For the past two or so years since the Lord spoke these words to me: “thy ministry in my kingdom has begun.” I have sought to remain a proactive influential member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints; I chose to serve among those who call themselves Mormons, I too have called myself “Mormon” at one time or another.
I love the gospel, I love Christ and I have a love for all people – I have no other desire than to serve Him and bring others unto Him. When I heard these words I prayed and asked the Lord that I, be permitted, to serve within the Church that I may persuade others to come unto Him and to know Him better than they do, He of course accepted of my desires because it was my will. During that time I served as the Scout Committee Chair, and then in the Stake Sunday school presidency. I have sought to contribute to others spiritual growth and have labored among them. Sadly, many are content with what Light they have been given, and do not desire an increase, nor were they, or are they prepared for greater knowledge. Yet others, very few, were seeking and knew not where to look and have embarked upon seeking the Lord for themselves– and yet some others, knew too much, that they could not be taught.
We live in a time that we cannot be cowards, or lack certain courage – we have to be brave. We also live at a time in this life, that we cannot live on borrowed Light; we must live on the Light within, which is His Light, aka, the Light of Christ. It is given to every person when born, its purpose is to help us to distinguish between what is good and what is evil, sometimes this is referred to as a moral compass, and many moral compasses do not point North or in other words, towards Christ, but instead to the idols in their hearts such as: the successes of men, whether that is money they serve, or serving in a church and seeking the praise and honors of men, while at the same time denying Christ, never outwardly and in an obvious manner, but these shepherds simply are pointing to another man to follow, even themselves that you should follow, and set themselves up as a Light, or in others words they will say… follow me I know the way. Only Christ can make that declaration. By this they deny Him, they offend the Father; the Heavens are withdrawn because they have taken His honor and Glory unto themselves and have set themselves up even above the throne of our God and King.
We find that some people are generally only obedient to the law, for the law’s sake, and not because they love Him and not because they have a broken heart and contrite spirit. They do so for the sake of obedience, never becoming, or understanding the law nor do they have the law written upon their inward parts, but they become a law unto themselves and take honor unto themselves, and command that others should follow them and obey the law too for the law’s sake, for they suppose they know the way to the Father better than Christ does.
When your heart is in the right place you no longer desire sin, you are obedient to the law because sin is abhorrent, not because it is a commandment, but because you are filled with the pure love of Christ you naturally lose all desire for things that are wicked and unrighteous, you invite others to seek Christ and to follow Him, and to partake of His spirit and to come to this Light and understanding of Him and how to overcome all things, you gain the power to overcome all things by being filled with His love continually.
When a person is driving a car and loses control and find that they have hit a pole, tree or some other fixed object it is because they focused on the tree wanting to avoid it, many who have driven in snow or in conditions and you lose control, know that you go where you are looking, so with that, when you lose control you look towards where you want to go and NOT at that tree you want to avoid, but by looking at the tree you hit it. This principle can be applied to sin, you do not look at sin, and all the ways you can sin and then try to avoid it, you instead as King Benjamin taught to focus on serving one another, by service and sacrifice we obtain the pure love of Christ, instead of focusing on ourselves and what we lack, and struggle to avoid sin, we should instead serve others and by it obtain His love and Light unto power that we may overcome all sin and lose our desires for it. Again, you go where you are looking. Looking at that tree, or looking at sin, or another man even a prophet as a source of Light and not the Lord will cause you to crash, look to where you want to go, Christ is the only Light.
My ministry in context, what I have been asked to do is simple, plant seeds where I labor, to warn my neighbor as it were to repent and turn away from their false idols, and present the Lord’s open petition to all who will listen, and thus call upon all people to repent. I am to bear witness that I have conversed with the Lord through the veil, that I have heard His voice, that I have stood in His presence and that He the Lord does live, and is alive today, and that both He and the Father desire all to come unto them and that He will succor them and reveal Himself to them. (D&C 93:1) They are of one heart and one mind and He invites all to become one with them, they are both glorified beings beyond what words can describe, nor any power of man could possibly covey, the Father being a personage of Spirit, Power, and Glory and the Son like unto Him being a Personage of Power and Glory tabernacled in the flesh. Joseph Smith knew what he was saying when he wrote the Lectures on Faith, especially lecture fifth.
We are our own worst critics, I am my own worst critic – I always feel inadequate, not doing enough, I could spend more time reading, studying etc… I always feel that I am falling short of His expectations, I am slow to obey, and He is patient, loving, kind, forgiving, and helpful despite my inadequacies and shortcomings. He still talks to me, guides me and gives me direction and then waits for me to obey. I am a coward, a hypocrite even and have lacked certain courage. Hence the title to this blog post: “Living according to your faith”. So in essence, to a degree, I have feared men more than I have feared God. You may disagree, but I know my weaknesses better than anyone that is mortal.
We each, who have received an increase in knowledge and who have received a greater portion of His Light even the Light of Christ, have a responsibility to help others connect with the Lord, to teach them correct principles such as repentance, baptism by immersion for the remission of sins and to receive the Gift of the Holy Ghost, the baptism of fire and of the Holy Ghost is rarely ever mentioned because many do not understand it. Nor do people understand the difference between the Holy Ghost and Gift of the Holy Ghost.
We also have the responsibility to love others, especially those who we may resent or who may resent us, also to labor with the poor in heart, and the weak of the earth and to minister to their temporal relief where possible and within our means, without judgment or condemning them because their trials and circumstances are different than our own.
In all our doings, comings and goings, we ought to point to Him, not ourselves and certainly not others; we are to bear witness of Him and to cry repentance. Christ desires a relationship with all, and we should invite others to come unto Him. When one can connect with Christ and receive the word of the Lord for themselves from Him, and as they draw near unto Him – He will, in turn, come to them, and draw nearer to them and He will guide them, and succor them. He is the Light and life of the world and ours is to help others realize the potential for them to have this relationship with the Lord.
Nephi says that if you have entered in at the way, which is baptism by water and also by fire and of the Holy Ghost, that this is not all, there is more to do. (2 Nephi 32:6). This was only a step; you only entered in by the way. If you have not received a baptism of fire and of the Holy Ghost, that is where you need to focus, this is obtained by being obedient to the commandments and by doing the will of the Lord. Doing whatsoever thing He will ask of you, and hearkening to the whispering of the spirit until you receive the baptism of fire and of the Holy Ghost, your baptism by water is not complete until you receive the spiritual portion of this ordinance.
For every ordinance that man performs the Lord will also perform His, that is the law, what is done on earth must also be done in heaven for it to have any effect in the life hereafter. Ordinances are always the same (or should be unless a man has changed them) they have two parts: the physical and the spiritual. The spiritual doesn’t always immediately follow right after the physical, but surely it will come if you prove faithful and obedient to the Lord. The purpose of the physical is to point us to the Lord, it also shows us a pattern of how to return to Him, it is also a sign of our obedience and without it, heaven will not recognize your knocking, for the Lord has revealed by pattern a way which was set up in the eternities before this world was that we might know how to approach Him and be accepted of Him, he teaches us by degrees until we are prepared to enter His presence. Of course, the one on earth needs the approval of heaven before he can administer an authorized ordinance that the Lord has set and established for us. Only the Lord can authorize and validate a person to administer in His ordinances.
In 2 Nephi 31-33, Nephi laments because our minds are darkened, (this is because of the doctrines of man mingled with scripture and or false traditions/beliefs that have become a law unto us), he also states it is because we will not search knowledge and will not seek great knowledge and he says that we cannot understand it when it is given to us as plain as word can be (what he is saying here is literal and not in parable form and that Christ coming to you while you are in the flesh is very real). If you harden your heart against the knowledge offered you will be rejected by Him.
The darkness is so thick that we often cannot see the next steps of our eternal progression, hence why later on in this discourse, Nephi, cautions the reader to not trust in the arm of flesh. Meaning looking to another person as a source of Light or following another person or their precepts, Nephi doesn’t make any exceptions let’s just be clear on that up front if you wish to make exceptions where the Lord has not, you do so at your own peril because you have been warned. Nephi admonishes the reader to not trust in the arm of flesh and those who do will be damned for doing so.
Some people understand the concept Nephi is trying to teach here in 2 Nephi 31-33, yet others do not and this is where many are lost and the reaction by many when one who openly opposes the commonly misunderstood teaching are classified as an apostate. Nephi isn’t teaching us to ignore prophets or the Lord’s messengers, we know the scriptures teach us to hear His messages, to give ear or to listen to those He sends, this is what hearken means, it means to hear, instead Nephi teaches us to rely upon the Lord, no man can be the source of Light and no man ought to set themselves up as the source of Light. There is only safety in following the Lord. I know this will cause some heartburn and if so, it is my hope you can set this aside and continue to reflect on the things that we are agreeable to and you approach this one later with the Lord through prayer and through studying the scriptures.
Sometimes we believe while we cannot trust in the arm of flesh as it pertains to others we rely upon our own strengths and ourselves. Of our own selves, we have no power to save our own souls, we are powerless to do anything. The only being who is not dependent upon another is the Father, He alone holds himself up by His faith in himself and all others depend upon Him. We also have fleshy arms, right? Besides relying upon others to be our source of Light as many do; we sometimes rely upon our own merits and our own strengths, these of course, aren’t any better in the eternal scheme of things, only Christ is capable of offering salvation and capable of delivering us. His wisdom and knowledge far exceed any, He is greater than us all.
The Lord has said that those who try to save themselves will lose themselves. Hence meaning, stop relying on your own strengths and merits, for of yourselves you cannot do anything and are powerless, then He adds, but those who will lose themselves for His sake – shall be found or in other words be redeemed and thus saved, so we are saved not by saving ourselves but by doing and trying to save others, and all we can do in this process is present to them the invitation that the Lord has extended to all, the invitation that you have received and have hopefully embarked upon.
The unfortunate thing is with many, whether in the LDS based faith in Utah, or the RLDS and so forth as it is with any of those who claim Christ as their Savior, is that they wrongfully assume that they are done after that have been baptized, and in this case many of the LDS wrongfully assume that after a temple marriage they are done and for those General Authorities who have received the Second Anointing, wrongfully assume they are sealed up to their exaltation by another man. Yet Nephi teaches as well as Christ does throughout the scriptures that we cannot come unto the Father but by Him, and it is the Father who seals you up by the Holy Spirit of Promise unto eternal life and not man. This is also known as, having received your Calling of Election made sure – this happened. Nephi describes from his own experience, and one can see that he has been in the presence of the Father when both the Father and Son are speaking, he recorded this in 2 Nephi 31, that He [Nephi] “shall inherit eternal life”, this is what the Father declares, the Son also has said this, that it is the Father who gives it.
All earthly ordinances must receive their counterparts. What is sealed on earth must also be sealed in heaven, and by heaven an ordinance performed by God Himself. This is the law and the law of witnesses applies here also. A sealing on earth one witness and a sealing in heaven a second witness. If you doubt it, then read the first 8-12 verses of D&C 132, all oaths, contracts etc… must be sealed by the Holy Spirit of Promise, otherwise, all you have is an earthly oath or ordinance that has no power out of this world.
Joseph Smith had this to say:
“Salvation cannot come without revelation; it is in vain for anyone to minister without it. No man is a minister of Jesus Christ without being a Prophet. No man can be a minister of Jesus Christ except he has [the] testimony of Jesus; and this is the spirit of prophecy. Whenever salvation has been administered, it has been by testimony. Men of the present time testify of heaven and hell, and have never seen either; and I will say that no man knows these things without this.” (Joseph Smith, DHC v3. p.389)
The faith that is necessary to obtain to salvation comes from sacrificing all things for the Lord, being obedient to Him and giving to Him of yourselves, giving whatsoever thing He asks of you in faith knowing that you do so freely because you love Him. Through sacrifice He will teach you to rely solely upon, the merits of Him who is mighty to save, Christ alone will be your comforter, if you are afraid or lack courage pray for it and try His word, experiment upon His word by an exercise of faith in Him and sacrifice whatever it is that He wants from you, He appoints unto you the sacrifice that you will make to Him and waits patiently for you to obey, be sure the course you are pursuing is pleasing to Him. (D&C 132:7-10).
All of this is a hard thing, it is a lonely and difficult task to come unto the Lord and to know Him and the Father, that is why it is a sacrifice and it will be one that breaks your heart and causes your spirit to become contrite, you will either humble yourself unto salvation and endure it well or harden your heart against Him, and if the later then you shall curse God, and depart from Him and deny Him and not having been approved of by Him, your offering and thus the sacrifice He appointed unto you will be rejected by Him and you will lose whatsoever thing He has put upon you and you will thus become an enemy to God. Harden not, your hearts, submit to His will – remember repentance is always possible. Likewise, you cannot beat yourself with stripes into receiving a covenant, or make an offering to Him that is not in His name and not appointed to you to make to Him. Hence the scriptures tell us to pray to the Lord that thy doings will be for the performance of thy soul, that He will consecrate your efforts or in others, words make them Holy and acceptable to Him.
These sacrifices will be a type of sacrifice that will allow you to approach the Lord with a broken heart and contrite spirit. (I wrote on this at length in an earlier blog post: A Covenant by Sacrifice). Do all those things which He has already commanded you that you should do, and do whatsoever new thing He shall reveal to you to do, until you are proven, until He has accepted of you and your sacrifices and offerings made unto Him in righteousness, for this is the type of sacrifice that will be acceptable because He has appointed unto you that sacrifice you should make unto Him and He will not accept any other sacrifice or offering that He has not appointed to you to make to Him, nor will he accept your offering if you hold anything back from Him.
The offering He will appoint to you to make will not be clear, certainly not easy, but you will find that when you become aware of what is happening you are in the middle of it already or nearly towards completion and your confidence will by this point have waxed strong in the Lord. He leads you along so that you can LEARN to fully trust in Him and rely solely upon Him and His merits alone to see you through whatever turmoil that is your sacrifice and offering to make to Him. He promises He will not leave you comfortless – He will be your comfort. If you are being obedient you will be making the sacrifice and offering almost unnoticed by yourself and certainly others will not see it, it will be a situation that will cause your faith to be tried and yet it will increase as you are obedient and all this for you to truly come to know the Lord and to know you can fully rely upon Him without reservation, so that when He does call unto you in His own voice, having been tested and proven that you will be faithful to Him in all things whatsoever He commands you to do, He will call you to His work and he will be your counselor, guide, your comforter and His and the Fathers spirit will abide with you and in you.
I mentioned earlier that the Lord reveals to us His will by degrees, and then waits upon us to obey. From one step to the next He will be leading you, waiting for you to obey, you do not always know the end thereof or how much He will expect of you at your hand, or how hard it shall be, but you will know with an unshakeable faith in Him that He is guiding you. You must remain faithful and endure it ALL for His sake or else your sacrifice and offering will not be accepted, you must submit to His will completely and wholly, without reservation even if He should require your life and take it from you, offer all things to Him that He desires of you and hold nothing back from the Lord and you will be approved of by Him and He will declare to the Father that you are clean, that you are redeemed and thus as it is written in Ether chapter 3, you have been redeemed from the fall and are brought into His presence.
The title of this post Living according to your faith is one that has been upon my mind and heart for several weeks maybe even a couple months now as I have re-written parts of this over and over again.
Are you [Insert your name here] living according to what you say you believe, are you living accordingly with your faith?
Salvation is obtained by being obedient to the Lord; it is administered to you, by His testimony of you to the Father – declaring to the Father that you are clean. It is through your obedience to Him, that you will become like unto Him – that you might possess your souls at the last day, that when He appears in all His Glory you will be able to abide, His coming, and those who come with Him and not be burned up by their Glory at the last day.
Pray that He will consecrate your efforts, that they may be acceptable to Him and that your works be according to His will, not your own will, that you may know that the path you are on is the one that pleases Him that you might as the sacramental prayer reveals through this ordinance may receive His spirit to be with you, that through your patience and sacrifices may behold the Lord while in the flesh.
The scriptures teach us that through obedience and seeking Him early, we shall not be forsaken, that He will come to us, this is a promise and a blessing to those who are obedient, an open invitation to come unto Him is renewed to us this day and we may enter in this covenant with Him through His Son, by being baptized according to the prescribed manner and wording as contained in the Book of Mormon, the Book of Commandments and the original Doctrine and Covenants. All ordinances are to be the same and have been established before the foundations of this world. For all who will hearken to Him shall receive. For those who seek Him, who obey His commandments, those who will receive Him and be approved of by Him, having sacrificed themselves and their hearts who have made unto Him an offering in righteous of themselves, He will accept them having been proven and qualified by the Lord Himself and their rest shall be eternal and with Him without end.
Many, many people, have set up stakes, and will only go thus far and not any further. Many have their minds made up about things, and having received revelation on the matter are afraid to look any further to see if there is more to be revealed and because they were not willing to go any further, the Lord gave them what they could bear or are willing to accept from Him. For what does it profit a man to bestow a gift, or thus a revelation if the one receiving the gift does not rejoice in the giver of the gift?
So living according to my faith, which has been in part my challenge. In some areas, I have done things that have been acceptable and pleasing to the Lord. However, because of the lack of courage and fear of men, not sure exactly what is that I fear or feared, but to say that I haven’t feared men would not be true, because I have in some degree. In part I think it is public speaking, or speaking the words before such a large congregation of people, and thus being rejected by those I have fellowshipped with is what I feared, and also what if anything would be placed upon my wife – I did not want to cause harm to her by the things I would or should say.
As I mentioned at the start of this its been about two years since the Lord called me into His ministry by His own voice from Heaven. Because of my desire to serve in the church and help others, I accepted various callings, because of my weaknesses it prevented me from speaking the words the Lord had asked of me to speak about 21 months ago. Not anyone’s fault, or the Church, or the callings but by own cowardice to say the least.
I have not struggled to teach truths, or to offer a different view of the scriptures or to question false traditions and encourage others to seek Christ, whether in Gospel Doctrine or Elders Quorum, or even in personal settings I haven’t struggled with the things the Lord has asked of me to do but publically and from the pulpit, in front of the whole congregation during Sacrament with one of the Stake Presidency members there and others, it has been hard, I have lacked the courage for 21 months. I have danced around the words, come up ever so close but without actually ever saying them.
I recall 21 months ago sitting with my family, during fast and testimony meetings and the Lord sitting beside me, He was there and present speaking to me but I did not behold Him. He spoke to me and asked me to go and declare His name to the people, to tell them that He is the Light, that there is no other way to the Father but by Him. He also wanted me to tell these people, that I have spoken with the Lord, that I have heard His voice and that I have seen Him, that I know Him and that I know that He lives and that they too can come unto the Lord and know Him.
I told the Lord “NO”, I was fearful that He wanted me to declare that I had seen Him and spoken to Him, the veil so thin I could discern that the Lord had placed His face into the palms of His hands, and said “Who will declare my name?”, and “who will stand up for me and defend me to this people, if you will not and yet you have seen me, who will?” I could feel His pain, He was not angry with me, but sorrow engulfed me for Him because of the sufferings I have caused Him. I went forward and bore my testimony that He lives and that I know that Angels visit the earth today and that he invites all men to come into His presence but I did not declare the more important part of what He asked me to say. I did not tell them that I have spoken with Him, that I know His voice and that I have seen Him.
I struggled for some time with this, 21 months, every fast and testimony meeting that I attended I would get up and bear my testimony without specifically declaring that part of His words to me. I came ever so close, using the scriptures and stating that I have this kind of testimony and that this is why I know He lives without saying it.
By this time, I was well into my calling in the Stake and did not want to jeopardize the president of the Stake Sunday School presidency who I consider a close friend. I did not want my words or actions to be a reflection on Him or the presidency though while we disagree on some things or many, our hearts are or were in the right place as we both struggled to serve the Lord according to our understanding and capacity. I decided that if my own character is going to be burned for following the Lord fine, but I wouldn’t do that to others, my fear had grown, not yet out of control, but by and by I was becoming more fearful but now it was time to change. Yet the Lord in His patience waited for me to obey Him.
I had decided it was time to change things up and to remove myself from the calling as I felt this was a hedge that I have allowed to keep me from doing all the things the Lord wanted me to do. When I made the decision to leave my calling and recommitted myself to the Lord and to serve and only take my counsels from the Lord and to do His will in all things, the Lord spoke the following words to me: Are you living according to your faith, and I answered no Lord I have not but I will. This pleased the Lord and I was filled with strength, of the mind and spirit; you see, you cannot serve two masters even with the right intentions -it will fail. So I asked to be released and that following Sunday I was asked to speak in sacrament with my wife on the atonement, the following Sunday after next, we spoke on January 31 St. 2016.
I recorded my testimony and witness; you can listen to it here. I spoke the words, all the words the Lord had put into my mouth to speak that day. I did not prepare a talk; I took with me a few scriptures and a quote I had many times read over before.
He and the Father live, I have seen them both, and I have conversed with them both and been filled with the Light and Glory of the Father that I can best describe as His love, that it is so pure and undefiled that words, cannot convey the power and Glory that He posses, and is, and all things are because of Him and that all things depend upon Him and are sustained by Him, that He alone depends upon none but himself, that all things indeed depended upon Him and His perfections. I had no power to look upon the Father when I was brought into His presence until He filled me with His love. I hid my head, looking down and away and could not bring my eyes to meet His and look upon Him to behold Him, though I tried, I had no power to lift my head and look upon Him, to look upon a being as glorious as Him until He filled me with His joy for me, and His love for me, He filled me with His Glory that I could have power to actually behold Him and look upon Him and I could feel all of creation, giving Him honor and Glory, I could feel that all these things are sustained and are completely dependent upon Him and that His creations were endless. He and the Son are worthy of our fidelity, no man is, we are nothing and we are foolish to have any fidelity towards a man or men, that we look upon a man or men as a source of Light or pattern to follow, besides the Lord that is idolatry and that it offends Him deeply when we place anyone above ourselves and thus in between Him and you, there is no other. Hence why we come to the Father in prayer in the name of His Son, and none else.
I have also conversed with Angels some of those are from the Book of Mormon, the Book of Mormon is the word of God, it is not fiction, and the characters in the book are real. I am a blood descendant from those in the Book of Mormon, I have met with them and they have declared to me my lineage to them both by blood, but also and more importantly for me, that I am sealed to them, that they are my fathers and all this declared to me in the presence of the Lord.
If I, so weak, and cowardly of myself and my own strengths have failed me, that the Lord would come to me and strengthen me and patiently wait upon me to obey, and you are seeking after Him. Keep going on and know that He will come to you also, but He waits patiently for you to obey Him, to not only keep His sayings but to do them, and by degrees, from one small degree to the next He will lead you along and when you are ready, and your heart has been tried and made pure He will come to you. As Nephi says in 2 Nephi 32:6, that after He (Christ) shall manifest Himself to you in the flesh, see that you do whatsoever thing it is that He shall tell you to do. These things come to those who believe and not to those who need them so they can believe.
This I leave with you, the world and all that shall come to a knowledge of this record that these things are true, judge not these things by my weaknesses or by the weaknesses of the flesh of those who brought forth the Book of Mormon, but by the graciousness of the Lord who is patient, kind, forgiving and loving, who waits upon us, all the day long for us to come unto Him, who forgives freely those who love Him. I have discharged the duties that that Lord has placed upon me to declare Him and the Father to the Church that I have seen Him, and that I have spoken with Him and now I bear my witness of Him and His Son to the World. That He lives, Jesus Christ is the way, repent of your sins and return to Him.
Be true to Him.
Live according to your faith.
In His Holy name, I seal up this my testimony of the Father and the Son by the Power of the Holy Ghost in Jesus Christ name, Amen.
B. Matthew Crockett