Towards Spiritual Endowment
Before I share with you some things I have in mind tonight I want to recommend a little booklet written by brother Adolph W. Lundeen. "Three Visitations of Christ and His Coming in Glory." I think it was Tuesday night we talked about angelic Ministry. This little pamphlet can be secured from brother Monty Parker and I'm sure you'll find it interesting and challenging.
If I were to choose a text it would be found in the First Book of Nephi (chapter 3), I think it is about the 187th verse. Blessed are they who seek to bring forth my Zion at that day, for they shall have the gift and the power of the Holy Ghost; and if they endure to the end, they shall be lifted up at the last day, and shall be saved in the everlasting kingdom of the Lamb. This is a promise given to the men and women of this day.
Probably the ablest and most inspiring testimony I ever heard in a prayer meeting came from Dr. Platz, the late instructor or Zoology at Graceland College. The year was 1946, twenty years ago. We were holding the reunion in Lamoni. And it was one of those experiences that build from day to day, and as the Saints participated and gradually came together, their minds met and their spirits were fused in one keen apprehension of the Divine love. On Saturday morning it seemed to the devotion and worship of the Saints was added a double portion of the good Spirit. I think most all the members of the Graceland College faculty were there and people from Lamoni High School. They were people of quality, and as we say, people of heart. And one after the other they stood and bore testimony of the ministry of Christ in their particular field. One in the field of music, another in literature, another in history, another in sociology. And Dr. Platz, I don't ever remember him being a very emotional man, he was rather direct and sometimes very ruthless in his dealings with the students. I noticed him sitting on one of the front benches, and there was a tear in his eye, this was unusual, and it emboldened me to ask him, I said, "Dr. Platz may we hear from you this morning?" And he said, "I'm glad I was called on because I want to bear my testimony."
And he began a disquisition on the nature of sunlight, which was revealing and uplifting. He said our sun is three hundred and sixty thousand million tons lighter now than it was 24 hours ago, and 24 hours from now it will be another three hundred and sixty thousand million tons lighter than it is now. You know the mass of the sun is being converted into energy, into radiation. In a white ray of sunlight all the rays we know in science, the xrays, the gamma rays, the beta rays, the Hertzian rays we use in broadcasting, are all included in one white ray of sunshine. This light streams forth from the sun and bombards the earth, the earth which originally came from the sun. It quickens the seed of life in the soil, the trees grow, the flora and fauna grow, ages past, the forest that are buried. We go down into the earth and we dig up our coal and we pipe up our oil, drive our machines, we're simply burning sunlight which streamed through space eons and eons ago. The Bible says that God made a great light to rule the day, and it does. Everything we see and feel and perceive around us with the physical senses is made possible by the light of the sun. Joseph Smith said that "Christ was the light of the sun and power thereof by which it is make." He went on and as he talked, of course, everyone listened and his words were indicted by the good Spirit and he said, "As the sun is the light of day so Christ is the light of my soul."
This wasn't a testimony from an emotional man who was overwrought because of the social situation, this was the keen insight of a High Priest, who was trained in science. God did make a great light to rule the day, and it rules by sacrifice. At the heart of the physical creation, there is a perpetual sacrifice going on, one day our sun will burn out, scientist tell us the universe is full of cinders of burned out suns, although they are not the first to know that, because it's in scripture, very plainly. "The heavens...they all shall wax as cloth a garment; And as a vesture shalt thou fold them up" (Heb. 1:11-12) and as we're told in modern revelation in Section 22, (verse 23e) "...as one earth shall pass away, and the heavens thereof, even so shall another come; and there is no end to my works, neither to my words; for this is my work and my glory, to bring to pass the immortality, and eternal life of man." The sun which was made by our Lord Jesus Christ evidences His character which is sacrifice, and as the outer visible universe is ruled by a perpetual sacrifice so the inner invisible moral universe, the universe that is within us, is ruled by a sacrifice. Christ rules the moral world from the cross and sacrifice is at the heart of creation. Sacrifice is at the heart of redemption, sacrifice is one of the prime conditions of endowment. For sacrifice is the instrument of love, in fact, sacrifice is it's only instrument, the only way love knows how to accomplish its purpose is to sacrifice itself, to give itself. And Gentlemen, sacrifice is the discovery of yourself in the act of giving yourself to other people.
Will you pardon a personal reference? I was in England in 1959 with Brother Draper who had been newly ordained into the First Presidency. And we were together in a very fine prayer meeting, during the course of the meeting he arose and spoke to me personally with a "thus saith the Spirit," I had expressed prior to that in my testimony the fact there was no way that I knew of that I could begin to repay what the good Lord had done for me. And when I tried to bring some sacrifice to His footstool, which would be a token of my love for Him, I discovered that that which I brought was first given to me by Him. And then he stood and he spoke to me and said with a "thus saith the Spirit," what greater sacrifice can you bring than the investment of your life in the lives of my children. This is the only sacrifice that you can bring that is adequate to answer my love. And gentlemen, that's a principle which is true, it's the only sacrifice you can bring, is the investment of your life in the lives of those to whom you are called to minister.
Now gentlemen there won't be anything spectacular here tonight but I trust that those of you who have made special preparation will feel the burning of the good Spirit to validate what I may be led to say to you, and this thing I do know, that in the heart of reality there is a perpetual sacrificial love and that this was represented to the Apostle John in the Apocalypse (Revelation) as a lamb slain from the foundation of the world. You will recall in that famous fourth chapter "...behold, a door was opened into heaven;...I heard a voice...which said, Come up hither, and I will show thee things which must be hereafter." Isn't it a marvelous thing, it's love that sees farthest, it's love that looks into the distances, and can discern the signs of the times, love and love alone. And John after describing what he saw said there was a Lamb. Remember, John was a Jew and the Jew had for his national emblem the rampant lion, the king of beasts. It was prophesied in Deuteronomy, that Judah was a lion's whelp, and the time would come when he would go forth among his enemies and tread them down. And he was told that the lion of the tribe of Judah had prevailed to open the seals and read the book, the book of the future, and he looked for a lion and saw a lamb. This is the secret of ministry, any ministry that reaches to heaven has a broad base of sacrifice below. Like a triangle, based upon sacrifice. The willing use of your life, the intelligent laying down of your life, not throwing it away, not impetuously, but intelligently and deliberately with skill, laying your life down so that others might find life. Where would we be had it not been for the intervention of the Lord Jesus Christ? And what He has endeavored for us, He has called us to endeavor for other people. To stand in their lives for what they can not stand for themselves. To do for them what they are unable to do. To bear their sins and carry their infirmities, and gentlemen with all the emphasis of which I am capable, let me say quietly that the man that refuses to minister to his fellowmen after having received the covenant of this priesthood, or the man that fails to minister to his fellowmen, either case is disobedience whether he refuses or whether he fails. That man will find in the day of judgement that the sins those people commit because of a lack of his ministry, on his shoulders will the responsibility for that lack and those sins be laid in the day of judgment.
Charity preventeth a multitude of sins. And if there was ever a day in the history of the world when men needed someone else to stand in their lives and go before them to warn them, to guide them and direct them, that is today. The adversary of souls has always been on the alert, but in the language of the Apocalypse he rages today in the hearts of men knowing he has a short time. I commend to you the spirit and the principle of sacrifice, the discovery of yourself in the act of ministry to other people. It is not that this church is an organization of people banded together to finish or find or realize some ideal. That's not our calling. We are members one of another, this is an organism, a living body, so definitively wrought together as to be inseparable. And we've very often lost sight of that in our ministration abroad. So gentlemen remember if we are to proceed towards endowment it must be through sacrifice. This is the day of tithing and sacrifice of my people. Psalm 50:5, "Gather my saints together unto me; those have made a covenant with me by sacrifice." What have you left for your Lord? What can you leave? Our Heavenly Father does not ask the impossible. I well recall in 1932 sitting in this church and Brother Elbert A. Smith addressed the members of the priesthood on the last day of conference. It was in the midst of the depression, I think the General Church income that year was about two hundred and thirty two thousand dollars, and that's about a third of what you take in, in one stake now, the whole church. And those men had been called to minister to their fellowmen, and some of them were murmuring. They said, "This is a day when we have to work doubly hard to earn our daily bread. This is a day when we're pressed from all sides and now we are required to redouble our efforts in ministry." Many of them said to themselves, we can not do it. I remember Brother Elbert standing and saying, that other men in the world have just the same problems that you men have, they work just as hard as you do. He said and they have time to raise the devil, and if they don't have time to raise the devil they make it. Now he said your ministry is laid upon you by the Lord Jesus Christ and if you don't have time for it, then you had better make it, and of course he was right.
The gifts and callings of God are without repentance, he does not renege on what He has said. And there's one other thing I'd like to bring to your mind on the road to endowment and that is this, please remember brethren that the most wonderful ministry the world has ever known came out of a carpenter shop, will you? Our Lord Jesus Christ has forever sublimated work. He who gave the commandment, six days shalt thou labor and do all thy work Himself honored that commandment when He was here on earth among us. And His foster father died when He was quite a young man, and it fell His lot as was the Jewish custom, to provide for His mother and His four half brothers and two half sisters. Do you think they ever went hungry because He was a shoddy workman? Do you think His mother's cupboards were ever short of linens or they failed to have a roof over their heads? No, for Jesus honored the commandment, six days shalt thou labor and do all thy work. And I do know that His smallest work was ever ripest product of His skill and all men honored Him. And I can see Him in my mind's eye as you can see Him too, lovingly putting His hand around a plow handle that He had shaped for a friend before passing it to him, to make sure that it was smooth. Our Lord was a master carpenter. And it was in the wear and tear of everyday life that He learned the secret of humanity and you can too. Brethren, don't draw a line down the middle of your lives and say this is secular and this is sacred. When you do that, you sin, you miss the mark. For your daily work is your chief opportunity to serve your fellowmen. You go to work because somebody needs what you produce and when you're in the service of your fellowmen you are in the service of God. And a man who accepts this stewardship, if you please, accepts it, finds that the Master Carpenter works with him and his eyes become opened and his heart becomes light and he sees ways by which he can share the gospel of Jesus Christ with other men. This is the road to endowment too. Remember, His smallest work was ever ripest product of His skill and all men honored him, your Lord and my Lord.
Therefore brethren remember, the way to the endowment is through sacrifice and through a keen appreciation of your stewardship as a member of the human family serving your fellowmen. You know, when the ancient temple was built in Jerusalem, we are informed that the members for it, parts of it, were fashioned away from the site, beautifully framed and fashioned. And then when they were brought together, the temple was erected. The same is true today. It doesn't matter where you are, if you are serving your fellowmen you're in the service of God and every rise in the quality of your work gentlemen, is a rise in the quality of your manhood. Please do not forget that and for God's sake don't go to work simply because of the pay check at the end of the week or of the month, because if you do it, again you'll miss the mark. Jesus, you know, said give good measure pressed down and running over, and that's a cardinal sin in modern America, men fail to do that. If they're asked to twist an extra screw on an assembly line they strike. And they seek to get as much as they can for as little of themselves as they can expend. And this country has more to fear from that spirit, than it does from communism, or leftism, or rightism, or any other ism. It's the spirit of the age and it's a direct violation of the commandments of God for which this country will be judged and brought to judgement.
Brethren, we can have the endowment when we extend ourselves, when we go as far as it is possible for us to go. When we energize to the limit of our capacity, then there is called forth to us those reserves of spiritual light and power which God has in His own keeping. But our difficulty is we're content with a conventional service and some of us think we've done God an honor if we make a pastoral visit. I know this is a difficult day, a day when men's hearts are failing them for fear, but it ought not to be so among you. You brethren have the assurances of the gospel of Jesus Christ that the forces of destruction shall not, so far, be permitted to engulf the world as to make impossible the redemption of Zion and the completion of the task in which you are engaged. And I can bear personal testimony that God is able to save to the uttermost, they that put their trust in Him. The endowment can come when we extend ourselves, anxiously engaged in a good cause. And bring to pass of ourselves much righteousness for the power is in us. "But he that doeth not anything until he is commanded, and receiveth a commandment with doubtful heart, and keepeth it with slothfulness, the same is damned." That's scripture, Doctrine and Covenants (58:6f), of these the latter days.
God is the Creator, in the worlds and worlds before the worlds were created, He dwelt, complete in Himself. In His being there was the Son, which was His other self. God's alter-ego. There dwelt between these two beings an indissoluble bond of affection which is known to us as the Holy Ghost. And as a result of the activity in the Godhead, all the visible creation which we see was called forth. This world was brought into being by that self same activity which dwelt in God. The putting forth of His will, the putting forth of His word shaped the universe and He brought us forth on the face of the earth for the sole reason that He might discover Himself in us. And because the only way he could discover Himself in us was to give Himself in love. In the meridian of time He came in the person of His Son and lived the life of perfect love and sacrifice, so that we, catching the glimpse of the divine life, might be enticed and stirred and tempted upwards to emulate that life. And as a result of that life which was lived among us His death and His resurrection, there was discovered in His followers a new potency of response to His love which they found was the Holy Spirit working in them. And they went forward as we can go forward with a mind of the Lord Jesus working in their midst, He Himself adding to the church daily such as should be saved. Can we say of our church in this day that this is true, when there is hardly a whisper of the gospel of Jesus Christ to be heard from one end of the country to the other and from one end of the world to the other? I am for our missions abroad. Any missionary work has my support but surely brethren we can see that our efforts as a church are pitifully inadequate to meet the need. And the day must come when every man must bear his testimony to those with whom he associates or come under condemnation. And how can you bear a testimony if you have no testimony to bear? Surely it is that you are convinced that God called you to this office. If you are not convinced that He called you to this office you have no business here because your ordination was in response to your free acceptance of the call to you. And in that call and ordination there were vows taken and exchanged in which we agreed to serve God to the best of our ability. You be the judge, I cannot be the judge, no one else can be the judge, but you be the judge on your own life and ask yourself, have I done all that I possibly could to advance the cause of Christ, and let the answer stimulate you to redouble your efforts in His cause that others might come to know of the glory of God. And let me say this, that if you bear your testimony under the influence of the Spirit of God, you have no need to fear the face of clay, for you will be lead to bear your testimony to those with open hearts. And there are hundreds and thousands of people in this central area, whom God desires to bring into this Church, and I'll venture a guess that there are many that He has lead to the Center Place for the express purpose of hearing His gospel through His servants. This is not scolding, I do not mean to scold you men, but this is the way to endowment and that's why we're here.
I'll mention a couple other things. I want to mention the Word of Wisdom, no I'm not going to say anything about tea and coffee, because so many of us so much of the time have looked upon the Word of Wisdom as a negative commandment and it isn't. It is a positive commandment. When my boy was very little, he use to recite, wheat for man corn for the ox, rye for the fouls, and prunes for the bowels. But that's the heart of the message. Brethren, read the Word of Wisdom (DC 86), God is concerned that we function at our maximum capacity. And so many times, years and years of service are lost to our Heavenly Father because we're careless, your speaker included, careless about keeping the Word of Wisdom. If you apply the stewardship principle to your body you must take notice of the Word of Wisdom. And read it, it is said that we need to have it interpreted. Alright, let's go to Him who gave it and ask for His interpretation of it, and abide by it. Each man can do this for himself. And let no man judge another on this, because this is sin. The worse sin Latter Day Saints commit, do you know what it is? They achieve a standard of righteousness and they draw a line and if you don't come up to their standard of righteousness God pity you. Their righteousness becomes God's righteousness, and they condemn everyone else who doesn't conform to their way of thinking. This is a sin to which Latter Saints are peculiarly subject. Let no man then judge another but let him examine his own life and his own heart and seek to function at the maximum capacity physically and spiritually.
Another principle that I would like to mention is the principle of stewardship as was said in the last revelation and I think so beautifully and tellingly. "Stewardship is the response of my people to the ministry of my Son" (DC 147:5a). It's the only proper response. And brethren, if we could see the beauty of that principle, not alone in the management of our finances, for the stewardship principle also encompasses the principle that we should restrain unnecessary wants and be frugal. Here you could see this principle is applied to all life, our time, our energy, our gifts, the expenditure of our talents, the things to which we give ourselves. If we could see this principle and apply it and ask ourselves the question, will this that I am doing advance the cause of the Kingdom? If it will not, it has no place in my life. This is the way to endowment.
And what about the family alter brethren? As you know the home is under attack as never before, sexual morality is loose, men find no meaning for the old taboos. There are no sanctions for chastity in our world anymore gentlemen, none. And let me say this, except the image of the Lord Jesus Christ be etched in the souls of our young people, more, and more and more of them will stumble and fall. And how can this be done except it is through ministry in the home? How can this be done except you men take the gospel of Jesus Christ into the homes of the Saints? And how can you teach that which you do not yourselves? The only thing you have to give to your people, is yourself, nothing else. Yourself and as much of the Lord Jesus as is tied up in you, that's what you have to offer in your ministry. How about your family alter? Are you concerned about the neighbors next door? Do you pray earnestly that the way may be opened up that you can tell them the gospel of Jesus Christ? Do you read the Examiner (daily paper) every night, and turn to the place where it says so and so was admitted to the hospital? You know some of them, do you ever think to make them a matter of prayer in your home?
Gentlemen, there are people lying on beds of affliction in this city, which I am sure could be healed if there were more virtue in this church. And where will that virtue come from, except it is through the discipline that we ourselves voluntarily undertake in the cause of Christ. What a wonderful opportunity there stretches before us, brethren, commissioned by heaven to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ. Commissioned by Him, to lead others to His throne. Remember what the Lord told Oliver Cowdery in Section 16, "...if it so be that you should labor all your days,...and bring save it be one soul unto me, how great shall be your joy with him in the kingdom of my Father! And now if your joy will be great with one soul...how great will be you joy, if you should bring many souls unto me!"
In 1833, July actually, the early Saints were driven out of Independence, part of it was their own fault, they were unwise, but I rather think the part that was their fault was minor. And word went to Joseph in Kirtland, Section 102, I think was the result. And he was told to gather 500 young men from the eastern states and go on a journey from Kirtland to Jackson County. Zion's Camp, it was called. Instead of 500 responding to the call, 198 responded, 302 men said we'll wait and see if this venture prospers before we venture our wealth and our lives in it.
One time I went to a certain school on the West Coast, I have to tell you this, President Frederick M. Smith had lectured to the student body, and foolishly I thought maybe I could enroll in the school, it was a graduate school. For I could enroll in the school, perhaps. So I went and saw one of the professors, introduced myself, told him I was a minister in the city, told him I was a member of the church, which President Frederick M. Smith was the head. "Oh yes," he said, "I know, I know." This fellow had so many brains he couldn't hold his head up straight, he kind of walked on one side you know, he was a brainy fellow. He had just come back from a couple of Old Testament digs. "Well," He said, "I listened to President Smith with a very great deal of interest, tell you what, when you get that Zion of yours working, come and see me, and I'll give it further consideration." And I looked him straight in the eye and said, "Mister, there's no hope for a dying world in your attitude."
The same thing is true with these men who failed to respond to the Zion's Camp invitation. But can you imagine with me for a moment, just imagine, supposing 500 had responded, and supposing in the discipline of the journey from Kirtland to Independence, they had many marvelous experiences, they came on a mission of peace. And supposing they had entered Jackson County peacefully, you know what might have happened, they would have redressed the balance of political power here. And had they kept the law as the Lord said, "Zion shall prosper if she doeth the things that I have commanded of her from this very hour forth until she becomes independent of every creature beneath the celestial world." Let us suppose shall we, and together with the proclamation of the gospel is it too much to imagine that perhaps by the turn of the century the whole state of Missouri might have been predominantly Latter Day Saint. Then you know what would have happened, don't you. I'll tell you what would have happened. There would be representatives of this state in every other capital in the United States. There would have been representatives of this state in every nation in Europe and Asia. That's what would have happened. And every court would have had its Nathan and brethren, who knows, as a result of their counsel and their advice, who knows, the First World War might have been avoided, and if the First World War had been avoided there would have been no Second World War. We have to assume responsibility for what goes on in the world.
The warring nations will never cease their struggle, until there is lifted up an ensign in the midst of the nations. As God designed that little land of Palestine, and still does, why do you think there is so much trouble over there? Because his satanic majesty is determined that the purpose of God shall not be fulfilled, but in spite of all, it will be fulfilled. And He is determined upon that little land there should be given a demonstration of social justice and righteousness under the providence of the revelation of the Lord Jesus Christ. That in the midst of the nations there might be found food, skills, advice, counsel, prophetic advice and council so that the nations around them could be fed with the knowledge of how peace could be obtained. You can't have peace just because you want it, you have to know the ways of peace. And you have to be obedient to the ways of peace. And it is only through the revelation of the Lord Jesus Christ, which brings charity that peace can abound.
Some of the difficulty with our talk about race today. You don't just tell people they're brothers when they're not. God isn't the Father of all men, He's the Creator of all men. He loves all men, it is true. But He only becomes their Father when they are obedient to the gospel of Jesus Christ. And it's only in Christ that there is no Jew nor Gentile, there's no bond nor free. And in Christ, even in sex, there is no male nor female. And all the distinctions between all the races of the world are banished in Christ, but gentlemen the world isn't in Christ. That's the difficulty. To impose by force an ideal situation on people is utterly impossible, hence we must preach the gospel of Jesus Christ in every place, that His Spirit might motivate men so that they may come to know Him. Brethren, as we look forward into the future and as we try to keep the commandments of God we may expect great things to happen. The world in which we live is in a precarious condition, the times are portentous, and great things are about to happen. And I wish I could feel happy about the immediate prospect, for the only hope I see for the children of men is that somewhere, sometime soon, there shall be built communities under the providence of God, that will embody the principles of the doctrine of Christ. Not that we might gain unto ourselves, but such communities must be built out of our love for our fellowmen. "God so loved the world, that He gave His Only Begotten Son" (John 3:16). How much do we love the world? Enough to sacrifice to bring into being the Zion of which we have dreamed? And that Zion must be our gift to a sin sick world, so that children may be brought into this world and raised to maturity without the divisive influence of the conflicting idealism which are in every city in which we live today. And then when they have come to maturity, clean, intelligent, and skillful, then we must offer them to the world as our gift to meet their problems. "God so loved the world, that He gave His Only Begotten Son." How much do we love? Brethren, I bear testimony to you, perhaps it is needless, that this is the Church of Jesus Christ, and as His Spirit has validated to you some of the insights which we have shared with you, I trust and pray that His Spirit shall be with you.
I have appreciated tremendously the support which you have given, for it has validated in my mind the fact that you do love the Lord Jesus and because you do, you're here. You do want to do the will of God and of this I'm sure He is cognizant. And to everyone that humbles himself, and studies the word of God, and keeps diligent in prayer, to everyone who does this there shall come a gradual invasion of the Spirit of God. And the Endowment will come not as a sudden rushing mighty wind, but as a gradual unfoldment of the riches of Divine grace which God by His Spirit has sown into our lives. Gradually, imperceptibly, the Church will arise in the strength of it's Master and here and there on every hand there shall break out the testimony which shall win others to the cause of Christ, others without which we cannot hope to accomplish the task to which our Heavenly Father has called us.
Therefore, brethern in the language of Joseph of Old, "shall we not go on in so great a cause, let us go on, and on into the victory." And may God bless each man here, and may your spirit never flag nor fail but do the things. And one word comes to me, for some of you men who may be older in years, some of you men may have spent the best part of your life in ministry, this one thing I know, there are many, many things that you want to do that you cannot do, aren't there? Do not waste your time brethren in regret over the things you cannot do, but want to do. You do the things you can do, how small they be it matters not, you do the things you can do even if they are little things, and if you do the little things you can do, the big things you want to do and cannot do, God will count to you as if you had done them. For He is merciful and just and kind.
May the good Lord bless each man is my prayer.
"And righteousness and truth will I cause to sweep the earth as with a flood, to gather out mine own elect from the four quarters of the earth, unto a place which I shall prepare; an holy city, that my people may gird up their loins, and be looking forth for the time of my coming; for there shall be my tabernacle, and it shall be called Zion; a New Jerusalem." Genesis 7:70