Learning to Come unto Christ. Presentation #8
LEARNING TO COME UNTO CHRIST
Lecture Eight Merrill Bailey – Salt Lake City, Utah -- 1991
Transcribed and edited from cassette tapes Start on CD 11-4
A Seed PIanted
When we started the class eight weeks ago we found that every group has a personality of its own. Because of our teachings and indoctrinations, we occasionally hit the wall, thinking we had all there was and yet knowing we did not. The night things began to change--about the third or fourth class--many had nurtured the seed and had planted it in their lives is o that it began to grow in their hearts. We are now ready to move onward, we have made that commitment!
Progress From Grace to Grace
The good news is that once we opt for the spirit of growth, we will never be satisfied again. Once we realize what we are here to receive, there is no wall, there is no stopping place, there is no enduring to the end on one plateau. God has designed a series of moves from grace to grace…...progression steps that go way beyond even this life. It is the most exciting thing…. it puts life back in life!
Many of us thought we had lost it at childhood, but now we realize it was supposed to go on throughout the rest of our lives. There are no models for it (most people live on a plateau), and it is such a joy to realize that joy goes on and on!
When I start a new class, I think, "What am I going to do?” Especially when I have people who have attended three or four of my classes, but it is amazing to me that every time I came there is always a new grace level, even though the basic principles are always the same. I start a new class next week and I will begin again with the three basic principles. The gospel is very simple; the fullness of the gospel is very simple. The utilization of the three principles will bring us from grace to grace and spiritual growth.
In review, those three principles are:
1. LOOK WHAT I CREATED - To take total, complete responsibility for everything that has happened and is happening in our lives, knowing God did make us free to choose and that our lives are ours to live. Whatever we are experiencing, we have control over..... it is ours. We are not victims in this universe of anything or anyone at any time….. we are always in charge. This is a difficult concept….. you will struggle with it for many months--I still struggle with it. It is so much easier to fall to the next level which is somewhat comfortable, where we can react to conditions.
Choose Your Comfort Level
If you are not comfortable on this level, we can retract and assume we did not create all of our problems. We can assume we did not create our illnesses, but we can choose how we react to those illnesses and through our projections we can determine our lives. If that is the level you are most comfortable on--you do not cause your own illness, you do not cause your accidents and your problems--you can stay on that level as long as you need to. Pray, continue to grow, explore that level. It is still alright because it is a level of responsibility--we are still totally responsible for how we react. We are still victims, but we are victims with same choices as to how we will react. If you get hung up on that level, you should not make a head-trip out of it--none or this is understandable to the head, so just go back to the heart and live with it far awhile, and it will come.
Our Bodies Are Thinking Organisms
There is a grace level of excitement when we realize that our bodies, as well as our minds, are thinking organisms. Every time I get stymied on the lower level (my body is just a machine), l come across something which reaffirms that we are thinking organisms. I was listening this week to a tape by a medical doctor--it was so exciting! All these principles just keep being validated over and over. He taught me things I had never realized--that the rest of the body thinks too, that the brain is not the only thinking organ. The allergy system, especially, reacts and thinks. They have done tests and experiments to. show that the allergy system thinks and that we are thinking machines, that we decide what we want.
The Goal: Coming Unto Christ
Remember, I said that this whole class is about one thing only….... and that is COMING UNTO CHRIST. We have talked about relationships, we have talked about accidents, we have talked about everything--but the whole issue is "Coming Unto Christ", because He is the law, He is the fullness. We are not sources by ourselves…... He is the source, but the way we reach that source is by going inside just as we are trying to do. I want you to know that what is happening here is not an isolated classroom case that just happens to involve me. If what we are saying is true, you will see these principles start to manifest themselves everywhere.
Parable of the Bicycle
There was an article in the April 1992 Ensign that caused tears to fill my eyes--an article about learning to believe Christ. It was about a little girl who wanted a bicycle and her father said, "Well, you will have to save your pennies." A few days later she had begun to save her pennies and he saw how determined she was.
A few weeks later she had saved all her pennies and was up to 61 of them, so he took her down to the bicycle shop just to look at the bicycles. She found one that was obviously hers since the preexistence! Then he watched her little face as she· turned the price tag over--her face dropped. He saw the mental computations of how long it took to save 61 pennies and how much longer she had to go! The father decided to write out a check for the bicycle and then he told his little daughter, "You just continue to save your pennies as much as you can, but the bike is yours until you do." She was ecstatic! She did not want the bicycle in the car--she wanted to ride it home.
As he drove slowly along side and watched her ride the bike, the concept or the Atonement suddenly hit him. That was exactly the principle--we save our pennies, but we can never save enough to pay the price! More and more you will see these kinds of concepts because the time is right. Look for a moment in 3 Nephi--this is the Savior Himself speaking. He has just finished talking about the Jews:
3 Nephi 16:4…..”And I command you that you shall write these things after I am gone, that if it so be that my people at Jerusalem, they who have seen Me and been with Me in My ministry, do not ask the Father in My Name, that they may receive a knowledge of you by the Holy Ghost, and also of the other tribes whom they know not of, that these sayings which ye shall write shall be kept and shall be manifested unto the Gentiles, that through the fullness of the Gentiles."
Fullness….The Law of Sanctification
Whenever you see that word fullness, put a star by it, because the fullness is not the first provocation. Living under the law of justification is not the fullness. The fullness is sanctification--the total coming of the Christ. That is the fullness, and so it is through the fullness of the Gentiles that….
"the remnant of their seed, who shall be scattered forth upon the face of the earth because of their unbelief, may be brought in, or may be brought to a knowledge of Me.... (not just brought to Israel, not just becoming an Israeli state, but brought to the knowledge of Me).... their Redeemer."
3 Nephi 16:5-6..."And then….. (when the Gentiles have the fullness) .. "will I gather them in from the four quarters of the earth; and then will I fulfill the covenant which the Father hath made unto all the people of the house of Israel. And blessed are the Gentiles, because of their belief in Me, in and of the Holy Ghost, which witnesses unto them of Me and My Father.”
He is speaking not of the gospel (of commandments), not of the laws, not of the ordinances, not of the principles, not of family home evening, not of home teaching--but of "ME AND THE FATHER."
3 Nephi 16:7-8…. "Behold, because of their belief in Me, saith the Father, and because of the unbelief of you, O house of Israel, in the latter day shall the truth come unto the Gentiles, that the fullness of these things, (the things about Me and the Father) "shall be made known unto them. But wo, saith the Father, unto the unbelieving of the Gentiles (there is going to be a very strong warning beginning right here) ..
……."for notwithstanding they have come forth upon the face of this land and have scattered my people, who are of the house of Israel; and my people who are of the house of Israel have been cast out from among them, and have been trodden under feet by them.."
3 Nephi 16:9-10….."And because of the mercies of the Father unto the Gentiles, and also the judgments of the Father upon My people who are of the house of Israel, verily, verily, I say unto you, that after all this...."
Moving From Justification to Sanctification
Let me give you another clue--every time Christ refers to the Church as Gentiles, He is talking about those under the first provocation. The move from the first provocation of the law of Justification (by works) to the law of Sanctification--the Fullness--is one from Gentile heart to Israeli heart· to Israelite heart. It is as Joseph Smith said: "A transformation takes place in our bodies to match that which takes place in our spirits.” This rebirth is not just an assimilation---there is actually a re-birth--we become now finally, at last, Israelites. We become of His seed…..and that is why we cannot sin.
3 Nephi 16:9-10….. "I have caused My people who are of the house of Israel to be smitten, and to be afflicted, and to be slain, and to be cast out from among them, and to become hated by them, and to become a hiss and a byword among them..... And thus commanded the Father that I should say unto you: At that day when the Gentiles shall sin against My gospel.... (and shall reject the FULLNESS of My gospel--not the justified part, not just sending the missionaries away, because this includes the Church).... and shall be lifted up in the pride of their hearts above all nations, and above all people of the whole earth, and shall be filled with all manner of lyings, and of deceits, and of mischiefs, and all manner of hypocrisy, and murders, and and whoredoms, and of secret abominations; and if they shall do all those things and shall reject the fullness of My Gospel (He always says the Fullness.... it would be so easy for Him to leave that word out but He keeps putting it there).... "behold, saith the Father, I will bring the Fullness of My gospel from among them...." (what will He leave then...?)
3 Nephi 16:11-12... "And then will I remember My covenant which I have made unto My people, O house of Israel, and I will bring My gospel unto them. And I will show unto thee, O house of Israel, that the Gentiles shall not have power over you; but I will remember my covenant unto you, O house of Israel, and ye shall come unto the knowledge of the Fullness of My gospel.
3 Nephi 16:13-15... "But if the Gentiles will repent and return unto Me, saith the Father, behold they shall be numbered among My people, O house of Israel. And I will not suffer My people, who are the house of Israel to go through among them, and tread them down, saith the Father. But they will not turn unto Me, and hearken unto My voice, I will suffer them, yea, I will suffer My people, O house of Israel, that they shall go through among them, and shall tread them down…."
I do not know what that means exactly, but I do know what it does not mean--it does not mean, it does not mean we will take a sword and Zion will go through amongst the rest and slay anyone...I know it does not mean that. The Lord does not work through those means, but I am not sure what He means by ‘tread them down’….
"and they shall be as salt that hath lost its savor… (salt cannot lose its savor unless it is mixed with other things, like dirt. Salt cannot be reduced down, it cannot be chemically diluted. It only loses its savor if there is so much dirt or other matter mixed in with it that it becomes diluted and ineffective)... "which is thenceforth good for nothing but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of my people, O house of Israel…..”
3 Nephi 16:15-19….. "Verily, verily, I say unto you, thus hath the Father commanded me--that I should give unto this people this land for their inheritance.... (America? Yes, but on a higher--the Promised Land-this land of the Celestial Kingdom that we enter when we are born again). "And then the words of the prophet Isaiah shall be fulfilled which say: Thy watchman shall lift up the voice; with the voice together shall they sing, for they shall see eye to eye when the Lord shall bring again Zion. Break forth into joy, sing together, ye waste places of Jerusalem; for the Lord hath comforted His
people, He hath redeemed Jerusalem."
This brings us to the second principle:
2. LIVE WITHOUT JUDGMENT - All things have been perfected by the Atonement and therefore we can live without judgment. To come unto Christ is to forgive ourselves and to forgive the whole world and to be redeemed.
3 Nephi 16:20…... “The Lord hath made bare His Holy arm in the eye of all the nations; and all the ends of the earth shall see the salvation of God." (Not the justification by works, not the sacrament meeting to sacrament meeting...that is not salvation. Salvation is salvation---it is infinite!!)
Our Children Mirror Us!
To live without Judgment means we have to 'free the slave'—some of the last to be freed in our culture are our children. We mentioned this when we talked about relationships..... it is impossible to like our children if we do not like ourselves. We cannot do it. So much of what is done to our children by verbally well-meaning parents is hate because we cannot love our children and give them good gifts if we hate ourselves. It is impossible. This is not an indictment….. it is a good monitor. How we are treating our children should be a good mirror to us of how we like ourselves. If we are liking them, liking what they are doing, or if we are not liking what they are doing, that is okay (we are liking them and not their cover), it is a good mirror of how we are liking ourselves.
Fear and Force Are Not the Answer
Anything that has to be done with 'the whip' is not worth the effort, in my estimation. Teach them correct principles.... love is a much stronger motivator than hate. We live in a world of haters. There are haters and there are lovers, and the haters far outweigh the lovers….. the haters are very prominent because they are in most of the leading positions.
When we live without judgment we give both ourselves and our children the status of perfection. and that equalizes. Remember, the word 'iniquity' comes from inequality. When we as a nation are ripe in iniquity, (inequality) that is when destruction comes.
All Have Individual Aptitudes
I have seen parents who have forced their children to play the piano, and they have never learned. If there was a lot of love mixed with that insistence….. I would like to suggest that it was the love more than the insistence that provided the motivation. Everyone is not meant to play an instrument. I know that we have some family bands that outwardly display this, but there is no family on earth that was zeroed out to have all the talents in one area. So whenever you see one family where they all participate, there are some toxic feelings going on.
Some people are natural-born mechanics--they love to work on cars, others have different aptitudes. No one knows better than the individual…. he or she is the only one who has the stewardship to know what they are supposed to do and follow their own star. Anytime you see a family where they are all scholars--everybody is straight 'A' all the way through--the toxic chain developed in that family is not worth the cost, because God put some mechanics and some carpenters and some forest rangers into every single intellectual family.
Recognize the Uniqueness of Your Children
There is a much greater principle than multiply and replenish the earth. God ordained all things and all peoples to be free and independent. We will never recognize that independence unless we see the perfection of others. The reason we cannot recognize their uniqueness is because we think they are not perfect. And because they are not perfect, we are responsible to kick at them until we make them perfect. Usually that perfection will look a lot like us! They will grow up to be just exactly what we are---they will be perfect!
A good example is “How could my parents have ever prepared me for perfection?” Half the professions we have now were not even developed when I was a child. Why should it be any different in the future? How can we prepare our children to know how to be perfect when most of the perfection that our children and grandchildren will know has not even been made known yet?
Level of Thought
How can we tell when we are speaking from the spirit as opposed to the mind--how do we make the distinction? We might assume that we only think with our minds, but we also think with our hearts and with every organ of our body. This does not sound scientific, but there is a higher level of thought that transcends the brain. The conscious mind gives the heart the right to take over, and we can feel when there is a separation.
Teaching, Not Forcing
Education is finding interest. Education is a system to help our children find where their interests lie. Education is finding ourselves. Everyone of us who has gone to public school have had classes we actually hated, but we also had classes that we loved. The difference was in the teacher, in the atmosphere he or she created, whether we were treated as adults, as equals. This teacher probably told us we were all adults, that he was not going to baby-sit us, and expected us to learn. This he helped us so much….it was not by force. A lot of times when we had that freedom, we did everything right. That teacher made us feel he expected things of us in a way we thought we could do them. We felt, “Oh, yes, I can do that!" The teachers who tried to ram it down our throats generated all kinds of problems.
A lot of people who really had conflicts with their parents about what they should and should not do- -mothers with daughters and fathers with sons--want their children to be what they themselves wanted to be or should have been or attained, and they are going to try and accomplish this vicariously through their children by forcing them to conform. If they only realized their children are perfect (it is finally dawning on me), it would not matter which direction their son or daughter chose.
What is Success?
Sometime, sit down and write your definition of what success really is in terms of your children. See what happens. I have done this and my definition of success for my children is that they work positively and live joyously, regardless of what they decide to do. I suggest you make your own success statement, otherwise they probably subconsciously slip into the one that your parents gave to you, and probably—behind all the veneers and all the phoniness-it makes lots of bucks!
Giving Youth Their Agency
In my experience, I have seen parents change horses in the middle of the stream. I have seen parents of children in their 30’s who were still trying to determine the paths of those offspring, so age and time are both illusions. It does not matter when we have a change of heart.... when we start allowing freedom.... when we start giving love.... when we start loving our children. It is never too late. The issue of giving youth their agency and yet making it imperative that they do the Lord’s things is always a challenge.
One class member spoke of his situation at age 13… he rebelled against Sacrament Meeting. Mutual was fine, Sunday School was fine, but Sacrament Meeting was boring. All he got from his Dad was, "Well, you know how we feel about it, but you have your agency." There was always something in their relationship that his father would keep (withhold) from him…. Like, "If you want to take the car this week, then you had better do something for me." Many of us have been raised under similar guidelines.
God.... The Perfect Model
How does our Heavenly Father work? Go back to the model--the perfect model--how does He do it? When was the last time He put us in a headlock to get us to the Temple? When was the last time He said, "You have your free agency, but you had better be down there!" What He does is--if we go to the Temple, He gives us the blessings. In other words, He concentrates on the positive first of all.
A Father and Son Discussion
I remember the last time I talked with my son when he complained that church was boring....I told him, "I want you to know that I think church is boring sometimes--I am bored myself there a lot of times." Then I asked my son.... "Why do I go?" He said, "I don’t know Dad, you must be as crazy as I am!" I answer, "No, let me show you, son”.....
I pulled out my wallet and showed him the contents - -my money, my driver’s license, my insurance cards, etc. I showed him the house, I showed him the car. Then I asked, “Where do all these things come from? Do you think I am brilliant…did I create all these things?” He responded, “Well, no….”
I kept talking, "Use your head--you're a smart kid." "Well, you earned them." "Did I really? Did I make the rain come over last night so that we can have lawns and food in the future? Did I do that? Do you think I really created all the food on our table? I did one little teeny, tiny thing in the whole great big huge spectrum!"
God Gives Every Good Gift
When you point these things out, it is easy for youth to see that everything is a gift—a mutual support system. I talked to him further, "I can tell you right now I know where all this stuff comes from---it’s a gift from My Heavenly Father.... I don't earn a thing. I just go out and play all day, and my Father gives it to me…just like I have given to you. From the time you were born you have never had to worry about a meal or being clothed or having a roof over your head--and you never will, and neither will I. But it isn't because I'm here for you--I am just a representative of somebody else who will always take care of you because that is the way this existence was set up--that we are to be taken care of by our parents.
The only time we start to get in a little hassle, my son, is when He begins to think I don't appreciate it. He will give to me so much I can't even open the windows to receive it.... if He knows I appreciate it. But if He begins to suspect that I don't appreciate the gift or the giver….. what does He start to do? He just starts to withdraw the gift a little bit."
If we love our children, we are giving gifts way over and above taking care of their basic needs--a roof over their heads, and clothes, and food in their mouths--we are doing lots of extra things. We are putting gas in the car for them and paying for insurance and myriads of other things.
Why Do I Have to Go to Sacrament Meeting?
At that time when my son said, "I am bored to death with Sacrament Meeting, I said, "I know, l am too." "Then why are you there, Dad?"
“I am there to show appreciation to my Heavenly Father for all He gives to me….. for all He provides … it's a gift to Him, a gift of boredom (if you want to call it that). And I am there to partake of the sacrament.” The power that comes from that ordinance (gift from God) is absolutely the most powerful power in any ordinance---including the Temple ordinances. Never have I received more revelation, more power, or felt the Presence of God greater than at the Sacrament table. It is the greatest ordinance in life and in the Church. I continued, "And so I go to partake of the sacrament and to be bored--for my Heavenly Father. That's why I go."
"You're probably not old enough to understand that, and I don't expect you to. Someday you will, but right now you are definitely able to understand all the gifts I give you in addition to your clothing and your home, your books, and your schooling--which is your due (sort of) because I have them and you don't. But I do a lot of things that are over and above."
I started naming some of them, not by way of manipulation, but to make him more aware of what he receives every day without even thinking about it. "Mom has taken you to school every single day from the time you were little, etc. I understand you don't have to go to Sacrament Meeting." "So... then what?"
Do It For Love
“Fine; but you see, you go to Sacrament Meeting as a gift to me--not because you like it, but because of your love for me. You do it as a gift. And I show my love for you by doing some extra things--obviously, I must not be showing enough love to you by doing special things….." (then I started naming some of the extra things.)····
If their hearts are there and love is there, they will see it... "Yeah, you do a lot of things for me, Dad." "But if you don't appreciate me or what I do, I just stop some of the gifts. You can miss Sacrament Meeting, but you start walking to school. " Stopping the gift is different from punishment….. the motivator then becomes LOVE, not threat, not fear.
With every single one of my four children, this has come up and I have worked it the same.
A Seminary Experience
I had a young girl a few years ago who came into my Seminary class--she was not my student, but we had a program where students went into a special classroom if they did not bring their scriptures for a two or three-week period. In this classroom, we provided the book. It was a way of motivating them to bring their scriptures--kind of like putting their heads in a headlock! I happened to be the teacher over that period.
This girl came in and you could tell she was a rebel--just a look there was fire in her eyes like I had never seen! She said, "Well, where do I sit!" I said, "Boy, you are standing against your integrity! What are you doing here? You don't want to be here…..you hate it!"
She looked at me incredulously….. "Are you telling me that you wouldn't take Seminary?" I said, ”Heavens, no--I wouldn't stay here a minute.” "Thank you--you are absolutely right!'" She went out that door and over to the Administration office to checkout.
The next day, my principal approached me and said, “Would you please come to my office for a few minutes." We walked into the office and there sat the girl's teacher, her parents, and the principal. It was so quiet! We sat down (they were already half way into it),and when they found out I was the teacher who told her she ought to check out of Seminary, the mother absolutely came right out or the chair. But the father; "No, no, sit down let’s listen to him."
I said, "I think you are being foolish--I have four children, three of them are teenagers and I would never force any of them to be in Seminary. We try to tell our youth how wonderful the gospel is, that it is salvation, happiness, and joy and yet we are forcing it down their throats. I think that is sacrilegious! I think it is defaming the word of God and religion!" I was really forceful.
The father was a strong man and he needed to hear it….. he heard it. He sat back and he said, "Well, what would you do?" I told him what I have just told you. His wife started protesting. He said, "Shut up!" (You could tell that she was one of the “prisoners”!) I just told them how I worked with my children. I said, “your daughter really loves you, but if you're not giving gifts to her such that she wants to do something for you, you have a problem. But if you are giving these gifts (and you probably are), then I would just look them as gifts to the relationship, and if she does not want to give back..." The father looked at me and said, "You are absolutely right!"
I have never seen the girl back in Seminary--she left and never came back, so you could say, "Well, you failed then." Probably so.... but no, now that girl is open, and when the real gospel of love and free agency is preached to her, she will not have that scar tissue to fight through in order to come back to the Lord.
Love Can Cure All Ills
Sometimes we feel these miniature Gods who come down here are really housed in devils, and by giving them freedom, it will drive them further into devilishness! I work with these youth everyday, and let me tell you, there is nothing….. no emotional or mental illness in this world that love cannot cure. Is there a lack of love? This may not necessarily be a lack of giving them love, but of finding ways to let them express their love for you, and then you accepting it. It is probably too late to just race in and love them and cuddle them, but we must learn ways of letting them love us. We keep stressing the negative. What do I do when they do this?"
Concentrate on Your Child's Positives
Think back….. when was the last time you turned to your child and said, "I want you to know that sometimes church is boring for me and for you, but you go to church, and I want you to know I appreciate it very much. It means so much to me that you would do that." Concentrate on all the things they are doing that are good, even in a far-out way. Why do we just kiss them and then ignore them? Why do we just do that instead of concentrating on the gifts they are giving? We need to realize that they are showing love and we are just taking it for granted. You will see greater changes in two days by concentrating on the positive than trying for six months to keep the gate shut. A good book on this subject is “Positive Disciplines” by Dr. Jane Nelson.
Parents and Children Are Equals
It is often hard for parents to put their children on the same level as they themselves are. It helps to keep in mind that "you are not really your son's father—more importantly, you are his brother." That helps to put us on an equal basis so we can give love and get love and they can do the same. Neither of us is the boss.....we are equal. Our toughest children are mirrors we have created. This is a lesson we must learn--if we do not learn it from the first child, heaven help us on the next one!
Our Carnal Existence
There are two principles I would like to give you in the remaining time: Go to 3 Nephi, (in the middle of the Beatitudes) and let me show you something that goes deeper than the message Christ is giving….it applies to all things physical, including money, sex, and everything of a materialistic nature.
The reason the word, "sex" stops us is because Satan has pull ed a major coup in the last days and has tied the word with the act, so anytime He says 'sex' or 'sexual nature', or 'sexuality', to us it means the act. God manifests His spirit through man….. all of our creative nature, everything in the temple, everything. Our sexual nature is how God's spirit is manifest, but if we put it out in an irrigation system, it fills all areas of our lives…... it becomes the act, so sex is where the tire touches the concrete as far as our lives are concerned.
Riding Two Horses Takes a Terrible Toll
The greatest strength of Mormonism; is also its greatest weakness. When the Saints were forced out of Nauvoo and went through all their trials and lessons on the plains; then arrived in the Salt Lake valley and had to make something grow in the rocks, it was their industry--the blending of the spiritual with the. materialism--that not only saved their lives, but fostered the kingdom forward. But it took a terrible toll….. it justified the fact that they could try to ride two horses at once. In my estimation, it is our greatest spiritual corruption.
I want to show you a scripture…begin with verse 25 in chapter 13 of 3 Nephi where the Savior has just delivered the Sermon on the Mount to the Nephites. We talked earlier about discussing this in our class, but the time has gone-- so if you .want to do this yourself, just go through the Beatitudes one by one and you will see that every one centers on the principles we have talked about.
3 Nephi 13:25….. “And now it came to pass that when Jesus had spoken these words He looked upon the twelve whom He had chosen, and said unto them: Remember the words which I have spoken. For behold, ye are they whom I have chosen to minister unto this people. Therefore I say unto you….. (when He finished this little paragraph, He continued in Chapter 14 verse 1.)
3 Nephi 14:1 ... "And now it came to pass that when Jesus had spoken these words He turned again to the multitude, and did open His mouth unto them again….. (we have always been taught that the reason the Savior turned from the multitude to the Twelve was because the message was for them only. If we stop and think about it for a second, we will realize that is an incorrect deduction. A few chapters later, He spoke things He wanted just the Twelve to hear….. listen to this in verse 36 of chapter 18:)
3 Nephi 18 :36-37 .. “And it came to pass that when Jesus had made an end of these sayings, He touched with His hand the disciples whom He had chosen, one by one, even until He had touched them all, and spake unto them as He touched them. And the multitude heard not the words which He spake, therefore they did not bear record.”
A Message For the Nephite Twelve
Obviously, if He did not want the multitude to hear it, He would have said it so that just the Twelve would hear. Apparently, He did want the multitude to hear it, as He stated the same things in other scriptures, including Matthew, Luke, and the New Testament. We have been mistaught in this area all of our lives. In essence, He said to the Twelve, "You are to minister unto this people because they are not going to understand what I am going to say… (just as we have not understood for 160 years) .. "They are not going to hear, but you are the most righteous and Christ-centered of all My disciples and I want to tell you so that you really understand. You will be spending the rest of your lives and through the repetition, maybe we can get a Zion people as you minister and teach one-on-one with them." This is the most difficult spiritual thing there is to get--how do we live out of our hearts? Now
He tells them:
What I would like to do (because you have read this so many times) is go to the Modern English Translation of Matthew and take the same passage just to give a different perspective. Remember, this references everything materialistic--sex, money, homes, cars, jobs--anything in the outward world. See what He says:
Matthew 6:24 ... (Modern English Translation) “Don't pile up treasures of earth, where the moth and rust can spoil them and thieves can break in and steal, but keep your treasure in heaven where is neither rust to spoil it and nobody can break in and steal, for wherever your treasure is, you may be certain that your heart will be there, too."
Where Is Our Treasure?
Where is our treasure--is it in our hearts or out there in the world? If our treasure is out there, we try and call it spiritual, but our eye is focused on the things of the world--that is where our treasure is. Where is the eye? The eye is where the brain is focused….the lamp of the body is the eye. If the eye is sound the whole body will be full of light, but if the eye is evil, the whole body will be full of darkness. Where are we looking?
Are we looking out there--are we going to have things first with sex, first with money, first with cars, etc. Where is our eye single? No one can be loyal to two masters--he is bound to hate one and love the other or support one and despise the other. We cannot serve God and the power of money at the same time.
We Cannot Serve God and Mammon
The New Testament says "mammon” is anything of a 'material’ nature.
Matthew 6:25...(Modern English Translation).... "That is why I say unto you, do not worry about living--wondering what you are going to eat or drink, or what you are going to wear.... (or when you are going to have your new home or whether you are getting bored in your job).. "Surely life is more important than food and the body more important than the clothes we wear. “
Anytime we want to have a spiritual lift, we think we should go out and change something – we want to change jobs , rearrange furniture , get a new car, go shopping—anything of the world. If something is amiss or there is some discontentment, we think we must go and change it.
Matthew 6:26…“Look at the birds in the sky… they never sow nor reap nor store away in barns, and yet your Heavenly Father feeds them and they don’t go on diets!, Aren't you much more valuable to Him than they are. Can any of you, however much he worries, make himself an inch taller? Why do you worry about clothes? Consider how the wild flowers grow--they neither work nor weave, but I tell you that even Solomon in all his glory was never arrayed like one of these. If God so clothed the flowers of the field which are alive today, is He not more like to clothe you?
God takes care of everything else in His whole universe and you are at the top of the scale, is He not going to take care of you.... (give you the money you need, give you the boats, and the money for the vacations that you need?) "So do not worry and keep saying, What shall we eat, what shall we drink, oh what shall we wear! That is what the pagans are always looking for. Your Heavenly Father knows that you need them all."
God Knows Our Needs
All the rest of the people are running around trying to change their mirrors, thinking their spirituality depends on the direction the mirrors are focused. All the rest of the world does that. Your Heavenly Father knows that you need them all. There is the key…if He really is a Spirit who is so loving as to make us perfect, and to come and die for us, is He going to let us starve to death? He knows that we need these things.
When I present this to youth, I can hear teeth grinding, because we have taught our children so well that Heavenly Father just throws us down here to take care to take care of these things ourselves! President Benson says we must change people’s hearts. How many people in the world who are members or the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and partake or the Sacrament every week do you think are starving to death? I do not think there are any.
What Is God’s Way?
President Benson says we change the hearts of people when we change their desires. The issue is not their mouths, the issue is their hearts. There will be no one starving in the Millennium. The earth is full and there is plenty, but it will be in His way. What is His way? That we come unto Christ, that we align with the universe. Unless we align with celestial principles, we will starve to death spiritually.
Big Brother Program…Needed at Home
Bad news sells….remember the story I told you about the fellow who watched a program on the news and got very excited and hipped up when he saw them presenting the Big Brother program and hearing about the poor kids in New York who did not have fathers. He was so inspired he jumped up and was going to go out and get a couple of kids and be a big brother to them. His wife came in and said, "Jeff, when are you going to be a father--a big brother--to your own boys?" When it hit him…..his own boys would give anything to go fishing with him or go to the show with him!
Feeding the Starving….We Run From the Real Issues
We run away from the real issues by running to India.... we are going to rush over there and feed the Indians, when the real issue is, "Our own families--we, ourselves--are starving to death for spiritual food." That is what the Savior is trying to say, "You are running out in the world to try and salve the problem. Judas did the same thing when he said, "We can take this and give it to the poor;" and the Savior said, "You are always going to have the poor with you.”
Seek Ye First the Kingdom of God and HIS Righteousness
I get very intense about this because the solution that is given us for the problem is the problem.... we are running away from it. All people are children of Heavenly Father--whether Hindu, European, or Japanese--all of them. They are totally equal. People have truth--if they were living the truth they have, they would not be starving to death. I am acquainted with Hinduism and I am not turning my back on the poor of the world, but neither am I getting caught up in the lies of the haters (those that hate God).
JST Matthew 6:30…. “Wherefore, take no thought for these things, BUT keep my commandments where with I have commanded you.”
Verse 34: “He will provide for you, if ye are not of little faith.”
JST Luke 10:23….”All things are delivered to me of My Father, and no man knoweth that the Son IS the Father, and the Father is the Son, but him to whom the Son will reveal it.”
The Savior says, “We need not worry about what we shall eat, what shall we drink, or what we shall wear…. that is what the pagans are always looking for." Heavenly Father knows that you need all or these things. Set your heart on His kingdom and His goodness, (and HIS righteousness, not yours) and all these things will come to you as a matter of course.
ALL THINGS WILL COME TO YOU
A prophet did not say this…the Savior said this, God Himself, the creator of all things. The Father of Heaven and earth said, ‘I promise you--and I cannot lie or I would cease to be God--that all of these things will come to you as a matter of course as soon as you grasp the celestial principles, but as long as you insist on walking away from celestial principles and try and go out and do it yourself, you will stave to death.’
We Starve Ourselves Spiritually
Heavenly Father wept when He saw all of His children in the destruction of the flood and it shocked Enoch that Heavenly Father--the Father of Joy--could weep. And He said, "Why shouldn’t I weep?" Of course He would feel bad. Christ wept when He saw Mary and Martha crying, even though He knew He was going to raise Lazarus. We feel sad and we weep with those people who are starving. If we feel like giving to them--fine, but so many of us run away by giving alms to the poor. We run away from the real issue and we starve ourselves to death spiritually, so when we go out and give to the poor….. it is ourselves we are running from.
No Excuse Not to Love God
We do not have to go to lndia to find people who are angry at God….. I could go to people right here in this room. To one degree or another, there are always those who are angry at God, because we consider ourselves victims….. how could He allow this to happen? But if we really have created the problem, then God is blameless--we are responsible.
Even those who are dying have no excuse not to love God. How could He set up a system where we have an excuse for not loving Him? There is no way! What would happen to the tranquilizer industry, the sleeping pill industry, or the drug industry, if we really did believe this? Do not worry at all about tomorrow--tomorrow can take care of itself; one day is enough for one day.
Do you see why He turned to the twelve instead of the multitude? The multitude would have done just what we do--of course we have to worry about these things! We pull out our Franklin Planners to show us what it says. We are convinced that we have got to worry and plan and fret and do it all ourselves--we are convinced He really did not mean it when He said, "Come unto Me and build on the rock of the Redeemer and I will take care of all these things:"
Keeping The Eye Single
Keeping our eye single--keeping it on love and what we love to do and how much abundance we already have and all those principles we have talked about- -that is the challenge. There may be a lag time when we are overwhelmed, but there is no lag time of abundance coming into our lives--it starts to crash in on us!
In the early history of the Church in the1830's, what was the entire direction of the Church? Was it the Salt Lake Valley? No, they knew nothing of that valley. They were going to Zion, not to Salt Lake City! They were going to Adam Ondi Ahman. But because they were the same as the children or Israel, they could not accept the Atonement of Jesus Christ, and so we ended out here in the desert.
Two Years Supply……Of Spirituality
Why are our leaders spending so much time then telling us about· tomorrow and getting our two years supply, etc.? How long will it take us to buy our two years supply? We need do nothing different except change our hearts.... that means we can still put in our IRA's, etc and we will be blessed for: it, but that is not the point. The message is: Do not worry about tomorrow! We still do the work….. we still do the planning, but the point is, we are guided form moment to moment. The universe takes care of the details. Right now, we are running away from spiritual growth.
On the Verge of a New Plateau
Remember what President Kimball said: "We are on the verge of a new plateau in the Church; but it is not going to come from the top down--it will come out of each individual member of the Church. We come as calves in the stall--one by one. Look at the scripture about how we are going to come; not as families, not as groups--just one by one. And so until we are ready to come, someone has to watch the sheep so they do not run off….. keep us busy running around the corral until one by one we come.
The Lord Warns Those Who Know His Voice
I know for an absolute fact that if there is going to be a major disaster, we will know about it. Not because we are so worthy or wonderful, but because our best friend, who walks and jokes with us, will not let us die in a disaster and not warn us. But if we are not listening to Him and we do not know Him, then He will give us a prophet who makes a system broad enough to save everyone’s life. That is the truth.
I do not think that Moses had a two years supply. I do not think he needed one, because he was told in the very hour to do what he needed to do. That is not replacing the need for prophets, but every prophet we have had, including President Benson, has tried to get us to go beyond him to the Lord Himself. And that the Lord, if He has taken up His abode with us ---on a day-to-day basis---is not about to let us starve to death.
There are a few places this is found, but I want to go to the Book of Moroni:
Moroni 7:48 .... "Wherefore, my beloved brethren, pray unto the Father, with all the energy or heart, that you may be filled with this love….. (the kind of love that God has for His children.... the only way we can be filled with that kind of love is if we are filled with Christ. If we are filled with Christ, then it is automatic that we are filled with this kind of love. Pray with all the energy of heart for this kind of love), "which He has bestowed upon all who are true followers of His Son, Jesus Christ; that ye may become the sons of God; that when He shall appear we shall see Him as He is.” John just states this same thing backwards because he says: “When He shall appear, we shall see Him as He is…..because we shall be like Him. It is the same thing.. “that we may have this hope; that we may be purified, even as He is pure. Amen.
Everything we have talked about in this class can be summed up in 2nd Corinthians 3:6-18…..
"Nevertheless…. (He is talking about Israel here)...."when it (Israel) shall turn to the Lord, the veil shall be taken away. Now the Lord is that Spirit; and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty. But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass (or mirror) the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord."
We Can Become Like Him
How are we going to become like Him? By looking in the mirror! When we see this perfection that He created in us (in the mirror) through the source of His power, then we will see Him as He is, because we are like Him. We are mirror images of each other, and everyone else is too.
That is what it means to Come unto Christ. With open face to behold in a mirror, the image of God from glory to glory, to glory. We begin to see the true image in the mirror—we begin to see that we are just like Him. That is what it is all about.
That is beautiful! Paul, as no other prophet, saw this. I personally believe that Moroni(Mormon) and John (Paul?) wrote so much the same was because they had access to ancient scripture that we do not know about. They did not just happen to quote things so closely. Moroni (Mormon) and Paul give scriptures almost word for word.
I started out this class by sharing my testimony and I hope that in eight weeks I have done nothing but help you feel my love for the Savior. I acknowledge that He lives--always, every minute--that He is alive and ministering to us. His work and glory is to bring to pass our immortality, and He is on the job all the time. He is always with us.
We Are Free to Choose
We are responsible for our lives; we are free to choose, and if we will live in non-judgment---accept the perfection of the world, and of all others, and of ourselves, and grasp the Atonement, not just in words, but actually with our hearts---we can realize we live in a perfect world made perfect by the Atonement, not by the actions and the deeds (because they are paid for) Last, we can Live in Joy---start from being—start from a state of joy and live in joy, live in peace.
By Their Fruits Ye Shall Know Them
It is interesting that in the miraculous cross-referencing done in the past ten years, they missed the part about discerning false prophets from true prophets. How do the scriptures say you tell a false prophet? "By their fruits ye shall Know them. There is not one cross reference to Galatians 5:13-26 or any of the other scriptures that tell what the fruits of the Spirit are—not one!
The World Allows Us to Ride Two Horses
The Law is not the problem---not the reason we are struggling. The law is an excuse for us. The problem is: The world and the law, (because it is the intermediatory step) allows us to ride two horses, and so we blame the law and make Christ the stumbling stone. The Law that was made the cornerstone has become the stumbling stone. It is not that there is anything wrong with the law…..over and over He keeps saying, “I did not come to destroy the law, or the prophets---l am the Law--I am not going to change anything, but as you are using the law to run away from Me, it will be your stumbling stone.” But the real reason we run is not because of the law, or even that we cannot live it—it is that we want the world and the Spirit…and we cannot serve two masters.
By their fruits ye shall know them, and the fruits of the Spirit are: LOVE and JOY and PEACE, and GENTLENESS and all similar feelings. That is how we detect false prophets--not by their doctrine or their principles. That joy, that peace that brings great tidings of great joy. "How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of Him that beareth good tidings, that publisheth peace”--that is what is Isaiah said. We can always tell because there is peace and there is joy, there is hope and there is love, and we just feel His Spirit. And we begin to emulate these feelings, and we know that when He shall appear, we shall see Him as He is because we will be like Him. I leave this testimony in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.
Do some studying on your own--go back and water that plant for yourself. Soon you will start reaping the fruits---we do not get the fruits immediately, but you--will start enjoying some of the fruits of this plant, and then you are ready for some real fruits!