2. LEARNING TO COME UNTO CHRIST PRESENTATION TWO
Updated: Sep 4, 2022
LEARNING TO COME UNTO CHRIST Presentation Two Merrill Bailey Salt Lake City, Utah - 1991 (Transcribed and edited from cassette tapes) Not a "Head trip" The most important things you will learn in this eight-week course will not be "head things". I will use the head to get through it, but the higher level of being and the higher level of consciousness we will talk about comes from the "feeling realm". That is why the grand old artists used to say, "He that knows doesn't talk, and he that talks doesn't know." There is really no way to define it--there is no guide that can take you all the way. It cannot be said in words; it cannot be thought in thoughts. It has to be felt and then transferred from the spirit to the head, so the head can understand exactly the opposite of what it would ordinarily accept. It starts in the heart from suggestions to the head and then moves up and re-educates the head. If it starts in the head, there is no way you can understand it. A Warning to Zion Let us refer to 2 Nephi Chapter 28…this chapter is a warning to Zion in the last days. If you caught a glimpse of what we discussed last week, you realized that what we are concerned with in this class is really a rebirth, a coming unto Christ”--and it has not been experienced in the Church as a whole. Obviously, the prophets in the Book of Mormon would have known this--they would have known that we would go for 160 years at a certain level of spiritual maturity and then there would be an explosion in the Church. Then Zion would proceed out of the Church. They would have prophesied of it in more than one place and would leave us stepping stones to cling to, so that as we started to make our way, we would realize that we were on well trodden paths…that the prophets had seen it. 2 Nephi 28:24 “therefore, wo be unto him that is at ease in Zion.” We have all heard this quote frequently--we usually hear it and then the speaker "jumps off" and tells us why he thinks we are at ease in Zion. He tells us that we are at ease because of many reasons…....but we never do get into what Nephi really meant when he made that statement. Let us read through to verse 31 and see what Nephi was trying to warn us about: - 2 Nephi 28:25-26 ... “Wo be unto him that crieth: All is well! Yea, Wo be unto him that hearkeneth unto the precepts of men, and denieth the power of God, and the gift of the Holy Ghost!" What is the Real Danger? What did they see as a real danger in the Church in the latter days? (Zion is the Church of the Firstborn--Nephi is not talking about the Protestants!) What is it going to be about? Obviously, that we are going to get off on some "headtrip" taught by men, and that we are going to start denying the gifts of the Spirit. The danger is that we are not going to talk about angels anymore--they appeared to Joseph Smith--it will not happen in this day! Instead, we will build a 14-story Science Building on the BYU campus and put it all together through our sight classes. There is nothing wrong with that, but if we hearken unto the precepts of men and deny the power of God and the gift of the Holy Ghost…. 2 Nephi 28:27-28..."Yea, wo be unto him that saith; We have received, and we need no more ... (No more from where ... obviously, from the Holy Ghost and from the gifts of the Spirit.)”And in fine, wo unto all those who tremble, and are angry because of the truth of God! For behold, he that is built upon the Rock receiveth it with gladness; and he that is built upon a sandy foundation trembleth lest he shall fall." What is the Rock? There is symbolism all the way through. What is the rock? (Helaman 5:12) Christ is the Rock .. there is no other rock; there is not the rock of the gospel, or the rock of the Church, or the rock of the Apostles. There is only one rock; Christ is the Rock, the Word of God. 2 Nephi 28:29-31 ... (Remember, he is not talking to the Protestants…..he is talking to Zion.) .. "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! 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 …. (Isaiah also says this) ......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. Cursed is he that putteth his trust in man, or maketh flesh his arm, or shall hearken unto the precepts of men, save their precepts shall be given by the power of the Holy Ghost." All precepts are not going to come through revelation or even through the prophets, but by the power of the Holy Ghost. 2 Nephi 28:32 ... "Wo be unto the Gentiles, saith the Lord God of Hosts! For notwithstanding, I shall lengthen out mine arm unto them from day to day, they will deny Me; nevertheless, I will be merciful unto them, saith the Lord God, if they will repent and come unto Me, for Mine arm is lengthened out all the day long, saith the Lord God or Hosts.” Even though the Lord uses the term “Gentiles”, He is still talking to the Church…..He is still talking to the children of Zion. Whenever He talks about the Gentiles, He does not necessarily mean non-members: Many times He will be talking about Israel and Gentiles and we begin to wonder….which am I?" The answer is, "Yes, I am a Gentile--I have Gentile genes all through me. When He says "Gentile", I listen. When He says "Israel", I also listen because I am Israel. When He says "Jews", I also listen because I am Jewish. We Are of the Same Origin Probably every member of this class has Jewish blood and Jewish genes flowing in them, so when the Lord talks to the Jews in the last days in the Book of Mormon, do not just pass it off as I did for so many years and think... "He is not talking to me”. There is no question that, although we may be predominantly Ephraim, there is a lot of Jewish blood in us. Depending on which master we chose to serve, we are either Gentile or Israelite.....depending on what is inside….depending on what we are doing with what is inside. Last week we talked about the children of Israel, about them going into the wilderness and arriving at the promised land. We went to the 84th Section of the Doctrine & Covenants and found that we have been under the first provocation as a church since the beginning like the children of Israel, we are still living in the wilderness. Earmarks of Being in the Wilderness There are certain earmarks--one of them is the commandments, or in other words: The Law. We are also under the Law of carnal commandments given in His wrath…..."an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth." If we keep the commandments and go to the sacrament table, we are forgiven--it is the Law of Carnal Commandments. Most of what we are commanded to do is centered around the carnal (or physical) aspects. Carnal does not mean sensual or devilish--it means all those things we do physically. We pay tithing, we do home teaching…..almost everything is tied into the physical. If you are true and faithful to the covenants you have made (in & out of the temple) the day will come when you will be chosen and called up to become a King(Queen) and a Priest (Priestess) Many Called But Few Chosen Even though we have received the Melchizedek Priesthood ordinances, we are still ruled over by the Aaronic Priesthood--the head of the Aaronic Priesthood is the Bishop. Consider the words of the Lord in D&C 121: D&C 121:34-37... "Behold, there are many called, but few are chosen. And why are they not chosen? Because their hearts are set so much upon the things of this world, and aspire to the honors of men, that they do not learn this one lesson --That the rights of the Priesthood .. (the power of Godliness that is shown in the ordinances) .. "are inseparably connected with the powers of heaven., and that the powers of heaven cannot be controlled nor handled only upon the principles of righteousness ... (The ordinances will not do it for us, unless the accompanying heavenly power comes with it. As D&C 132 states, all ordinances or ordinations must be sealed by the Holy Spirit of Promise or they are just rights to the effects of physical rituals) “That they may be conferred upon us, it is true; but when we undertake to cover our sins, or to gratify our pride, our vain ambitions, or to exercise control or dominion or compulsion upon the soul s of the children or men in any degree or unrighteousness, behold, the heavens withdraw themselves; the Spirit or the Lord is grieved; and when it is withdrawn, Amen to the priesthood or the authority of that man." We can have all the ordinances that we think would take us right through to the Celestial Kingdom, it is true, but when we undertake to cover our sins, or to gratify our pride (in any manner of Self or ego involved) or our vain ambitions, or to exercise control or dominion or compulsion upon the souls of the children of men (including our own!) behold, the heavens withdraw themselves. In other words, the accompanying heavenly powers (the Holy Spirit of Promise) that make the ordinances efficacious are withdrawn. D&C 121:38-40 ... "Behold, . ere 'he is aware, he is left unto himself, to kick against the pricks, to persecute the saints, and to fight against God. We have learned by sad experience that it is the nature and disposition or almost all men, as soon as they get a little “authority”, as they suppose, they will immediately begin to exercise unrighteous dominion. Hence many are called and few are chosen." We also talked about the brain and the mind. Tonight we are going to discuss another one, the EGO. It is a creation of the mind. Let us make a three-step analogy of our lives here. We started out in the Celestial Kingdom, then we came down to the earth as children. Later we went through "the fall" and then at about eight years of age we began to be accountable, we began to believe, we became accountable for our actions. Accountability and the Fall When we reached that age, Satan came along and said, "Okay, you have had fun here for about eight years--you have played Roy Rogers, and Mommy and Daddy--every day has been good and bad." Then he said, "Oh, look, you are naked! People will see your nakedness…....quick, take some fig leaves and cover yourself; start to hide behind them, because you are 'broken'. God made a mistake!'" So we ran over here and started to build ourselves a wall, because Satan had told us there was something wrong with us. We had now gone through "the fall"--we created egos to hide behind and make us okay. In our own eyes we have got to earn our right to exist because we are "broken"…....there is something wrong with us. Salvation Cometh From the Heart An important thing to learn is that salvation is going to come through the heart…...it is going to come out of the spirit. The truth will make us free, but it will not come out of the flesh. The flesh is our problem. We have tried all our lives to think our way out of this--to become righteous on our own. We think we will establish our own righteousness and that God will save us. Paul said in essence…..."You run around trying to establish your own righteousness, and you miss the righteousness of God." It has to come from another direction…....let us see if this is consistent with the plan of salvation in Moses, Chapter 6. Moses 6: 55-57....."And the Lord spake unto Adam saying: Inasmuch as thy children are conceived in sin, even so when they begin to grow up, sin conceiveth in their hearts, and they tasteth bitter, that they may know to prize the good. And it is given unto them to know good from evil; wherefore they are agents unto themselves, and I have given unto you another law and commandment. Wherefore, teach it unto your children, that all men everywhere, must repent, or they can in no wise inherit the Kingdom of God, for no unclean thing can dwell there, or dwell in His presence; for in the language of Adam, Man of Holiness is His Name, and the Name of His only Begotten is the Son of Man, even Jesus Christ, a righteous judge, who shall come in the meridian of time." Moses 6:59-60 ... "Therefore I give unto you a commandment, to teach these things freely unto your children, saying: That by reason of transgression cometh the fall, which fall bringeth death-(spiritual death)…..."and " inasmuch as ye were born into the world by water and blood and by the spirit, which I have made, and so became of dust a living soul, even so ye must be born again into the Kingdom of Heaven, of water, and of the Spirit, and be cleansed by blood .. (a three-step process) …."even the blood of Mine only Begotten; that ye might be sanctified (not simply justified, but sanctified—from how much?)......"from all sin, and enjoy the words of Eternal Life in this world and Eternal Life in the world to come, even immortal glory;" For by the water ye keep the commandment; by the Spirit ye are justified, and by the blood ye are sanctified;" Water, Spirit, Blood: A Three-Step Process Moses 6:61-63 ... "Therefore (after you have gone through this whole three-step process, what is the end result?) ... "it is given to abide in you” (what?) ... "the record of heaven; the comforter; the peaceable things of immortal glory; the truth of all things; that which quickeneth all things, that which maketh alive all things; that which knoweth all things, (comforter, peace, quickening, alive) ... "and hath all power according to wisdom, mercy, truth, Justice, and Judgement. And now, behold, I say unto you; this is the plan of salvation unto all men, through the blood of Mine Only Begotten, who shall come in the meridian of time.” This is the plan of salvation unto all men according to Mine Only Begotten. And behold, all things have their likeness, and all things are created and made to bear record of Me, both things which are temporal, and things which are spiritual; things which are in the heavens above, and things which are on the earth, and things which are in the earth, and things which are under the earth, both above and beneath: all things bear record of Me." The Womb - A Garden of Eden Was there ever a time when we had bodies of flesh and bones--blood flowing in our veins…...and yet were in the presence of God, totally, completely? Yes! We were in a place where sin could not reach us..... we had all our wants. We were in a Garden of Eden…... in the womb. For eight to nine months we were in a position, not unlike a Garden of Eden. We were alive--little babies before birth think and cry--but unlike the world out here, we were hopefully not exposed to sin, drugs, and the yelling and screaming of Mom and Dad, etc State of Innocence When we were born and came into the world, we were still protected to a certain point--we were not accountable for eight or nine years. Little children transgress, but they are not accountable. The difference between sin and transgress is that with one we are accountable, and with the other we are not. In this innocent state, we did not realize what we are doing and so were not accountable. Therefore the Savior did not withdraw His Spirit. This is why it does not work very well to give report cards to little children….. they do not worry very long. Neither do they fight very long. I have never seen a fight between children last as long as the one between the two mothers who happen to overhear it. Children are beyond that--they love and trust everyone. Their feeling level is almost as if they were still in the presence of God. I find myself going back to Nephi, Utah where I grew up ... where I played and rode horses and did all the carefree things of childhood. I find myself walking through the community trying to recapture feelings. Walking along, I suddenly realize that when I was there I was in the presence of God. I had my sorrows and sicknesses. It was not the celestial kingdom but it was a lot closer than it is now. And then somewhere between the ages of eight and nine, I went into this period when I became accountable ... which is going to last somewhere between 70 and 90 years. Let Lehi's Words Change Your Life Now let us go to 2nd Nephi. .. if you can capture this one concept, it alone can change your life. It is not taught anywhere else in the standard works; this is the only chapter where you will find it ... we might call it the gem. It has opened the door to more truth for me than any other single concept--except the Savior. Lehi is speaking to his sons ... let us begin with two preliminary verses: 2 Nephi 2:4 ... *"And thou hast beheld in thy youth His glory; (Lehi is speaking of the Savior to his son, Jacob) .. "wherefore, thou art blessed .. " I would like to suggest that what he is saying is, "Jacob, you have made it all the way to here, in thy youth--something which most of us have not. “You have beheld His glory in thy youth." " ...even as they unto whom He shall minister in the flesh; for the Spirit is the same, yesterday, today, and forever ... (Think about those last words ... the Spirit is the same yesterday, today, and forever) ... "And the way is prepared from the fall of man, and salvation is free." God has prepared the way. It is not waiting on Him to get us there. That is the good news--the good news of the Gospel. It is not God who is holding up the show. It is our own ignorance--our lack of faith, probably just because we do not realize what it is we are supposed to do and just where it is that we are heading. 2 Nephi 2:5……"And men are instructed sufficiently that they know good from evil. And the law (of good and evil) is given unto men. And by the law no flesh is justified, or by the law men are cut off. Yea, by the temporal law they were cut off; and also by the spiritual law they perish from that which is good, and become miserable forever." By the LAW, men are cut off and they perish and they are miserable. Wait a moment!! What about the rebirth? I read to you last week from President Benson, who is trying to get us, in the Church, to be born again. Are we cut off by the existence of the LAW, or by the operation of the LAW? Paul answers that by saying, "The law is good." By the law we know what God is and what we should be and what perfection is.....the law is good. But none of us live it, so it has got to be bad by the operation of the law. It was designed so that we could not make it by the law. Listen and see if that is what Lehi is saying: 2 Nephi 2:5 ...." Wherefore .... (because of the law, men are cut off and are miserable forever) ... "redemption cometh in and through the holy Messiah; for He is full of grace and truth." This is the whole message of the Book of Mormon ... the law is not going to do it for us. It is the whole message of the New Testament.....the law will not do it for us! The Law - A Schoolmaster What is the law good for then, if it is just to damn us? It is to bring us "as a schoolmaster" to Christ so that we can see that this (through Christ) is the only way. What is it we need to learn.....to forsake.....to give up? What is it that the law beats out of us by not being able to live the law? It is OUR EGO!!! That is our biggest enemy. We do not know it.. we think it is our best friend, and so we cling to it tenaciously.... we go crazy if it is ever threatened. It causes more divorces, more problems, more fights. It is our creation. We guard it to the death and yet it is our greatest enemy. It is the one thing we have to lay on the altar, with a broken heart and a contrite spirit, to come unto Christ. That is the one thing we do not understand. Satan is a Genius in Counterfeiting Satan never comes up with something new, some brand new principle or some brand new sign.... he always counterfeits.... He always tries to come as close as he possibly can to the truth. We will find that each principle we study during these eight weeks has been counterfeited by Satan. It is remarkable just how closely, but it is far enough off. You see, Satan does not care. It goes back to the analogy of "three degrees to Phoenix." When you leave Salt Lake in an airplane and are heading for Phoenix, three degrees does not mean too much by the time you get to Murray. But by the time you get down to Casa Grande, if you are three degrees off, you are out in the desert! You are out of gas! Satan's symbols are that way. He has created a counterfeit….. something the ego is trying to mimic, and it is our own worth--the worth that God created. God makes no mistakes; He created us perfect. How could God create anything else but perfection? God's Creations Are Perfect We were naked in the Garden and there was nothing wrong with us, until another brother came along and said, "Look! You're naked!" And we listened and hearkened to him. But there was never anything wrong with us. There was never anything wrong with being naked--we did not need an ego, we did not need anything. Our own personhood, as we were created, was perfect. Everything in this universe is perfect. Satan got in and messed things up. Where was God when all of this happened-- when Lucifer sneaked in the back door and ruined God's creation? Consider the answer Lehi gives: 2 Nephi 2:6-7….”Wherefore, redemption cometh in and through the Holy Messiah; for He is full of grace and truth. Behold, He offereth Himself a sacrifice for sin, to answer the ends of the law, unto all those who have a broken heart and a contrite spirit; and unto none else can the ends of the law be answered." Opposition in All Things The Lord knew we must have opposition in all things. Let us assume that on one side we have weaknesses....color this side half dark. And on the other side we have strengths…...color that side half light. Some of each are in the subconscious or sub-aware; others we are consciously aware of. The strange thing is that our weaknesses and our strengths are really the same. Shakespeare said, "Our greatest weaknesses are our greatest strengths." Marion D. Hanks reaffirmed this…...“That is really true--my greatest weaknesses are my greatest strengths." From these weaknesses two things happen: 1. We sin because of unmet needs. As Brother Maxwell says, "None of us are evil or bad. We sin because of unmet needs." 2. We have all kinds of inadequacies. In other words, we do not handle things too well. This comes from our weaknesses, but we are not even really as great on our strengths, because in blocking off our weaknesses and not looking at those, it also blocks us from looking at our strengths. We are afraid of both of them in ourselves and in each other, are we not? Because of the law that God made in the beginning, He said, "The evil in the world and in you causes you to sin and is darkness. But I must keep this whole creation perfect, because no unclean thing can come into My Presence. I cannot abide here unless everything works perfectly. I could not be your God of perfection and wholeness and completeness and work with all of this incompleteness and all of this unholiness!" A Different Concept I know that this concept is different from what we have been taught. Please do not panic and say, "You are teaching a whole apostate doctrine here!" I promise you that if you will stay with me, with your hearts, you will see by the end that it all works out the same. You say what difference does it make? It makes a big difference. What is taught on one level just is not the whole truth. The completeness comes with the heart. What I want you to really look at tonight is that it is backwards….... it is upside down. It is totally opposite. Mercy is totally opposite from justice. In justice, we have to do it--we have to earn it. In mercy, it is a total gift--we have nothing to do with it. Our salvation, you see, is totally opposite. On one side is justice, while on the other is mercy. They are completely different laws. God says, "In order for Me to deal, it has to be perfect. So what will I do? I will go down Myself and perfect it. I will go down and answer the ends of the law for everything…....for every tree, for every bush, for every animal, for everything that is corrupted or dark. I will pay for it all, which makes the whole thing now perfect." The Infinite Atonement Am I saying that everybody will be saved no matter what? Yes. Everything has already been saved. The atonement already met the ends of the law--it was an Infinite atonement. Sometime get out the dictionary and look up the word “infinite". It means complete, total--it covers everything. The Atonement has already been made. It totally covers everything. Everything is already perfect-even your husband (or your wife)! Then does this take away agency? Little children are perfect, too, but He still answered the ends of the law for them. God cannot be a party to death and all of the suffering that takes place....He is a God of endless existence, a God of happiness and joy. He cannot be a party to pain unless He pays for it. Then He can use it. Yes, all men are going to be saved, but not in their sins. Listen to your hearts-you will not be deceived if you will listen through your spirit to the Holy Ghost. We still have to recognize this.... it is the whole message of the Book of Mormon. Come unto Christ and recognize Him. He is not going to give you a gift if you reject it. What good does it do to give a man a gift if he does not appreciate the gift or the giver? A Free Gift It is a free gift, but we have got to recognize what He has done. We have got to appreciate it and realize that the whole thing was done with so much love. What does that make us? It makes us perfect. We begin to realize that we are perfect, that Christ has perfected us. Can we come to this realization? Yes, we find it is absolutely necessary. After we get there, do we have problems with our egos anymore? No, because there is a difference…....the ego was built on an illusion. It never wants us to be perfect because as soon as we realize we are, the ego has to go out of existence. It knows its own destruction is imminent. That is why it is our worst enemy. That is why we must lay our egos at the altar. Then why is the law set up? To take away our egos, because if we have any kind of integrity at all, we will realize that we are never going to make it by ourselves. We cannot live perfectly enough, or keep enough of the law to even come close. So at that point we say, "Heavenly Father I can't do this." He says, "'Yes! That's what I have been waiting for.....Yes!" Like the Pharisees All of it is like the Pharisees.... they did not want Christ. They knew what they were doing when they put Him on the cross, at least in their subconscious, because otherwise, they knew that they were going to have to sacrifice their egos and come unto Him. There is no way but to accept it as a gift....to do that we must realize what the gift is." Every single person has to recognize what the gift is, and then they are saved. Life Is That We Might Have Joy This whole class is about happiness and joy--such ecstatic happiness and joy and love as you have never before experienced. Every day is "Lagoon day" for all the rest of our lives.....while we are here and for all eternity. That is what this is all about. To do that we must align with certain gospel principles and one of the most important principles is that everything is perfect. We have to align with that principle and realize what we are here for. Planting Seeds I am planting seeds, I know. We are not going to pick fruit tonight, but if you will look at the seed that was planted last week, and if you have nourished it this week--if you have thought about it and have prayed about it--you have begun to see some green leaves coming up. You are going to say to yourselves, "This is a good plant. This feels good. It must be good. I have felt things I have not felt for years." Keep nourishing it with prayer and with open hearts. Do you remember the warning, "Wo unto those that have received the word of God, We need no more word of God." He was talking to us! Keep nourishing what we have learned. If it is a truth....if this is a good plant, you will start to see it grow. Soon it will begin to bear fruit. Until we can see that everything in God's world is perfect and understand that we are here to support--lOO% and unconditionally--one another and that this equal support is the charity and the love that redeems this creation, then we fall under the condemnation. The Atonement Overcomes Darkness We need to see all things. Satan has taught us to look at things as either black or white, good or bad. The only way that the darkness will be overcome is by letting the Atonement do it. Recognize that the Atonement has paid for it and made it good--not that death and murder are good--none of these will ever be good. But if the law has been fulfilled, then it can add to the good because there has to be opposition. This is what Lehi was teaching: 2 Nephi 2:11 "For it must needs be, that there is an opposition in all things..... (this is what Lehi is trying to teach his son Jacob) .. "if not so, my first-born in the wilderness, righteousness could not be brought to pass." Use the Bitter to Appreciate the Sweet There has to be evil and darkness because the light side of the force has to use the dark side of the force to propel itself onward. But it does not do it by propelling itself and then leaving forever without it. It does it by paying the price on the cross in Gethsemane and a lifetime of suffering. The Savior bought this goodness so that we can now take the dark side and yet take the light with us. In that way weak things can be made strong unto us (but God makes it strong, not us). Am I saying that we are going to have to live with our sins and our inadequacies forever? No.....but we had better learn to live with them here. We have got to learn to live with them here because they balance out....they are the bitter that makes us appreciate the sweet. Support in Marriage Let us say that I am really having a struggle with my marriage …with my wife. Those weaknesses of hers are just “grossing" me out. I need to get to a counselor fast and get her changed. I realize that probably three percent of it is my fault, so I will be willing to make a few changes. But basically, she is the one who has got to change because she has some real weaknesses. In realistic terms, if I am here to love her unconditionally and give her mutual support, I have to love her unconditionally where she is at--not sacrificing myself to do it--but to also love and support myself 100 percent. Then through that support, her weaknesses can become strong. She does not have to change.....I support her. Two Basic Emotions: Fear and Love There are only two emotions.... there is FEAR and ·there is LOVE, and they are opposite. Fear is withholding love….that is all it is. The next time you find yourself very frightened of something, check it out, and you will see that what you are doing is withholding love from that thing. Learn to Love Once we realize that we are here to learn to love…once we learn that, it is safe to love. When this happens and we are in line with the universe, we can feel that spirit of love flowing through us whether we are with our spouses or whether we are with others....no matter where we are. We can feel when we are in alignment with the way things should be.....we just feel it. Then we can support all of our relationships with love; including ourselves. Then all of a sudden something may come along and get caught in our thoughts and it will damn them, stopping those feelings of love. Almost always it will be fear. The fear will cause us to start withholding love. So if we can learn to not fear anything in God's universe, then we obviously will learn to love everything. The only way we can do this is if everything is perfect. The Atonement made everything perfect. A True Principle I realize this is very different, but here is the principle. There has to be opposition in all things (and the opposites are love, or the tree of life on one side which is sweet, and on the other side is Good vs. Evil -- the bitter fruit; see 2 Nephi 2:15-16). otherwise, righteousness could not be brought to pass. " ... Wherefore, all things must needs be a compound in one.” You see, righteousness and truth and love cannot exist by themselves. If they did, they would be a compound in one. It would stop.....it would cease to be a living entity. There has to be the dark side of the force; there has to be the negative. We have to have our weaknesses -- they have to be there for us to function as holistically perfect. For perfection to take place, they both have to be there. Strengths and Weaknesses Most of our lives we have tried to run away from our weaknesses and our sins and our dark secrets. Yet, they are part of our perfection…... part of our wholeness. The Atonement has made it so we can embrace those parts of ourselves. And if we do, we will still have our weaknesses, but instead of viewing them as sins, they can become strengths to us. We have been trained to want to throw out all the weaknesses…..just throw them out, because they have caused us to sin. But as soon as we do, we may have thrown out our best characteristics......because there are strengths attached to each of them! Paul's Weaknesses Do they still remain weaknesses once we have embraced them, or do they change to strengths? They always remain weaknesses--at least in this life. The reason I say that is because Paul, when he was caught up to the third heaven in 2 Corinthians 12 he said he had some weakness in the flesh. I have heard religion teachers try and rationalize this one away with something like evil spirits bugging him, or he had a club foot or something. The first thing he said when he felt worthy to see into the Celestial Kingdom (this was the only kingdom he viewed) was that it came about because of Christ's righteousness.....it was not anything he did. No one tells us as well as Paul did. He was not there because of his own righteousness....he knew that. But he wanted to be more righteous and so he said, "Heavenly Father, this thorn in the flesh has really bothered me all of these years." Obviously, .whatever this weakness was, he was suffering from it, because the Savior said, "No, Paul, My grace is sufficient" You do not need grace if you have a club foot...you do not need grace if you have an evil spirit. The only time you need grace (which is that gift of the Atonement) is when you have got a sin or even an inadequacy. A weakness can become a strength, but not because the nature of the weakness has changed…..but because our perception of it has changed. A Counseling Experience In my counseling career, I had a boy come to me who was a homosexual. He had been on a mission and everything and had been excommunicated from the Church. He was really struggling with his homosexuality. He seemed a little chagrined when I said, "What you have got to do is embrace your femininity.” He looked like, "Come on, that's the thing that caused all of this problem in the first place. That's the thing I've been teased about from the time I was a little boy!” I said, “Yes, but you see, the thing we fear the most is the thing we pump all the power into. We do not get rid of these things down in the subconscious--all we do is pump all kinds of power into them." I continued, "You have been put down all of your life because you have gone towards the feminine. You know, that is your greatest strength.....you are sensitive, you are loving, you are kind, you enjoy the finer aesthetic things in life. All of these things are beautiful. What you need to do is to get into that more." That was the first time he had ever heard such advice. From the time he was little, his mother had been hammering him because he was too effeminate. So all those years he was pumping power into his femininity. I watched that young man change his life. By trying to become more masculine? No, he had been trying to do that all of his life. But by trying to become more feminine or at least recognizing that weakness within himself. Did it go away? No. When I met him three years later, had he lost all of his femininity and all of his traits? No. He still had them all with him, but now he has accepted and embraced them. He has learned to love them in himself. And all of a sudden women were becoming attractive to him…..all of a sudden he was, going back to church and he was changing. He began to admire things in women. He had always hated women because they mirrored to him that thing which he was so ashamed of. When he began to embrace that weakness in himself he realized it was not a weakness at all. It was a great strength. As he began to embrace and love it, other people began to also. He began to get all kinds of positive feedback. This story may help explain what I am saying…...he still had his weakness in a sense, but he recognized it in a different light, and thus it became a strength unto him. Others Mirror Our Weaknesses I have said this to you before…..those things that bother us in other people are mirrors of our own weaknesses .Think of the person who bothers you the most …who just drives you up the wall. There is probably something down inside yourself that you are running away from, and this person brings that out. Sometimes those people are the best ones for you to be around, because there is something there---a mirror that you really need to look at. You need to look at it with your heart. When you can look at those persons and realize that they are perfect just as they are, even though they are doing some very undesirable things, you can recognize that they are just expressing their love in another way. They know their behavior is not effective, but in an atmosphere of love and acceptance from you, they realize that they are perfect in this moment, because they are just trying out the opposite of love. They are just practicing on the bitterness, but it will help them to come to appreciate the sweet. Judge Not That is what the scriptures say--if we can just see the concept. If we can get beyond this earthly programming and feel the perfection of others! The secret is that the one we are really embracing is ourselves. We are seeing our own perfections and loving ourselves where we are…...that is the great secret. That is why the scriptures say, “Judge not that ye be not judged, because with that judgment with which you judge, you shall be judged.” Judge with righteous judgment. What is righteous judgment? It is Christ's judgment (because Righteousness is one of His names--the same as Eternal is one of God’s names).....how does He judge? (With Love, and grace and mercy) Thus, we must come unto the Savior and partake of the Atonement and recognize His perfection .....recognize His perfection of everything He has created. Even that which He did not create (our own problems and sins), He has paid for. So it is perfect. It all works together for our good….even the dark side (even our partaking of the tree of good and evil works for our good). Beware of the Counterfeits Once we begin to see this concept, then we can align ourselves with the universe and it begins to flow through us. Now we begin to fulfill the purpose for which we came here—which is to create love and support for others and love and support for ourselves. Then if we are attorneys or doctors or bankers, it does not matter because, as I said, Satan has counterfeits. The counterfeits for aligning ourselves or trying to get us off track are money, good looks, competition, and status….those are the places where we can be deceived. God does want us to prosper. He does want us to have money, but not as a goal. The whole universe is full of abundance. It is made to reward abundance as we support and fulfill our purpose. So if we are in business just for the money it will never satisfy us, because it is a false goal. Seek for True Alignment The laws of the universe are set up to punish us (with consequences); they still give us our agency, but punish us so that we will seek true alignment, which is to serve people, to support them, and to love them unconditionally. If providing a service or a product to others is where our goal is, then our goal is fulfilling our purpose. If we get up every day with this goal in mind and love to do it, the money will come…..it just comes! I know that sounds like nonsense, but l have seen it so many times that I know that is a true eternal principle. If we will align with the universe; abundance will come. It just does financially. Everything is built upon the Atonement. 2 Nephi 2:14 “And now my sons...... I speak unto you these things for your profit and learning, for there is a God and He hath created all things. We Have Our Agency To Accept I might add that He has created all things perfectly, including you and including me. We are created perfect. Anything that we have done to mess it up by transgression and sin was taken care of by the Atonement if we will let it, but we are free agents ... He will not force that forgiveness. We can stay in hell, that eternal state of being. We can stay there for as long as we want; that is endless. But as soon as we are willing to take hold of His hand and accept the free gift of the Atonement and His love, it becomes effective for us. To do that, however; we have to see our own perfection. We have to admit perfection to admit faith in the Atonement. Instead, we find ourselves saying we accept His gift; but still think we are a piece of junk. We cannot do that---for where our hearts are, there our treasures will be also. Learn to ForgiveYourself We seem unable to forgive ourselves and let the Savior pay for that totally….we cannot accept of the Atonement. That is why we went into this last week. The whole world lieth in sin and groaneth under bondage. Why? "Because they come not unto Me.” That is what the Savior said. This condemnation rests on all the children of Zion. "And that condemnation and scourge will remain until they remember the New Covenant in the Book of Mormon, and in the former commandments (the Bible), He said. Condemnation of First Provocation In the 88th Section of the Doctrine and Covenants and in The Pearl of Great Price, God jumped us in one step to here. It is because of that condemnation of the first provocation that we have spent our lives trying to earn our way out of a place that we can never earn our way out of. The first provocation was the thing that the Book of Mormon people feared most…..that God, in His wrath, would say" "Alright. if you are not going to “receive” of these ordinances I have given you through the Melchizedek Priesthood to come back into the Presence of God and to pierce the veil, and spend that whole time with Me, then I will give you the law of carnal commandments, and I let you work it out yourselves, because that is what you want. The former commandment was this: "Look, just partake of the Atonement and you are here (in My Presence).“ An Individual ResponsibiIity The Nephites we talked of last week said, "We teach our children the deadness of the law that they can see and come alive in Christ." That is what we as a people will have to do. But it is an individual thing…..we are going to come up one by one as calves in the stall. We are not going to come in by wards or by stakes or as a church. I quoted from President Kimball last week. He said that we have plateaued on certain spiritual levels long enough. The Church is on the verge of a major move forward. A spiritual rebirth, in a sense. It is not going to come through the organization, but the organization is prepared so that when it comes individually, the organization will be ready. It is ready. It is not going to be a new Church. It’s all here but it is going to have to be an individual thing. The Motivation Makes the Difference What changes must we make? Do we stop serving each other? Do we do anything differently? No. The end is the same, but the motivation is different. The motivation is everything…...that is what brings us eternal life, the well of living water springing up inside of us. That living water becomes not only a support to us but to everybody we touch; that love from Christ comes alive and it touches all of our existence. It touches everything that we have. But it means that we have to embrace the Atonement 100 percent--not week to week, sacrament table to sacrament table. It means we have to accept of the infinite Atonement in one big block…..in here--in our hearts, not as a thought process. It has to start with our hearts--we have to feel of that love. If I am testifying truth to you, you will know it. It will testify through every single particle of your being. What happened to those Book of Mormon people when they had this experience? Bang! Right on the floor and they were out for three days! Go through the Book of Mormon and see if the rule is that they spend their lifetime doing works and then have that experience? Is that what Alma did? Did he spend 60 years of good works and then receive that redeeming assurance? What about Lamoni? What about Lamoni’s father? What about Nephi? What about Lehi? What about Enos? If there is anyone message in the Book of Mormon, it is that we have got things upside down and that the former commandment is: First…...you get the witness that you are clean and pure and forgiven and have been redeemed, then you spend a lifetime of works doing something about it. The 'Must Have' Culture God works with us and talks to man according to his language. What is the language of our culture? We are a "have" culture. We have to decide what it is that we must have. We have got to acquire something…..we must have it! We have got to have it to feel good about ourselves..... we have got to have it to be able to hold our heads up with our neighbors….we have got to have it so we can have great vacations. This is the whole theory and formula of positive thinking--set your goals, decide what you want to have. Then decide what you are going to do to get these things…....then you will in the end be happy! So the Lord says, "Okay, this is what you think. This is what your whole culture teaches. If that is the way you want it. I will give it to you…...what do you want?” We say. "I want Eternal life. I want to be like God." "Okay…..what have you got to do to do that?" "I have go to home teach. I have got to pay tithing, I have got to go on missions, I have got to feel guilty all the years of my life." "Okay, do that…....then far beyond this veil when you go and meet the Savior, you will be a God.” It fits perfectly. This "have to be" fits perfectly here in the law. God speaks to us in a language we can understand. There is only one thing wrong with the whole formula……..it is backwards from the way everything else in the universe runs. Everything else in the universe starts out being. A dog starts out being a dog, then it does what dogs do…..it barks, it chases cats and eats dog food. Consider trees.... they put their roots down into the ground, they take rain, they do what trees do, and they bear fruit. Everything in the universe works this way. That is the first law. That is the former commandment. Come Unto Christ….. "Come unto Christ and be perfect in Christ." That is reiterated in the last three verses of the Book of Mormon. Come unto Christ and be redeemed; become perfect, recognize that the Atonement has been made for us and right now we are perfect in Christ. Then we will do automatically what redeemed people do…..goodness will come out of us. Love will just flow because we are not trying to have anything. Then we will have what redeemed people have, whether it is an abundance of the things of the world or whether it is the abundance of love…we will automatically have it. But it starts in our hearts, not in our heads. We have got it backwards…that is why it cannot be a gradual process. It is a rebirth. By the water, just like we are born into this world. Quickened, we become alive, we receive His glory, we receive His mercy, we receive His peace. One of the class members expressed these thoughts: “As I understand the truthfulness of the Savior and His Love, as I give up my sins, and as I come unto Him with a broken heart and a contrite spirit, putting my soul on His altar--then I find His joy, then I find His love; then that becomes part of me. Then I start going back, and seeing all that I can do as a person…as a whole person being born again. Here is the joy of this life. Here is the joy of knowing Him." Discover Your Purpose We are here for a purpose….somebody said to me today: "Merrill… ..You don’t believe in goals. You don’t believe in planning things out.” I said, You’re right---that’s close, but it’s three degrees off. That doesn’t mean that I don’t have a purpose. I work harder now—I spend more hours now in my purpose. From the moment I wake up until I go to sleep, I am doing what I love to do because that's my purpose. It just flows. It comes out of love! Some of you will rebel against this a little bit, but that is alright. The harder you have tried to keep the law, the more you have struggled, the better commandment keeper you are the …the more you will appreciate this when you have received it. That does not mean you will not appreciate it or cannot have it if you do not accomplish all of these things. But if you have ‘beat yourself up’ with the law all these years, this is like you dreamed it would be like when you were ten years old and had given up on it a 35 or 40. King Benjamin’s Message I want to give you an example of purpose. I want to take you to King Benjamin’s address in the Book of Mormon. President Harold B. Lee said that this was the second greatest sermon ever given. First, of course, was the Sermon on the Mount. If what we are teaching is true, you will see it in every single word the Savior taught in the Sermon on the Mount. It was the first thing He taught the Nephites when He came to them…it is taught in three different places, but we are going to look at King Benjamin’s address. He called them by families…this was before the formal church was organized and the organization worked through families. They came up to hear the last words of Benjamin… Mosiah 2:9 I have not commanded you to come up hither to trifle with the words which I shall speak, but that you should hearken unto me, and open your ears that ye may hear, and your hearts…” If there is any one thing that separates our hearts from our heads, it is this: It makes no difference whether you understand intellectually what this whole thing is about. If I am teaching truth by the power of the Holy Ghost through the Spirit, and if the Savior’s spirit is here, you will feel this long before you will see it in your heads. You will have to reprogram your heads, but you will feel it.....That is why he says .. Mosiah 2:9 "…....your hearts that ye may understand and your minds, that the mysteries of God may be unfolded to your view." So he is going to teach them something very, very important, something he wants them to feel and to see. Mosiah 2:14…..”and even I, myself, have labored with mine own hands that I might serve you.,,(He starts to show them immediately....in essence he is saying, 'I am not talking to you through the ego, I am not here to get gain, status, money, good looks or competitiveness. He makes that very plain right away.) Mosiah 2:20-21 "I say unto you my brethren, that if you should render all the thanks and praise which your whole soul has power to possess, to that God who has created you, and has caused that ye should rejoice, and has granted that ye should live in peace one with another- - I say unto you that if ye should serve Him who has created you, from the beginning, and is preserving you from day to day, by lending you breath, that ye may live and move and do according to your own will, and even supporting you from one moment to another--I say if ye should serve Him with all your whole souls, yet ye would be unprofltable servants." God does not have much use for self esteem, does He? We spend a lifetime trying to teach children to have self-esteem. He says that is the problem….we have too much self esteem! Mosiah 2:22-24 .....”And behold, all that He requires of you is to keep His commandments; (yes, He does require that we do this) "and he has promised you that if ye would keep His commandments ye should prosper in the land; and He never doth vary from that which He hath said; therefore, if ye do keep His commandments He doth bless you and prosper you (in the land). "And now in the first place He hath created you, and granted unto you your lives. For which ye are indebted unto Him. And secondly, He doth require that ye should do as He hath commanded you; for which if ye do, He doth immediately bless you; and therefore He hath paid you." Obedience Brings Blessings We are not earning eternal life by keeping the commandments, because we are already getting blessed for that. We have beautiful homes, we are prospering in the land, we have wonderful children, He has already paid us for keeping the commandments. What is the problem with these ancient people? It is the same problem that we have, is it not? They are trying to earn their way to heaven. They feel good about themselves and they hope for a place in the Celestial Kingdom because they are living the gospel so well. He is telling us that this very attitude is keeping us away from the Celestial Kingdom because we are basing all or our salvation on our works, and we have already been blessed for those…...we have already received all the pay we are going to get. He has blessed us and, therefore He has paid us. "And ye are still indebted unto Him, and are and will be forever and ever; therefore of what have ye to boast? Why do we think we will make it and some 'lesser person' down the street is not going to make it? We are both in the same boat--we are prospering because we are keeping the commandments and maybe they are struggling. But the Lord has already paid us, so eternally speaking--even though we think we are so rich in spirit, we are really broke! We are bankrupt and destitute until we see it, because we are trying to establish our own righteousness! Mosiah 2:25-26 .. "And now I ask, can ye say aught of yourselves? I answer you, Nay. Ye cannot say that ye are even as much as the dust of the earth; yet ye were created of the dust of the earth, but behold it belongeth to Him who created you. And I, even I, whom ye call your King, am no better than ye yourselves are." King Benjamin is saying, in essence ... "I am not sitting here saying that you need to be as great as I am. I am in the same sinking ship.....we are all straightening deck chairs on the Titanic, we are all going under. I am your King and I am right with you." How many times have you heard this taught, and then we say, "Well, obviously, what he is trying to get them to do is live the commandments better. They have got to be more righteous." Look at verse 31. Now remember, this is the Prophet speaking and he is the son of a Prophet ... Benjamin was the son of Mosiah who led them out of the land of Nephi. Mosiah 2:31..... "And now, my brethren, I would that ye should do as ye have hitherto done. As ye have kept my commandments, and also the commandments of my father, and have prospered .... (he’s not asking anything more or different….. they were doing everything just fine. He told them to keep doing what they were doing. What is the message then, Benjamin? What were they supposed to do?) Mosiah 2:32 .... "But, O my people, beware lest there shall arise contentions among you ... (why is there always contention? Because there is always competitiveness and pride) Watch Out for The Five C's! Let me tell you the five "c’s" of ego. If I ever want to know if my ego has got its ugly little head up; I can tell because it always involves at least one of the five "C’s". 1. CONTENDING 2. COMPETING 3. COMPARING 4. CONTROLLING 5. CONFRONTING The difference between contending and confronting is that in confronting, we start the problem. In contending it could be coming from anywhere else. We could blame our spouse…....she was the one who yelled at me first! But it is still ego…...it still takes two, so there is always contention. Notice the first thing the Savior says when He visits the Nephites in 3rd Nephi .. There is always contention because there is always competition. Mosiah 2:33 ... "For behold, there is a woe pronounced upon him who listeth to obey that spirit; for if he listeth to obey him, and remaineth and dieth in his sins, the same drinketh damnation to his own soul; for he receiveth for his wages an everlasting punishment, having transgressed the law of God contrary to his own knowledge." Later, Benjamin gets to the real meat of what He is saying: He was awakened in the night by an angel who said unto him, "Awake!" And he awoke, and behold the angel stood before him. And then when he was totally awake and looking at him, and he said again unto him, "Awake!" (Twice awake.) And then he said: Mosiah 3:5-6 .. "For behold, the time cometh and is not far distant, that with power, the Lord Omnipotent, who reigneth, who was and is from all eternity to all eternity, shall come down from heaven among the children of men and shall dwell in a tabernacle of clay, and shall go forth amongst men, working mighty miracles, such as healing the sick, raising the dead, causing the lame to walk, the blind to receive their sight, and the deaf to hear, and curing all manner of diseases. And He shall cast out devils, or the evil spirits which dwell in the hearts of the children of men." .. Mosiah 3:7-9 "And lo, He shall suffer temptations, and pain of body, hunger, thirst, and fatigue, even more than man can suffer, except it be unto death; for behold, blood cometh from every pore, so great shall be His anguish for the wickedness and the abominations of His people. And He shall be called Jesus Christ, the Son of God, the Father of heaven and earth, the Creator of all things from the beginning; and His mother shall be called Mary. And lo, He cometh unto His own, that salvation might come unto the children of men even through faith on His Name." Christ Suffered All Things Why, 124 years before Christ's birth, was Benjamin telling his people these things? What is he trying to get them to see? He is trying to get them to experience Christ just as literally as the people who will see Him when He comes. If He suffered this anguish, pain, and fatigue for us, why do we have to suffer it twice? Why do we have to carry it if He has already carried it for us? All through the Book of Mormon, we learn that not only did He pay for our sins, He also paid for our infirmities, our inadequacies, our guilt, our weaknesses, our pettiness, and on and on. All these things He paid for…....He carried them. I used to think that He suffered only in Gethsemane and upon the cross. The rest of the time He was the happiest man that ever lived. One day I got some real insight. I learned that the Savior had a fullness of the spirit, but every moment of His life He carried our weaknesses and our infirmities. He was a man of sorrows--He was acquainted with grief. It was not just in Gethsemane and upon the cross…....He carried sorrow and grief His whole life so that we can live our whole lives in peace and joy. We will have tribulations, but be of good cheer, for He has overcome the world. That is the message of the Atonement…..Let us go back to 2nd Nephi and learn about a contrite heart: 2 Nephi 2:26-27…... "And the Messiah cometh in the fullness of time, that He may redeem the children of men from the fall. And because that they are redeemed from the fall they have become free forever, knowing good from evil; to act for themselves and not to be acted upon, save it be by the punishment of the law at the great and last day, according to the commandments which God hath given. (The following is one of the most important scriptures in all of the scriptures) ”Wherefore; men are free according to the flesh; and all things are given them which are expedient unto man." We Have All Things That Are Expedient... We excuse ourselves with such problems as: “Nobody could live with my wife! Nobody could live my financial problems! Nobody could live with the childhood I had nor the abuse I had! Nobody could live with the job I am stuck with!” Christ taught that because of the Atonement, all things have been given to us that are expedient for our existence here. We have the exact amount of money we need…...we have exactly the right spouse we need…..we have the right children that we deserve…..we have everything that is expedient. Everything has been given to us so that we are free to choose; otherwise, we would not be free to choose; otherwise, outside circumstances would be controlling us. Gods in Embryo You may struggle with this next concept for weeks, but when it finally hits your heart, it will change your life forever. We always get what we want.....we always have…...we always will. Everything in our lives that we have or have had is what we wanted, because we are Gods. We have become as the Gods…..so what we have is a complex of mirrors showing us what we want. We Get What We Want When it finally dawns on you, you will say, "Why do I have all of this junk in my life?" "Well, obviously, because you have wanted it--because you are free to choose! All things are given unto you which are expedient. So if you do not like what you have….. subconsciously, you have given yourself what you thought you deserved or wanted. All you have to do is change what you want in your heart. If we do not like what we have, we do not go out and try to change it.--.it never works. We can spend forever trying to change the mirrors, but we have to change what we want in our hearts. The Atonement gives us freedom to do this. Without it, we would not have this freedom…...it would all just be rhetoric. The Atonement makes it possible for us to choose what kind of life we want, as far as the feeling level goes. Misery is Optional Tribulations, afflictions, and trials are mandatory, but. misery is optional. That is a truism…......we are free to choose how we are going to react to these things. 2 Nephi 2:27….. "And they are free to choose liberty and eternal life; through the great Mediator of all men, or to choose captivity and death, according to the captivity and power of the devil; for he seeketh that all men might be miserable like unto himself." The Savior was not always happy, but it was not because He had brought grief upon Himself. He was carrying ours. He lost His life for us, not just on the cross, but for all of this life. He gave His whole life carrying our sorrows, our afflictions, our griefs, so that we now can lose our lives in supporting love. He had a fullness of the spirit always, because He was God. In fact the scriptures describe His pain as being greater than any man could physically or spiritually bear. Because He was God, He carried those things so that we do not have to. So that we can live our lives in being loving and supporting and fulfill our purpose. Christ Knew Our Weaknesses If Christ had not had to carry our weaknesses, our pains, our sorrows…...even if He had his own weaknesses, He would have made of them strengths, because He was God and He had the fullness of the spirit from the very beginning. Consequently, He would never have had a 'down' day because He was God…...He was without sin. So how, then, could He have ever understood the dark side of the force and use it far His own progression? By carrying our sins, our sorrows, our griefs, our pains….. He knew He could succor us. We choose our own misery......we choose to carry it because He has paid for it. We choose to suffer it twice because we are free to choose according to the flesh. All things are given to us that are expedient, and we are free to choose Eternal life through the great Mediator of all men or to choose captivity and death according to the captivity and power of the devil. For he seeketh that all men might be miserable like unto himself. So we receive wages of him whom we listeth to obey…...we can look in our wallets anytime and see whom we listeth to obey! How Do We Choose the Atonement? How do we do this ... how do we choose this Atonement? We must first begin to look.....and realize that we are free to choose. That is a major breakthrough, to realize that we are not victims of outside circumstances. We may be victims of afflictions and trials, but we are not victims of misery…..we are free to choose to be happy through all of those things, if we have the Savior's spirit with us and in us. We Can Become New Creatures We must plead for rebirth everyday. Then with faith we can reach and take hold of His grace. We know that we are still sinning, that we are imperfect, but we continue going forward. That is alright because we know that everything is paid for...that everything is perfect! We can look at everybody else and stop judging them. That is the greatest concept of all: THAT WE GET OUT OF JUDGMENT. We stop judging and evaluating other people! We start accepting them and giving them that same Atonement. You might call it forgiveness…...it is a feeling, not a thought. We give them the love and support which they deserve as redeemed people, because they do not yet understand. But if they are still in their sins, they are not going to get out of them unless there is somebody there loving and supporting them. Automatically, that gives love and support back for us. God Provides For All His Children We are here in an LDS class, and we assume that the only place this plan of salvation is working is within the Church. The Atonement is offered to everyone---it is working everywhere within God's creation---it is working in Buddhism, it is working everywhere. Maybe others do not have the ordinances, but they have the principles and they have the truth. If there is any one thing the Book of Mormon teaches us, it is that God preaches His word to every land amongst all people…...always. You will find many places in the United States and in the world today. The only thing Christ says is that those of us who are strangers in a strange land and are the elect, have it in plainness…..that others may know where to look. We find pieces of the gospel everywhere. That realization confused me at first…...it gave me a hard time because ‘I grow where I am planted.' Definitely, that is why this warning is given to Zion…...that is why Moroni says that anything that is good, that teaches of Christ, comes of God. True Self Esteem Not of the Ego Anytime we try to get self esteem through the brain, it will never work because the ego is in the brain--and therein is the problem. We have no problems as youngsters until we begin to get intellectually smart because or the traditions of our fathers. There is no way that the ego will let us see that, because it knows that if we ever discover who we are and achieve true esteem, we will not need it …..we would throw the fig leaves away. Therefore, the ego is our enemy. It has been created by thought. There is true self esteem. Satan mimics a true principle…the true principle is that we are of great worth. Benjamin was not trying to teach these people that they were not of worth—he was trying to teach them to lay down their own sense of self worth which they were trying to earn with their own works and to come unto Christ, to admit their nothingness, and lay their egos on the altar. He wanted them to realize their dependence upon the Savior. Mosiah 4:1-2….."And now, it came to pass that when King Benjamin had made an end of speaking the words which had been delivered unto him by the angel of the Lord, that he cast his eyes round about on the multitude, and behold they had fallen to the earth, for the fear of the Lord had come upon them. And they had viewed themselves in their own carnal state." Pure Love Displayed in a German Prison Camp The natural man is always in the carnal state no matter how he is living the gospel. Franco was a Jewish lawyer from Poland who had watched his whole family--five of them--shot before his eyes. Because he spoke a little German they kept him. As he was riding in back of a truck to the prison camp, he said to himself, I can become like them, which my mind is telling me to honor I can be like the Savior, filled with love. When they found him five or six years later, he was not emaciated, yet he gave most of his food away. The German guards loved him as much as the prisoners did because he just radiated that love…..he was in perfect alignment. Mosiah 4:2-3 .. And they had viewed themselves in their own carnal state, even less than the dust of the earth. And they all cried aloud with one voice, saying: Oh, have mercy, and apply the atoning blood of Christ that we may receive forgiveness of our sins, and our hearts may be purified; .for we believe in Jesus Christ, the Son of God, Who created heaven and earth, and all things; who shall come down among the children of men. And it came to pass that after they had spoken these words the Spirit of the Lord came upon them, and they were filled with joy, having received a remission of their sins, and having peace of conscience, because of the exceeding faith which they had in Jesus Christ who should come, according to the words which King Benjamin had spoken unto them." They exercised such rich faith ... as if He had already come among them. There is another scripture which tells of this in Mosiah, Chapter 3. Mosiah 3:12-13 ... "But wo, wo unto him who knoweth that he rebelleth against God! For salvation cometh to none such except it be through repentance and faith on the Lord Jesus Christ. And the Lord God hath sent His holy prophets among all the children of men, to declare these things to every kindred, nation, and tongue, that thereby whosoever should believe that Christ should come .. (What--that He should come in 2000 B.C.? No, that He should come to them personally.)…..."the same might receive remission of their sins, and rejoice with exceeding great joy, even as though He had already come among them. " A Powerful Faith That is the kind of faith we need to exercise…... as though He had already come among us. I know of people who have done this in their hearts and are not even aware of what they have done. And you know them too…. you cannot be in their presence without feeling this sweetness, this love. I had a woman in my class not very long ago. She said, "Oh, I just don't…..." I said, "My dear, you have been there for years." Then her eyes cheered up and she knew it. She did not have it intellectually, but she knew the Savior. She looked at everyone as being perfect, just as Franco did. She looked at everything in life as being perfect. She had partaken of the Atonement in her heart--without intellectually doing it. Accept Others As They Are There are people who do that. For me and for most of us, it starts in the head. But we must learn to let go of our judgments…... we have got to look around and start forgiving people and accepting them as they are. We must begin to support and love them exactly where they are. The secret is, when we start doing it with others, we are doing it with ourselves! How do we get started? Our biggest problem is that we do what the Jews did--we look beyond the mark. We look at it as something very difficult and complicated--a long process. It is just as long as we think it is going to be. The Jews looked beyond the mark and sought for things they could not understand, and so the Lord gave such things to them. That is our problem exactly ... that is why it was put in the Book of Mormon. (The Mark is Christ, but we look beyond Him to ourselves) It Can Be Simple This is as easy as you want it to be. I do not know how to say it any other way. You are already everything you are supposed to be…...you do not have to be anything different than what you are. All you have to do is see…...to have your eyes open, your ears open…..to know that you already are. The world already is; your neighbors already are. All you have to do is become aware. It is in here, (in your heart), and you can feel it. Go out and realize that today is perfect! You do not have to wait for three weeks until all the flowers are out ... it is as perfect today as it will ever be! Your wife is perfect ... no matter how ornery or how sick or whatever. She is as perfect as she is supposed to be today. And if you will stop for a second you will feel it. You cannot see it, intellectually, but you can feel her perfection. It is easy to love her. Partake of the Perfection of God's Creations Get out of your 'head' and just walk around and feel the perfection in everything. When you do that, you are reaching forth and partaking of the Atonement, which is the great gift; God gave us a perfect world. He does good works, He does nothing wrong. Just look around at this world--everything is operating to perfection and we are the height of it all. How could He make any mistakes.....especially with us! The Leap of Faith Once we can begin to feel these things, we realize that our training has disillusioned and misled us. To start judging everything either black or white….bad or good, has all been an illusion. Everything is perfect…...we can experience that feeling. Once we learn to think with our hearts, then all of our thoughts will start transmitting and we will say, "How could I have ever missed it?" "Be still and know that I am God." The leap of faith is when we go to the altar and say, "I am all Yours. What do You want me to do?" And He says, "What do you want to do?" "I want you to tell me what I am to do." "What do you want to do?" We Create Our Own Happiness In our culture we have often heard it said, "Happiness is like a butterfly. If you just go about doing other things it will come and land on your shoulder." I have spent a lifetime and have never had a butterfly land on my shoulder. I have hiked out…..I have camped. If I want butterflies, I have to go and get them. Joy is the same way…...joy and happiness and peace and love and all of the fruits of the Spirit are feelings. Look at the definition in Galatians 5 of the fruits of the spirit: Happiness, joy, peace, gentleness. These gifts are all feelings. Our Works Will Bless Us Think of the 121st Section of the Doctrine and Covenants…...the rights of the priesthood cannot be controlled only by long suffering, patience, and love unfeigned....these are all feelings. This is not where it ends…..this is where it .starts. Then everything that comes out of it--our purpose, everything we touch-gets in tune with the universe. Then our works bless us because they become testimonies of what we are. Not of what we can do, or should be, or ought to be doing--they become testimonies of what we are.
They solidify that absolute truth that we are--through the Atonement--Gods. We are Gods, we are whole, we are perfect, we are complete. We are not flawless, because that is a "headtrip", but flawless in our hearts in the sense that we become whole once we align ourselves with the universe, with those principles, with the Atonement.
When we align ourselves with those principles we now become contributors through the abundance of the universe, no matter where we are. If you are in a company or a corporation, you become the president of that corporation. Whoever is the most aligned with celestial principles becomes the president of that company--whoever wears the title has nothing to do with it…...You will find the whole company will evolve around that person. If there are several, it will evolve around those people, because they will support each other. They are in line and they run that company. It does not matter whether it is a family or a company or whatever it is. The principles are true…....they work. There are no accidents.
Understand the Mysteries
If you will look back in your life today, you will know you are here not by chance. Once you become sealed, the Book of Mormon becomes unsealed--you will find the sealed portion for yourself. Once you understand these principles, go anywhere in the Book of Mormon, pick up any chapter and read through something and lights will start flashing! You will see that this is why President Benson sends us to the Book of Mormon, because that is the whole message in it. That is what it means to Come unto Christ.
Abundance Will Flow to You
If we come unto Him with our hearts, wrap ourselves in the Atonement, find our purpose, support and give love--then we are just like everything in the whole universe. We just mesh and everything works! We do not have to take thought for tomorrow or for the next minute because everything comes to us…...it just comes!
Watch this next week how things just flow into your life. It is a miracle! What is supposed to be there will be…...you will start to see abundance coming. All of a sudden you will seem to have everything ·that is expedient. Is this a coincidence? Once you get aligned with the universe, everything starts to click…..it will happen! I say this in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.