There are laws that bind us and laws that set us free. Jesus came to fulfill the ends of the law - so who is man to bind us, again, under the law? For the men of law in Jesus’ day it was heresy that He did not constrain Himself to what they considered to be the law. Likewise, in each of our churches today, it is heresy to some among us when we talk about not constraining ourselves to the law! We need to be able to step outside of the laws that we know of—seek to grasp hold of God’s hand, being guided by the Holy Spirit, and buoyed in the balance by Jesus. That requires faith!
Joseph F Smith had a vision of a woman who was bound! This woman is symbolic of the church. She was not just bound, but bound and completely immovable! Not frozen, as that would imply the Holy Spirit could be the fire to thaw her. But she was completely encased in a substance which hardened, not allowing any movement whatsoever! However, I note that her head was not encased. Why? Because her head, we know, is Jesus. She wasn't dead. Her head was free to move, but she was pale with the look of lifelessness which is indicative of a loss of the fire or life of the Holy Spirit residing in her.
The first time Joseph and Bob visited Brazil they were told to take this message to the people in the land of Zion: "Tell the saints they are RELEASED! Released from bondage!" What bondage? I asked that question over and over. What bondage are the saints under? And, exactly how are they released? From what are they released? The message was not, Tell them they will be released or might be released. It was, "Tell the saints they ARE released!" My first thought when I heard this was that some of the churches of the restoration have "callings", and when the calling is ended they are "released"! This has greatest significance in the LDS branch of the restored church as this is an actual event that transpires —being "released". So the thought came to me instantly that God has "released" all of those with any callings in the church (meaning the branches of the church restored through Joseph Smith Jr). And why would that be, my mind wondered? It would only be necessary IF there was to be a renewal of the church! Just think! No callings would now exist!
Then it was repeated with an addition, "Released from bondage. Tell them their time of bondage is over!" That was stunning to me! I didn't really feel like I was in bondage. But as Peter Gould pointed out in his sermon recently at Zarahemla Branch, how would I know that if I had always lived under bondage? The bondage would just seem "normal". Peter was referencing the church being under "condemnation", but doesn’t condemnation result in bondage? Webster defines condemnation as: “to pronounce guilty; to convict or sentence to doom; to condemn a prisoner to die”. Remember the vision of the woman bound and unable to move with the appearance of dying? Webster defines bondage as: “a state of being bound usually by compulsion, as of law or mastery; such as captivity, serfdom, servitude or subjugation to a controlling person or force”.
As I pondered more about this “release” and then "release from bondage" I wondered if maybe this is a personal bondage? However, Jesus offers each of us personal freedom from the bondage of sin through baptisms, so that could not be the release or bondage that Moroni's message was referencing.
So what else has kept us bound? Again, Webster defines bondage as "bound usually by compulsion" meaning force "as of law". Bound by law. Again, there are laws that bind us, and there are laws that set us free.
For too long we have mistaken ordinances for laws of the church. They are not. Ordinances are sacred covenants made by free will—and they come with a promise of blessing!
For too long we have mistaken precepts as laws of the church. A precept is more adequately defined as: teaching, knowledge beforehand, instruction, principals (or truths) governing personal conduct. Again, each person is free to choose to follow. So then precept upon precept might be more adequately conveyed as instruction upon instruction, knowledge upon knowledge, or wisdom.
We know the lawyers of the day accused Jesus of not following nor teaching the current laws of the church. Jesus taught forgiveness instead of punishment. Jesus even taught His disciples and the people to look beyond the laws of gravity when He called Peter to walk on the water! Jesus taught His disciples and the people to replace physiological laws and outcomes with healing through faith! Jesus taught the apostles and the people to refuse to accept the laws of conservation which mortal man readily sees and understands—He multiplied the fish and the loaves for consumption by the crowd! Jesus did not yield to the laws of physics as he turned the water into wine! In fact, from the moment of Jesus' mortal existence until the day he was resurrected from death Jesus testifies to us that humans see in part and comprehend in part. Jesus comprehends all things and therefore can act with all knowledge.
The laws of man are for a confined state. Jesus taught us to render unto Caesar what is Caesar’s or, in other words, to render to the confined state what is due to the confined state. Laws for the confined state of existence have claim on the confined state of existence.
Our finite minds struggle with comprehending that there is more to reality than what our senses dictate. We experience discomfort at, and even fear, the lack of boundaries or laws. So we see the laws of our world and invent more laws to find comfort and security in those walls or confines. But those laws we see and invent to comfort us - bind us hand and foot!
Our eternal Heavenly Father wants us to look beyond the veil of human comprehension. He assures us that the Holy Spirit will guide us into this reality which is not seen by us. Jesus promises us that He will be there to hold us in the balance. We are called to have faith that these other "ways" do exist. They are reality, even when they may be mysteries or even seem magical to us.
Moroni instructed that this work is to be a "church without walls.” In my humanness my first thoughts were wondering what the weather would be like and where would we go for shelter. But now I understand this describes the spiritual construct of the church—without limitations, without human laws. Not without God's laws but without human laws.
We talk about Zion, City of God, City where Jesus is KING! Jesus did not submit to the lesser laws that man comprehends—of physics, biology, gravity, nor did he submit to societal or religious laws. Jesus taught us higher ways, God's ways. What laws do we think will rule in Zion with Jesus as King?
I believe we have a choice. We can fall back onto the law and be broken and bound—or we can “fall on” God and be caught up in immeasurable possibilities!
Welcome to the paradigm shift!
The law is not the "strait gate" by which we enter into the Kingdom of our Savior, Jesus Christ. The "strait gate" is repentance and faith in and through Jesus Christ, and remission of sins by baptism and by fire of the Holy Ghost, that unseen fountain of endless light and truth which leads to eternal happiness and eternal life!
"Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified." Galatians 2:16
"But Israel, which followed after the law of righteousness, hath not attained to the law of righteousness. Wherefore? Because they sought it not by faith, but as it were by the works of the law. For they stumbled at that stumblingstone; As it is written, Behold, I lay in Sion a stumblingstone and rock of offence: and whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed". Romans 9:31-33
"I do not frustrate the grace of God: for if righteousness come by the law, then Christ is dead in vain." Galatians 2:21
"For the law made nothing perfect, but the bringing in of a better hope did; by the which we draw nigh unto God." Hebrews 7:19
"And thou shalt declare glad tidings; yea, publish it upon the mountains, and upon every high place, and among every people that thou shalt be permitted to see. And thou shalt do it with all humility, trusting in me, reviling not against revilers. And of tenets thou shalt not talk, but thou shalt declare repentance and faith on the Savior, and remission of sins by baptism and by fire; yea, even the Holy Ghost. Behold, this is a great, and the last commandment which I shall give unto you concerning this matter; for this shall suffice for thy daily walk even unto the end of thy life." D&C 18:4-5
"Behold, I say unto you, that all old covenants have I caused to be done away in this thing, and this is a new and everlasting covenant; even that which was from the beginning. Wherefore, although a man should be baptized an hundred times, it availeth him nothing; for you can not enter in at the strait gate by the Law of Moses, neither by your dead works; for it is because of your dead works, that I have caused this last covenant, and this church to be built up unto me; even as in days of old. Wherefore, enter ye in at the gate, as I have commanded, and seek not to counsel your God. Amen." D&C 20:1
R. C. October, 2018
This work is the "refreshing" of the restoration of the Church of Jesus Christ in these last days brought first through Joseph Smith Jr and comes again through Mauricio Berger. This website will post truth irrespective of its conduit. "All truth is independent in that sphere in which God has placed it, to act for itself, as all intelligence also, otherwise there is no existence" D&C 90:5b RLDS or D&C 93:30 LDS. Therefore, postings on this website should be viewed as the endorsement of truth—speaking generally and not specifically for each word, action, person or organization. "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
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