Amalgamation of previous versions
When I began preparing to contribute to the Pathway Forward effort, the thoughts occurred that it would be good to use what has already been done rather than start from scratch and that after all the parts are completed, someone is going to need to create an outline to put all the parts of the Pathway Forward effort together in a way that will flow smoothly and perhaps do some editing to eliminate duplication of content. I wondered what the response would be to a version that amalgamated all the previous efforts. The following is an effort to do that and to add a few things that might be helpful to people who will be coming to this without an LDS background. This piece is not completely finished. I don’t have more time to spend on it. The scripture references - which are not consistent - need to be aligned with what the Scripture Committee deems best. There are a few questions that need answering (see purple highlights in section 9). I do not expect this effort to be acceptable to all as is. I offer it simply as a contribution of ideas to the whole effort.
1. God has set His hand again
Today, as in times past, all religious organizations have become corrupt. Following His pattern throughout history to reestablish light and truth when it has been lost, the Lord has acted again to send forth an authorized message of repentance and redemption through Jesus Christ into the world via authorized servants who have spoken with Him face to face. Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ has declared that today is once again a day of salvation. He has set His hand to gather His sheep from the four corners of the earth, to free them from the bonds of Babylon and chains of false religion, and to reestablish the New and Everlasting Covenant with a people who will have Him to be their God. In fulfillment of prophecy (3rd Nephi chapter 21) God is once again offering a covenant of protection and peace. Scriptures that give background to that prophecy and covenant follow:
Jacob blessed Joseph who had been sold by his brothers into Egypt. Genesis 49:22-26
Joseph had two sons Manasseh and Ephraim. Genesis 41:51-52 The descendants of those sons are both important to that covenant. Joseph Smith Jr. while retranslating the Bible received revelation about covenants the Lord made with Joseph of Egypt JST Gen 50: 24-38
When Lehi left Jerusalem after being warned by God that it would be destroyed, he was brought to the New World. Shortly before leaving Jerusalem, the Lord commanded that his sons obtain the record of the Jews which was engraved on brass plates. From these plates, Lehi learned he was a descendant of Joseph who was sold into Egypt. (1Nephi 5:14) The Lord covenanted with Lehi that the land would be a land for the inheritance of his seed (2 Nephi 1:5-11) In a blessing he gave to his youngest son Joseph just before he died, he told of promises the Lord made to him about his seed and this land which is a promised land to them. (2 Nephi 3) More information is given by Nephi, son of Lehi, in 1 Nephi 13 and 14.
There is only one church (D&C 10: 67, 1 Nephi 14: 12). The goal is to become part of the church of the Firstborn (Hebrews 12:22, 23)
2. God has asked us to gather in fellowships
The Lord directed in Talk #10 given by Denver Snuffer Jr. on September 9, 2014 that in order to preserve the restoration, fellowships should be formed. Part of the preparation by God’s House for coming social chaos [that will precede the Lord’s second coming] is likely to include some preliminary preparations by families and friends to fellowship with one another in local gatherings.
True religion, when it is present on earth, always exists as a community of believers. We need to be willing to mourn with those that mourn, comfort those that stand in need of comfort, stand as a witness to one another of God at all times and in all places, and bear one another's burdens that they may be light as is required by the Gospel and by the covenant of baptism. (Mosiah 18: 8-9 LE). Meeting in fellowships provides the opportunity to teach, serve, and learn from both the Spirit, and one another’s experiences. Fellowships are a means the Lord has given to prepare a people for Zion.
As baptism does not signify joining a church and can be accepted by any believer in Christ, every denomination in the world may be represented among our fellowships.
3. Explanation of origin of the statement of Guide and Standard
As a sign that the times of the Gentiles are now fulfilled and that the work of the Father in the last days has commenced, a new edition of the holy scriptures is being made available to the world which both returns the records of Joseph Smith Jr.’s revelations most nearly to their original state and adds several key documents in connection with this dispensation. The Guide and Standard began as an assignment to Jeff Savage from the Scripture Committee. The material was then edited, organized, and added to by the scripture committee and members of the body, resulting in the following guiding principles which are presented as suggestions of wisdom and not by way of commandment.
4. Doctrine of Christ
Salvation is the hope and goal of all true followers of Jesus Christ, the Son of God. Salvation consists of being redeemed (which means to come back into the presence of God). This blessing is attained by being born again of water and spirit. (John 3:5) and then obeying the promptings/teaching of Holy Spirit (John 14: 17, 26) until Christ manifests Himself to you (John 14: 21, 2 Nephi 32:5-6) and Christ and His Father take up their abode with you. (John 14:23).
The doctrine of Christ is mentioned in Hebrews 6:1-2. Just before He ascended, Christ instructed His apostles to preach repentance and baptize in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Ghost for the remission of sins: Matt 28:19, Mark 16:15-16, Luke 24:47 The doctrine of Christ is more fully explained in 3 Nephi 11:32-40 and 2 Nephi 31:5-32:6 in the Book of Mormon. Full acceptance of this doctrine is the primary governing principle of followers of Jesus Christ.
Faith in Jesus Christ
Faith is the assurance we have of unseen things which are true. It is the principle of action and power in mortals and in God. Acting upon correct belief is the essence of faith. We are all commanded to believe in Jesus Christ and act upon that belief by following His example.
Repentance is recognizing error, turning away from it, and turning to face God instead.
God forgives sin when we forsake it and seek forgiveness. Alma 36: 6-22
King Benjamin’s people were an example of the repentance that results in being born again. Mosiah 4:1-3
The father of King Lamoni is an example of what results from making the desire for a personal relationship with God the highest priority of your life. Alma 22:5-23, especially v18
The Anti-Nephi-Lehi’s were an example of determination to endure to the end Alma chapter 24
Repentance is related to the acquisition of light and truth, that is intelligence. You must begin with the first and go on until you learn all the principles of exaltation.
Baptism is required of all who believe in Jesus Christ. Baptism witnesses to the Father that one has repented, is willing to take upon them the name of Christ, and walk in His Path and Way. When the person has truly repented, baptism produces a remission of sins (Mark 1:4, Luke 3:3). Baptism must be performed by immersion (John 3:23 Romans 6:4, Col 2:12), by one holding proper authority, and when possible, in living water such as a river, lake, or sea.
Our Lord gave the following instructions:
Behold, ye shall go down and stand in the water, and in my name shall ye baptize them. And now behold, these are the words which ye shall say, calling them by name, saying: “Having authority given me of Jesus Christ, I baptize you in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. Amen.” And then shall ye immerse them in the water, and come forth again out of the water.
The Holy Ghost is the promised gift of the Father to those who have faith in His Son, repent of their sins, and receive baptism. This connection to God will give you access to truth, which speaks to your mind and heart. Seek to hear, understand, and obey God’s will through this connection. Matt 3:16-17, Mark 1:10-11, Luke 3:22
Regardless of the religious organization or orientation that people currently identify with, the Lord has commanded all who believe in Him everywhere to witness their repentance and commitment to follow Christ by the ordinance of baptism, even those who have been previously baptized. Baptism has been the sign of acceptance of what God is doing in each dispensation. A new dispensation began April 2014.
The baptism offered in this dispensation does not signify joining a church.
Baptism is performed without material compensation and without requiring a worthiness interview.
The only requirement is to understand and accept the Doctrine of Christ.
Authorization given by God is required for any of His ordinances to be of effect and acknowledged by heaven. John the Baptist had authority from God. He was of priestly descent through both parents.
His birth and ministry were announced to John’s father by the angel Gabriel Luke 1:13-17, 76-77
Jesus went to him for baptism. He praised John, saying there was no greater prophet Matt 11:7-11
As an angel, John restored the authority to baptize in May 1829 Joseph Smith History 1:68-74
He said that this authority would never be taken again from the earth until the sons of Levi do offer again an offering unto the Lord in righteousness.
If a man desires the authority to baptize, he must be ordained to the priesthood by one who has previously been ordained and petitioned the heavens to receive authorization from Christ by the voice of God directly.
See section 9 for more details.
If possible, the person who is baptized should be welcomed into a fellowship.
Recording of Baptism:
After an individual has been baptized, their name must be recorded. Names are submitted to
a single central record keeper http://www.recordersclearinghouse.com. A person may choose to be baptized more than once, but their name should be submitted here only once. Once a year the names that have been collected here during the year are alphabetized and handwritten in non-erasable archival ink on archival paper to become part of the archival temple book. This Book of Life will be placed in the Temple of our God, and maintained there throughout the Millennium.
Do not record email addresses, vital statistics, phone numbers, or any contact information, only the name.
A record of the baptism should also be kept in a personal journal.
5. The Lord’s Supper
The sacrament of the Lord’s Supper consists of bread and wine. It is the means by which He may fill us with His Spirit. It is offered to all who have been baptized. Any gathering, even if it is only in one’s own family, may partake of the Sacrament together.
The officiator may break and bless the bread and immediately afterward bless the wine, so that both sacramental emblems are partaken of together, or the emblems may be blessed and consumed separately; either is acceptable so long as it is done with an eye single to God's glory.
All kneel while the man says the following prayers, exactly as written:
O God the Eternal Father, we ask thee in the name of thy Son Jesus Christ to bless and sanctify this bread to the souls of all those who partake of it, that they may eat in remembrance of the body of thy Son, and witness unto thee, O God the Eternal Father, that they are willing to take upon them the name of thy Son, and always remember him, and keep his commandments which he hath given them, that they may always have his Spirit to be with them. Amen.
O God the Eternal Father, we ask thee in the name of thy Son Jesus Christ to bless and sanctify this wine to the souls of all those who drink of it, that they may do it in remembrance of the blood of thy Son, which was shed for them, that they may witness unto thee, O God the Eternal Father, that they do always remember him, that they may have his Spirit to be with them. Amen.
The ordinance of the sacrament should be conducted in a solemn environment with the utmost respect. The emblems of the body and blood of Christ were intended to draw your mind both to the atonement of our Lord as well as the parable of the wedding feast in which all who are worthy are invited to partake.
Use the symbol of the blood of our Lord. Red wine is bitter for a reason. Partaking of that bitter wine in remembrance of the blood that was shed is appropriate. If you are opposed to alcohol or have some medical condition that prevents you from using wine, use grape juice.
The officiator may wish to ask for power to bless the sacrament before blessing them emblems and hold this in mind: In 3 Nephi 18:3-4 The disciples received the bread before giving it to the multitude…when they had eaten and were filled, he commanded that they should give unto the multitude. Since this is an ordinance where the promised result is to have His Spirit to be with them, is any meaning of “filled” adequate apart from being filled with His Spirit? p536 Those who bless are to be sanctified by partaking, then they pass the sacrament as sanctified ministers. p535 (Rmv Cond)
The prayers both refer to Christ’s Spirit. It is Christ’s Spirit which is to always be with us. (3 Ne 18:6-7,11) This is a covenant. The Lord is establishing for you the means by which you can have as your guide and companion His Spirit. His light. His presence in your life. This is to have His Spirit within your touch at all times. You become an extension of Him by properly taking His name upon you. You are then indeed a Christian. He will Christen or anoint you with the reality of His Spirit. p540 (Rmv Cond)
This ceremony hearkens back to the Lord’s promise to those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, that they are to be filled. There is beautiful symmetry to His sermon, His promise, the catalyst ordinance and the reality of being filled which is missing from the New Testament record. There is more going on here than an ordinance and a testimony. This is the means by which a link is formed that can and will result in the Father taking that which is corruptible and changing it into that which is incorruptible. p540 (Rmv Cond)
The bread and wine become a testimony to the Father (3 Ne 18:10) The observance comes to the attention of the Father. Therefore, when the flesh and blood are taken by those who are unworthy, the witness which comes to the Father is of their unworthiness. To prevent others from partaking unworthily is merciful. p554 (Rmv Cond) Young children may be permitted to partake of the emblems. To testify to the Father [worthily], you must repent, be baptized, receive the bread after it has been properly blessed with power, remember his body and the 10 things symbolized through it: life, obedience, sacrifice, cruelty, forgiveness, death, resurrection, immortality, power and glory. It will be recorded in heaven and will be a witness for your salvation in the Day of Judgment. Then you will receive power to have His Spirit to be with you. If you can feel that He is always with you, then you have an acceptable testimony to the Father. If you do not then perhaps you should revisit the steps He has provided to see what you might improve. p534 (Rmv Cond)
The Lord’s commandments are simple. They can be done by anyone. But they are specific and should be followed in the same manner the Lord instituted them. This is the straight path which He says is narrow and few will find. Perhaps it is not found because we proceed with inexactitude to do what He has laid out before us with exactness. p533 (Rmv Cond)
6. Government of Fellowships
All are free to organize as best suits the needs of the group. Fellowships vary and no two are exactly alike. Their course, frequency, and scope is determined by the common consent of the participants. They are organic and, like living things, expand, contract, divide, and can sometimes come to an end. Some fellowships are large and others are very small, perhaps consisting of only a few individuals or even one or two families. Where two or three are gathered together in Christ’s name, He will be in the midst of them.
Organize so as to reflect determination to serve God and bear one another's burdens. It is not necessary to set up a hierarchy among believers when all are animated by the Mind of God. Among equals, decisions are made in councils, guided by the scriptures and the Holy Spirit and accepted by common consent.
Fellowships of saints should be patterned after the order of heaven. Thus, there should be no compulsion or contention, nor strife, envy, or malice in our meetings, but they should be full of long-suffering, meekness, gentleness, love unfeigned and pure knowledge [D&C 47]. The principles of pure knowledge required to elevate a body of believers to fellowship with the church of the firstborn are found within the Book of Mormon and the Old Testament, New Testament, Doctrine and Covenants, Pearls of Great Price. D&C 30:15 Also, I give unto you a commandment…teach ye diligently and my grace shall attend you… that you may be prepared in all things when I shall send you again to magnify the calling whereunto I have called you and the mission with which I have commissioned you.
The Lord's name must not be invoked in vain [Exodus 4]. This means that unless He has explicitly directed to preface a message as coming from His directive, we are obliged to persuade only by pure knowledge [D&C 47] grounded in scripture. Personal revelations may lift and inspire the body, resulting in further light and truth. If led by the Spirit, any may share a spiritual experience with the group, but it should not be used to compel agreement. Inspiration by way of dream, vision, messenger, or the Holy Spirit should be judged by what is found in scripture, and sharing pure knowledge grounded in scripture is the way to bring harmony between individuals
Every man and every woman is given gifts born of the Spirit, and all are called to build up the kingdom of God upon the earth. Let each gift should be valued. Talents and gifts allow us to emulate the Lord, to serve and lift our neighbor, and to forward the cause of Zion. Each gift should be valued. Individuals should be allowed to bring their gifts and talents to the fellowship as they feel directed by the Mind of God. The earth is full of lying spirits. To avoid deception, study the thoughts and impressions you receive: if they fill you with pride, vain glory, laziness, an ambition to control and lead, or suggest that you alone are faithful while all around you are in error, they are not of the Lord but are of the devil. It is the nature of almost all men to stand as sentinels, looking outwards to see what another may contribute but the focus should be within our own hearts, asking God what more we can do.
When making decisions that affect any group of saints, it is wisdom that they be guided by prayer, scripture, and common consent. Individuals should exercise self-restraint and humility and refrain from dominating the discussion. Members should share their opinions to the best of their ability, then trust the Lord with the final outcome. (LE D&C 30). Prior to making a decision by vote, fellowships should take into consideration the opposing views and deliberate openly. Decisions need not be made in haste, but must be built upon righteous principles for God to carry out His work with this people. It is better to postpone a vote for a time than to reach a hasty decision because the Lord condemns haste, which brings pestilence, including confusion [D&C 18, 37]. Votes should be taken transparently.
Temporary councils may be formed to carry out initiatives extending in scope outside of fellowships. These should be organized and run according to common consent. While men or women may be invited to join, they should be given the freedom to determine their level of involvement. Individuals should be allowed to bring their gifts and talents to the project as they feel directed by the Mind of God.
When beginning an endeavor that is intended to impact many fellowships, consider casting a wide net to allow all who feel so inspired to join. Once formed, take the time to come to an agreement about the goals of the endeavor and how to proceed, make a commitment to see the project through, and then plead for Heaven's guidance and support. If the people in that group will work with an eye single to His glory and the welfare of Zion, rather than their own name and reputation, the Lord can take their weak effort and give it His strength. Once the group has achieved a shared vision, it is best to refrain from quickly adding many others who do not share that vision. But remember that the Lord is Master of the vineyard, and He will call servants throughout the day to labor. Do not turn those away who feel called to labor.
When it is hoped that the endeavor will be adopted by the body of believers, let the group take its work and present it to the body of believers. Time must be given to the body to deliberate before a vote to accept it by common consent can be requested.
8. Concerning Tithing
We are commanded in the scriptures to pay tithing. (Mal 3:8-12, Heb7:2, 5, Alma 13:15 D&C 119)
Tithing is not designed to pay for a professional clergy class. The Lord has explained that the purpose of tithing was never to establish a wealthy general fund nor to invite the wrongful accumulation of wealth that has resulted from the long abuse of this law. The law was to be a light thing, easily borne by the faithful. Tithing is to be given out of the giver’s surplus, not from property required for their necessities.[Gen 7:17]
Each fellowship is independent in their funds. No general fund is collected at conferences.
Tithing is for the poor [Gen 7] and should be gathered and administered by the common consent to help those in need within a fellowship, including food, clothing, housing, medical and educational costs, and for such purposes as the fellowship determines to be appropriate, on a case by case basis. Women should contribute to the process so that needs are considered which women alone may recognize.
While tithes should not be used to support the idle, it is better to give freely than to judge the efforts of your fellow man [Mosiah 2]. In addition to tithing, we should be willing to give offerings to those who ask of us, and not turn the beggar away from our door.
If a surplus is gathered in a fellowship, it can by common consent be contributed to the needs of another fellowship or be donated towards the future building of a temple in Zion through one of several avenues which have recently been set up for that purpose. Likewise, individual families and fellowships may wish to establish their own temple funds as they see fit.
9. Ordination and Authorization
Ordinances, such as Baptism and the Sacrament, are to be performed until the Millennium only by men due to conditions ordained by God at the time of the Fall of Adam. A man has the right to perform these ordinances for his family if he has been ordained and received authority from Christ.
Any man who has been ordained can ordain another man. The previously ordained man lays his hands on the head of the man to be ordained, calls him by name, and confers upon him the priesthood after the Holy Order after the Son of God in the name of Jesus Christ. Ordain no one to an office, only confer the priesthood. In all cases, the ordination is not the end, but part of the means by which the end may be received.
Men should record their ordination in their personal records.
Men should keep a record of their line of authority. It reckons through the one ordaining. [Explain why it is important to keep lines of authority for the benefit of people coming from non-LDS background. Give an example of a man’s line of authority when he is ordained after April 2014]
An LDS man need not be re-ordained if he was ordained a priest before April 2014 and can trace his line of authority back to Christ through Joseph Smith.
If ordained in the LDS church after April 2014, he should be re-ordained in a fellowship, and a proper record should be kept of his line of authority stemming from the fellowship's proceedings.
In talk #10 Denver read from his journal: On the evening of May 1, 2014, the Lord gave me further light and knowledge about His work in His vineyard… My excommunication was an abuse of authority. Therefore, as soon as the decision was made, the Lord terminated the priesthood authority of the stake presidency and every member of the High Council who sustained this decision, which was unanimous. Thereafter, I appealed to the First Presidency, outlining the involvement of the 12 and the 70. The appeal gave notice to them all. The appeal was summarily denied. Last general conference (April 2014), the entire First Presidency, the 12, the 70, and all other general authorities and auxiliaries, voted to sustain those who abused their authority in casting me out of the church. At that moment, the Lord ended all claims of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, to claim it is led by the priesthood. They have not practiced what He requires. The Lord has brought about His purposes. This has been in His heart all along.
Authorization to perform ordinances outside of one’s family
Due to the historical abuse of men in connection with the priesthood, the Lord has mandated that only women are allowed to vote in both sustaining and releasing men from public service. If a man desires to officiate in the priesthood outside of his family unit, a council of 7 women must approve of the candidate and if the man has a wife, she must be included in that council.
If his wife will not sustain him, he is not to perform ordinances outside his family. If a young man lives at home, with his mother, she must be among those who sustain him. His sisters, if of an age to understand these things, may also vote for him. If that young man's mother will not sustain her son, her view should be considered as better informed than the view of any of the other seven women. A young man should have his mother's confidence before he is allowed to perform ordinances for others outside his family.
A conference can be called at any time. Tell what qualifies a woman to vote. Does she need to have been baptized? Before a sustaining vote is taken, there should be a discussion as to whether there are any opposed to the man being sustained. If there are, those opposing should be allowed to express any concerns about the man, and the women should hear the reasons before they decide whether to proceed with sustaining the man. After the vote, the women who vote to sustain should follow the pattern of the early church by providing a written certificate. The one ordained should keep the written certificate signed by the seven women proving the sustaining vote. Each woman should not only sign the certificate, but also write about their sustaining vote in their personal records so that there may be an abundance of witnesses.
Receive authority from Christ
Men who would perform valid ordinances must be called of God. Power can only come from Christ.
Follow the pattern laid out in the Book of Mormon (cite scriptures) in asking for it. [Mosiah 9:9]
Wait upon the Lord to obtain His authorization, spoken to him by the power of the Spirit.
Removing authority to act within a community or fellowship, is also to be done by the vote of women [CR-Seven Women What is this?]. If a man's worthiness to perform ordinances is called into question, then a conference can be convened to deal with the question. In removing authority, at least two witnesses should speak against the accused, and he should be allowed to speak on his behalf and call such witnesses as he chooses. Men can be witnesses, but only women are allowed to vote. Removal should be by unanimous vote of the women present, with at least 12 votes against a man to end his authority to act in the fellowship community. If a woman is present and cannot judge the matter she may abstain, and the vote of remaining women, if unanimous and there are 12 votes, will be sufficient. [Where was this procedure given?] If his authorization is removed, he is can still officiate in his family, but he cannot serve in the community until restored by the vote of a conference of that community.
10. Blessings of healing and comfort
Blessings of healing and of comfort may be given by men and women according to their faith and the exercise of the gifts of the Spirit. Blessings should not be given for material compensation or to receive the praise of men. They should be freely given when solicited by a person or the person’s family. The one giving the blessing should follow the dictates of the Spirit.
The Lord has said, Marriage was, in the beginning, between one man and one woman, and was intended to remain so for the sons of Adam and the daughters of Eve, that they may multiply and replenish the Earth. I commanded that there shall not any man have save it be one wife, and concubines he shall have none. I, the Lord your God, delight in the chastity of women, and in the respect of men for their wives…Marriage was established at the beginning as a covenant by the word and authority of God, between the woman and God, the man and woman, and the man and God. It was ordained by my word to endure forever…But fallen men refused my covenant, did not hearken to my word, nor receive my promise, and marriages fell outside my rule, disorganized and without me, therefore unable to endure beyond the promises made between the mortal man and the mortal woman, to end when they are dead… Marriage by me, or by my word, received as a holy covenant between the woman and I, the man and woman, and the man and I, will endure beyond death and into my Father’s Kingdom, worlds without end. Those who abide this covenant will pass by the angels who are appointed, and enter into exaltation… Abraham and Sarah sit upon a Throne, for he could not be there if not for Sarah’s covenant with him. Isaac and Rebecca sit upon a Throne, and Isaac likewise could not be there if not for Rebecca’s covenant with him. And Jacob and Rachel sit upon a Throne, and Jacob could not be there if not for Rachel’s covenant with him. And all these have ascended above Dominions and Principalities and Powers, to abide in my Kingdom…the marriage covenant is needed for all those who would likewise seek to obtain from me the right to continue their seed into eternity, for only through marriage can Thrones and Kingdoms be established…Like the marriage in Eden, marriage is a sacrament for a sacred place, on holy ground, in my presence, or where the Holy Spirit of Promise can minister… Whenever I have people who are mine, I command them to build a house, a holy habitation, a sacred place where my presence can dwell, or where the Holy Spirit of Promise can minister… But know also that I can do my work at any time, for I have sacred space above, and can do my work despite earth and hell.
The image of God is male and female (Genesis 1:27) Marriage is to be between one man and one woman, as originally established by God between Adam and Eve. The commandment to multiply and replenish the earth, given to Adam and Eve within the context of marriage, requires that there be a man and a woman. If you love your wife, and your wife loves you, you are in the image of God. That is what He wants to preserve into the eternities.
Families already practicing plural marriage and wishing to join a fellowship can do so as long as they understand that they should not take another wife, nor abandon any wife they currently have and teach their children to end the practice (Hyrum’s epistle; 1 Cor 7:10-16)
The marriage ceremony should be performed as directed by the Spirit. We anticipate a fuller understanding of marriage, sealings and other ordinances to be revealed with the acceptance of the temple by the Lord.
Couples should work together to establish a house of God that will mirror on earth what is found in heaven. The responsibility of parents to teach their children the principles of the gospel is commanded by God and non-delegable.
12. Preparing for Zion
For nearly 2,000 years followers of Jesus Christ have prayed that God’s “will be done on earth as it is in heaven”. Zion can only come about as a consequence of consecration and sacrifice and seeking to learn God’s will.
Principles of Reconciliation and Unity
The Lord seeks a people who are unified and willing to live in peace one with another. (LE D&C 38:27) He desires that if we have been offended or hurt by another, that we speak with him or her privately and attempt to be reconciled. To do otherwise is gossip, which is not pleasing to the Lord. (LE D&C 42:88; 3 Nephi 12:24) To be forgiven, Christ not only requires us to forgive others (LE Col. 3:13; D&C 64:10), but to plead for mercy for those who have offended us. The role of accusing is left to "the accuser of the brethren", or Satan. (LE Rev. 12: 10) The Lord also commands that we not engage in lying, backbiting, evil-speaking, and finding fault with others. (LE D&C 20:54; D&C 88:124). Contending with others in anger is not of God, but originates from the devil (LE 3 Nephi 11:29). When the love of God dwells in the hearts of men, contention ceases (LE 4 Nephi 1:15-18; Moroni 7:48). Jarrings, contentions, envyings, strifes, and ambitious and covetous desires impede hearing the voice of the Lord and pollute the inheritances of a people of God. (LE D&C 101:6)
Therefore, ...see that you are merciful unto your brethren; deal justly, judge righteously, and do good continually; and if ye do all these things then shall ye receive your reward; yea, ye shall have mercy restored unto you again; ye shall have justice restored unto you again; ye shall have a righteous judgment restored unto you again; and ye shall have good rewarded unto you again. For that which ye do send out shall return unto you again, and be restored; therefore, the word restoration more fully condemneth the sinner, and justifieth him not at all. (LE Alma 41:13-14)
Concerning Principles of Godly Influence
God desires to have a covenant people upon the earth that are of one heart, one mind, and dwell in righteousness together regardless of their mortal differences. Respect of agency, pure love of Christ, and purity in heart are the foundational principles which can make a people of one heart and one mind. Persuasion, long-suffering, gentleness, meekness, unfeigned love, kindness, and pure knowledge are the only principles of influence to be used among God’s people.
Only when moved upon by the Holy Ghost can you censure another’s actions, and even then, it should be done in a timely manner with exactness, then showing an increase in love toward that person. This allows him to recognize that you are not his enemy and that your faithfulness toward him is stronger than the cords of death. Exercise of compulsion, coercion, control, or unrighteous dominion is not of God and is not to be used as a means of influencing or government (LE D&C 121:41-44).
Zion will include people who are willing to receive revelations from God and obey commandments. He provides a blessing to them: “blessed are they whose feet stand upon the land of Zion, who have obeyed my gospel; for they shall receive for their reward the good things of the earth, and it shall bring forth in its strength. And they shall also be crowned with blessing from above, yea, and with commandments not a few, and with revelations in their time-they that are faithful and diligent before me.” (D&C 59:3-4 LE)
Every time there is a covenant, there is always a land given to man as part of His covenant. This is the land God covenants He will give to the people who receive the covenant, including the Gentiles, in whose ears this first shall sound. Once the covenant has been renewed, the city of Zion will follow. The Lord will come, and then the final stage begins. "...even when this gospel shall be preached among the remnant of this people. Verily I say unto you, at that day shall the work of the Father commence among all the dispersed of my people, yea, even the tribes which have been lost, which the Father hath led away out of Jerusalem. Yea, the work shall commence among all the dispersed of my people, with the Father to prepare the way whereby they may come unto me, that they may call on the Father in my name. Yea, and then shall the work commence, with the Father among all nations in preparing the way whereby his people may be gathered home to the land of their inheritance. And they shall go out from all nations; and they shall not go out in haste, nor go by flight, for I will go before them, saith the Father, and I will be their rearward." (3 Nephi 21, LE)The above topics are explained in clarity and specificity through a ten part talk (40 Years in Mormonism) delivered by Denver Snuffer, Jr. in 2013-2014. This entire lecture can be found online in various text, audio and video formats at no cost.