Tithing monies remain in local fellowships, used for the poor in their midst, and are not sent to any central headquarters. In fact, Snuffer denounces plural marriage and insists Smith never fully practiced it — even in the face of generally accepted historical evidence stating otherwise — though some polygamists belong to fellowships.
Though Snuffer urges all to have their own pipelines to God, he is still the one they look to and quote. They refer to scores of his books, his lectures on Mormonism, his running commentary and blog, and his public speeches. On Sept. Meanwhile, he earned a law degree from BYU, married, divorced, remarried and reared nine children from both marriages.
Within four years, he was attracting hundreds to his speeches up and down the Mormon corridor. The writer refused. He learned he had been excommunicated by his ecclesiastical leaders in Sandy on Sept. Not now. Not later. Now the couple are all in with the Remnant. Print shirts, pants on women, and flip-flops give it a casual feel. While waiting for one woman to go to a nearby store for a baby bottle, the group discusses a Remnant baptism from the previous night.
By now, scores of former Mormons have been rebaptized as a symbol of their newfound beliefs, but not to become a member of a church. Child, who has been with the movement for three years, conducted the ritual for his 8-year-old son, Aidan, and invited his Mormon parents to attend. It took place at a Saratoga Springs hot spring, by full immersion. At 79, LaPrele Jordan has been looking for a spiritual home in various faith groups.
More singing and then comes the sacrament. Two piano benches are placed in the middle of the room. Bottles of wine with grape juice for the children and baskets of artisan bread are set upon them. They kneel and close their eyes. Some hold their hands with upturned, cupped palms or reach their arms heavenward.
He and others tear slabs of the bread. Each worshipper takes a hunk. The wine and grape juice are poured into plastic cups and served. Perhaps the condition opposite to trusting in the Lord is setting our hearts upon the things of the world. Such things can be seen as the means of providing immediate satisfaction and reward for temporal labor. Placing our trust in things rather than in a living God is idolatry. President Spencer W. Whereas things are neither living nor true, God is.
Endure to the end. It is not enough to forsake the world by coming unto Christ in the covenant-making process of baptism. We must continue in the struggle to overcome the world by keeping the conditions of that covenant. Yielding to the enticings of Satan at any time after coming unto Christ takes personal purity and spiritual power away from us. Even though we may live a significant portion of our lives in righteousness, we cannot prevent subsequent sin from destroying the fruits of previous spiritual living.
King Benjamin taught his people that they had not only to obtain a forgiveness for sin, but to retain it as well:. As ye have come to the knowledge of the glory of God, or if ye have known of his goodness and have tasted of his love, and have received a remission of your sins, which causeth such exceedingly great joy in your souls, even so I would that ye should remember, and always retain in remembrance, the greatness of God ,. And behold, I say unto you that if ye do this ye shall always rejoice, and be filled with the love of God, and always retain a remission of your sins.
Being steadfast in righteousness is an ongoing requirement of all who hope for salvation. Elder Bruce R. After summarizing the conditions upon which the fathers had obtained their hope for salvation, Alma put the value of knowledge gleaned from the past into true perspective, giving it a personal and present application. Unapplied history is of little value. Have ye received his image in your countenances?
Have ye experienced this mighty change in your hearts? Knowing how others attained a hope for salvation is useful only when we follow that same eternal pattern and experience for ourselves the spiritual rebirth and the mighty change of heart. Yet the Savior commanded us mortals to become perfect. This is a mandate from the Lord. He is just and wise and kind. He would never require anything from his children which was not for their benefit and which was not attainable. Moroni closed the Book of Mormon record with this challenge:. Yea, come unto Christ, and be perfected in him, and deny yourselves of all ungodliness; and if ye shall deny yourselves of all ungodliness, and love God with all your might, mind and strength, then is his grace sufficient for you, that by his grace ye may be perfect in Christ; and if by the grace of God ye are perfect in Christ, ye can in nowise deny the power of God.
And again, if ye by the grace of God are perfect in Christ, and deny not his power, then are ye sanctified in Christ by the grace of God, through the shedding of the blood of Christ, which is in the covenant of the Father unto the remission of your sins, that ye become holy, without spot. Moroni —33; emphasis added. Though we may lack many qualities of perfection, yet through Christ we can be as free from sin as he is.
We can be perfect in this manner in this life through repentance. We can have the image of God in our countenances now. Alma continued his teaching with questions. He asked the Church members to look forward to the time of their judgment when everyone will stand before the Lord in one of three conditions:.
The blessed. These individuals have repented and have been faithful to the conditions of salvation. The liars. These people are unrepentant, but think they can lie and misrepresent their works as having been righteous. They think such prevarication can obtain for them a hope of salvation Alma The guilty. These people are also unrepentant, but they make no pretense of prevarication.
Such persons cannot have hope for salvation. We are all responsible for controlling our physical bodies and behaving in accordance with standards of righteousness. In the waters of baptism, we establish covenants that conform to the example of Jesus Christ and His baptismal commitments. He promised to make his flesh obedient and his hands clean. In almost unbelievable contrast, some think and express the idea that they are powerless to change the innate desires of their flesh.
Another contrast is provided by those who feel that they have been thrust into an evil world of sinful influences and thus cannot be expected to rise above their environment. The Lord expects all of us to subdue our environment and control its effect upon our souls. We are to act; we are responsible for our actions. Clean hands reflect pure thoughts and internal conditions, and are symbolized by the phrase pure of heart. No act was ever performed that did not originate as a thought in the mind. If we control our minds, we will control our bodies. What we do is predicated upon what we are.
Our influence upon others is dependent upon our internal makeup. President David O. McKay said,. Every man and every person who lives in this world wields an influence, whether for good or for evil. It is not what he says alone; it is not alone what he does. It is what he is. Every man, every person radiates what he or she really is.
It is not enough to know or experience the gospel once. There must be an ongoing, constant feeding of the spirit, or the feelings that were once so predominantly a force within will die. Perhaps to provide a verification of worthiness, or to take inventory of current spiritual conditions, Alma asked some additional searching questions of his listeners. First, he asked about maintaining a state of blamelessness before God. In other words, have old habits crept back into our lifestyles, or have previously uncontrolled thoughts reestablished themselves and created inappropriate behavior?
If so, our hands would not still be clean and our hearts would no longer be pure. Next, he asked about humility and wondered if they had been stripped of pride. President Benson said that,. Pride does not look up to God and care about what is right. To the proud, the applause of the world rings in their ears; to the humble, the applause of heaven warms their hearts. Alma then asks about envy, which is mostly associated with worldly things.
To set our minds on worldly things preempts having them on spiritual things. Worldly things cannot cleanse or save the soul. A mind saturated with or focused upon worldliness denies access to the Spirit and needs to be refocused on thoughts of virtue. Finally, Alma inquired about those who mock their brother or persecute him.
Professor Gary L. Bunker writes,. To mock is to humiliate, ridicule, insult, revile, make fun of, deride, sneer at, scorn, or hold in contempt Occasions for mockery usually occur in the context of real or imagined differences. Differences in beliefs, wealth, learning, social position, physical characteristics, group membership, and behavior may be used as pretexts for the justification of mockery.
It also jeopardizes our hope of eternal life. Moreover, it is especially debilitating to those who have been called to serve. We cannot serve those for whom we have contempt. Can human hearts be changed? Why, of course! It happens every day in the great missionary work of the Church. In addition to the physical ordinance of baptism and the laying on of hands, one must be spiritually born again to gain exaltation and eternal life. Would not the progress of the Church increase dramatically today with an increasing number of those who are spiritually reborn?
Can you imagine what would happen in our homes? Can you imagine what would happen with an increasing number of copies of the Book of Mormon in the hands of an increasing number of missionaries who know how to use it and who have been born of God? When this happens, we will get the bounteous harvest of souls that the Lord promised. See Alma — No man who has felt in him the Spirit of Christ even for half a minute can deny this truth.
You do change human nature, your own human nature, if you surrender it to Christ. In KJV Today. Johnson, Luke Timothy. Minneapolis, MN: Fortress Press, Johnson, Mark J. Joines, Karen Randolph. Jones, F. Stanley, ed. Jean-Daniel Dubois and Dennis R. Jones, Gracia N.
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Zinner, Samuel. John Elder Neil L. Perego, Changing Forms, p. John — Zinner, Gospel of Thomas. A point emphasized by its threefold mention by John John ; ; For comments on the contrast of light and darkness in the writings of John and in Qumran, see M. Barker, King of the Jews , Kindle Edition: of See M. Thompson, John , pp. Boylan, Some Comments.
See John , 5. Mosiah ; Alma —14, 26; Helaman Joseph Smith stated J. There is no complete account of the royal ascent in the Hebrew Scriptures, nor in the Greek, and so the rituals in the Holy of Holies and their meaning have to be reconstructed from what remains. This is the pattern implicit in how Jesus describes himself to Nicodemus: Jesus has been born from above vv. Statements of the Prophet about the initial intimations of the spirit of enlightenment that lead faithful disciples through each of the earthly ordinances and eventually to the heavenly counterparts of these ordinances are found in the recollections of Daniel Tyler D.
Tyler, Recollections, pp. The birth here spoken of … was not the gift of the Holy Ghost, which was promised after baptism, but was a portion of the spirit, which attended the preaching of the Gospel by the elders of the Church. The people wondered why they had not previously understood the plain declarations of scripture, as explained by the elders, as they had read them hundreds of times.
When they read the Bible it was a new book to them [cf. Joseph Smith — History ]. This was being born again to see the Kingdom of God. They were not in it, but could see it from the outside, which they could not do until the Spirit of the Lord took the vail from before their eyes. It was a change of heart but not of state; they were converted, but were yet in their sins. On Cornelius, see Acts Cornelius received the Holy Ghost before he was baptized, which was the convincing power of God unto him of the truth of the Gospel, but he could not receive the gift of the Holy Ghost until after he was baptized.
See, e. Wilson, A New Pneumatology, p. Attridge et al. See also C. Keener, John , — Christ is speaking of a being born of God, whereas Nicodemus thinks, incorrectly, that He is speaking of being born again. Note that on at least one occasion Joseph Smith applied John in a very different way to a contemporary situation.
However, Andrew F. Cook observe that in relation to remarks on eternal marriage given a few months later, Joseph Smith said J. McGuire, 7 March McGuire observes that such a reading strategy is quite foreign to the typical modern exegete though not to ancient interpreters — see, e. Kugel, How to Read , pp. For more on this topic, see B. McGuire, Nephi, pp. Zinner, Gospel of Thomas :.