Rise Up

We are in the midst of a marvelous time.  A quote from my favorite talk:

“I bear witness of Christ. I have seen Him! I know He lives! I know He is coming in judgment, and I know that before His coming, He has wanted some things to be declared. I have been as faithful as I can be in declaring the things asked of me. I sense keenly my own inadequacy. I beg you to overlook all that and not let me become a stumbling block. Look at the scriptures, look at the words of Christ, look at the explanations we got from Joseph, look at the things that are true, and go to Him in faith believing.

I began with a description of Him. I want to repeat that. The Lord is affable, but He is not gregarious. He is approachable. He is not aloof. He is patient and He is willing to guide and willing to teach. He is intelligent, but He [is] not overbearing. He is humble and approachable in His demeanor, even though His power is absolutely undeniable. Therefore, He is both a Lamb and a Lion. If you come to Him in the day He offers redemption to you, you will be coming to the Lamb. But if you wait for His coming in judgment, you are waiting on the Lion, and you will not like what you will see.

I asked you to remember He is quick to forgive sin. He allows all to come to Him. He is no respecter of persons. I said that when I began, I’m saying it again as we end today.

He is real! He lives! His work of redemption continues right now, just as it continued throughout His mortal life, just as it continued as He hung on the cross, just as it continued in His resurrection in Palestine, and as He came to visit with the Nephites. He ministered to other sheep, and He has called other people. There are, in fact, holy men who ye know not of who still remain on earth.

If there was anything more I could do or say that I thought would convince or persuade you to believe in Him, I would do it or I would say it. But despite it all, I realize some of you are going to walk out of here thinking that I’m just another one of these latter-day blowhards. That is all good and well. Please however, give heed to the scriptures I’ve read, the words of Joseph I quoted, and the fact I do have a witness that Christ is approachable. He is every bit as much alive today as when He was when He walked on the road to Emmaus. He is every bit as willing to come and redeem you from the Fall as He was willing to redeem others before. His work and His glory culminates with your redemption. His success is redeeming you. You think the scriptures give you hope of eternal life. That is true. I have used them today to show you how great things the Lord has done. The scriptures testify what I am saying is true.

If you think, ‘Well, He is aloof and He is distant, and this is an impossible high thing to achieve.’ The fact of the matter is, it is a greater achievement on His end to redeem you, than your end to be redeemed. There is more anxiety, more desire, and more rejoicing in heaven when He redeems someone from the Fall than there is here.

He came, He suffered, He lived, He died, He did what He did in order to lift all of Creation, and you are inextricably connected to Him. Therefore, trust that. Receive Him. It may start very slow, very small, very distant. Act on that, hearken to that, it gets louder. You will never wind up in the company of Gods and angels, if you are not willing to have faith in those preliminary things you first receive. Ask. Then go and do what He asks.

When I first got an answer to prayer sitting in a barracks in New Hampshire, if I hadn’t acted on that I would never have beheld the Lord, much less been taught by Him. But I did, and I do. Whatever He still asks of me, I do. It does not matter how unpleasant I find it, or how reluctant I may be. I go and I do. You need to do likewise. It may not even make much sense to you when you’re going and doing. You may think you are offending when you absolutely do not intend to do so. You may find the people you love rejecting you.

I lost friends and was rejected when I converted to Mormonism. Then I found a new family in the faith I accepted as a nineteen year old. After forty years I was rejected by that new family. I have laid everything on the line for the Lord twice now in a single lifetime. I cannot tell you what sacrifices He may ask of you, but whatever He asks of you, that do you.

Let me end by bearing testimony and witness to you, that the things I’ve been saying, beginning in Boise and going on through Phoenix, the beginning date, the ending date, the content, the fact that there are 10 of them, the timeframe in which they are being delivered, the fact He wanted us to begin on the first day of the 40th year, and He wanted us to end on the last day of the 40th year, those things are not my doing. He is the author of this all.

Hearken to the word of the Lord. End your days on this barren treadmill and rise up. There is no reason to fail when the Lord offers you His word, and even His presence, today. He will not leave you here comfortless, but He will come and take up His abode with you. The idea this is only to happen ‘in your heart’ is an old sectarian notion, and is false. Joseph Smith declared that, and I declare he spoke the truth.”

I was present at this talk.  I have listened to it several times since, as well as the other talks alluded to in the above excerpt.  I have learned so much from it, and my soul rejoices in all the things the Lord has taught me over the past several years through many different people and experiences.  My heart aches to somehow be able to tell everyone I love all of it, and discuss it all with them.  But I have learned that is pretty much impossible, especially unless people ask and want to know.  Agency is so important.

So, all I can do, I think, is share some small bits of things I love.  And if anyone wants to know anything more about any of what I love and think about and believe, they can ask. Please feel free to ask.  And the more I learn the more I realize how little I know :).  So, whatever anyone says, we always have to ask the Lord what is true.  And be open to the fact that what we think, or are even sure is true, may not be true, or may be perceived incorrectly.  Or that we might be conflating true things with things that are not true, and therefore mistaking where the truth actually is. For example, consider that maybe the Church and the gospel are not the same thing.

If our hearts are not soft, if our necks are stiff, it is very difficult for the Lord to get us to see the truth and see our errors.  Because He will not take our agency, to believe what we want, away.

One big thing I have learned is that we damn ourselves, and what that mainly means is we stop learning.  We do that often by thinking we already know.  Either our pride in what we know, or our fear of encountering something that might shake our faith or cause us to doubt, causes us to put up walls (or set up stakes as Joseph Smith put it) around what we think God will do or not do, and around what we will listen to, or read, or study, or even pray about.  And so we stop our own progression, and therefore damn ourselves.  I try not to do that anymore.  But I know it is hard.

J. Reuben Clark said: “If we have truth, [it] cannot be harmed by investigation. If we have not truth, it ought to be harmed.” 

Joseph Smith said: “One of the grand fundamental principles of Mormonism is to receive truth, let it come from whence it may.”  

The scriptures tell us to ask, seek, and knock.

I am part of an online group of friends.  We consider ourselves like a family.  Most of us have met in person now, some of us quite a few times, although we live in many different states, and even one of us is out of the country.  We love each other.  When we started, our commonality was a belief in the Doctrine of Christ and a desire to seek truth wherever it could be found, and also a desire to care for each other.  We also have all experienced some level of pain or sacrifice or even persecution for what we believe.  For several years now we have supported each other emotionally, spiritually, and physically – even caring for the financial needs of each other when we have needed help.

I mention this because we are an interesting sort of rabble :).  Aside from the commonality of believing in, or wanting to believe in, the Doctrine of Christ, we pretty much disagree to some extent on lots of issues, and we are not afraid to talk about it.  And boy, do we talk about it :).  We discuss and debate and persuade.  We cite scripture and relate experiences, and we love, and we forgive.  We cry, and we laugh.  We commiserate, and we pray for each other.  We partake of the Lord’s Supper together, and we sometimes chat late into the night about silly or sensitive or even shocking subjects, or what ever comes into our minds.

I mention this also because when I think about it, this amazes me.  It is something that I have not experienced in a group before.  It is not an idyllic wonderland, because we are human and have made mistakes, and sometimes been offended, and gotten mad, and been sad.  But generally we have gotten through that stuff, and mostly we have hung together and forgiven.  And I feel more free there than in any group I can imagine, because the level of judgement of each other is so low.  The goal there is to not judge (again, we do not exhibit perfection, but the effort is great), just to LOVE.  To deal with each other as D&C 121 says, to persuade, and be gentle, and meek, and have love unfeigned, etc.  And everyone wants to learn and to do what the Lord wants, and the level of fear of learning new truth, and finding out we are wrong, is low. I, for one, have learned so much!  Lack of fear and great love is so conducive to learning.

We have some in the group who have seen the Lord, and some have seen angels, and some have heard the voice of the Lord, and some have been taught in dreams and visions, and many have had other great spiritual experiences, and we have all learned from each other, and no one is in charge, and no one is better than any of the rest of us.  And we all know we have so much to learn, and so much unbelief to overcome.

So, this all has to do with the quote I put in this post because it is about being free to seek truth so that we can rise up and be like Christ and actually know Him, and follow only Him.  We can help each other do that.  We have to let go of fear and hold on to love.  The Lord loves us and wants us to find truth.  Truth is delicious to our soul.  Hearing the same thing over and over is not edifying to us.  But learning more and more is progression and is wonderful to us!  But it is impossible if we dam ourselves up behind tradition, and philosophies of men mingled with scripture, and loyalty to false hierarchies, and unbelief (which is believing in wrong things).  Because then we have damned ourselves.  And if we are not learning more, we are losing what we do know:

2 Nephi 28:29 Wo be unto him that shall say: We have received the word of God, and we need no more of the word of God, for we have enough!

30 For behold, thus saith the Lord God: I will give unto the children of men line upon line, precept upon precept, here a little and there a little; and blessed are those who hearken unto my precepts, and lend an ear unto my counsel, for they shall learn wisdom; for unto him that receiveth I will give more; and from them that shall say, We have enough, from them shall be taken away even that which they have.

The rest of the talk excerpted above can be found here: http://denversnuffer.com/wp/wp-content/uploads/2015/02/07-Ephraim-Transcript-Christ.pdf

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