Wednesday, December 25, 2013

God’s Economy: A Christmas Perspective

(Part One of a series)

Perhaps at this season of gifts and giving, we “religious” folk should take a serious 360° look at our preferred economic system. For disciples of capitalism,1 the writing has been on the wall since Cain. For devotees of planned economies (socialism / communism), the writing on the wall may have preceded Cain.

In any event, both systems have served the god of Master Mahan2 superbly well. If you don’t believe, look at the excesses (including the endless trivial) that glut our temples of commerce on the one hand and the scarcity and tragedies that haunt the environs of 3rd-world factories on the other. And that is just a 360 view of our “treasured” capitalism. The scarcities and tragedies of failed Communism were a little harder to conceal because the mountain of “goods” never materialized to obscure the truth behind the lies.

SO, if you think capitalism deserves all the credit for all the bounties that we “enjoy,” CONSIDER: What are the advancements and enlightenments we have forfeited3 because we have never been faithful, trusting, courageous, or charitable enough4 to live God’s economy—an economy of gifts, giving, and forgiving?

So what are some truths of God’s economy?5
▪ Every good thing is God’s and of God, including every breath we take.6
▪ There is enough and to spare.7
▪ Every soul has at least one specific gift to share with the world,8 plus the universal, though varying, gift of time.
▪ Gifts are not to be denied or ignored.9
▪ Gifts must be used and increased to warrant retaining them, but God gives the increase.10
▪ We are to ask for spiritual gifts we desire.11
▪ We are to petition God for our daily needs.12
▪ Gifts are not always linear as to effort or merit.13
▪ We are stewards of God’s gifts.14
▪ We are to give in wisdom and order: as we are able; as we are inspired.15
▪ We must learn to be equal in earthy things,16 which comes as we live the two great commandments.
▪ Good gifts to others are as gifts to God.17
▪ The principle of gift-giving permeates historical and latter-day commands.18
▪ Anonymous gifts are preferred.19
▪ Gifts can be corrupted and corrupting if not given and received with an eye single to the glory of God.20
▪ The idle (whether rich or poor) are not to take except through fair and consensual compensation, though all may receive gifts voluntarily given.21 The same applies to employers.
▪ Every soul is invited to partake freely of the gifts of God.22
▪ We are to extend the gift of forgiveness.23
▪ We are to continually thank God for our gifts.24
▪ We cannot give enough to get the upper hand with God.25
▪ It is more blessed to give than to receive;26 (thus, it is also blessed to receive).
▪ We are to give cheerfully, not grudgingly.27
▪ In order to have gifts to give, we must labour (i.e., give of our time, energies, talents, increase).28
▪ We are not to judge whether a person deserves a gift or whether they will use it wisely.29
▪ By living God’s economy and laws, we qualify, by virtue of the atonement, to be heirs (giftees) of all things.30
One of the great sermons on God’s economy was given by King Benjamin circa 124 BC.
16 And also, ye yourselves will succor those that stand in need of your succor; ye will administer of your substance unto him that standeth in need; and ye will not suffer that the beggar putteth up his petition to you in vain, and turn him out to perish.
17 Perhaps thou shalt say: The man has brought upon himself his misery; therefore I will stay my hand, and will not give unto him of my food, nor impart unto him of my substance that he may not suffer, for his punishments are just—
18 But I say unto you, O man, whosoever doeth this the same hath great cause to repent; and except he repenteth of that which he hath done he perisheth forever, and hath no interest in the kingdom of God.
19 For behold, are we not all beggars? Do we not all depend upon the same Being, even God, for all the substance which we have, for both food and raiment, and for gold, and for silver, and for all the riches which we have of every kind?
20 And behold, even at this time, ye have been calling on his name, and begging for a remission of your sins. And has he suffered that ye have begged in vain? Nay; he has poured out his Spirit upon you, and has caused that your hearts should be filled with joy, and has caused that your mouths should be stopped that ye could not find utterance, so exceedingly great was your joy.
21 And now, if God, who has created you, on whom you are dependent for your lives and for all that ye have and are, doth grant unto you whatsoever ye ask that is right, in faith, believing that ye shall receive, O then, how ye ought to impart of the substance that ye have one to another.
22 And if ye judge the man who putteth up his petition to you for your substance that he perish not, and condemn him, how much more just will be your condemnation for withholding your substance, which doth not belong to you but to God, to whom also your life belongeth; and yet ye put up no petition, nor repent of the thing which thou hast done.
23 I say unto you, wo be unto that man, for his substance shall perish with him; and now, I say these things unto those who are rich as pertaining to the things of this world.
24 And again, I say unto the poor, ye who have not and yet have sufficient, that ye remain from day to day; I mean all you who deny the beggar, because ye have not; I would that ye say in your hearts that: I give not because I have not, but if I had I would give. (Book of Mormon Mosiah 4:16-24)
Is living God’s economy practical in our present world? Perhaps not. Is it rational? Not really. It’s like Jesus and His life and death. It’s transrational. And transrational in this world is to live in faith, hope, charity, and obedience because God has said:
For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts. (Old Testament Isaiah 55:8-9)
That’s the gist of it. We develop our gifts. We share our gifts. We help others develop and share theirs. We consecrate our all to God and His wisdom and purposes. We give anonymously to overcome the disposition to pride and corruption.

The good news is that not one of us is prevented from living, desiring to live, or beginning to live the economy of God (or elements thereof) even in the midst of Babylon and her carnivals of deception and excess.

In short: if we lived God’s economy of “gifts, giving, and forgiving,” there would be no poor among us, every person would be free to develop and use his/her gifts, and we wouldn’t be stuck in “The [tragic, obscene, pathetic, despicable] World As It Is” described by Chris Hedges and others. We wouldn’t be competing for power, privilege, wealth, popularity, land, or fame. We would be cooperating for that which would maximize the good, the true, and the beautiful.

~~~~~~~~~

This post only begins to scratch the surface of God’s economy. In coming weeks, there will be additional posts dealing with:
▪ a (partial) history of giving;
▪ what God requires of us;
▪ ways to begin living God’s economy in the midst of Babylon;
▪ (and perhaps others).
-------------/
1. And by this, we mean corporate, corrupted capitalism with all its bottom-line, competitive, and corrupt justifications. This is not to say that nothing good has come from capitalism, but it is to say that nothing "achieved" through capitalism could not have been achieved through cooperation and collaboration sooner and further without the awful costs. For more of this writer's thoughts on capitalism and competing economic systems, see: http://www.dejavu-times.blogspot.ca/search/label/Corporatism ; http://dejavu-timestwo.blogspot.ca/search/label/Economics .
2. Pearl of Great Price Moses 5:31 ~ And Cain said: Truly I am Mahan, the master of this great secret, that I may murder and get gain. Wherefore Cain was called Master Mahan, and he gloried in his wickedness.
3. As in the myriad gifts buried in migrant fields, slave plantations / camps, sweatshops, shanty towns, ghettos, soulless jobs, bars, casinos, and the like; or the gifts sacrificed in pursuit of power, prestige, privilege, wealth, appearance, popularity, and so forth; or the gifts bought up and “disappeared” in the economics of competition and bottom-line.
4. (Including this writer, along with most of mankind.)
5. (This is but a sampling.)
6. Old Testament Exodus 19:5 ~ ... for all the earth is mine:
Old Testament Deuteronomy 10:14 ~ Behold, the heaven and the heaven of heavens is the LORD's thy God, the earth also, with all that therein is.
Old Testament 1 Chronicles 29:14 ~ ... for all things come of thee, and of thine own have we given thee.
Old Testament Job 12:9-10 ~ Who knoweth not in all these that the hand of the LORD hath wrought this? In whose hand is the soul of every living thing, and the breath of all mankind.
Old Testament Ecclesiastes 3:13 ~ And also that every man should eat and drink, and enjoy the good of all his labour, it is the gift of God.
Old Testament Ecclesiastes 5:19 ~ Every man also to whom God hath given riches and wealth, and hath given him power to eat thereof, and to take his portion, and to rejoice in his labour; this is the gift of God.
Old Testament Isaiah 42:5 ~ Thus saith God the LORD, he that created the heavens, and stretched them out; he that spread forth the earth, and that which cometh out of it; he that giveth breath unto the people upon it, and spirit to them that walk therein:
New Testament Acts 17:24-25 ~ God that made the world and all things therein, seeing that he is Lord of heaven and earth, dwelleth not in temples made with hands; Neither is worshipped with men's hands, as though he needed any thing, seeing he giveth to all life, and breath, and all things;
New Testament 2 Peter 1:3 ~ According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue:
Book of Mormon Mosiah 2:21 ~ I say unto you that if ye should serve him who has created you from the beginning, and is preserving you from day to day, by lending you breath, that ye may live and move and do according to your own will, and even supporting you from one moment to another—I say, if ye should serve him with all your whole souls yet ye would be unprofitable servants.
Book of Mormon Moroni 7:16 ~ For behold, the Spirit of Christ is given to every man, that he may know good from evil; wherefore, I show unto you the way to judge; for every thing which inviteth to do good, and to persuade to believe in Christ, is sent forth by the power and gift of Christ; wherefore ye may know with a perfect knowledge it is of God.
New Testament Romans 14:8 ~ For whether we live, we live unto the Lord; and whether we die, we die unto the Lord: whether we live therefore, or die, we are the Lord's. (See also Old Testament Daniel 5:23; Book of Mormon 2 Nephi 9:26)
7. Doctrine and Covenants Section 104:17-18 ~ For the earth is full, and there is enough and to spare; yea, I prepared all things, and have given unto the children of men to be agents unto themselves. Therefore, if any man shall take of the abundance which I have made, and impart not his portion, according to the law of my gospel, unto the poor and the needy, he shall, with the wicked, lift up his eyes in hell, being in torment.
New Testament Romans 8:32 ~ He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things?
8. New Testament 1 Corinthians 7:7 ~ For I would that all men were even as I myself. But every man hath his proper gift of God, one after this manner, and another after that.
Doctrine and Covenants Section 46:11-12 ~ For all have not every gift given unto them; for there are many gifts, and to every man is given a gift by the Spirit of God. To some is given one, and to some is given another, that all may be profited thereby.
9. New Testament 1 Timothy 4:14 ~ Neglect not the gift that is in thee, ...
Book of Mormon Moroni 10:8 ~ And again, I exhort you, my brethren, that ye deny not the gifts of God, for they are many; and they come from the same God. And there are different ways that these gifts are administered; but it is the same God who worketh all in all; and they are given by the manifestations of the Spirit of God unto men, to profit them.
Book of Mormon 3 Nephi 29:6 ~ Yea, wo unto him that shall deny the revelations of the Lord, and that shall say the Lord no longer worketh by revelation, or by prophecy, or by gifts, or by tongues, or by healings, or by the power of the Holy Ghost!
10. See the parable of the talents: New Testament Matthew 25:14-30; Book of Mormon Ether 12:25; Doctrine and Covenants 82:18.
New Testament 1 Corinthians 3:6-9 ~ I have planted, Apollos watered; but God gave the increase. So then neither is he that planteth any thing, neither he that watereth; but God that giveth the increase. Now he that planteth and he that watereth are one: and every man shall receive his own reward according to his own labour. For we are labourers together with God: ye are God's husbandry, ye are God's building.
11. Doctrine and Covenants Section 46:8-12 ~ ... seek ye earnestly the best gifts, always remembering for what they are given; For verily I say unto you, they are given for the benefit of those who love me and keep all my commandments, and him that seeketh so to do; that all may be benefited that seek or that ask of me, that ask and not for a sign that they may consume it upon their lusts. And again, verily I say unto you, I would that ye should always remember, and always retain in your minds what those gifts are, that are given unto the church. For all have not every gift given unto them; for there are many gifts, and to every man is given a gift by the Spirit of God. To some is given one, and to some is given another, that all may be profited thereby.
Book of Mormon 3 Nephi 27:29 ~ Therefore, ask, and ye shall receive; knock, and it shall be opened unto you; for he that asketh, receiveth; and unto him that knocketh, it shall be opened.
12. New Testament Matthew 6:9-11 ~ After this manner therefore pray ye: ... Give us this day our daily bread.
Book of Mormon Alma 7:23 ~ And now I would that ye should be humble, and be submissive and gentle; easy to be entreated; full of patience and long-suffering; being temperate in all things; being diligent in keeping the commandments of God at all times; asking for whatsoever things ye stand in need, both spiritual and temporal; always returning thanks unto God for whatsoever things ye do receive.
13. New Testament Matthew 5:44-45 ~ But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust.
Old Testament Deuteronomy 6:10-11 ~ And it shall be, when the LORD thy God shall have brought thee into the land which he sware unto thy fathers, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, to give thee great and goodly cities, which thou buildedst not, And houses full of all good things, which thou filledst not, and wells digged, which thou diggedst not, vineyards and olive trees, which thou plantedst not; when thou shalt have eaten and be full;
Old Testament Joshua 24:13 ~ And I have given you a land for which ye did not labour, and cities which ye built not, and ye dwell in them; of the vineyards and oliveyards which ye planted not do ye eat.
Old Testament Psalms 105:44 ~ And gave them the lands of the heathen: and they inherited the labour of the people;
Book of Mormon Mosiah 2:20-21 ~ I say unto you, my brethren, that if you should render all the thanks and praise which your whole soul has power to possess, to that God who has created you, and has kept and preserved you, and has caused that ye should rejoice, and has granted that ye should live in peace one with another— I say unto you that if ye should serve him who has created you from the beginning, and is preserving you from day to day, by lending you breath, that ye may live and move and do according to your own will, and even supporting you from one moment to another—I say, if ye should serve him with all your whole souls yet ye would be unprofitable servants.
Book of Mormon Mosiah 4:11 ~ And again I say unto you as I have said before, that as ye have come to the knowledge of the glory of God, or if ye have known of his goodness and have tasted of his love, and have received a remission of your sins, which causeth such exceedingly great joy in your souls, even so I would that ye should remember, and always retain in remembrance, the greatness of God, and your own nothingness, and his goodness and long-suffering towards you, unworthy creatures, and humble yourselves even in the depths of humility, calling on the name of the Lord daily, and standing steadfastly in the faith of that which is to come, which was spoken by the mouth of the angel.
New Testament John 4:36-38 ~ And he that reapeth receiveth wages, and gathereth fruit unto life eternal: that both he that soweth and he that reapeth may rejoice together. And herein is that saying true, One soweth, and another reapeth. I sent you to reap that whereon ye bestowed no labour: other men laboured, and ye are entered into their labours.
Also consider Manna, Quail, working poor, idle rich, family ties, etc.
14. New Testament Romans 14:12 ~ So then every one of us shall give account of himself to God.
Doctrine and Covenants Section 42:32 ~ ... every man shall be made accountable unto me, a steward over his own property, or that which he has received by consecration, as much as is sufficient for himself and family.
Doctrine and Covenants Section 51:19 ~ And whoso is found a faithful, a just, and a wise steward shall enter into the joy of his Lord, and shall inherit eternal life.
Doctrine and Covenants Section 104:12-13 ~ That every man may give an account unto me of the stewardship which is appointed unto him. For it is expedient that I, the Lord, should make every man accountable, as a steward over earthly blessings, which I have made and prepared for my creatures.
15. Old Testament Deuteronomy 16:17 ~ Every man shall give as he is able, according to the blessing of the LORD thy God which he hath given thee.
Book of Mormon Mosiah 4:26-27 ~ And now, for the sake of these things which I have spoken unto you—that is, for the sake of retaining a remission of your sins from day to day, that ye may walk guiltless before God—I would that ye should impart of your substance to the poor, every man according to that which he hath, such as feeding the hungry, clothing the naked, visiting the sick and administering to their relief, both spiritually and temporally, according to their wants. And see that all these things are done in wisdom and order; for it is not requisite that a man should run faster than he has strength. And again, it is expedient that he should be diligent, that thereby he might win the prize; therefore, all things must be done in order.
New Testament Romans 12:8 ~ ... he that giveth, let him do it with simplicity;
16. Doctrine and Covenants Section 78:5-7 ~ That you may be equal in the bonds of heavenly things, yea, and earthly things also, for the obtaining of heavenly things. For if ye are not equal in earthly things ye cannot be equal in obtaining heavenly things; For if you will that I give unto you a place in the celestial world, you must prepare yourselves by doing the things which I have commanded you and required of you.
Doctrine and Covenants Section 82:17-19: And you are to be equal, or in other words, you are to have equal claims on the properties, for the benefit of managing the concerns of your stewardships, every man according to his wants and his needs, inasmuch as his wants are just— And all this for the benefit of the church of the living God, that every man may improve upon his talent, that every man may gain other talents, yea, even an hundred fold, to be cast into the Lord's storehouse, to become the common property of the whole church— Every man seeking the interest of his neighbor, and doing all things with an eye single to the glory of God.
Book of Mormon 3 Nephi 26:19-20 ~ And they taught, and did minister one to another; and they had all things common among them, every man dealing justly, one with another. And it came to pass that they did do all things even as Jesus had commanded them.
Book of Mormon 4 Nephi 1:3 ~ And they had all things common among them; therefore there were not rich and poor, bond and free, but they were all made free, and partakers of the heavenly gift.
New Testament Matthew 22:35-40 ~ Then one of them, which was a lawyer, asked him a question, tempting him, and saying, Master, which is the great commandment in the law? Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.
17. New Testament Matthew 25:34-45 ~ ... Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: For I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in: Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me. Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink? When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee? Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee? And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me. Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels: For I was an hungred, and ye gave me no meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me no drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me not in: naked, and ye clothed me not: sick, and in prison, and ye visited me not. Then shall they also answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, or athirst, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not minister unto thee? Then shall he answer them, saying, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye did it not to one of the least of these, ye did it not to me.
Doctrine and Covenants Section 42:38 ~ For inasmuch as ye do it unto the least of these, ye do it unto me.
18. Might it be possible that a prime purpose of all those centuries of burnt, wave, heave, peace and other offerings and tithes were to keep people in the spirit of giving? And what about the year of release (i.e. debt forgiveness) as in Old Testament Deuteronomy 15:7-11 ~ If there be among you a poor man of one of thy brethren within any of thy gates in thy land which the LORD thy God giveth thee, thou shalt not harden thine heart, nor shut thine hand from thy poor brother: But thou shalt open thine hand wide unto him, and shalt surely lend him sufficient for his need, in that which he wanteth. Beware that there be not a thought in thy wicked heart, saying, The seventh year, the year of release, is at hand; and thine eye be evil against thy poor brother, and thou givest him nought; and he cry unto the LORD against thee, and it be sin unto thee. Thou shalt surely give him, and thine heart shall not be grieved when thou givest unto him: because that for this thing the LORD thy God shall bless thee in all thy works, and in all that thou puttest thine hand unto. For the poor shall never cease out of the land: therefore I command thee, saying, Thou shalt open thine hand wide unto thy brother, to thy poor, and to thy needy, in thy land.
Remember the rich, young man at New Testament Matthew 19:16-24. See also Doctrine and Covenants 42, 49:20; 51; 82 respecting the Law of Consecration
19. New Testament Matthew 6:3-4 ~ But when thou doest alms, let not thy left hand know what thy right hand doeth: That thine alms may be in secret: and thy Father which seeth in secret himself shall reward thee openly.
20. Book of Mormon Moroni 10:30 ~ I would exhort you that ye would come unto Christ, and lay hold upon every good gift, and touch not the evil gift, nor the unclean thing.
Book of Mormon Moroni 7:6 ~ For behold, God hath said a man being evil cannot do that which is good; for if he offereth a gift, or prayeth unto God, except he shall do it with real intent it profiteth him nothing.
Old Testament Isaiah 1:23 ~ Thy princes are rebellious, and companions of thieves: every one loveth gifts, and followeth after rewards: they judge not the fatherless, neither doth the cause of the widow come unto them.
Old Testament Exodus 23:8 ~ And thou shalt take no gift: for the gift blindeth the wise, and perverteth the words of the righteous.
Old Testament Deuteronomy 16:19 ~ Thou shalt not wrest judgment; thou shalt not respect persons, neither take a gift: for a gift doth blind the eyes of the wise, and pervert the words of the righteous.
Old Testament Proverbs 17:23 ~ A wicked man taketh a gift out of the bosom to pervert the ways of judgment.
New Testament James 4:3 ~ Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts.
21. Doctrine and Covenants Section 42:42 ~ Thou shalt not be idle [as in idle rich or idle poor]; for he that is idle shall not eat the bread nor wear the garments of the laborer.
Doctrine and Covenants Section 42:54 ~ Thou shalt not take thy brother's garment; thou shalt pay for that which thou shalt receive of thy brother.
Old Testament Proverbs 21:25-26 ~ The desire of the slothful killeth him; for his hands refuse to labour. He coveteth greedily all the day long: but the righteous giveth and spareth not.
Book of Mormon Mosiah 18:24 ~ And he also commanded them that the priests whom he had ordained should labor with their own hands for their support.
New Testament Acts 20:35 ~ I have shewed you all things, how that so labouring ye ought to support the weak, and to remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he said, It is more blessed to give than to receive.
To employers:
Old Testament Deuteronomy 24:14-15 ~ Thou shalt not oppress an hired servant that is poor and needy, whether he be of thy brethren, or of thy strangers that are in thy land within thy gates: At his day thou shalt give him his hire, neither shall the sun go down upon it; for he is poor, and setteth his heart upon it: lest he cry against thee unto the LORD, and it be sin unto thee.
Old Testament Malachi 3:5 ~ And I will come near to you to judgment; and I will be a swift witness against ... those that oppress the hireling in his wages, the widow, and the fatherless, and that turn aside the stranger from his right, and fear not me, saith the LORD of hosts.
New Testament Luke 10:7 ~ ...for the labourer is worthy of his hire.
New Testament 2 Thessalonians 3:8-11 ~ Neither did we eat any man's bread for nought; but wrought with labour and travail night and day, that we might not be chargeable to any of you: Not because we have not power, but to make ourselves an ensample unto you to follow us. For even when we were with you, this we commanded you, that if any would not work, neither should he eat. For we hear that there are some which walk among you disorderly, working not at all, but are busybodies.
New Testament James 5:4 ~ Behold, the hire of the labourers who have reaped down your fields, which is of you kept back by fraud, crieth: and the cries of them which have reaped are entered into the ears of the Lord of sabaoth.
Doctrine and Covenants Section 70:12 ~ He who is appointed to administer spiritual things, the same is worthy of his hire, even as those who are appointed to a stewardship to administer in temporal things;
Doctrine and Covenants Section 56:16-17 ~ Wo unto you rich men, that will not give your substance to the poor, for your riches will canker your souls; and this shall be your lamentation in the day of visitation, and of judgment, and of indignation: The harvest is past, the summer is ended, and my soul is not saved! Wo unto you poor men, whose hearts are not broken, whose spirits are not contrite, and whose bellies are not satisfied, and whose hands are not stayed from laying hold upon other men's goods, whose eyes are full of greediness, and who will not labor with your own hands!
22. Old Testament Isaiah 55:1-2 ~ HO, every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters, and he that hath no money; come ye, buy, and eat; yea, come, buy wine and milk without money and without price. Wherefore do ye spend money for that which is not bread? and your labour for that which satisfieth not? hearken diligently unto me, and eat ye that which is good, and let your soul delight itself in fatness.
New Testament Revelation 22:17 ~ And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely.
Book of Mormon 2 Nephi 9:50 ~ Come, my brethren, every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters; and he that hath no money, come buy and eat; yea, come buy wine and milk without money and without price.
Doctrine and Covenants Section 88:33 ~ For what doth it profit a man if a gift is bestowed upon him, and he receive not the gift? Behold, he rejoices not in that which is given unto him, neither rejoices in him who is the giver of the gift.
New Testament Matthew 10:8 ~ ... freely ye have received, freely give.
Doctrine and Covenants Section 38:16 ~ And for your salvation I give unto you a commandment, for I have heard your prayers, and the poor have complained before me, and the rich have I made, and all flesh is mine, and I am no respecter of persons.
23. Doctrine and Covenants Section 64:8-10 ~ My disciples, in days of old, sought occasion against one another and forgave not one another in their hearts; and for this evil they were afflicted and sorely chastened. Wherefore, I say unto you, that ye ought to forgive one another; for he that forgiveth not his brother his trespasses standeth condemned before the Lord; for there remaineth in him the greater sin. I, the Lord, will forgive whom I will forgive, but of you it is required to forgive all men. (See also footnote 18 about the year of release and debt forgiveness.
Doctrine and Covenants Section 98:38-40 ~ Behold, this is an ensample unto all people, saith the Lord your God, for justification before me. And again, verily I say unto you, if after thine enemy has come upon thee the first time, he repent and come unto thee praying thy forgiveness, thou shalt forgive him, and shalt hold it no more as a testimony against thine enemy—And so on unto the second and third time; and as oft as thine enemy repenteth of the trespass wherewith he has trespassed against thee, thou shalt forgive him, until seventy times seven.
Old Testament Deuteronomy 15:1-2 ~ AT the end of every seven years thou shalt make a release. And this is the manner of the release: Every creditor that lendeth ought unto his neighbour shall release it; he shall not exact it of his neighbour, or of his brother; because it is called the LORD's release. (See also verses 7-11 at footnote 18.)
24. New Testament Ephesians 5:20 ~ Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ;
New Testament 2 Corinthians 9:15 ~ Thanks be unto God for his unspeakable gift.
Old Testament 1 Chronicles 16:34 ~ O give thanks unto the LORD; for he is good; for his mercy endureth for ever.
Old Testament Psalms 30:12 ~ To the end that my glory may sing praise to thee, and not be silent. O LORD my God, I will give thanks unto thee for ever.
New Testament 1 Thessalonians 5:18 ~ In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.
Book of Mormon Mosiah 18:23 ~ ... every day they should give thanks to the Lord their God.
Book of Mormon Mosiah 26:39 ~ ... being commanded of God to pray without ceasing, and to give thanks in all things.
25. Book of Mormon Mosiah 2:21 ~ I say unto you that if ye should serve him who has created you from the beginning, and is preserving you from day to day, by lending you breath, that ye may live and move and do according to your own will, and even supporting you from one moment to another—I say, if ye should serve him with all your whole souls yet ye would be unprofitable servants.
New Testament Luke 6:38 ~ Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again.
26. New Testament Acts 20:35 ~ I have shewed you all things, how that so labouring ye ought to support the weak, and to remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he said, It is more blessed to give than to receive.
27. New Testament 2 Corinthians 9:7 ~ Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver.
Book of Mormon Moroni 7:8 ~ For behold, if a man being evil giveth a gift, he doeth it grudgingly; wherefore it is counted unto him the same as if he had retained the gift; wherefore he is counted evil before God.
Doctrine and Covenants Section 70:14 ~ Nevertheless, in your temporal things you shall be equal, and this not grudgingly, otherwise the abundance of the manifestations of the Spirit shall be withheld.
28. New Testament Acts 20:35 ~ I have shewed you all things, how that so labouring ye ought to support the weak, and to remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he said, It is more blessed to give than to receive.
Book of Mormon Mosiah 18:24 ~ And he also commanded them that the priests whom he had ordained should labor with their own hands for their support.
New Testament Ephesians 4:28 ~ Let him that stole steal no more: but rather let him labour, working with his hands the thing which is good, that he may have to give to him that needeth.
29. Book of Mormon Mosiah 4:17-18 ~ Perhaps thou shalt say: The man has brought upon himself his misery; therefore I will stay my hand, and will not give unto him of my food, nor impart unto him of my substance that he may not suffer, for his punishments are just— But I say unto you, O man, whosoever doeth this the same hath great cause to repent; and except he repenteth of that which he hath done he perisheth forever, and hath no interest in the kingdom of God.
Footnote # 21 concerning idlers seems to be a personal directive to idlers and not a mandate for others to judge merit. Idlers are accountable to God and will be judged righteously by Him.
30. New Testament Matthew 25:34 ~ Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world:
Old Testament Proverbs 8:21 ~ That I may cause those that love me to inherit substance; and I will fill their treasures.
Book of Mormon 2 Nephi 9:18 ~ But, behold, the righteous, the saints of the Holy One of Israel, they who have believed in the Holy One of Israel, they who have endured the crosses of the world, and despised the shame of it, they shall inherit the kingdom of God, which was prepared for them from the foundation of the world, and their joy shall be full forever.
Book of Mormon Mosiah 27:25-26 ~ And the Lord said unto me: Marvel not that all mankind, yea, men and women, all nations, kindreds, tongues and people, must be born again; yea, born of God, changed from their carnal and fallen state, to a state of righteousness, being redeemed of God, becoming his sons and daughters; And thus they become new creatures; and unless they do this, they can in nowise inherit the kingdom of God.
Book of Mormon Ether 12:34 ~ And now I know that this love which thou hast had for the children of men is charity; wherefore, except men shall have charity they cannot inherit that place which thou hast prepared in the mansions of thy Father.
Doctrine and Covenants Section 51:19 ~ And whoso is found a faithful, a just, and a wise steward shall enter into the joy of his Lord, and shall inherit eternal life.
Doctrine and Covenants Section 78:17-19 ~ Verily, verily, I say unto you, ye are little children, and ye have not as yet understood how great blessings the Father hath in his own hands and prepared for you; And ye cannot bear all things now; nevertheless, be of good cheer, for I will lead you along. The kingdom is yours and the blessings thereof are yours, and the riches of eternity are yours. And he who receiveth all things with thankfulness shall be made glorious; and the things of this earth shall be added unto him, even an hundred fold, yea, more.

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Tempest in a Top Hat?


In recent years, the alleged manner in which Joseph Smith translated the Book of Mormon has come in for increasing incredulity and mockery.1 Some, who have been led to expect a “dignified” process, as exemplified in LDS art work, have not been able to weather the disenchantment. For others, it has become another embarrassing, latter-day revelation.

But let’s look at embarrassing.2

Once again (if we don’t close our eyes), we see:
Isaiah ~ going naked and barefoot as a sign (Old Testament Isaiah 20:2-3);
Ezekiel ~ laying about for months on his left side and then his right as a sign; and digging and dragging possessions through walls (Old Testament Ezekiel 4:1-8; 12:1-7);
Hosea ~ taking a wife of whoredoms (Hosea 1)
And how about:
▪ Adam, Eve, and that talking snake?
▪ stuttering, “wild” Enoch?3
▪ insecure, stuttering Moses?4
▪ continually rebellious, wayward children?5
▪ chosen, anointed kings proving not so exemplary: Saul (descending into madness); David (falling from grace); Solomon (captured by excess)?
▪ rough-clad, locust-eating John the Baptist?6
▪ betrothed, unmarried, pregnant Mary?
▪ homeless7 Jesus, Son of the Most High, hailing from that lowly place, as in “Can there any good thing come out of Nazareth?”?8
▪ impetuous, common Simon Peter?
▪ beggarly Lazarus rewarded with Heaven!?9
▪ all those references to angels, miracles, visions, gifts, resurrection, repentance, sin, casting our devils, etc., etc.?
▪ treasure-seeking, poverty-stricken, juvenile Joseph Smith, Jun., being given a rich, spiritual treasure (by an angel) that he had to return?10
▪ the financial distresses and failings of the Church in Kirtland?11
▪ all that Biblical12 and latter-day polygamy?
▪ all those raw, “weak and simple” young LDS missionaries?13
▪ etc., etc. (Add your own examples!)
All in all, doesn’t Joseph Smith and his hat seem but déjà vu!

So, why all this embarrassing stuff? To break our hearts? Our minds? Our spirits? From what?

OH, and one more thing.

If you had an iStone (a minuscule version of some future technology) that:
▪ could see beyond space and time;
▪ could reveal highly classified information;
▪ was not intended for “unclassified,” untutored eyes;
▪ worked best with contrast and concentrated focus;
▪ was often used during daylight in rooms where others were coming and going; and
▪ sometimes seemed to work like a miniature projector,
what would YOU do?—if you had a handy top hat!

-----------/
1. Just google <“Joseph Smith” hat> to receive an abundance of “information.” To save time, here are a few quotes and references:
[David Whitmer:] “Joseph Smith would put the seer stone into a hat, and put his face in the hat, drawing it closely around his face to exclude the light; and in the darkness the spiritual light would shine. A piece of something resembling parchment would appear, and on that appeared the writing. One character at a time would appear, and under it was the interpretation in English. Brother Joseph would read off the English to Oliver Cowdery, who was his principal scribe, and when it was written down and repeated to Brother Joseph to see if it was correct, then it would disappear, and another character with the interpretation would appear. Thus the Book of Mormon was translated by the gift and power of God, and not by any power of man.” (David Whitmer, An Address to All Believers in Christ, Richmond, Mo.: n.p., 1887, p. 12.) from http://www.lds.org/ldsorg/v/index.jsp?vgnextoid=2354fccf2b7db010VgnVCM1000004d82620aRCRD&locale=0&sourceId=05169209df38b010VgnVCM1000004d82620a____
Highly recommended, well-researched article: http://www.mormoninterpreter.com/the-spectacles-the-stone-the-hat-and-the-book-a-twenty-first-century-believers-view-of-the-book-of-mormon-translation/ ; For other references to the method of translation by Martin Harris, Emma Smith, etc., see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Golden_plates (“Translating the Plates”).
2. Embarrassing is often in the eye of the beholder, so recognize that if some of the following are not embarrassing to you, they are (or have been) to others—mostly because these things (supposedly) offend the dignity of God and/or the common-sense of man. In other words, what king or CEO, in our world, would choose the weak and simple, meek and lowly, awkward and "irrational" to be his emissaries before the world, not to mention before noble and great "competitors"?
3. Pearl of Great Price Moses 6:31, 38 ~ “And when Enoch had heard these words, he bowed himself to the earth, before the Lord, and spake before the Lord, saying: Why is it that I have found favor in thy sight, and am but a lad, and all the people hate me; for I am slow of speech; wherefore am I thy servant? ... And they came forth to hear him, upon the high places, saying unto the tent–keepers: Tarry ye here and keep the tents, while we go yonder to behold the seer, for he prophesieth, and there is a strange thing in the land; a wild man hath come among us.”
4. Old Testament Exodus 3:11 ~ “And Moses said unto God, Who am I, that I should go unto Pharaoh, and that I should bring forth the children of Israel out of Egypt?” / Exodus 4:1 ~ “AND Moses answered and said, But, behold, they will not believe me, nor hearken unto my voice: for they will say, The LORD hath not appeared unto thee.” / Exodus 4:10 ~ “And Moses said unto the LORD, O my Lord, I am not eloquent, neither heretofore, nor since thou hast spoken unto thy servant: but I am slow of speech, and of a slow tongue.”
5. Substantial portions of scripture in both the Bible and the Book of Mormon seem focused on the sins and wanderings of God’s chosen people. What parent would be so forthcoming in publishing to the world, how their offspring were so continually deficient in filial love, duty, and witness?
6. New Testament Matthew 3:4 ~ “And the same John had his raiment of camel's hair, and a leathern girdle about his loins; and his meat was locusts and wild honey.”
7. New Testament Luke 9:58 ~ “And Jesus said unto him, Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests; but the Son of man hath not where to lay his head.”
8. New Testament John 1:46 ~ “And Nathanael said unto him, Can there any good thing come out of Nazareth? Philip saith unto him, Come and see.”
9. New Testament Luke 16:19-26 ~ “There was a certain rich man, which was clothed in purple and fine linen, and fared sumptuously every day: And there was a certain beggar named Lazarus, which was laid at his gate, full of sores, And desiring to be fed with the crumbs which fell from the rich man's table: moreover the dogs came and licked his sores. And it came to pass, that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels into Abraham's bosom: the rich man also died, and was buried; And in hell he lift up his eyes, being in torments, and seeth Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom. And he cried and said, Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus, that he may dip the tip of his finger in water, and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame. But Abraham said, Son, remember that thou in thy lifetime receivedst thy good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things: but now he is comforted, and thou art tormented. And beside all this, between us and you there is a great gulf fixed: so that they which would pass from hence to you cannot; neither can they pass to us, that would come from thence.”
10. Pearl of Great Price, Joseph Smith History and Frontispiece of the Book of Mormon.
11. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kirtland_Safety_Society ; "There are many causes of embarrassment, of a pecuniary nature, now pressing upon the heads of the Church.” (Joseph Smith, Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, selected and arranged by Joseph Fielding Smith [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1976], 113.)
12. It is somewhat amazing the number of Christians who are not aware of the polygamy of Abraham, Jacob, King David, King Solomon, etc., etc., etc.. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Polygamy_in_Christianity
13. Doctrine and Covenants Section 1:23 ~ “That the fulness of my gospel might be proclaimed by the weak and the simple unto the ends of the world, and before kings and rulers.”
Doctrine and Covenants Section 35:13 ~ Wherefore, I call upon the weak things of the world, those who are unlearned and despised, to thrash the nations by the power of my Spirit;

 
Creative Commons License
Déjà Vu ~ Times II blog by SMSmith is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.5 Canada License.