, and I’m not interested in riding on one of those things,” then, you know, you can admire the X-Games, but you don’t have to join ‘em.
We are going to break for lunch, and lunch will end at 2:30, at which time, Rob and Quintina Adolpho will be giving a presentation on recovering the lost sheep. This is something that both of them are earnestly engaged in and they addressed at a conference over in Hawaii a little while ago. I don’t know how much background you have on the two of them, but Quintina is, among other things, a PhD and counselor and Blackfoot (and providing counseling services and care for the Blackfoot people on a reservation). So it will be more than worth your time, given the fact that the covenant requires that, among other things, we must reach out to recover the lost remnant of people on this land. And we have Q from this land and Rob from Hawaii, both of whom identify with native peoples in a way that would be helpful to any who care to come and attend and for all who watch the recording of this at a later time.