"And now behold, I ask of you, my brethren of the church, have ye spiritually been born of God? Have ye received his image in your countenances? Have ye experienced this mighty change in your hearts?" Alma 5:14

Chapter 23 – One More Time – A Review

CHAPTER 23

ONE MORE TIME – A REVIEW

We begin this review with four statements of the perfected, resurrected Christ directly to us in which He clearly explains exactly what His gospel is. Note how repentance is one of the prerequisite conditions for receiving the mighty change. We are also going to break out what we see as each of the elements of His gospel,
in order to identify precisely what He has told us the “gospel of Jesus Christ” really is.

    IMPORTANT NOTE: In the four major sections of scripture quoted below, we have indicated what we consider to be each element of the Gospel by stair step indentations and have also highlighted key words and phrases by bolder print and/or underlining.

1. We start with one of our Savior’s shorter statements of His Gospel in D&C 39:1-6.

D&C 39:1-6 Hearken and listen to the voice of him who is from all eternity to all eternity, the Great I Am, even Jesus Christ

2 The light and the life of the world; – a light which shineth in darkness and the darkness comprehendeth it not;

3 The same which came in the meridian of time unto mine own, and mine own received me not;

4 But to as many as received me, gave I power to become my sons; and even so will I give unto as many as will receive me, power to become my sons.

5 And verily, verily, I say unto you, he that receiveth my gospel receiveth me and he that receiveth not my gospel receiveth not me.

[The primary purpose of everything He has said up to this point appears to be simply to get us to PAY ATTENTION AND LISTEN.]

6 And THIS IS MY GOSPEL –

repentance and

                        baptism by water, and

                        then cometh the baptism of fire and the Holy Ghost, even the Comforter, which showeth all things, and teacheth the peaceable things of the kingdom.

            SUMMARY:    D&C 39:6 identifies these three elements:

–    repentance

–    baptism by water

–    the baptism of fire and the Holy Ghost which showeth all things and teacheth the peaceable things of the kingdom.

Those who DO this, receive Christ and “have power to become my [Christ’s] sons.” Those who DO NOT receive this gospel, DO NOT RECEIVE CHRIST.

2. Next from 3 Nephi 9:13-22 are His words to the Nephites from the heavens immediately before He physically appeared to them:

13 0 all ye that are spared because ye were more righteous than they, will ye not now

    RETURN UNTO ME, and

        repent of your sins, and

            be converted,

                that I may heal you?

14 Yea, verily I say unto you,

    if ye will COME UNTO ME

        ye shall have eternal life.

Behold, mine arm of mercy is extended towards you, and

    whosoever will come,

        him will I receive;

            and blessed are those who come unto me.

15 Behold, I am Jesus Christ the Son of God. I created the heavens and the earth, and all things that in them are. I was with the Father from the beginning. I am in the Father, and the Father in me; and in me hath the Father glorified his name.

16 I came unto my own, and my own received me not. And the scriptures concerning my coming are fulfilled.

17 And as many as have received me,

to them have I given to become the sons of God; and even so will I to as many as shall believe on my name, for behold, by me redemption cometh, and in me is the law of Moses fulfilled.

18 I am the light and the life of the world. I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end.

19 And ye shall offer up unto me no more the shedding of blood; yea, your sacrifices shall be done away, for I will accept none of your sacrifices and your burnt offerings.

20 And

ye shall offer for a sacrifice unto me a broken heart and a contrite spirit. And whoso COMETH UNTO ME with a broken heart and a contrite spirit,

him will I baptize with fire and the Holy Ghost, even as the Lamanites, because of their faith in me at the time of their conversion, were baptized with fire and the Holy Ghost, and they knew it not.

21 Behold, I have come unto the world to bring redemption unto the world, to save the world from sin.

22 Therefore, whoso

     repenteth and

        COMETH UNTO ME, as a little child,

             him will I receive, for of such is the kingdom of God.

Behold, for such I have laid down my life, and have taken it up again; therefore,

    repent, and

            COME UNTO ME ye ends of the earth,

                    and be saved.

    SUMMARY: In 3 Nephi 9 our Lord used, sometimes several times, the following familiar phrases to define His Gospel:

–    return unto me

–    receive me/believe on my name

–    repent of your sins

–    be converted

–    come unto me as a little child

–    offer for a sacrifice unto me a broken heart and a contrite spirit

–    be baptized with fire and the Holy Ghost

    Those who do this shall be received by Christ, are healed, are “saved”, and become “the sons of God.”

3. The next excerpt from 3 Nephi Chapter 11 is from the very first address that He made to them in person beginning at verse 28:

28 And according as I have commanded you thus shall ye

    baptize.

And there shall be no disputations among you, as there have hitherto been; neither shall there be disputations among you concerning the points of my doctrine, as there have hitherto been.

29 For verily, verily I say unto you, he that hath the spirit of contention is not of me, but is of the devil, who is the father of contention, and he stirreth up the hearts of men to contend with anger, one with another.

30 Behold, this is not my doctrine, to stir up the hearts of men with anger, one against another; but

    this is my doctrine, that such things should be done away.

31 Behold, verily, verily, I say unto you, I will declare unto you my doctrine.

32 And THIS IS MY DOCTRINE, and it is the doctrine which the Father hath given unto me; and I bear record of the Father, and Father beareth record of me, and the Holy Ghost beareth record of the Father and me; and I bear record that the Father commandeth all men, everywhere,

        to repent and

                          believe in me.

33 And whoso

believeth in me, and

            is baptized,

the same shall be saved; and they are they who shall inherit the kingdom of God.

34 And whoso believeth not in me, and is not baptized, shall be damned.

35 Verily, verily, I say unto you, that THIS IS MY DOCTRINE, and I bear record of it from the Father; and

    whoso believeth in me believeth in the Father also;

and unto him will the Father bear record of me, for he will visit him with fire and with the Holy Ghost.

36 And thus will the Father bear record of me, and the Holy Ghost will bear record unto him of the Father and me; for the Father, and I, and the Holy Ghost are one.

37 And again I say unto you,

    ye must repent, and

            become as a little child, and

                     be baptized in my name,

or ye can in nowise receive these things. [“these things” refers to the baptism of the Spirit and their effects as described in the preceding verses.]

38 And again I say unto you,

    ye must repent, and

            be baptized in my name, and

                 become as a little child,

                      or ye can in nowise inherit the kingdom of God.

39 Verily, verily, I say unto you, that THIS IS MY DOCTRINE, and whoso buildeth upon this buildeth upon my rock, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against them.

40 And whoso shall declare MORE OR LESS THAN THIS and establish it for my doctrine, the same cometh of evil, and is not built upon my rock; but he buildeth upon a sandy foundation, and the gates of hell stand open to receive such when the floods come and the winds beat upon them.

41 THEREFORE, GO FORTH UNTO THIS PEOPLE, AND DECLARE THE WORDS WHICH I HAVE SPOKEN, UNTO THE ENDS OF THE EARTH.


SUMMARY: In Chapter 11 our Savior used the following terms to describe His Gospel

        – such things (disputations) should be done away

– repent

– believe in me

– be baptized

– become as a little child

– be visited with fire and the Holy Ghost

Those who do this are “saved” and “inherit the Kingdom of God”; those who do not are “damned.” “And whoso shall declare more or less than this, and establish it for my doctrine, the same cometh of evil, and is not built upon my rock; but he buildeth upon a sandy foundation, and the gates of hell stand open to receive such when the floods come and the winds beat upon them.”

4. And finally, 3 Nephi Chapter 27 from the Savior’s parting words to his disciples before he returned to the Heavenly realms.

13 Behold I have given unto you MY GOSPEL, and THIS IS THE GOSPEL WHICH I HAVE GIVEN UNTO YOU – that

I came into the world to do the will of my Father, because my Father sent me.

14 And my Father sent me

that I might be lifted up upon the cross; and after that I had been lifted up upon the cross, that I might draw all men unto me, that as I have been lifted up by men even so should men be lifted up by the Father, to stand before me, to be judged of their works, whether they be good or whether they be evil –

15 And for this cause have I been lifted up;

therefore, according to the power of the Father I will draw all men unto me, that they may be judged according to their works.

16 And it shall come to pass, that whoso

                repenteth and

is baptized in my name

                                           shall be filled; and

if he endureth to the end, behold,

him will I hold guiltless before my Father at that day when I shall stand to judge the world.

17 HE THAT ENDURETH NOT UNTO THE END the same is he that is also hewn down and cast into the fire, from whence they can no more return, because of the justice of the Father.

18 And this is the word which he hath given unto the children of men. And for this cause he fulfilleth the words which he hath given, and he lieth not, but fulfilleth all his words.

19 And

no unclean thing can enter into his kingdom; therefore nothing entereth into his rest save it be those who have washed their garments in my blood,

because of their faith, and

            the repentance of all their sins,

            and their faithfulness unto the end.

20 Now this is the commandment:

            Repent, all ye ends of the earth, and

                      COME UNTO ME and

                                be baptized in my name,

that ye may be sanctified by the reception of the Holy Ghost, that ye may stand spotless before me at the last day.

21 Verily, verily, I say unto you, THIS IS MY GOSPEL; and ye know the things that ye must do in my church; for the works which ye have seen me do that shall ye also do; for that which ye have seen me do even that shall ye do;

22 Therefore, if ye do these things blessed are ye, for ye shall be lifted up at the last day.

23 Write the things which ye have seen and heard, save it be those which are forbidden.

24 Write the works of this people, which shall be, even as hath been written, of that which hath been.

25 For behold, out of the books which have been written, and which shall be written, shall this people be judged, for by them shall their works be known unto men.

26 And behold, all things are written by the Father; therefore OUT OF THE BOOKS WHICH SHALL BE WRITTEN SHALL THE WORLD BE JUDGED.

27 And know ye that ye shall be judges of this people, according to the judgment that I shall give unto you, which shall be just. Therefore, what manner of men ought ye to be? Verily I say unto you, even as I am.

28 And now I go unto the Father. And verily I say unto you, WHATSOEVER THINGS YE SHALL ASK THE FATHER IN MY NAME SHALL BE GIVEN UNTO YOU.

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.

    SUMMARY: In Chapter 27 our Savior used the following phrases to explain the elements of his Gospel:

– I came into the world to do the will of my Father,

– that I might be lifted up upon the cross,

– that I might draw all men unto me to be judged of their works.

– faith

– repentance of all their sins

– come unto me

– be baptized in my name

– be filled (with the Holy Ghost)

– no unclean thing can enter into his kingdom

– be sanctified by the reception of the Holy Ghost that ye may stand spotless before me

– endureth to the end/faithfulness unto the end

Those who do this shall be held “guiltless before my Father”, “enter into His kingdom… [and] rest” and “stand spotless before me at the last day.” Those who do this BUT DO NOT ENDURE TO THE END shall be “hewn down and cast into the fire from which they can no more return.”

Since our focus is on the baptism of fire and the Holy Ghost, let’s now look at only the summary statements on that from our previous summaries:

From D&C 39:6:

– the baptism of fire and the Holy Ghost which showeth all things and teacheth the peaceable things of the kingdom.

From 3 Nephi 9:

– offer for a sacrifice unto me a broken heart and a contrite spirit

– be baptized with fire and the Holy Ghost

From 3 Nephi 11:

– be visited with fire and the Holy Ghost

From 3 Nephi 27:

– be filled (with the Holy Ghost)

– no unclean thing can enter into his kingdom

– be sanctified by the reception of the Holy Ghost that ye may stand spotless before me

A similar analysis of Nephi’s profound discussion of the doctrine of Christ found in 2 Nephi 31 through 2 Nephi 32:6 discloses these same elements.

    According to these scriptures and our own experience, one of the predicates (or prerequisite conditions) of receiving the baptism of fire is true repentance. The PROCESS of repentance culminates in receiving a remission of sins, which includes having the Spirit specifically tell you that your sins are forgiven, and receiving the baptism of fire. As we mentioned in the beginning chapter, the elements of repentance are something other than what is commonly understood by most members of the LDS church or ANY OF ITS OFFSHOOTS.

    Our understanding and experience is that the elements of true repentance are the following.

CONFESSION AND THE BROKEN HEART AND CONTRITE SPIRIT

In preceding chapters you have encountered our thoughts and experiences concerning confession of one’s sins to Father in Heaven. We do not wish to repeat that entire discussion here but we can not emphasize strongly enough the role that confession to Father in heaven of one’s sins plays in proper repentance. It has been our experience that the “broken heart and contrite spirit”, which describes the experience of going down into the depths of humility, is part and parcel of that process of confessing one’s sins to Heavenly Father. Concerning the “broken heart and contrite spirit” which the Savior commands us to obtain, President Benson instructed us as follows:

…, godly sorrow is defined as a sorrow that leads us to repentance.

Godly sorrow is a gift of the Spirit. It is a deep realization that our actions have offended our Father and our God. It is the sharp and keen awareness that our behavior caused the Savior, He who knew no sin, even the greatest of all, to endure agony and suffering. Our sins caused Him to bleed at every pore. This very real mental and spiritual anguish is what the scriptures refer to as having “a broken heart and a contrite spirit.” (See 3 Ne 9:20; Moro 6:2; D&C 20:37, 59:8: Ps 34:18) 51:17: Isa 57:15.) Such a spirit is the absolute prerequisite for true repentance. “A Mighty Change of Heart”, Ensign, Oct. ’89, p. 4.

It seems like kind of a “Catch 22” situation that in order to receive the baptism of the spirit one has to experience a “broken heart and contrite spirit” which can only be experienced with assistance from the Spirit. However, some instances in the scriptures, such as in the following example, both elements occurred in one extended event with the first part consisting of experiences causing the godly sorrow described by President Benson.

Mosiah 27:28-29 Nevertheless, after wading through much tribulation, repenting nigh unto death, the Lord in mercy hath seen fit to snatch me out of an everlasting burning, and I am born of God.

29 My soul hath been redeemed from the gall of bitterness and bonds of iniquity. I was in the darkest abyss; but now I behold the marvelous light of God. My soul was racked with eternal torment; but I am snatched, and my soul is pained no more.

    As pointed out in earlier chapters, another important part of the process of repentance that may well occur during the process of confessing one’s sins to Heavenly Father is to be prompted concerning certain actions one must take including people one must see. It is, of course, essential that one promptly obey such directions of the Spirit.

FASTING AND PRAYER

Certainly one seeking to fully repent MUST utilize these FUNDAMENTAL spiritual tools. Consider the role of fasting and prayer in the following events from the Book of Mormon.

Mosiah 27:21-26. And he (Alma the father) caused that a multitude should be gathered together that they might witness what the Lord had done for his son, and also for those that were with him.

22 And he caused that the priests should assemble themselves together; and they began to FAST, and to PRAY to the Lord their God that he would open the mouth of Alma (the younger), that he might speak, and also that his limbs might receive their strength – that the eyes of the people might be opened to see and know of the goodness and glory of God.

23 And it came to pass after they had FASTED AND PRAYED for the space of two days and two nights, the limbs of Alma received their strength, and he stood up and began to speak unto them, bidding them to be of good comfort;

24 For, said he, I have repented of my sins, and have been redeemed of the Lord; behold, I am born of the spirit.

25 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;

26 And thus they become new creatures; and unless they do this, they can in nowise inherit the kingdom of God.

Helaman 3:33-35. And in the fifty and first year of the reign of the judges there was peace also, save it were the pride which began to enter into the church – not into the church of God, but into the hearts of the people who professed to belong to the church of God –

34 And they were lifted up in pride, even to the persecution of many of their brethren. Now this was a great evil, which did cause the more humble part of the people to suffer great persecutions, and to wade through much affliction.

35 Nevertheless they did FAST AND PRAY oft, and did wax stronger and stronger in their humility, and firmer and firmer in the faith of Christ, unto the filling their souls with joy and consolation, and the sanctification of their hearts, which sanctification cometh because of their yielding their hearts unto God.

Alma 5:45-46. And this is not all. Do ye not suppose that I know of things myself? Behold, I testify unto you that I do know that these things whereof I have spoken are true. And how do ye suppose that I know of their surety?

46 Behold, I say unto you they are made known unto me by the Holy Spirit of God. Behold, I have FASTED AND PRAYED many days that I might know these things of myself. And now I do know of myself that they are true; for the Lord God hath made them manifest unto me by his Holy Spirit; and this is the spirit of revelation which is in me.

3 Nephi 12:6. And blessed are all they who do hunger and thirst after righteousness, for they shall be filled with the Holy Ghost.

Aren’t you persuaded by now that this last scripture is primarily referring to fasting rather than just to desire?

As for prayer, so much has been said throughout virtually every chapter that we can hardly think of another word to add about prayer. Volumes can and have been written about prayer, some of the best we know of by George W. Pace, his most recent one being entitled “Our Search to Know the Lord.” We highly recommend it. Obviously it is in deep, focused, sincere, personal conversations with Heavenly Father that every component of repentance discussed here and throughout this work is manifested.

DAILY DEVOTIONS AND THE SACRAMENT

A former Stake President, Ralph 0. Bradley, taught that the following steps powerfully increased one’s ability to receive the spirit: (1) daily meaningful scripture reading, (2) daily heartfelt prayers, (3) if possible regular, that is at least monthly and preferably weekly, temple attendance, and (4) loving and serving others.

To these could well be added partaking of the sacrament in a prayerful manner focusing on sincerely renewing one’s baptismal covenants to remember the Savior always. The following incident from 3 Nephi tells of an occurrence when the sacrament apparently played a vital role.

3 Nep 20:3-9 And it came to pass that he (Christ) brake bread again and blessed it, and gave to the disciples to eat.

4 And when they had eaten he commanded them that they should break bread, and give unto the multitude.

5 And when they had given unto the multitude he also gave them wine to drink, and commanded that they should give unto the multitude.

6 Now, there had been no bread, neither wine, brought by the disciples, neither by the multitude;

7 But he truly gave them bread to eat, and also wine to drink.

8 And he said unto them: He that eateth this bread eateth of my body to his soul; and he that drinketh of this wine drinketh of my blood to his soul; and his soul shall never hunger nor thirst, but shall be filled.

9 Now, when the multitude had all eaten and drunk, behold, they were filled with the Spirit; and they did cry out with one voice, and gave glory to Jesus, whom they both saw and heard.

ASK AND YE SHALL RECEIVE

There are few principles more often found in the scriptures than the instruction to ask and seek of our Father in Heaven. The substance of “ask and ye shall receive, seek and ye shall find, knock and it shall be opened unto you” can be found in many dozens of different verses throughout all four scriptures from beginning to end, including James 1:5 and 3 Nephi 27:28-29 quoted earlier in this chapter. Let us look at a couple more.

3 Nephi 14:7-8 (the Nephite Sermon of the Mount)
Ask, and it shall be given unto you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you…

8 For every one that asketh, receiveth; and he that seeketh, findeth; and to him that knocketh, it shall be opened.

Mormon 9:19-21, 25, 27-28. And if there were miracles wrought then, why has God ceased to be a God of miracles and yet be an unchangeable Being? And behold, I say unto you that he changeth riot; if so he would cease to be God; and he ceaseth not to be a God, and is a God of miracles;

20 And the reason why he ceaseth to do miracles among the children of men is because that they dwindle in unbelief, and depart from the right way, and know not the God in whom they should trust. [Would this not apply to those who ignore and refuse to obey the laws pertaining to receiving the baptism of the Holy Ghost?]

21 Behold, I say unto you, you that whoso believeth in Christ, doubting nothing, whatsoever he shall ASK the Father in the name of Christ it shall be granted him; and this promise is unto all, even unto the ends of the earth.

     …

25 And whosoever shall believe in my name, DOUBTING NOTHING, will I confirm all my words unto him, even unto the ends of the earth.


27 0 then despise not, and wonder not, but hearken unto the words of the Lord) and ASK the Father in the name of Jesus for what things soever ye shall stand in need. DOUBT NOT, but be believing, and begin as in times of old, and COME UNTO THE LORD with all your heart, and work out your own salvation with fear and trembling before him.

28 Be wise in the days of your probation; strip yourselves of all uncleanness; ask not, that ye may consume it on your lusts1 but ASK with a firmness unshaken, that ye will yield to no temptation, but that ye will serve the true and living God.

The point is that in order to receive blessings from our Father in Heaven almost without exception we must first ask for that blessing or spiritual gift. Indeed, the entire restoration was brought about because Joseph wanted to know which church was right. And virtually every section of the Doctrine and Covenants was received in response to questions asked of the Lord.

SINCERE DESIRE

A deep, sincere desire is obviously another vital component. Note that before the twelve disciples each received their own baptism of fire,

3 Nephi 19:9. …they did pray for that which they most desired; and they desired that the Holy Ghost should be given unto them.

Consider also the following scriptures on the subject of desire.

1 Nephi 10:17-22. And it came to pass after I, Nephi, having heard all the words of my father, concerning the things which he saw in a vision, and also the things which he spake by the power of the Holy Ghost, which power he received by faith on the Son of God – and the Son of God was the Messiah who should come – I Nephi, was desirous also that I might see, and hear, and know these things, by the power of the Holy Ghost, which is the gift of God unto all those who diligently seek him, as well in times of old as in the time that he should manifest himself unto the children of men.

18 For he is the same yesterday, to-day, and forever; and the way is prepared for all men from the foundation of the world, if it so be that they repent and come unto him.

19 For he that diligently seeketh shall find; and the mysteries of God shall be unfolded unto them, by the power of the Holy Ghost, as well in these times as in times of old, and as well in times of old as in times to come; wherefore, the course of the Lord is one eternal round.

20 Therefore remember, 0 man, for all thy doings thou shalt be brought into judgment.

21 Wherefore, if ye have sought to do wickedly in the days of your probation, then ye are found unclean before the judgment-seat of God; and no unclean thing can dwell with God; wherefore, ye must be cast off forever.

22 And the Holy Ghost giveth authority that I should speak these things, and deny them not.

Moroni 7:9. And likewise also is it counted evil unto a man, if he shall pray and not with real intent of heart; yea, and it profiteth him nothing, for God receiveth none such.

Heavenly Father has told us that He requires our hearts and we are judged accordingly.

3 Nephi 10:6. 0 ye house of Israel whom I have spared, how oft will I gather you as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, if ye will repent and return unto me with full purpose of heart.

D&C 64:22. And after that day, I, the Lord will not hold any guilty that shall go with an open heart up to the land of Zion; for I, the Lord, require the hearts of the children of men.

D&C 137:9. For I, the Lord, will judge all men according to their works, according the the desire of their hearts.

Helaman 3:35. Nevertheless they did fast and pray oft, and did wax stronger and stronger in their humility, and firmer and firmer in the faith of Christ, unto the filling their souls with joy and consolation, and the sanctification of their hearts, which sanctification cometh because of their yielding their hearts unto God.

Do you now have a much more complete understanding of exactly why each prophet of this dispensation from Joseph Smith to President Benson has soberly and emphatically stated that the Lord has specifically directed him to “Say nothing but repentance unto this generation.”?

Would you now agree that “repent” is another word that may be added to the list of the many names for this mighty change? In fact, in each of the three scriptures below the words “repent” and “repentance” are clearly used to mean obtaining one’s remission of sins.

Alma 13:30 And may the Lord grant unto you REPENTANCE, that ye may not bring down his wrath upon you, that ye may not be bound down by the chains of hell, that ye may not suffer the second death.

Moses 6:57 Wherefore teach it unto your children, that all men, everywhere, must REPENT, or they can in nowise inherit the kingdom of God, for no unclean thing can dwell there, or dwell in his presence; for, in the language of Adam, Man of Holiness is his name, and the name of his Only Begotten is the Son of Man, even Jesus Christ, a righteous Judge, who shall come in the meridian of time.

Jacob 3:3 But, wo, wo, unto you that are not pure in heart, that are filthy this day before God; for except ye REPENT the land is cursed for your sakes; and the Lamanites, which are not filthy like unto you, nevertheless they are cursed with a sore cursing, shall scourge you even unto destruction.

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