Since we started the Millennial North Star and the LDS Awakening project, we have received many comments by readers requesting the purpose of the project. In this blogpost we hope to explain the purpose of our efforts. Note these few observations:
- We have never solicited donations.
- We have never said, “Join us; we are the only right way.”
- We have not set up an organization in opposition to the true church, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
- We have never suggested in any of our lectures that people should leave the Church.
In consideration of the above statements, one can readily see that our purpose is not to raise money, set up a new sect, or cause dissension. It is an effort to cause the members of God’s true church, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, to repent and become the people the Lord intended them to be, an example of righteousness to the world.
We believe that the only way this can be accomplished in reality is to make the members of the Church themselves responsible for this effort. Let each one of us take a look at ourselves, not as others see us but as God would see us, and then take the necessary steps to straighten ourselves out.
Temples and Priesthood Progression
We would like to point out the difference between how man and God perceive righteousness. We will try to make it not too complicated but as simple as possible, so we are going to start at the top with the temple.
Today the Church has many temples around the world, most beautiful and profound and each costing millions of dollars. The purpose of these temples (as has been the case in all ages) is to bring people unto salvation. For all their millions of dollars, are these temples doing their job?
When Joseph Smith was on the earth, he spoke many times of people putting up stakes. He was referring mainly to the sectarian churches of the time. The Methodists, the Presbyterians, and the Quakers all said that unless you believed like them, you could not get into God’s kingdom. They put up boundaries which you could not pass.
Joseph pointed out that God did not put up stakes or boundaries preventing you from advancing to the next stage of progression. He said that the purpose of the temple was to help you progress to the highest degree in God’s kingdom. No limits! Joseph called it eternal progression.
The temple was supposed to help you become what? The true temple, which is the individual person himself. Let us quote some of Joseph Smith’s own ideas:
“Men will set up stakes and say thus far will we go and no farther…. What was the design of the Almighty in making man, it was to exalt him to be as God; the scripture says ye are Gods and it cannot be broken, heirs of God and joint heirs with Jesus Christ equal with him possessing all power, etc. The mystery power and glory of the priesthood is so great and glorious that the angels desired to understand it and cannot: why, because of the tradition of them and their fathers in setting up stakes [boundaries] and not coming up to the mark in their probationary state” (Joseph Smith, Aug 27, 1843).
Again Joseph Smith made it clear that the sectarian sects set up boundaries limiting their progression:
“…but I want to come up into the presence of God and learn all things but the creeds set up stakes, and say hitherto shalt thou come, and no further. — which I cannot subscribe to” (Joseph Smith, Oct 9, 1843).
These are the words of a prophet of God, Joseph Smith, clearly stating that any suppression of the ability of man to progress is not of God.
In many of his discourses, Joseph points out the differences in the individual priesthoods, starting with the Levitical Priesthood. The purpose of the priesthood is for men along with the women to progress in righteousness with each step. Joseph Smith gave us the pathway and instructions to take us to the highest glory in order to become gods.
What have we done with this glorious knowledge? Are we building material temples that can no longer take us to the highest realms of God’s kingdom? Can we achieve this great goal if we abide by the present limits that the Church has now set up? Particularly, has the Church set up stakes or boundaries that prevent us from attaining the goals that Joseph Smith restored to the earth?
Is not our goal to make ourselves temples of the Holy Spirit? Isn’t that the goal we all strive for? Yet we are like the Israelites of old who said they wanted to deal with God through Moses instead of embracing the higher principles of the gospel and were consequently given the law of carnal commandments. They put up stakes limiting their progress. People today have done the same thing. They even have difficulty in keeping the ten carnal commandments. Is this not like forever being in the kindergarten class at school?
The classes of the priesthood are the key. First is the Levitical Priesthood in which we learn, if we are observant, to live by the Spirit. The present so-called Jews keep this law (in a corrupted form) religiously, rarely if ever reaching any higher goal. This is as far as they can go. They have set boundaries that have stalled them for 3000 years, more or less.
The Savior also brought the true knowledge again to the earth and presented to mankind the ways and means whereby we could progress to become gods. In His own words:
“Jesus answered them, Is it not written in your law, I said, Ye are gods?” (JST John 10:34).
Yet it was not too long after His crucifixion that His followers began to set up stakes which prevented their progress in reaching the goals which He said they were capable of achieving. Down through the ages this has been repeated so many times both in the Middle East and among the races on the American continents described in the Book of Mormon and other scriptures. The people rejected the higher laws in one way or another. Consequently they got what they wanted, and the leaders followed suit, thus attaining the glory of angels instead of gods.
Are these million-dollar edifices, the modern temples, doing their job of enabling us of attaining our full potential? No, they cannot because the stakes we have set up prevent us from doing so. For this reason, we as individuals have to try to attain this goal on our own.
Our goal then in bringing you this newsletter is to make you aware of your choices and that you have a right to demand the restoration of all the deleted and abandoned principles that were restored by Joseph Smith. The correcting of all the watered-down principles of the gospel will enable us as a church to again represent God and his son Jesus Christ and not be mainstream with the churches of the world.
Joseph Smith’s goal was to provide a continuous path attainable by anyone making a concerted effort whereby they could achieve the same status as Abraham, holding the keys of knowledge of the mysteries of the Godhead. This goal can only be achieved without any boundaries or stakes being set to hamper our progress.
Conversion and Priesthood Progression
So let us go to the other end of the spectrum, the missionary effort, which provides the beginning of enlightenment by explaining the principles of the gospel and a knowledge of the Savior to those who have prepared themselves for this privilege. This message rings a bell, and we realize that these principles were taught to us in the pre-existence:
“My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me” (JST John 10:27).
Then having faith that the Savior did actually die for our sins and as we have gained this understanding, we then are sorry for the things we have done wrong and determine with all our heart to not do these things again. Next we present ourselves to the Lord and are baptized for the forgiveness of these sins of which we have repented. Because we have done this in sincerity, we then have the ordinance of the laying on of hands by someone with the proper authority, and we receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. If the Church is already organized at the time this is done, we are then made members of the Church.
Currently the priesthood has been integrated into the Church, but it doesn’t have to be. It can exist independent of the Church, and it has done so in the past. We have an example in the Book of Mormon in which those holding the Aaronic and Melchizedek priesthoods did not belong to any church organization and were baptized into the church:
“And now I speak concerning baptism. Behold, elders, priests, and teachers were baptized; and they were not baptized save they brought forth fruit meet that they were worthy of it” (Moroni 6:1).
Alma baptizing in the Waters of Mormon
John the Baptist baptized all who came to him, including the priests and those already holding the priesthood. (Of course the priesthood holders had to show the fruits of repentance along with everyone else.) Likewise, Joseph Smith was given the priesthood prior to the Church being organized. It was with this priesthood that he actually organized the Church.
So these are the beginnings of God’s plan of salvation, and we alone set the boundaries from this point forward for how far we wish to progress:
- First, faith in the Lord Jesus Christ that he is able to do what he has promised.
- Repentance. This means true repentance.
- Baptism for the remission of these sins for which we have repented.
- With these steps accomplished, we are guaranteed the reception of the Holy Ghost by the laying on of hands to help us in our continued progression.
The rest of our lives we make progress as fast or as slow as we wish.
Peter, James, and John ordaining Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery
For the men, we have the priesthood. We start with the Aaronic Priesthood, which rightfully belongs only to the tribe of Levi, but, until this tribe is identified, anyone holding the Melchizedek Priesthood can function in this capacity. The offices of this priesthood are deacon, teacher, priest, and then a special calling known as bishop.
In order for us to gain these advancements, we must be worthy. We must learn the ten commandments and incorporate them into our lives and actions. If we do this faithfully, we learn to be responsible in every facet of the handling, in the right manner, of all of our material possessions. I wonder if this is being done in every ward in the Church today. We should not be advanced to other priesthood offices until we show by our actions that we are truly worthy of holding them. Our first goal is to learn to function in a proper, fair, honest, and reasonable manner among our fellow men.
Then it is promised that if we follow these ten commandments faithfully we will receive another comforter. Remember, we received the gift of the Holy Ghost after our baptism, and now we are promised something else. It is called another comforter, also known as the Spirit of Christ. So now we begin to progress further.
Joseph Smith taught us that the Aaronic Priesthood was the first step, but he said that when we get this far we are entitled to further progression, even a higher priesthood, the Melchizedek Priesthood. So now we have another comforter to help us in our progression and in the further responsibilities this entails.
To have the Gift of the Holy Ghost is truly an honor, but to have this second comforter is even a greater privilege. We must live very close to God to enable us to keep this privilege, for by this time we have totally accepted God’s will and will make more of the right choices. If we do this correctly, God will be there to protect us. It will be like living a terrestrial existence.
We are now worthy to take upon us the Melchizedek Priesthood, starting at the office of an elder. It is a great privilege, for now we are responsible for others whom the Lord has placed in our care. We are to direct the responsibility of not only their material welfare but their spiritual welfare also. How we succeed in doing this takes us into the next levels as we progress in perfection to seventy, high priest, and on to eventually gain the highest priesthood, even a patriarch like Abraham, which is the beginning stage of learning to be a god.
Concerning the women, they cannot function in the priesthood alone but jointly own the priesthood with their husband. Consequently, women may only progress in the priesthood along with their husband.
Joseph Smith tried to make this all very plain. The plan of salvation did not stop anywhere along the way. He defined, as clearly as he could, each step necessary to prepare for the next step, depending upon our willingness and efforts.
Before Joseph Smith died, he passed on to his successors all the keys, which were the keys of knowledge, for these ordinances to continue being performed under the proper authority after he was gone.
There were to be no stakes or boundaries that would prevent anyone from obtaining all of the goals necessary to achieve the ultimate goal of godhood. Helping us succeed in this endeavor was Joseph Smith’s ultimate goal. So now we look at what we have left of his goal and what stakes and boundaries we have placed in our pathway to prevent us from achieving this objective.
Joseph Smith showed us that all the religious sects of his time had set up stakes or boundaries that basically said that you cannot progress any further but should just do what they say. Would Joseph find that the Church he restored under the guidance of the heavens, since his demise, has set up stakes forbidding you to go any further? Now the Church tells us to do only what they say or suffer the consequences. Let us determine if there have been any stakes or boundaries that have been set up in the Church that presently prevent us from reaching the highest degrees in the celestial realms.
What about the United Order where all things were to be equal? Great emphasis was placed upon this principle in the first stages of Joseph Smith’s endeavors in establishing God’s kingdom upon the earth before 1839. However, after the Saints’ attempts in the establishment of the United Order in Missouri were smashed, the effort to live this principle seems to have been placed on the back burner. Although not abandoned, in Nauvoo not much emphasis was given to establishing the United Order.
The United Order was set up in Orderville, Utah, in the 1870s
Joseph Smith possibly hoped that he could reestablish it at a later time. When he had the premonition of his death, he passed on to his apostles all the keys he held, including the knowledge of how each function was to be set up, hoping that they, his apostles, would make the effort of accomplishing these goals after his death.
Brigham Young, having been given these keys, made a concerted effort to establish this order in Utah. (He tried 27 times.) However, all efforts to do so finally ended in failure, the last elements of these efforts being made in Orderville and Brigham City. Now we could ask two big questions:
- When in history was this principle lived successfully?
- Is living this principle necessary for our obtaining the celestial kingdom?
First, we know that this was lived by Enoch and his people, then again for a short period at the time of the Savior in Jerusalem, and then for at least 200 years (and longer among small groups) after Christ’s appearance in America among the Nephites and Lamanites.
Second, is it necessary for our salvation? Let us look to the directions received by Joseph Smith on April 23, 1834. Speaking of the United Order:
“…which I commanded to be organized and established, to be a united order, and an everlasting order for the benefit of my church, and for the salvation of men until I come—
With promise immutable and unchangeable, that inasmuch as those whom I commanded were faithful they should be blessed with a multiplicity of blessings;
But inasmuch as they were not faithful they were nigh unto cursing” (D&C 104:1-3).
Two months later, however, the Lord said:
“Therefore, in consequence of the transgressions of my people, it is expedient in me that mine elders should wait for a little season for the redemption of Zion—” (D&C 105:9).
It looks like this was one of the major requirements to reach the celestial kingdom, for the Lord said:
“And Zion cannot be built up unless it is by the principles of the law of the celestial kingdom; otherwise I cannot receive her unto myself” (D&C 105:5).
It says right here that we cannot get into the celestial kingdom without living this principle. The people failed at this point as a group, just like the Israelites failed at the time of Moses. Even before the martyrdom of the prophet, the people set up the first major stake or boundary in preventing them from gaining the celestial kingdom.
So what did Joseph Smith do? He, like Moses, had to retract and go back to the laws of the ten commandments, that perhaps a few instead of the majority would accept this principle later on. That was one big boundary the people set up themselves, and, except for the efforts of Brigham Young, it has never been reestablished.
Law of Adoption
There was also the Law of Adoption. This law was talked about much in the early church, especially in priesthood meetings, but was it fully understood? This law stipulated that when a person was converted to the Church, they were to teach the principles to their father, mother, and family. If the family totally rejected their message and cast them out of their home, then this person had a right to seek a new father and mother by revelation.
We do not know how faithfully this principle was kept; however, records show that it was kept to some degree among a few families. But rarely was the new surname adopted, and eventually this principle was abandoned. Regardless, we have many sermons by Joseph Smith emphasizing the importance of tracing our lineage and being united in the eternities as a family. Our understanding is that the attainment of the celestial kingdom cannot be accomplished without the principle of adoption, which, for it to continue, would require continual revelation.
The principle of adoption made it possible for everyone to be cared for and looked after, not only in this life but in the hereafter. As recorded in two different gospels, Jesus Himself made us a promise if we would live the laws of God faithfully:
“And every one that has forsaken houses, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my name’s sake, shall receive a hundred-fold, and shall inherit everlasting life” (JST Matthew 19:29).
“And Jesus answered and said, Verily I say unto you, There is no man that hath left house, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my sake and the gospel’s,
But he shall receive a hundredfold now in this time, houses, and brethren, and sisters, and mothers, and children, and lands, with persecutions; and in the world to come, eternal life.” (JST Mark 10:28-29).
This great promise could only be realized by the principle of adoption, which was restored by Joseph Smith. And what did he say about it?
“It is one thing to see the kingdom of God, and another thing to enter into it. We must have a change of heart to see the kingdom of God, and subscribe the articles of adoption to enter therein….
No man can receive the Holy Ghost without receiving revelation. The Holy Ghost is a revelator” (Joseph Smith, History of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 6:58).
Joseph Smith is saying that we must subscribe the articles of adoption to be in the Kingdom of God. Have we not put up another boundary preventing us from entering the Kingdom of God by abandoning this principle? Again all these gifts and keys were passed on by Joseph Smith to his apostles. The knowledge of these ordinances has now been lost or atrophied, and yet another boundary has been set.
Now let us discuss the Mormon fundamentalists’ favorite subject, the principle of plural marriage. No one can possibly deny that the fundamentalist movement in general (as practiced today) has made a total mockery of the principle of plural marriage. Not only have they made it a mockery, but they have also caused it to be an abomination and an embarrassment for us in the LDS Church.
Brigham Young pictured with some of his wives
Joseph Smith established the foundations of this principle and passed on the authority to establish it to his apostles for them to continue to develop what he brought forth. The question is have they done what they were commissioned to do? Let us briefly review. Joseph Smith understood and practiced this long before D&C 132 was published on July 12, 1843:
“Although the revelation was recorded in 1843, it is evident from the historical records that the doctrines and principles involved in this revelation had been known by the Prophet since 1831” (Preface to D&C 132).
It is clearly understood when you read this revelation that in order for anyone to reach the highest degree in the celestial realms, they must be sealed by the Holy Spirit of Promise (the Holy Ghost by revelation). And in order to reach the state of godhood, they must do all of the works of Abraham.
In ancient Israel and even before the time of Jacob, there was an irrevocable law of God which required some men to have more than one wife. This law mandated that if a brother died and left a widow (with or without children), the eldest brother or next of kin must look after her material needs and, if the widow were still of child-bearing age, raise up children to his fallen brother. This was part of his responsibility as a priesthood holder so that his fallen brother would not be childless. If it were not the fallen brother’s fault that he had lost his life (and especially if he had been performing a valiant deed such as heroism in battle), why would he be left out of having this privilege?
We have a perfect example of this form of marriage in JST Ruth 4:1-12. It is called Levirate marriage (LDS Bible Dictionary, page 724). Even at the time of the Savior, this form of marriage was still in effect (JST Matthew 22:23). Levirate marriage is an extremely important part of God’s law. This is the way He helps the widow and orphan and how He enables the deceased who are entitled to these blessings to still gain a rightful posterity.
Boaz finds Ruth gleaning in his field
Not living this law of Levirate marriage is yet another example of a barrier or stake being placed in the way of many of us reaching the highest degree in the celestial kingdom. Regardless, in order to live this law correctly, the Law of Adoption would also have to be enforced.
Let us review the development of the principle of plural marriage:
- Joseph Smith received knowledge (keys) of this principle as early as 1831.
- For many years he kept this knowledge to himself, knowing that such knowledge among the ignorant and wicked could cause great trouble.
- Somewhere between 1831 and 1843, Joseph Smith was confronted by an angel brandishing a sword with a stern warning that, if he did not live this principle, he would no longer be a spokesman for God and would be destroyed. If you want to read the details on how he handled the plural marriage affair, read Comprehensive History of the Church by B. H. Roberts, Volume 2, Chapter XLV, starting page 93.
Now is there any doubt that plural marriage is necessary as a requirement to become a god?
These are the main stakes or boundaries that we, the members of the Church in our time, have caused to be adopted. This parallels the time of Moses when the Israelites were prevented from entering Canaan.
You may think that these items will all be restored during the Millennium. In this you are correct; but, for the present, only those who have held faithfully these principles in their hearts and would have lived them if the laws of the land had allowed them to do so will be considered for entrance into God’s kingdom. Even if you regularly attend church, go to the temple, and support all the present church activities, you will not find a place in the Lord’s kingdom if you openly ridicule and persecute those who will not deny these principles but instead try to live them in their heart.
To reap the benefit therefrom, you must live these true principles as best as you can while on the earth. There is no free lunch. Your works equal your rewards. These principles must be lived in this life, not in the next. Don’t you think that those who forbid it will be under great condemnation?
How can we become gods if we do not fulfill all of these requirements? We simply cannot. There are many other boundaries besides these that have been set up. For example, can we say that even the simple steps to baptism have not been watered down? Because the elders are under such pressure to obtain converts, the principle of true repentance by converts is not always adhered to and made mandatory. Also, when a child reaches the age of eight, are they also clearly required to understand the responsibility and seriousness of baptism?
If our efforts to get into the celestial kingdom are not initiated correctly, will not our future efforts be in vain? The Lord has paralleled our efforts for eternal salvation with a refiner’s fire, which separates gold from any other material. The Lord wants pure gold in His kingdom, and His way is the only way we can attain to this state. There is no other way.