Ezekiel 9 4Therefore speak unto them, and say unto them, Thus saith the Lord God; Every man of the house of Israel that setteth up his idols in his heart, and putteth the stumblingblock of his iniquity before his face, and cometh to the prophet; I the Lord will answer him that cometh according to the multitude of his idols;
5 That I may take the house of Israel in their own heart, because they are all estranged from me through their idols.
6 Therefore say unto the house of Israel, Thus saith the Lord God; Repent, and turn yourselves from your idols; and turn away your faces from all your abominations.
7 For every one of the house of Israel, or of the stranger that sojourneth in Israel, which separateth himself from me, and setteth up his idols in his heart, and putteth the stumblingblock of his iniquity before his face, and cometh to a prophet to enquire of him concerning me; I the Lord will answer him by myself:
8 And I will set my face against that man, and will make him a sign and a proverb, and I will cut him off from the midst of my people; and ye shall know that I am the Lord.
9 And if the prophet be deceived when he hath spoken a thing, I the Lord have deceived that prophet, and I will stretch out my hand upon him, and will destroy him from the midst of my people Israel.
What an odd scripture! What could it mean? Through sad experience I have learned what this means. I have practiced idolatry in the past to such a degree that it was very painful when the Lord decided it was time to purge it out of me. I practiced idolatry while at the same time I was receiving revelation from the Holy Ghost on a regular basis. I had been baptized by fire, had many powerful experiences, and had no idea that if the Lord had made His appearance back then, I would have been swept off the earth as dross.
God had to teach me that being baptized by fire was not redemption, not even close. Being baptized by fire in my mind had always equated to being baptized by the Holy Ghost, and entering the strait and narrow way, God had to prove me wrong on that idea as well. Before we can talk about the concept of idolatry and how it affects how God speaks to us, I wanted to give some examples of what the experience of the fire of the Spirit is like.
“…what evidence have I obtained more than I had years ago? Not any. Have I received the Holy Ghost since I was [baptized]? No more [than] when I was [baptized] before. Did I believe the Book of Mormon? No more [than] I did four years ago. Do I believe that Joseph Smith Jun. is a Prophet of God? No, I do not. At this I was shocked at my situation and began to call on the Lord in earnest. And while I was praying, something came on my head … and passed gradually down through my whole system, removing all pain and made me a sound man from the top of my head to the soles of my feet.” – Luman Shurtliff
“I had no sooner opened my lips in an effort to pray, than I heard a sound, just above my head, like the rustling of silken robes, and immediately the Spirit of God descended upon me, completely enveloping my whole person, filling me, from the crown of my head to the soles of my feet, and O, the joy and happiness I felt! No language can describe the almost instantaneous transition from a dense cloud of mental and spiritual darkness into a refulgence of light and knowledge, as it was at that time imparted to my understanding. I then received a perfect knowledge that God lives, that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, It was a complete baptism—a tangible immersion in the heavenly principle or element, the Holy Ghost; and even more real and physical in its effects upon every part of my system than the immersion by water; dispelling forever, so long as reason and memory last, all possibility of doubt or fear in relation to the fact handed down to us historically, that the “Babe of Bethlehem” is truly the Son of God; also the fact that He is now being revealed to the children of men, and communicating
knowledge, the same as in the Apostolic times. I was perfectly satisfied, as well I might be, for my expectations were more than realized, I think I may safely say in an infinite degree. I cannot tell how long I remained in the full flow of the blissful enjoyment and divine enlightenment,
but it was several minutes before the celestial element which filled and surrounded me began gradually to withdraw.” – Lorenzo Snow
“At one point in this prayer/meditation, I simply said, “God, I can’t do this anymore. I can’t make any more decisions. I give up! I put my life in your hands.”
I wish I could explain this in better detail. Over the last twelve years I’ve never been able to find the words to communicate the physical and mental experience, which happened after I let go.
Upon letting go, there was a bolt of energy, which began at my toes and rifled upward throughout my body. It exploded out the top of my head like a bolt of lightning. As this “energy” traveled upward it was like every cell in my body was energized. The best I can explain it was like the pins and needles one gets, but this was far from being uncomfortable. The experience lasted probably only a second or two, but after it left my body I was left with this euphoria. Almost feeling like I was floating.
Every pain, every frustration, every mental disparity I had been carrying with me, had been ripped from my being at the singular moment. As I left the church (Catholic Church), I had a feeling of clarity, focus, and comfort. All my hate, all my anger, all my desperation was replaced with happiness, love, and sense of hope.” – some guy on the internet with the screen name dfrank70
“I experienced being filled with the Holy Spirit in February 2010, about 1.5 years ago. It happened during a moment of surrender, when I had decided I would no longer hold any of my heart back from God. I was faced with a familiar temptation two times in a row, several days apart. And I prayed to God, right there on the spot, both times, for His power to help me to not fall into that temptation again. As soon as I finished that short prayer, all of a sudden I felt a warmth that started at the top of my head and began moving slowly down my body all the way to my feet. An amazing love and joy immediately welled up inside of me, inside my heart, and my eyes teared up. It was totally unexpected. As the warmth was traveling down my body headed towards my feet, when it got to my hands, I turned my hands over and I looked at both of my palms. And immediately, the very first thought that occurred to me was ” I HAVE to tell somebody about this; I can’t keep this Love to myself any longer. I have to tell somebody, anybody, about Jesus, and soon!” I knew I could no longer keep silent about how much God loves me and how much He loves everyone else, too.”- Carl Garrett
The last two experiences I quoted were from people who did not have a belief in the Book of Mormon and were not in any type of Mormon religion. They, like many others were like the Lamanites who were baptized by fire, “but knew it not.” It isn’t that they didn’t perceive something happened that was quite incredible, it’s that they didn’t know what it meant and that it was actually being baptized by fire. The way I know that each of these experiences happened to each of these individuals is because when I read their accounts the Spirit confirmed the truth of what they said IN THE SAME WAY THEY DESCRIBED IT!!!!
Notice that in every one of these accounts the people were brought by the Lord to see their awful situation. They were humble and realized they were helpless before God and needed grace. Notice the words of “surrender,” “I give up,” “shocked at my situation,” “His power to help me,” and other such language. Often I talk to others and here frustration from them with their lack of spiritual experience. One woman told me that she was in the hospital and her husband was dying. She had already lost a son and she was in terrible pain as you can imagine. She told me she prayed to God and said something like this, “God, I have been faithful and obedient, I have served in all my callings day in and day out, attend the temple regularly, I deserve your comfort and revelation, please speak to me!”
I did not have the heart to tell this woman the obvious problem with her approach. The funny thing is I hear stuff like this all the time! An old home teacher came tentatively to my door and I opened the door to talk with my friend. He was nervous and kind of laughed as he handed me a stake conference invitation. I smiled and said thanks. Then he pointed skyward and glanced up and said, “Just trying to get some blessings from above…” Do we see a problem with the way of thinking that has been passed around like the plague? Now back to the accounts of those who had been baptized by fire above…
Without fail after people have this experience the adversary will immediately try to give them all sorts of ideas. He would love for people to think that being baptized by fire means that everything in their system of worship must be true. Satan will try to have people believe that the spiritual experience was because of some ritual they performed, or because of their righteous actions. Anything he can do to persuade the individual that any credit for the experience is from anyone or anything but the Lord is a success in his eyes.
This is a tactic the adversary will employ over and over again. If a person receives a confirmation during a speech the devil would love for that person to think that EVERYTHING in the speech must be true. If a person receives a confirmation by the Spirit reading a book, the adversary will try to tell that person that EVERYTHING in the book must be true. If someone is told by the Spirit that a certain individual is a prophet, the devil will try to persuade that individual that everything that prophet has taught, or ever will teach is true…and the list goes on and on.
Ok so let’s move on to some things the Spirit IS NOT:
The Spirit IS NOT something that will ever convey a feeling of darkness or discomfort. The devil would like us to think that God answers prayers at times by making us feel uncomfortable about something that we are praying about. People often say that a teaching or idea makes them uncomfortable and they assume immediately it must be false. This darkness could very well be from the “spirit that teacheth not a man to pray…” I often felt this when the Lord was pulling me out of idolatry and a new idea was presented. I had set my heart previously on a way of thinking because others had drilled it into my head. No longer being like a child with an open mind and hear, I thought I could dismiss teachings without receiving a confirmation from the Holy Ghost one way or the other because I simply knew better.
The Spirit IS NOT simply a voice in the mind. Some people meditate (or do rituals or smoke weed or whatever their method of choice is) and get into a peaceful and clear state and begin speaking with their “higher self”, or their “superego” (Freudian Term). People who do this have convinced themselves that their mind is God and they are the people who Ezekiel warned about when he wrote in Ezekiel 13
13 And the word of the Lord came unto me, saying,
2 Son of man, prophesy against the prophets of Israel that prophesy, and say thou unto them that prophesy out of their own hearts, Hear ye the word of theLord;
3 Thus saith the Lord God; Woe unto the foolish prophets, that follow their own spirit, and have seen nothing!
These people claiming revelation at times have never received revelation but they wanted it badly enough that they convinced themselves that their conscience is the Holy Ghost. Usually this higher voice tells them “good” things but they will never have a sure knowledge of anything that has been told to them by this voice unless they receive the Holy Ghost. This kind of pseudo-revelation is running rampant in the Mormon movement. This is the type that people talk about when they had a sudden thought about sending cookies or visiting someone. People then look for evidence later that the thought was revelation and find confirmation with their intellect instead of from God. Often this will cause people to ask things like “was that profound thought from me, or from God?” Hopefully you get the idea…Another way that this type of thing happens is after someone has been baptized by fire and they still think God gives answers in different ways. I did for a while and had to learn the hard way that I was sinning and listening to myself.
The Holy Ghost IS NOT the fruits of the Spirit. That should go without saying but people often confuse this for some reason. People who have never tasted of the Spirit can still feel joy, peace, worldly love, and some of the other fruits. Feeling these emotions does not mean you are experiencing the Holy Ghost.
I guess what I am trying to get across is that EVERY time the Holy Ghost speaks to us, it will be in the same way we received it the first time. When someone is baptized by fire, it is God’s way of telling them that He indeed exists, and He is showing us how He speaks to us. I have talked to some people who believe that being baptized by fire actually means the Holy Ghost becomes their permanent companion and they think they can then just interpret things with the new enlightenment that the initial experience gave them. When I present to them the idea that the Spirit will always speak in the same way as the first revelation they received during the baptism of fire, they almost always react in the same way and say something like this, “That is not true, the burning of the Holy Ghost doesn’t happen that often…”
It doesn’t happen that often for who? Let me get back to the idolatry. If we set our hearts upon a belief system and have decided that the belief system of choice has a “fullness” of truth, and nothing outside of this set of beliefs can be true, this is idolatry. This doesn’t mean you won’t receive revelation from time to time, it just means you have confined the Lord to only give revelation that will seem to confirm that certain set of beliefs. This is damnation and the damned have no idea they are in bondage. Often when presented with a new idea, they will reply with doctrines prescribed within their belief system by religious leaders that simply couldn’t be wrong. This brings the backwards thinking that the Spirit should be checked by the doctrines that have been set forth in the past, instead of the doctrines in the past being checked by the Spirit. This is certain bondage!
One blessing that has been given to many people is the revelation that “The Book of Mormon is true.” Thank God for that book. I have not met a soul that has ever learned by revelation that any other book is true in its entirety. I have prayed about many other books and never been told the same thing. I have experienced the Holy Ghost reading the Bible, Doctrine and Covenants, Pearl of Great Price, and many other inspired books, many of which people call scripture, but I have yet to have the Spirit reveal to me that any other book is true besides the Book of Mormon. If we feel that every revelation has to be compared to previous scripture, I suggest we not be hypocrites and take a look at some things taught in the Doctrine and Covenants…
Doctrine and Covenants 88:15 And the spirit and the body are the soul of man.
There are dozens of scriptures that contradict this but I will give only one from the Book of Mormon, and one from the Bible.
Alma 40:23 The soul shall be restored to the body, and the body to the soul; yea, and every limb and joint shall be restored to its body; yea, even a hair of the head shall not be lost; but all things shall be restored to their proper and perfect frame.
1 Thessalonians 5:23 And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Doctrine and Covenants 124:49 Verily, verily, I say unto you, that when I give a commandment to any of the sons of men to do a work unto my name, and those sons of men go with all their might and with all they have to perform that work, and cease not their diligence, and their enemies come upon them and hinder them from performing that work, behold, it behooveth me to require that work no more at the hands of those sons of men, but to accept of their offerings.
This verse actually has multiple things that contradict other scripture, as well as other verses in the section, but here is a contradicting verse that all of us are probably familiar with…
1 Nephi 3:7 And it came to pass that I, Nephi, said unto my father: I will go and do the things which the Lord hath commanded, for I know that the Lord giveth no commandments unto the children of men, save he shall prepare a way for them that they may accomplish the thing which he commandeth them.
Doctrine and Covenants 132 (There are quite a few in this section but let’s go for the most obvious) verse 38 David also received many wives and concubines, and also Solomon and Moses my servants, as also many others of my servants, from the beginning of creation until this time; and in nothing did they sin save in those things which they received not of me.
39 David’s wives and concubines were given unto him of me, by the hand of Nathan, my servant, and others of the prophets who had the keys of this power; and in none of these things did he sin against me save in the case of Uriah and his wife; and, therefore he hath fallen from his exaltation, and received his portion; and he shall not inherit them out of the world, for I gave them unto another, saith the Lord.
Can that really be justified with this? Jacob 2: 24 Behold, David and Solomon truly had many wives and concubines, which thing was abominable before me, saith the Lord.
Who was cross-checking Joseph Smith’s revelations with the other scriptures? We must ask ourselves in such cases if Joseph was more than a man and more than flesh? Does he apply to the human beings that other prophets had counseled us not to put our trust in. These are just a few examples that came to mind, what about all of the new revelation that was unprecedented in scripture? How can we know if it is all true? Sure the Spirit can bear witness to us that Joseph Smith was a prophet. Have people interpreted this to mean that we can simply just trust that whatever he taught was right? We cannot know unless God tells us. The Spirit has told me without exception to not simply trust in anything anyone has ever taught, even if the teaching seems to make sense.
Someone recently said that they don’t believe we need revelation on things that are already contained in the scriptures, but how can we know if the scriptures are true?! Please tell me if the philosophy of only trusting things that are revealed by the Spirit is just a crazy idea. Seriously I have seen more anger because of this philosophy than almost anything else I have shared. Especially when I point out that even teachings of certain prominent men need to be set aside unless we receive a confirmation from the Spirit.
I am not going to say that there is only one way that the Holy Ghost is experienced, I will just tell some fruits that I know come from pure revelation. Pure revelation does not have to be doubted because after it is received we know it. Pure revelation comes with power. The power is not anything that can be produced by our body, it is not always with ANY mortal right now. Even experiencing this power once will change someone’s life. The Holy Ghost will bring the fruits of the Spirit always. To have the Holy Ghost upon us is greater than seeing any being without the power of the Holy Ghost. After the Nephites had been visited and taught personally by Jesus Christ, let’s look at what the disciples prayed for in 3 Nephi 19,
8 And when they had ministered those same words which Jesus had spoken—nothing varying from the words which Jesus had spoken—behold, they knelt again and prayed to the Father in the name of Jesus.
9 And they did pray for that which they most desired; and they desired that the Holy Ghost should be given unto them.
Ok why would these men be praying for the Holy Ghost? It was well documented that a couple of them had performed miracles, even raised the dead…Do you think they had never experienced the Holy Ghost? Of course they had, but they knew that the Holy Ghost was not something that just came and stayed with someone always. I know in church we get the idea that of the Holy Ghost being a constant companion that is always in us. This is not what is contained in the Bible and Book of Mormon, the Holy Ghost is powerful! When He is present the fire of God is present and amazing things happen. Pure knowledge is revealed. The idea that someone is always experiencing the Holy Ghost in mortality is just not the case. To borrow someone’s word it is “an entertaining fantasy.” That is why I have been trying to share that to really enter God’s rest we must receive the Spirit of The Lord. The Spirit of the Lord is self explanatory, it is exactly what it is stated to be.
If someone receives the Spirit of the Lord they enter God’s rest. They are redeemed. This is taught in numerous places in the scriptures and I have already shared it. Ok so back to idolatry. Those people who know how to receive answers by the Spirit and have been baptized by fire are not in the clear. Let me give you a few real life examples I have heard from people I love. I know these people know how the Spirit speaks, I know their answers were given from God because the Spirit confirmed them to me.
I asked a local bishop if he had ever been told by God that the LDS church was the only true church. He thought back and said he wasn’t sure that the Spirit had ever directly told him that, but all of his other spiritual experiences pointed to the church being true. I challenged this good brother to pray and not rest until the Spirit told him one way or another on the matter. After about a week I talked to him and he said he had been darkened all week trying to get an answer, the devil had attacked him. It seemed the adversary didn’t want him praying about it…Anyway he said on Sunday he went to his church and the darkness left and he prayed and the spirit came and gave him an answer. This was the answer, “Everything the Spirit has told you is true.” So because of my friends idolatry he decided this answer meant that at some point the Spirit had told him his church was true, and this was a confirmation that the church was true, even though he had admitted a week before he didn’t know the Spirit had told him his church was true. Hmmm…
Here is an interesting one, someone a while back was being a real nitwit and bashing on Denver Snuffer saying he knew Denver had no keys and was a liar. I asked how he knew Denver had no keys and was a liar, he then claimed revelation on the subject. I asked him what the Spirit had told him EXACTLY… He explained that he had read Denver’s books and loved them and after his final lecture he was really disturbed because of the idea of the LDS church not being everything he wanted it to be. So he took it to the Lord in prayer until he received this revelation, “I (the Lord) will not preach through an apostate.”
I prayed and asked God if he really gave this person the revelation and had it confirmed to me that he did. The brother because of his idolatry perceived this answer to mean that Denver Snuffer was apostate, and the Lord couldn’t teach through him. Now he spends his days bashing on anyone outside the church or acting outside of the mainstream because he just knows the truth of the matter…
How about this revelation from one of my neighbors, “I know that the church is true because the Spirit told me plainly that Thomas S Monson, President Eyring, and President Uchtdorf are the leaders of the church.” Wait a second, I would think that was a bad sign if the Spirit told me such a thing, but this woman assumed she knew what the Spirit was really telling her.
One more that made me laugh, I had told a brother that the Spirit had told me that Thomas S Monson was not a seer or revelator, this brother went to the Lord in prayer and after a frustrating few days of prayer the Spirit told him, “Thomas S Monson is the president of the church.” Man it almost makes my head explode. Of course he is the president of the lds church! I can look up the president of a restaurant chain too, but the idolatry of people is such that they only open their hearts to things that will seem to confirm their paradigm.
People who care more about their way of life or set of beliefs than they care about the truth, will never receive a fullness of truth. There are countless examples that I have seen of this. Some of the people who have received the baptism of fire and received pure revelation are gonna be the first ones to go in the coming days! They are those who have learned of the Spirit, then supposed “they knew of themselves” how to interpret every revelation given them.
I cannot explain how many times people have shared testimonies with me and say they have learned by revelation that Joseph Smith was a prophet and that the Book of Mormon is true, and therefore……………. AHHH!!!! All I can say is let’s please take a look at what WE KNOW. What has the Holy Ghost told us specifically word for word? If a person was only told by the Spirit that “GOD IS REAL” and teaches nothing but that, without pretending to know what it means or anything else, that person would be much better off than one who receives a handful of things, but continually teaches all sorts of other things on top of that.
I promise that if we will only trust in the revelation that is undeniable and carries sure knowledge with the power given by the Spirit, that God will begin to give more if we seek it. If we continue to claim knowledge on things God has never told us, we will continue to know less and less of the mysteries until we “know nothing.” This world is in serious bondage right now and there has been a famine of hearing the word of the Lord for a very long time. A day of miracles is approaching. I know it. I think great things are in store for 2015. I appreciate Tim being willing to share other ideas and different viewpoints. Disagreement should never cause a lack of love. There are so many things being taught by so many people that we must gain a sure knowledge of each thing taught by the Holy Ghost. God bless and happy New Year!