God

Attributes

> Can God sin or does he just choose not to sin?

Maybe we should ask, Can Satan be righteous?

"...light and truth forsake the evil one." (D&C 93:36-37)

"This being true, intelligence and wickedness are not found associated together." (Joseph Fielding Smith, The Way to Perfection, p.228)

"Satan possesses knowledge, far more than we have, but he has not intelligence, or he would render obedience to the principles of truth and right." (Joseph F. Smith, Ogden 1913)

I conclude that because of Satan's previous choices, he is in a condition whereby he can no longer be righteous. Is it not hard to understand also that because of God's previous choices, that He is now in a condition whereby he could never lie, since he lives by total and pure intelligence?

"There are those who say that God is progressing in knowledge and is learning new truths. This is false-utterly, totally, and completely. There is not one sliver of truth in it...God progresses in the sense that his kingdoms increase and his dominions multiply-not in the sense that he learns new truths and discovers new laws. God is not a student. He is not a laboratory technician. He is not postulating new theories on the basis of past experiences. He has indeed graduated to that state of exaltation that consists of knowing all things and having all power." (Bruce R. McConkie, BYU, June 1980)

"Progression of God in knowledge. This thought is not accepted by members of the committee. We do not feel that it is wise to express a thought limiting God in this manner, which will cause needless controversy. While we believe in eternal progression and God is progressing, it is not in quest of hidden truth or laws yet undiscovered to Deity. We prefer to believe with Nephi: 'O how great the holiness of our God! For he knoweth all things, and there is not anything save he knows it.' (2 Ne 9:20)." (George Albert Smith, Joseph Fielding Smith, David O. McKay, Stephen L. Richards, Mevin J. Ballard, "The Truth the Way the Life, p.418)

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Godhead

Oneness

"Paul says there are Gods many and Lords many. I want to set it forth in a plain and simple manner; but to us there is but one God--that is _pertaining to us;_ and he is in all and through all." (Joseph Smith, Teachings p.370-1)

"It is perfectly true, as recorded in the Pearl of Great Price and in the Bible, that to us there is but one God. Correctly interpreted God in this sense means Godhead, for it is composed of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. This Godhead presides over us, and to us, the inhabitants of this world, they constitute the only God, or Godhead. There is none other besides them. To them we are amenable, and subject to their authority, and there is no other Godhead unto whom we are subject. However, as the Prophet has shown, there can be, and are, other Gods." (Joseph Fielding Smith, AGQ 2:142)

"...in the ultimate sense these members of the Eternal Godhead are the only Gods with whom we have to do. We worship the Father, in the name of the Son, by the power of the Holy Ghost." (Bruce R. McConkie, PM p.13)

"Which Father, Son and Holy Ghost are one God, infinite and eternal, without end." (D&C 20:28)

"...Christ the Son, and God the Father, and the Holy Spirit, which is one Eternal God..." (Alma 11:44)

Elder Talmage clearly understood the "oneness" of the Godhead as we teach it today in the church.

"The individual members of the Holy Trinity are united in purpose, plan, and method. To conceive of disagreement, differences, or dissension among them would be to regard them as lacking in the attributes of perfection that characterize Godhead. But that this unity involves any merging of personality is nowhere attested in Scripture, and the mind is incapable of apprehending such a union." (Talmage, The Vitality of Mormonism, p. 43, 1848 ed.)

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Holy Ghost

> What is the office of the Holy Ghost? Have multiple individuals
> served in this office?

Yes there is "the office of the Holy Ghost" which I understand is "the mission of the Holy Ghost", in the same sense as our Savior had and has a mission and an office.

What your friend teaches is not doctrine in the church and is nothing that is taught in the scriptures nor by at least our more recent prophets. I have no idea what your friend's sources are, so I can't address those.

Elder McConkie: "In this dispensation, at least, nothing has been revealed as to his origin or destiny; expressions on these matters are both speculative and fruitless." (MD p. 359)

When Joseph Fielding Smith was asked about the Holy Ghost, he said:

"There is so much in relation to the gospel that we are required to do and so many commandments to observe and ordinances to receive in order that we may obtain an exaltation in the kingdom of God, that we should have no time to enter into speculation in relation to the Holy Ghost. The third member of the Godhead has been assigned to certain duties which are essential in the plan of redemption....Why not leave matters which in no way concern us alone, and devote our time in gaining knowledge essential to our salvation through the inspired guidance of the Holy Ghost?" (AGQ 2:145)

Regarding the Office of the Holy Ghost:

"The Office of the Holy Ghost in His ministrations among men is described in scripture. He is a teacher sent from the Father...The power of the Holy Ghost then, is the spirit of prophecy and revelation; His office is that of enlightenment of the mind, quickening of the intellect, and sanctification of the soul." (Talmage, AF, p.147)

"This is the office of the Holy Ghost, who is a personage of spirit, one of the trinity of the Godhead. It is his mission and office to bear witness of the Father and of the Son and of the truth of all things." (George F. Richards, CR Oct 1931)

"Which Father, Son, and Holy Ghost are one God, infinite and eternal, without end." (D&C 20:28)

Another thing to consider, was Adam or any other mortal omniscient in the spirit world? The Holy Ghost is, according to President Romney:

"As a member of the Godhead, and being one with the Father and the Son, the Holy Ghost is, as are the Father and the Son, omniscient. He comprehends all truth having a knowledge of all things." (Marion G. Romney, Ensign May, 1974)

"The Godhead may be further illustrated by a council, consisting of three men--all possessing equal wisdom, knowledge, and truth--together with equal qualification in every other respect...each alone possesses, by supposition, the same wisdom and truth that the three united or the one council possesses." (Orson Pratt, Writings, p. 313)

"Let no false doctrine proceed out of your mouth, such for instance as the doctrine that the devil and his angels will be redeemed, and that the tabernacle of our martyred prophet and seer, or any other person, was or is the especial tabernacle of the Holy Ghost, in a different sense from that considered in relation to his residence in other tabernacles. These are doctrines not revealed, and are neither believed nor sanctioned by the twelve, and should be rejected by every saint." (Orson Pratt, Aug. 25, 1845 - Also _Times and Seasons 6:997-998)

My belief is that just as our Savior was called and chosen and foreordained before the foundations of the earth, so also was the case with the Holy Ghost.

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Tesifier

> I have a friend who is having a hard time getting an answer using
> Moroni's promise.

Christ's apostles had a similar frustration when they couldn't cast out an unclean spirit. They asked,

"Why could not we cast him out?" Jesus replied, "...this kind goeth not out but by prayer and fasting." (Matt 17:14-21)
Sometimes answers take more effort for certain people, yet when they come, they are usually well worth the extra effort.

My first missionary experience was in high school, when I shared the gospel with a friend. He had similar frustrations receiving a witness and it was not until we fasted together that it came with convincing force.

Another suggestion. Sometimes when we read Moroni's promise, we only read Moroni 10:4-5. In doing so, we miss some other important things that the entire chapter has to offer. Let me list a few:

1 - Read the Book of Mormon. "...read these things" (vs. 3)
2 - Read in the Bible. "...from the creation of Adam..." (vs. 3)
3 - Ponder it in your heart. (vs 3)
4 - Ask God. "...ask God, the Eternal Father..." (vs. 4)
5 - Ask with a sincere heart, with real intent (vs. 4)
6 - Ask if it is good "...and whatsoever thing is good..." (vs. 6)
7 - Don't deny the power of God (vs. 7)
8 - Don't deny the gifts of God (vs. 8)
9 - Have faith, hope and charity (vs. 20)

"The Lord will reveal the truth once; then when this testimony has been given, the person should accept the truth and receive the gospel by baptism. The Spirit of the Lord will not argue with men, nor abide in them, except they yield obedience to the Lord's commandments. " (Joseph Fielding Smith, AGQ 3:29)

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Honesty

S. Dilworth Young in 1977 at BYU:

"Well, the campfire flames mount. I have learned some guideposts in that period of time, and I would like to pass them on to you. The first one is: "One must always tell the truth." Dr. Jeremiah Jenks, a great psychologist of his day, let me have that one time. I was at a big meeting and he was speaking about honor and dignity and truthtelling. Incidentally, you might be interested in knowing that he was the man who was instrumental in seeing to it that the Boy Scout Law contained, "A scout is reverent," and also that the oath had, "I will do my duty to God." Otherwise we would have been kind of pagan in our Boy Scout business. He was a great Christian. But he was speaking, and a man in the audience raised his hand and interrupted him and said, "Dr. Jenks, should one always tell the truth?" thinking about the little white lies one tells about how good the dinner was when it wasn't, or "I've got to go somewhere; I've got to quit talking on the phone," or all those other things we do.

Dr. Jenks, aged then about seventy-five, looked out at that man and smiled and said, "Young man, if the truth is told in a courteous manner, the truth may always be told."

I give you a quick illustration that I have told before many times. Many years ago I was driving home late one night from Provo to take care of my sick wife. I was very nervous because I had prepared things for her to last until six o'clock at night, and I was starting home from Provo at eleven o'clock at night, so she had already been without help for five hours. I was fit to be tied. I passed through Salt Lake City (i had not been arrested so far between there and Provo), and started up the highway toward Ogden, got as far as Farmington junction, and turned off on to the hill road, newly paved at that time though not straightened out. With that I stepped on that accelerator and got the car going seventy miles an hour. I passed the road where Hill Field takes off going seventytwo or -three; it was downhill a bit, and going down the hill I think I increased to seventy-eight or eighty. And then I noticed through my rear-view mirror the flashing light of the patrol car. I pulled to a stop and got out and walked back fifteen or twenty feet, extending my hands so he could see I was not armed, and he came up and stopped a few feet away and got out.

"I guess you're arresting me for speeding," I said. "Yes, you were doing better than sixty miles an hour when you passed the Hill Field road." "I was doing better than seventy miles an hour when I passed the Hill Field road," I corrected him. "But give me a ticket; I've got to go. My wife's sick, I'm in a hurry, and I'll pay the fine gladly, but let me get out of here. I've got to go home quickly, so just give me the ticket."

He said, "Don't get your shirt off. Stand still a minute. I'm not going to give you a ticket." He had not asked for my name. He just stood there. I said, "Well, thanks for that." He continued, "I'm going to give you a warning ticket. That means you don't have to go to court unless you do it. again. On one condition." "What's the condition?" I asked. That you drive within the speed limit the rest of the way home, so you will get to your wife." I said, "I'll do it."

So he gave me the ticket and when he handed it to me it had my name on it. He smiled, stuck out his hand, and said, "My name's Bybee. I used to be one of your Scouts at Camp Kiesel." All the way home I said to myself, with each turn of the wheels on tiny car, "What if I'd lied to him? He knew I was doing seventy. Policemen do. He knew I was going too fast, and he knew I was his Scout executive years before, too." I did not know that he knew any of this, but if I had not told him the exact truth or tried to hedge at all he would have lost respect. He would have given me a ticket, and I would have had no influence on that man ever again.

And so it is with you. You are always doing seventy, no matter where you go or what you are doing, and you had better admit it. Then you will get a reputation for honesty and honor and it is so great that it will save your life many times. If you get in crises-your word against someone else's word-and if you have a reputation for being truthful, it will save you. That has been my experience.

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Jesus Christ

Father

> It what way is Jesus Chirst our father?

In 1916, the First Presidency and Quorum of the 12 apostles issued a statement on the Father and the Son that everyone should read. It is found on pages 466-73 of the Articles of Faith by James E. Talmage.

In a nutshell it points out that Jesus is our Father for at least three reasons: 1 - Father as the Creator, 2- Father of those accepting atonement and gospel, 3- Jesus is the Father by Divine Investiture of Authority.

It is this third point that most church members miss, and don't understand. Let me try to explain and show examples. In this statement, they write:

"In all His dealings with the human family Jesus the son of God has represented and yet represents Elohim, His Father in power and authority...The Father placed His name upon the Son and Jesus Christ spoke and ministered in and through the Father's name; and so far as power, authority, and Godship are concerned His words and acts were and are those of the Father." (1st Pres. and 12 1916)

Example: Take a look at D&C 29:1.

"Listen to the voice of Jesus Christ, your Redeemer, the Great I AM, whose arm of mercy hath atoned for your sins"
Clearly Christ is the one speaking in this section...right?

But take a look at D&C 29:46,

"But behold, I say unto you, that little children are redeemed from the foundation of the world through mine Only Begotten."
Who is speaking here? Answer: It is still Christ. He is speaking by Divine Investiture. He is speaking as if he were that Father.

Another example is in Moses 1:6.

"And I have a work for thee, my son; and thou art in the similitude of mine Only Begotten..."
Again, it is probably Christ speaking by Divine Investiture of Authority.

In Rev 22, you can find an angel speaking as if he was Christ, speaking by Divine Investiture of Authority. See Rev 22:8,9,13

There are several other examples in the scriptures that you can find. I wouldn't get hung up on the question: "Is the Father speaking or is it the Son?" The answer to this question is always yes, because they are one. They think, act and and speak alike in all things and yet they are separate and distinct entities.

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Joy

Elder Oaks gave a good talk on the topic of Joy, happiness, and misery. See October, 1991 conference report. Here are some of the scriptural details: He stated that

"joy is more than happiness. Joy is the ultimate sensation of well-being. It comes from being complete and in harmony with our Creator and his eternal laws."

And of course: "men are that they might have joy" (2 Ne 2:25) and "happiness is the object and design of our existence." (Joseph Smith, Teachings p.255) The gospel plan is "the great plan of happiness." (Alma 42:8)

"But despite all we can do, we cannot have a fulness of joy in this world or through our own efforts (see D&C 101:36: 'for in this world your joy is not full') Only in Christ can our joy be full. This is why the angel proclaimed: 'I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people, For unto you is born this day...a Savior, which is Christ the Lord' (Luke 2:10-11)"

"We are able to have a fulness of joy only when spirit and body are inseparably connected in the glorious resurrection to celestial glory (see D&C 93:33, 76:50-70)"

"God's mercy is the only source of the ultimate and eternal joy, which restores every loss, dries every tear, and erases every pain. Eternal joy transcends all suffering. In this life and in the life to come, that joy comes about through the Resurrection and the remission of sins." (Alma is an example...see Alma 36)"

"There is no lasting happiness in what we possess. Happiness and joy come from what a person is, not from what he or she possesses or appears to be"

So one thing I would add to this thread is that despite all our greatest and best efforts, in this life we just won't obtain a fulness of joy that will overcome all of our sufferings and pain. We must and do, deal with both. Our outward faces and actions don't always reveal our inward state of joy or misery.

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Kindness

I have stated in the past that by reading the past words of the prophets, before they became "the" prophet, I think it helps us better understand the words they are saying while they are "the" prophet. In reading President Hunter's April, 1993 conference address, I came across a powerful statement that relates to his call to us for more kindness and gentleness.

"And what of the meek? In a world too preoccupied with winning through intimidation and seeking to be number one, no large crowd of folk is standing in line to buy books that call for mere meekness. But the meek shall inherit the earth--a pretty impressive corporate takeover, and done without intimidation! Sooner or later--and we pray sooner rather than later--everyone will acknowledge that Christ's way is not only the right way, but ultimately the only way to hope and joy. Every knee shall bow and every tongue will confess that gentleness is better than brutality, that kindness is greater than coercion, that the soft voice turneth away wrath. In the end, and sooner than that whenever possible, we must be more like him. "To those who fall, how kind thou are! How good to those who seek!" (Howard W. Hunter, CR April, 1993)
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