True, Blue, Mormon: Independent Faithfulness

The following remarks were shared in Meridian, Idaho, on February 26, 2022 at the “Rescuing the Restoration Conference”.

Christianity was languishing at the time that Joseph Smith lived, and Joseph Smith took Christianity and changed it (to borrow from Mark Twain) to the difference between lightning and a lightning bug. Joseph Smith envisioned a form of Christianity in which the God of Heaven Himself was accessible, living, proximate, nearby to each and every one of us—as opposed to Christianity in a diluted form, in which the philosophies of men (which are considerably far more boring than the declarations of Scripture) were mingled with and diluted Scripture into something that only a philosopher could really appreciate. Joseph Smith’s “living Christianity” promised things that were akin to what Christianity looked like when the New Testament was being composed. 

The culmination of the development of doctrine and teachings by Joseph Smith was a temple ceremony that (in a diluted form) is still reenacted in LDS temples today—in which the journey of Adam and Eve is simply figurative, and those who participate are instructed to envision themselves as if they were, respectively, Adam and Eve. The journey culminates with an experience in which “having been true and faithful,” they’re invited to “converse with the Lord through the veil” and then, having conversed with the Lord through the veil, to “enter into His presence.” That part of the ceremony is rife in the form of Christianity that Joseph Smith restored, from the beginning and throughout. It can be summarized in a single verse that Joseph Smith gave us by revelation which says, Verily thus sa[ith] the Lord: It shall come to pass that every soul who forsakes [his] sins, and comes unto me, and calls on my name, and obeys my voice, and keeps all my commandments, shall see my face and know that I am (T&C 93:1, emphasis added; see also D&C 93:1). 

See, the religion that Joseph restored divides things up into categories that the vocabulary of the Book of Mormon clarifies: 

  • You have “belief” if you have a correct understanding of true teachings that are given to you in an authentic way that actually reflect the religion that God would like you to possess.
  • You have “unbelief” when you have something other than that. If an error creeps in, you have unbelief. By and large, Christianity today is composed, essentially, of unbelief held by unbelievers because they cannot have belief without true doctrine, and you cannot reject the words of God and claim to be a believer in Him. 
  • The word “faith” is applied to those to whom angels have ministered. 
  • And the word “knowledge” is applied to those who have entered into the presence of the Lord. Joseph Smith was attempting to restore a form of Christianity designed to give mankind knowledge. So, you “shall see my face and know that I am.” 

In another place (this is language from the Testimony of St. John), the Lord said: 

Remember that I will ask the Father, and he will provide…you another Comforter, that he may be by your side endlessly. You will obtain the record of Heaven, the truth of all things which is denied to the world because the world refuses my Father, and therefore they do not know him. But you know him, for he is with you, and shall provide answers to guide you. I will not leave you comfortless. I will stand at your side also. 

…To those who show love for me, my Father will show love to them, and I love all those, and I will personally minister to them. (TSJ 10:11-12, emphasis added; see also John 14:15-21 KJV)

This is the gospel of Christ. This is the promise that was made. In the Book of Mormon that Joseph Smith restored, we have a promise:

It shall come to pass that if the gentiles shall hearken unto the Lamb of God in that day…

…“that day” being the time when the Book of Mormon should come forth, “that day” not being when the Lord was resurrected. At the time of the Lord’s resurrection, what He said was, “They understood me not that I was not gonna go to the Gentiles at that time. They were gonna hear about me through the ministry of my servants, but I will not show myself to the Gentiles in that day.” Here Nephi is writing about the time in which the Book of Mormon would come forth, a much later time period—the difference between approximately 33 AD and 1830 AD, so:

It shall come to pass that if the gentiles shall hearken unto the Lamb of God in that day that he shall manifest himself unto them in word and also in power, in very deed, unto the taking away of their stumbling blocks, and harden not their hearts against the Lamb of God, they shall be numbered among the seed of thy father. Yea, they shall be numbered among the house of Israel; and they shall be a blessed people upon the promised land for ever. (1 Nephi 3:25 RE, emphasis added; see also 1 Nephi 14:1-2 LE)

…if they will hearken unto the things that the Lord intends for them to receive in that day. 

So, there’s a process that’s described in the Book of Mormon, the religion that Joseph Smith restored. 

He sent angels to converse with them, who caused men to behold of his glory…

See, angels come to visit with and minister to people. Those to whom the angels minister now are able to behold the glory of God. 

And they began from that time forth to call on his name; therefore, God conversed with men… 

The angelic “faith” secures for them “knowledge”—because it’s their ministry to bring them into the presence of God. 

Therefore, God conversed with men and made known unto them the plan of redemption which had been prepared from the foundation of the world. And…he made known unto them according to their faith, and repentance, and their holy works. (Alma 9:7 RE, emphasis added; see also Alma 12:29-30 LE)

This is a religion Joseph Smith was restoring. This is what’s testified to in the Book of Mormon as the manner in which these things unfold. It’s a question that gets posited by Moroni, towards the end of the Book of Mormon:

Hath miracles ceased? Behold, I say unto you, nay; neither have angels ceased to minister unto the children of men. For behold, they [the angels] are subject unto him [God], to minister according to the word of his [God’s] command, shewing themselves unto them of strong faith and a firm mind in every form of godliness. And the office of their ministry [that is, the job that angels are employed by God to perform; this is the office that they occupy; these are their responsibility—the “office of their ministry”] is to call men unto repentance, and to fulfill and to do the work of the covenants of the Father which he hath made unto the children of men, to prepare the way among the children of men by declaring the word of Christ unto the chosen vessels… 

Angels declare things to men; the men to whom it is declared are called “chosen vessels.” Now understand: This is Moroni. In Alma, it’s made clear that angelic ministrants don’t just come to men. They come to men and to women and to children—but we’re not in Alma now, so don’t be hung up on the fact that he is addressing the office and the calling in the masculine. Okay? It’s of no moment. 

…declaring the word of Christ unto the chosen vessels of the Lord, that they may bear testimony of him; and by so doing, the Lord…prepareth the way that the residue of men may have faith in Christ, that the holy ghost may have place in their hearts, according to the power thereof; and after this manner bringeth to pass the Father the covenants which he hath made unto the children of men. (Moroni 7:6 RE; see also Moroni 7:29-32 LE)

All of this serves the purpose of accomplishing and fulfilling the covenant word God gave previously to those that secured covenants with God in past generations—so that God’s promises are vindicated, and no word that God ever pronounced from the beginning to any of those that have received a covenant from God will fall to the earth unfulfilled. They will all be fulfilled. And the system in which that takes place is: 

  • Men who have faith receive the ministering of angels. The purpose of the ministry of the angels is to assist so that the fulfilling of the covenants can take place by declaring it unto the “chosen vessels.”
  • They, in turn, have the obligation to disseminate the information to the residue of the people so that they may have faith in and receive ministering by the Holy Ghost so that the work can be done. 

The word “residue” is interesting. It shows up here; it also shows up in another place in which, three years previous to the death of Adam in the valley of Adam-Ondi-Ahman, there were gathered together seven who were direct lineal descendants of Adam who stood within the Holy Order, and the Lord came and ministered to them. And the residue of Adam’s posterity who were righteous were also present on that occasion. So when the word “residue” is used here in Moroni, think about how the word “residue” gets used, likewise, in the valley of Adam-Ondi-Ahman when Adam, three years previous to his death, is ministered to by Christ, and the residue were also present. So, it’s not belittling anyone. 

Let’s go to that Alma thing that I referred to. It’s in Alma chapter 9[16]. And it says that He sent angels to converse not only to men but also to women and to children also (and I’m using the new set of Scriptures). 

Well, what is the purpose of the Lord in causing all these things to happen, okay? It’s so that we can attain to an understanding of the things that the Lord would like you to comprehend about Him. In the testimonies that we have in the four Gospels, we learn about the sacrifice that Christ made, His passion, His death, His resurrection. But apparently, the four Gospel accounts do not give prominent enough explanation of the Atonement suffering that the Lord had, because in the early days of the Restoration through Joseph Smith, Christ gave a more fulsome explanation of what it was that He went through in atoning for mankind’s sins. This is language from a revelation that was given in 1830: 

I command you by my name, and…my almighty power that you repent, repent lest I smite you by the rod of my mouth, and by my wrath, and by my anger, and your sufferings be sore — how sore you know not, how exquisite you know not, yea, how hard to bear you know not. For behold, I, God, have suffered these things for all that they might not suffer, if they would repent. But if they would not repent, they must suffer even as I, which suffering caused myself, even God, the greatest of all, to tremble because of pain, and to bleed at every pore, and to suffer both body and spirit, and would that I might not drink the bitter cup and shrink. Nevertheless, glory be to the Father, and I partook and finished my preparations unto the children of men.(T&C 4:5; see also D&C 19:15-19)

Not one word of the suffering the Lord describes in this revelation talks about the cross. He’s talking exclusively about the experience that He had in Gethsemane—which is one of the curiosities about the Restoration, with Christendom having crosses everywhere (yeah, that being the result historically of Constantine and the battle on the bridge, in which his troops painted the cross on their shields and won an unlikely victory over the adversary when the leader—the idiotic leader—of the opposition rode out in full armor onto the bridge and fell into the water, and gravity took care of the rest). So, here we have the Lord, after talking about eternal punishment and endless punishment, giving you a description of what it was that He went through and telling us that that was rather exquisite. 

In our day in our Scriptures (meaning the Restoration Scriptures that were approved at a conference in 2017 and adopted as a new set of Scriptures), a revelation in our own day is given by the Lord to describe what He went through so that we can understand and have more faith in Him. And this is from modern Scripture:

I knew a man in Christ about four years ago who, being overshadowed by the spirit on the 26th of February, 2005, had the Lord appear to him again. And the Lord spoke to him face to face in plain humility, as one man speaks to another, calling him by name. As they spoke the Lord put forth His hand and touched the eyes of the man and said, Look! The man had opened before him a view of the Lord kneeling in prayer. It was…a dark place. The air was heavy and overcast with sorrow. The man beheld the Lord praying in Gethsemane on the night of His betrayal and before His crucifixion.

All the Lord had previously done in His mortal ministry by healing the sick, raising the dead, giving sight to the blind, restoring hearing to the deaf, curing the leper, and ministering relief to others as he taught was but a prelude to what the Lord was now to do on this dark, oppressive night.

As the Lord knelt in prayer, His vicarious suffering began. He was overcome by pain and anguish. He felt within Him, not just the pains of sin, but also the illnesses men suffer as a result of the Fall and their foolish and evil choices. The suffering was long and the challenge difficult. The Lord suffered the afflictions. He was healed from the sickness. He overcame the pains, and patiently bore the infirmities until, finally, he returned to peace of mind and strength of body. It took an act of will and hope for Him to overcome the affliction which had been poured upon Him. He overcame the separation caused by these afflictions and reconciled with His Father. He was at peace with all mankind.

He thought His sufferings were over, but to His astonishment another wave overcame Him. This one was much greater than the first. The Lord, who had been kneeling, fell forward onto His hands at the impact of the pain that was part of [the second, greater] wave.

This second wave was so much greater than the first that it seemed to entirely overcome the Lord. The Lord was now stricken with physical injuries as well as spiritual affliction. As he suffered anew, His flesh was torn which he healed using the power of the charity within Him. The Lord had such life [force] within Him, such power and virtue within Him, that although he suffered in His flesh, these injuries healed and His flesh restored. His suffering was both body and spirit, and there was anguish of thought, feeling, and soul.

The Lord overcame this second wave of suffering, and again found peace of mind and strength of body; and His heart filled with love despite what he had suffered. Indeed, it was charity or love that allowed Him to overcome. He was at peace with His Father, and with all mankind, but it required another, still greater act of will and charity than the first for Him to do so.

Again, the Lord thought His suffering was over. He stayed on His hands and knees for a moment to collect Himself when another wave of torment burst upon Him. This wave struck Him with such force he fell forward upon His face. He was afflicted by this greater wave. He was then healed, only to then be afflicted again as the waves of torment overflowed. Wave after wave poured out upon Him, with only moments between them. The Lord’s suffering progressed from a lesser to a greater portion of affliction; …as one would be overcome by Him, the next, greater affliction would then be poured out. Each wave of suffering was only preparation for the next, greater wave.

The pains of mortality, disease, injury, and infirmity, together with the sufferings of sin, transgressions, guilt of mind, and unease of soul, the horrors of recognition of the evils men had inflicted upon others, were all poured out upon Him, with confusion and perplexity multiplied upon Him. (T&C 161:1-8)

This goes on to describe what He went through in Gethsemane, in further detail, and then the resurrection and His coming forth out of the grave. 

So, why does the Lord want us to comprehend something about what He endured in Gethsemane? In Isaiah, there’s a passage that says: 

When you shall make his soul an offering for sin, he shall see his seed; he shall prolong his days, and the pleasure of the Lord shall prosper in his hand. He shall see…the travail of his soul and shall be satisfied; by his knowledge shall my righteous Servant justify many, for he shall bear their iniquities. (Isaiah 19:3 RE, emphasis added; see also Isaiah 53:10-11 KJV)

What Christ acquired through His suffering was knowledge and understanding of everything you have or will ever go through or suffer. He understands. But He doesn’t understand that in order for you to simply be the passive recipient of a blessing that He confers as a consequence of what He went through. He went through it so He can guide you to the same end. There is no magic fairy dust. You must rise up. You must overcome sin. You must leave behind you the things that bring about guilt and remorse. He has finished His preparations. And now the Righteous (who has knowledge of how to bring you through that) can guide you, can lead you, can succor you in your affliction so that you too can overcome that portion of the world that you have to contend with. 

Listen to the words that the Lord gives us in an answer concerning the covenant that He’s renewed again in our day: 

Although a man may err in understanding concerning many things, yet he can view his brother with charity and come unto me, and through me he can with patience overcome the world. I can bring him to understanding and knowledge. Therefore, if you regard one another with charity, then your brother’s error in understanding will not divide you. I lead to all truth…  

This is Christ talking: “I lead to all truth.” 

I will lead all who come to me to the truth of all things. The fullness is to receive the truth of all things, and this too from me, in power, by my word, and in very deed… 

…the same thing that Nephi had prophesied would happen in this day. Christ is saying He’ll do it; we will get it from Him “in power, by my word, and in very deed.” 

For I will come unto you if you will come unto me. (T&C 157:53, emphasis added)

There’s this passage that we’ve got—it’s probably recitable by all of you who are here. I want to look at that as I conclude and put it in the context of everything that you face and everything that you will face, through and including your own ultimate final disease and death. Okay? 

The Lord is my shepherd. I shall not lack. He makes me to lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside the still waters… 

You know, the waters are going to be turbulent! That’s just the way it’s gonna be. But if He is by your side, the turbulence is of no moment. He leads you beside the still waters because “Peace, be still” is His message, even when you are in the midst of the hurricane itself. 

He restores my soul. He leads me in the [path] of righteousness for his name’s sake. Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil… 

You’re going to walk through the valley of the shadow of death. But if death has no claim on you because of promises He has given to you, what is there to fear? Why not look forward to what comes next? It’s gonna be far more interesting than what you’re going through lying in your final illness or coping with whatever they do to you in the medical industry on your way out. 

I will fear no evil, for you are with me. Your rod and your staff… 

Well, what’s the rod, and what’s the staff? They’re things you use to beat or steer or grab or jerk the animal to get the animal back on the right path. These are implements of (frankly) cruelty—not because you’re trying to hurt your sheep; you’re trying to keep them from falling off the cliff; you’re trying to keep them from injury and death. You may have to discipline with a rod or with a staff. But the discipline is designed to correct, improve, and pull them away from an even greater danger or their own destruction. 

Your rod and your staff — they comfort me… 

And why is that? Because you understand the purpose of the Lord behind what it is that He’s doing for you. It’s designed to make you ultimately live. 

You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies…

You’re gonna have enemies. Well, okay. They can do you no harm. Christ said, “Don’t worry about those who can destroy the body. Worry about those things that can destroy the soul.” He’s literally saying, “Don’t be afraid of death.” There are gonna be enemies. They’re going to conspire. They’re gonna do things purposefully to try and inflict and to injure, to set back, to harm, and ultimately to kill you. And He’s saying, “You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies.” It’s of no moment. 

You anoint my head with oil. My cup runs over. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever. (Psalms 23:1-2 RE; see also Psalms 23:1-6 KJV)

…in the midst of potentially turbulent waters, valley of death, and enemies surrounding you. Why is that? Because Christ overcame the world. He understands anything and everything that we will be put through. And when He says, “Peace, be still,” and counsels and comforts and guides you, He does it from a position in which He understands everything. “Art thou greater than He? The Son of Man hath descended below it all” (see T&C 139:8; see also D&C 122:8). 

Expect turbulent waters. But you can still be at peace because of Him. This is the message that Joseph Smith’s restored gospel is trying to get across to us: an immediate, accessible, proximate Lord and Savior who understands and comprehends what you are going through and what you will go through and has the ability to sucker you in your every need. It doesn’t mean your burdens are gonna go away. It means your burdens are gonna be made understandable to you so that what you experience is acceptable and does not harm your soul. 

In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.  

Okay, so we have 11 minutes in which all the people who spoke are still here, and it’s open for questions, and you can ask them anything, including, “Why’d ya ask the people to talk who talked?” There were great, by the way; they were all great (except that last speaker). 

Anyone? Oh, is that wired to the system, and it’s on? Does anyone have a question they want to ask to anyone? 

What? 

Audio/Visual: Yes, you must go up to the microphone.

Audience Member: If there are people who would like to ask questions and not be on tape, can you agree that they won’t be?

Audio/Visual: No video. We can say, “No video.”

Audience Member: We can say no video.

Audio/Visual: But the audio still goes.

Audience Member: But it’s not gonna… Okay.

Denver Snuffer: They’ve already sent the folks to photograph the license plates. They know if you’re here. [laughter] Yeah.

So you wanna…?

Audience Member: Right here’s good.  

Audio/Visual: No, we can’t hear you if you don’t come up. Please, if you’re going to ask a question, nobody can hear you unless you come up to the microphone. Thank you. 

Audience Member: Now my license plate number isn’t gonna be sufficient. 

DS: Yeah. 

Question 1: I was just wondering what’s going on with the work with the Lamanite Nations or the Lamanite people as the fulfillment of the Gentiles is done, and the Lamanite people will be involved in the last days’ (you know) New Jerusalem and so forth. I’m just curious as to what’s going on with that.

DS:  In many respects, the safest way to proceed with finishing some things is to get the work done before rolling it out for public view so that it can roll forward unhindered in getting to a state in which it’s no longer able to be frustrated. And work among the Lamanites has been ongoing for some time now. And there are concrete steps that have been and are being taken. And there will be announcements that reflect the progress that has been made once we have something more to talk about.

But believe me, a lot of work has to go into getting something ready to roll out. And although I know there are a lot of people that would like to volunteer to do a lot of things, the fact of the matter is that sometimes “a lot of people” only get in the way of one another—and it’s better to focus in and try to accomplish some things. 

The Scripture project was undertaken by a committee of people that ultimately required that the work be divided up. It was a research assignment. It wasn’t a composition assignment. It required a lot of plowing through a great deal of old texts in order to try and locate the most accurate material. And it didn’t matter who did it, the result should have been exactly the same. But when you’re dealing with limited resources, you… We can’t buy multiple sets of books costing thousands of dollars in order to give 50 people the opportunity to do something. We have to have it make some economic sense and get the work done. 

There are a lot of things like that, and right now there is an extraordinary effort that has been and is ongoing in focusing on both the Jews and the Lamanites. And in due course, when something has been suitably achieved that is worth holding up and saying, “We got something done,” everyone will know about it. But until then, people are laboring hard behind the scenes to try and get something done with as much focus and as little notice as possible. It’s the only way you get work done, really.

So, is that it? What’s the time? 

Audience Member: I have a question.

DS: Oh, yeah, yeah, yeah…  

Question 2: As members of the Church, we’re taught that we receive the baptism of fire and the Holy Ghost at confirmation. And I personally don’t believe that that is the case, although I think we can receive many baptisms of fire that can help sanctify us. I think even Elder Bednar mentioned in a 2010 conference talk that (you know) it’s an injunction to receive the baptism of fire and the Holy Ghost. So my question is, what role do you see the baptism of fire and the Holy Ghost playing in receiving the Second Comforter, which is entering into the Lord’s presence?

DS: Yeah. It’s a great question. It’s a big subject; there’s a lot that probably ought to be said in order to set the stage for an answer to make a whole lot of sense. However, briefly and hitting just some high points: 

Within the Book of Mormon text, Christ gave authority to baptize by saying, “You have authority to baptize.” Christ gave authority to go perform a ministry by saying, “You have authority to go perform a ministry.” The priestly conferral of authority was the voice of God speaking to empower the individual to do it. The Holy Ghost, however, when they get to that (and it’s covered—I don’t know if it’s one verse in the LDS version; it’s one paragraph in the new Scriptures) mentions four times Jesus touched them; He touched them all. And He touched them. He touched them, okay? Everyone that got authority to baptize got it by simply the voice of God. Conferring upon someone the gift of the Holy Ghost came by touching the Savior, okay? That was a prerequisite. 

Now, hold that thought for a moment because there’s another line. It… You see it in the history of Joseph Smith in the LDS version [or in] Teachings and Commandments section one of the new Scriptures, in which Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery get authority to be baptized by John the Baptist, and then they go out, and they baptize one another. Upon their baptism, [claps hands] the Holy Ghost… They… It’s clear from the record that Joseph did not yet have authority to lay on hands for the gift of the Holy Ghost. They baptize, and [clap hands] the Holy Ghost is poured out upon them, so that when Oliver is baptized, Oliver immediately begins to prophesy. And when Joseph gets it, he proclaimed many great and marvelous things are about to unfold. And he talked about… He doesn’t call it prophecy, but he describes that he’s essentially doing exactly the same thing. And then the two of them, “being enlightened by the Holy Ghost,” set about to understand more mysterious passages of Scripture in a way that they could never have previously attained to, which means that they had the Holy Ghost allowing them to comprehend Scripture in a way they couldn’t have ever done. 

That description (which is more fulsome in Joseph Smith’s history or the T&C 1) mirrors the shorter description that’s given in the Book of Mormon. Every single Book of Mormon baptism is accompanied by the receipt of the Holy Ghost with no laying on of hands. Okay? It just happens: baptism and the presence of the Holy Ghost. In the LDS model: “We lay our hands upon your head and confirm you a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and say unto you, Receive the Holy Ghost.” Those are the words. That is… Those are the ordinance words (I know, ‘cuz I’ve done that…many times). They are not conferring upon someone the gift of the Holy Ghost; they are admonishing them to do something and to receive something. 

So, baptism and the presence of the Holy Ghost occurs (within the Book of Mormon model and in the Restoration-through-Joseph model) automatically upon baptism. And Christ describes His gospel, and He describes His doctrine; and in both of them, the way that the Lord describes them is: You go get baptized, in faith, repenting; and upon that, then the Holy Ghost ministers to you. 

The difference between the “gift of the Holy Ghost” and “receiving the baptism of fire and the Holy Ghost” and the “presence of the Holy Ghost” and the “ministry of the Holy Ghost” is ofttimes described (if you’re willing to read through a lot of Ensign articles, General Conference talks) it’s conditional, okay? You have to repent of your sins, and you gotta stay in the right way, or the Holy Ghost is going to depart from you. And they tell you that. The Holy Ghost will leave you if you’re not a good little boy. And that means that you’ve got to (oh, I guess it was Boyd Packer): “You gotta leave that little factory alone.”

The Holy Ghost can be offended and withdraw if the presence of the Holy Ghost has come as a consequence of faith, repentance, and baptism. The gift of the Holy Ghost that the disciples were given by coming into direct contact with the Lord was the power to confer upon someone the indelible presence of the Holy Ghost… (Keith, you gotta stop laughing. You’re gonna make me… I move on from these things, and if I stop and think about it, I think, “Oh, you’re such an ass.”) …the indelible presence so that when you offend the spirit, it doesn’t withdraw. In some respects, it gets louder; it convicts you and convinces you that what has been done is an error—which then requires some explanation about what it means to offend or to deny the Holy Ghost, and it’s not… 

Denying the Holy Ghost is not doing something you know to be wrong while the Spirit is counseling you not to do so (because people will do that for a whole host of reasons, some of which may include the desire to try and achieve a good end by doing something that they know to be off the mark in the hopes that it’ll work out). Denying the Holy Ghost means that you come out in outright rebellion against God, that you are committed to a contrary course; you are working at cross purposes to God’s purposes, and you’re doing so deliberately—with the intent that you’re trying to overthrow the kingdom of God. 

In order to confer the gift of the Holy Ghost, if you read the Book of Mormon and you pay attention to what it’s saying, it mandatorily requires that the person who is going to confer the gift have come into contact with the Lord. The Lord confers that directly upon the person. What the LDS Church model suggests is the same thing that the “Oliver Cowdery / Joseph Smith baptism before the higher priesthood was restored” and what the Book of Mormon model suggests, which is faith, repentance, baptism. You’ve got to repent of your sins. You’ve got to witness unto the Lord that you’re leaving those sins behind, and acting no hypocrisy, go in, and receive baptism—at which point, the Holy Ghost is secured. It comes…  It bears witness of the Savior. 

I was baptized into the LDS Church in 1973, and I recall on the beach… We baptized in the North Atlantic, off the coast of Maine, and cold water—and I recall kneeling after the baptism in North Atlantic cold water, the Spirit being poured out upon me and being warm from head to toe. It was odd. I physically felt warm. I mean, I would agree that you call that “fire in the Holy Ghost” because it… I was shivering. And I was so warm that I was absolutely comfortable. And funny things happened after that—I mean, odd things. I did prophesy. And I did read the Scriptures, and they came alive. I’d been read the New Testament by a Baptist mother my whole youth, and they were kind of boring. And now they were astonishing! The Scriptures came alive in a manner that could not have previously been attained to. 

And we’re after six [o’clock], thankfully. Thank you all. (Don’t forget your ring.)

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