Chapter Three –The Book of Mormon
Another Testament of Christ
About 600 years before Christ was born — and we are assuming here that he listened to the prophet Jeremiah — Lehi understood that Jerusalem was going to be destroyed and why. Obviously he was already a righteous man and so was able to believe Jeremiah.He took his family, and guided by the Lord, began a long journey through the wilderness. During this time he has a vision of the tree of life. (See Nephi 8; it is also quoted in its entirety at the end of this book.) It is interesting that he also talks about the straight and narrow path. It is evident that he knows the intention of the Lord from the beginning in the garden, and that he will guide and teach his children the same teachings taught by the major prophets of God. This sets the stage for the teachings in the Book of Mormon. There was a time as they traveled through the wilderness that the Lord allowed them to slay animals for their food. Be assured that it was totally necessary to save their lives:
13 And it is pleasing unto me that they should not be used, only in times of winter, or of cold, or famine.…
15 And these hath God made for the use of man only in times of famine and excess of hunger. (D&C 89:13,15)
Before we begin to examine the teachings of the Book of Mormon, we must first discuss Matthew 7:15
15 Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves. (Matthew 7:15)
We now know the teachings of the Old Testament from the beginning in the garden. We know what the original sin was. We know that God sent his prophets Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, ad infinitum, to reiterate the original word of God, and to teach, reprove, lift, and lead the people from their bloody and fallen state.
Lehi, the first prophet of the Book of Mormon, was a contemporary of Jeremiah. He heard Jeremiah, he was righteous to begin with, and/or he repented and began to preach the same word of God that Jeremiah preached. His preaching was so powerful that the people in Jerusalem sought his life. He was led away from Jerusalem, as many righteous men before him, over a period of hundreds of years, had been led by the hand of the Lord to another land where they and their families could freely follow the teachings of God and worship Him in purity of body/heart, mind and spirit.
In Lehi’s preaching to his children, Nephi, Lemuel, Laman, Sam, and Jacob, he didn’t have to be as specific as Isaiah had been to the people of his day. His children already knew what the teachings of the gospel were. It is significant that he sent his children back to Jerusalem to obtain the original scriptures which were kept by the people from the beginning and that Isaiah was considered the choice scripture to be studied by his people. However, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy were never mentioned in the Book of Mormon.
Now that we know these things, we must ask ourselves, Are the prophets of the Book of Mormon true or false? Are they wolves in sheep’s clothing? Can we accept them as prophets of God and confidently follow their teachings? Will their teachings further our eternal progress? In order to answer these questions, we will go forward in our search for truth and compare their teachings with the original teachings of God and His prophets of the Old Testament.
We must remember again that this is a Little Book, an opening for study, an introduction that will illustrate the continuing thread that permeates all true scriptures of God. As well, it is a pointer for those who are lost in a Bible that is a history of the early peoples’ good and evil, who profited from the buying and selling of beasts of all kinds and did not wish to lose their power to make money, or to lead the people in such a way so that they couldn’t come to a knowledge of the truth. In continuing our study, we should remind ourselves of the words which we have learned so far and what they mean:
Wicked: people who destroy and consume the flesh of beasts.
Righteous: people who follow the teaching of God and serve as stewards of God’s creation, not destroying but helping to further the eternal progression of themselves and even the beasts.
“The ancients taught that Adam’s dominion was nothing less than the priesthood, the power to act for God and in his place. The idea is that God, while retaining his unshakable throne in the heavens, extended his glory to a new world below in the work of the Creation; then as the culmination of that work he created man to be in charge [li-mshol] of all the beings he had created, with the understanding that from this time forth man must work to improve the earth and preserve and take care of all that is in it, exactly as God had done before. (Hugh Nibley, New Era, Jan–Feb 1981, 48, found in Kindness to Animals and Caring for the Earth, Richard D. Stratton)
“Man’s dominion is a call to service, not a license to exterminate. It is precisely because men now prey upon each other and shed the blood and waste the flesh of other creatures without need that “the world lieth in sin.” (D&C 49:19–21) Such, at least, is the teaching of the ancient Jews and of modern revelation.” (Hugh Nibley, New Era, Jan–Feb, 1981, 48, found in Kindness to Animals and Caring for the Earth, Richard D. Stratton)
Iniquity: The consideration that all things that God has created are not equal and treating them as such.
Clean: Clean from the blood of destroyed animals.
Unclean: Further definition later.
Purity: Pureness of body — consequently, mind, and then spirit.
Lust: There are clearly two meanings for lust; the meaning we are concerned with here is the desire for the flesh of animals (i.e., lusting for flesh for their tables as recorded in Numbers 11 and in Psalm 78).
We also assume (and it is reflected in the Book of Mormon) that Lehi and his family did not take with them huge herds of animals so that they would have food to eat, but rather all kinds of seeds and provisions so they would have food in the wilderness. It was obvious that the only time they were allowed by God to eat flesh was when their lives were threatened with famine. At that time they were shown where to find wild game in the wilderness.
13 And it is pleasing unto me that they should not be used, only in times of winter, or of cold, or famine.…
15 And these have God made for the use of man only in times of famine and excess of hunger. (D&C 89:13,15)
16 … and also having great desires cry unto the Lord; and behold he did visit me, and did soften my heart to know of the mysteries of God, wherefore He did visit me and soften my heart that I did believe all the words which had been spoken by my father; wherefore I did not rebel against him like unto my brothers.
17 And I spake unto Sam, making known unto him the things which the Lord had manifested unto me by his Holy Spirit. And it came to pass that he believed in my words.
18 But, behold, Laman and Lemuel would not hearken unto my words; and being grieved because of the hardness of their hearts, I cried unto the Lord for them.
19 And it came to pass that the lord spake unto me saying: Blessed art thou, Nephi, because of thy faith, for thou has sought me diligently, with lowliness of heart. (1 Nephi 2:16–19)
The above scriptures set the stage for the teachings of the Book of Mormon. We can assume here that the Lord did teach the mysteries of God to Nephi. When he sought to teach them to Laman and Lemuel, they hardened their hearts. Throughout the Book of Mormon are the righteous people who seek to obey every word of God from the beginning, and those who, after hearing the prophets teach the gospel, harden their hearts (to the sad plight of the animals) and still wish to consume the flesh of beasts.
The people of Lehi, just as the people of the Old Testament, stoned the prophets and sought their lives and the lives of their people. The Book of Mormon foreshadows our time in that many of the people who harden their hearts, disobey, and pollute their bodies with flesh, become hardened and evil. There are wars and rumors of wars until the wicked not only destroy and consume the flesh of beasts but seek the total destruction of the people as did the people before the flood.
The Lord here is speaking of Laman’s descendents, the Lamanites.
22 And thus saith the Lord God: I will cause that they shall be loathsome unto thy people, save they shall repent of their iniquities.
23 And cursed shall be the seed of him that mixeth with their seed; for they shall be cursed even with the same cursing. And the Lord spake it, and it was done.
24 And because of their cursing which was upon them they did become an idle people, full of mischief and subtlety, and did seek in the wilderness for beasts of prey. (2 Nephi 5:22–24)
It is interesting that when it was absolutely necessary for the family to survive, they were even led by the Lord to find beasts of prey. Yet when they had plenteous other foods to eat and didn’t have to have flesh to survive, they ate it anyway, and the Lord put a curse on them. Why did the Lord curse the seed of those who mixed with their seed? The answer lies in the fact that they were unclean in this behavior. Can we inherit uncleanness? It is difficult to be part of a family that partakes of flesh foods and then not partake ourselves.
40 O, my beloved brethren, give ear to my words. Remember the greatness of the Holy One of Israel. Do not say that I have spoken hard things against you; for if ye do, ye will revile against the truth; for I have spoken the words of your Maker. I know that the words of truth are hard against all uncleanness; but the righteous fear them not, for they love the truth and are not shaken. (2 Nephi 9:40)
Do these teachings reflect the same teachings of the Old Testament? Did God change his mind and decide to let the children have their flesh?
17 … I, Nephi, was desirous also that I might see, and hear, and know of 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, today, 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, O 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. (1 Nephi 10:17–21)
These are hard words against the wicked and the unclean. For those who recognize their wickedness and uncleanness, there is the act of repentance, which brings the blessing of redemption and restoration to the presence of the Lord. There is the major danger that those who harden their hearts will fall completely away from the teachings of the Lord and fall into forbidden paths.
4 And he shall judge among the nations, and shall rebuke many people: and they shall beat their swords into plow-shares and their spears into pruning hooks — nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more.
5 O house of Jacob, come ye and let us walk in the light of the Lord; yea, come, for ye have all gone astray, every one to his wicked ways. (2 Nephi 12:4–5)
10 For the time speedily cometh that the Lord God shall cause a great division among the people, and the wicked will he destroy; and HE WILL SPARE HIS PEOPLE, yea, even if it so be that he must destroy the wicked by fire. [Emphasis added.]
11 And righteousness shall be the girdle of his loins, and faithfulness [faith enough to repent?] the girdle of his reins.
12 And then shall the wolf dwell with the lamb; and the leopard shall lie down with the kid, and the calf, and the young lion, and the fatling, together; and a little child shall lead them.
13 And the cow and the bear shall feed; their young ones shall lie down together; and the lion shall eat straw like the ox.
14 And the sucking child shall play on the hole of the asp, and the weaned child shall put his hand on the cockatrice’s den.
15 THEY SHALL NOT HURT NOR DESTROY in all my holy mountain; for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord as the waters cover the sea. (2 Nephi 30:10–15. Emphasis added.)
It is easy to see here who the Lord’s people are and to know that Nephi is teaching the same thing that Isaiah taught. The people will not divide into two armed camps, but they will separate themselves from Babylon, while still living in it, by their compassionate daily actions — being in the world, but not of it.
20 And I bear record that the people of Nephi did seek diligently to restore the Lamanites unto the true faith in God. But our labors were vain; their hatred was fixed, and they were led by their evil nature that they became wild, and ferocious, and a blood-thirsty people, full of idolatry and filthiness; feeding upon beasts of prey; dwelling in tents, and wandering about in the wilderness with a short skin girdle about their loins and their heads shaven; and their skill was in the bow, and in the cimeter, and the ax. And many of them did eat nothing save it was raw meat; and they were continually seeking to destroy us. (Enos 1:20)
It is curious that Enos went out into the wilderness to hunt, decided to pray powerfully, was touched by the Spirit, and then speaks of his repentance. We assume that he repented of that action we have all been enjoined to repent of since the commandment was given in the garden.
6 And it came to pass that king Mosiah did walk in the ways of the Lord, and did observe his judgments and his statutes, and did keep his commandments in all things whatsoever he commanded him.
7 And king Mosiah did cause his people that they should TILL THE EARTH.… (Mosiah 6:6–7)
57 And now I say unto you, all you that are desirous to follow the voice of the good shepherd, come ye out from the wicked, and be ye separate, and touch not their unclean things; … (Alma 5:57)
21 And he doth not dwell in unholy temples; neither can filthiness or anything which is unclean be received into the kingdom of God; therefore I say unto you the time shall come, yea, and it shall be at the last day, that he who is filthy shall remain in his filthiness. (Alma 7:21)
21 And it came to pass that the man received him into his house; and the man was called Amulek; and he brought forth bread and meat and set before Alma.
22 And it came to pass that Alma ATE BREAD and was filled. (Alma 8:21–22. Emphasis added.)
37 And I say unto you again that he cannot save them in their sins; for I cannot deny his word, and he hath said that no unclean thing can inherit the kingdom of heaven; therefore, how can ye be saved, except ye inherit the kingdom of heaven? Therefore, ye cannot be saved in your sins. (Alma 11:37)
Later in our studies we learn from the Savior that the kingdom of God is within. In other words, those who inherit the kingdom of God inherit the fullness of the Holy Ghost or the indwelling of the Holy Spirit.
16 Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?
17 If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy; for the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are. (1 Corinthians 3:16–17)
We defile our holy temples by disobeying the word of God from the beginning, by hardening our hearts to the blood and horror of animal slaughter and then by partaking of the flesh of these sad innocents.
10 And therefore, he that will harden his heart, the same receiveth the lesser portion of the word; and he that will not harden his heart, to him is given the greater portion of the word, until it is given unto him to know the mysteries of God until he know them in full. [Compare D&C 89:19]
34 Therefore, whosoever repenteth, and hardeneth not his heart, he shall have claim on mercy through mine Only Begotten Son, unto a remission of his sins; and these shall enter into my rest. (Alma 12:10,34)
22 Yea, he that repenteth and exerciseth faith, and bringeth forth good works, and prayeth continually without ceasing — unto such it is given to know the mysteries of God; yea, unto such it shall be given to reveal things which never have been revealed; yea, and it shall be given unto such to bring thousands of souls to repentance, even as it has been given unto us to bring these our brethren unto repentance. (Alma 26:22)
The following scriptures shed light upon the original law or covenant of God with his children:
13 Therefore, it is expedient that there should be a great and last sacrifice, and then shall there be, or it is expedient there should be, A STOP TO THE SHEDDING OF BLOOD; then shall the law of Moses be fulfilled; yea, it shall be all fulfilled, every jot and tittle, and none shall have passed away. [Emphasis added.]
14 And behold, this is the whole meaning of the law, every whit pointing to that great and last sacrifice; and that great and last sacrifice will be the Son of God, yea, infinite and eternal.
15 And thus he shall bring salvation to all those who shall believe on his name; this being the intent of this last sacrifice, to bring about the bowels of mercy, which overpowereth justice, and bringeth about the means unto men that they may have faith unto repentance. (Alma 34:13–15)
We can see from the above scriptures that it is not necessary for us to sacrifice animals in our day in order to live. We can live upon the gentle fruits, vegetables, and grains as we were enjoined by God from the beginning. So far, do we have faith that this is the truth? If not, we can pray for faith unto repentance as faith is a gift, but does not come without an effort and the sacrifice of a broken heart. And when we positively know the truth, our hearts will definitely be broken because of the gentle, innocent creatures that we have caused to die in pain and suffering because of our ignorance, and consequently our lust for flesh.
26 But behold, an awful death cometh upon the wicked; for they die as to things pertaining to things of righteousness; for they are unclean, and no unclean thing can inherit [receive the fullness of the Holy Ghost which will teach them how to become worthy of the kingdom] the kingdom of God.… (Alma 40:26)
Joseph Smith, an innocent boy of fourteen, was led to restore the truth of the primitive church — the church that existed during the time of Adam and continued during the time of Christ. Those of us who understand the truth need to now restore our bodies to their undefiled and pristine purity so that the spirit we house is that of the Holy Ghost. Upon our baptism, we were given the gift of the Holy Ghost by one having authority, or the right to have Him as our constant companion. If we are not worthy of the Spirit as Christ was, and do not remain clean from the blood and sins of this generation, He will not tarry.
23 A man may receive the Holy Ghost, and it may descend upon him and not tarry with him. (D&C 130:23)
11 And now, my son, all men that are in a state of nature, or I would say, in a carnal state, are in the gall of bitterness and in the bonds of iniquity; they are without God in this world, and they have gone contrary to the nature of God; therefore, they are in a state contrary to the nature of happiness.
12 And now behold, is the meaning of the word restoration to take a thing of natural state and place it in an unnatural state, or to place it in a state opposite to its nature?
13 O, my son, this is not the case; but the meaning of the word restoration is to bring back again evil for evil, or carnal for carnal, or devilish for devilish—good for that which is good; righteous for that which is righteous, just for that which is just; merciful for that which is merciful. (Alma 41:11–13)
23 Do ye suppose that God will look upon you as guiltless while ye sit still and behold these things? Behold, I say unto you, Nay. Now I would that ye should remember that God has said that the inward vessel shall be cleansed first, and then shall the outer vessel be cleansed also. (Alma 60:23)
The inward vessel is the inside of the body. The body is that container or vessel which holds the spirit within. Has the inside of our vessel become defiled? How can the spirit remain pure if it is housed in a vessel, or container, which is defiled and polluted within? It is well known among those who study natural health that when one stops eating animal tissue, the body begins an automatic cleanse. The body has always tried to eliminate those abominable things (foreign proteins, fats and materials). Under modern (allopathic treatment based) medicine, the effort is to suppress rather than prevent the disease (or cleansing) process.
Article found in Reuters News Service, Tuesday, Sept. 30, 2003:
“A non-human molecule found in red meat and milk makes its way into the human system when eaten — and seems to build up especially in tumors, U.S. Researchers reported on Monday.
“The compound, called sialic acid, is found on the surfaces of animal cells but is not found in people, and may be one reason why animal-to-human organ and tissue transplants do not work well. Animals have a version called Neu5Gc, while humans carry Neu5Ac.
“But researchers at the University of California San Diego found it does show up in the human body and showed it can be absorbed from eating red meat and milk.
“They also showed that the body PRODUCES AN IMMUNE RESPONSE AGAINST THE MOLECULE!” [emphasis added]
This is an indication that the body is always using its energy to eliminate foreign animal tissue such as milk and meat. This weakens the body:
24 And they saw that they had become weak, [weak from eating the wrong kinds of foods] like unto their brethren, the Lamanites, and that the Spirit of the Lord did no more preserve them; yea, it had withdrawn from them because the Spirit of the Lord does not dwell in unholy temples. (Helaman 4:24)
19 [Voice of Jesus Christ] And ye shall offer up unto me no more the shedding of blood; yea, your sacrifices and your burnt offerings shall be done away, for I will accept none of your sacrifices and your burnt offerings. (3 Nephi 9:19)
11 Ye remember that I spake unto you, and said that when the words of Isaiah should be fulfilled — behold they are written, ye have them before you, therefore search them —
12 And verily, verily, I say unto you, that when they shall be fulfilled then is the fulfilling of the covenant which the Father hath made unto his people, O house of Israel. (3 Nephi 20:11–12)
40 And then shall they say: How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him that bringeth good tidings unto them, that publisheth peace; that bringeth good tidings unto them of good, that publisheth salvation; that saith unto Zion: Thy God reigneth!
41 And then shall a cry go forth: Depart ye, depart ye, go ye out from thence, touch not that which is unclean; go ye out of the midst of her; be ye clean that bear the vessels of the Lord. (3 Nephi 20:40-41)
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. (3 Nephi 27:19)
28 Be wise in the days of your probation; strip yourselves of all uncleanness; ask not, that ye may consume it on your lusts, but ask with a firmness unshaken, that ye will yield to no temptation, but that ye will serve the true and living God. (Mormon 9:28)
6 For the Lord said unto me: They [the interpreters] shall not go forth unto the Gentiles until the day that they shall repent of their iniquity, and become clean before the Lord. (Ether 4:6)
19 For the Lord worketh not in secret combinations, neither doth he will that man should shed blood, but in ALL THINGS HATH FORBIDDEN IT, FROM THE BEGINNING OF MAN. (Ether 8:19. Emphasis added.)
Thomas L. Rodgers says: “Do you think the Lord was jerking us around when he said ALL things? I.E. this doesn’t mean just murder of humans, but ALL things.”
3 Wherefore I would speak unto you that are the peaceable followers of Christ, and that have obtained a sufficient hope by which ye can enter into the rest of the Lord, from this time henceforth until ye shall rest with him in heaven.
4 And now my brethren, I judge these things of you because of your peaceable walk with the children of men.
5 For I remember the word of God which saith by their works ye shall know them; for if their works be good, then they are good also.
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.
7 For behold it is not counted unto him for righteousness. (Moroni 7:3–7)
19 Wherefore, I beseech of you, brethren, that ye should search diligently in the light of Christ that ye may know good from evil; [life vs. death — health vs. sickness?] and if ye will lay hold upon every good thing, and condemn it not [ And be not destroyers, living by the plowshare — not by the sword! As the Ammonite mothers and fathers whose covenant brought the blessings of health and strength to their sons who were the warriors for Helaman], ye certainly will be a child of Christ. (Moroni 7:19)
46 Wherefore my beloved brethren, if ye have not charity, ye are nothing, for charity never faileth. Wherefore cleave unto charity, which is the greatest of all, for all things must fail —
47 But charity is the pure love of Christ, and it endureth forever; and whoso is found possessed of it at the last day, it shall be well with him.
Wherefore my beloved brethren, pray unto the Father with all the energy of heart, that ye may be filled with this love, which he hath bestowed upon all who are true followers of his Son, Jesus Christ; that ye may become the sons of God; that when he shall appear, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is; that we may have this hope; that we may be purified even as he is pure. Amen. (Moroni 7:46–48)
Contemporary Thought Concerning the Book of Mormon
Hyrum Smith, brother of the Prophet Joseph Smith:
“There were many of the commands of God that seemed to be overlooked by this generation, and he was fearful that many of the Latter Day Saints in this respect were following their old traditions, and former practices of spiritualizing the word of God, and through a vain philosophy departing from the pure principles of eternal truth which God had given by revelation for the salvation of the human family; but, that every word of God is an importance, whether it be the word contained in the Bible, in the Book of Mormon, or in the Book of Doctrine and Covenants, for ‘man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth from the mouth of god.’
“The principles that are taught in the Bible are pure, and ought to be adhered to; and if people adhere to that teaching it will prove their salvation. The principles that are taught in the Book of Mormon are also pure, and holy and righteous, and will if followed lead men to God. And the principles that are taught in the Book of Doctrine and Covenants, are from God, they are principles of righteousness; — they are given for a blessing to the human family, and the salvation, TEMPORAL and spiritual, of his saints; and that man who wantonly departs from any of the revelations of Jehovah, and treats lightly the word of God, whether contained in the Book of Doctrine and Covenants, the Book of Mormon, or the Bible, is void of understanding: he is not wise concerning the doings of the Lord, the plan of salvation, the past dealings, present designs, or future purposes of the Almighty. The God of the armies of Israel is a wise God, he comprehended the end from the beginning, and adapted his plans, his designs and teaching, to the peculiar wants, the local situation, the exigencies of mankind; and the present and future good of the human family; and every thing that he has deigned to notice by way of instruction to the children of men, is given by infinite wisdom; by the intelligence of Jehovah; and if obeyed, when his designs shall be fully unraveled, it will be seen that there was wisdom in it beyond the comprehension of man in his present state.
“When God first made man upon the earth, he was a different being entirely to what he now is; his body was strong, athletic, robust, and healthy; his days were prolonged upon the earth; he lived nearly one thousand years, his mind was vigorous and active, and his intellectual faculties clear and comprehensive, but he has become degenerated; his life has dwindled to a span; disease preys upon his system; his body is enervated and feeble; and his mental and intellectual faculties are impaired, and weakened; and man is not now that dignified, noble, majestic, honorable, and mighty being that he was when he first proceeded from the hands of his maker.
“The Lord has in his wise designs revealed unto us his will; he has made known unto us his future purposes; he has told us as he did his ancient prophets that the ‘earth shall be redeemed —that the curse shall be removed from it — that the wolf and the lamb shall lie down together — that the lion shall eat straw like the ox; — and that they shall not hurt nor destroy — that the knowledge of the Lord shall cover the earth, as the waters cover the sea’ — that man’s days shall be as the ‘days of a tree,’ that he shall again live one thousand years on the earth — this is the ‘time of restoration of all things,’ and this has got to be brought about by the wisdom and power of God, and the wisdom, obedience and faith of man combined.
“Everything has become degenerated from what it was in its primitive state: ‘God made man pure, but he has found out many inventions: ‘his vices have become innumerable, and his diseases multiplied; his taste has become vitiated, and his judgment impaired; he has fallen — fallen — fallen, from that dignified state that he once occupied on the earth; and it needs a restorative that man has not in his possession — wisdom which is beyond the reach of human intellect; — power with human philosophy, talent and ingenuity cannot control. God only is acquainted with the fountain of action, and the main springs of human events; he knows where disease is seated, and what is the cause of it; — he is also acquainted with the spring of health; the balm of Gilead — of life; he knows what course to pursue to restore mankind to their pristine excellency and primitive vigor, and health; and he has appointed the word of wisdom as one of the engines to bring about this thing, to remove the beastly appetites, the murderous disposition and the vitiated taste of man; to restore his body to health, and vigor, PROMOTE PEACE BETWEEN HIM AND THE BRUTE CREATION, and as one of the little wheels in God’s designs, to help to regulate the great machinery, which shall eventually revolutionize the earth, and bring about the restoration of all things, and when they are restored he will plant ‘the tree of life [ He will plant the Holy Ghost in the heart of man, that indwelling or companionship of the Holy Ghost which we lost in the garden], whose leaves shall be for the healing of nations.’
“The Lord has told us what is good for us to eat, and to drink, and what is pernicious; but some of our wise philosophers, and some of our elders too, pay no regard to it; they think it too little, too foolish, for the wise men to regard — fools! Where is their wisdom, philosophy and intelligence? From whence did they obtain their superior light: Their capacity, and their power of reasoning was given them by the great Jehovah: if they have any wisdom they obtained it from him: and have they grown so much wiser than God that they are going to instruct him in the path of duty, and to tell him what is wise, and what is foolish. They think it too small for him to condescend to tell men what will be the nutritious or what will be unhealthy. Who made the corn, the wheat, the rye, and all the vegetable substances? And who was it that organized man, and constituted him as he is found? Who made his stomach, and his digestive organs, and prepared proper nutriment for his system, that the juices of his body might be supplied; and his form be invigorated by that kind of food which the laws of nature, and the laws of God has said would be good for man? And has God made his food, and provided it for the use of man; and shall he be ashamed to speak of the work of his hands: Has he become so fantastical, so foolish, so weak and effeminate, that it has become impolitic for him to tell what is the best distribution to make of the work of his hands? Oh shame! Let it not be heard among the saints; let that man who inculcates such principles hide his face. We are told by some that circumstances alter the revelations of God — tell me what circumstances would alter the Ten Commandments? They were given by revelation — given as a law to the children of Israel — who has a right to alter that law? Some think that they are too small for us to notice, they are not too small for God to notice, and have we got so high, so bloated out, that we cannot condescend to notice things that God has ordained for our benefit? Or have we got so weak that we are not fit to be called saints? For the word of wisdom is adapted to the capacity of all that are or can be called saints.
“Listen not to the teaching of any man, or any elder who says the word of wisdom is of no moment; for such a man will eventually be overthrown. These are principles that I have always acted upon; that I have always practiced; and they are what my family practices; they are what Brother Hyrum has always contended for, and what I now contend for; and I know that nothing but an unwavering, undeviating course can save a man in the kingdom of God.
“… Let men attend to these instructions let them use the things ordained of God; let them be sparing of the life of animals; ‘it is pleasing saith the Lord that flesh be used only in times of winter, or of famine’ — and why to be used in famine? Because all domesticated animals would naturally die, and may as well be made use of by man, as not. (Hyrum Smith, Brother of the Prophet Joseph Smith, Times and Seasons, Vol. III, No. 15, City of Nauvoo, Illinois. June 1, 1842, found in Commentary on the Word of Wisdom, by Vonda Thorpe.)
Joseph Smith, first President and Prophet of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints:
“Evening with Hyrum and Sidney and the 12 [Apostles] and the wives at John Taylor’s at 5 pm for supper. Very pleasant time. I prophesied at the table that 5 years would not roll round before the company would all be able to live without cooking.” (Scott Faulring, An American Prophet Record, the Diaries and Journals of Joseph Smith, 445. See also pages 446, 447)
“In pitching my tent, we found three Mississauga or prairie rattlesnakes, which the brethren were about to kill, but I said, “Let them alone — don’t hurt them! How will the serpent ever lose its venom, while the servants of God possess the same disposition, and continue to make war upon it? Man must become harmless before the brute creation, and when men lose their vicious dispositions and cease to destroy the animal race, the lion and the lamb can dwell together, and the sucking child can play with the serpent in safety.” The brethren took the serpents carefully on sticks and carried them across the creek. I exhorted the brethren not to kill a serpent, bird or an animal of any kind during our journey unless it became necessary in order to preserve ourselves from hunger.” (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, compiled by Joseph Fielding Smith, 71)
“[Moses 3:4–5,7,9,19] Thus we see that the affirmative of the question, “Do Animals Have Souls?” is amply sustained by divine revelation.… And Joseph Smith so believed, or he would not have said (as he is reputed to have said) concerning his favorite horse when it died, that he expected to have it in Eternity, Nor would he have uttered his heaven-inspired pronouncement, that “the four beasts” seen in vision by John the Revelator (Rev. 4:6) “in describing heaven,” “represent the glory of the classes of beings” — men, beasts, fowls, and creeping things — in their destined order or sphere of creation, in the enjoyment of their eternal felicity” (D&C 77:1-3).
“This is enough I think, to convince any Latter-day Saint that animals do have souls — that is to say, each animal is a spirit and a body, these together constituting the soul; and the same is true of the trees, plants and flowers. They were not formed for any merely temporary purpose, and are to be eternally perpetuated”. (Improvement Era 30:855, Aug. 1927, Orson F. Whitney, found in Kindness to Animals and Caring for the Earth, Richard D. Stratton.)
President Brigham Young said:
“When man lives to the age of a tree, their food will be fruit. If the people were willing to receive the true knowledge from heaven in regard to their diet they would cease eating swine’s flesh. I know this as well as Moses knew it. (Journal of Discourses, Volume 2, pp. 269–71)
President John Taylor:
“Next, we learn from Genesis 1:29,30 — And God said, Behold, I have given you every herb bearing seed, which is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree, in which is the fruit of a tree, yielding seed, to you it shall be for meat. And to every beast of the earth, and to every fowl of the air, and to every thing that creepeth upon the earth, wherein there is life, I have given every green herb for meat: and it was so. From these verses we learn, that the earth yielded neither noxious weeds nor poisonous plants, nor useless thorns and thistle; indeed, everything that grew was just calculated for the food of man, beast, fowl, and creeping thing; and their food was all vegetable; flesh and blood were never sacrificed to glut their souls, or gratify their appetites; the beasts of the earth were all in perfect harmony with each other; the lion ate straw like the ox — the wolf dwelt with the lamb — the leopard lay down with the kid — the cow and bear fed together, in the same pasture, while their young ones reposed, in perfect security, under the shade of the same trees; all was peace and harmony, and nothing to hurt nor disturb in all the holy mountain.
“But now Brothers Taylor and Pratt sadly describe us at the point to which we (of mankind) have fallen, degenerated and currently become. You will also read of the fear, sorrow, and pollution experienced by the creatures and the Earth at our divisive, mindless, self-absorbed and too oft murderous hands. And of our own loss of blessings, vigor and life and the precious lives of our children as consequence. This is not a complimentary description of either the past or us, the current children of God — no matter how righteous we may believe ourselves to have become. It is now time for us to fully understand, fully repent and return to our once primeval garden wisdom, our creation-loving nature and divine reverence and behavior!” (John Taylor, The Government of God, Chapter 12. The Effects of the Establishment of Christ’s Kingdom, or The Reign of God, Upon the Earth, found in Commentary on the Word of Wisdom, Vonda Thorpe.)
President J. Reuben Clark, Jr. :
“The Word of Wisdom is not a rule of conduct; it is a law — the Lord’s law — of health. It was promulgated by Him. The law existed before He told it to us: it would exist if the revelation were blotted from the book. The Church authorities have nothing to do with the law. God, speaking through the forces of the physical world, has prescribed it, and so long as those forces exist, the law will remain.”
President Ezra Taft Benson:
“To a great extent we are physically what we eat.… What needs additional emphasis are the positive aspects — the need for vegetables, fruits, and grains, particularly wheat. In most cases, the closer these can be, when eaten, to their natural state — without over-refinement and processing — the healthier we will be. To a significant degree, we are an overfed and undernourished nation digging an early grave with our teeth, and lacking the energy that could be ours because we over-indulge in junk foods.… we need a generation of young people who, as Daniel, eat in a more healthy manner than to fare on the ‘king’s meat’, and whose countenances show it.… We need a generation of people who eat in a healthier manner. In general, the more food we eat in its natural state and the less it is refined, without additives, the healthier it will be for us.” (Ezra Taft Benson, Teachings of Ezra Taft Benson, 476, 477.)
President Gordon B. Hinckley:
“I thank the Lord for a testimony of the Word of Wisdom. I wish we lived it more fully. But even though we do not, the Lord pours out his blessing on those who try. The promise is before us that if we will do so, we shall have health in the navel and marrow in the bones and shall find wisdom and great treasures of knowledge, even the destroying angel shall pass by us as the children of Israel and not slay us.
“To me it is marvelous that beyond the promise of a physical nature, it is the promise of hidden treasures of knowledge concerning things divine and eternal. (Gordon B. Hinckley, October 8, 1993, General Priesthood Session Address)
At this point it is important to again note Hyrum Smith’s admonition to the early members of the church:
“There were many of the commands of God that seemed to be overlooked by this generation, and he was fearful that many of the Latter Day Saints in this respect were following their old traditions, and former practices of spiritualizing the word of God, and through a vain philosophy departing from the pure principles of eternal truth which God had given by revelation for the salvation of the human family.”
Spiritualizing the word of God means exactly what it says. It is a false doctrine that teaches people that only the spirit will survive in Heaven and teaching and perfecting the spirit is the way, the truth, and the light. In other words all emphasis is put upon love and thought life, which of course is necessary and wonderful, but we must remember the dictionary definition of LIFE: the joining of the animate with the inanimate.
Yea, over mere dust has Thou wafted Thy [holy] spirit, [and has so molded that] clay that [it can have converse with] angels and be in communion with beings celestial. (Book of Hymns [Fragments] 2:10 The Dead Sea Scrolls)
“A saint, who is one in deed and in truth, does not look for an immaterial heaven but he expects a heaven with lands, houses, cities, vegetation, rivers, and animals; with thrones, temples, palaces, kings, princes, priests, and angels; with food, raiment, musical instruments, etc.; all of which are material.” (Orson Pratt, The Latter Day Saints Millennial Star 28: 722, Nov. 1866, found in Kindness to Animals and Caring for the Earth, Richard D. Stratton.)
We are the ends of creation but there is great progress to be made-- eternal life. eternal progression, not only for us, but for the animal kingdom. We must continually remember that our common adversary and one third of the hosts of heaven who followed him lost their lives (their bodies). For what reason? For the reason of all that we have learned and talked about so far. He fell from the celestial sphere (author’s opinion) because he became carnivorous, “idle, full of mischief and subtlety, and did seek in the wilderness for beasts of prey” as did the Lamanites in the Book of Mormon who hardened their hearts to the gospel.
This adversary fell to this dark earth and he, with the hosts that followed him (Nefalim), eventually lost their lives as do we all because of the fall. The difference between him and between us is that he wouldn’t repent and thus became an evil spirit bent upon first: our possession (he still wants a body and the pleasures it brings, so he weakens our bodies with lies, and then steals them), and jealously, our destruction, so that we too will suffer the misery he suffers.
However, there was an atonement made. Eventually all the people of the world will be resurrected and be required to stand before God their maker.
“We have the assurance that through the sacrifice made on the cross all mankind and every other creature, even the earth itself, are redeemed from death and shall receive the resurrection and be restored to immortal life.” (Man, His Origin and Destiny, p. 359, Joseph Fielding Smith, found in Kindness to Animals and Caring for the Earth, Richard D. Stratton.)
To the repentant, God promises the restitution of their bodies during the early part of the Millennium. At that time we can again begin to make progress in perfection as we are enjoined by God. “Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.” (Matthew 5:48)
17 Wherefore, do the things which I have told you I have seen that your lord and your Redeemer should do; for, for this cause have they been shown unto me, that ye might know the gate by which ye should enter. For the gate by which ye should enter is repentance and baptism by water; and then cometh a remission of your sins by fire and by the Holy Ghost. (2 Nephi 31:17)
Baptism by water is a sacred form. Christ can only cleanse our sins as long as we remain free of them by our daily compassionate actions. There are many forms or symbols in the church that we have to be true to by our continual actions. Baptism is the gate but it is a continual gate and a path we must follow each day. If we follow it, we eventually purify our bodies in preparation for the baptism of fire, the Holy Ghost.
13 Enter ye in at the strait gate; for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat:
14 Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it. (Matthew 7:13–14)
Those who haven’t repented in this life will not be the first to be resurrected. When we are resurrected, we will be resurrected in the exact same body we left, and at that time, will learn ourselves how to bring it health and perfection. Joseph Fielding Smith sheds light upon this:
The Teachings of Joseph Smith”
“As concerning the resurrection, I will merely say that all men will come from the grave as they lie down, whether old or young; there will not be added unto their stature one cubit, neither taken from it; all will be raised by the power of God, having spirit in their bodies, and not blood. The body will come forth as it is laid to rest, for there is no growth or development in the grave. As it is laid down, so will it arise, and changes to perfection will come by the law of restitution. But the spirit will continue to expand and develop and the body, after the resurrection, will develop to the full stature of man.” (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, Joseph F. Smith, 199)
If in fact we were given a body that we had to learn to live in for all eternity, and we didn’t learn to live in it in this life, would it make sense for the Lord to give us another perfect one in the resurrection? It might make more sense for us to restore and regenerate the one we have and learn how to make it last for all eternity, having learned from the experience.
33 For whoso is faithful unto the obtaining these two priesthoods of which I have spoken are sanctified by the Spirit unto the renewing of their bodies. (D&C 84:33)
32 And they who remain shall also be quickened; nevertheless, they shall return again to their own place, to enjoy that which they are willing to receive, because they were not willing to enjoy that which they might have received.
33 For what doth it profit a man if a gift is bestowed upon him and he receives 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.
34 And again, verily I say unto you, that which is governed by law is also preserved by law and perfected and sanctified by the same.
35 That which breaketh a law, and abideth not by law, but seeketh to become a law unto itself, and willeth to abide in sin, and altogether abideth in sin, cannot be sanctified by law, neither by mercy, justice nor judgment. Therefore, they must remain filthy still.
36 All kingdoms have a law given:
37 And there are many kingdoms; for there is no space in the which there is no kingdom; and there is no kingdom in which there is no space, either a greater or lesser kingdom.
38 And unto every kingdom is given a law; and unto every law there are certain bounds also and conditions.
39 All beings who abide not in those conditions are not justified. (D&C 88:32–39)
20 There is a law irrevocably decreed in heaven before the foundations of this world, upon which all blessings are predicated —
21 And when we obtain any blessing from God, it is by obedience to that law upon which it is predicated. (D&C 130:20–21)
President Joseph Smith:
“God himself was once as we are now, and is an exalted Man, sits enthroned in yonder heavens. You have got to learn how to be Gods yourselves, and to be kings and priests to God, the same as all Gods have done before you; namely by going from one small degree to another, and from a small capacity to a great one; from grace to grace, from exaltation to exaltation.” (Joseph Smith)
“God himself was once as we are now, and is an exalted man, and sits enthroned in yonder heavens! That is the great secret. If the veil were rent today, and the great God who holds this world in its orbit, and who upholds all worlds and all things by his power, was to make himself visible, -- I say, if you were to see him today, you would see him like a man in form – like yourselves in all the person, image, and very form as a man; for Adam was created in the very fashion, image and likeness of God, and received instruction from, and walked, talked and conversed with him, as one man talks and communes with another.” (The King Follett Discourse, Joseph Smith as printed in History of the Church, Vol. 6, p. 302-317)
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