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Friday, February 6, 2015

Exaltation Expectation Explanation

Since the beginning of the Restoration of the FULL truth by God, through His chosen, fore-ordained prophet, Joseph Smith jr., the saints have experienced persecutions. From being mocked, to being murdered, all the Saints of God, from the beginning to now, have experienced these forms of maltreatment from other "Christians." As mentioned previously, "when one body exerts a force on a second body, the second body simultaneously exerts a force equal in magnitude and opposite in direction on the first body." In other words, "for every action there is an equal, but opposite reaction." This truth was observed in a spiritual sense by the prophet Lehi when he said to his sons, "there must be opposition in all things." For progress to occur to us eternally, we must push against opposition. As an LDS missionary serving in the so-called "Bible belt," (and it's ruthless reputation for people persecuting members in the Church of Jesus Christ)  I have been introduced to many objections. Some reject the Church because it may be the way members act. It may be the way members look. Whatever the reason, the strongest most common excuse for the persecution is the doctrine we profess. The majority of the doctrine is  mis-understood (like how we believe we are saved). Yet, other doctrines are understood better (not perfectly, but better, much like our view on the Godhead.), and are often blatantly rejected by modern -mainstream "educated theologians or evangelists" (who, in Christ's day, were called Pharisees, Saduccees, and Scribes). Today, I desire to be the "second body" and fulfill the third law and push back against just ONE of the many philosophies against the true Church of Jesus Christ and explain one of the most common excuses people use for rejecting the "Mormons."

I caution you to tread carefully there is deep "meaty" doctrine ahead. Therefore, this is for those who have a testimony of God and Jesus Christ who know of their wonderful gifts they have provided and will provide to us. It is some pretty tough stuff to "digest." Much like meat to a child, one  must be mature spiritually to understand. Paul wrote at the beginning of 1 Corinthians Chapter 3, "And I, brethren, could not speak unto you as unto spiritual, but as unto carnal, even as unto babes in Christ. I have fed you with milk, and not with meat: for hitherto ye were not able to bear it, neither yet now are ye able." (1 Cor 3: 1-2) In other words, one must be able to digest the milk, before getting the meat. I have placed this out there for those who are ready (to consume the meat, spiritually). I, also, know some who are not ready will read this as well. It may be overwhelming, but if you go back to square one, and work your way forward, it will make sense.
The Prophet Joseph Smith said, "If men do not comprehend the character of God, they do not comprehend themselves." With this understanding of ourselves, it becomes more clear to us why Christ said to His Father, "this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent." (John 17: 3) This doctrine comes from our overarching knowledge of the Lord's Plan of Salvation (AKA Plan of Happiness).
Just like Nephi, I rejoice in plainness (2 Nephi 31: 2-3). So, this is going to be blunt and honest about that singular piece of doctrine; and to do such, I desire to liken the scriptures unto us, in our situation. In the days of Jesus Christ, there was not a man alive who knew the Mosaic law better than Christ (though some thought they did. They were called Pharisees.), because He was the one who wrote the law. There are a lot of people who agree with the words of John the Beloved, in his testimony of Christ. So, for all of those who love John, let's look to the tenth chapter:
30 I and my Father are one. 
31 Then the Jews took up stones again to stone him.
32 Jesus answered them, Many good works have I shewed you from my Father; for which of those works do ye stone me?
33 The Jews answered him, saying, For a good work we stone thee not; but for blasphemy; and because that thou, being a man, makest thyself God.
34 Jesus answered them, Is it not written in your law, I said, Ye are gods (See, Isaiah 41: 23, and Psalms 82: 6)?
We can find further clarification in the Doctrine and Covenants. It reads, "... if a man marry a wife by my word, which is my law, and by the new and everlasting covenant, and it is sealed unto them by the Holy Spirit of promise, by him who is anointed, unto whom I have appointed this power and the keys of this priesthood; and it shall be said unto them--Ye shall come forth in the first resurrection; and if it be after the first resurrection, in the next resurrection; and shall inherit thrones, kingdoms, principalities, and powers, dominions, all heights and depths--then shall it be written in the Lamb's Book of Life... it shall be done unto them in all things whatsoever my servant hath put upon them, in time, and through all eternity; and shall be of full force when they are out of the world; and they shall pass by the angels, and the gods, which are set there, to their exaltation and glory in all things, as hath been sealed upon their heads, which glory shall be a fulness and a continuation of the seeds forever and ever. Then shall they the husband and wife be gods, because they have no end; therefore shall they be from everlasting to everlasting, because they continue; then shall they be above all, because all things are subject unto them. Then shall they be gods, because they have all power, and the angels are subject unto them. Verily, verily, I say unto you, except ye abide my law ye cannot attain to this glory." (D&C 132: 19-21)
Yes, we know everyone on this earth has the potential to be just like Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ, even Gods, provided they follow ALL the law, even the Doctrine of Jesus Christ, which is found ONLY in the true Church of Jesus Christ.
If your feelings are hurt, if you feel I am stepping on toes, or if you feel uncomfortable or scared of reading such bold, blunt doctrine you do not need to continue reading. As a matter of fact, if you feel that way, I would prefer you to stop reading right now because you will become more accountable to The Almighty after reading this. The Lord has said, "Therefore, prepare thy heart to receive and obey the instructions which I am about to give unto you; for all those who have this law revealed unto them must obey the same. For behold, I reveal unto you a new and an everlasting covenant; and if ye abide not that covenant, then are ye damned..." (D&C 132: 3-4) I do not wish to damn you. Therefore, if you feel you cannot handle the responsibility of being merciful and just, like God, if you feel contentious, scared, uncomfortable, and/or angry; it is critical for you to stop now, and repent, by going back to square one.
Perhaps one of my companions said it best, "People don't believe we can become like Jesus Christ, so they use that as an excuse to be un-Christ-like to us."
In order for me help understand the situation we experience from day to day, I desire to "liken" the previously mentioned verses from the gospel of John to us in our day:
30 This Church and Christ are one
31 Then the educated evangelists (theologians) took up persecuting the church.
32 We answered them, "Many good works have we shown you in the name of Christ; for which of those works do you persecute us?
33 The evangelists answered, saying, "For good works we don't persecute you; but for blasphemy; and because that you, being men, make yourselves Gods.
34 We answered them," Is it not written in your Bible, Christ said, 'you are gods?' (See also Acts 17: 28-29; John 10: 34; Isaiah 41: 23; and Psalms 82: 6)"
That is what life is about. This is what God wants for us eternally, to grow and to learn, until we have infinite and perfect knowledge, just like Him. That is what is written in the Bible. Why else would He care for our existence? Then, just like joy is found in our earthly father giving all he owns to his children, when they have the know-how to care for it, and dividing it equally; Heavenly Father will do the same. Those who follow all of the ordinances will be "joint-heirs with Christ" as Paul told the Romans (Romans 8: 17), and live as He lives. As John recorded in Revelation, "we will sit with Christ upon His throne." Jesus Christ has inherited everything Heavenly Father has. If we had to measure the size of God's kingdom, it would be infinity. If we are joint-heirs with Christ, that means we get an equal share of the kingdom. If we take infinity and divide it by two, the answer is infinity. If we take infinity and divide it by 144,000, the answer is infinity. If we take infinity and divide it by "two to the power of 57,885,161, minus one" the answer is infinity! infinity divided by any finite number, no matter how large, is always going to be infinity! Some people believe having a family, and continuing to grow the kingdom of God in heaven is blasphemy. Frankly, I don't see how that is. If a son on earth has the potential to take over his father's business, why is it so difficult to comprehend on the eternal scale? Who's to say that God doesn't have power to make us like Him? He who does denies the Power and Authority of God. Paul confirmed this doctrine by demonstrating it in the life of Jesus Christ. He wrote that Christ saw it not robbery to be equal with God, His Father (Philippians 2: 6-7). It is, therefore, not robbery to be equal with Christ. Was it not Christ who prayed we might be one with Him even as He is one with His Father (John 17: 21-23)? Was it not Christ, even the great Jehovah, who said we are children of the Most High?
Nevertheless, This understanding is not what drives true disciples of Jesus Christ to do good works. It most certainly was not what drove Christ to Atone for our sins. I want you to know this knowledge does give us a sense of purpose. However, it isn't a selfish purpose, but a selfless purpose. Jesus Christ loved us with a divine love. He wanted to see others use the Gift of His Infinite Atonement to become joint-heirs with Him of His Father's Kingdom. This is the purpose which drives us. We want to see people become joint-heirs with Christ. The fact you have a divine destiny, and such potential to do great and marvelous things in the eternities is what we want you to understand. The only way to express love for God is to express love for His children, even our brothers and sisters.
I testify we need to become one with Him, Just as He is one with the Father. This Praise will continue as we continue to do the work of Our Savior, whose work is Heavenly Father's. I testify The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the only Christian religion which teaches ALL of the ancient teachings of Jesus Christ, and His Apostles. I know some have read this through, without a full testimony of Jesus Christ and all He has done, is doing, and will do for us. I hope I have strengthened your testimony. I, also, hope that I have given you things to think about, and to question, because progress is not made unless there is questioning. "There is no growth in the comfort zone, and no comfort in the growth zone. " Therefore,  my invitation is to continue or to start to Ask, Seek, and Knock, and to remember that "what we are, is God's gift to us. What we become, is our Gift to God."

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