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Introduction to the following two articles

 

There are questions that are in the back of the minds of many who are set up as servants of the Lord. Questions that continue to test our faith. Questions we have not been able to answer to our satisfaction. The failure of the Restoration, and the Churches thereof over the years should tell us that something went wrong, not just one thing, but an accumulation of errors or transgressions. The fault in all transgressions is derived from disobedience to the command of God in one way or another. As we believe we are very near the days of tribulation, should we not be interested in clearing away the traditions that have failed us? Shouldn't we be seeking to turn away from mistakes and misleadings, and strive to obey Gods commandments?

 

 

WINE OR GRAPE JUICE #1

 

This has been a controversy within the Restoration movement for the past one hundred years or more. Many are the reasons to use unfermented juice as opposed to fermented wine, and these reasons are important for us to understand. There are also good reasons to use fermented wine as given in the Bible and Book of Mormon. In this article I want to review some of the information that has been and is now available for man to consider that we might more perfectly follow the will of God. As is the nature of man, many times loose lipped ideas evolve into traditional thinking which can overshadow the will and word of God. Learned men have developed a theology of the use of the word “wine” in the Bible and Book of Mormon as being unfermented grape juice. Many books have been written on this subject and have been accepted as the basis for the use of unfermented grape juice in the Sacrament Service. I understand that some people tend to become addicted to alcoholic beverages, and so there are those who believe we need to protect all mankind from this habit. I also understand that this is a person’s choice. Man has the option of abusing any of the blessings God has given us for our benefit. It may be wine, alcoholic drinks, food, our relationships, clothing, jewelry, our home, car, lifestyle, and many other blessings that can consume our devotion. But it is our choice.

 

Let us first consider what is written in the Bible and the Book of Mormon, which I believe is the Word of God. It is from these scriptures that we are told to seek the way of salvation. Jesus said in John 5:40 “Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life; and they are they which testify of me."  So, let us look at what this word of God tells us. In the 26th chapter of Matthew the Lord gives us an example of how we are to practice the Lords Supper. 22-25 “And as they were eating, Jesus took bread and brake it, and blessed it, and gave to his disciples, and said, Take, eat; this is in remembrance of my body which I give a ransom for you. And he took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, Drink ye all of it. For this is in remembrance of my blood of the new testament, which is shed for as many as shall believe on my name, for the remission of their sins. And I give unto you a commandment, that ye shall observe to do the things which ye have seen me do, and bear record of me even unto the end."  There are several explanations, or suggestions that what is said, does not mean that the cup contained fermented wine. One person said that it could have been new wine. Yes, that could have been the case, however we find that in Acts 2:12-15; "And they were all amazed, and were in doubt, saying one to another, What meaneth this? Others mocking said, These men are full of new wine. But Peter, standing up with the eleven, lifted up his voice, and said unto them, Ye men of Judea, and all ye that dwell at Jerusalem, be this known unto you, and hearken to my words; For these are not drunken, as ye suppose, seeing it is but the third hour of the day.”  By this we see that "new wine" is also an intoxicant. A German winemaker describes "new wine" as “Federweißer,” a partially fermented alcoholic beverage made from grapes." (search new wine in Google)

 

This would explain why the men in the Acts 2 chapter would suspect the Apostles of drinking "new Wine" for the partially fermented wine would be more desirable in the earlier part of the day than the hard stuff that they would normally drink in the evening before going to bed. This would also be compatible with the following from Zechariah 9:17 - “For how great is his goodness, and how great is his beauty! corn shall make the young men cheerful, and new wine the maids."  There is something else of interest also in the 26th chapter of Matthew: "And I give unto you a commandment, that ye shall observe to do the things which ye have seen me do, and bear record of me even unto the end." Here God has given a commandment that we do as He has done. So then, do we obey this commandment of God, or do we obey the theologies and precepts of man. Again, this is our choice. We find also the same commandment in 3 Nephi 8:30-39 - “And when the disciples had come with bread and wine, he took of the bread, and break and blessed it; and he gave unto the disciples, and commanded that they should eat. And when they had eaten, and were filled, he commanded that they should give unto the multitude. And when the multitude had eaten and were filled, he said unto the disciples, Behold, there shall one be ordained among you, and to him will I give power that he shall break bread, and bless it, and give it unto the people of my church, unto all those who shall believe and be baptized in my name. And this shall ye always observe to do, even as I have done, even as I have broken bread, and blessed it, and gave it unto you. And this shall ye do in remembrance of my body, which I have shewn unto you. And it shall be a testimony unto the Father, that ye do always remember me. And if ye do always remember me, ye shall have my Spirit to be with you. And it came to pass that when he had said these words, he commanded his disciples that they should take of the wine of the cup, and drink of it, and that they should also give unto the multitude, that they might drink of it. And it came to pass that they did so, and did drink of it, and were filled; and they gave unto the multitude, and they did drink, and they were filled. And when the disciples had done this, Jesus said unto them, Blessed are ye for this thing which ye have done, for this is fulfilling my commandments, and this doth witness unto the Father that ye are willing to do that which I have commanded you"

 

From the above we find that in the Book of Matthew we are commanded to use one cup and the emblems should be bread and wine. To alter or ignore the commandment, and to change the emblems would be averse to the will and command of God. One might wonder what would be the consequence of such an action. Would God overlook it? I don't think so. I recall an incident in the old testament where two priest disobeyed the directives of the Lord and Lost their lives. Lev 10:1-2; “And Nadab and Abihu, the sons of Aaron, took either of them his censer, and put fire therein, and put incense thereon, and offered strange fire before the Lord, which he commanded them not. And there went out fire from the Lord, and devoured them, and they died before the Lord." In these last days do we really want to tempt the Lord on this issue by choosing the precepts of men over the command of God???

 

I invite you to read also: WINE OR GRAPE JUICE #2

 

Joseph

WINE OR GRAPE JUICE #2

 

As I prepare this portion of the article, I am going to try and show the results of altering the command of God as it pertains to the Sacrament emblems. The question of wine or grape juice has been a dividing sore for many generations of the Restoration movement. Sometimes when we have a sore muscle, we tend to give it time to heal. This issue is not a sore muscle. It is an issue that needs to be directly dealt with carefully, for time does not make it heal itself. Remember the parable of the man who sowed good grain in his field and the enemy sowed tares while he was asleep. Sometime in the early days of the Church the enemy found them asleep and planted this tare in the field of the Restoration. I do not know when it was planted, but it has, over the years, born evil fruit, that of division and contention. When a statement is made by someone, it may lay in question until, by events later on, it is proven true or false. I believe I have just such a situation to show you.

 

When I and another Brother answered the call to meet with Mauricio Berger and his group in Brazil, we were given the words of Moroni. True we were given these words in bits and pieces, and later on I saw changes made, and phrases twisted to suit someone's desires. Yet there were some other statements made that proved true. Let's consider a statement in the Words of Moroni that I believe is relevant to our discussion. "Verse 5.........”And they deliberately took contrary paths from those who, through me, were restored through Joseph Smith Jr; prophet and legislator of the laws and ordinances of the restoration, with the purpose of being the same from the beginning of time until the end of this last dispensationamong which, the sacrament, in whose changes imposed to it's ceremony, symbolism, prayer, and reverence invalidate the gift of the Holy Spirit in all the remaining/remnant churches of the restoration and with all the very priesthood of the Son of God."  This phrase: "the purpose of being the same from the beginning of time until the end of this last dispensation," indicates that there was to be no change in the sacrament procedures. No change in "ceremony, symbolism, prayer, and reverence" yet as we continue the study, we find that there were changes made. In Verse 28 of the Words of Moroni “................Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints; which remained in the way determined by Me the Lord by revelation which I gave to Joseph and Hyrum Smith in relation to linear succession, until the second generation of the offspring of my chosen servant began to modify my gospel
 

The "offspring of my chosen servant" was Joseph the third, and the "second-generation" would be Frederick M. Smith. This generation apparently "began to modify my gospel." History may reveal a gradual change beginning in this second generation. At this time, I have no desire to research the changes, but history does reveal there were changes made. From the Herald we find a statement by Joseph III on May 1, 1870 in which he describes the situation with the Sacrament at that time.  "Perhaps a few suggestions and plain teachings respecting the ordinance may not be amiss, during the divided opinions of the many who have superficially thought upon it.”  Apparently, there were those who at that time were trying to introduce the use of unfermented grape juice into the ordinance. Joseph III made several comments concerning the ordinance, its make-up and procedures. Two of these are pertinent to our study.

 

"The emblems should be prepared beforehand, and should be good sweetbread, and the pure wine of the grape, if wine is used. When wine is used it should be made by the saints of the pure juice of the grape. Water, or water poured upon raisins, and then expressed, may be used in the place of wine, when wine cannot be had." 

I have highlighted two words above, and I want all to understand the meaning of them because many learned men, apparently, do not understand these two English words. "Wine"an alcoholic drink made from fermented grape juice:  and this word: "Made"  past participle of make. Make:1 form (something) by putting parts together or combining substances; construct; create: ...| baseball bats are made of ash. • (make something into) alter something so that it forms or constitutes (something else): buffalo's milk can be made into cheese. • compose, prepare, or draw up (something written or abstract): she made her will. • prepare (a dish, drink, or meal) for consumption.

 

The word "make" and “made,” the past participle of that word, is used in many different ways. Yet we can see that Joseph III, the direct descendant of Joseph the Prophet and his wife Emma, carrying the authority of the Lineal Priesthood made it clear in this time of contention that the pure juice of the grape was to be "made" into "wine" by a process of fermentation. In the Words of Moroni, which I referenced earlier, was the statement that the second generation after Joseph III "began to modify my gospel," and as I have shown above, the Sacrament emblems in 1870 were to be prepared in the manner shown. Yet history shows that it did not remain the same. Somewhere in the early 1900's, wine and the one cup were supplanted by grape juice and multiple cups. The ordinance of the Sacrament was changed.

 

Was this the only change? No, remember the words given in the Book of Mormon to be used in the baptism of those who came to Christ and believed? 3 Nephi 5:25 “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." The words of Christ were changed from "Having authority" to "being commissioned," Well one person said "it means the same thing." Maybe, but was the change commanded by Christ? Who has the authority to change the words of Christ? What is the consequence of changing the command of God? 

 

Lev 10:1-2 “And Nadab and Abihu, the sons of Aaron, took either of them his censer, and put fire therein, and put incense thereon, and offered strange fire before the Lord, which he commanded them not. And there went out fire from the Lord, and devoured them, and they died before the Lord." I don't have information concerning the consequence of changing the baptism words, but when I think what the words of Moroni tell us of the changing of the Sacrament ordinance - it makes a chill run up my back. "..... the sacrament, in whose changes imposed to it's ceremony, symbolism, prayer, and reverence invalidate the gift of the Holy Spirit.

 

My father was born in 1880. when he was a small boy about the age of 6 or 7 his younger sister, my Aunt Coral, came down with an ailment that was going around at that time. A doctor was called and attended the child but was not able to help, and the child died. My grandmother took the child in her arms and would not give her up and held her until my grandfather and Joseph III came and administered to the dead child. Upon the anointing of oil and the laying on of hands by men who carried the power and gift of the Holy Ghost, the child came back to life and lived many years. Where did that power and gift go? Why is it we do not see that today?

 

 

So once more I’ll say that these are questions that are in the back of the minds of many who are set up as servants of the Lord. Questions that continue to test our faith. Questions we have not been able to answer to our satisfaction. The failure of the Restoration, and the Churches thereof over the years should tell us that something went wrong, not just one thing, but an accumulation of errors or transgressions. The fault in all transgressions is derived from disobedience to the command of God in one way or another. As we believe we are very near the days of tribulation, should we not be interested in clearing away the traditions that have failed us? Shouldn't we be seeking to turn away from mistakes and misleadings, and strive to obey Gods commandments?

 

THE LORD IS MY SHEPHERD
Joseph F. Smith
April 20, 2020

 

As I grow older, many times I stop and look back on my life. The memories are mixed – some good and some not so good. I marvel at the grace of my Savior who bore with me and nurtured me, not because of what I was, but in spite of it.

I was born and raised on a farm in the Ozarks where there were fun times but also hard times. It was an era when almost all work was done by hand. I can remember the first tractor we had. My older brother and my father built it out of an old Model A Ford. We put our hay up in the summer with a pitchfork. We had 20-25 head of Jersey milk cows which we milked by hand every morning and every evening. I started milking when I was 6 years old, and by high school age, I milked 7 Jerseys, fed the stock and caught the bus by 7:15 in the morning for 4 years.

There were fun times too, like Sunday church picnics, 4th of July, summer days swimming and fishing, hunting in fall and winter. Through all this I developed a carefree attitude. I did not put too much interest in the reality of responsible life. Once a lesson was learned, it was soon forgotten, as I looked with expectation for what the next day would bring.

This carefree attitude soon fell over into the religious part of my daily life. I had been brought up in the Temple Lot Church of Christ. I had an excellent mother and father and was well instructed in the pathway of righteousness. I was willing to walk in that pathway, but as I grew older I began to see those who were supposed to be good examples doing things that were not in accord with the word of God that I had been taught. Many times, I witnessed the contention and confusion in the Restoration movement. I became discouraged, picked up my books, and left the Church for the “wise ones” to handle. I decided I would go out and live my life my way. This was a big mistake.

Having spent nearly 3 years in the army during the Occupation of Europe, I returned home, and shortly thereafter I married a fine Baptist lady, frankly a gift from God that I did not deserve. She became my anchor, for without her, I would have gone so far astray I could have never been reclaimed. I had already entangled myself in Satan's web of sin, and the ensuing years did nothing to improve my careless attitude.

There are times in life, when the training received as a young child begins to awaken one's senses to reality. In my case it was as if a hand knocked on the door of my memory and woke me out of my careless sleep, then picked me up out of that web and set me on my feet. Oh yes, there still were strings of the web clinging to me that I had to cut away. On repentant knees I struggled to find again the peace I had cast aside so carelessly. It took a while, but finally my heart was broken, my spirit contrite, and the Lord put me to work in 1995 at the Waldo Church in Independence Missouri.

Early in my life I had been taught about Christ and His sacrifice on the cross, and why He had to suffer. I had also been taught about the Sacrament and how partaking of the emblems was a means of renewing that covenant we make at the waters of baptism and at receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost. Many times in my life as I partook of those emblems, I knew that they represented the flesh and blood of Jesus that had been sacrificed for my sins, but I had not faced the full reality of his dying for Me.

One Sunday as they were preparing the emblems, I experienced a vision in my mind - in my mind's eye, so to speak. I saw the crown of thorns pressed down on the head of Jesus. I saw the thorns gouge the flesh of His head and blood drops appear. I saw something else. I saw the hands that pushed the crown down, and they were my hands. My heart broke as I realized my sins had caused this to take place. I wanted to cry out to take away the crown of thorns. And then a voice came into my mind, and it said, "Your sins are forgiven."

For a moment, I fell back in peace. But then I saw the whip as it struck the Master’s back. Then I felt the wooden handle of that whip in my hand, and again my heart was broken as I saw the stripes of that whip draw blood from His back. As I sat in sorrow, again the words came, "Your sins are forgiven."

Then as my heart was just beginning to lift up again in relief, I felt the cold iron of the nail in my left hand, and the weight and wooden handle of the hammer in my right hand. As my hand placed the nail in the palm of the Lord’s hand, and the hammer came down upon the nail, I saw the arm flinch from the pain. A river of tears broke forth from my eyes. I cried out in my mind, “My sins have done this,” and once again the words came, "your sins are forgiven.

As I look back on my life, I begin to realize what Nephi meant when he said in 2 Nephi 3:32-34, “My soul grieveth because of mine iniquities. I am encompassed about because of the temptations and the sins which doth so easily beset me. And when I desire to rejoice, my heart groaneth because of my sins; nevertheless, I know in whom I have trusted." Yes, My God is awesome.

As a young boy in Sunday School, we leaned the 23rd Psalm, and the first few lines now mean so much more to me.

1 “The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.

2 He maketh me to lie down in green pastures; he leadeth me beside the still waters.

3 He restoreth my soul; he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name's sake.

4 Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.

5 Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies; thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.

6 Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life; and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever."

Yes, He restoreth my soul. Isa 53:10 “Yet it pleased the Lord to bruise him; he hath put him to grief; when thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin, he shall see his seed, he shall prolong his days, and the pleasure of the Lord shall prosper in his hand."

 

I am of His seed. I am a child of God. Praise Him..........

Joseph F. Smith

TO THE SAINTS ABROAD
Joseph F. Smith
4/7/2020

 

I bring to you the words of Moroni to call your attention to what we were called to do here in the land of Zion, or Missouri.

 

"The restoration of my Church, therefore, does not require you to found a new organization, but I have redeemed the principles governing that which had been spiritually restored in its fullness by the hand of my servant, Joseph Smith Jr., in a church without walls, founded by stones living on this foundation stone and supported by the columns of protection of truth, to which a remnant sense of the 'ORIGINAL CHURCH' must burn within you, this being your legacy in common, what zeal to ascend to heaven as never before first seen on earth, in whose spirit of every member of it, is imbued with the sole purpose that builds the foundations of that organization, the fullness of the administration of my gospel among the children of men.”

 

Various individuals can gather different views from this portion of Moroni’s words, however I would like to bring to you what I glean from them.

 

 "… a remnant sense of the 'ORIGINAL CHURCH' must burn within you." This brings to my understanding the necessity to go back to the original Church of the 1830's and to realize not only the structure, but also the call to duty given them of the Lord. Two of these calls were to carry the message to the Lamanites, or the Indian, and to locate the Land of Zion and build the House of the Lord therein. The one doctrine they were to promote or preach was the Gospel of Repentance. The Gospel of Repentance includes the principles of the Doctrine of Christ as listed in Heb 6:1-3 "Therefore not leaving the principles of the doctrine of Christ, let us go on unto perfection; not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works, and of faith toward God. Of the doctrine of baptisms, of laying on of hands, and of the resurrection of the dead, and of eternal judgment. And we will go on unto perfection if God permit." 

 

This then should become our slogan; Repentance, until we do make a change in our directions. The House of the Lord established in the land of Zion was to be the gathering place, and the center from which the Lord would reach out to the scattered sheep to bring them into the Holy City the New Jerusalem. To enable the early Saints to do this work they were called to become one. What the Lord wanted was a team working together in unity. Therefore, He gave the command to institute the law of consecration, which would bring about the brotherhood needed to accomplish the work laid out for them. This the early Saints did not like, for this law would seem to deprive them of their individuality and would create one body. The one body is what the Lord wants and has wanted for many generations. We can see from history what the Lord can do with a people when we become one body. Look at the battle of the city of Jericho. The children of Israel were given a commandment on how to march around the city. They obeyed the command and marched around the city in one body and the walls came down.

 

Again we read from the words of Moroni: ".....had been spiritually restored in its fullness by the hand of my servant, Joseph Smith Jr…” so this shows that which has been restored, and we are called to pick up that work and move forward the cause of Zion. In order to do this work we must embrace this admonition also from the words of Moroni: "…in whose spirit of every member of it, is imbued with the sole purpose that builds the foundations of that organization, the fullness of the administration of my gospel among the children of men." We have begun to build the foundations. Now we must bring forth the administration of His Gospel, that is teaching and preaching the Gospel of Repentance until we become one body; a team of brotherhood concentrating our effort to accomplish the very work that the early Church laid down. The Children of Israel spent 40 years in the wilderness, we have spent 185 years in the wilderness of confusion, contention and division. How much longer must we wait to answer the call to labor in God's Vineyard?

 

Joseph

 
 

A TIME OF TROUBLE

April 11, 2020

Joseph F. Smith

 

I do greet you this day in the name of Jesus Christ. I am looking out on a beautiful day today. We have sunshine and 70-80 degrees. After many days of clouds and cold rain, this is a blessing. From January through even now in April, with Covid-19 seeming to run so violently, we yearn for a ray of hope; restricted to our homes, almost overcome with "cabin fever." It was in February when this virus began to get really active. My thoughts back then ran to the scourge the scriptures speak about, and I wondered if this was the time (Isa 28:18) "when the overflowing scourge shall pass through, then ye shall be trodden down by it." Also this from the D&C Sec 45:4d; "and in that generation shall the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled; and there shall be men standing in that generation that shall not pass, until they shall see an overflowing scourge, for a desolating sickness shall come over the land;"

 

I do not know the end of this malady, but if nothing else, this should be an awakening, an eye opener, as to our condition in our relationship with the Lord. This relationship has become somewhat dead over the past hundred years. Time and again the Lord has reached out to us, but we were too caught up in our own understanding and would not hear. I am reminded of this from 2nd Nephi 13:11 "And again: It sheweth unto the children of men the straightness of the path, and the narrowness of the gate, by which they should enter, he having set the example before them." We sing the song "The Old, Old Path." Remember especially the words of the chorus: "In this old, old path, made strangle sweet, by the touch divine of His blessed feet." Yes, He set the example. He showed us His love for all mankind, even to the point that He gave his life for us. Now He has asked us to put the Love of God in our hearts and love one another and become one. For 185 years we have refused to do that.

 

I cannot think of this situation without scripture popping up in my mind. We continue to resist the command to become one, even in the face of this from D&C Sec 38:6a (RLDS). "Behold, this I have given unto you a parable, and it is even as I am: I say unto you, Be one; and if ye are not one, ye are not mine." Also this from John 13:34-35 "A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another. By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another."

 

It is as if we are saying, "No we do not want to do this because we are individuals and cannot accept those who are not like us. We have come to the point that WE have determined the correct path, and unless you are interested in walking with US we cannot have anything to do with you. Again the scriptures pop up. D&C Sec 1:3c-3e "and the day cometh that they who will not hear the voice of the Lord, neither the voice of his servants, neither give heed to the words of the prophets and apostles, shall be cut off from among the people; for they have strayed from mine ordinances, and have broken mine everlasting covenant; they seek not the Lord to establish his righteousness, but every man walketh in his own way, and after the image of his own god, whose image is in the likeness of the world, and whose substance is that of an idol, which waxeth old and shall perish in Babylon, even Babylon the great, which shall fall."

 

How long, Oh Israel, will you continue under the condemnation of these and other scriptures? How long will you continue to let your soul be drug down to the depths of Hell by that evil spirit that holds you in his grasp? How long will you let your pride and arrogance destroy your opportunity for eternal life? Yes, How Long? Jesus walked down that old path giving His life for us, what will you give? What has He asked of you? Is it not a broken heart and a contrite spirit? Do you know what is meant by this contrite spirit, this broken heart? It means that you are willing to be subject to His will. It means that you are willing to obey His commandments, as it is stated in sect 83:8b "...not only to say, but to do according to that which I have written,"

 

Isa 52:1-3 "Awake, awake, put on thy strength, O Zion; put on thy beautiful garments, O Jerusalem, the holy city; for henceforth there shall no more come into thee the uncircumcised and the unclean. Shake thyself from the dust; arise, and sit down, O Jerusalem; loose thyself from the bands of thy neck, O captive daughter of Zion. For thus saith the Lord, Ye have sold yourselves for naught; and ye shall be redeemed without money."

 

Joseph F Smith

 

Move Forward or Sit Idle?
12/26/19

In a show of confidence, Joe Namath, the quarterback for the New York Jets, made a brash statement during a news interview. It was about the game between the Baltimore Colts and the New York Jets in the 1969 Superbowl #3. During the interview, a man in the back of the room asked Namath if he thought the Jets could win over the Colts. Namath said he guaranteed they would win, and the jets went out and did exactly that.

My reason in bringing this up is to call to your attention the example of the confidence one can have in their ability. What about the confidence/faith we claim to have in the Lord. We are quick to respond that there is nothing the Lord cannot do, and I agree, yet we have before us the promise given 185 years ago that He would bring forth the City New Jerusalem and Zion. Where is it? Why is it not here? Oh I have heard the words, "Zion will come in the Lords time" and "It is not time for the establishing of the House of the Lord in Zion," or words to that effect. I recall the words of Haggai 1:4 “Is it time for you, O ye, to dwell in your ceiled houses, and this house lie waste?"

With the breakup of the Reorganized Church and the many Restoration Branches springing up, and the organization of some of them into one body here, and another body there such as the JCRB, the Remnant, the Council of Restoration Elders, the Community of Christ, the Temple lot Church of Christ, and many various independent branches. Of all of these, which ones are making positive moves to bring about that promised Zion? None. Instead they are building their own organization, setting men in High sounding positions, talking about Zion, teaching about Zion, resting their peoples in one form of complacency or another, saying “We have an agreement with Heaven, we are safe in the arms of Jesus Christ, for we have been baptized.” Isa 10:3 “And what will ye do in the day of visitation, and in the desolation which shall come from far? to whom will ye flee for help? and where will ye leave your glory?"

You may rely on the blood of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of sins committed, but how will you answer for work undone? What will be your excuse for not repenting and going back and doing what is required to come out from under the condemnation of section 83:8a.“And your minds in times past have been darkened because of unbelief, and because you have treated lightly the things you have received, which vanity and unbelief hath brought the whole church under condemnation. 8b “And this condemnation resteth upon the children of Zion, even all; and they shall remain under this condemnation until they repent and remember the new covenant, even the Book of Mormon and the former commandments which I have given them, not only to say, but to do according to that which I have written, 8c. that they may bring forth fruit meet for their Father's kingdom, otherwise there remaineth a scourge and a judgment to be poured out upon the children of Zion; for, shall the children of the kingdom pollute my holy land? Verily, I say unto you, Nay."

Wake up Oh Israel of the last days. Awaken from the dream that the traditions of the past, that have failed you this far, will yet carry you through. That dream is a nightmare. Traditions that have failed you in the past will not rescue you now. A scourge and a Judgment is soon to be poured out upon you, and you have some notion that because you have been baptized you need to do no more. Obedience; that is the key to your physical and spiritual salvation. Obedience to the commandments of God, including those directions included in section 83:8. Do you think that by ignoring those directions and remaining in condemnation that perhaps the Lord will forget about it? Or perhaps you do not believe the revelation that put the Church under condemnation is true. Somewhere you must make a decision, and each decision results in a consequence. Consider your decision carefully.

Again the words of Haggai call my attention to the time and condition of the work of establishing The City New Jerusalem. "Is it time for you, O ye, to dwell in your ceiled houses, and this house lie waste?" That is a remarkable question today, for we have procrastinated all these years in this work assigned to the 1830 restoration movement. Yet we do live in our “ceiled houses” warm and comfortable, well fed, without a lot of care - while the House of the Lord that was called for in Section 94 still is not built. The place that was to be established for the perfecting of the ministry is not. Therefore the ministry is not perfected, and now, how can the Saints be brought to perfection?  Jer 18:9 “And at what instant I shall speak concerning a nation, and concerning a kingdom, to build and to plant it; 10 “If it do evil in my sight, that it obey not my voice, then I will withhold the good, wherewith I said I would benefit them."

What say ye Saints of latter days, are we guilty?  Yes, "what will ye do in the day of visitation?" How will you answer the Lord for work undone?

Joseph

 

TO THE APOSTLES
 OF THE
RESTRUCTURED CHURCH OF JESUS CHRIST
OF LATTER DAY SAINTS
11-14-19

There is need for a statement of information for the Apostles. You stated that when you read "bring forth my church out of darkness," you see the entire globe" I see the entire globe also, but I have been involved in the construction of buildings over the years, and I have full understanding that all things built require a foundation. This is the purpose for Zion and the Temple. Isaiah 2:2, Micah 4:2 "Come, and let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, and to the house of the God of Jacob; and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths; for the law shall go forth of Zion, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem."


Zion and the Temple is the foundation upon which the following is established: Isaiah 2:2 "And it shall come to pass in the last days when the mountain of the Lord's house shall be established in the top of the mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills, and all nations shall flow unto it;...." This is the center of the government of the Lord:  Isaiah 9:6-7 "For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder; and his name shall be called 'Wonderful, Counselor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.' Of the increase of his government and peace there is no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even forever."

We find the promise to us in Revelations 12:3. "And she brought forth a man child, who was to rule all nations with a rod of iron; and her child was caught up unto God and his throne." Therefore our work is to begin the formation of that foundation, while Brazil's beautiful work, as originally stated by Brother Mauricio Berger, is to prepare a people and bring them forth out of the South-land to help us build the physical Temple.

The work in which we are to be engaged must be based upon a solid foundation. Isaiah 28:16 "Therefore thus saith the Lord God, 'Behold, I lay in Zion for a foundation a stone, a tried stone, a precious cornerstone, a sure foundation; he that believeth shall not make haste."

Holden is just our core of operations and therefore needs to be strong. Yes, I do feel it is my duty and the duty of the entire ministry to protect His sheep that have been put into our hands. This is why I feel that we need to shut out the confusion of Brazil, for we have enough of our own here at home. The thrust of our effort must have a solid backing and that comes from those who support the organization, which are mainly Holden Branch and a few scattered members.

We are on the edge of a very exciting period of time in the history of the work of God's hands. Just this morning I read this from the Book of Mormon: I Nephi 3:213-216 "Therefore, wo be unto the Gentiles if it so be that they harden their hearts against the Lamb of God, 'for the time cometh,' saith the Lamb of God, 'that I will work a great and a marvelous work among the children of men -- A work which shall be everlasting, either on the one hand or on the other, Either to the convincing of them unto peace and life eternal, or unto the deliverance of them to the hardness of their hearts and the blindness of their minds, unto their being brought down into captivity and also unto destruction, both temporally and spiritually, according to the captivity of the devil, of which I have spoken.'"

We read these promises, we teach them also. Why is it that when the Lord begins to bring them to pass, we step back with doubt? I proclaimed from the very start of this movement that this time God is going to win. I believe this to be true with all my heart. The Lord spoke through Joseph Jr. and made it clear to all, that if we are not one we are not His. That oneness is lacking in the ministry of this Restructured Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.

While the effort abroad is desirable, the ground work first must be accomplished; the laying out and forming of the foundation. When we realize this and begin to work in that direction we will become more in God's favor. 

This is my vision. It is a great work that we have been invited to share. We are to be a team, one unit; there is no room for heroes or glory hunters. Individual seeking of pride and fame is a drag to a team. The pride and glory belongs to the Lord so let us render to Him that which is His, and let our joy be in the service He has called us to.


Joseph F Smith

President

 

AS THE WORD SAYS

 

I have heard that in the desert there are visions that appear, yet are not as we see them. These are called mirages or optical illusions. We see them, and we want them, but when we get to where they should be, they’re not there. In the prophecies from the Old Testament we find many things we can apply to our view of today’s issues, but upon investigation we find many mistaken views. Perhaps that is because we understand them according to the way we want them to be.

 

Recently there was an article distributed about the 4th Chapter of Zechariah in which the theory was presented that the anointed ones were Joshua and Zerubbabel. First we need to get a clear understanding of the meaning of the word "anointed." The best description I can find to be used in this situation is this:  to ceremonially confer divine or holy office upon (a priest or monarch) by smearing or rubbing with oil. Was this done in the time of Zerubbabel and Joshua? I don't know. I do know that there was a divine conferring of something very important upon some other people that we need to take into consideration.

 

Deut 26:17-19 “Thou hast avouched the Lord this day to be thy God, and to walk in his ways, and keep his statutes, and his commandments, and his judgments, and to hearken unto his voice; 18 And the Lord hath avouched thee this day to be his peculiar people, as he hath promised thee, and that thou shouldest keep all his commandments;  19 And to make thee high above all nations which he hath made, in praise, and in name, and in honor; and that thou mayest be a holy people unto the Lord thy God, as he hath spoken."

 

In the 11th chapter of Romans the children of Israel are represented as an olive tree. Then in 1 Kings 12:16-19 “So when all Israel saw that the king hearkened not unto them, the people answered the king, saying, What portion have we in David? neither have we inheritance in the son of Jesse; to your tents, O Israel; now see to thine own house, David. So Israel departed into their tents. 17 But as for the children of Israel which dwelt in the cities of Judah, Rehoboam reigned over them. 18 Then king Rehoboam sent Adoram, who was over the tribute; and all Israel stoned him with stones, that he died. Therefore king Rehoboam made speed to get him up to his chariot, to flee to Jerusalem. 19 So Israel rebelled against the house of David unto this day."

 

Here we see that Israel became two branches of the original tree. The covenant God made back in Deuteronomy is still the same and now is directed at two separate bodies of the tribes of Israel. 26:19 “And to make thee high above all nations which he hath made, in praise, and in name, and in honor; and that thou mayest be a holy people unto the Lord thy God, as he hath spoken." These two bodies became known as, The Kingdom of Israel and the Kingdom of Judah. Going back now to the 4th Chapter of Zechariah let us consider something important.

 

Zec 4:12-14 “And I answered again, and said unto him, What be these two olive branches which through the two golden pipes empty the golden oil out of themselves? 13 And he answered me and said, Knowest thou not what these be? And I said, No, my lord. 14 Then said he, These are the two anointed ones, that stand before the Lord of the whole earth."  There is much to talk about in these three verses, but let us consider first this: “two olive branches which through the two golden pipes empty the golden oil out of themselves” The two olive branches are the Kingdom of Israel and the Kingdom of Judah. What then is this golden oil? We read in the book of Jacob the parable of the olive tree, and what is the Lord wanting to produce? Is it not good fruit? And what is that fruit? Is it not sanctified souls?

 

Consider this: Eph 4:13 “Till we, in the unity of the faith, all come to the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ;"  Remember this from Acts of the Three Nephites in the Sealed book.  11:1 “Now, brethren, listen to this premise: We cannot think of any more intimate and stronger union than that between God and His Son, the Messiah. ...............And, by merit obtained by His blood, shed for our benefit, He extends to us sinners the invitation to this same sonship with the Father, through adoption;...."Isn't this the stature of the fullness of Christ?

 

Remember what has been read and preached to you many times in the past 180 some years. Matt 5:15-18 “Verily, verily, I say unto you, I give unto you to be the salt of earth; but if the salt shall lose its savor, wherewith shall the earth be salted? The salt shall thenceforth be good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men. Verily, verily, I say unto you, I give unto you to be the light of the world; a city that is set on a hill cannot be hid. Behold, do men light a candle and put it under a bushel? Nay, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light to all that are in the house. Therefore, let your light so shine before this world, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven."   

 

Guess what. Who do you think this was addressed to? Jesus was speaking to Israelites and Jews when He was in the Holy Land. He was talking to the Kingdom of Judah and the Kingdom of Israel. What did He ask them to do?  "Therefore, let your light so shine before this world," Why? Why did He want you to “let your light shine?” To be an example: “that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven." That by seeing you who have attained "the stature of the fullness of Christ;" others may desire to also seek that high and glorious condition.

 

So we see that these two nations are the two Olive trees that are charged to fulfill the work of producing the Golden Oil that is to be emptied into the golden candlestick of Zechariah chapter 4. They are as Nephi said of them:  2 Nephi 12:59-61 “Know ye not that the testimony of two nations is a witness unto you that I am God, that I remember one nation like unto another? Wherefore, I speak the same words unto one nation like unto another. And when the two nations shall run together, the testimony of the two nations shall run together also."  Thus these two kingdoms become the anointed ones of Zechariah 4:14. “Then said he, These are the two anointed ones, that stand before the Lord of the whole earth."

 

Joseph

 

In Our Hand
A Pearl of Great Price

By
Brother Joseph F. Smith

Eze 7:20-22; “As for the beauty of his ornament, he set it in majesty; but they made the images of their abominations and of their detestable things therein; therefore have I set it  far from them. And I will give it  into the hands of the strangers for a prey, and to the wicked of the earth for a spoil; and they shall pollute it. My face will I turn also from them, and they shall pollute my secret place; for the robbers shall enter into it and defile it.”

Editor’s Note: Brother Joseph told me to include this in his article here. Usually I just check his grammar, but the verse above perplexed me. Maybe it does you too. I read it many times and realized something. That first line above is talking about two different things – “beauty” and “ornament.” “Beauty” is an intangible thing and “ornament” is tangible. But the whole verse is talking about a place. The “beauty” of a place like Zion would be intangible spiritual qualities like peace and safety while the “ornament” would be the tangible location – the place. Later in the verse, the word “it” is used a few times. At first the word “it” talks about the beauty. Then “it” is talking about the place. See the start again below with the whole article:

Eze 7:20-22; “As for the beauty of his ornament, he set it (the beauty) in majesty; but they made the images of their abominations and of their detestable things therein; therefore have I set it (the beauty) far from them. And I will give it (the place) into the hands of the strangers for a prey, and to the wicked of the earth for a spoil; and they shall pollute it (the place). My face will I turn also from them, and they shall pollute my secret place; for the robbers shall enter into it (the place), and defile it.”

Early in the Restoration of the Church they were told about a special place, and when we read the above verse from Ezekiel about a “secret place,” we begin to wonder what this place is. In Second Samuel we find a prophecy that foretells a special place. 2 Sam 7:10; “Moreover I will appoint a place for my people Israel and will plant them, that they may dwell in a place of their own, and move no more; neither shall the children of wickedness afflict them anymore, as before time,”

 

Notice that I have highlighted the words “appoint a place,” for it is important that we realize that this is the work of God's hands. Now notice this from the D&C: Section 57:1a-1b; “Hearken, O ye elders of my church saith the Lord your God, who have assembled yourselves together, according to my commandments, in this land which is the land of Missouri, which is the land which I have appointed and consecrated for the gathering of the Saints: wherefore this is the land of promise, and the place for the city of Zion.”

 

Here we see a prophecy being fulfilled that was given hundreds of years ago. In it we find that this place is to be used for the “gathering” of the Saints. This would therefore be a special place. In fact we find in another section of the D&C that it has a special purpose. Section 45:12c; “and with one heart and with one mind, gather up your riches that ye may purchase an inheritance which shall hereafter be appointed unto you, and it shall be called the New Jerusalem, a land of peace, a city of refuge, a place of safety for the saints of the most high God;”

 

In our search for understanding of the secret place mentioned above, in the 7th chapter of Ezekiel, we have so far found that the Lord appointed a special place for the gathering of the Saints. It is a land of peace, a city of refuge, a place of safety for the gathered Saints. Also we find that it is the place for the city of Zion, the City New Jerusalem. If it is to be a place of safety, will it not have to come under the protection of God? If it is under God's protection would that not be in agreement with this from Psalms 91:1; “He that dwelleth in the secret place of the Most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.”

 

If we conclude that Zion is the secret place of the Lord, what then is the question we would expect to hear? The New Jerusalem and Zion is no secret for the whole world knows about Zion, as it is mentioned many times in the Bible. Well yes this is true, but most Christian Churches believe that Zion was Jerusalem in David’s time, and that it will be in the land of Judah in the end times, or some variation of that theology. Then also some will say it is no secret place, for all the Restoration Movement knows about the “New Jerusalem and Zion” mentioned in the book of Mormon. Yes this is true, but how many understand the purpose and reason for the City New Jerusalem? And how many believe it? How many are working to bring forth the beauty of that City and that Zion? Who is putting forth the call to that Zion, and who is physically obeying the following from the D&C 58:3c; “and also that you might be honored of laying the foundation, and of bearing record of the land upon which the Zion of God shall stand;.....”

 

The concept of Zion and the establishing of that city New Jerusalem has been with us for at least 180 years, and the Restoration has done nothing with it, and is now doing nothing with it. They do not want to do anything with it, for to do so would require confessing to the condemnation found in section 83 of the D&C 8a-8b; “And your minds in times past have been darkened because of unbelief, and because you have treated lightly the things you have received, which vanity and unbelief hath brought the whole church under condemnation.  And this condemnation resteth upon the children of Zion, even all; and they shall remain under this condemnation until they repent and remember the new covenant, even the Book of Mormon and the former commandments  which I have given them, not only to say, but to do according to that which I have written,”

 

The former commandments. This would include the Law of Consecration, as recorded in the Book of Commandments which will create the beauty of eliminating poverty. It requires total commitment, the entering into and acceptance of the United Order. This was a form of tithing given in the beginning of the Restored Church. When they would not obey this Law, tithing as a tenth was given in 1838. Even today, most of the fragments, groups, organizations coming out of the Restoration do not want to obey the Law of Consecration. There is however one organization which has taken the promise of Zion to heart and is beginning to move into the directives given to Joseph Jr. This is the Restructured Church of Jesus Christ of Latter days.

 

In March of 2018 eight of us went to Brazil. There we were blessed with the opportunity to handle the Gold plates of the Book of Mormon along with a very moving experience with the Spirit of God. Mauricio Berger, a native of Brazil, working under the direction of the Angel Moroni, gave us that honor in his home for which I am grateful. Also we were given instructions for the work here in the land of Zion. Among those instructions was the directive to reconstruct the original Church that was given in the beginning of the 1830 Restoration movement. Upon our return there was some disagreement about the reconstruction procedure which resulted in six of us deciding to begin following the instructions as given by the Angel Moroni.

 

As we considered the Solemn Assembly and conferences, we needed a place to hold these meetings. Our natural desire was Independence Missouri, as this has always been considered the center place. This would require money and we did not have an abundance of that resource. I knew of a branch of the Church of Christ Restored located at Holden out on Highway 50, East of Lee's Summit that had a building big enough to handle the meetings. I presented our situation, and the purpose of our work to the Pastor. Upon his discussions with the members there, we were given a hearty welcome. Over a period of twelve months this has become our operating headquarters.

 

What becomes interesting is how these things have played out. It is apparent that Jackson county and Independence was designated to become the gathering place for the Saints. The place of safety, the city of refuge, virtually the secret place, the place where God would protect His people. 

 

Let us look again at Eze 7:20: “As for the beauty of his ornament, he set it (its beauty - the intangible characteristics - peace, refuge, safety, etc.) in majesty; but they made the images of their abominations and of their detestable things therein; therefore have I set it (the beauty) far from them.

 

In reading the first line I am reminded of the following from Isa 28:1-4; “Woe to the crown of pride, to the drunkards of Ephraim, whose glorious beauty is a fading flower, which are on the head of the fat valleys of them that are overcome with wine! Behold, the Lord hath a mighty and strong one, which as a tempest of hail and a destroying storm, as a flood of mighty waters overflowing, shall cast down to the earth with the hand. The crown of pride, the drunkards of Ephraim, shall be trodden under feet; And the glorious beauty, which is on the head of the fat valley, shall be a fading flower…........”

 

Again in Eze 7:21-22; “And I will give it (the ornament - the tangible thing or place) into the hands of the strangers for a prey, and to the wicked of the earth for a spoil; and they shall pollute it.  My face will I turn also from them, and they shall pollute my secret place; for the robbers shall enter into it, and defile it.” See Ezek 16: 10-15 for more.

 

What this says to me is that, Independence, the center place for Zion, His secret place for the protection of the Saints has become polluted, and the Lord does not want the beauty of His Church restructured there. So we were moved out of Jackson County, as the Holden Church is in Johnson County. It is there we are situated today. Praise God.

 

Joseph F. Smith

 

April 7, 2019 – Peter Gould’s Covenant

 

Isaiah 65:23-24 Concerning the promises of God to his people who answer his call to arise and heed his voice in the 2nd invitation and gathering of Israel:

 

“23 They shall not labor in vain, nor bring forth for trouble; for they are the seed of the blessed of the Lord, and their offspring with them.  24 And it shall come to pass, that before they call, I will answer; and while they are yet speaking, I will hear.”


Today I would share the words of the covenant made yesterday (06 April 2019) in the ears of the people of the Lord, for so it seemed good to me and to the Holy Ghost.

 

Several weeks back brother Joseph made known to me that he had petitioned the Lord that I might be appointed by the heavenly throne as his counselor. I made known to him, in return, that the Lord God had ALREADY responded to that plea and placed that burden – nay delight – upon my heart that I should so do. After this call was brought forth on April 6, 2018, having such witnesses I could not fail, because of the grace given of the Lord, but to respond - as it were: “here am I…”

 

In preparation for the appointed hour that I should receive this divine approbation, the Holy Spirit moved these words of covenant to be made before the congregation and the Holy Priesthood of the Lord:

 

“Brother Joseph,

 

Hear now the words which I am instructed by the Spirit to speak to you in the ears of all these witnesses – even the words of my covenant – to you – to this body – and to Almighty God:

 

Heretofore you have had the treasured spot in my heart as a dearest of friends and brothers; Henceforth I count you also as though you were a father.

 

As my grand-sire Leon Arthur Gould labored to serve your grand-sire, Alexander Hale Smith, as a secretary and co-laborer, so will I labor to serve you as a counselor and co-laborer.

 

Where you send, by the Spirit, I will go; and where, by the Spirit, you direct me to stand, I will stand.

 

In persecution I will be a shield.

 

In slanders I will stand to your defense.

 

In correction, I will speak but ONCE (that I do not burden you with my over-abundance of words). And then I will leave the burden in our Lord’s hands, thereafter in mighty prayers and supplications – For so the Lord has counseled me this day that you may know I will not badger nor berate, that if I should speak for your correction, you will know that I have already pled before the throne of heaven to know there is no other way; and you will know, when that day comes, as it inevitably will, that I and the Lord mean those things only for your best good.

 

I was then instructed to ask: “Are you brethren of the High Priesthood content in spirit with this, my covenant? If so, please stand.” - They assented in one accord.

 

Then I was caused to ask: “Brother Joseph are you content with this covenant and will you receive it? If so, please declare before this people by saying “I will.” - Brother Joseph stood and declared thus: “I will,” “I will,” “I will.”

 

The Lord then caused that I ask: “And you, O saints of the Most High, are you content with this covenant of service? If so, please stand and sing with me the Doxology “Praise God, from whom all blessings flow…” - The brethren did so in one assent – and so the portals of heaven rang – and the heavens echoed “Amen.”

_______________________________________________________________________________________

Joseph F. Smith 

The Future of the Restoration

For The Cause of Zion

 

After the death of Joseph and Hiram Smith in 1844, the Restored Church broke into different segments. Most saints do not realize that many divisions in thought and theology existed for several years before their deaths. Those controversies were controlled by the power of the office that Joseph held, but at the removal of the prophet, things began to pull apart. The Restoration began dividing, separating to some extent along the lines of the differences in thought and theology that were developing among the saints. Over 20 different factions or branches of the original Church emerged. This history reminds me of Isaiah’s prophecy: “For afore the harvest, when the bud is perfect, and the sour grape is ripening in the flower, he shall both cut off the sprigs with pruning hooks, and take away and cut down the branches” (Is 18:5).

 

 

Just as the restored gospel was taking root and the Holy Ghost was transforming the lives of those who both heard and obeyed it, the Lord promised to prune His vineyard. Why would He cut off the ripening fruit? It is because spoiled fruit began to appear among the produce of the Holy Spirit, which yields “love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance” (Gal 5:22-23), the righteous deeds that adorn the Holy City set on a hill. That spoiled fruit needed to be removed.

 

 

Jeremiah predicted this pruning: “And at what instant I shall speak concerning a nation, and concerning a kingdom, to build and to plant it; if it do evil in my sight, that it obey not my voice, then I will withhold the good, wherewith I said I would benefit them” (Jer 18:9-10 ). The kingdom of which Jeremiah prophesied is the kingdom that was delivered to the Restoration. In September 1830, the Lord told the infant Church, “Lift up your hearts and be glad, for I am in your midst, and am your advocate with the Father; and it is his good will to give you the kingdom” (D&C 28:2b). Receiving the kingdom and holding the keys by which it can be opened is not sufficient. Righteousness must follow. If not, the kingdom would be pruned “if it do evil in my sight, that it obey not my voice.” Did the early saints disobey the Lord’s voice? Our history is filled with accounts of disobedience.

 

 

The saints failed to purchase the land of Zion as the commandments specified. Few consecrated to the bishop. He was only able to purchase 2000 acres. Some bought lands by themselves. They also ignored the command to build the Temple, and did not raise the "sufficient men" for Zion’s camp. In short, they did not obey the commandments and sometimes changed them to suit their desires. They were guilty like ancient Israel was: “They obeyed not thy voice, neither walked in thy law; they have done nothing of all that thou commandedest them to do; therefore thou hast caused all this evil to come upon them” (Jer 32:23).

 

 

Evil came upon the Restoration just as Jeremiah predicted. Our Lord withheld the good. What was the good that He promised, the good He withheld? “With one heart and with one mind, gather up your riches that ye may purchase an inheritance which shall hereafter be appointed unto you, and it shall be called the New Jerusalem, a land of peace, a city of refuge, a place of safety for the saints of the most high God; and the glory of the Lord shall be there, and the terror of the Lord also shall be there, insomuch that the wicked will not come unto it; and it shall be called Zion.” (D&C 45:12c-d). The saints, America, and the world lost the glory intended for the land of Zion, as a frontier city of holiness could have grown into a righteous metroplex, influencing the world.

 

 

The Lord intends to bring the kingdom to perfection. We can see this in the original framework of the organization of His church in Jerusalem: “He gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; for the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ” (Eph 4:11-12). This same ministry was returned with the restoring of His church in 1830. The Lord hoped to perfect that ministry in the house that He commanded to be built in the land of Zion: “I, the Lord, require at their hands, that there may be an house built unto me for the salvation of Zion; for a place of thanksgiving, for all Saints, and for a place of instruction for all those who are called to the work of-* the ministry, in all their several callings, and offices; that they may be perfected in the understanding of their ministry; in theory; in principle and in doctrine; in all things pertaining to the kingdom of God on the earth, the keys of which kingdom have been conferred upon you” ( D&C 94:3b-d). A divinely prepared priesthood armed with the fullness of the gospel contains the power to transform believers in holy saints equipped to live together in righteousness.

 

 

The church, our nation, and the world would be in a different condition today if the saints had built that house. Instead, the saints were driven out of the land of Zion, and eventually out of Missouri. Has their failure destroyed the work of the Lord? I don't believe so. In the last few issues of our newsletter, I have shown that the Lord promised to cut out a stone, which would break apart Babylon: “Thou sawest till that a stone was cut out without hands, which smote the image upon his feet that were of iron and clay, and brake them to pieces” (Dan 2:34). Daniel added that it would become an everlasting kingdom: “In the days of these kings shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom, which shall never be destroyed; and the kingdom shall not be left to other people, but it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand forever” (Dan 2:44).

 

 

This event will happen when an enemy army attacks America. Its invasion will destroy the wicked and cleanse the land. David prophesied, “I will early destroy all the wicked of the land; that I may cut off all wicked doers from the city of the Lord” (Ps 101:8). Isaiah also described it: “It shall come to pass, they that are left in Zion, and he that remaineth in Jerusalem, shall be called holy, even everyone that is written among the living in Jerusalem; when the Lord shall have washed away the filth of the daughters of Zion, and shall have purged the blood of Jerusalem from the midst thereof by the spirit of judgment, and by the spirit of burning” (Is 4:2-3). Note the promise that all those remaining “shall be called holy.” People will be made holy by the transforming power of the Holy Ghost that comes by repentance, baptism of water and of the spirit. When properly done through the priesthood of that kingdom, which was restored in 1830, they become a child of God. They come to their Lord with a broken heart and a contrite spirit, willing to hearken to His voice and abide His commandments.

11.21.2012 - Desert of Confusion

As we struggle to prepare for the coming of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, we find ourselves in the midst of a desert—a desert of confusion. Perhaps we bring this on ourselves; nevertheless it holds us in an unfruitful condition. We are not forwarding the progress of that Restoration movement, nor are we bringing forth the promised Zion. We are specifically called to build up these two things. These are the movements of God and we are told to push their causes forward. So let us look at the problems we face and see if we can find solutions that will free us from this stagnant condition.

In every philosophical movement there is a core or principle that presents the desired goal and a means to achieve it. Take for instance my Thanksgiving dinner. The turkey is the core or the principle around which this meal is built. The potatoes, gravy, cranberry sauce, hot rolls, vegetables, and so forth, are trimmings added to enhance the meal—to bring satisfaction to those who partake of the feast. Those who prepare the meal can destroy the event by burning the hot rolls, making watery gravy, forgetting the cranberry sauce, adding too much salt, or not enough, and letting the meal get cold before presenting it to the guests. Or, they can become overly concerned about the trimmings and improperly prepare the turkey—maybe forget to cook it.

The Restoration of the Kingdom of God has a core purpose around which the Church can be built. This core or principle can be stated in several steps. First, we were directed to declare repentance and to establish the principle of baptism, and the means of receiving the Holy Ghost by the laying on of hands. Then, we were directed to purchase the land of Zion and to begin to push forward the establishment of that Zion. In August 1831, Joseph and others laid the foundation for the Holy City— the appointed place that was to be established as the New Jerusalem. This will become the center of the House of the God of Jacob—the spot from which the Lord will rule this New Jerusalem in the land of Zion. We agree on these principles. Regardless of which portion of the Restoration and which fellowship in which we worship, we agree. Why not work to further the saints’ togetherness and declare the Restoration principle to the world in which we live?

Like the Thanksgiving dinner, we, as members of the Restoration, became carried away in preparing the trimmings. We allowed ourselves to forsake our instructions—how we were directed to accomplish our work. Some even designed and chose their own philosophy. Then, we began judging each other and dividing over such things as who has the right to lead, who has the authority, who was teaching the right philosophy, what is the right way. We did these things without listening to the voice of the Lord or to the directions that He had given. Have we hearkened to spirits that were not of the Lord or did not conform to the scriptures? Spirits that did not come from the Lord, but rather from the hearts of desirous men? Spirits that led us away from the purposes set forth in the beginning? Spirits that gave us substitutions for the real thing? In the middle of our disagreements, separation and confusion, the adversary has gained influence among us.

I believe the only way we can prepare for the coming of Christ—to be found with sufficient oil for our lamps—is to begin to be obedient to the directions we have received. The Bible, Book of Mormon and Latter-Day revelations tell us what type of person we should be. We must all begin to walk in the path of righteousness laid out for us to follow. We must hearken to the voice of the Lord from the scriptures and from latter day revelations.

History reveals that God’s people, who do not follow His directions, end up rejected and will receive chastisement. Ancient Israel, both the Kingdom of Israel, and the Kingdom of Judah, became disobedient and rebelled against the Lord. They were driven out of their homeland and scattered throughout the world. We worship the same God that they worshipped, should we not expect the same judgment? In fact, does not the Book of Mormon give us warning that if we do not walk in His righteousness, we will suffer His chastisement?

Ether 1:31 “And now we can behold the decrees of God concerning this land, that it is a land of promise, and whatsoever nation shall possess it, shall serve God, or they shall be swept off when the fullness of his wrath shall come upon them.”


Ether 1:34 “And this cometh unto you, O ye Gentiles, that ye may know the decrees of God, that ye may repent, and not continue in your iniquities until the fullness come, that ye may not bring down the fullness of the wrath of God upon you, as the inhabitants of the land have hitherto done.”


Ether 1:35 “Behold, this is a choice land, and whatsoever nation shall possess it, shall be free from bondage, and from captivity, and from all other nations under heaven, if they will but serve the God of the land, who is Jesus Christ who hath been manifested by the things which we have written.”

  

As a young boy growing up in the Ozarks I enjoyed listening to many local churches as they would have their “sing fest.” They had some very good singers, and some songs with very factual verses. One I particularly remember was entitled: “What would you give in exchange for your soul.” That is a good question for us today. What would you give up to walk in God’s pathway of salvation? How humble and obedient would you willing become to secure a residence in this land of freedom of worship? How much effort would you put forth to establish Zion, God’s Holy Mountain? Think about it…..

Joseph F. Smith

November 21, 2012

11.04.2017 - Half the Picture

There is a lot being passed around by some who have half the picture. This is my fault, for I did not make the whole story clear in my testimony this past Sunday. If I had tried to do so it would have taken much more time. If we will remember, the Lord said through Joseph Jr. that if this people would not do the work He has asked them to do, He would raise up a people who would.

Consider, we have used up 180 some years and the City New Jerusalem is not established, nor do we have Zion. With the division and contention we see in the branches where are we to find a people who will work together to do His purpose? “And it shall come to pass in that day, that the Lord shall set his hand again the second time to recover the remnant of his people, …” (Isaiah 11:11) “But behold, there shall be many at that day, when I shall proceed to do a marvelous work among them, that I may remember my covenants which I have made unto the children of men, that I may set my hand again the second time to recover my people, which are the house of Israel; …” (2 Nephi 12:42 [RLDS])

He is setting His hand the second time because we have failed to do His bidding, and we have rested more on the arm of flesh than on the words of the prophets and the words of the Lord contained in the revelations. In this event let me testify to all that the whole trip and the events that transpired were arranged and directed by the Lord. I knew before I went to Brazil, that I would baptize some, I did not know how many. I also knew who I was directed to ordain to the priesthood.

There are always questions when something new comes up, especially when it involves changes in our organizational theory and understanding. This event where the Lord is setting His hand the second time for sure cast questions upon our present purposed process, but perhaps with prayer and repentance we can receive the word from the Lord one way or the other.

Make sure the answers come from the Lord. Perhaps it would be best to hearken to the advice of Gamaliel “And now I say unto you, Refrain from these men, and let them alone: for if this counsel or this work be of men, it will come to nought: But if it be of God, ye cannot overthrow it; lest haply ye be found even to fight against God.” (Acts 5:38-39)

Joseph F. Smith

11.04.2017

04.06.2018 - Prophetic Warnings

Recently I have dealt with prophecies that foretell of tribulation and chastisement that is to befall, both this nation and Jerusalem. The warnings are not confined to the three main prophets, Isaiah, Jeremiah, and Ezekiel, but is also included in the minor prophets. Also we find that the Lord spoke through our latter day prophet, to give us warning to prepare for the time that is just before us. [Ezek 33:6] But if the watchman see the sword come, and blow not the trumpet, and the people be not warned; if the sword come, and take any person from among them, he is taken away in his iniquity; but his blood will I require at the watchman’s hand. Now perhaps I am not designated to be a watchman, but having been given insight into what the Lord has planned, I feel it is my duty to warn the Saints. That is what I’ve been trying to do. Lets look for instance at one of the prophecies that Isaiah has given. Most of Isaiah’s prophecies are directed at us, for we contain the blood of ancient Israel, and are subjects of the covenant the Lord made with all of Israel. Isaiah began his prophecies around 700BC, the Northern Kingdom called Israel had already been gone at least 20 years before, and Judah was already in trouble. So the many prophecies directed at the people of Israel are directed to latter day Israel. Lets look at one……….

Isa 5:1 And then will I sing to my well-beloved a song of my beloved touching his vineyard. My well-beloved hath a vineyard in a very fruitful hill; 2 And he fenced it, and gathered out the stones thereof, and planted it with the choicest vine, and built a tower in the midst of it, and also made a winepress therein; and he looked that it should bring forth grapes, and it brought forth wild grapes.

It does not require a lot of imagination to fit this United States into this prophecy. We have borders and oceans that form fences, He did cast out England, France, Spain, and Mexico, stones of obstruction, and planted the choicest vine Israel, Restored His Church , the tower, and sent His priesthood to harvest the grapes. The Restoration produced wild grapes. Thus our condition today.

In sect one of the Doctrine and Covenants, the Lord speaking through Joseph said this: [Sec 1:3a] Wherefore the voice of the Lord is unto the ends of the earth, that all that will hear may hear; [Sec 1:3b] prepare ye, prepare ye for that which is to come, for the Lord is nigh; and the anger of the Lord is kindled, and His sword is bathed in heaven, and it shall fall upon the inhabitants of the earth, and the arm of the Lord shall be revealed.

What is to come? Going back to Isa 5th chapter, verse 4-6:  "What could have been done more to my vineyard, that I have not done in it? Wherefore, when I looked that it should bring forth grapes, it brought forth wild grapes. And now go to; I will tell you what I will do to my vineyard; I will take away the hedge thereof, and it shall be eaten up; and I will break down the wall thereof, and it shall be trodden down; And I will lay it waste; it shall not be pruned, nor digged; but there shall come up briers and thorns; I will also command the clouds that they rain no rain upon it."

 

To prune and dig in a vineyard is to cultivate in a manner to bring forth a good crop. Without cultivation, briers and thorns will come up. Without the effort of the priesthood, Saints will fall away. Priesthood without divine assistance would be worse than a unlearned husbandman in a vineyard. No divine assistance would be as destructive to a Spiritual vineyard as the lack of rain to a physical vineyard. If the Lord takes away the hedge, or boundaries, and breaks down the wall, (our protection), we shall be wasted. "That all that will hear may hear;……. prepare ye, prepare ye for that which is to come."

 

The way to prepare is through repentance, turn away from those old habits and traditions and return to the Lord in truth. Come to the Lord with a broken heart and a contrite spirit. I know this is old food, this is old ideas, but it is the only way you can find favor with the Lord. I am not talking about the Sunday School brand of repentance or righteousness. I am talking about making God a reality in our lives. That repentance is not just something that we talk about in Church.  It becomes a reality in our lives also. We need to be on our knees seeking God’s favor.

 

Psalm 91:1-8: "He that dwelleth in the secret place of the Most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the Lord, He is my refuge and my fortress; my God; in him will I trust. Surely he shall deliver thee from the snare of the fowler, and from the noisome pestilence. He shall cover thee with his feathers, and under his wings shalt thou trust; his truth shall be thy shield and buckler. Thou shalt not be afraid for the terror by night; nor for the arrow that flieth by day; Nor for the pestilence that walketh in darkness; nor for the destruction that wasteth at noonday. A thousand shall fall at thy side, and ten thousand at thy right hand; but it shall not come nigh thee.

JOSEPH F SMITH

04.6.18

04.15.18 - Why Has Zion Languished?

In Missouri’s Ozarks there are many places where water springs out of the rocks in the side of a mountain. The water is crystal clear and usually very cold. As the current flows down the waterway, it mingles with other sources of water and eventually picks up soil and other contaminants. The stream gradually loses its purity and becomes dingy.

The Restored Church followed a parallel course to an Ozark spring. Truth sprang out of the ground in purity and righteousness descended from heaven in splendor, but as man began organizing and administering the work, vanity and pride began clouding it. By September 1832, the Church had become sufficiently contaminated that the Lord placed it under condemnation: “Your minds in times past have been darkened because of unbelief, and because you have treated lightly the things you have received, which vanity and unbelief hath brought the whole church under condemnation” (D&C 83:8a.)

When I first read this divine indictment, I was surprised at the words “unbelief” and “treated lightly.” Doubt and disinterest rise from people’s vanity. As I researched the history of the Church, I began to realize that arrogance and unbelief gave birth to apathy and disobedience. People grew slack in keeping the commandments of God. Sometimes they became outright rebellious. In June of 1829, Joseph Smith, David Whitmer, and Oliver Cowdery treated lightly the command to select those who were to become Apostles. It was neglected until 1835. Then the decree was changed to include Martin Harris in the selection committee contrary to the original commandment. This is but one example of how people revised and reinterpreted God’s revelations to fit their understanding.

I would like to think that those men, who enjoyed such sublime and extraordinary spiritual experiences, did not recognize the adversary’s influence among them. We find a parallel in the Old Testament: “Nadab and Abihu, the sons of Aaron, took either of them his censer, and put fire therein, and put incense thereon, and offered strange fire before the Lord, which he commanded them not. And there went out fire from the Lord, and devoured them, and they died before the Lord” (Lev 10:1-2). God gave directions about how to use the incense, but these two priests chose to offer it differently. They mingled their understanding and preferences with God’s revelation. In so doing, they altered His commandments and changed His ordinance. The result was death.

If the early Saints had better understood the Old Testament, they might have better prepared themselves to endure the temptations that erupt from pride and insolence. Jeremiah foresaw this trouble that has befallen latter-day Israel. He bewailed ancient Israel’s captivity while prophesying the expulsion of present-day Israel: “How hath the Lord covered the daughter of Zion with a cloud in his anger, and cast down from heaven unto the earth the beauty of Israel, and remembered not his footstool in the day of his anger!” (Lam 2:1). Jeremiah’s phrase “covered the daughter of Zion with a cloud”evokes a similar phrase from the cited revelation to the Restored Church: “Your minds in times past have been darkened” (D&C 83:8a).

Jeremiah also lamented, “cast down from heaven unto the earth the beauty of Israel.” What does the phrase “beauty of Israel” mean? Consider the Lord’s promise for our time: “Righteousness and truth will I cause to sweep the earth as with a flood, to gather out mine own elect from the four quarters of the earth, unto a place which I shall prepare; an holy city, that my people may gird up their loins, and be looking forth for the time of my coming; for there shall be my tabernacle, and it shall be called Zion; a New Jerusalem” (Gen 7:70). God established His nation and inspired its Constitution to birth a government that guarantees liberty to all. That freedom was necessary to facilitate the Restoration. Its primary purpose is to bring forth Zion, that city New Jerusalem. Attached to that goal is the gathering of God’s scattered people. That latter-day glory is the beauty of Zion and the gathering of the righteous to it. While the Restored Church made several incomplete attempts, the it has failed to accomplish either. The Lord has cast down its beauty. Why?

The answer lies in one of Isaiah’ prophecies: “Woe to the land shadowing with wings, which is beyond the rivers of Ethiopia” (Is 18:1). The term “land shadowing with wings” is clearly understood by Latter Day Saints to refer to the lands of North and South America. The verse begins with the word “woe,” which means great sorrow, misery and trouble. The fourth verse adds, “For so the Lord said unto me, I will take my rest, and I will consider in my dwelling place like a clear heat upon herbs, and like a cloud of dew in the heat of harvest” (Is 18:4). The Lord is revealing that He will take a break from the latter-day work and consider the situation. That He will pause for a time is illustrated by the dew in the harvest. When dew rests in the harvest, reapers must stop until things dry out.

The next verse states, “For afore the harvest, when the bud is perfect, and the sour grape is ripening in the flower, he shall both cut off the sprigs with pruning hooks, and take away and cut down the branches” (Is 18:5). The “bud”represents them Restoration movement. It is perfect when the flower opens up.The scripture continues with “the sour grape is ripening in the flower.” The “sour grape” would be the fruit of the flower. In the Restoration movement, it would represent the growth of the Church. Since it says “sour grape,” it means a fruit the Lord does not like. As we study the history of the Church, we see that after September 1832, the Church begins a downhill slide. For instance, the Saints were driven out of the Land of Zion in the very next year, 1833. In winter of 1838-39, the Saints were driven out of Missouri. In 1844 Joseph and Hiram were killed and in the next few years the Church began to break apart.

That division has continued to our day and the saints have scattered, fulfilling the prophecy: “He shall both cut off the sprigs with pruning hooks, and take away and cut down the branches.” During all this time, the heartfelt effort by many to stem the tide has failed. It continues today. It must stop. The Lord is calling the Saints to come together and build up a people who would be acceptable to Him, but we have not obeyed. How long O Israel will you be content to languish away in the foolishness and vanity of man?

JOSEPH F. SMITH

04.15.2018

04.16.2018 - Joseph’s Prayer

“Oh Lord my God! My heart is grieved, my soul is fallen deep in sorrow for my people here in these last days. We stand on the brink of a disaster the like of which we have never seen, and very few are prepared for this day of visitation. We cannot present ourselves before you as being guiltless, for our sins are great. In the flash of promise that comes to us in this bountiful nation we tend to follow our own leading’s, neglecting thy words and directions. The learning and technology of our day tends to lead us off into paths that are not of your presentation or desire. The events of our day occupy our time so much that we forget to study and learn the work of thy hands. We seem not to remember the faith and obedience of Moses and Aaron, as they led the children of Israel out of the bondage of Egypt. The people whom thou hast chosen above all other peoples to be thy people. They did not come out without trials and tribulations, but with sufferings they were led to the Mountain where they received thy law, which many would not accept. They began their rebellion, and from that day forth tends to be a stubborn and stiff necked rebellious people.

It seems we also have forgotten the faith of Daniel in the Lions den; of the faith of the three Hebrew children and the furnace of fire and their refusal to acknowledge a false god. We do not teach much about these things today, yet this is the type of faith we need. Hast thou forsaken thy priesthood that thy light no longer is shed upon them as in the beginning of this Restoring of thy Church? From the very beginning of this work of thy hands, our forefathers faced the power of the adversary. A power that is mightier than men who are without your favor and guidance. So it was that they were led astray, and the results of the pitfalls into which they fell, still has its effect upon us. I, for one, acknowledge the failures of our forefathers, and willfully repent not only of their failures, but of mine also in that I have not worked hard enough to turn my brethren and sisters to the realization of what is needed to again come into sufficient favor, to again receive Your guiding hand. I beg in the name of Christ for you mercy, for your grace, that we be not cast off forever, for thou art the only God too whom we can call that will answer and save. I give all praise and glory unto you the God of Abraham, Issac, and Jacob, and the God of all the earth.”

Joseph F. Smith

Written 04.2016/ Posted 04.16.2018

 
 
 
 
 
TO ALL WHO LISTEN TO TRUTH
1/23/20
 

Gen 7:70 “And righteousness and truth will I cause to sweep the earth as with a flood, to gather out mine own elect from the four quarters of the earth, unto a place which I shall prepare; an holy city, that my people may gird up their loins, and be looking forth for the time of my coming; for there shall be my tabernacle, and it shall be called Zion; a New Jerusalem."

Righteousness and truth make up the foundation upon which the Gospel of Jesus Christ is based. Jesus is the epitome of that truth and righteousness. The other side of the picture is lies and falsehood, and the first liar, Satan, is the example of that. Rev 21:8 “But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone; which is the second death." Proverbs 6:16-19 "These six things doth the Lord hate; yea, seven are an abomination unto him; A proud look, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood, A heart that deviseth wicked imaginations, feet that be swift in running to mischief,  A false witness that speaketh lies, and he that soweth discord among brethren."

 

From the reference above we see some of the things the Lord hates - liars, wicked imaginations, false witness, and we see the eventual end of those that do these things. The Gospel of Jesus Christ, and the Law of God will not tolerate those who practice these things, nor will the Lord work with them. The flooding of the earth with truth and righteousness promised in the book of Genesis is designed to eliminate those who practice these characteristics. Therefore in the movement with which we have become involved in these last days, we also cannot allow those evil characteristics to exist among us.

 

We have seen the gradual infiltration of those evil characteristics into the work in Brazil, bringing  corruption to what, in the beginning, was of divine nature. Because of that, we can no longer have confidence in anything coming from that organization.

 

Furthermore, without my consent they have used my name to further their falsehoods. They have even woven lies around my name by claiming I had a ring of my Great Grandfather’s that I used to identify the validity of the plates. Lies and misinformation is not the work of God. What was once an opportunity to do a marvelous work for the Lord has become a parallel to the path which Cain traveled when he chose to serve Satan rather than God.

 

Therefore it is with great sadness but also indignation that I must say, there is no way I can any longer associate myself with Mauricio Berger and his work in Brazil. 

 

Joseph F Smith
1/23/20

 
 NATURAL BIRTH OR A "C" SECTION
1/23/20

A natural birth is the safest for both mother and child. A “C” section should only be used when there is no other way. It is hard on both. What does this have to do with For the Cause of Zion?

 

The Gospel was restored, and the commandment to establish Zion as a tower of safety for the salvation of the Saints, was given for the express purpose of preparing the people of God against the day of tribulation when adversity and hardship will bring about much distress and affliction.

 

Without regard to those commandments we have procrastinated this work, for we have not taken seriously the warnings of the prophets, and have not prepared the Holy Place. Now we find we are at the threshold of the days of tribulation. The Daughter of Zion, today’s Bride of Christ, has not delivered herself of a Holy seed and will soon be as a woman in travail in her endeavor to bring forth a righteous child, a Holy People prepared to serve God. We have, so far, failed in the work we have been called to do.

 

The second chapter of Isaiah, and the forth chapter of Micah, both speak of the establishment of the "House of the God of Jacob." This House is presented as being an example to all the world as is shown by the declaration found in the next verse: "Come ye, and let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob; and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths;”

To attempt to fill this House of the God of Jacob with other than a Holy People would be the crown of foolishness, which brings us to understand the work we have failed to do, and that is to bring the Saints, the body of Christ to perfection. 

 

In August of 2018 a few branches came together and called for a Solemn Assembly and a Conference, to determine if there was sufficient interest in pushing forward the cause of Zion. For those that do not know, Zion is God's Holy Mountain. We were well aware of the blessings promised to those who would strive to bring forth Zion in these last days as found in 1 Nephi 3:187 “And blessed are they who shall seek to bring forth my Zion at that day, for they shall have the gift and the power of the Holy Ghost;”

 

We did seek that gift and power, as we were experiencing the difficulty the Jews encountered as they returned from captivity to build the Temple in Jerusalem which made us remember the Prophecy of Haggai and how well it fitted us today as it did those in Jerusalem. "Haggai 1:2 “Thus speaketh the Lord of hosts, saying, This people say, The time is not come, the time that the Lord's house should be built. 3 Then came the word of the Lord by Haggai the prophet, saying, 4 Is it time for you, O ye, to dwell in your ceiled houses, and this house lie waste?"

 

Years ago, when we did not have so much pavement, there was a car stuck in a mud hole. The man who was driving set his wife to drive and he and his young son were out pushing. There was a group of several men standing there watching who offered no help, for there was mud to walk in and mud flying from the spinning tires. But the only way to get that car out of the hole was to be willing to deal with mud. 

 

Well, well, well, what do we have today? Yes, there is mud flying all around those who are working to bring forth the Zion of these Last days. If you were to join, you would get splattered. Yes, you have your traditions and the gift of the Holy Ghost, but do you have the power of the Holy Ghost promised to those who seek to bring forth Zion? A promise is honored when you do what is required. Are you standing and watching, keeping your clothes clean?

 

Beyond any doubt, those of us who are dedicated to this work to bring forth a Holy people worthy to establish Zion, have met much obstruction. Satan does not want this movement to be successful. Many who began this work have chosen to go their own way, and this is their privilege. I hope they have made their choice carefully. 

 

 As we realize the work of God's hands in the hundreds of years past when He brought the Children of Israel out of Egypt, and set them in the promised land, we know they were expected to worship and obey Him. But that expectation met with disappointment, and He ended up scattering them throughout the world. Then in 1830 the Book of Mormon was first brought forth, and again His people were expected to worship and obey Him and establish a place in which to gather His scattered peoples. But they did not do that, so again the expectation was not met.

 

Therefore God had to set His hand the second time, (see Isa 11:11). This is to be the last time. The second invitation is here now and we are answering that call.

 

The Lord has given us positive assurance that this time He will win.

He will do it with us or without us - the safest way or through a “C” section - the adversity and hardship of tribulation - used when there is no other way.

 

Joseph F Smith