Find a Church or Find the Church? 

I often hear pastors and parishioners of all stripes encourage people to “find a church” they like. I want to take a moment today to ask these doubtless honest Christians if perhaps they should not instead be encouraging folks to “find the Church” of Jesus Christ

One of the major flaws I see in Christendom is the unscriptural idea that it doesn’t matter which church you belong to so long as you believe in Christ. One denomination is as good as the next for the believer who has Christ in his heart – this is the attitude. Arguably, more Christians have been lulled to sleep or led into crooked paths by this false doctrine than by any other.

I sometimes wonder how an “any-denomination-is-fine” Christian feels when he reads scriptural declarations like the following: 

“There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling; 

“One Lord, one faith, one baptism, 

“One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all” (Ephesians 4:4-6). 

“I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel: 

“Which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ. 

“But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed” (Galatians 1:6-8). 

“I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ. 

“For if he that cometh preacheth another Jesus, whom we have not preached, or if ye receive another spirit, which ye have not received, or another gospel, which ye have not accepted, ye might well bear with him” (2 Corinthians 11:3-4). 

“Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: 

“Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world” (Matthew 28:19-20). 

“13 For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit. 

“For the body is not one member, but many. 

“If the foot shall say, Because I am not the hand, I am not of the body; is it therefore not of the body? . . . . 

“. . . God set the members every one of them in the body, as it hath pleased him. . . . 

“Now ye are the body of Christ, and members in particular. 

“And God hath set some in the church, first apostles, secondarily prophets, thirdly teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, governments, diversities of tongues” (1 Corinthians 12:13-15, 18, 27-28). 

“Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God” (John 3:5). 

“Then he called his twelve disciples together, and gave them power and authority over all devils, and to cure diseases. 

“And he sent them to preach the kingdom of God, and to heal the sick. 

“And he said unto them, Take nothing for your journey, neither staves, nor scrip, neither bread, neither money; neither have two coats apiece. 

“And whatsoever house ye enter into, there abide, and thence depart. 

“And whosoever will not receive you, when ye go out of that city, shake off the very dust from your feet for a testimony against them” (Luke 9:1-6). 

“After these things the Lord appointed other seventy also, and sent them two and two before his face into every city and place, whither he himself would come. . . . 

“And the seventy returned again with joy, saying, Lord, even the devils are subject unto us through thy name. . . .  

“Behold, I give unto you power to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy: and nothing shall by any means hurt you.” (Luke 10:1, 17, 19). 

“And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers” (Ephesians 4:11). 

“Surely the Lord God will do nothing, abut he revealeth his secret unto his servants the prophets” (Amos 3:7). 

“Then laid they their hands on them, and they received the Holy Ghost. 

“And when Simon saw that through laying on of the apostles’ hands the Holy Ghost was given, he offered them money, 

“Saying, Give me also this power, that on whomsoever I lay hands, he may receive the Holy Ghost. 

“But Peter said unto him, Thy money perish with thee, because thou hast thought that the gift of God may be purchased with money” (Acts 8:17-20). 

“Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon fa rock: 

“And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not: for it was founded upon a rock. 

“And every one that heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand: 

“And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell: and great was the fall of it” (Matthew 7:24-27). 

“Having made known unto us the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure which he hath purposed in himself: 

“That in the dispensation of the fulness of times he might gather together in one call things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; even in him” (Ephesians 1:9-10). 

“And I saw another angel fly in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach unto them that dwell on the earth, and to every enation, and kindred, and tongue, and people” (Revelation 14:6). 

“[A]t the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; 

“And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord” (Philippians 2:10-11). 

“That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me. 

“And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one: 

“I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them, as thou hast loved me” (John 17:21-23). 

“He that is not with me is against me; and he that gathereth not with me scattereth abroad” (Matthew 12:30). 

“Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. 

“Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? 

“And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity” (Matthew 7:21-23). 

There is nothing in these rather straightforward verses that suggests that the Lord’s Church is divided into numerous opposing denominations with contradictory doctrines, leaderships, priesthoods, translations and interpretations of scripture, and ordinances. There is nothing that implies one church is as good as the next, that multiple churches may be exist and be equally valid at the same time, or that it doesn’t matter which church you belong to. 

Instead, I see nothing but unity – unity of leadership, authority, organization, doctrine, and membership. I see the word “one” several times, not only implying unity of spirit and intention, but unity of doctrine, structure, and Church body. 

In these prophetic passages, I see references to prophets, apostles, seventies, approved Priesthood authority, and ordinance work carried out by those holding said Priesthood authority. I see citations stating clearly that the Lord will not accept everyone just because they claim to be His followers. I see clear reference to certain ordinances, like baptism, that are required to enter Heaven. I see order, unity, and oneness. 

In light of the fact that the Lord’s Church was not divided in His day or in the time of the Twelve Apostles, is it reasonable to think it should be divided today? If baptism was necessary in Christ’s day, why would it not be necessary today? If the Savior called apostles, prophets, and other authorized servants to preach His Gospel and perform ordinances, are we so arrogant to toss out this system today? If the ancient apostles said there is only “one faith” and described all Christian believers as being linked together in “one body” under prophets and apostles, how can be honestly subscribe to anything different and yet still claim to be Biblical Christians? 

This brings up another problem – the Bible itself. The Bible is the word of God. There is no doubt about it. However, there are myriad translations of that holy book. And there are even more interpretations of its passages, each different from the next. It is utterly impossible, then, to simply read the Bible and use our own reason to comprehend which of all the 45,000 different sects is the “one.” We need a higher and holier witness. 

That witness comes only from God through the Holy Spirit. Recall that when Jesus asked His Apostles who they thought He was, Peter responded: “Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God;” to which the Lord responded: “Blessed art thou, Simon Bar-jona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven” (Matthew 16:15-17). 

It was not enough for Peter to walk with the Savior and witness His miracles, hear His teachings fall from His lips, or feel His divine presence. Peter needed to gain a witness from the Holy Ghost. All of us must also receive a witness from the Holy Spirit or we remain in ignorance and can never testify that we know the truth. 

Through the Holy Spirit, we can learn not only that Jesus is the Christ, the Redeemer of mankind, but which church of all the thousands that exist is His Church containing His authority, ordinances, and doctrines that are necessary for salvation through His blood. 

Most of my friends and acquaintances are not members of the Church I belong to. Some are not members of any church and are not religious at all. I still love them and treat them the same as anyone. We are all at different points on journey of finding the Lord’s one true path or working our way down it. That said, I can’t close this article without sharing my personal witness and testimony of what I have come to know through the same Spirit that confirmed to Peter that Jesus is the Christ. 

I know by virtue of the Holy Ghost that Jesus of Nazareth was the premortal Jehovah, the Creator of earth, and the Lord of lords. I know that He lived a sinless life, that He atoned for my sins and for yours, and that He was crucified as the final sacrifice to fulfill the ancient law He gave to Israel. I know that He rose from the tomb three days later and stands today with a resurrected body at the right hand of God the Father. 

I also testify that I know through the Holy Spirit that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the Lord’s “one” Church. While we can learn many things from many churches, and while numerous good and upright believers exist in other organizations, only The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has the Priesthood authority to officiate in saving ordinances. 

I witness that this Church was revealed from Heaven by an appearance of the Father and Son to the Prophet Joseph Smith and that numerous angels subsequently brought additional knowledge, Bible-supporting scripture, and keys of authority. I testify that three of these divine figures were the Apostles Peter, James, and John, who conferred their keys, rights, and authority of the Lord’s Priesthood to Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery in 1829 and that it has continued in unbroken succession to President Russell M. Nelson who presides as prophet, seer, and revelator over the Lord’s Church. 

I give my personal, sacred witness that the “everlasting gospel” that John saw being delivered to men on earth was this same Gospel of Christ restored through the instrumentality of Joseph Smith in these last days. I witness that The Book of Mormon: Another Testament of Jesus Christ is a volume of holy scripture that substantiates the Bible’s testimony of Jesus and points people’s souls to Him, calling them to repentance, faith, and good works. 

I know that Jesus is the Christ, my Savior, Master, and King. I invite all to come to Him, to seek knowledge from the Holy Spirit, and to investigate the Restored Gospel of Jesus Christ which has brought so much conviction and satisfaction to my soul. It is time to not only find a church, no matter how lovely and enlightened it may be, but to find and join ourselves to the Church of Jesus Christ. 

Zack Strong, 
June 12, 2022

What Does Your Faith Ask You to Do?

This past Sunday, in Sunday School, the teacher set us a small assignment at the beginning of class. He asked us to take five minutes and write down what we thought were the most important things the Gospel of Jesus Christ asks us to do as members of the Lord’s Church. We were asked to also write down scripture references to support these ideas. I thought I would take the time to share the scriptures I jotted down in those five minutes. Perhaps they will inspire, help, or lift someone in the audience. 

The first thing that came to mind is what we call in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints the “Four-Fold Mission of the Church.” The four planks include: Proclaim the Gospel; Perfect the Saints; Redeem the Dead; and Serve the Poor and Needy. An entire book could be written about this Four-Fold Mission statement. The first scriptural reference that came to me, however, is found in The Book of Mormon: Another Testament of Jesus ChristF 

I testify that The Book of Mormon is indeed a witness for Christ and was inspired by God. It is a companion scripture to the Bible that proclaims the divinity of Christ. In fact, 3,925 verses in that holy book talk of Jesus Christ, meaning that the Lord’s name is mentioned an average of once every 1.7 verses. It is a clear, direct, and powerful testimony that Jesus is the Son of God, that He died for our sins, that He rose from the dead and showed Himself to humble disciples on multiple continents, that He stands as the Redeemer of mankind, and that His name is the only name by which salvation comes. 

The first verse that came to me that, broadly speaking, supports the Four-Fold Mission detailed above is the following declaration of an ancient Hebrew prophet named Alma. To a group of new converts who desired to enter into a covenant to serve the Lord, Alma said: 

“Behold, here are the waters of Mormon (for thus were they called) and now, as ye are desirous to come into the fold of God, and to be called his people, and are willing to bear one another’s burdens, that they may be light; 

“Yea, and are willing to mourn with those that mourn; yea, and comfort those that stand in need of comfort, and to stand as witnesses of God at all times and in all things, and in all places that ye may be in, even until death, that ye may be redeemed of God, and be numbered with those of the first resurrection, that ye may have eternal life— 

“Now I say unto you, if this be the desire of your hearts, what have you against being baptized in the name of the Lord, as a witness before him that ye have entered into a covenant with him, that ye will serve him and keep his commandments, that he may pour out his Spirit more abundantly upon you?” (Mosiah 18:8-11). 

Bearing each other’s burdens, comforting those who stand in need, taking upon you the name of Christ, and standing as a witness of Jesus at all times, in all things, and in all places – this is the essence of Christian discipleship. 

The second scripture I wrote on my list was Matthew 18:21-22

“Then came Peter to him, and said, Lord, how oft shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? till seven times? 

“Jesus saith unto him, I say not unto thee, Until seven times: but, Until seventy times seven.” 

In conjunction with this famous passage, I included Doctrine and Covenants 64:8-11. The Doctrine and Covenants is a compilation of revelations and counsel given to the Lord’s disciples in modern times. Though not as well-known as The Book of Mormon, The Doctrine and Covenants is rich with doctrinal treasures and inspired clarifications that benefit anyone seeking to live more like the Master. The verses in question state: 

“My disciples, in days of old, sought occasion against one another and forgave not one another in their hearts; and for this evil they were afflicted and sorely chastened. 

“Wherefore, I say unto you, that ye ought to forgive one another; for he that forgiveth not his brother his trespasses standeth condemned before the Lord; for there remaineth in him the greater sin. 

“I, the Lord, will forgive whom I will forgive, but of you it is required to forgive all men.” 

Have you ever considered that if you don’t forgive another, you stand condemned and that in you lies the greater sin? Having a forgiving heart, then, is one of the chief attributes of a real Christian. 

Earlier this year, I wrote an article bearing the simple name “70×7.” I love the doctrine of forgiveness and repentance! As one who has recognized that I fall short on a daily basis, I know that I need forgiveness frequently from my fellow man and from my God. I may be guilty of various things in life, but I’m not guilty of denying anyone forgiveness. I readily forgive others and I quickly apologize and ask for forgiveness when I have done a wrong or hurt someone.  

he idea of 70×7 – a chance to repent, change, and do better the next time, and a chance to give others that same opportunity – is indescribably precious to my soul. It would revolutionize the world if Christians would embrace “70×7.” 

Next, on my Sunday School assignment, I quoted from the resurrected Redeemer. After appearing to His disciples in the Old World, He appeared to other disciples in the New World – the “other sheep” He had spoken of during His mortal ministry (John 10:16). While there, He repeated His Sermon on the Mount and expounded various teachings, including the following taken from 3 Nephi 27:27

“[W]hat manner of men ought ye to be? Verily I say unto you, even as I am.” 

Being like Christ is what it’s all about. It is the answer to the questions “What should I do?” or “What should I say?” or “What should I think?” in 100% of cases. “What Would Jesus Do?” is more than a pithy slogan on bumper stickers – it’s the injunction of the Master Himself. 

The next passage I scribbled on my paper in Sunday School was Luke 18:1, which instructs: 

“[M]en ought always to pray, and not to faint.” 

It’s a simple statement, but one that contains such power. Prayer is the heart of a sincere Christian life. Prayer allows us to talk to our Heavenly Father and tap into His divine power. Through it, we may bless ourselves, our families, and those around us. In my own life, I have had too many experiences with immediately and specifically answered prayers to deny the reality and power of prayer and the fact that Heavenly Father listens to and loves His children. 

The next scriptural passage I cited comes from Moroni 10:32-33. These are essentially the final words of the final prophet who closed the scriptural record that was translated and published as The Book of Mormon. What did this ancient seer want us, his future readers, to know and do? Said he: 

“Yea, come unto Christ, and be perfected in him, and deny yourselves of all ungodliness; and if ye shall deny yourselves of all ungodliness, and love God with all your might, mind and strength, then is his grace sufficient for you, that by his grace ye may be perfect in Christ; and if by the grace of God ye are perfect in Christ, ye can in nowise deny the power of God. 

“And again, if ye by the grace of God are perfect in Christ, and deny not his power, then are ye sanctified in Christ by the grace of God, through the shedding of the blood of Christ, which is in the covenant of the Father unto the remission of your sins, that ye become holy, without spot.” 

Wise words that no Christian of any denomination can reject. They point us to Christ. They plead with us to become righteous that we may receive the Savior’s grace and mercy. Jesus has power to give this grace by virtue of His Atonement. We access His grace by entering into covenants and ordinances, by self-sacrifice, and by righteous living. Christ’s mercy may wash away our sins and redeem us, if we will fully and sincerely turn our hearts to Him. 

The next verses that I cited involve the importance ordinances. This comes from Doctrine and Covenants 84:19-22

“And this greater priesthood ministereth the gospel and holdeth the key of the mysteries of the kingdom, even the key of the knowledge of God. 

“Therefore, in the ordinances thereof, the power of godliness is manifest. 

“And without the ordinances thereof, and the authority of the priesthood, the power of godliness is not manifest unto men in the flesh; 

“For without this no man can see the face of God, even the Father, and live.” 

Too many Christians deny the importance of ordinances. Yet, the Bible is clear that ordinances are part of the salvation process. The Savior taught, for instance, that no man can get to Heaven unless he enters through the door of baptism (John 3:3-5). The New Testament also makes it clear that the ordinance of baptism, to be efficacious, must not only be performed by proper authority, but must be followed by the giving of the Holy Ghost through the laying on of hands of those holding proper Priesthood authority (Acts 8:14-20). Without these types of sacred ordinances, we cannot access the full power of God and, in the end, we will not return to our Father in Heaven. 

To clarify, though it is Christ’s grace that save us because of His atoning redemption for us and His pure goodness is advocating our cause, He requires ordinances. There is order and careful calculation in Heaven. No one sneaks into Heaven; there is a proper door. That door is ordinances, beginning with baptism by proper authority and proceeding along the course outlined by the Lord and His prophets. 

In modern times, the Prophet Joseph Smith taught the same doctrine in a simple phrase: “Being born again, comes by the Spirit of God through ordinances” (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, 162). Most consider the Prophet to be a charlatan, yet a tree is known by its fruits. A corrupt tree cannot produce good fruit (Luke 6:42-49). The succulent fruit of Joseph Smith’s works has been to lead millions – myself included – to the Savior Jesus Christ. And, in this example, he merely reworded the words of ancient seers relative to the critical place of ordinances in the Gospel Plan. 

The final two passages I jotted down deal with a topic often seen as taboo at Church – politics. Then again, it’s not really politics; it’s the Gospel of Jesus Christ, which is the Gospel of Liberty. We cannot, in good faith, divest the religious side of the Gospel from the political. They are both essential parts that make up the whole. As Elder Hans Verlan Andresen once put it: 

“There are those who undertake to keep their “politics” completely separated from their “religion.” This is logically impossible for one who accepts the scriptures as the word of God” (Hans Verlan Andersen, The Great and Abominable Church of the Devil, 47). 

With that necessary introduction out of the way, the first of the two final “political” passages comes from The Doctrine and Covenants, Section 98, Verses 4-10

“And now, verily I say unto you concerning the laws of the land, it is my will that my people should observe to do all things whatsoever I command them. 

“And that law of the land which is constitutional, supporting that principle of freedom in maintaining rights and privileges, belongs to all mankind, and is justifiable before me. 

“Therefore, I, the Lord, justify you, and your brethren of my church, in befriending that law which is the constitutional law of the land; 

“And as pertaining to law of man, whatsoever is more or less than this, cometh of evil. 

“I, the Lord God, make you free, therefore ye are free indeed; and the law also maketh you free. 

“Nevertheless, when the wicked rule the people mourn. 

“Wherefore, honest men and wise men should be sought for diligently, and good men and wise men ye should observe to uphold; otherwise whatsoever is less than these cometh of evil.” 

This is a remarkable declaration by the Savior. He put His divine stamp of approval on the U.S. Constitution. In another passage not cited here but equally valid, the Lord confirmed that the Founding Fathers of the United States were “hands of wise men whom I raised up unto this very purpose” (Doctrine and Covenants 101:76-80). 

Furthermore, we see that He encouraged His Saints to uphold the inspired Constitution and all principles harmonious with it. These principles support “the principle of freedom” and help us “in maintaining rights and privileges.” These are not American rights, but “belong to all mankind.” They are part of the “the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God” that the Declaration of Independence referred to. Anything more or less than these constitutional principles of Freedom are not merely wrong, different, or misguided, but come of evil. 

Such a knowledge should make us think twice before supporting policies, parties, and people who find themselves opposed to the U.S. Constitution. This is so important because, in the final equation, we can’t support or uphold – whether knowingly or unwittingly – Satan’s political program, which destroys agency, and suppose we are worthy before God. Therefore, if the Savior stamped the U.S. Constitution with His seal of approval, it becomes a tenet of our faith to defend its principles with the same ferocity we would defend His other teachings and revelations. 

The last verse cited in the above passage is a sermon in itself. It shows us how to vote. Have you ever considered that the Lord will judge you based, in part, on how you voted in life? Doesn’t the Bible make it clear that we will be judged for all our acts? (Romans 2:6; 1 Peter 1:17-23; Revelation 20:12). 

Voting is a major act because it demonstrates our principles on matters involving human agency, life and death, property, public values, war and peace, etc. It shows whether we sanction or reject evil, force, and injustice. It also shows what we would do if we personally possessed the power to judge and punish. Is our judgement just or unjust? Remember, we are to “judge righteous judgement” (John 7:24) and that “with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again” (Matthew 7:2). Our votes are forms of judgment that will come back to us at the Judgment Day. 

The Lord revealed here that to be in harmony with His will we must only support honest, wise, and good men – those who befriend constitutional principles of Freedom. If we don’t do this, our vote “cometh of evil.” And nothing evil will enter the Kingdom of God. 

The concluding passage I wrote down last Sunday comes from the ultimate handbook on Freedom – The Book of Mormon. On my paper, I simply copied the book and chapter: Ether 8. There is so much in the chapter that is of great importance. I cite just a few of the verses that discuss Luciferian secret societies and the grave threat they pose to God’s work and the Freedom of mankind. Speaking to those whom he knew would one day read his writings, the ancient prophet Moroni relayed the Lord’s will and mind thus: 

“And it came to pass that they [i.e. the ancient Jaredite people] formed a secret combination, even as they of old; which combination is most abominable and wicked above all, in the sight of God; 

“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. 

“And now I, Moroni, do not write the manner of their oaths and combinations, for it hath been made known unto me that they are had among all people, and they are had among the Lamanites. 

“And they have caused the destruction of this people of whom I am now speaking, and also the destruction of the people of Nephi. 

“And whatsoever nation shall uphold such secret combinations, to get power and gain, until they shall spread over the nation, behold, they shall be destroyed; for the Lord will not suffer that the blood of his saints, which shall be shed by them, shall always cry unto him from the ground for vengeance upon them and yet he avenge them not. 

“Wherefore, O ye Gentiles, it is wisdom in God that these things should be shown unto you, that thereby ye may repent of your sins, and suffer not that these murderous combinations shall get above you, which are built up to get power and gain—and the work, yea, even the work of destruction come upon you, yea, even the sword of the justice of the Eternal God shall fall upon you, to your overthrow and destruction if ye shall suffer these things to be. 

“Wherefore, the Lord commandeth you, when ye shall see these things come among you that ye shall awake to a sense of your awful situation, because of this secret combination which shall be among you; or wo be unto it, because of the blood of them who have been slain; for they cry from the dust for vengeance upon it, and also upon those who built it up. 

“For it cometh to pass that whoso buildeth it up seeketh to overthrow the freedom of all lands, nations, and countries; and it bringeth to pass the destruction of all people, for it is built up by the devil, who is the father of all lies; even that same liar who beguiled our first parents, yea, even that same liar who hath caused man to commit murder from the beginning; who hath hardened the hearts of men that they have murdered the prophets, and stoned them, and cast them out from the beginning. 

“Wherefore, I, Moroni, am commanded to write these things that evil may be done away, and that the time may come that Satan may have no power upon the hearts of the children of men, but that they may be persuaded to do good continually, that they may come unto the fountain of all righteousness and be saved.” 

Powerful words! This command – for it is a commandment – never fails to impress upon me how dire our modern situation is and my own personal duty in respect to Freedom. We are not merely encouraged, but commanded, to “awake” to the “awful” reality of Satanic secret societies “which shall be among [us]” and which “seeketh to overthrow the freedom of all lands, nations, and countries” and which, if not checked, “bringeth to pass the destruction of all people.” 

These frightful passages confirm that the “conspiracy theorists” are not so crazy after all. There is indeed a global cabal “built up by the devil” that wants to subjugate the entire world, destroy Freedom, and exterminate mankind. It engages in murder, war, and deception. The Book of Mormon illustrates the wicked workings and rotten fruit of these Devilish combinations. I also detailed this monstrous, malevolent secret conspiracy in my book Red Gadiantons: What the Prophets Have Taught about the Communist Secret Combination that Threatens Mankind

The threat is very real. In fact, this wicked conspiracy is in its endgame and world events are rising to a crescendo of carnage and oppression surpassing anything we have ever seen. We are presently witnessing the attempt foretold by Moroni to destroy the Freedom of all lands. What will you personally do about it? Will you heed the command to awake and arise in opposition to Satan’s schemes? Will you stand in favor of the Lord’s political program and all just and universal constitutional principles of Freedom? I pray you will. 

Despite this evil cabal’s attempts to dethrone God and overcome His people, they will ultimately fail and evil will “be done away.” The Devil will be dragged down to hell and all will know how impotent and pathetic he always was (see Isaiah 14). It won’t happen in Washington, however. Congress won’t legislate away the evil, being part of it. We won’t vote our way to deliverance, though voting right is a command and duty and will help us deliver our own souls. No, salvation from tyranny and Satan will only happen when we individually and collectively “come unto the fountain of all righteousness,” who is Jesus Christ. Only Jesus saves

And there you have the verses I jotted down in Sunday School and the rationale behind why I chose them. To me, these are imperative duties and parts of my faith in Christ. I consider all of these things – prayer, standing as a witness of Christ, ordinances, rising in defense of Freedom, etc. – to be highly important. Had I had more time, I would have written many more verses that have impacted me, such as John 15:12 which states: “This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you”. 

I would have also certainly added the testimony and plea of the Book of Mormon prophet Nephi, which is one of the sweetest passages of holy writ I know: 

“And we talk of Christ, we rejoice in Christ, we preach of Christ, we prophesy of Christ, and we write according to our prophecies, that our children may know to what source they may look for a remission of their sins. . . . 

“. . . And the words which I have spoken shall stand as a testimony against you; for they are sufficient to teach any man the right way; for the right way is to believe in Christ and deny him not; for by denying him ye also deny the prophets and the law. 

“And now behold, I say unto you that the right way is to believe in Christ, and deny him not; and Christ is the Holy One of Israel; wherefore ye must bow down before him, and worship him with all your might, mind, and strength, and your whole soul; and if ye do this ye shall in nowise be cast out” (2 Nephi 25:26, 28-29). 

Dear reader, may God bless you! May you ask yourself what is important to you in your faith. May you ask what is important for you to do, what sacrifices your faith asks you to make, and then do it. May you have the courage and fortitude to follow the Savior and be like Him. 

Reader, you will fail, as I have, to measure up to Christ’s perfection. Yet, you can, as I have, taste of His power, goodness, and grace and receive strength to overcome Satan, to wade through affliction with faith, and to be a light to the dark world around you. Please accept my sincere prayer for your personal faith to increase and become a flame of inspiration inside you forever. 

Zack Strong, 
May 27, 2022

70×7

“Come now, and let us reason together, saith the Lord: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool.” – Isaiah 1:18 

The older I grow and the more cognizant of my weaknesses and thorns in the flesh I become, the more precious the Savior’s admonition to forgive one another “seventy times seven” is to me. Giving people second, third, fourth, and umpteen chances to change, repent, and improve is what Jesus is all about. 

The Lord repeatedly taught that His hands are outstretched and that He is eagerly waiting for us to turn to Him that we may be healed, strengthened, and redeemed. He said: 

“They that are whole need not a physician; but they that are sick. 

“I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance” (Luke 5:31-32). 

When we recall that Paul taught we “all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God,” we realize that the Savior was talking about all of us (Romans 3:23). He encourages all of us to repent, change, and progress. He lamented that the people of His day would not accept His generous invitation to repent and be saved: 

“O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not!” (Matthew 23:37

Hens are protective. They run around herding their chicks and warding off danger. But if the chicks resist the hen’s efforts and run away, the hen can’t do anything about it. Yet, the Savior is more than a hen. He will search for and find the stray and bring it back to safety so long as the stray wishes to be found. The Messiah taught: 

“And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up: 

“That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life. 

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. 

“For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved” (John 3:14-17). 

God is all about second chances – dozens and dozens of them. He desires us to accept His offer to come to His Son, Jesus Christ, to be lifted up and healed and saved. Jesus explained His profound joy in saving those who are lost, who have sinned, or who are broken beyond human repair: 

“For the Son of man is come to save that which was lost. 

“How think ye? if a man have an hundred sheep, and one of them be gone astray, doth he not leave the ninety and nine, and goeth into the mountains, and seeketh that which is gone astray? 

“And if so be that he find it, verily I say unto you, he rejoiceth more of that sheep, than of the ninety and nine which went not astray” (Matthew 18:11-13). 

The Lord loves a person who repents! Repentance is not a scary idea. It doesn’t mean whipping yourself or living in a monastery or renouncing a normal life. Rather, it simply means to turn away from that which is wrong, harmful, and bad to that which is right, uplifting, and good. President Russell M. Nelson, a modern prophet of Jesus Christ, explained: 

“Too many people consider repentance as punishment—something to be avoided except in the most serious circumstances. But this feeling of being penalized is engendered by Satan. He tries to block us from looking to Jesus Christ, who stands with open arms, hoping and willing to heal, forgive, cleanse, strengthen, purify, and sanctify us. 

“The word for repentance in the Greek New Testament is metanoeo. The prefix meta- means “change.” The suffix -noeo is related to Greek words that mean “mind,” “knowledge,” “spirit,” and “breath.” 

“Thus, when Jesus asks you and me to “repent,” He is inviting us to change our mind, our knowledge, our spirit—even the way we breathe. He is asking us to change the way we love, think, serve, spend our time, treat our wives, teach our children, and even care for our bodies. 

“Nothing is more liberating, more ennobling, or more crucial to our individual progression than is a regular, daily focus on repentance. Repentance is not an event; it is a process. It is the key to happiness and peace of mind. When coupled with faith, repentance opens our access to the power of the Atonement of Jesus Christ. . . . 

“When we choose to repent, we choose to change! We allow the Savior to transform us into the best version of ourselves. We choose to grow spiritually and receive joy—the joy of redemption in Him.8 When we choose to repent, we choose to become more like Jesus Christ!” (President Russell M. Nelson, “We Can Do Better and Be Better,” General Conference, April, 2019). 

Repentance is empowering and freeing! The Atonement of Jesus Christ, His redemption for all who will believe in Him and follow His laws, is the greatest event that has ever or will ever transpire. Because the Savior voluntarily laid down His sinless life, He gained the power to pardon sinners. Because He lived perfectly and obeyed every celestial law, He gained the right to forgive those who lived imperfectly and who broke heavenly law. His blood, His grace, His love is what saves us from ourselves. If we show Him a willing heart, He takes it, mends it, and molds us into who we should be. 

The Easter season which we are in is special because it focuses on forgiveness, divine love, and the possibility for renewal. 70×7 is the Lord’s pattern. Peter anciently asked the Redeemer: “Lord, how oft shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? till seven times?” He benevolently responded: “I say not unto thee, Until seven times: but, Until seventy times seven” (Matthew 18:21-22). 

Of course, the Lord was not saying that we should keep score and forgive only 490 times. Rather, He was illustrating the we need to have a forgiving heart and to continuously forgive. When people make mistakes, forgive them – even if they don’t apologize or beg for forgiveness. It is our duty to forgive everyone; God will forgive whom He chooses based on their actions, desires, and knowledge. But we should willingly, lovingly, mercifully forgive everyone, understanding that we ourselves are imperfect and stand in need of constant forgiveness. 

How many of us can make it through even a single day without offending someone, getting angry, saying a coarse word, feeling pride, thinking something improper, making fun of others, or any number of a thousand other sins? We have need of daily repentance and reformation. Most of us would make it only a matter of weeks or months before we used up our 490 chances if that was in fact the real number. Fortunately, 70×7 is a way of being – a lifestyle of forgiveness, mercy, and love. 

An ancient scripture contains one of the most beautiful phrases. Micah 6:8 asks rhetorically: 

“[W]hat doth the Lord require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God?” 

He deals justly, lovingly, mercifully, and humbly with us and expects us to do the same to others. Did not the Lord say; “Follow me” (Matthew 4:19)? Can we truly follow Him without doing our best to be like Him, emulate His perfect example, and do the things He would if He were in our shoes? If the Lord is so willing and anxious to forgive us hundreds upon hundreds of times for the stupid, and sometimes malicious, mistakes we make and sins we commit, they why are we so quick to close the doors of forgiveness and change to our fellow sojourners here in mortality? 

An ancient Hebrew prophet once asked his people a question that referred to the sharing of physical possessions with those less fortunate than ourselves, but which can easily be applied to spiritual things, including forgiveness and mercy: 

“For behold, are we not all beggars? Do we not all depend upon the same Being, even God, for all the substance which we have, for both food and raiment, and for gold, and for silver, and for all the riches which we have of every kind? 

“And behold, even at this time, ye have been calling on his name, and begging for a remission of your sins. And has he suffered that ye have begged in vain? Nay; he has poured out his Spirit upon you, and has caused that your hearts should be filled with joy, and has caused that your mouths should be stopped that ye could not find utterance, so exceedingly great was your joy. 

“And now, if God, who has created you, on whom you are dependent for your lives and for all that ye have and are, doth grant unto you whatsoever ye ask that is right, in faith, believing that ye shall receive, O then, how ye ought to impart of the substance that ye have one to another” (Mosiah 4:19-21). 

We are all beggars. We have all fallen short. We have all sinned. Because we are in the same situation of needing the Savior to redeem us, we have no right to deny forgiveness, mercy, love, renewal, and repentance to those who are equally dependent, fallen, and needy. 70×7 should be our slogan. We must forgive! We must learn to quickly relinquish our grudges and let go of our anger, hate, and haughtiness. 

The Prophet Joseph Smith taught

“Ever keep in exercise the principle of mercy, and be ready to forgive our brother on the first intimations of repentance, and asking forgiveness; and should we even forgive our brother, or even our enemy, before he repent or ask forgiveness, our heavenly Father would be equally as merciful unto us” (Joseph Smith, Documentary History of the Church, Vol. 3, 383, July 2, 1839). 

Imagine a world where people forgave those who committed wrongs against them, or who offended them, or who said horrid things about them, before they asked for it! Imagine what such a willingness to forgive would do to a person’s heart. He would be filled with the pure love of Christ, charity, mercy, kindness, understanding, meekness, and honor. Such a person would be, in a word, like the Savior. 

In the parable of the prodigal son, you will recall, the father saw his rebellious son in the distance coming towards him. Before the son arrived, before the son asked forgiveness, before the son could do anything to make amends for his wrongs and his pride and his stupidity, the father ran to him, hugged him, and extended his tender mercy. 

This is how forgiveness ought to work. If someone wrongs you, forgive them straight away without hesitation or qualification. Don’t let their sin canker your soul. You are not their judge, so you must forgive regardless of whether the offender deserves or desires it. 

Likewise, if you are the one who has wronged another, wouldn’t you feel greater love toward that person if they forgave you immediately? Would not that willingness to extend undeserved mercy work upon your heart and mind and make you, in turn, more willing to forgive others in your life? Forgiveness can melt icy hearts, break down barriers, erase grudges, cause fresh understanding between opposing parties, and bind people together with cords of love. 

Easter should turn our hearts to Christ. Specifically, it should remind us of His unmatched sacrifice. That sacrifice, called the Atonement, makes all the difference. We can be saved, redeemed, healed, renewed, and exalted if we trust in Christ and follow His commandments. He offers us this priceless gift if we will but follow Him, repent, and apply His Atonement: 

The Lord gave this definitive word to the prophet Alma in ancient times: 

“Therefore I say unto you, Go; and whosoever transgresseth against me, him shall ye judge according to the sins which he has committed; and if he confess his sins before thee and me, and repenteth in the sincerity of his heart, him shall ye forgive, and I will forgive him also. 

“Yea, and as often as my people repent will I forgive them their trespasses against me. 

“And ye shall also forgive one another your trespasses; for verily I say unto you, he that forgiveth not his neighbor’s trespasses when he says that he repents, the same hath brought himself under condemnation” (Mosiah 26:29-31). 

If we do our part, the Lord will forgive us – even if we sin 491 times. If we confess to Him, and to His constituted authorities if our sins are serious enough, we may graciously be forgiven, cleansed, and redeemed! The Israelite prophet Lehi declared: 

“And the way is prepared from the fall of man, and salvation is free. . . . 

“Wherefore, redemption cometh in and through the Holy Messiah; for he is full of grace and truth. 

“Behold, he offereth himself a sacrifice for sin, to answer the ends of the law, unto all those who have a broken heart and a contrite spirit; and unto none else can the ends of the law be answered. 

“Wherefore, how great the importance to make these things known unto the inhabitants of the earth, that they may know that there is no flesh that can dwell in the presence of God, save it be through the merits, and mercy, and grace of the Holy Messiah, who layeth down his life according to the flesh, and taketh it again by the power of the Spirit, that he may bring to pass the resurrection of the dead, being the first that should rise. 

“Wherefore, he is the firstfruits unto God, inasmuch as he shall make intercession for all the children of men; and they that believe in him shall be saved. . . . 

“And the Messiah cometh in the fulness of time, that he may redeem the children of men from the fall. And because that they are redeemed from the fall they have become free forever, knowing good from evil; to act for themselves and not to be acted upon, save it be by the punishment of the law at the great and last day, according to the commandments which God hath given. 

“Wherefore, men are free according to the flesh; and call things are given them which are expedient unto man. And they are free to choose liberty and eternal life, through the great Mediator of all men, or to choose captivity and death, according to the captivity and power of the devil; for he seeketh that all men might be miserable like unto himself. 

“And now, my sons, I would that ye should look to the great Mediator, and hearken unto his great commandments; and be faithful unto his words, and choose eternal life” (2 Nephi 2:4, 6-9, 26-28). 

I repeat that the purpose of the Savior’s Atonement is to save! He wants to save all of us – me and you both. Think of the worst person you know, or the worst person you’ve read about in history; Jesus wants to save that person because his or her soul is precious in His sight. It was for him or her, and for you, dear reader, that He died. 

Jesus is the Mediator who grants you the opportunity to choose eternal life and salvation rather than a fallen state and eternal separation from God. Only His blood washes away sins. Only His grace heals. Only Jesus saves

The son of the same Alma just mentioned, also named Alma, revealed these precious sentiments about the Atonement, which I cherish: 

“And he shall go forth, suffering pains and afflictions and temptations of every kind; and this that the word might be fulfilled which saith he will take upon him the pains and the sicknesses of his people. 

“And he will take upon him death, that he may loose the bands of death which bind his people; and he will take upon him their infirmities, that his bowels may be filled with mercy, according to the flesh, that he may know according to the flesh how to succor his people according to their infirmities. 

“Now the Spirit knoweth all things; nevertheless the Son of God suffereth according to the flesh that he might take upon him the sins of his people, that he might blot out their transgressions according to the power of his deliverance; and now behold, this is the testimony which is in me” (Alma 7:11-13). 

Do you see how strongly He loves you? Do you see that He took upon Himself your sins, transgressions, mistakes, sicknesses, pains, depression, sadness, loneliness, and everything dark, wicked, and horrible you’ve ever experienced. Do you see that He suffered and died for you in order to give you the opportunity to follow Him into the Kingdom of Heaven? 

The best thanks you can give to your Savior for reaching out to rescue and redeem you is to repent of your own failings and to forgive others who have wronged you. Let this Easter, and every day, be a day of forgiveness, mercy, and love. Learn to forgive quickly. Learn to ask for forgiveness right away. Apply mercy liberally and plead for it consistently. Make 70×7 your slogan this holiday and turn to the only One who can save, your Savior, Redeemer, Advocate, Priest, and King, Jesus Christ. 

Zack Strong, 
April 14, 2022 

*If anyone is interested, I created a shirt with the 70×7 logo. If ever you’ve wanted to support me and my work, this is one way to do it and also spread the message of forgiveness to a society that is in particular need to forgive and be forgiven.* 

You Lived Before

A tremendous truth, and the lynchpin of Gospel understanding, is that you lived before this life! You once lived as a son or daughter of God in a pre-earth state of existence where you were trained and prepared for your current mortal test. You have always existed as intelligence, but your Father in Heaven took that intelligence and clothed it with spirit, begetting you as one of His special spirit children. Since He is your literal spirit Father, He endowed you with a part of Himself, including His awesome potential. As in mortality children grow to become like their parents, so, too, may you become like your Father in Heaven. 

Think of it, you are the literal offspring of God! He is your Father! He did not merely create you out of nothing for arbitrary purposes. He has nourished and loved you, raising you from spiritual infancy to spiritual maturity in His holy presence. 

Fix this in your mind: You once knew God, your Father, lived with Him, and may become like Him! What truth could be more soul-stretching and satisfying? You share your Eternal Father’s DNA. You are part of His family. Because of your divine lineage, have untapped potential that will take eons to realize. But realize it you may. Indeed, it was Jesus Christ, your spirit Brother who has ascended to become your Savior, Lord, and King, who commanded us: “Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect” (Matthew 5:48). 

Our Father is not stingy or jealous. He wants us to become like Him just as His perfect Son Jesus did. Achieving the Father’s level of perfection is, as we have just seen, a commandment for every true follower of Christ. Because of Jesus’ perfection, our Father appointed Jesus to stand as an intermediary to help the rest of us climb the ladder back to Heaven, which is our true home and destiny. 

Elder Neal A. Maxwell once observed: 

“The pattern of calling, blessing, expanding, reassuring, and endowing are reflective of the generosity as well as the gentleness of God our Father and his son, Jesus Christ! 

“Astonishingly, to those who have eyes to see and ears to hear, it is clear that the Father and the Son are giving away the secrets of the universe! If only you and I can avoid being offended by their generosity” (Elder Neal A. Maxwell, “Meek and Lowly,” BYU Address, October 21, 1986). 

Do you want the secrets of the universe? Do you want to be like God? You can, if you will follow the path outlined by Christ and rely upon His saving grace and salvific power. 

It is one of Satan’s greatest lies that you can become like God through your own effort without the redemption of Jesus Christ or obedience to eternal law. This is flagrantly false. It is a twisted counterfeit of true Christian doctrine. This teaching is had among occultists in all parts of the earth. When Satan told Eve she would be like God, he did not lie. His lie was that she could do it on her own without the Savior. 

I repeat: It is true that we may become like God, for we are commanded to do just but, but it is wrong that we may do it on our own without Jesus Christ. We cannot sit on a mountain meditating and hope to achieve enlightenment. We cannot join ourselves to occult Theosophy and think it will allow us to rise. We cannot achieve deification through study, physical effort, or any agency on our part. We simply cannot do anything of our own free will that will cause us to evolve into a god. 

From Adam and Eve to the present, the only way we can overcome the effects of the Fall and come off conqueror is through Christ the Redeemer. If we follow Him in faith and obedience, we are told by scripture that we will indeed become like God and be His heirs. The Apostle Paul taught: 

“The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God: 

“And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together” (Romans 8:16-17). 

Those who choose Christ, enter into the gate of baptism by proper authority, who receive all ordinances appointed in the Gospel, and who endure to the end of their lives in faithful obedience and bringing forth good works, will be “glorified together” with God and are appointed as His “heirs” and “joint-heirs with Christ.” This is not pagan doctrine; this is the Gospel of Jesus Christ. 

Even more strongly than “heirs,” Jesus called us “gods,” confirming a teaching given by Him to the ancient Hebrews. When confronted by the wicked Jewish leaders about His claim to be the Son of God, Jesus responded: 

“Is it not written in your law, I said, Ye are gods? 

“If he called them gods, unto whom the word of God came, and the scripture cannot be broken; 

“Say ye of him, whom the Father hath sanctified, and sent into the world, Thou blasphemest; because I said, I am the Son of God?” (John 10:34-36). 

I ask my fellow Christians, was Jesus mistaken? Is the Bible wrong? Of course not! The Lord said “the scripture cannot be broken.” Jesus was in fact quoting scripture that He had personally given as Jehovah. It taught: “Ye are gods; and all of you are children of the most High” (Psalm 82:6). 

The words are there in black and white, plain as day, clear as crystal. But most who have read the Bible have interpreted these passages incorrectly, being blinded by the false creeds of man designed to stunt spiritual growth and shackle us to Satan. Alternatively, many Christians have never read the Bible and rely wholly upon the word of their pastor, priest, or bishop. And how many pastors preach this Biblical doctrine that fell from the lips of Jesus and His apostles that we are literal children of God, that we may be “gods” like Him, and that we lived before? 

It is liberating to know we are the literal spirit children of the God of the universe and that He wants us to be like Him! It is empowering to know our potential as His heirs and as His beloved children. We hail from His lineage, which is the lineage of the Gods. Elder Delbert Stapley once proclaimed: 

“Regardless of man’s claims to the contrary, God is still God; Christ is His son – His Only Begotten Son in the flesh. He is in the express image of His Father’s person, and is our Redeemer, Savior, Lord, and King. The scriptures teach us that we are descended from the lineage of the Gods; therefore, we are created in their likeness and image, in both spirit and body, and we are endowed with like character traits, qualities, and powers. We are not the product of evolution from some lower organism of life as man speculates and would have us believe.” 

True words. Each syllable reverberates with power. They have the ring of truth and all who possess discernment feel it in their bones and know deep inside themselves that they were made for so much more than the fallen world tells them. 

The Bible affirms that we were there with God, our Father, before the world was created. Wise Solomon wrote: 

“The Lord possessed me in the beginning of his way, before the works of old. 

“I was set up from everlasting, from the beginning, or ever the earth was. 

“When there were no depths, I was brought forth; when there were no fountains abounding with water. 

“Before the mountains were settled, before the hills was I brought forth: 

“While as yet he had not made the earth, nor the fields, nor the highest part of the dust of the world. 

“When he prepared the heavens, I was there: when he set a compass upon the face of the depth: 

“When he established the clouds above: When he strengthened the fountains of the deep: 

“When he gave to the sea his decree, that the waters should not pass his commandment: when he appointed the foundations of the earth: 

“Then I was by him, as one brought up with him: and I was daily his delight, rejoicing always before him; 

“Rejoicing in the habitable part of his earth; and my delights were with the sons of men” (Proverbs 8:22-31). 

I personally don’t know how it could be any plainer. You lived “before the works of old,” “before the mountains were settled,” and when the Lord “had not made the earth.” When the seas and the heavens were created, you were there. You rejoiced to learn of the Father’s Plan of Happiness and you were “by him” and “rejoicing always before him.” 

The Lord also explained to Jeremiah that before he was conceived in his mother’s womb, He knew him and had ordained him to great works (Jeremah 1:5). How did He know him? You can’t know what has not been created yet, but you can know what is and was. He knew Jeremiah because Jeremiah was there with Him in pre-mortality, just as Solomon was. You were there, too, and God knows you perfectly. 

Dear reader, you lived before! Your pastor won’t tell you this. Your bishop would call it a lie. Your priest would tell you to stop believing in fables. They are like the pharisees who condemned the Christ and crucified Him on a tree. They rejected plain doctrine, too. They did not want to believe in their potential. They did not want the abundant life that Christ promised them, which abundance begins with a correct knowledge of God and our real relationship to Him. 

It was the Savior who taught: “And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou has sent” (John 17:3). That same Savior, who urged us to know Him and God, called God, “my Father, and your Father; and . . . my God, and your God” (John 20:17). Was Jesus wrong? Is God not truly our Father? If He’s not really our Father, then why did He teach this? He plainly taught that the Creator is our Father and God and His Father and God. If we follow Christ, we must believe these core verities. 

There is nothing to fear in believing Jesus’ words and in taking them at face value. Why not believe that His Father is also your Father? Why not trust that knowing Jesus is knowing the Father? Why not simply have faith that God is our Father and that we are intended to become like Him? Is there any harm or danger in believing what Jesus believed, taught, and lived? 

Again, I say, there is nothing to fear in believing the Bible. False priests may oppress you and revile you and tell you that you are going to hell, but they did the same thing to our Savior for teaching these very same doctrines. Satan always uses religious authorities who have clouded minds and hardened hearts to castigate truth-tellers and to conceal the real meaning of God’s word. 

Yet, God’s word is plain and easy to understand. It proclaims that we are the children of God, that He is our Father, that we are His heirs with Christ, and that we lived before and will live again after this life. What powerful ideas! What motivation! What a thrill it is to know who we really are and that we are properly sons or daughters of the greatest Being in the universe! 

There is nothing more life-changing than to comprehend our true origin, our Parent-child relationship to God, and our divine potential. Because these truths burn so brightly in my soul, I wrote a book called The Lineage of the Gods to testify of and expound them. The Lineage of the Gods is replete with quotations from men more inspired than I who have testified in soberness that we lived before, that we have something of God’s divinity in embryonic form inside us, and that, if we give ourselves completely to Christ, His atoning grace will bring us back to our Father where we will embark on an even greater journey of upward progression. 

The following statements are just a few found in my book. A prophet of God, President Lorenzo Snow, once said: 

“I believe that we are the sons and daughters of God, and that He has bestowed upon us the capacity for infinite wisdom and knowledge, because He has given us a portion of Himself. We are told that we were made in His own image, and we find that there is a character of immortality in the soul of man. There is a spiritual organism within this tabernacle, and that spiritual organism has a divinity in itself, though perhaps in an infantile state; but it has within itself the capability of improving and advancing, as the infant that receives sustenance from its mother. Though the infant may be very ignorant, yet there are possibilities in it that by passing through the various ordeals of childhood to maturity enable it to rise to a superiority that is perfectly marvelous, compared with its infantile ignorance. Why and how is it that this is accomplished? Because it possesses the susceptibilities and the capabilities of its father. So in regard to ourselves. There is a divinity within ourselves that is immortal and never dies. Thousands and thousands of years hence we will be ourselves, and nobody else, so far as our individuality is concerned. That never dies from all eternity to all eternity” (President Lorenzo Snow, General Conference, April 10, 1898; The Lineage of the Gods, 73). 

Who can argue with this logic? It’s as simple as 2 + 2 = 4. And, more importantly, it is scripturally substantiated. 

The fact that we may eventually progress to become like God is not only perfectly reasonable, it’s the very path that Jesus Christ followed to become the Redeemer. He did not begin His life in full perfection; though, because of His unique situation of being begotten by the Father in the flesh, He had greater immediate capacity than the rest of us, including power over death which was indispensable to fulfilling the Atonement. And, yet, Jesus attained His mortal perfection and confirmed His pre-mortal titles of Lord and King through the same perfect obedience He commands us to have (Hebrews 5:8-9). Elder Bruce R. McConkie once explained: 

“Though [Jesus] has now attained unto that exalted state in which he is described as being “from everlasting to everlasting” (D&C 61:1) and “from all eternity to all eternity” (D&C 39:1) – as will eventually be the description and state of all those who gain exaltation (D&C 132:20) – yet, as a conscious identity, he had a beginning. He was born, as were all the spirit children of the Father. God was his Father, as he is of all the rest. For him, as for all men – and he is the Prototype – the eternal spirit element that has neither beginning nor end, and is self-existent by nature, was organized into a spirit body. He was one of “the intelligences that were organized before the world was.” (Abr. 3:22.) He was and is the Firstborn of the Father. 

Jesus commands us to follow Him and be like Him. Why do we refuse to believe we can become like Him when He commands us to do just that? 

President Ezra Taft Benson affirmed the reality of our divine origin and potential: 

“We believe God to be the personal Heavenly Father to all mankind, that all mortal beings are literally His spirit offspring. We worship God as a personal, all-knowing, all-powerful being, endowed with all the attributes of perfection. As God’s literal offspring, we believe man to be His only creation blessed with His image and His likeness” (Ezra Taft Benson, This Nation Shall Endure, 126; The Lineage of the Gods, 76). 

Think of it – we are “God’s literal offspring”! How incredible! And how truly comforting. Another time, President Benson said: 

“Our doctrine of God is clear. He is our Heavenly and Eternal Father. We are His literal children. Through righteous living according to His plan we can see God and become like Him” (Benson, The Teachings of Ezra Taft Benson, 4-5; The Lineage of the Gods, 79). 

President Gordon B. Hinckley further stated: 

““We sing, “I am a child of God” (Hymns, no. 301). That isn’t just a figment, a poetic figment—that is the living truth. There is something of divinity within each of us that needs cultivation, that needs to come to the surface, that needs to find expression. You fathers and mothers, teach your children that they are, in a very literal way, sons and daughters of God. There is no greater truth in all the world than that—to think that we have something of divinity in us” (President Gordon B. Hinckley, Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Gordon B. Hinckley, 77; The Lineage of the Gods, 77-78). 

Again, I ask, why did Jesus continually refer to God as His “Father” if it is not true? Why does the Bible say we are the children of God if it is a lie? Why did Malachi say “Have we not all one father? hath not one God created us?” if it is false (Malachi 2:10)? It’s time to take the Bible at face value and follow our Lord in believing that God is really our Father. 

The great scholar and religious authority, President Joseph Fielding Smith, remarked: 

“Man is the greatest of all the creations of God. He is his offspring. We are all his children. It was made known through the Prophet Joseph Smith and Sidney Rigdon, who saw it in vision, that the inhabitants of this earth and other worlds are begotten sons and daughters unto God. That ought to put an end – so far as Latter-day Saints are concerned – to all this nonsense prevailing in the world regarding the origin of man. 

“Man, I say, as the offspring of God, is the greatest of all his creations. He is greater than the moon, the sun, and the stars, which are the work of the fingers of God, and are made for the benefit of man. It is man’s place to rule, and stand at the head of all other dominions, powers, creations, and beings, which the Lord our God has created” (Joseph Fielding Smith, Doctrines of Salvation, Vol. 1, 62-263; The Lineage of the Gods, 84-85). 

Nothing compares to man because man is in the image of God, the greatest of all, and comes from His direct lineage. We would be His mere playthings – arbitrary creations – if He simply snapped us into existence one day. But logic refutes this demeaning idea. It lessens both man and God. Instead, the truth beckons us to embrace our Parent-child relationship with our Eternal Father and reach upward to the heavens. 

Finally, I quote from President Lorenzo Snow again. He testified: 

“[T]he Spirit of God fell upon me to a marked extent, and the Lord revealed to me, just as plainly as the sun at noonday, this principle, which I put in a couplet: “As man now is, God once was; As God now is, man may be.” That fulfilled Father Smith’s declaration. Nothing was ever revealed more distinctly than that was to me. Of course, now that it is so well known that it may not appear such a wonderful manifestation; but when I received it, the knowledge was marvelous to me. This principle, in substance, is found also in the scriptures. The Lord said to John, as recorded in the third chapter of his Revelation: “To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne”” (President Lorenzo Snow, in Clyde J. Williams, ed., The Teachings of Lorenzo Snow, 2; The Lineage of the Gods, 71-72). 

It is marvelous indeed! We have a Lord and a God who, through experience, know what mortality is like. Through experience, They have overcome and stand before us showing the way to perfection and eternal life. It is a black mark upon Christendom that they have largely rejected the Lord’s teachings regarding man’s origin and glorious potential to become just like Him and our Heavenly Father. I urge you to embrace the Bible in its fulness, accepting with joy the fact that you are a literal son or daughter of God Almighty and that you may, through the redeeming grace of Jesus Christ, become like Him and be a joint-heir of Heaven with your Lord Jesus Christ. 

This article is not a commercial for my book, though it is a unique volume that I wish every human alive would read. It is, rather, a fervent witness from the bottom of my soul of the special station of man. We are the literal children of God! You are His son or daughter. You lived with Him before you came to earth. Yes, you lived before! 

You have eons of glorious memories to unlock one day. You have countless friends whom you have forgotten that you need to become reacquainted with after this mortal life ends and you graduate into eternity. You have your true self to find, comprehend, and embrace. And, one blessed day, you will comprehend God and acknowledge Him as your literal Father in whose arms you were once held and raised and loved. 

The Lord loves you. Your Father loves you. You once knew Them personally and lived in their holy presence in preparation for this very moment in which you would prove that you would follow them in the face of opposition. If you follow Christ’s injunction to “come unto me” (Matthew 11:28) and become “even as I am” (3 Nephi 27:27), you will inherent eternal glory alongside your Savior

Zack Strong, 
April 9, 2022 

Watch two video presentations on man’s origin and potential here and here

Enough and to Spare

An insidious myth has been propagated throughout the world – the myth of overpopulation and the scarcity of earth’s resources. Both points of this monstrous myth are flagrantly false. The earth is not overpopulated and our planet’s resources are not finite. 

The website https://overpopulationisamyth.com/ debunks the overpopulation hokum through and through. I won’t rehash all of their terrific information. Suffice it to say, however, that overcrowding, not overpopulation, is the real problem. Cities are indeed overcrowded. For the life of me, I don’t understand the appeal of large cities with their corruption, concrete impersonality, decadence, smog, high prices, high crime, unbearable traffic, turmoil, and leftist politics. 

Yet, according to 2018 U.N. estimates, 55% of people worldwide live in cities. That number is expected to rise to 68% soon. In North America, 82% of people supposedly live in cities. 74% of Europeans do likewise. The number is 50% in Asia. 

People have lost their connection to the land and soil. They no longer know how to produce their own food or have their own homes and property. Instead, they’re dependent and nearly helpless, living in cities that can’t sustain themselves and in metropolises that can’t offer more than overcrowding, noise, commotion, rampant disease and crime and immorality, and learned helplessness. 

There is so much land available to live on and to farm! No one should be without. Yet, the problem is that people have willingly congregated in cities where there is no possibility of self-sufficiency and staying close to the soil. They’ve urbanized themselves. They became statistics when they joined the jumbled mass of city-dwellers. 

But why should everyone live in cities? There’s so much more space available. I often get pushback on technicalities from people, but a fact you can look up is that the world’s population could all live in Texas. The density wouldn’t be desirable, but they roughly could fit. Think, then, of how much land truly exists in this world of ours! 

So much for not having enough space. Let’s talk about resources. It’s common to say that earth’s resources are finite and that eventually they will run out. This is a malicious falsehood supported by no facts and spread by genocidal social engineers who are actively trying to vaccinate, sterilize, poison, and starve us into extinction. It’s the type of perverse thinking, drawing from pop culture, that led the Mad Titan Thanos to exterminate half of the universe in the name of making life better for the survivors. While Thanos may have said it’s “simple calculus,” his math and logic, to say nothing of morality, could not have been more incorrect.

Before his passing, Professor Julian L. Simon wrote

“And why do they believe that commodities will grow more scarce? For many people, the idea that resources are finite is at the source of this belief. But the idea of finiteness is a prejudice and it is not supported by available facts. 

“Incredible as it may seem, the term “finite” is not only inappropriate, it is downright misleading when applied to natural resources. The mathematical definition of “finite” is quite different from a useful economic definition. . . . 

“The first auto‐ engine parts made of silicon and carbon (water‐ pump seal rings) are being installed in Volkswagens. Engines could soon be made of silicon carbide, cutting weight and emissions in addition to replacing metals. 

“Palladium instead of platinum can now be used in auto‐ exhaust emission systems. Ceramics engineering is exploding with new knowledge, putting an end to past generations’ worries about running out of metals. 

“Organic plastics can now be blended with glass to yield a material as strong as concrete, but flexible and much lighter. And a feasible way to make heat‐ resistant plastics using gallium chloride has been found. Plastics are now made only from fossil fuels or the oils from plants grown in fields. But researchers have recently found ways to convert agricultural products, like potatoes and corn, into direct sources of plastics by inserting plastic‐ producing genes into them. 

“In light of these developments, concern about running out of commodities seems ever less sensible. Just as the number of points in a one‐ inch line can never be counted, the quantity of natural resources that might be available to us, and the quantity of services that they can give us, can never be known.” 

A prejudice not supported by facts is right! Consider oil, for instance. Will we ever run out? All the “experts” said we would – and many still say we will. Yet, amazingly, oil deposits that were once depleted have now refilled naturally! It’s as if the earth pumps it out in as high a quantity as we need it.  

Let’s be clear – there are no natural oil shortages. The earth has given us more than we can use. There is, though, a man-made agenda to shut down the global economy and turn humanity into serfs in a high-tech feudal system. The conspirators in this global plot have turned down, and sometimes off entirely, the oil spigots. 

Alaska could be producing unimaginably more oil than it currently does. What about the Keystone Pipeline shut down by Beijing Biden? What about the Gulf of Mexico where the oil deposits continue refilling themselves as if by magic? Venezuela, Israel, Iraq, Iran, Libya, Saudia Arabia, UAE, Nigeria, Russia, China, and other nations, are loaded with black gold. The world is gushing with oil and can’t possibly run out any time soon unless it is through deliberate tampering and greed. 

Beyond basic facts about the replenishing nature of earth’s resources, there’s another source I feel to turn to. Scoffers scoff, but truth is truth. In 1834, the Lord Jesus Christ gave a revelation wherein He shattered the myth that the earth has limited resources. He stated: 

“It is wisdom in me; therefore, a commandment I give unto you, that ye shall organize yourselves and appoint every man his stewardship; 

“That every man may give an account unto me of the stewardship which is appointed unto him. 

“For it is expedient that I, the Lord, should make every man accountable, as a steward over earthly blessings, which I have made and prepared for my creatures. 

“I, the Lord, stretched out the heavens, and built the earth, my very handiwork; and all things therein are mine. 

“And it is my purpose to provide for my saints, for all things are mine. 

“But it must needs be done in mine own way; and behold this is the way that I, the Lord, have decreed to provide for my saints, that the poor shall be exalted, in that the rich are made low. 

“For the earth is full, and there is enough and to spare; yea, I prepared all things, and have given unto the children of men to be agents unto themselves. 

“Therefore, if any man shall take of the abundance which I have made, and impart not his portion, according to the law of my gospel, unto the poor and the needy, he shall, with the wicked, lift up his eyes in hell, being in torment” (Doctrine and Covenants 104:11-18). 

According to the Lord, the earth has “enough and to spare.” The earth is the Lord’s and it was built to sustain the Father’s children during their mortal tests. There was no galactic oversight. God didn’t forget to give us enough resources to live. Such an idea is preposterous. The truth is that “the earth is full, and there is enough and to spare.” 

What, then, causes starvation, thirst, homelessness, want, and need? The answer is simple: Unrighteousness. In the revelation just cited, the Savior said that all things must be done “in mine own way.” If we follow the Lord’s way, His Gospel, the “poor shall be exalted.” 

The Gospel of Jesus Christ works by changing people from the inside out. It doesn’t say, we’ll give you a new car and a great house, but, rather, it teaches you to be industrious and thrifty and faithful. It doesn’t offer welfare trucks driving the streets to hand out food; that’s the task of the individual Christian disciple who is inspired by His Savior’s example. It doesn’t dictate x amount of land for each person, but relies upon the goodness and compassion of people to share, help, and lift each other. 

Ezra Taft Benson once observed

“The Lord works from the inside out. The world works from the outside in. The world would take people out of the slums. Christ takes the slums out of people, and then they take themselves out of the slums. The world would mold men by changing their environment. Christ changes men, who then change their environment. The world would shape human behavior, but Christ can change human nature. . . . 

“Yes, Christ changes men, and changed men can change the world. 

“Men changed for Christ will be captained by Christ. Like Paul they will be asking, “Lord, what wilt thou have me to do?” (Acts 9:6.) Peter stated, they will “follow his steps.” (1 Pet. 2:21.) John said they will “walk, even as he walked.” (1 Jn. 2:6.) 

“Finally, men captained by Christ will be consumed in Christ. To paraphrase President Harold B. Lee, they set fire in others because they are on fire.” 

The world’s resources may seem finite, but only because people lack the infinite love of Christ. There’s no reason that people in India and Africa – and some in our own homeland – need to die of hunger. Only a sin-sick world would allow that. Only wicked governments would put a cap on valuable resources, all in the name of “saving the environment,” while people perish as a result. Only corruption would criminalize free enterprise, individual ingenuity, and personal stewardship over resources, thus suffocating free will, personal charity, and an opportunity to serve. 

In the revelation above, the Lord spoke of every man being “accountable” and having a “stewardship” over earthly things. This is a reference to the sacred importance of personal property. The Lord’s system is not a utopian collectivist scheme. It doesn’t rely on government forcing people to share. It doesn’t take away private property, but is based upon it. 

The Lord’s system is called the “law of consecration.” To consecrate may be defined as “to make or declare sacred; set apart or dedicate to the service of a deity.” Under the Lord’s system, the individual voluntarily sets apart a portion of his surplus to the Lord’s Church and to his fellow members of this system. 

What he gives up is his choice. The bishop or authority can’t force him to consecrate more or less. Whatever the individual retains is his stewardship and he is accountable for it directly to God. This could be a large tract of land intended for farming. It could be the wise use of a talent God has given the person. Whatever it is, it’s an individual, not a collective, stewardship. Yet, there are collective dividends and the Church may help those who fall on hard times or who need extra help. 

In this sort of system, everyone’s needs are met. It’s all voluntary. Each family owns its own property or has its own stewardship. Each is autonomous, yet enjoys the benefits of unity and collective strength. The system incentivizes and rewards hard work. It allows for growth and ingenuity. It doesn’t shackle man’s innate cleverness or ability to innovate. Here, the individual and individual family matters and is not merely a cog in a collective machine ruled from on high. It’s a beautiful, inspired system! 

The Devil has counterfeited the Lord’s system, however. Incapable of ingenuity of his own, Satan twists and mauls what Jesus gives in its pristine manner. Instead of the law of consecration, Satan has offered us communism and socialism. The communists, atheists that they are, have in fact sometimes said that they are the true heirs of New Testament teachings. After all, don’t we read in Acts chapter 4: 

“And the multitude of them that believed were of one heart and of one soul: neither said any of them that ought of the things which he possessed was his own; but they had all things common. 

“And with great power gave the apostles witness of the resurrection of the Lord Jesus: and great grace was upon them all. 

“Neither was there any among them that lacked: for as many as were possessors of lands or houses sold them, and brought the prices of the things that were sold, 

“And laid them down at the apostles’ feet: and distribution was made unto every man according as he had need” (Acts 4:32-35). 

Those of limited light and narrow understanding think this means that everyone gave up their right to own and manage their own property. Not so. They merely dedicated, or consecrated, everything they didn’t need for their own upkeep, to the Lord and to the support of their fellow believers. But, you say, what about Ananias and Sapphira? Didn’t God smite them for holding back their property? No. He enacted justice upon them for lying and for setting their hearts upon riches – the very thing that the Redeemer had taught was the root of all evil. 

The Lord is eager to give all of us a stewardship. He wants us to be accountable directly to Him. He wants us to have our Independence and our autonomy. He wants us to voluntarily show Him how little value we place on the material world and how much more we love Him and our fellow man. He wants to know what sacrifices we are willing to make – how much we’re willing to truly put on the altar of discipleship. 

This system of consecration is designed to enhance feelings of love and service and to make us more Christlike towards others. It’s designed to make us faithful to Him as little children are to their parents. It’s meant to raise the poor and lower the rich until all have their just needs and wants met. But this voluntary system only works when the Gospel of Christ has penetrated the heart and cleansed it of greed, unjust ambition, selfishness, vainglory, pride, and covetousness.

Worldly people will never implement it. Churches decked in gold will never inspire their followers to consecration. In a word, fake Christians can never achieve the Zion-like beauty of the consecrated life. The greatest need, therefore, is for society to repent and turn to Christ. Repentance is the only remedy we possess that can save us from ourselves. 

The Savior Jesus Christ stands with open arms to forgive and uplift, to cleanse and crown, both nations and individuals. And, before long, He will stand here again upon the earth and beckon all to live the law of consecration and enjoy the bounties of the earth He created. Truly, there’s enough and to spare in the earth and in the Gospel of Jesus Christ. When we finally have enough and to spare of His love and goodness in our hearts, we will have enough and to spare of everything else. 

Zack Strong, 
March 23, 2022

Torn Pages and Eternal Truth

Recently, my one-and-a-half-year-old daughter found my copy of the holy scriptures and tore out a page. She then ripped that page into smaller pieces. Out of curiosity, I wanted to know what message a tiny piece of holy writ, devoid of all other context, would have for me. One side of the torn piece began in the middle of a sentence, declaring: 

“. . . salvation was, and is, and is to come, in and through the atoning blood of Christ, the Lord omnipotent. 

“For the natural man is an enemy to God, and has been from the fall of Adam, and will be, forever and ever, unless he yields to the enticings of the Holy Spirit, and putteth off the natural man and becometh a saint through the atonement of Christ the Lord, and becometh as a child, submissive, meek, humble. . .” 

The list of Christlike attributes was cut off by the rip in the page. The other side of the page picked off a few verses later and neatly contained two complete verses which read: 

“And now I have spoken the words which the Lord God hath commanded me. 

“And thus saith the Lord: They shall stand as a bright testimony against this people, at the judgment day; whereof they shall be judged, every man according to his works, whether they be good, or whether they be evil.” 

I was so struck with how perfect and succinct this little sermon was that I immediately put pen to paper to share the message. It’s fitting that the first thing you read if you chance to rip a page out of the divine word is the proclamation that Jesus is the Christ and the centrality of His redemptive Atonement in the Gospel Plan. Nothing is more important in eternity than Christ’s Atonement, except, perhaps, our individual decision to accept or reject it in our lives. 

Thankfully, the prophetic word just quoted explained exactly what we can do to accept the Savior, follow Him, and become His Saints: We must listen to the Holy Spirit’s promptings and become humble, meek, and submissive like little children. This is the recipe for salvation. 

In the end, we will each be judged according to our actions, thoughts, and desires, whether they were good or evil. And those who have the prophetic record containing this powerful witness of Jesus Christ and the true points of His Gospel, will be judged according to an even higher standard. It’s a blessing to have this information so that we may look inward and correct our errors, humble ourselves, and draw closer to the Lord. 

Some may be racking their minds trying to identify the part of the Bible where the above passage is found. Which book was this little page torn from? Would it surprise you to learn that this tremendous witness of our Redeemer is not in the Bible? Instead, the passage is part of a sermon delivered by a Hebrew prophet-king named Benjamin around 124 B.C. (Mosiah 3:17-24). His sermon, and the record of numerous other holy prophets of God, is found in The Book of Mormon: Another Testament of Jesus Christ.

The resurrected Lord appearing to the Nephites in ancient America, 34 A.D.

 In 2020, I wrote an article titled “The Book of Mormon Speaks of Christ.” I encourage you to read it. I reiterate the essence of that testimony now. The Book of Mormon is and does exactly what its inspired introduction says: 

“The Book of Mormon is a volume of holy scripture comparable to the Bible. It is a record of God’s dealings with ancient inhabitants of the Americas and contains the fulness of the everlasting gospel. . . . 

“The crowning event recorded in the Book of Mormon is the personal ministry of the Lord Jesus Christ among the Nephites soon after His resurrection. It puts forth the doctrines of the gospel, outlines the plan of salvation, and tells men what they must do to gain peace in this life and eternal salvation in the life to come.” 

This is not a fairy tale. It’s not the whimsical imagination of man. It’s history. It’s truth. I witness of the veracity of The Book of Mormon, the one who brought it forth, and the Lord of whom it teaches. 

Despite the uplifting, enlightening, powerful message of Christ found in the sacred volume, Christendom flinches and recoils when the Lord offers them more of His word. Why? Why wouldn’t a Christian want to have more of Jesus’ words? Why wouldn’t they want to know more of His miracles, judgements, and revelations to holy Israelite prophets – the lost sheep He talked about during His ministry (John 10:16; see also 3 Nephi 15:12-24)? 

It’s a falsehood to claim that the Bible says there will never be more revelation or scripture. It simply doesn’t say it. It warns against adding to specific books, such as John’s Revelation and the book of Deuteronomy, but nowhere in the Bible does it say that revelation, prophets, and scripture would cease. Nowhere. That is an apostate view created by uninspired creed-followers. In fact, it is directly refuted by multiple passages, several of which I cite here and leave you to search out and ponder: Acts 2:16-21; Amos 3:7; Revelation 19:10; John 14:26

In The Book of Mormon, the Lord directly addressed those Christians who would one day reject the record and the great light it shines on Him. He said: 

“Thou fool, that shall say: A Bible, we have got a Bible, and we need no more Bible. . . . 

“Know ye not that there are more nations than one? Know ye not that I, the Lord your God, have created all men, and that I remember those who are upon the isles of the sea; and that I rule in the heavens above and in the earth beneath; and I bring forth my word unto the children of men, yea, even upon all the nations of the earth? 

“Wherefore murmur ye, because that ye shall receive more of my word? Know ye not that the testimony of two nations is a witness unto you that I am God, that I remember one nation like unto another? Wherefore, I speak the same words unto one nation like unto another. And when the two nations shall run together the testimony of the two nations shall run together also. 

“And I do this that I may prove unto many that I am the same yesterday, today, and forever; and that I speak forth my words according to mine own pleasure. And because that I have spoken one word ye need not suppose that I cannot speak another; for my work is not yet finished; neither shall it be until the end of man, neither from that time henceforth and forever. 

“Wherefore, because that ye have a Bible ye need not suppose that it contains all my words; neither need ye suppose that I have not caused more to be written. 

“For I command all men, both in the east and in the west, and in the north, and in the south, and in the islands of the sea, that they shall write the words which I speak unto them; for out of the books which shall be written I will judge the world, every man according to their works, according to that which is written. 

“For behold, I shall speak unto the Jews and they shall write it; and I shall also speak unto the Nephites and they shall write it; and I shall also speak unto the other tribes of the house of Israel, which I have led away, and they shall write it; and I shall also speak unto all nations of the earth and they shall write it” (2 Nephi 29:6-12). 

Strong words, but they are the words of the living Lord. I testify that they are true and that you will account for them one day. 

The Bible is the stick of Judah and The Book of Mormon is the stick of Joseph that the prophet Ezekiel prophesied would “become one” (Ezekiel 37:15-17).

The logic is also flawless. It is pharisaical to believe you have the only truth, or the only book, and that God can’t speak to whomever He pleases and bring forth whatever ancient or modern records He wants. He led away the lost tribes of Israel, did He not? He has also prophesied of their return, hasn’t He? How will all of that happen without continuing, modern revelation? Why did He promise to pour out visions and dreams if He didn’t intend for revelation to continue? Why would God change now when He has plainly said that He is the same yesterday, today, and forever? 

God always adapts His teachings to people in their circumstances. He gave the hosts of Israel the law of Moses because they weren’t prepared to receive His higher law. But, later, after apostasy and a period of cessation of revelation, He sent John the Baptist to prepare the way for Him. Then, He came into the world to give a higher law. When His apostles were later murdered and the churches went astray after false doctrines, another period of darkness prevailed and necessitated a Restoration – the “marvellous work” that Isaiah foretold of in the last days (Isaiah 29:14). 

We should all be able to admit that God doesn’t abandon His children. He loves them. He doesn’t cease speaking to them. He doesn’t ignore them because something He said to another group will suffice any more than parents stop teaching a younger child because they already taught it all to the older sibling. The times that revelations have stopped for a season have been times when people have embraced wickedness, rejected the Lord, and chased away the Holy Spirit. Yet, still, God continuously reveals His word through the Holy Spirit to people in all corners of the map who are humble and prepared to receive it. This is good logic. 

If you think about it, Ezra Taft Benson’s statement on revelation is pure truth: 

“God’s revelation to Adam did not instruct Noah how to build the Ark. Noah needed his own revelation. Therefore the most important prophet so far as you and I are concerned is the one living in our day and age to whom the Lord is currently revealing His will for us.” 

Who can deny this? The man to whom Christians looked for counsel in Peter’s day was Peter. He was their authorized prophet and the one to whom the Lord gave revelations and guidance. Ancient Israelites, however, looked to Moses or Isaiah or Jeremiah, depending on when they lived. The Lord always speaks through prophets, brings forth additional revelations to add upon what He has previously given, and leads His followers by the voice of His Spirit if they let Him

The problem is that Christians are like the wicked Hebrews of old who, when the Lord came down to the mountain to speak with them with His own voice, feared, distanced themselves, and “stood afar off” (Exodus 20:18-21). They could have had so much more, but they chose not to receive it. It’s the same today with people who are content to have only the Bible, rejecting both continuing prophetic revelation that adds to the scriptural canon and the personal manifestations of the Holy Spirit. 

The Lord’s words are applicable here: 

“O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not!” (Matthew 23:37

At a time when the Bible and Christian precepts are under sustained attack on every side, The Book of Mormon’s confirmation and clarification of core Biblical tenets and of the hope of victory over evil should be a breath of fresh air to Christendom. Christian disciples should rejoice that the Lord has given them another book that teaches of Him, that glorifies His name, that bolster’s the Bible’s validity, and that proclaims pure truth. I thank God from the bottom of my soul for The Book of Mormon

I know for myself through the unmistakable manifestations and power of the Holy Ghost that The Book of Mormon is true and that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was divinely restored by the Lord through the instrumentality of a modern prophet, Joseph Smith. Another angel really did fly through the heavens “having the everlasting gospel to preach unto them that dwell on earth” as the Apostle John prophesied would happen preceding the Savior’s return in glory (Revelation 14:6). 

From the long-awaited Restoration in 1830 to the present, the Lord has continued to call men to serve as prophets, seers, and revelators, giving here and there His word and will to mankind. The core of what these men have taught and are teaching is found in the Bible and established, elucidated, and expanded in The Book of Mormon

I close with a serious invitation. Read The Book of Mormon. Study it. Bask in its light, which is from the Lord. Let it strengthen your faith in Jesus Christ, which is its purpose, as explained by the prophet Nephi: 

“And we talk of Christ, we rejoice in Christ, we preach of Christ, we prophesy of Christ, and we write according to our prophecies, that our children may know to what source they may look for a remission of their sins. . . . 

“And now behold, I say unto you that the right way is to believe in Christ, and deny him not; and Christ is the Holy One of Israel; wherefore ye must bow down before him, and worship him with all your might, mind, and strength, and your whole soul; and if ye do this ye shall in nowise be cast out” (2 Nephi 25:26, 29). 

Finally, I invite you to put the book’s internal challenge to pray to God for your own independent witness of its truthfulness to the test (see Moroni 10:3-5). I’ve put this challenge to the test and I have my answer from the Spirit. It’s true! It’s from God, not from the mind of Joseph Smith. It was penned by ancient Hebrew prophets who inhabited ancient America. Their stories are contained in this sacred record. Their miracles are therein recorded. Their warnings, prophecies, and counsel to us, their future readers, are precious beyond description. They were brought to light by an angel and translated by the Prophet Joseph Smith through God’s power. It truly is a “marvellous work.”  

Neither hell nor the Devil can ever make me deny my testimony of The Book of Mormon and of Jesus Christ who is the central figure of that volume. I’d be lying to myself and to my God were I to reject what the Holy Ghost has imparted to my heart. It really is true! And if this written witness of Jesus Christ and The Book of Mormon was the last testimony I ever had the chance to share, I’d be satisfied. 

Zack Strong, 
February 19, 2022

The Matchless Power of Christ

The Savior Jesus Christ possesses all power, might, and dominion over this and all other earths. In His pre-mortal state, when He was known as Jehovah, He created this world from pre-existent matter. Over the millennia, He directed His people, sending floods and fire from Heaven as needed for their protection or punishment. When it was time to redeem the world as a mortal, Jesus continued His show of power. He multiplied food, walked on water, raised the dead, healed lepers, and cast out raging demons with a single word. In the near future, as the resurrected Lord of lords and King of kings, He will perform some of His greatest miracles and His matchless power will be acknowledged by all. 

An ancient prophet said that God works through miracles and that the great day of miracles is not over: 

“I will show unto you a God of miracles, even the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob; and it is that same God who created the heavens and the earth, and all things that in them are. . . . 

“And now, O all ye that have imagined up unto yourselves a god who can do no miracles, I would ask of you, have all these things passed, of which I have spoken? Has the end come yet? Behold I say unto you, Nay; and God has not ceased to be a God of miracles. 

“Behold, are not the things that God hath wrought marvelous in our eyes? Yea, and who can comprehend the marvelous works of God? 

“Who shall say that it was not a miracle that by his word the heaven and the earth should be; and by the power of his word man was created of the dust of the earth; and by the power of his word have miracles been wrought? 

“And who shall say that Jesus Christ did not do many mighty miracles? And there were many mighty miracles wrought by the hands of the apostles. 

“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 he changeth not; if so he would cease to be God; and he ceaseth not to be God, and is a God of miracles. 

“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. 

“Behold, I say unto 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” (Mormon 9:11, 15-21). 

God used His power and miracles before this world was, He has used them throughout the duration of its existence, and He will continue to use them to bless the lives of the faithful or, conversely, to humble the rebellious. The Savior wants to pour down miracles upon us. But He is governed by law as much as any of us. And He simply can’t pour out the riches of eternity upon those who violate eternal laws. Yet, repentance is the ultimate miracle. When we conform to eternal law and have sincere and obedient hearts and do our best in our fallen state to follow the right path, then His soul gushes with love and He blesses us in myriad ways, both temporally and spiritually. This goes for nations as well as individuals. 

The Devil, through his deceptions and cunning influence, may persuade hard-hearted tyrants to imprison or kill the innocent, confiscate food, steal the wealth of the poor, wage wars of aggression, or release plagues, but Jesus Christ has the power to protect the faithful from fiery flames (Daniel 3:19-29), preserve the righteous against ravenous lions (Daniel 6:7-27), inspire the discerning to prepare in advance for times of famine (Genesis 41:25-36), send legions of angels to rout enemy armies (2 Kings 19: 32-36), heal the sick of plagues (Numbers 21:6-9), and even raise people from the grave (John 11:34-45). Satan’s power is puny and pathetic; the Savior’s power is peerless and perfect. 

With a solitary phrase, “Peace, be still,” Jesus calmed the roaring waves of Galilee, showing His unchallenged control over the elements (Mark 4:37-41). Because He had compassion on a weeping widow who had lost her son, he brought him back from beyond the grave with a little phrase: “Young man, I say unto thee, Arise” (Luke 7:11-16). And, in a rapidly approaching day, when the Jews have been humbled through suffering to the point that they are finally ready to accept their Messiah, Jesus will appear on the Mount of Olives. As His holy foot touches that spot, the mountain will cleave in pieces, the people will run out, and they will finally embrace their Redeemer (Zechariah 14:1-9).  

It should humble us to know that a single word from Jesus, or the mere touch of His foot, has the power to calm turbulent waves and tear apart solid mountains. How powerful is our God really? Satan can offer us nothing – absolutely nothing. The Lord offers us Heaven, eternal life, and endless joy. And He alone has the power to deliver on His promises. 

Painting by Simon Dewey

I witness that the Lord is a mighty, majestic Man. Yes, He is merciful, forgiving, gentle, tender, and loving, but He is also fiercer and more passionate for truth and justice than we often think. The Prophet Joseph Smith made a statement about our Eternal Father which applies equally to His Holy Son: 

“Our heavenly Father is more liberal in His views, and boundless in His mercies and blessings, than we are ready to believe or receive; and, at the same time, is more terrible to the workers of iniquity, more awful in the executions of His punishments, and more ready to detect every false way, than we are apt to suppose Him to be” (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, 257). 

The Lord is not weak and frail, though He allowed Himself to be cruelly killed to fulfill the eternal law of redemption. By giving up His own sinless life as an offering for those of us who sin and who need a mediator to ransom us from our mortal frailties and failures, Jesus Christ became the Redeemer of the universe. He is the only one who has ever conquered the Devil, death, and hell completely. He has overcome them and He can extend His unmatched power to us so that we may likewise overcome our smaller burdens. This power is, however, offered conditionally. The price we must pay is obedience to His words. 

How great is it, then, to acknowledge what a prophet once proclaimed: 

“Hath he commanded any that they should not partake of his salvation? Behold I say unto you, Nay; but he hath given it free for all men; and he hath commanded his people that they should persuade all men to repentance. 

“Behold, hath the Lord commanded any that they should not partake of his goodness? Behold I say unto you, Nay; but all men are privileged the one like unto the other, and none are forbidden. . . . 

“. . . he doeth that which is good among the children of men; and he doeth nothing save it be plain unto the children of men; and he inviteth them all to come unto him and partake of his goodness; and he denieth none that come unto him, black and white, bond and free, male and female; and he remembereth the heathen; and all are alike unto God, both Jew and Gentile” (2 Nephi 26:27-28, 33). 

The Lord’s infinite goodness is available to all of us. His love can touch your heart. His Spirit can inspire your mind. His strength can buoy you up in the face of trials. His virtue can heal you from every malady that may come. His miracles can bless you in a thousand ways. We need only sincerely heed His sincere invitations: “Come unto me” and “come, follow me” (Matthew 11:28-30Luke 18:22). 

I close with a word of testimony and an apt declaration from King Darius issued after he witnessed the Lord miraculously save Daniel from the lions. I know that the Lord works by miracles. I can’t claim to receive them every day, but I have received them. God is real. His Son is Jesus Christ. They hear our prayers and, when it is according to their will, They answer them. This I know perfectly because of my own personal experiences and I declare it as fact to all who doubt. The Lord is good to and “loveth those who will have him to be their God” (1 Nephi 17:40). 

Now for King Darius’s proclamation: 

“Peace be multiplied unto you. 

“I make a decree, That in every dominion of my kingdom men tremble and fear before the God of Daniel: for he is the living God, and steadfast for ever, and his kingdom that which shall not be destroyed, and his dominion shall be even unto the end. 

“He delivereth and rescueth, and he worketh signs and wonders in heaven and in earth, who hath delivered Daniel from the power of the lions” (Daniel 6:25-27). 

King Darius was right. The Lord’s power is matchless. He has no equal. His is Lord of all. His miracles have not ceased. He is returning soon to take the scepter of earthly power away from the usurper Satan. His Kingdom will cover the earth and all will bow the knee before Him. As that day approaches, those who follow Jesus Christ will be tested to the limit, but they will have miracles poured down upon them and will be preserved by “signs and wonders in heaven and in earth.” Be on the Lord’s side. He loves you and wants to bless you. 

Zack Strong, 
December 11, 2021

You’re Not Enough

The internet is full of feel-good phrases that, on the surface, sound warm and fuzzy, but which fall apart when you give them more than two seconds of thought. Such is the fallacy “you’re enough.” No, you’re not enough! If you were enough, there would have been no need for Jesus Christ to have suffered and died for you. The very fact that the sinless Son of God had to suffer so exquisitely for you to become clean is evidence enough that you are simply not enough without Him.

The Fall of Adam is one of the least understood doctrines in Christendom. Yet, it’s a core tenet of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. If we don’t understand the Fall, we can’t possibly comprehend the need for a Savior. And without comprehending the need for a Redeemer, we won’t ever muster the faith necessary to come to Him, repent, and be sealed eternally as one of His children. 

The Apostle Paul taught of the Fall: 

“For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead. 

“For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive” (1 Corinthians 15:21-22). 

Because of the Fall, then, it became necessary for Christ to come. Because we “died” through the Fall, both spiritually and physically, Christ had to abolish death through His resurrection and make us spiritually alive in Him through His Atonement. 

The great Christian scholar Elder Bruce R. McConkie called the Fall one of the “three pillars of eternity.” Said he: 

“The atonement is part of the eternal plan of the Father. It came at the appointed time, according to the will of the Father, to do for man that which could not have been done in any other way. The atonement is the child of the fall, and the fall is the father of the atonement. Neither of them, without the other, could have brought to pass the eternal purposes of the Father. 

“The fall of Adam and the atonement of Christ are linked together—inseparably, everlastingly, never to be parted. They are as much a part of the same body as are the head and the heart, and each plays its part in the eternal scheme of things. 

“The fall of Adam brought temporal and spiritual death into the world, and the atonement of Christ ransomed men from these two deaths by bringing to pass the immortality and eternal life of man. This makes the fall as essential a part of the plan of salvation as the very atonement itself. . . . 

“Truly, salvation comes because of the fall, and it is just as important to believe in the fall as it is to believe in the atonement, and, indeed, it is not possible to believe in the atonement without believing in the fall.” 

The Fall necessitated the coming Christ, and by Christ comes salvation. The salvation of mankind “could not have been done in any other way.” We had to fall in order to rise! It was the only way. Adam and Eve, therefore, blazed the path which was necessary for us to follow. Christendom has condemned Adam and Eve, yet they were blessed souls who actually fulfilled the Father’s Plan of Happiness by using their agency to choose a hard life in mortality.

Think of the blessings and privileges this turbulent mortality offers: Pain, but progress; sexual intimacy and procreation; children and the joys of family life; learning lessons that could have been gained in no other way; a complete knowledge of good and evil, with the ability to fully choose our own destiny; a chance to prove our faithfulness to God in a world of opposition and temptation; and, finally, an opportunity to come to Christ, partake of His salvation, and, through Him and the ordinances of His Gospel, rise to become “heirs of God ” (Romans 8:16-17Psalm 82:6). 

Adam and Eve chose a harder life to fulfill a higher Plan; a greater struggle to earn greater rewards. A text that Christendom doesn’t yet accept as authentic, but which is a true account, contains statements from both Adam and Eve given after the Fall, which were recorded by the Hebrew prophet Moses in what was once a passage found in Genesis: 

“And in that day the Holy Ghost fell upon Adam, which beareth record of the Father and the Son, saying: I am the Only Begotten of the Father from the beginning, henceforth and forever, that as thou hast fallen thou mayest be redeemed, and all mankind, even as many as will. 

“And in that day Adam blessed God and was filled, and began to prophesy concerning all the families of the earth, saying: Blessed be the name of God, for because of my transgression my eyes are opened, and in this life I shall have joy, and again in the flesh I shall see God. 

“And Eve, his wife, heard all these things and was glad, saying: Were it not for our transgression we never should have had seed, and never should have known good and evil, and the joy of our redemption, and the eternal life which God giveth unto all the obedient. 

“And Adam and Eve blessed the name of God, and they made all things known unto their sons and their daughters” (Moses 5:9-12). 

We should honor Adam and Eve. They were the parents of the human race. They are role models of each of us. And they were righteous Christians who were redeemed through the blood of Christ the same as anyone can be. 

The Fall, as you can see, was not the horrible tragedy most people assume it was. It was a necessary part of the Father’s Plan of Salvation. Had Adam and Eve remained in their infantile and innocent state in the Garden of Eden, they would’ve never had children, would’ve never fully known good from evil and thus would’ve never truly been free agents to choose their own destiny, and there would’ve been no progression because there would’ve been precious little opposition and opportunity to prove their faithfulness to God’s commands. 

Life is a test in which we are to prove to our Father in Heaven that we willingly acknowledge His laws and choose to follow them in spite of opposition. This could’ve never happened had there been no Fall. The salvation of mankind was impossible in the Garden of Eden. It was only possible to attain in the Garden of Gethsemane.  Again, I say, we ought to honor Adam and Eve

Mortal life isn’t all sunshine and roses, of course. The Fall brought negative consequences, too. Instead of growing spontaneously, food now had to be cultivated. This requires a lot of physical labor. The Fall had a corrupting influence on our physical bodies, our internal composition, and on nature in general. Instead of possessing the luster of Heaven, all things now have the taint of death and corruption. This includes us. Human death became a reality because of the Fall. Death often brings sorrow and heartache. But the reverse is also true. The Fall brought life, love, intimacy, and joy into the world. These exquisite and extreme emotions were impossible in Eden. 

The Fall not only brought physical, but spiritual death into the world. Because of our fallen state, our natures gravitate more easily towards sin and darkness. It is, in a measure, unavoidable. We all sin. We all run away from the light on occasion. We are all fallen and would remain so if Jesus Christ had not interceded on our behalf. 

Ancient Hebrew prophets taught how fallen we truly are without Christ. One explained that the Fall: 

“was the cause of all mankind becoming carnal, sensual, devilish, knowing evil from good, subjecting themselves to the devil. 

“Thus all mankind were lost; and behold, they would have been endlessly lost were it not that God redeemed his people from their lost and fallen state. 

“But remember that he that persists in his own carnal nature, and goes on in the ways of sin and rebellion against God, remaineth in his fallen state and the devil hath all power over him. Therefore he is as though there was no redemption made, being an enemy to God; and also is the devil an enemy to God. 

“And now if Christ had not come into the world . . . there could have been no redemption. 

“And if Christ had not risen from the dead, or have broken the bands of death that the grave should have no victory, and that death should have no sting, there could have been no resurrection. 

“But there is a resurrection, therefore the grave hath no victory, and the sting of death is swallowed up in Christ” (Mosiah 16:3-8). 

Another ancient man of God taught: 

“For it is expedient that an atonement should be made; for according to the great plan of the Eternal God there must be an atonement made, or else all mankind must unavoidably perish; yea, all are hardened; yea, all are fallen and are lost, and must perish except it be through the atonement which it is expedient should be made. . . . 

“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. 

“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 means unto men that they may have faith unto repentance. 

“And thus mercy can satisfy the demands of justice, and encircles them in the arms of safety, while he that exercises no faith unto repentance is exposed to the whole law of the demands of justice; therefore only unto him that has faith unto repentance is brought about the great and eternal plan of redemption. (Alma 34:9,14-16). 

And a third prophet explained: 

“For as death hath passed upon all men, to fulfil the merciful plan of the great Creator, there must needs be a power of resurrection, and the resurrection must needs come unto man by reason of the fall; and the fall came by reason of transgression; and because man became fallen they were cut off from the presence of the Lord. 

“Wherefore, it must needs be an infinite atonement—save it should be an infinite atonement this corruption could not put on incorruption. Wherefore, the first judgment which came upon man must needs have remained to an endless duration. And if so, this flesh must have laid down to rot and to crumble to its mother earth, to rise no more. 

“O the wisdom of God, his mercy and grace! For behold, if the flesh should rise no more our spirits must become subject to that angel who fell from before the presence of the Eternal God, and became the devil, to rise no more. . . . 

“O how great the goodness of our God, who prepareth a way for our escape from the grasp of this awful monster; yea, that monster, death and hell, which I call the death of the body, and also the death of the spirit” (2 Nephi 9:6-8,10). 

Another prophet expounded: 

“[I]t behooveth the great Creator that he suffereth himself to become subject unto man in the flesh, and die for all men, that all men might become subject unto him.  

“For as death hath passed upon all men, to fulfil the merciful plan of the great Creator, there must needs be a power of resurrection, and the resurrection must needs come unto man by reason of the fall; and the fall came by reason of transgression; and because man became fallen they were cut off from the presence of the Lord. . . . 

“And the days of the children of men were prolonged, according to the will of God, that they might repent while in the flesh; wherefore, their state became a state of probation, and their time was lengthened, according to the commandments which the Lord God gave unto the children of men. For he gave commandment that all men must repent; for he showed unto all men that they were lost, because of the transgression of their parents. 

“And now, behold, if Adam had not transgressed he would not have fallen, but he would have remained in the garden of Eden. And all things which were created must have remained in the same state in which they were after they were created; and they must have remained forever, and had no end. 

“And they would have had no children; wherefore they would have remained in a state of innocence, having no joy, for they knew no misery; doing no good, for they knew no sin. 

“But behold, all things have been done in the wisdom of him who knoweth all things. 

“Adam fell that men might be; and men are, that they might have joy. 

“And the Messiah cometh in the fulness of time, that he may redeem the children of men from the fall. And because that they are redeemed from the fall they have become free forever, knowing good from evil; to act for themselves and not to be acted upon, save it be by the punishment of the law at the great and last day, according to the commandments which God hath given. 

“Wherefore, men are free according to the flesh; and call things are given them which are expedient unto man. And they are free to choose liberty and eternal life, through the great Mediator of all men, or to choose captivity and death, according to the captivity and power of the devil; for he seeketh that all men might be miserable like unto himself” (2 Nephi 2:5-6,21-27). 

Finally, a fifth Hebrew prophet elucidated the interconnection between the Fall and the Atonement thus: 

“[H]is blood atoneth for the sins of those who have fallen by the transgression of Adam, who have died not knowing the will of God concerning them, or who have ignorantly sinned. 

“But wo, wo unto him who knoweth that he rebelleth against God! For salvation cometh to none such except it be through repentance and faith on the Lord Jesus Christ. . . . 

“. . . men drink damnation to their own souls except they humble themselves and become as little children, and believe that salvation was, and is, and is to come, in and through the atoning blood of Christ, the Lord Omnipotent. 

“For the natural man is an enemy to God, and has been from the fall of Adam, and will be, forever and ever, unless he yields to the enticings of the Holy Spirit, and putteth off the natural man and becometh a saint through the atonement of Christ the Lord, and becometh as a child, submissive, meek, humble, patient, full of love, willing to submit to all things which the Lord seeth fit to inflict upon him, even as a child doth submit to his father. 

“And moreover, I say unto you, that the time shall come when the knowledge of a Savior shall spread throughout every nation, kindred, tongue, and people. 

“And behold, when that time cometh, none shall be found blameless before God, except it be little children, only through repentance and faith on the name of the Lord God Omnipotent” (Mosiah 3:11-12,18-21). 

This doctrine is rich, pure, and fulfilling. It empowers us to know that the Fall was not some cosmic mistake, but that God knew all about it advance, needed for it to happen, and prepared a means by which we could overcome the Fall and rise to Heaven. We truly can “put off the natural man” and overcome our corrupt, fallen, and lost natures. We can use this fallen testing ground as a showcase for our obedience and faith. We can “choose liberty and eternal life, through the great Mediator of all men,” Jesus Christ, and avoid eternal death. 

Our bodies will automatically be renewed through Christ’s resurrection. Spirit will join together again with an immortal body, just as Christ received when He rose from the tomb. This is a gift He gives us freely regardless of our faith or goodness. But the spirit is more important. The state of our soul in the eternities depends very much upon our acts and faith. 

We may, if we repent, renew our spirits and avoid a second spiritual death. Whereas mankind was cut off from God because of the Fall, we may come back into His presence by virtue of the Atonement of Jesus Christ. And that’s the key to it all – that the Messiah came to earth to fulfill the Atonement for fallen humanity so that His “mercy can satisfy the demands of justice, and encircles them in the arms of safety.” 

Justice demanded that we fall, and we did. We put ourselves in a pit that we could not extricate ourselves from. We couldn’t earn our way out of it. We couldn’t wish ourselves to safety. We couldn’t get out by any effort of our own. We needed outside help. Jesus is that help. Because of Christ’s perfection, grace, virtue, honor, and goodness, we may, through faith in Him and obedience to His commands, access His mercy which overpowers justice and brings us back to our Father. But please understand – it’s not your good works, which God required, that save you, but Jesus Christ

Why could Jesus save us? What made Him so different? Wasn’t He a man like us? Wasn’t He created as we are and born of a mortal mother? Yes and no. It’s true that God is the literal Father of our spirits and, as such, we have an amazing potential that can be realized through Jesus Christ. I wrote an entire book on that topic and I hope you keep that verity in mind as you go throughout life and as you face hard times. But Christ’s relationship with the Father was different and unique in at least one major way. 

The Savior Jesus Christ was fully human, through his literal mother Mary, but He was also fully God through His literal Father. Though we are spirit children of God, we have fully mortal parents. Jesus, however, was the “only begotten” Son of God in the flesh. Because He was fully God, the Lord had the ability to be fully perfect and to conquer death, thus giving Him the tools to rescue us from the Fall. 

For clarification, the literal Father of Jesus’ earthly body was our Heavenly Father. The Father endowed Jesus with the matchless power of God – a power you and I lack in our fallen state and can only access conditionally in accordance with His will. He was therefore the only One who had the possibility of redeeming us and reconciling us with God. Jesus was the Creator of Heaven and earth, the Jehovah of old, the promised Messiah, the Lamb of God, and the Redeemer of Israel. He was the only one empowered and authorized to save humanity. 

Thankfully, the Lord kept His ancient promises, worked out His excruciating Atonement, and put Himself in a position to extend mercy and grace to you and me on certain conditions. These conditions are plainly listed in the holy scriptures. They include having faith, forsaking sin, confessing to correctly-constituted Priesthood authority, being baptized in the proper way, receiving the Holy Ghost by the laying on of hands of the Lord’s authorized servants, paying tithes and offerings, standing up for the Liberty wherein Christ makes us free, doing good to others, loving one another, being humble and meek and submissive, enduring to the end of our lives in righteousness and repenting again when we slip up, etc. It’s a tall order, but it’s the only path that leads to eternal joy, salvation, and exaltation with our families in God’s Kingdom. What could be better? 

In conclusion, I want you to remember something. You are fallen. You are broken. You are imperfect. You are in a lost state. You are not enough. But the silver lining is that you don’t have to be! The Son of God, our Savior and Redeemer, is enough. He doesn’t merely make up what you lack – He gives you everything you need. He extends His nail-pierced hand and offers you eternal life, peace, and eventual perfection. More accurately, then, we can say that you are not enough without Christ. But through Him and by His incomparable power, you may do all things. 

I love my Savior. I don’t live up to His laws as perfectly as I ought to, but He knew I wouldn’t. He knew you wouldn’t. He knew that none of us could do it by ourselves no matter how much we desperately want to and try to. Because He loves us so strongly, He chose to suffer so terribly for us to provide a means of deliverance and salvation. He bled from every pore and gave His life to wash away our sins and imperfections so that we could enjoy peace, happiness, Light, Love, and Liberty with Him for eternity. 

Again, I say, you’re not enough and you don’t have to be – Jesus Christ is enough. Turn to Him. Trust Him. Follow Him. Honor Him. And let Him encircle you in the arms of safety forevermore. 

Zack Strong, 
October 28, 2021 

Love is Love . . . Except When It’s Lust

Now that Sodom and Gomorrah Remembrance Month is in our rearview mirror, let’s talk. You were no doubt inundated on social media and TV with pro-LGBT messages like “love is love,” “love has no gender,” and “love only knows equality.” We’ve been force fed “gay pride” and “gay rights” at every turn. Everything has been bathed in rainbow colors. The queer flag has been raised across the world at U.S. embassies. This homosexual agenda is Satanic, dangerous to society, and based on numerous lies. I want to speak about the biggest of those lies today. 

People who are afflicted by homosexuality, and their vocal cheerleaders in the press and online, are laboring under a sinister delusion. They believe that homosexual lust is “love.” It’s not. It never will be. In fact, it’s impossible for homosexual lust to ever be love. You heard me correctly: There was never a homosexual who possessed true romantic love towards another homosexual – only lust.

Jesus with the woman caught in adultery

This is so for several reasons. The easiest reason to explain is that the Apostle John said that “God is love.” God is love and He has forbidden homosexuality. It is therefore a contradiction to suppose that so-called homosexual “love” comes from or is recognized by the One who is love and who also forbade homosexuality. This is basic logic. 

But if two plus two doesn’t equal four for some of you, looking at John’s teaching in context might do the trick. He explained further what love is and where it comes from: 

“[E]very spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: and this is that spirit of antichrist, whereof ye have heard that it should come; and even now already is it in the world. 

“Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world. 

“They are of the world: therefore speak they of the world, and the world heareth them. 

“We are of God: he that knoweth God heareth us; he that is not of God heareth not us. Hereby know we the spirit of truth, and the spirit of error. 

“Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God. 

“He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love. 

“In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him. 

“Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. 

“Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought also to love one another” (1 John 4:3-11). 

Love is a gift of God. Love is linked to righteousness. Love is exemplified by the atoning sacrifice of Jesus Christ. Those who are born of God, or reborn through Christ, are those who become filled with pure love. 

Those who accept Jesus Christ hear God and know the spirit of truth. Or, at least, they should be able to recognize error. Christian disciples are called to “love one another” in the same way that God loves us. Those who don’t love in this way don’t truly know God, and don’t truly love, because this type of love is God and comes from Him. So, John said, “herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.” 

The word “propitiation” means to appease God. Christ’s “propitiation for our sins” appeases the eternal demands of justice that come upon all of us because we have all sinned and fallen short (Romans 3:23). In return, the Son of God requires certain things of us. We can’t appease, please, or satisfy God, therefore, without following His Son Jesus Christ and living according to His teachings. 

The Lord frankly and openly taught how to receive His and our Heavenly Father’s incredible love and what it means to honestly love God: 

“If ye love me, keep my commandments. . . . 

“He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him. . . . 

“If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him. 

“He that loveth me not keepeth not my sayings: and the word which ye hear is not mine, but the Father’s which sent me” (John 14:15, 21, 23-24). 

According to Jesus, true love equals obedience to God’s laws. It means honoring His teachings, keeping His commandments, and following Him down the pathway of righteousness. Only those who “keep my words,” or who sincerely try to do so, will “be loved of the Father, and I will love him.” Those who do not do the will of Christ and keep His commandments have no such promise and walk in darkness. 

Again, Christ is the exemplification of love. And what did Christ do? He said: “I came down from heaven, not to do mine own will, but the will of him that sent me” (John 6:38). He later testified: “And he that sent me is with me: the Father hath not left me alone; for I do always those things that please him” (John 8:29). 

Jesus with the woman at the well

If we want to always have the spirit and presence of God, we must likewise do those things that please Him. We must do the will of the Father, which is revealed in the teachings of our Savior Jesus Christ. Long before the Son of God came into mortality, He had revealed to His ancient prophets the truth that keeping the commandments is central to the Gospel Plan. “Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man” (Ecclesiastes 12:13). Of those commandments that we are duty-bound to keep, the mortal Messiah listed two as cardinal: 

“Thou shalt the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy cmind. 

“This is the first and great commandment. 

“And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. 

“On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets” (Matthew 22:37-40). 

Loving God is the first and highest commandment of them all. As we’ve seen, we can’t please God without following His Son Jesus Christ and following His commandments. The second great commandment is to love others – to love them in the pure and undefiled way Christ loves us. This is the type of crystalline love that led the Lord to voluntarily sacrifice Himself in Gethsemane and on the Cross. The Savior proclaimed: 

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. 

“For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved” (John 3:16-17). 

God is our Father. He doesn’t want to condemn us. He doesn’t want to punish us. He doesn’t want to lose us to that malevolent being who tempts us to follow a darker, lower, meaner path. Rather, He sent His perfect Son, Jesus Christ, to light the world with love and to show us a higher and holier way of living. He sent His son to atone for our sins, die on the Cross, and rise from the grave to prepare the path so that we who are not as perfect as He was could one day, through obedience, become “heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ” (Romans 8:17). 

Jesus does not give us commandments and rules in order to restrict us from having a good time, to oppress us, or to make us miserable. Quite the contrary. He said: “I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly” (John 10:10). As the only perfect Person to ever walk this earth, He knows what He’s talking about. 

A righteous life is an abundant life. It is a lifestyle that merits the unsurpassed love of God. It is a lifestyle that allows Heavenly light to penetrate the darkness of this world and illuminate our souls. It is a life of peace, comfort, and joy (John 13:17; John 14:18, 27). It is a life that allows the Redeemer to redeem and the Savior to save. He doesn’t require perfection before He showers us with love and spiritual gifts, but He requires our hearts and minds and our sincerest efforts to go about doing good (Acts 10:38). Loving God and loving our neighbors is fundamental to this process of Christian living.

Let’s now consider three specific reasons why homosexuality is a counterfeit of true love. 

Firstly, since the beginning of time, the Lord has defined the proper relationship between men and women. He set gender roles and sexual boundaries. He told Adam and Eve, and, by extension, all of us: “Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it” (Genesis 1:28). It was a command, therefore, for men and women to enter into the marriage covenant and “multiply.” Marriage was essential to God’s Plan and the essential part of marriage was procreation and childbearing. 

How do humans multiply? We multiple through sexual intercourse. It only works when a man and a woman are joined together as “one flesh” (Genesis 2:24). Men and women are spiritually designed to fit together. We are anatomically designed to fit together, too. This is for the purpose of fulfilling the command to multiply and replenish the earth and to solidify unity between the sexes. Procreation simply doesn’t work if two women or two men try it. Homosexual sex, then, is an unnatural aberration that fulfills no purpose other than lust. Thus, fulfilling the Lord’s command to multiply is something only heterosexuals are naturally capable of doing. Remember, keeping the commandments is a prerequisite to pleasing God, following His Son, and truly loving. 

Secondly, the gift of sex was given to humankind with special rules. It was only to be used between men and women and only within the confines of the marriage covenant. Anciently, the Lord told His people: “Thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind: it is abomination” (Leviticus 18:22). Homosexuality was considered such an abomination, in fact, that it merited the death penalty (Leviticus 20:13). That penalty was dropped by the Lord when He came and established His Church and introduced a higher law, but He and His apostles continued to preach against homosexuality and all other forms of sexual impurity. 

Additionally, pre-marital sex was strictly forbidden. It was called in both the Old and New Testaments “fornication.” The Apostle Paul taught that “this is the will of God . . . that ye should abstain from fornication” (1 Thessalonians 4:3). Under God’s law, there is no provision for homosexual marriage. Thus, all homosexual liaisons are, by definition, fornication and forbidden. 

Extra-marital sex has also been forbidden by the Lord throughout history. It is known as “adultery.” The Apostle Paul admonished: 

“Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh. 

“For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would. . . .  

“Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness. . . . 

“. . . of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God. . . . 

“And they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts” (Galatians 5:16-24). 

Many people throughout time have disregarded these laws, choosing to follow after forbidden lusts instead. We rationalize and justify our lust and our violations of divine law by calling it “love” or by trivializing sex as a base bodily function. “Such is the way of an adulterous woman; she eateth, and wipeth her mouth, and saith, I have done no wickedness” (Proverbs 30:20). But we can’t merely wish away God’s laws or the consequences of immorality. “Can a man take fire in his bosom, and his clothes not be burned?” (Proverb 6:27). 

Taken as a whole, these rules regulating sex can be called the law of chastity. There are only two sins that are greater than breaking the law of chastity; namely, denying the witness of the Holy Spirit after receiving it and murder. The Lord takes sexual impurity very seriously. He condemns and forbids everything from homosexuality to fornication to pornography to rape and beyond. All of these have, as at their core, some form of lust or selfishness. 

Thirdly, some people say “God made me this way” and embrace the illicit desires they have, branding them as “love” to ease their consciences. Let me tell you a truth: God did not make you that way. He did not create you gay. He did not put lust in your heart. He did not implant in you a desire to abandon the path of marriage and procreation. To do so would be to violate His own laws and to contradict the teachings of His Son and prophets. The Apostle James clearly taught: 

“Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man: 

“But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed” (James 1:13-14). 

I repeat: God doesn’t make people gay. God does not tempt anyone to do evil. God does not entice anyone to fornicate or commit adultery. It’s contrary to His holy nature, His mercy, and His love. As James said, these forbidden desires are born of lust and are evil. 

But let’s pretend God does create some people gay at birth, even though He absolutely does not. Nevertheless, the commandment to repent, change, and be reborn still applies! It applies to every person on earth regardless of their challenges and inclinations. It applies to people who have problems with thievery, lying, gossiping, substance abuse, pornography, gambling, fornication, adultery, violence, pride, anger, arrogance, impatience, ingratitude, ad infinitum. Jesus called the adulterers, prostitutes, demoniacs, and handicapped to follow Him with as much fervor as He called those with less visible problems, such as the learned Pharisees, to follow Him. He’s the Master Healer and He knows how to heal and mend hearts and lives. 

Jesus powerfully and plainly taught Nicodemus: “Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God” (John 3:5). Could it be any clearer? 

We’re not enough by ourselves. We need Jesus. Our natures are fallen and corrupted. We all sin and do things that we regret or that harm others. It comes with the territory here on planet earth. But we don’t need to let our lusts, our failings, our weaknesses, our sins, or our past define us. We’re better than that. We’re the children of our Heavenly Father! 

Think of it – the King of the universe is our Father! The Creator of worlds without number – the One who walks on water, raises the dead, and calms the raging sea with a single word – is His Son who stands with open arms to receive, lift, and heal all who come to Him regardless of what they were or did in the past. Our Heavenly Father wants to give us everything He has and to see us follow His Son in becoming like Him (Romans 8:16-17; John 10:34). We belong to the family of God Almighty. Shouldn’t that fact alone inspire us to do better and be better?  

Our mission as fallen and sinful individuals is to not embrace the low path, but to throw off our old habits and desires and embrace the higher and holier standard revealed by the Redeemer Jesus Christ. It doesn’t matter what you’ve done or how far you’ve fallen; you can be redeemed! It doesn’t matter how frequently you’ve sinned or screwed up; you can be saved! 

Just as Joseph in Egypt literally ran from sexual temptation when it literally pulled on him, so, too, does the Lord expect us to remember our legs and flee from the snare of sin (Genesis 39:7-21). Paul urged: 

“Flee fornication. Every sin that a man doeth is without the body; but he that committeth fornication sinneth against his own body. 

“What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? 

“For ye are abought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s” (1 Corinthians 6:18-20). 

As difficult as it may be, our path is clear – we must flee fornication. It doesn’t matter if it is homosexual or heterosexual fornication. It’s wrong either way. It’s lust in both cases; not love. In fact, we are to flee all sin, all error, and all unrighteousness. 

The prodigal son returns

When we slip and fall, there’s a way back. Some mistakes are bigger than others, but all mistakes take us away from God and cause us to lose a measure of His holy light. Repentance is the remedy. To repent simply means to turn away from something. Those with gambling problems must turn away from gambling. Those with anger issues must learn patience. Those with pride must learn humility. And those with sexual problems of all kinds must turn away from them – both in deed and in thought. 

Russell M. Nelson, a powerful Christian leader and example for all believers today, recently gave us these encouraging words about repentance: 

“Nothing is more liberating, more ennobling, or more crucial to our individual progression than is a regular, daily focus on repentance. Repentance is not an event; it is a process. It is the key to happiness and peace of mind. When coupled with faith, repentance opens our access to the power of the Atonement of Jesus Christ. 

“Whether you are diligently moving along the covenant path, have slipped or stepped from the covenant path, or can’t even see the path from where you are now, I plead with you to repent. Experience the strengthening power of daily repentance—of doing and being a little better each day. 

“When we choose to repent, we choose to change! We allow the Savior to transform us into the best version of ourselves. We choose to grow spiritually and receive joy—the joy of redemption in Him. When we choose to repent, we choose to become more like Jesus Christ! 

“Brethren, we need to do better and be better because we are in a battle. The battle with sin is real. The adversary is quadrupling his efforts to disrupt testimonies and impede the work of the Lord. He is arming his minions with potent weapons to keep us from partaking of the joy and love of the Lord. 

“Repentance is the key to avoiding misery inflicted by traps of the adversary. The Lord does not expect perfection from us at this point in our eternal progression. But He does expect us to become increasingly pure. Daily repentance is the pathway to purity, and purity brings power. Personal purity can make us powerful tools in the hands of God. Our repentance—our purity—will empower us to help in the gathering of Israel.” 

How many of us need daily repentance? All of us need it! And the greater our sins, the more we need the healing power of the Lord Jesus Christ. Sometimes we think we have sinned too much, moved too far away, done too many terrible things, to receive the Lord’s forgiveness and healing. I seem to have missed the line in the Bible where it says the Lord won’t heal and embrace those who come to Him. Instead, I remember His words which say: 

“Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 

“Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. 

“For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light” (Matthew 11:28-30). 

I also recall the words of Paul which urge us to boldly approach the Lord so that His grace can heal us: 

“For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin. 

“Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need” (Hebrews 4:15-16). 

Jesus understands. Jesus knows how difficult it is. And He has mercy on those who sincerely approach Him confessing their sins, acknowledging their weaknesses, and laying all their burdens on Him. He wants nothing more than for the prodigal son to return home. He stands ready to receive all who come to Him with open arms. He will give rest to all who believe on His name. 

A modern disciple of the Lord, Elder Jeffrey R. Holland, gave additional encouragement to those who feel lost or who feel weighed down by their sins. He said

“[H]owever late you think you are, however many chances you think you have missed, however many mistakes you feel you have made or talents you think you don’t have, or however far from home and family and God you feel you have traveled, I testify that you have not traveled beyond the reach of divine love. It is not possible for you to sink lower than the infinite light of Christ’s Atonement shines. 

“Whether you are not yet of our faith or were with us once and have not remained, there is nothing in either case that you have done that cannot be undone. There is no problem which you cannot overcome. There is no dream that in the unfolding of time and eternity cannot yet be realized. Even if you feel you are the lost and last laborer of the eleventh hour, the Lord of the vineyard still stands beckoning. “Come boldly [to] the throne of grace,” and fall at the feet of the Holy One of Israel. Come and feast “without money and without price” at the table of the Lord. . . . 

“So if you have made covenants, keep them. If you haven’t made them, make them. If you have made them and broken them, repent and repair them. It is never too late so long as the Master of the vineyard says there is time. Please listen to the prompting of the Holy Spirit telling you right now, this very moment, that you should accept the atoning gift of the Lord Jesus Christ and enjoy the fellowship of His labor. Don’t delay. It’s getting late.” 

It’s getting late, dear reader. Each of us needs to be better. Each of us needs to wake up to the reality that lust is not love, wickedness is not happiness, and a life without Jesus Christ is incomplete. Whether your sin is homosexual or heterosexual sexual immorality, you need repentance either way. 

The fact that “Pride” month is now over can serve as a metaphor. If you’ve suffered from homosexual desires, or if you’ve even acted on your lusts, it was in the past. Today is a new day. Time isn’t over yet. You can change. You can repent. You can turn from darkness to light, from the Adversary to the Lord, from lust to love. Jesus stands with open arms to receive you. He promises cleansing and healing. He promises peace and happiness. He promises eternal rewards, light, and love. Don’t delay. Turn to the Savior Jesus Christ and experience the majesty of God’s perfect love. 

Zack Strong, 

July 1, 2021 

God’s Majesty

Praise ye the Lord. . . . Praise him for his mighty acts: praise him according to his excellent greatness. . . . Let every thing that hath breath praise the Lord.” – Psalm 150:1,2,6.

As I drove in my car this morning, I listened to a wonderful album by Nashville Tribute Band called “Redeemer.” As I enjoyed melodic messages about Jesus Christ, I pondered what word I’d use, if I only had one, to describe my Savior. What I came up with is the word majesty. Jesus was and is a majestic Man and I want to devote a few lines to His praise.

I turn to a dictionary definition of “majesty” and “majestic.” Webster’s 1828 dictionary tells us that majesty is:

“Greatness of appearance; dignity; grandeur; dignity of aspect or manner; the quality or state of a person or thing which inspires awe or reverence in the beholder; applied with peculiar propriety to God and his works.”

And majestic is described as:

“August; having dignity of person or appearance; grand; princely. The prince was majestic in person and appearance. . . . Splendid; grand. . . . Elevated; lofty. . . . Stately; becoming majesty; as a majestic air or walk.”

As I consider the life and character of Jesus the Christ, I’m more and more struck with how awesome He is! I’m in total awe of His attributes, His power, His teachings, His compassion, and His reactions to hostile and difficult situations. The older I grow and the more experience I gain, some of it good and some of it heart-wrenching or challenging, I realize how incredible, miraculous, and singularly amazing Jesus Christ was.

It takes an extraordinary person to behave with composure, self-control, and honor in the face of a frothing crowd that wants to murder you. It takes effulgent compassion to heal an injury on one who is in the process of unjustly arresting you in what you know will lead to a bogus trial and your eventual murder by crucifixion. It requires total conviction and courage to march into the most sacred building on earth, bodily cast out wrongdoers, and publicly castigate the religious authorities and onlookers alike for their transgressions. And it takes pure power to raise a man from the dead, successfully order demons to depart, and instantly calm turbulent waters with a mere word.

More than His multitude of miracles, Jesus’ attributes fill me with still greater admiration. This humble Man from Nazareth was a man’s Man, in the most dignified sense of the term. He was a masculine, strong, bold, honorable, upright, hard-working, down-to-earth, powerful individual. He was a leader. He stood against injustice, denounced evil, rejected the wrong, and always pursued truth and right.

He wasn’t pushy, but He held His ground and wouldn’t compromise. He didn’t mince words, yet He wasn’t arrogant. He was meek, yet He controlled Himself and His native honor called forth the respect and love of men and women from all walks of life. He was and is the type of Man who makes honest people instinctively stand up straighter, square their shoulders, and fill with resolve to do better and be better while at the same time feeling the urge to drop to their knees in reverence and thanksgiving. Every admirable, manly, and noble characteristic found its perfection in Him.

Jesus has been described by seers and inspired poets for millennia. I cite but a few of their descriptions of His glorious attributes. Isaiah said that “the Lord shall be unto thee an everlasting light, and thy God thy glory” (Isaiah 60:19). Nehemiah called him “our God, the great, the mighty, and the terrible God” (Nehemiah 9:32). Jeremiah gave a beautiful description when He said:

“Ah Lord God! behold, thou hast made the heaven and the earth by thy great power and stretched out arm, and there is nothing too hard for thee:

“Thou shewest lovingkindness unto thousands, and recompensest the iniquity of the fathers into the bosom of their children after them: the Great, the Mighty God, the Lord of hosts, is his name,

“Great in counsel, and mighty in work: for thine eyes are open upon all the ways of the sons of men: to give every one according to his ways, and according to the fruit of his doings. . . .

“And hast brought forth thy people Israel out of the land of Egypt with signs, and with wonders, and with a strong hand, and with a stretched out arm, and with great terror” (Jeremiah 32:17-19, 21).

Finally, the Psalmist gave us line upon line of resplendent praise, including the following:

“The Lord reigneth, he is clothed with majesty; the Lord is clothed with strength, wherewith he hath girded himself. . . .

“The Lord on high is mightier than the noise of many waters, yea, than the mighty waves of the sea” (Psalm 93:1, 4).

“Great is our Lord, and of great power: his understanding is infinite” (Psalm 147:5).

“The Lord is merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and plenteous in mercy” (Psalm 103:8).

“The Lord is gracious, and full of compassion; slow to anger, and of great mercy.

“The Lord is good to all: and his tender mercies are over all his works” (Psalm 145:8-9).

“O Lord our Lord, how excellent is thy name in all the earth! who hast set thy glory above the heavens” (Psalm 8:1).

“The voice of the Lord is powerful; the voice of the Lord is full of majesty” (Psalm 29:4).

“The Lord is King for ever and ever” (Psalm 10:16).

I can’t add much except my personal witness of His reality, His divinity, and His majesty! His grandeur is unsurpassed. His mercy is unequaled. And His beauty is unmatched. Everything about the Lord is pleasant, refreshing, and invigorating. Like the Psalmist, we should lift our voices Heavenward and sing His praises for having delivered us from the hell of sin and sorrow. His mercy is over all the earth and all who will may come to Him in sincerity and He will lock them in an embrace that will cleanse their souls and purge their hearts of worldliness. Yes, the Lord is good to all!

I close with my sure declaration that Jesus Christ not only lived, but lives; that He’s the Anointed of God, the Ruler of Heaven and earth, and the King of kings. I love Him. I’m awestruck by His greatness and even more overawed by His unfailing goodness. He’s a majestic Man. His majesty and magnificence surpass all and I feel in my heart to proclaim: “Blessed be the Lord God, the God of Israel, who only doeth wondrous things” (Psalm 72:18).

Zack Strong,

June 18, 2021