Saturday, June 18, 2016

The Name of Jesus Christ, Part 7: Becoming His Child

Behold, I say unto you, that when his soul has been made an offering for sin he shall see his seed. And now what say ye? And who shall be his seed?
—Mosiah 15:10

Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5 | Part 6 | Part 7 | Part 8

I couldn’t afford that glider chair, and even if I could pay for it, I had no way to get it home. Twenty-four years old, newly married, still in school and struggling, I had recently learned my wife was expecting—and I needed that chair.

I thought it was for my wife, so she would have a place to nurse and rock the baby. Only later did I realize how much that chair was for me.

Borrowed money and a borrowed truck got the chair to our one-bedroom apartment, the only piece of living-room furniture we owned. A daughter soon joined us, and the chair did its duty, many times each day.

I didn’t know much about raising children, but I knew they needed to be rocked, because I grew up being rocked by my mother. My only natural fatherly instinct was to rock my baby to sleep as I quietly sang to her:

I am a child of God,

And he has sent me here,

Has given me an earthly home

With parents kind and dear.

Lead me, guide me, walk beside me,

Help me find the way.

Teach me all that I must do

To live with him someday.

This was the soundtrack of my fatherhood, sung nightly to each of my babies as I we rocked in that chair. For me, it was more than a song—it was a prayer, a hope, an aspiration; the desperate plea of a young father, tasked with leading and guiding a child, while still keenly feeling the need to be led and guided himself. In my own fear and distress, the singing and rocking perhaps brought more comfort to me than it did to my children.
I am a child of God,

And so my needs are great;

Help me to understand his words

Before it grows too late.
As the Lord has led and guided me, I’ve tried to “understand his words.” Doing so has brought many surprising realizations, including the discovery that the song begins with a false premise:

I’m NOT yet a child of God, and neither, likely, are you.


Now, lest you should die of shock at such a bold assertion, let me hedge just a little: Yes, in one sense, we are all children of God, in that He created us and is working to exalt us. I’m not trying to minimize that relationship nor His important work. Rather, I hope simply to highlight what the Book of Mormon teaches us about who we are, and who we must become.

The scriptures are explicit on this point, and we ought to understand it. The Book of Mormon is brimming with this teaching, to the point that you would have to be blind to miss it. Nevertheless, awful blindness is our common Gentile affliction (1 Nephi 13:32), so let’s search the scriptures and seek understanding.

Children of Men

The general population of planet earth is most commonly described in the Book of Mormon as the “children of men.” In fact, this exact description appears 126 times in the Book of Mormon. It highlights the fact that, though we were created by God, we’ve been sent here to the Telestial world, with its included physical and spiritual separation from God. We are not part of His family here, because that relationship was lost by the fall—both Adam’s fall and our own. God’s family is entirely different than the family of Adam, or “children of men,” here on Earth.

The result is that we’re not born here as God’s children, but rather as children of men, inclined to become God’s enemies.

Whoa! That’s not what your primary teacher told you, is it? The weirdness is expanding! Well, just stick with me. We’re going to stay with the words of scripture until we find some answers. Though it all begins in dismay, it ends in exceedingly good news.

For the natural man is an enemy to God, and has been from the fall of Adam, and will be, forever and ever, unless he yields to the enticings of the Holy Spirit, and putteth off the natural man and becometh a saint through the atonement of Christ the Lord, and becometh as a child, submissive, meek, humble, patient, full of love, willing to submit to all things which the Lord seeth fit to inflict upon him, even as a child doth submit to his father. (Mosiah 3:19)
We’re all born here in a natural state of separation from God, termed a kind of “enmity.” If we remain in that state, and die in our sins, wo unto us. (2 Nephi 9:38).

On the other hand, we’re offered the opportunity, and even the requirement, to put off that natural state and submit to Christ as our father. More particularly, we’re invited to become children of Christ, by becoming “saints” through His atonement.

But wait, what do you mean by “children of Christ?” Aren’t we supposed to be “children of God?”

Well…two things to keep in mind here. First, Christ is God. Becoming His child makes you a child of God—part of His family—and therefore part of His Father’s family. But even more specifically, the one who redeems you becomes your Father—as in, the father of your salvation. Hence Christ is both the Father and the Son, and bears both titles in scripture. Christ will become your Father in Heaven when He redeems you.

Lost Truth: Becoming a Child of Christ

To even begin to approach this topic, you must first understand that the invitation to “become” something implies that you’re NOT already that thing. Otherwise, there would be no need to “become.” With that in mind, let’s look at some of the pertinent scriptures:

And now, because of the covenant which ye have made ye shall be called the children of Christ, his sons, and his daughters; for behold, this day he hath spiritually begotten you; for ye say that your hearts are changed through faith on his name; therefore, ye are born of him and have become his sons and his daughters. (Mosiah 5:7, emphasis mine)
So King Benjamin’s people became Christ’s children on a specific day, through a specific covenant.

The covenant by which we become Christ’s children is one of the plain and precious teachings and covenants that was removed from the Bible by the great and abominable church. (1 Nephi 13:26-27) It was done with the specific intent to blind our minds and harden our hearts, because Satan  absolutely does not want us to seek or receive these things.

His strategy was effective, and their removal from scripture blinded us to the very purpose of our existence and the very definition of redemption. The result is that we can spend a lifetime seeking to follow Christ, without ever knowing how to go about it or where it's supposed to lead. By concealing the goal, Satan has blinded billions into believing redemption has no real requirements.

God foresaw the loss of the plain and precious truths and covenants, so he prepared the solution to the problem well in advance. The Book of Mormon was sent with the specific purpose of rescuing us from our awful blindness. (1 Nephi 13:32-35) This is why the Book of Mormon spends so much space emphasizing the purpose and end of our existence: to come back into the presence of the Lord, be redeemed by Him, and become His child—a new creature in Christ.

The idea of a new spiritual creation, or a new “begetting” is found in a scene in Psalms:

I will declare the decree: the Lord hath said unto me, Thou art my Son; this day have I begotten thee. (Psalms 2:7)
This is the formal acceptance into God’s family. This is the language the Father spoke from heaven at Christ’s baptism, though the recorded wording was later changed to conceal the truth and satisfy a false doctrinal view.

The new creation is properly termed a “new birth,” creating a “new creature.”

And the Lord said unto me: Marvel not that all mankind, yea, men and women, all nations, kindreds, tongues and people, must be born again; yea, born of God, changed from their carnal and fallen state, to a state of righteousness, being redeemed of God, becoming his sons and daughters; and thus they become new creatures; and unless they do this, they can in nowise inherit the kingdom of God. (Mosiah 27:25-26)
So there’s a change that must take place, and it’s evidently a big enough change that it makes you a new creature, and part of Christ’s family. It is not optional if you want to inherit the kingdom of God. Understanding this inheritance necessarily includes understanding this family relationship.
And it came to pass that Alma, having authority from God, ordained priests; even one priest to every fifty of their number did he ordain to preach unto them, and to teach them concerning the things pertaining to the kingdom of God. 
And he commanded them that they should teach nothing save it were the things which he had taught, and which had been spoken by the mouth of the holy prophets. Yea, even he commanded them that they should preach nothing save it were repentance and faith on the Lord, who had redeemed his people. 
And he commanded them that there should be no contention one with another, but that they should look forward with one eye, having one faith and one baptism, having their hearts knit together in unity and in love one towards another. And thus he commanded them to preach. And thus they became the children of God. (Mosiah 18:18-22, emphasis mine)
Here we learn that the Lord has sent, and does send, teachers to preach the truths that lead to His covenant. These truths include repentance and faith on the Lord:
And after that he came men also were saved by faith in his name; and by faith, they become the sons of God. (Moroni 7:26, emphasis mine)
Those who receive these teachings desire to live peaceably:
And blessed are all the peacemakers, for they shall be called the children of God. (3 Nephi 12:9, emphasis mine)
Such search diligently until they have laid hold upon every good thing:
Wherefore, I beseech of you, brethren, that ye should search diligently in the light of Christ that ye may know good from evil; and if ye will lay hold upon every good thing, and condemn it not, ye certainly will be a child of Christ. (Moroni 7:19, emphasis mine)
Part of the path to becoming His child involves “laying hold upon every good thing.” In His mortal ministry, Christ taught “Why callest thou me good? there is none good but one, that is, God.” (Mark 10:18) After His resurrection, when Christ ascended to the throne of the Father, He also became God, and therefore worthy of the title “good.”

So…if you are to lay hold on every good thing, does this involve, literally, laying hold on Christ? Does it involve touching Him? Embracing him as the returning Prodigal? Hearing Him speak your name? Feeling the nail prints in His hands and in His feet?

The Nephites who did so, were converted and described as follows:

There were no robbers, nor murderers, neither were there Lamanites, nor any manner of -ites; but they were in one, the children of Christ, and heirs to the kingdom of God. (4 Nephi 1:17, emphasis mine)
As Christ’s children, they were also his heirs. It couldn’t be more plain; heaven is a family gathering.
The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God: and if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together. (Romans 8:16-17)
This brings us directly back to Mosiah 27:26: “…and unless they do this, they can in nowise inherit the Kingdom of God.”

Only Christ’s children will inherit Christ’s kingdom. His children are a distinct, identifiable group—known to Him—who have received the fulness of what He offers:

Nevertheless the children of God were commanded that they should gather themselves together oft, and join in fasting and mighty prayer in behalf of the welfare of the souls of those who knew not God. (Alma 6:6)
These children of God were distinguished by their knowledge of God, as opposed to those who “knew not God.” This does not refer to some sort of abstract knowledge about God, but rather a personal knowledge from having met Him and been accepted as His child and heir.

Those who have not received such blessings have been known to persecute and hate those who have. Often, they are taught to do so by their false religious traditions:

And it was because of the wickedness and abomination of their fathers, even as it was in the beginning. And they were taught to hate the children of God, even as the Lamanites were taught to hate the children of Nephi from the beginning. (4 Nephi 1:39, emphasis mine)
But this is all to be expected. When you have part in the kingdom of heaven, the kingdoms of this earth and the “rulers of the darkness of this world” (Eph. 6:12) will persecute you.
And blessed are all they who are persecuted for my name’s sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. And blessed are ye when men shall revile you and persecute, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake; 
For ye shall have great joy and be exceedingly glad, for great shall be your reward in heaven; for so persecuted they the prophets who were before you. (3 Nephi 12:10-12)
Note that those who were persecuted, were persecuted for “my name’s sake.” And so it was among the Nephites; the persecuted were those who had taken Christ’s name:
But it came to pass that whosoever did not belong to the church of God began to persecute those that did belong to the church of God, and had taken upon them the name of Christ. (Alma 1:19)
And now we arrive, at last, at the point of this whole series. With this scriptural background in place, it’s finally time to discuss the Name of Jesus Christ.

The Name of Jesus Christ

When one enters into certain kinds of covenants, a new name is part of the covenant. This happens in gospel covenants, as well as in secular life. Think of a marriage or adoption, wherein one receives a new name and a new, legally binding family relationship. An inheritance, or a share in the family’s possessions, is also included in such covenants.

The surprising thing about the topic of taking Christ’s name, is that in our blindness, we’ve made something that ought to be straightforward and easily understood, into a mystery beyond comprehension. We’ve invented all sorts of ideas about how we receive His name by merely claiming it, or by believing in Him, or by accepting him, or by an earthly ordinance, or by joining an organization—and that one or more of these acts somehow places His name upon us, when no such thing is taught in scripture.

What IS taught in scripture is a covenant, spoken by Him, accepting you as His child. This is an adoption—in every legally binding sense of that word. God’s word is law; therefore when he says, “Thou art my Son; this day have I begotten thee” it is done. You are, from that point forward, His child, and He is your father.

These are the words Father Ahman spoke to Christ. These are the words we hope to hear Christ speak to each of us. By these words, we receive His name. By these words, we inherit His kingdom. This is a simple truth, adapted to the understanding of even the weakest, because our families on earth perfectly mirror this arrangement. A child can understand this teaching, and so can we, if we will become as little children. This is a plain and precious truth, too long hidden. This is the covenant he yearns to make with us, if we will receive it.

The Firstborn

The name we use here on Earth for the heavenly family of Christ is “the church of the Firstborn” because it is comprised of those individuals who have received the right of the firstborn.

And now, verily I say unto you, I was in the beginning with the Father, and am the Firstborn; And all those who are begotten through me are partakers of the glory of the same, and are the church of the Firstborn. (D&C 93:21-22; see also Heb. 12:22-23, D&C 76:54)
Called by His Name

Receiving Christ’s name here is critical to our eternal salvation. How do I know? The Lord said so:

Have they not read the scriptures, which say ye must take upon you the name of Christ, which is my name? For by this name shall ye be called at the last day; (3 Nephi 27:5, emphasis mine)
It must happen before the last day. Alma taught it:
Behold, I say unto you, that the good shepherd doth call you; yea, and in his own name he doth call you, which is the name of Christ; and if ye will not hearken unto the voice of the good shepherd, to the name by which ye are called, behold, ye are not the sheep of the good shepherd. 
And now if ye are not the sheep of the good shepherd, of what fold are ye? Behold, I say unto you, that the devil is your shepherd, and ye are of his fold; and now, who can deny this? Behold, I say unto you, whosoever denieth this is a liar and a child of the devil. (Alma 5:38-39, emphasis mine) 
King Benjamin learned it from an angel, and taught it to his people:
And moreover, I say unto you, that there shall be no other name given nor any other way nor means whereby salvation can come unto the children of men, only in and through the name of Christ, the Lord Omnipotent. (Mosiah 3:17, emphasis mine)
And under this head ye are made free, and there is no other head whereby ye can be made free. There is no other name given whereby salvation cometh; therefore, I would that ye should take upon you the name of Christ, all you that have entered into the covenant with God that ye should be obedient unto the end of your lives. 
And it shall come to pass that whosoever doeth this shall be found at the right hand of God, for he shall know the name by which he is called; for he shall be called by the name of Christ. 
And now it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall not take upon him the name of Christ must be called by some other name; therefore, he findeth himself on the left hand of God. (Mosiah 5:8-10, emphasis mine)
The Lord spoke it to Alma:
Yea, blessed is this people who are willing to bear my name; for in my name shall they be called; and they are mine. 
For it is I that taketh upon me the sins of the world; for it is I that hath created them; and it is I that granteth unto him that believeth unto the end a place at my right hand. For behold, in my name are they called; and if they know me they shall come forth, and shall have a place eternally at my right hand. 
And it shall come to pass that when the second trump shall sound then shall they that never knew me come forth and shall stand before me. And then shall they know that I am the Lord their God, that I am their Redeemer; but they would not be redeemed. 
And then I will confess unto them that I never knew them; and they shall depart into everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels. (Mosiah 26:18, 23-27, emphasis mine)
Whosoever Denieth This

I’ve had discussions with people who question the necessity, or even the value, of meeting the Lord in this life and becoming His child. Dallin H. Oaks, who claims the title of Apostle, summarized this viewpoint with the following statement:

Of course, all of the righteous desire to see the face of our Savior, but the suggestion that this must happen in mortality is a familiar tactic of the adversary. (June 14, 2015, Boise, Idaho)
The above scriptures should put to rest all such nonsense. Our Lord explicitly states that the only way to salvation is to know Him and bear His name—or in other words, to be His child. If you don’t bear his name, you have no part with Him. If you can’t see this truth in the scriptures above, you are in an awful state of blindness indeed!

The idea that such things are not necessary? THAT is a familiar tactic of the adversary—and those he employs to teach anti-Christ falsehoods. Denying these truths has been Satan’s plan from the beginning. 

To borrow Alma’s words, “Behold, I say unto you, whosoever denieth this is a liar and a child of the devil.” It is beyond disgusting that one who pretends to be an Apostle would stand and preach against the very purpose of the atonement, and thus assist Satan in blinding and damning souls.

From such, turn away. (2 Timothy 3:5)

A Willing Heart

Wherefore, my beloved brethren, I know that if ye shall follow the Son, with full purpose of heart, acting no hypocrisy and no deception before God, but with real intent, repenting of your sins, witnessing unto the Father that ye are willing to take upon you the name of Christ; by baptism, yea, by following your Lord and your Savior down into the water, according to his word, behold, then shall ye receive the Holy Ghost. (2 Nephi 31:13, punctuation and emphasis mine)
The ordinance of baptism symbolizes our death and rebirth into Christ’s family. But it is only a symbol; it is not the actual adoption. It shows the Father our willingness to be part of His family. Alma offered baptism to those who were “desirous to come into the fold of God, and to be called his people.” (Mosiah 18:8) Baptism is the first step in demonstrating our desire to be children of Christ.

Holy Flesh, Holy Blood

I served my mission in the Southern United States, where it’s common to refer to your relatives as your “flesh and blood.” There’s no more fitting way to show your willingness to be Christ’s child than to symbolically partake of His flesh and blood often, thus incorporating it into your own flesh and blood, and remembering the relationship you hope to have with Him.

In Moroni, we read “The manner of their elders and priests administering the flesh and blood of Christ unto the church.” The prayer includes the provision “….that they may…witness unto thee, O God, the Eternal Father, that they are willing to take upon them the name of thy Son.” (Moroni 4:1-3)

There is no more fitting witness and reminder of our intent. We should partake often so that we may “always remember Him.” Christ commanded that we “meet together oft” to do this holy thing. (3 Nephi 18:22, Moroni 6:5-6).

Like all earthly ordinances, both baptism and sacrament are witnesses and reminders. They symbolize that perfect day when you may come into His presence, embrace and be embraced, know as you are known, and become His child in very deed.

That Family Resemblance

And now behold, I ask of you, my brethren of the church, have ye spiritually been born of God? Have ye received his image in your countenances? Have ye experienced this mighty change in your hearts? (Alma 5:14)
I say unto you, can ye look up to God at that day with a pure heart and clean hands? I say unto you, can you look up, having the image of God engraven upon your countenances? (Alma 5:19)
And I looked, and, lo, a Lamb stood on the mount Sion, and with him an hundred forty and four thousand, having his Father’s name written in their foreheads. (Revelation 14:1)
And there shall be no more curse: but the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it; and his servants shall serve him: And they shall see his face; and his name shall be in their foreheads. (Revelation 22:3-4) 
At that day, you can “sing the song of redeeming love.” (Alma 5:26)

At that day, you can properly testify:

I am a child of God.
His promises are sure;

Celestial glory shall be mine

If I can but endure.
Now that we’re no longer blind to this plain and precious teaching, may we humble ourselves as little children, submit to Him as our father, and become His children in very deed. 

For these are they whose sins he has borne; these are they for whom he has died, to redeem them from their transgressions. And now, are they not his seed?

—Mosiah 15:12


  1. There is light and intelligence in your writing. Thank you.

  2. Thanks for this series and this post. I honestly can't fathom why it's so hard to see and understand these truths. Why don't more people want and desire this? Sigh...

  3. Thank you for teaching these truths in plainness! They are delicious to my soul.

  4. Thank you Adrian for heeding the Lord in writing the things He tells you to write. His Spirit testifies your words are truth!

    As we stand upon the rock, who is Christ our Redeemer, surround ourselves by the living water, who is Christ our Redeemer "for by the water ye keep the commandment". Water sustains life without it all things die, without Christ we die. That His spirit that is in and through all things be poured out upon us, that we may have the Holy Ghost in and through us, the Record of Heaven, the Comforter, "by the spirit ye are justified" or made righteous. We must be purged by fire. That we may partake of the bread of life, who is Christ our Redeemer. Bread sustains and nourishes, Christ sustains and nourishes us. That we may partake of His blood, His perfect blood, the blood of a God spilt on a telestial world that mercy might satisfy justice, "by the blood ye are sanctified" or made holy (Moses 6:60). That we may take upon us His name and become His child. He has purchased us by His blood that we may be partakers of His Redeeming love. It is His love that Redeems. May we bask in Love in that "perfect day". "That He is love" (LoF VI:18, 1835 edition).

    "All things testify of Him". From the beginning of creation to the end; rock, water, air, fruit, bread, etc....all these represent Him and are Him and He is what sustains us. Can we not see He is everywhere?

    "O Lord, our Lord how excellent is thy name in all the earth" - Psalms 8:9
    Praise be to God!!!

  5. I'd like to make the correction on my comment it was LoF III:18 not LoF VI:18.

  6. Amazing post. Thank you for your blog. It is much appreciated.

  7. There are some important and profound ideas in this essay. But, I am not sure that receiving the name of Christ requires seeing him. For example, Enos says:

    5 And there came a voice unto me, saying: Enos, thy sins are forgiven thee, and thou shalt be blessed.
    6 And I, Enos, knew that God could not lie; wherefore, my guilt was swept away.
    7 And I said: Lord, how is it done?
    8 And he said unto me: Because of thy faith in Christ, whom thou hast never before heard nor seen. And many years pass away before he shall manifest himself in the flesh; wherefore, go to, thy faith hath made thee whole.

    Further, Elder Marion G. Romney gave a talk about the need for having your calling and election made sure. Many of the examples in that talk involve the voice of God making a promise, without seeing God.

    If God makes me His, by His own voice, I will accept his word. I will also rest assured that I will see Him at the right time whether in this life or the next.


    An appreciative reader

  8. Adrian-

    Do you believe it IS necessary to see the Lord in mortality in order to be saved or exalted?

    1. In a word, yes. The Lord makes it clear that only the redeemed will inherit His kingdom. If being redeemed is to be brought back into His presence, then that's what is required. The definition of "brought back into His presence" is up to Him.

    2. Adrian-

      I believe you are stretching the doctrines. It's obvious that to be brought back into the presence of the Lord, one will see the Lord, when brought back into his presence. But the question is, will everyone that will eventually be redeemed, see the Lord in mortality (while in the flesh, prior to death)? you claim "yes" it is necessary or required. I don't think this is supported by scripture anywhere.

      This view rejects the validity of "redeeming" the dead who had not the opportunity hear the word, yet alone see the Lord in mortality. Why then do we do work for the dead?

      Ether 3 which I believe is the scripture you infer, in my opinion builds a strong case that seeing is NOT required.

      13: "..Because thou KNOWEST these things ye are redeemed from the fall; therefore ye are brought back into my presence; therefore I show myself unto you."

      Q: Is he redeemed because he saw or is he redeemed because he knows the truth of Christ? and therefore saw as a reward and was "brought back" into the Lord's presence while in the flesh?

      vs 14 suggests that "In me shall all mankind have life, and that eternally, even they who shall BELIEVE on my name; and they shall become my sons and my daughters."

      Q: How can "all mankind" have eternal life if it is limited only to those that see the Lord in the flesh?

      further vs 15, says that "never have I showed myself unto man who I have created"...

      Q: are we to assume then, that this is a normal occurrence as it's required, but that ALL men prior to the brother of Jared will not be redeemed as none had seen the Lord while in the flesh?

      Your mockery of Elder Oaks, is a mockery of Christ's ability to save even those that have not seen Christ in the flesh as well as a judgment and limit to the Atonement upon ALL of the humble believers who have not nor may not see Christ while in mortality.

    3. Remnant of Joseph,

      Here are a few thoughts.

      Christ didn’t just tell the Brother of Jared he was “redeemed,” but actually “redeemed from the fall.” The fall brought about physical separation from the presence of God. Being redeemed from the fall requires returning to God’s presence. You are not redeemed from the fall if you are still physically separated from God. See Mormon 9:12-13, Helaman 14:16-17, and many others.

      In the Ether 3:15 statement about never showing himself to man, there’s clearly much more going on here than we realize, because the scriptural record includes Christ showing himself to others prior to this event, including Adam. Therefore, there’s clearly more to that statement than meets the eye.

      There are some great mysteries contained in this vignette, providing us ample opportunities to take our questions to the Lord and receive greater light.

      Finally, pointing out the anti-Christ nature of Elder Oaks’ erroneous teachings is not mockery. I have cited a lengthy list of scriptures and Christ’s own words to support my position. I am not mocking Christ’s ability to save all who will come unto Him. Rather, I am recognizing it and speaking in favor of it. Christ set the conditions and made them clear. He will save His family. Those who will not receive Him as their Father cannot be redeemed.

      You are free to argue against His words. I do not.

    4. Part 1:

      I've heard a good question: Which would you rather have -- priesthood without faith, or faith in Christ without priesthood? Similarly, would we prefer a visitation with Christ without a promise of eternal life, or a promise directly from Christ to us without a personal visitation? Succinctly stated: a visit without the promise, or the promise without the visit? Mosiah 26 doesn't mention a personal visit of Christ to Alma, and yet Alma receives the promise directly from Christ. Heavenly Father doesn't appear at Christ's baptism, and yet Christ receives the sure word from God that He's now adopted into God's family (Psalms 2:7).

      Accordingly, I'm not convinced the question of whether you must see Jesus while in mortality to be assured of salvation is the best question. I don't think Denver ever comes right out and declares that, does he? If such an absolute quote exists, somebody please share.

      I believe Denver does seem to imply that, in my view. But on this subject, mainly Denver relies on the Lectures on Faith. Woven throughout the Lectures on Faith is the teaching that, to be saved, we must become like Christ, the prototype of the saved man, and that the ancients were saved because they attained to Christ's glory by sacrifice and taking upon them Christ's name, which is His glory, truth, and countenance. The Lectures state it is vain for us to fancy ourselves to be heirs with those ancients who sacrificed everything to know God.

      The LoF boldly declare this doctrine; and Denver boldly testifies the LoF are scripture and THE doctrine of the Restoration.

      Don't we all want to hear the personal promise, covenant, or assurance of the Lord that we receive eternal life?

      The Elder Oaks' quote is therefore off the mark. The real question is, who is saved? What are the characteristics of the saved man or woman? The LoF plainly answer this question, and the bar is very, very high, compared to the very low bar we are indoctrinated with at every moment in and outside the Church.

      Elder Oaks has essentially proposed a straw man, and then railed against it, while ignoring the real question of the prototype of the saved man. Good old sophistry on display.

      If anything, Elder Oaks isn't opposing Denver as much as he is opposing the key theme of the Lectures on Faith, which is HOW to be saved. Furthermore, the LoF argue more for a personal manifestation of God than even Denver does. For example, at the end of Lecture Second, in the Q&A section:

      Question 146: How do men obtain a knowledge of the glory of God, his perfections and attributes?
      Answer: By devoting themselves to his service, through prayer and supplication incessantly, strengthening their faith in him, until like Enoch, the brother of Jared, and Moses, they obtain a manifestation of God to themselves. (2:55)

      Question 147: Is the knowledge of the existence of God a matter of mere tradition, founded upon human testimony alone, until a person receives a manifestation of God to themselves?
      Answer: It is.

    5. Part 2 of 2 (continued):

      Of note, just this week (the first week of Nov 2018), I found an audio (apparently just delivered by Denver this month-- Nov 2018) in which Denver finally speaks to this subject (again, he may have taught this before, but I'm not aware of it. Normally he seems to simply stick to the narrative like Adrian has in these comments, by saying, "Yep, you have not qualified for salvation unless Christ has appeared to you in mortality, which is required for redemption." But in this audio -- -- beginning at the 36-min mark, Denver shares kind of a "loophole", if you will, that satisfies the apparent contradictions in the scriptures, some scriptures pointing to the need for personal visitation and others suggesting not necessary.

      In the podcast linked above, Denver teaches Christ could very well and does appear and redeem people in the final moments of their earth life. As examples, he quotes Alvin Smith, Stephen in the NT, and St. Francis, ALL of whom are examples of apparent salvation granted "in person" by Jesus in the last moments of mortality. He quotes the scripture that there are some who will not taste of death, again, referring to those who die in the Lord in their final moments.

      If that is true, then it might explain how these fallen military men, even thousands of soldiers who died in battle, "know" they're saved.

      Alma 28:12

      While many thousands of others truly mourn for the loss of their kindred, yet they rejoice and exult in the hope, and even know, according to the promises of the Lord, that they are raised to dwell at the right hand of God, in a state of never-ending happiness.

      Alma 46:39

      And it came to pass that there were many who died, firmly believing that their souls were redeemed by the Lord Jesus Christ; thus they went out of the world rejoicing.

      "They went out of the world rejoicing" because perhaps Christ gave them their promise as they gasped their final breath on a battlefield.

      To me, it makes total sense that TO BE SURE of our salvation, that we must personally receive Christ's word, His sure word of prophecy, the "testimony of Jesus" that we are sealed His, that our calling and election is made sure. If we don't receive that, then how can we know for sure?

      What matters is knowing for sure for ourselves that we are saved. So how do we, how can we know for sure? The Lectures on Faith clearly answer this question. Denver points us to those lectures, and exhorts us to read them.

      It is interesting that the answer to the question, "How can we know for sure?" is offered by all religions and denominations. The current LDS Church leadership teaches that if you follow the Brethren, and stay mainstream, then you will be saved. Just go through the program, get baptized, married in the temple and stay on the boat. As long as you're on the 'covenant path' defined by these milestones, then all is well in Zion.

      The typical Protestant minister will tell you to get baptized (usually in their church) and that baptism certifies your entrance into the Kingdom.

      However, what do these promises have in common? It's what they do NOT have in common. Their promises are not God's direct promise spoken personally to you. So how do these voices solve the apparent problem of the infrequency of God's voice declaring salvation to individuals?

      What these institutions or ministers teach is that THEY speak for God. "Trust me, I can't lead you astray!". And we humans, who like the easy and secure and safe way, like to hear that we are saved so we heed men and lift them up as prophets and servants of God, and put the seeking and hearing of Christ's sure word of prophecy on the proverbial back burner.

  9. Excellent post, very well put together. Thank you.

  10. So what do you make of Dallin Oaks' persistent (lawyerly) claim that the charge of a modern apostle is to be a special witness for "the name of Christ" rather than a special witness for Christ himself?
    As an attorney myself, I'm unclear on how one can even be a witness (special or otherwise) for a name.
    I'd hoped your posts on this topic would address this matter. Perhaps it did, and I missed it. If so, if you could point me to the appropriate post, I'd appreciate it. If not, I'd be very interested in your take on the matter.

    1. My best response is found in D&C 112:24-26:

      24 Behold, vengeance cometh speedily upon the inhabitants of the earth, a day of wrath, a day of burning, a day of desolation, of weeping, of mourning, and of lamentation; and as a whirlwind it shall come upon all the face of the earth, saith the Lord.

      25 And upon my house shall it begin, and from my house shall it go forth, saith the Lord;

      26 First among those among you, saith the Lord, who have professed to know my name and have not known me, and have blasphemed against me in the midst of my house, saith the Lord.

      It seems to me these verses apply to anyone who claims the title of apostle by professing to be a witness of the Lord's name, but knows not the Lord. In fact, this passage seems particularly applicable. Almost prophetic, you might say.

  11. Thanks for the prompt reply. We are obviously on the same page. I guess I just wanted to make sure I wasn’t missing something.
    I did appreciate your actually replying with the scripture in your reply though, as I think I must have always glossed over “my name” in vs. 26, and read it as “who have professed to know me and have not known me.”
    Clearly those who profess to act as agent for the Lord, without his actual direction (or worse yet, contrary to his former express directions) are those who truly take his name in vein. Woe unto them, and those who follow/worship them.
    Perhaps Bro. Hales (maybe Bro. Uchtdorf) are not blasphemers. For now, I’ll give them the benefit of the doubt. The rest of the Q15 just give me cause to mourn.


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