Monday, June 29, 2015

Connecting Dots...

"For in that day, for my sake shall the Father work a work, which shall be a great and a marvelous work among them; and there shall be among them those who will not believe it, although a man shall declare it unto them. But behold, the life of my servant shall be in my hand; therefore they shall not hurt him, although he shall be marred because of them. Yet I will heal him, for I will show unto them that my wisdom is greater than the cunning of the devil. Therefore it shall come to pass that whosoever will not believe in my words, who am Jesus Christ, which the Father shall cause him to bring forth unto the Gentiles, and shall give unto him power that he shall bring them forth unto the Gentiles, (it shall be done even as Moses said) they shall be cut off from among my people who are of the covenant. Therefore it shall come to pass that whosoever will not believe in my words, who am Jesus Christ…" (3 Nephi 21: 9-11)


"For Moses truly said unto the fathers, A prophet shall the Lord your God raise up unto you of your brethren, like unto me; him shall ye hear in all things whatsoever he shall say unto you. And it shall come to pass, that every soul, which will not hear that prophet, shall be destroyed from among the people." (Acts 3:22-23)


"That prophet is Christ. It does not say Christ is going to come and deliver His words, it says "His words." "Those who will not believe my words, who am Jesus Christ, they shall be cut off." And the angel Moroni said to Joseph in verse 40 of the Joseph Smith History, "The day had not yet come when "they who would not hear his voice should be cut off from among the people," but soon would come."


"That prophet is Christ. His words are what I have spoken to you today. We must all respond to His words, because if we will not we will be cut off from among the people."  -Phoenix Lecture


QUESTION “There have been many signs given by God that He was about to do something new from the time of the death of Joseph Smith till today. All that was left at the end was for a witness to be appointed, to come to declare, ‘Now it has come to an end.’ In the last talk in the ten lecture series I said, the witness has now come, and I am he. It has come to an end with something new now begun. One of the signs of it having come to an end was the passing of Eldred Smith.” 

Will you elaborate on the significance of the passing of Patriarch Eldred G. Smith on April 4, 2013 and how or why we should take this as a sign that something has come to an end? In particular, what has come to an end? You are declaring you are a witness of an end-time event. This seems vital. What is that event, how are you a witness, why is it important for us to recognize this event and how should we, or how do you think God expects us to acknowledge such an event in our own lives? 

ANSWER (Denver): In a word, the "fullness of the Gentiles" is ending. One of the last signs of that, was the passing of Eldred Smith in 2013, and with him the office of Patriarch of the Church.


Section 45

28.   And when the times of the Gentiles is come in, a light shall break forth among them that sit in darkness, and it shall be the fulness of my gospel;
29.   But they receive it not; for they perceive not the light, and they turn their hearts from me because of the precepts of men.
30.   And in that generation shall the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled.


"Therefore we learn there is some peril if we do not have our hearts turned to these fathers. The peril, as Moroni put it, is that we will be “utterly wasted at his coming” if we fail. But His coming is not limited merely to the singular "him"--being the Lord. If you go back to what Moroni said to Joseph in verse 37 it says: “they that come shall burn them.” Therefore when He comes, they that come with Him shall burn those who are unprepared, those who are scheduled to be “utterly wasted” at His coming. And so we need to inquire into what exactly the promises were, who the fathers were that the promises were made to, and then avoid this peril of those who come to do the burning of all who are unprepared for that return." - Centerville


"If you will receive it, faith in Him comes by hearing the word of God.  Not by a pretender,  not  by  someone  guessing,  not  by  someone  offering  up  their  theory  of  how  the scriptures ought to be understood. Faith does not come by hearkening to someone citing you a bibliography. Faith comes only by hearing the word of God delivered as He would have it delivered, by whomever it is that He may choose to deliver it.  
If you receive God’s word sent by someone He sends, then you might have faith, and that too in the Son of God. Then you also might receive Him. But if you will not, if you will harden your hearts, if you will blind your minds, if you will not receive what He offers from His mouth in your day, then you do not have faith in Him. You will fall short of that faith required to become His son and His daughter.  
It is that way, it has always been that way, it will always be that way. There is no other test.  
Therefore, either I am a liar and you ought to forget everything I've said, or I have been sent by someone greater than I am. If I have been sent and you reject and quibble over the things I declare to you, it is at your peril! - Ephraim


"Nephi kept faith in the face of certain destruction of his descendants. Hope in the face of looming apostasy by his seed. Charity toward those who would reject the Lord.

He has ceased to be exclusively a prophet, and has risen to the role of intercessor and advocate for the unworthy. He has become covenantal father, and presiding Patriarch over a lineage whose redemption will come through his covenant with the Father. He has joined the ranks of the "fathers" toward whom hearts must turn in order to avoid cursing at the Lord's return. (Malachi 4: 6.)"


"There is a first form of sealing power, and I'm not talking about the kind of power that can seal you up into condemnation, or judgment, which is Aaronic. I'm talking instead about Melchizedek sealing power, the kind that was designed to bless and to preserve. The first kind of sealing power is that kind which is given to someone when there is a dispensation of the gospel being founded. An example of that, you can find in Exodus chapter 34 involving Moses as a dispensation head, in verses 27 and 28 the Lord says: "And the LORD said unto Moses, Write thou these words: for after the tenor of these words I have made a covenant with thee and with Israel. And he was there with the LORD forty days and forty nights," and so on. And as a dispensation head, a form of sealing power is given to that person, which establishes a covenant that was intended to go beyond that individual alone." - Orem


"Now you tell me, you declare to me, what are your dispensations? (I have one, and Joseph had one, but do you have one also?)" - Orem


"Baptism has always been required from the days of Adam until the present. Baptism is always the sign of acceptance of what God is doing in each generation. If He acts again now (and He is), then we need to recognize that and respond. Baptism is a mandatory sign of penitence; turning and facing God, and then walking  in a new path. From the days of Adam, it will continue  through  the end of the millennium. Whenever there has been believing people upon the earth, they have always been invited to perform the ordinance of baptism as a sign of their faith. " - Phoenix


"The simple but necessary steps have been declared again with God’s approval. In response hundreds now have authority and several thousand have returned to the root of the restoration. These will survive the Lord’s return, because their authorized and authoritative baptism is the sign now accepted by God as proof of faith by obedience."


"The restoration is about to be completely compromised by the institutional LDS organization. If we do not establish another way to avoid the coming catastrophe, the restoration will utterly fail. The movement begun now will seem very prescient in a few years. In coming days many people will want a place to land as the LDS Church undergoes changes to retain their standing, favorable tax status, popularity and wealth. People need a place to fellowship where they can function and learn how to preserve the restoration in a place that will be a refuge for those fleeing an increasingly corrupt organization.

What has begun may seem small, unnecessary and even rebellious at present. It will not be long before it is viewed very differently."


It is no more apparent in this account in Luke that the redemption of Israel had been accomplished, than it is apparent to you what God is doing now, today. You do not even hear what is now sounding in your own ears. -Ephraim

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

On Zion and Compulsion

A popular e-mail making the rounds contains the following:

An economics professor at a local college made a statement that he had never failed a single student before, but had recently failed an entire class. That class had insisted that Obama's socialism worked and that no one would be poor and no one would be rich, a great equalizer. 
The professor then said, "OK, we will have an experiment in this class on Obama's plan".. All grades will be averaged and everyone will receive the same grade so no one will fail and no one will receive an A.... (substituting grades for dollars - something closer to home and more readily understood by all). 
After the first test, the grades were averaged and everyone got a B. The students who studied hard were upset and the students who studied little were happy. As the second test rolled around, the students who studied little had studied even less and the ones who studied hard decided they wanted a free ride too so they studied little. 
The second test average was a D! No one was happy.
When the 3rd test rolled around, the average was an F.
As the tests proceeded, the scores never increased as bickering, blame and name-calling all resulted in hard feelings and no one would study for the benefit of anyone else. 
To their great surprise, ALL FAILED and the professor told them that socialism would also ultimately fail because when the reward is great, the effort to succeed is great, but when government takes all the reward away, no one will try or want to succeed.
Could not be any simpler than that. (Please pass this on)

These are possibly the 5 best sentences you'll ever read and all applicable to this experiment :
1. You cannot legislate the poor into prosperity by legislating the wealthy out of prosperity.
2. What one person receives without working for, another person must work for without receiving.
3. The government cannot give to anybody anything that the government does not first take from somebody else.
4. You cannot multiply wealth by dividing it!
5. When half of the people get the idea that they do not have to work because the other half is going to take care of them, and when the other half gets the idea that it does no good to work because somebody else is going to get what they work for, that is the beginning of the end of any nation.

This article does a great job at showing why socialism/communism will always fail.  However, it seems to also imply that inequality is therefore justified.

The Lord gave us this:

Section 70
14.   Nevertheless, in your temporal things you shall be equal, and this not grudgingly, otherwise the abundance of the manifestations of the Spirit shall be withheld.

and he gave us this:

Section 42
42.   Thou shalt not be idle; for he that is idle shall not eat the bread nor wear the garments of the laborer.

Is there a way to reconcile these two?  It seems obvious that socialism and communism are not the answer - but is there an answer?

This article to me seems to promoting inequality contrary to the Lord's command that we seek to be one.  I agree with the premise and statements above that force is the wrong way to bring about equality - but does that mean that we are free to disregard each other in our strengths and weaknesses?  Does the inevitable failure of a program designed to force a people to be equal justify the inequality in society of rich and poor?  Perhaps the problem in this example is that the teacher used force to try and compel something that needs to come from the heart of each student.

What if there were a story where the teacher does not impose any system on the students like that above?  What if the students who were doing well had compassion upon the students who were struggling?  What if the students had come together on their own as a group and had decided to take care of each other and help each other?  What if the students who were more strong academically felt the desire and the love for others so that they would be willing to spend extra time tutoring and helping the other students who are not as strong?  If they worked with each other to help each one succeed, then perhaps a grade of A could be achieved for all.

What if we didn't look to or expect a central figure or a government to force us to take care of each other?  What if we didn't expect government to solve a problem that we can solve ourselves?  What if we took compassion on each other in our strengths and weaknesses and strove to help each other balance the inequalities?  What if those with more gave out of their surplus to those with less through their own choice and simply out of love?  Could the idler be convinced to contribute through love?  Even if not, would it sill be possible to have a group of like-minded people who were willing and dedicated to working and helping each other?  Could such a group rise together on their own and become one?  Could they find a way to be equal so there were no longer rich and poor among them?

The government will never be able to "provide" a Zion-like solution because the government primarily operates through the means of force - and that won't work.  It is true that the government could encourage compassion and care and willingness to give and receive and take care of each other's needs; but in the end, the only solution that can work would need to come through each heart making a choice to do so.  A Zion-like society cannot be "provided", it must be "chosen".

Sunday, June 14, 2015

A vignette for my stake president

In February of 2015, I was called in to meet with my Stake President.  The morning before our appointment, I felt prompted to write the following and give it to him at the time of our meeting:


Jerusalem was at the height of prosperity. The times of conflict during the Hasmonean era under the Maccabees were a distant memory. Now was a time of affluence, peace, and growth. While the Jewish people did not enjoy the same sovereignty of the past, they had been able during these times of Roman rule to grow and become respected. Certainly Jerusalem was considered one of the great Hellenistic cites of its time.

He who has not seen Jerusalem in its beauty, has not seen a beautiful great city in his whole life; and who has not seen the building of the Second Temple, has not seen a handsome building in his life. What is meant by this? Said Abayi, according to others Rabbi Hisda: It means the building of Herod.
Babylonian Talmud: Tractate Sukkah chapter 5

Philo, one of the modern Hellenized Jews, described Jersualem during its festivities:

For innumerable companies of men from a countless variety of cities, some by land and some by sea, from east and from west, from the north and from the south, came to the Temple at every festival

These pilgrims were economically crucial. They came from all corners of the empire, bringing with them the latest news and innovations, conducting both retail and wholesale trade and providing a living for large segments of the local population. Jerusalem was prosperous and the material wealth and luxury of the affluent and priestly classes were also evident. Powerful leaders from Rome visited to view its splendor. Even Pliny the Elder the famous Roman scholar had characterized her as:

by far the most famous city, not of Judea only, but of the East”

Timothy lived in the shadow of the great city, just to the south, in the nearby city of Bethlehem. He had returned that day from the Great Sanhedrin – the supreme religious body of the land of Israel. He worked in their great assembly hall. As a leader of the local Sanhedrin, he had business to attend to. A member of the local council and one of the local rabbis had brought to his attention that one of the local members of the synagogue had come to believe in the teachings of a recent agitator among the Jewish people.

This agitator was teaching that the promised Messiah and the kingdom of God were soon at hand. Certainly this is what they had been waiting for. But he also taught against their established order. He claimed that their own history had been a fulfillment of the writings of the prophets showing that the times had arrived where the kingdom would be taken from the Jewish people and given to the Gentiles. He claimed to be a servant, sent from God to prepare the way for the coming of the Lord. But he had no authority among the Jews. Only those who had been called by God through the priestly authorities had the right to speak in the name of God. If God had something to say to the Jewish people, it would be through the High Priest – not some lone trouble maker speaking in the wilderness.

Jason, my servant told me that you were hesitant to meet with me.”

I needed some time to pray. I've been fasting and seeking to know God's will.”

Jason, I've received word that you have been listening to and following the words of some man teaching in the wilderness. Is this true? Who is this teacher?”

He is called John the Baptist.”

And this John the Baptist, what is he saying?”

He is preaching that we need to repent for the kingdom of heaven is at hand. That we need to prepare for the Lord and make his paths straight.”

Is he saying anything contrary to the teachings of the leaders of the Great Sanhedrin?”

He is preaching that we have changed the rituals, setup our own rules and laws. He is saying we need to get back to our original roots – to the original teachings of the prophets.”

And do you believe this? Certainly we have continued in the law of Moses. We follow with more exactness now. Have you been to the temple recently? Have you participated in the rites and ceremonies? If you go there, then you will be able to feel and know the truth regarding these matters.”

I myself have seen some of the changes there. They have changed since I first started going to the temple.”

God is able to change these rites according to His will. The leaders of this people are inspired as to how to interpret and carry forth the laws, rituals, and ceremonies. They are the only ones authorized by God to do so. Do you believe that Caiphas speaks for God? Do you believe that he is the only one who can speak for God? He and the assembly of the 71 sages are the only true representatives of God here on earth. Do you believe this?”

I did believe this once. But I don't believe this now. They don't seem to bring forth the same fruits of men of God in the past. They speak truths. They teach us to live good lives. They teach us to follow the laws, but I have never heard any of them claim to have received a revelation themselves. The changes to our customs and the changes and additions to the law that I have observed and heard about through our history seem to have mostly all happened behind the scenes. It happens without any official pronouncement that this was God's will or that a revelation has been received to make the change. Each time a new rule is announced, or a new program is setup, we all immediately assume that was due to God initiating the changes even though no one ever claims to have received the revelation to do so from God.”

And this John, does he claim to have seen God?”

Yes. He claims that he was sent with a message from God to be delivered to the Jewish people.”

Jason, God does not work in this way. He is not a God of confusion. Why would he send a message to the Jewish people in any other way then through the leaders of this people? If God has a message for this people, it will come through Caiphas.”

I don't know, but I have felt the Spirit witness to me that John speaks the truth. His message is full of light and truth. He has expounded upon and opened my eyes to the meanings of the writings of the prophets in ways I never before had understood.”

Only God's leaders can correctly interpret the law and the writings of the prophets. What is this message of John's?”

Most of it has been about the prophecies of our time and about the coming forth of the Messiah. His message is in harmony with the words of the prophets. He teaches directly from the words of the prophets in all that he says.”

Well, if that is so, then it should not be a problem. So why has the local Rabbi brought this to my attention? Why is he concerned?”

He also has taught that the Jews have lost their authority. He has taught the Lord has used him as a means of overthrowing the kingdom of the Jews and that the kingdom of God will be taken from them and will be given to another people – to the Gentiles. He has taught that we need to be baptized anew as a sign to God and that there will be a new covenant.”

This is blasphemy. You must see this. We are God's chosen people. The kingdom of God will not be taken from the Jewish people. Our leaders have taught us that we will always continue as God's people until the Messiah comes to rule and reign upon the earth. We will always be God's chosen people.”

But even our own writings teach of the times of the Gentiles.”

Yes, but the Gentiles receive the blessings of God's word through us. We are the seed of Abraham. Through us, the Gentiles and all the earth will be blessed. All nations are blessed through the seed of Abraham. That is the promise.

Regarding this baptism of John. I have heard that you have been baptized. Is this true?”

Yes. It has changed my life. I have felt the Spirit more since being baptized. I have been changed, my heart and desires have been changed as well. I no longer...”

Jason, you are being deceived. This John is an imposter. He has no authority and has not been called of God through the proper order. God always follows that order. You realize that there are to be no rites performed except by the approved officiators. The Levites are the only ones who can perform a spiritual rite and they do so only under the authorization of the Sanhedrin and the Rabbis. You have violated our rules by doing so. It is sacrilege to participate in unauthorized rites. A council must be convened against you. It is likely you will be removed from the synagogue.”

There is no need to convene a council. I sent a message to my Rabbi letting him know that I would remove myself voluntarily. I do not wish my friends to bring condemnation upon themselves by disciplining me for following the words of a true messenger of God. I will leave on my own.”

You realize that if you do this you will lose all your rights and blessings.”


You come from a good Jewish family. Why would you turn your back on your heritage? Why would you abandon all that you have received in order to follow this imposter?”

Because the Spirit has told me that he is a true messenger. He speaks the words of God.”

So be it. I see you cannot be convinced or reasoned with and that you are set to abandon all that is good. I am very sorry to see you do this. I wish you would reconsider.”

After Jason left, Timothy sat and thought about how sad a situation this was. One of his flock was being deceived and being led away -- now, at the very time of their greatness – now, at the very time where the kingdom was growing in strength and being received and looked to by the other nations of the world. And soon the Messiah would come. Once the Messiah came, the Jewish people would be able to throw off the yoke of the Roman empire. The Jewish kingdom would rise again like in the days of David and Solomon, but this time with the true Messiah as their king. This fledgling movement among the Jewish people would soon be crushed and fade away. And this John, this imposter – this John the Baptist – he too would soon be lost to history. Time would soon tell.

Friday, June 12, 2015

Re-baptism: My own experience and witness

In one of the study and reading groups I joined in the fall of 2013, a discussion of re-baptism was brought up. As I read through the posts and ideas, I also came across these comments on a post regarding baptism in 3 Nephi 11 on Denver Snuffer's blog:

“A few posts back there was a comment about what a burden it would be for "the church" and "the priesthood" if people seek re-baptism to renew commitments. It was made as we approached Christ's teachings on baptism. The comment was so immediate and so dark in tone and content it has caused me rethink the importance of this idea. Anytime an idea is confrontational and dark, I pause to consider why that is so. Here's what now occurs to me. What a terrible burden it would be to depart this life without the ordinance of baptism properly performed, by proper authority, in the proper manner, with repentance preceding the event. I would not want a dark and troubled soul to perform baptism for anyone, but a person filled with joy, hope and the Spirit, having a testimony in Christ like Nephi. These people would not find performing such an ordinance troubling.

If there is a hint of doubt held by any baptized member of the church, why would any right-thinking and charitable soul refuse them the right to be re-baptized? Now, I've suggested the Alma exception and how that might be accomplished in a time of reluctance and resistance to recommitment baptism. But it occurs to me upon further reflection that since the church doesn't recognize or record rebaptisms anyway, why would this concern the "heavy laden priesthood" which has no time for such things? Anyone holding authority, at any place where there is sufficient water to perform the rite, could accomplish it. Since the church doesn't record it, there is no need of witnesses. It could be done in private, at any time, or any place with sufficient water. It could be done by any person holding the office of Priest. It would be good practice for future missionaries if they were given the opportunity. I think the idea is one which ought to be acted upon with regularity, in private and without troubling the busy and overburdened church and priesthood. A close family member could take care of it, and I suspect all involved will soon recognize heaven's approval of the idea.”
Did I have a hint of doubt about my baptism? Yes, and for numerous reasons. One of which was that I remember at age 8 not feeling like I received a confirmation of the spirit afterward. I never received the baptism of fire. I remember during those first years after being baptized at the age of 8 that I felt I didn't receive the Holy Ghost due to my own unworthiness. I felt I had been baptized unworthily although I could not pinpoint exactly why I was in that state. My conclusion was simply based on not feeling I had received the Holy Ghost. It troubled me a lot.

It didn't occur to me until many years later after reading about changes made by Heber J. Grant in 1921 such that priesthood was no longer conferred during ordination and how that likely would have affected my priesthood line of authority that my baptism may not have been done with authority. I wasn't convinced of this idea, however. My father had been a bishop and served in a stake presidency. My grandfather had been a stake patriarch. Certainly they would have had priesthood authority. Both had always been great examples to me of faithfulness and righteousness. Both had lived lives of dedication to the church. Nonetheless, there remained a hint of doubt.

So towards the end of 2013 and the beginning of 2014, I would often include a question while praying regarding how the Lord felt about a desire I had to be baptized again. Part of that desire was to recommit myself to the Lord. Part of that desire was because I wasn't completely sure about the first one.

One morning, early in January or February of 2014, I was praying and asking about the Lord's will regarding re-baptism again. After my prayer, I rose up and opened up the scriptures. The first verse that I happened upon that morning was D&C 39:10:

Section 39
10. But, behold, the days of thy deliverance are come, if thou wilt hearken to my voice, which saith unto thee: Arise and be baptized, and wash away your sins, calling on my name, and you shall receive my Spirit, and a blessing so great as you never have known.

When I read this verse, I felt the Spirit rush in and confirm to me that this was an answer to my prayer.  I felt a great feeling of joy from having received this confirmation.

This answered one question. I knew the Lord was OK with and even wanted me to go ahead with re-baptism, but I didn't know logistically how it would happen. This was especially difficult because I knew the church generally did not approve of re-baptism. Who could I ask? How could I be sure that they had authority? Where would we do the baptism?

I started praying on these questions. Most often, I felt like the answer came to wait and the way would be prepared and opened up. So for the next 7 months I waited and watched to see how the opportunity would present itself. Of course, I didn't know when it would happen so all I could do was wait and hope that soon an answer would come as to how to proceed.

On September 9th, 2014 I received the next part of that answer. The tenth and final talk was given in Phoenix by Denver Snuffer. In this talk, the following was given:

Baptism has always been required from the days of Adam until the present. Baptism is always the sign of acceptance of what God is doing in each generation. If He acts again now (and He is), then we need to recognize that and respond. Baptism is a mandatory sign of penitence; turning and facing God, and then walking in a new path. From the days of Adam, it will continue through the end of the millennium. Whenever there has been believing people upon the earth, they have always been invited to perform the ordinance of baptism as a sign of their faith."

How then does the authority to baptize come? Well, once John the Baptist came and laid his hand on Joseph, we have had a practice of continuing to lay hands on one another to confer Aaronic Priesthood, and we ought to continue to respect that tradition. But before any of you baptize any other of you, get Christ’s “word” for yourself through the Spirit. It is the same thing Alma did in Mosiah chapter 18. If you go to Mosiah chapter 18, verse 12, before he baptized, Alma "stood forth in the water, and cried, saying: O Lord, pour out thy Spirit upon thy servant, that he may do this work with holiness of heart. And when he had said these words, the Spirit of the Lord was upon him."
He got the authority to baptize by the Spirit. If you are going to use the priesthood to perform a baptism, no matter what the Church has told you, no matter what quorum leaders and respected others, including your own father perhaps, have taught you, before you do so, ask God to give you the authority. Get the “word” from Christ through the Spirit, just as Alma did. His example is in the scriptures to teach us the way. We have lost it, and need to reclaim it. If you get power to baptize, you get it from Him and you are not dependent on someone else. But get the power from Him. Power is required. It must come from Christ. The pattern must be followed.”


I am telling you in the name of the Lord that commandment is renewed again by Him today, to you. This is His command recorded in the Book of Mormon, translated by Joseph Smith through the gift and power of God, and confirmed again today!”

When I received these words, I felt the spirit once again confirm to me that this was the Lord's will for me and that this was a fulfillment of the whisperings that told me that the way would be opened up.

The way was opened up for me to do as the Lord had commanded me. On September 20, 2014, I renewed my covenants with the Lord and witnessed unto Him that I had received His invitation by being baptized. In my mind and heart also, I used this as a chance to be “baptized unto repentance” as the phrase is often used in the Book of Mormon.

My witness is that the baptism bore fruit. Within weeks of having received the baptism, I felt that I received on two occasions what has been termed in the scriptures as the baptism of fire as was promised to those who follow Christ and receive His baptism with power and authority.

The main fruit has been the changes to my heart. I believe I have become more patient, less contentious, a bit less selfish, and more willing to reach out, love, and give to others. My desires have changed as well. Many things related to the natural man no longer hold the same sway or influence within me. They have lost their appeal. I have felt a more consistent and stronger desire to spend my time seeking to come to my Savior and seeking for the welfare of my family and my friends.

Have I become perfect. No. I still make mistakes. I still recognize that I am weak and it is often brought to my attention by the Spirit how I must continue rely on my Savior day to day. I still have much to learn. My testimony is simply that because I followed this commandment, I have been given more grace and received a witness through the fruit that followed that I acted in accordance with God's will for me personally.

Re-baptism in Church History

I know that in my traveling and preaching, many a time I have stopped by beautiful streams of clear, pure water, and have said to myself, "How delightful it would be to me to go into this, to be baptized for the remission of my sins." When I got home, Joseph told me it was my privilege. At this time, came a revelation, that the Saints could be baptized and re-baptized when they chose, and then that we could be baptized for our dear friends. (Brigham Young, J.D. 18:241)

I would be baptized seven times, were I in your place; I would not stop teasing some good Elder to baptize me again and again, until I could think my sins forgiven. I would not live over another night until I was baptized enough to satisfy me that my sins were forgiven. Then go and be confirmed, as you were when you first embraced the religion of Jesus. That is my counsel. (Brigham Young, J.D. 2:8, 9)

There were many reasons (not including excommunication) that a member of the LDS church would get re-baptized in the early days of the church.
  • Rededication and renewal
    • On this day the Twelve were re-baptized. Why? Because the Church, having broken old ties in the East was, in a way, experiencing a new birth. Because, owing to conditions of life on the plains, regular Church routine could not always be observed. For this reason for non-observance of certain regulations were made by the people and accepted by their leaders. But now those who stood at the head of the Church wanted a gesture of support to themselves and a sign that willing obedience would be given to the rules of the Church. This was affected by re-baptism. (Wilford Woodruff Journal, August 6, 1847)
    • That seems to be a kind of standing ordinance for all Latter-day Saints who emigrate here, from the First Presidency down: all are re-baptized and set out anew by renewing their covenants. (Orson Pratt, J.D. 18:160)
    • The Saints wore more lively there than I could have expected, they being visited very seldom by any of the Elders. They were ready, many, for re-baptism but I could not attend to it then, and thought it best to let them consider upon it and the more get ready to go at once. Now it was almost a general thing through England [29] that the Saints were being re-baptized, for they had many and mostly become old and cold and it required a renewal of covenants and fresh works together with mere faith and diligence, to give the work new impetus and revive the dropping spirits of the Saints and the work generally. (Huntington Diary, Feb. 7, 1847, p. 114)
    • Wikipedia article on Jedediah Grant (Heber Grant's father): In 1856, Grant was called upon by Young to tour the northern sections of Utah, calling the Latter-day Saints to repentance. Grant inspired the Mormon Reformation of 1856 as he delivered fiery speeches on this tour. He issued a call for rebaptism of all the members of the area. Grant's speeches earned him the title, "Brigham's Sledgehammer." The effects of his speeches were felt almost immediately; members throughout the area, as well as in distant parts, were rebaptized to signify their commitment to renew their commitments to the LDS Church and the gospel. Several of these speeches are recorded in Journal of Discourses. Pasted from <>
    • Be humble, and seek unto the Lord as children; put away your vain philosophies and strip yourself for the Kingdom. Preach Christ, and him crucified--preach life and salvation unto the Elders; the Saints [38] first, and then unto the people. Begin at home in the office--purify and regenerate them; get the fulness of the Spirit, and the power of the Highest to rest down upon you and then go forth to the people, and let a reformation be stirred up among the Saints; fire up each other, and then all the Saints; let all participate, and when they have sufficiently cleansed the inside of the platter, let them cleanse the outside, and renew their covenants in the waters of baptism, and abide in the truth, and be alive in the Church and Kingdom of God. (Letter of Brigham Young to Orson Pratt in England, Mill. Star, 19:97)
  • Requirement to enter United Order
    • December 30, 1875--This afternoon Mary, Fanney and myself were baptized for the remission of sin and renewal of our covenants and for the observance of the rules of the United Order, under the direction of L. John Nuttall, who administered the Ordinance of Baptism. (Diary of J. H. Standifird)
    • Having been commissioned of Jesus Christ, I baptize thee for the remission of thy sins, for the renewal of the covenant with God and thy brethren and for the observance of the rules that have been said in thy hearing, in the name of the Father and the Son and of the Holy Ghost, Amen. (Ceremony of baptism into the United Order; obtained this copy from among the papers of Apostle C. C. Rich, Sept. 4, 1886. The copy from which the above was taken is in the handwriting of George Q. Cannon.) (Unpublished Diary of Milando Pratt)
  • Prerequisite for Temple ordinances (marriage)
    • September 17th 1886--As it was customary to get baptized to prepare for my temple [48] ordinances, before going to the temple so as to be free from all evil and wrong... I arranged with Brother Leatham, who has charge of baptisms on the Temple Block, to be baptized. . . I had already made arrangements to get Ida's recommend to be baptized and at 2 p.m. . . . . I took Ida to the Old Endowment House and after a word of prayer and a few remarks by Brother Leatham, he baptized us and confirmed us for the renewal of our covenants. (Diary of John M. Whitaker, Book 3, p. 16.)
    • It was customary in those days to be re-baptized before being married. This young couple adhered to that practice, though one foot of ice in big creek had to be broken in order to do so. (Life of George F. Richards, p. 8)
  • For Healing
    • Tues. 4, 1842, Emma is very sick again. I attended with her all the day, being somewhat poorly myself. Wed. 5. My dear Emma was worse. Many fears were entertained that she would not recover. She was baptized twice in the river, which evidently did her much good. She grew worse again at night, and continued very sick indeed. I was unwell, and much troubled on account of Emma's sickness. (History of Church, J. Smith, Vol. 5; p. 167-168)
    • Baptisms for the dead, and for the healing of the body must be in the font, and those coming into the Church and those re-baptized may be baptized in the river. (D.H.C. 4:586)
    • Upon arriving at Pisgah, Lorenzo and members of his family remained for a season. "At this place," Lorenzo said, "I was taken seriously and dangerously ill with a burning fever, which so affected my brain that I was delirious many days, lying at the point of death. While in this condition, Elder Phineas Richards, the father of Apostle F. D. Richards, assisted by other kind brethren, took me from my bed, wrapped in a sheet placed me in a carriage, drove to a stream of water, and baptized me in the name of the Lord, for my recovery. The fever immediately abated, and through the kind unwearied nursing and attention by my faithful, loving wives, and my dear sister, E.R.S. Smith, aided and sanctified through the power and blessing of God, I was delivered from suffering and restored to health. The sickness was the result of extreme hardships and exposures consequent on the journey. (Life of L. Snow, 1846, Romney, p. 80-81)
    • Mrs. Richards was taken by her brother from a sick bed to a lake from the surface of which ice more than a foot thick [53] had been removed, and there baptized, whereupon she immediately recovered. Similar cases might be given by the score. (Bancroft's History of Utah, p. 337)
  • Remission of Sins
    • I was baptized first in 1832, and I was baptized the next time when I came out here to Utah. I was baptized first for the remission of sins. Was baptized the second time for the same thing. I came out here in 1847 and was re-baptized then. When I came out here I was baptized again renewing my covenants and also for the remission of sins that I might have committed in taking this long and tedious journey through all these mountains and canyons. (Joseph C. Kingsbury, Temple Lot Case, p. 340)
    • My counsel to them today is, as it has been on former occasions to all who have [58] come into these valleys, Go and be baptized for the remission of sins, repenting of all your wanderings from the path of righteousness, believing firmly in the name of Jesus Christ, that all your sins will be washed away. If any of you inquire what is the necessity of your being baptized, as you have not committed any sins, I answer, it is necessary to fulfill all righteousness. I have heard some of you cursing and swearing, even some of the Elders of Israel. I would be baptized seven times, were I in your place; (Brigham Young, J.D. 2:8, 9)
    • In the afternoon, I attended a council of the Twelve at President Young's. There were present: Brigham Young, Heber C. Kimball, Orson Hyde, Orson Pratt, John Taylor, Wilford Woodruff, George A. Smith, Willard Richards and Brother Hyrum Smith.. . . This Council was called to re-consider the case of Orson Pratt, who had previously been cut off from the quorum of the Twelve for the neglect of duty; and Amasa Lyman had been ordained an Apostle in his place. I told the Council that as there was not a quorum present when Orson Pratt's case came up before them, that he was still a member, that he had not been cut off legally, and I would find some other place for Amasa Lyman to which the Council agreed. President Young said there were but three present when Amasa was ordained. I told them that was legal when no more could be had. * * * At three o'clock, Council adjourned to my house, and at four I baptized Orson Pratt and his wife, Sarah Marinda, and Lidia Granger in the Mississippi River, and [62] confirmed them in the Church, ordaining Orson Pratt to his former office and standing in the Quorum of the Twelve. (History of Joseph Smith, Mill. Star, Vol. 20:423)
    • In the first place, if you were re-baptized for the remission of sins, peradventure you may receive again the Spirit of the Gospel in its glory, light and beauty; but if your hearts are so engrossed in the things of this world, that you do not know whether you want to be re-baptized or not, you had better shut yourselves up in some canyon or closet, to repent of your sins, and call upon the name of the Lord, until you get His spirit. (Brigham Young, J.D. 1:324)

By 1897 re-baptism was a popular principle, but a decision was made that it should be discontinued. It had become a controversial subject, and at the October Conference of that year, Apostle George Q. Cannon announced:
We hear a good deal of talk about re-baptism, and the First Presidency and Twelve have felt that so much re-baptism ought to be stopped. (Conf. Rept., Oct. 1897, p. 68)

The wording here is worth noting.  "the First Presidency and Twelve have felt" are the words used.  It does not appear that the Lord was involved in this.  No revelation or commandment from God had been obtained on the matter - it was just given that they felt it ought to be stopped.

It is strange that in a period of about 70 years, re-baptism became too popular and too excessively used; and then for the next 70 years it was perhaps too restricted, because it was done away entirely.

Re-baptism became an important doctrine in Church history--having its inception with the Prophet Joseph Smith. Hundreds gave testimonials of the blessings attending the participants.

It is interesting to note that the principle of re-baptism was in the heart of Brigham Young even before it was taught to him. When he found out he could be re-baptized, he also learned that principle came by revelation.

Two years before Brigham Young died, he was again re-baptized. It is said that this was the seventh time Brigham Young had been baptized.

Sat. 17, 1875--Pres. Brigham Young, his counselors and others renewed their covenants by baptism at Ephraim, Sanpete Co. This. example was subsequently followed by the Saints generally. (Church Chronology, p. 94)

A heavenly influence must have attended those persons who were baptized and re-baptized when outward spiritual manifestations were present. On occasion, after re-baptism, the gifts and powers of prophecy, speaking in tongues, and other powers of the Holy Ghost were manifest. Perhaps the young do not fully appreciate the remission of sins by baptism as would a grown adult. How many sins after eight years [68] of age do we commit that are greater than those before that age? Nearly everyone would probably be glad to be re-baptized for a remission of their sins. During the days of President Brigham Young, re-baptism was demanded in many cases for transcending the rights of the priesthood, swearing, neglect of duty, and to renew Church activity. However, today it is all but forgotten and is the privilege of a very rare few. Perhaps we ought to reflect upon this principle as advocated by President Young:

The purpose of re-baptism was to help the sinner to again obtain the spirit the Gospel. It had a very broad application, and there were but few sins which could not be remitted by this ordinance. Since the days of re-baptism, the Saints have generally drifted, or have been compelled into an increased state of worldly materialism. Israel wanders again--over two-thirds of the Church have rambled into inactivity. Probably re-baptism would be a worthy principle to revive and another "Reformation" instituted.

In the near future when the Saints will be required to redeem Zion, build the New Jerusalem, establish the Kingdom of God, and to become an ensign of safety to all the world, there is little doubt that there will be a requirement for a re-baptism of both water and the spirit!

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Re-baptism in the Book of Mormon

What does the Book of Mormon teach us about baptism?  Was it a one time incident in someone's lifetime?

1 Nephi 20

1. Hearken and hear this, O house of Jacob, who are called by the name of Israel, and are come forth out of the waters of Judah, or out of the waters of baptism, who swear by the name of the Lord, and make mention of the God of Israel, yet they swear not in truth nor in righteousness.

Baptism has always been the means of showing God that we accept His message and are willing to come unto him. It is the gateway on the path that leads to him. Baptism follows repentance – or the turning again unto the Lord. Baptism has also been a symbol of accepting the covenant or accepting a new covenant. (Mosiah 18:10)

Alma baptized in the waters of Mormon. He had been a priest to King Noah. Had he been baptized before becoming a priest? Had the people? In the book of Mosiah, we are told about the baptisms in the waters of Mormon, and then the baptisms that happened once the people had been re-united with people of Mosiah, and then once again we are told about the going forth to baptize people throughout the lands.

Later, in Alma's famous discourse where he asks if you have been born of God, taken his image in your countenance, and can sing the song of redeeming love; Alma invites the members of the church to be baptized again and the non-members to accept and invitation to come unto God through baptism:

Alma 5

62. I speak by way of command unto you that belong to the church; and unto those who do not belong to the church I speak by way of invitation, saying: Come and be baptized unto repentance, that ye also may be partakers of the fruit of the tree of life.

At the end of the Book of Helaman, we are told how those who believed in the words of Samuel the Lamanite, sought out Nephi and were baptized.

Helaman 16

1. And now, it came to pass that there were many who heard the words of Samuel, the Lamanite, which he spake upon the walls of the city. And as many as believed on his word went forth and sought for Nephi; and when they had come forth and found him they confessed unto him their sins and denied not, desiring that they might be baptized unto the Lord.
2. But as many as there were who did not believe in the words of Samuel were angry with him; and they cast stones at him upon the wall, and also many shot arrows at him as he stood upon the wall; but the Spirit of the Lord was with him, insomuch that they could not hit him with their stones neither with their arrows.
3. Now when they saw that they could not hit him, there were many more who did believe on his words, insomuch that they went away unto Nephi to be baptized.
4. For behold, Nephi was baptizing, and prophesying, and preaching, crying repentance unto the people, showing signs and wonders, working miracles among the people, that they might know that the Christ must shortly come--

In the very next chapter - after the sign of Christ's birth had been shown among the Nephites - we are told that Nephi was once again going forth and baptizing the people:

3 Nephi 1

23. And it came to pass that Nephi went forth among the people, and also many others, baptizing unto repentance, in the which there was a great remission of sins. And thus the people began again to have peace in the land.

The Book of Mormon uses the term: “baptized unto repentance”. These baptisms unto repentance caused a great remission of sins and brought peace to the land.

Later in 3rd Nephi, we are told how none were brought unto repentance save they were also baptized:

3 Nephi 7

23. Thus passed away the thirty and second year also. And Nephi did cry unto the people in the commencement of the thirty and third year; and he did preach unto them repentance and remission of sins.
24. Now I would have you to remember also, that there were none who were brought unto repentance who were not baptized with water.
25. Therefore, there were ordained of Nephi, men unto this ministry, that all such as should come unto them should be baptized with water, and this as a witness and a testimony before God, and unto the people, that they had repented and received a remission of their sins.
26. And there were many in the commencement of this year that were baptized unto repentance; and thus the more part of the year did pass away.

It is soon after this time, that the signs of the death of Christ appeared where destruction occurred on the american continent and many people were destroyed. After this destruction, Christ appeared to those who remained.

One of the first things Christ did was explain who he was. He then taught the people the doctrine of Christ:

3 Nephi 11

23. Verily I say unto you, that whoso repenteth of his sins through your words, and desireth to be baptized in my name, on this wise shall ye baptize them--Behold, ye shall go down and stand in the water, and in my name shall ye baptize them.

Later Nephi and those called to minister to the people were baptized. Nephi was baptizing before the destruction. The more righteous part of the people were the ones spared. Would they not have already all been baptized? Would this be showing a pattern of baptism where baptism is about repentance, about witnessing accepting of God's will, and about new beginnings.

3 Nephi 19

11. And it came to pass that Nephi went down into the water and was baptized.
12. And he came up out of the water and began to baptize. And he baptized all those whom Jesus had chosen.
13. And it came to pass when they were all baptized and had come up out of the water, the Holy Ghost did fall upon them, and they were filled with the Holy Ghost and with fire.

Later, they went forth and baptized the people yet again. All who came to them.

3 Nephi 26

17. And it came to pass that the disciples whom Jesus had chosen began from that time forth to baptize and to teach as many as did come unto them; and as many as were baptized in the name of Jesus were filled with the Holy Ghost.

In Moroni, we learn that elders, priests, and teachers were baptized.

Moroni 6

1. And now I speak concerning baptism. Behold, elders, priests, and teachers were baptized; and they were not baptized save they brought forth fruit meet that they were worthy of it.
2. Neither did they receive any unto baptism save they came forth with a broken heart and a contrite spirit, and witnessed unto the church that they truly repented of all their sins.
3. And none were received unto baptism save they took upon them the name of Christ, having a determination to serve him to the end.

In Moroni 8, we learn that the first fruits of repentance is baptism.

Moroni 8

25. And the first fruits of repentance is baptism; and baptism cometh by faith unto the fulfilling the commandments; and the fulfilling the commandments bringeth remission of sins;

Saturday, June 6, 2015

On Being Cast Out

This week, Rock Waterman was cast out from the LDS church.  You can hear interviews with Rock regarding the disciplinary council before it happened and after it happened on podcasts from Mormon Stories.  Rock Waterman is known for his blog, Pure Mormonism, which focuses on doctrinal and historical issues.  Many of the posts focus on trying to separate the wheat from the chaff in doctrinal issues.  The posts often help the reader separate which of the LDS traditions are doctrinal with a scriptural backing and which of these traditions are no more than then traditions of men.  He also focuses on helping the reader understand the difference between revelation coming through the Lord and opinion which in some cases may appear as being from God, although it has never been declared as such.

So Rock joins many others who in recent months have been cast out.  Rock's leaders told him that he was causing spiritual damage and leading people away from the church because of his blog.  So Rock came prepared with dozens of letters from people testifying that they had been helped in and many cases decided to remain with the LDS church due to Rock's efforts.  There are a lot of people, who although they see problems within the LDS church, were persuaded by Rock that despite problems it is worth staying in the LDS church and fellowshipping with fellow believers there.  So if Rock has been helping so many people stay in the church, why would the church want to cast him out?

To find an answer to this question, I think it is worth considering some of the blog posts that the Stake President singled out during the disciplinary council.  In considering these posts, it is useful to consider whether or not the question that the council sought was whether or not they were accurate or in error?  Rock has always stated that he is completely willing to make any changes on any of the posts that are shown to be in error.  It doesn't appear that Rock has ever been asked to make changes to these posts to correct them.  So if they are not in error, what is it about these posts that has the church upset?

The Stake President said that Rock was keeping people from the temple.  The three posts he used to show this were "Go Ahead And Skip That Temple Wedding""Are We Paying Too Much Tithing?", and "Too Bad I Don't Like Beer".  At first glance, when looking at the titles of these blogs posts, one may immediately jump to the conclusion that the Stake President is right, and in a way, he is - but there is more to the story.

In the first article, Rock is not saying to not get Sealed in the temple.  Rather, he points out that the wedding and the sealing are two different things and that in the early days of the church the difference was understood.  There used to be a section in the D&C that indicated that weddings should be done in public.  There are good reasons for this which Rock covers in the article.  Bottom line though is that the goal of this article is not to discourage people from being sealed in the temple.

In the second article, Rock points out the changes that have happened to the original commandment given in scripture and why these changes can and do cause real world harm.  This article is not discouraging people from paying tithing, rather, it is encouraging people to do so as commanded by the Lord.

In the third article, Rock discusses the history of the word of wisdom in relation to beer and how beer was never part of it and can be shown to actually be prescribed in verse 17.  There is no call here to abandon the word of wisdom, rather, it is to understand it better and our own history in relation to it.

Here is the main point I wish to make regarding these articles.  Any LDS member could read these articles, come to a better understanding of the principles involved, make decisions in their lives based on their changed understanding - and still be worthy to attend the temple - at least from a scriptural / doctrinal point of view.  So these articles in and of themselves don't keep people from the temple - at least in theory.

Theory vs. Reality

In theory, any person following these principles should be able to declare themselves worthy of a temple recommend.  They are in harmony with what has been given by the Lord on these points.  However, the reality is that church policy may prevent someone who is in harmony with these principles from receiving a temple recommend.  A church leader may decide that the person is out of harmony with the current policy of the church - even if they are in harmony with the revelations that have been given.  The reality of the situation is that many will likely be judged by their church leader based on church policies as defined in the handbook rather than doctrinal principles as defined in the scriptures.

Scriptures vs. Handbook

The LDS church makes no claim that the handbook of instructions is on equal ground with the scriptures.  They may claim that the content is inspired but there is no claim that the handbook has been added to the cannon of scriptures and that it should be regarded as the word of God.  Despite this, today in the LDS church it is often the case that the handbook of instructions trumps the scriptures.  More often than not, leaders today defer to the handbook when making decisions regarding the members worthiness - even if those decisions are not scripturally sound.  This pattern of the handbook trumping the scriptures is only getting worse.  The leadership training meetings this year are focusing on using the handbook when making decisions.  This is so that the integrity of policies and procedures can be maintained.  What about seeking the will of the Lord when questions arise?  Do we not trust the Lord to guide?  In my opinion, a better way of operating would be to use the scriptures and the guidance of the Spirit.

So, back to the question, why would the church want to cast out someone who is teaching truth and who has had a positive impact on so many people so that they have decided to stay with the church?

There was another person who was cast out a couple years ago under similar circumstances.  His name is Denver Snuffer.  The church was upset with Denver because he had written a book called Passing the Heavenly Gift which discussed some of the difficult issues in church history.  Similar to the effect that happened with Rock's blog, there were hundreds of people who decided to stay with the church despite problems because of what Denver had written.  Denver has received many letters from people thanking him and testifying of this.  When Denver pointed this out to his Stake President, the Stake President asked him what made him think the church would want those kind of people.

Purging the Church of Those Kind of People

The church has become active in casting out a certain type of person that it considers to be apostate.  Many of these people have a strong belief in the restoration.  They believe that Joseph Smith was a prophet.  They believe the Book of Mormon to be true.  They long for the church to return to its spiritual roots.  They seek for purity of doctrine.  Many are temple worthy and have lived lives of devoted service within the church for decades.

So why are they being cast out?  It is because they have chosen the scriptures over the handbook.  They have chosen following their Lord and following the Spirit over adhering to policies as specified in the handbook.  The handbook specifies that people are not allowed to say things that are contrary to the doctrine of the church.  It doesn't matter if those things are in harmony with the doctrine of Christ or are correct scripturally.  If it doesn't match the current teachings of the church, members should keep their mouths shut.  The handbook specifies that ordinances can only be conducted using the keys of authority and by permission and oversight of the leaders of the church.  Some of these members believe the Lord has asked them to be baptized again or to partake of the sacrament with fellow believers without any changes and as the ordinance was originally given.  These are the kind of people that the church doesn't want around.

Who gets to stay?  Those who follow the rules of the handbook and accept the teachings of the church in their current state.  Members who don't question why the ordinances have changed.  Members who don't question authority and members who don't question incorrect doctrine or traditions.  They get to stay.

Of course, there are many who are taking a third route - they are just leaving.  Rather than face expulsion due to non-compliance, they simply resign.

The scriptures are full of patterns that teach us how God works with his children.  One of those patterns is the pattern of being cast out and separation of groups.  Many of the old testament prophets were cast out or killed.  Lehi was commanded to flee for his life.  Nephi was warned to separate himself from his brothers who sought to kill him.  Those who believed the words of Alma via Abinadi fled to escape the King Noah.  Alma and Amulek taught the people of  Ammonihah - the believers were killed and cast out.  A missionary effort was undertaken among the Lamanites, the believers were also killed and had to flee for their lives (See Alma 24-25).  The Zoramites cast out those who believed the words of Alma.

The pattern repeats over and over thoughout the scriptures and especially in the Book of Mormon.  Why is that?  What message is this meant to convey to us?  I highly recommend reviewing the scripture links above.  These make the patterns clear and can help one see the parallels in our day more easily.

Each of us has a choice to make:  scriptures vs. handbook, personal revelation vs. following policy, true messengers vs. false prophets, following Christ vs. putting trust in the arm of flesh.  Christ is the only source of salvation.  Will you be part of the Inn crowd or one of the Stable few who finds Christ?  What you choose may cause you to be cast out but may also lead you to the testimony of Christ. (Matthew 10:32, D&C 76:51)

1 Nephi 14 
7.   For the time cometh, saith the Lamb of God, that I will work a great and a marvelous work among the children of men; a work which shall be everlasting, either on the one hand or on the other--either to the convincing of them unto peace and life eternal, or unto the deliverance of them to the hardness of their hearts and the blindness of their minds unto their being brought down into captivity, and also into destruction, both temporally and spiritually, according to the captivity of the devil, of which I have spoken