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Sunday, June 28, 2015

THE Answer to THE Test

"a test, a Test, a TEST"

On the morning of June 22, 1868, Heber C. Kimball died.

Afterwards, President George Q. Cannon said, "Heber Chase Kimball was one of the greatest men of this age. No man, perhaps Joseph Smith excepted, who has belonged to the Church in this generation, ever possessed the gift of prophecy to a greater degree than he."

President Brigham Young also said, "Heber was a man of as much integrity, I presume, as any man who ever lived on the earth--a man of faith--a man of benevolence--a man of truth."

In the October 1930 General Conference, His son, Elder J. Golden Kimball, said, "President Brigham Young on more than one occasion said: "Heber is my prophet, and I love to hear him prophesy." ("The Gift of Prophecy")

There's little doubt in my mind that Heber C. Kimball had the gift of prophecy.

Twelve years before his death, in 1856, a small group of friends convened in the house of the Lord, called the Endowment House. The conversation was about the isolated condition of the Latter-day Saints. Then and there, Heber C. Kimball said,
"Yes, we think we are secure here in the chambers of these everlasting hills...but I want to say to you, my brethren, the time is coming when we will be mixed up in these now peaceful valleys to that extent that it will be difficult to tell the face of a Saint from the face of an enemy against the people of God. Then is the time to look out for the great sieve, for there will be a great sifting time, and many will fall. For I say unto you there is a test, a Test, a TEST coming." (Heber C. Kimball, 1856. Quoted by J. Golden Kimball, Conference Report, October 1930, pp. 59-60; also quoted by Ezra Taft Benson, "Be Not Deceived" Conference Report, October 1963, p. 15-19.

The Nature of the Test

Brother Heber continued:

"This Church has before it many close places through which it will have to pass before the work of God is crowned with glory. The difficulties will be of such a character that the man or woman who does not possess a personal knowledge or witness will fall. If you have not got this testimony, you must live right and call upon the Lord, and cease not until you obtain it.

Remember these sayings: The time will come when no man or woman will be able to endure on borrowed light. Each will have to be guided by the light within themselves. If you do not have the knowledge that Jesus is the Christ, how can you stand?"

There you have it: crystal clear, black and white: If you do not have "a personal knowledge or witness" "that Jesus is the Christ" YOU. WILL. FALL. If you base and rest the light of your testimony on another, YOU. WILL. FALL.

It seems to me that most people in this Gentile society could care less about having a true, personal knowledge or witness of Christ. I've seen many who spend their days focused on their fancy lifestyle, sports, TV or online indulgences, and still go to church on Sunday. Yet they are oblivious as to the judgments which await the world, they are unfamiliar with the scriptures and, even sadder, they know not Christ.

Conversely, I'm equally concerned about those hinging their beliefs on every word, practically every syllable, of another mortal. In their over-enthusiasm, they may even immerse themselves, their social circles and time into websites, forums, lists, Facebook groups and more which are devoted to dissecting and automatically, immediately embracing -- or, in a word, "trusting" -- almost every word of these mortals. More often than not, they leave unheeded Brother Joseph's observation that:
“The things of God are of deep import; and time, and experience, and careful and ponderous and solemn thoughts can only find them out." (from a letter from Joseph Smith and others to Edward Partridge and the Church, Mar. 20, 1839, Liberty Jail, Liberty, Missouri; parts of this letter were later included in the Doctrine and Covenants as sections 121, 122, and 123;
In fact, it is entirely possible that many who are supposedly mad dashing their way into the Lord's waiting arms are themselves believing teachings which are not of, and may be repugnant to, the Lord.

Could it be a test within a test within a test?

In ___ We Trust

"Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths." (Proverbs 3:5-6)
"Commit thy way unto the Lord; trust also in him; and he shall bring it to pass. And he shall bring forth thy righteousness as the light, and thy judgment as the noonday." (Psalms 37:5-6)
"Thus saith the Lord; Cursed be the man that trusteth in man, and maketh flesh his arm, and whose heart departeth from the Lord. " (Jeremiah 17:5
"O Lord, I have trusted in thee, and I will trust in thee forever. I will not put my trust in the arm of flesh; for I know that cursed is he that putteth his trust in the arm of flesh. Yea, cursed is he that putteth his trust in man or maketh flesh his arm." (2 Nephi 4:34
"Cursed is he that putteth his trust in man, or maketh flesh his arm, or shall hearken unto the precepts of men, save their precepts shall be given by the power of the Holy Ghost." (2 Nephi 28:31
"Therefore, lift up your heads, and rejoice, and put your trust in God, in that God who was the God of Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob; and also, that God who brought the children of Israel out of the land of Egypt, and caused that they should walk through the Red Sea on dry ground, and fed them with manna that they might not perish in the wilderness; and many more things did he do for them." (Mosiah 7:19
"The weak things of the world shall come forth and break down the mighty and strong ones, that man should not counsel his fellow man, neither trust in the arm of flesh—" (D&C 1:19)

Replace "I never knew you" with this

I believe one of the most underrated resources we have in learning of the Lord and His gospel is the Joseph Smith Translation of the Bible.  Take, for instance, these verses, straight from the New Testament:
"Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works?
And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity." (Matthew 7:22-23)
Now, read the Joseph Smith translation of those two verses:
"And many will say unto me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name; and in thy name cast out devils; and in thy name done many wonderful works?
And then will I say, Ye never knew me; depart from me ye that work iniquity." (JST Matthew 7:32-33)
In Greek, the word "know" is pronounced ginosko. It occurs 246 times in 208 verses in the Greek concordance of the KJV. It means "to learn to know, come to know, get a knowledge of perceive, feel." In Hebrew, it implies a highly intimate knowledge between a man and a woman. Ginosko is not some kind of passive, surfacy, unassertive, quick and immediate action verb; it is intimate, private, personal and highly, highly profound.

Ginosko The Lord...NOW!

In Moses' time, the Lord went "above and beyond" in helping Israel "ginosko" Him:
"Now this Moses plainly taught to the children of Israel in the wilderness, and sought diligently to sanctify his people that they might behold the face of God;
But they hardened their hearts and could not endure his presence; therefore, the Lord in his wrath, for his anger was kindled against them, swore that they should not enter into his rest while in the wilderness, which rest is the fulness of his glory.
Therefore, he took Moses out of their midst, and the Holy Priesthood also;" (D&C 84:19-25)
It's fascinating to me how we find ourselves in practically the same situation thousands of years later. Today, right now, the Lord is stretching out His hand and pleading with you to develop a personal, direct relationship with Him! To LISTEN TO HIM and FOLLOW ONLY HIM. Yet just like the events of almost 3,000+ years ago, very few -- infinitesimally few -- modern-day children of the tribes of Israel take Him up on His offer. As a result, I suspect that very few will make it to the "Promised Land" of Zion.

(In fact, Pres. Joseph F. Smith said, "When God leads the people back to Jackson County, how will he do it? Let me picture to you how some of us may be gathered and led to Jackson County. I think I see two or three hundred thousand people wending their way across the great plain enduring the nameless hardships of the journey, herding and guarding their cattle by day and by night, and defending themselves and little ones from foes on the right hand and on the left, as when they came here." [JD, 24:156-57; emphasis mine]).

The Promises of The Ages...To You

By heeding D&C 93:1 or the spiritual ascension steps that I have elaborated upon these past months, you will come to know the Lord in a deeply personal, intimate way. The more and deeper you seek to build that relationship, the closer He will draw to you:
“Draw near unto me and I will draw near unto you; seek me diligently and ye shall find me; ask, and ye shall receive; knock, and it shall be opened unto you.” (D&C 88:63)
"Let us here observe that after any members of the human family are made acquainted with the important fact that there is a God who has created and does uphold all things, the extent of their knowledge respecting his character and glory will depend upon their diligence and faithfulness in seeking after him, until, like Enoch, the brother of Jared, and Moses, they shall obtain faith in God and power with him to behold him face to face." (Lectures on Faith 2:55)
"Wherefore, my beloved brethren, pray unto the Father with all the energy of heart, that ye may be filled with this love, which he hath 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 be like him, for we shall see him as he is; that we may have this hope; that we may be purified even as he is pure. Amen." (Moroni 7:48)
"Therefore, sanctify yourselves that your minds become single to God, and the days will come that you shall see him; for he will unveil his face unto you, and it shall be in his own time, and in his own way, and according to his own will." (D&C 88:68)

Put The Lord To The Test!

It has been over two years since I embarked on this journey with D&C 93:1. Today, I wish I could look you in the eyes. If I could, I would tell you that the steps mentioned in the scriptures and, more specifically, D&C 93:1, are truly heaven sent.

All throughout the scriptures, Jesus Christ has done nothing but beckon, ask and invite you to seek and enjoy a deeper, more fulfilling relationship with Him in ways that are awe-inspiring and breathtaking (please click my "About" page for more on that).

I invite you with all that I have been, am, and ever will be, to seek Him, and put His promises to the test. I have. And despite my many imperfections and sins, Yeshua Ha Mashiach has been overly gracious to my family and I. He has opened my blind eyes and unstopped my deaf ears (Isaiah 35:5) beyond all my expectations.

Indeed, if you seek Him, too, He will "do exceeding abundantly above all" that you ask or think:
"Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us, Unto him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen." (Ephesians 3:20-21)