Elder Eric Odida -- Published July 2008
Listen to their hymns sing to your heart; hear their testimonies and read their history and you will appreciate a body that was progressing towards a goal. Even though the journey was difficult there was an excitement with the gospel and their vision was clear as to destination. And it was not just talk; there was action, some action towards that destination. It was a journey filled with challenges alright, many challenges and hardships. The Lord provided leadership for them and His Spirit was with them as they journeyed through each day and each challenge, until something happened and the vision got blurred and the light was dimmed. This is a brief story of Restoration. In the words given to them you get clear indication that the Lord would require nothing of them short of consecration of their lives and their talents. For if this would not be had of them then they would be no different than the other groupings outside their doing their own things. Considering what He had given them this would not be asking too much, for this is what He had purposed and attempted to achieve with man throughout the period of the life of man on the earth.
In the later years you would read Elder Earl R. Curry's writing on The Endowment and you would hear the voice of a Father who is pleading with His children. The question of WHEN shall the day of marvelous spiritual endowment be is met with the answer, WHEN men shall respond.
So He says,
"WHEN the servants of the Lord appreciate the possible glories of His friendship."
"WHEN there shall come to them a vision of the very extraordinary works and miracles that shall grace the work and life of those whom God has endowed." In that discourse are found words like "the Everlasting Father invites you and urges you towards this their friendship."
And, "He is deeply concerned,"
"He is exceedingly anxious that the time of endowment should come soon"…
"Is deeply distressed that His ministry and the people all too generally do not see these things and that they make so little efforts to ascend the mountains of exultation, so that Jesus, the son of God, might speak to them face to face…"
How well can we say we are doing if our heavenly father is pleading with us the Church? How can we claim that we are where our Heavenly father requires us to be when he is pleading, deeply distressed, invites and urges us? The statement of WHEN the things we wait for from God shall be is explained by WHEN we shall respond, WHEN we shall choose the laws that draw us into partnership with our Lord and savior Jesus Christ.
The question of WHEN Zion shall be redeemed is therefore answerable by WHEN we shall appreciate the possible Glories of His Friendship. Do we want to claim we are doing well enough? How come but these laws were designed by He who knows our every weakness; they were designed to be easy for our performing. Actually, these laws are easier to follow than the laws of carnal commandments. They are a Father's law with His children, not a taskmaster's law.
What has caused me to bring this up? Two particular issues, the threatening split in the Church, and the suffering of the Church through marriage and family break-ups. But I shall not comment on the issue of marriage and family break-ups here. There have been many splits within the body since the day of restoration, and today the bride of Christ is faced again with the possibility of another split. This is too painful for some of us and our daily prayer is that the Lord in some way shall provide wisdom to avert this. How can we accept to be separated from each other, we are our brother's keeper. Can we not seek for ways to come to one understanding so that as one we can surely say we have overcome (here)?; when shall it be said that we have endured to the end? Under what circumstances is charity called upon to bear its fruits?
Yet as I have pondered upon this it has been impressed on my heart that this is the result of the level of our response. No wonder the Church family suffers ailments that afflict the world on every front. Like Israel of old we have preferred lower laws to the Heavenly ones. Our acceptance of Canaan of our day is reflected in our preferring the ministry of her laws, if not then we end up the at the same level as Israel of Moses "[Sec 83:4a] Now, this Moses plainly taught to the children of Israel in the wilderness, and sought diligently to sanctify his people that they might behold the face of God;
[Sec 83:4b] but they hardened their hearts, and could not endure his presence, therefore, the Lord, in his wrath (for his anger was kindled against them), swore that they should not enter into his rest, while in the wilderness, which rest is the fullness of his glory.
[Sec 83:4c] Therefore, he took Moses out of their midst and the holy priesthood also; and the lesser priesthood continued, which priesthood holdeth the key of the ministering of angels and the preparatory gospel, which gospel is the gospel of repentance and of baptism, and the remission of sins, and the law of carnal commandments…" They rejected the Heavenly rule for the worldly one, "1 Sam 8:5 "… now make us a king to judge us like all the nations."
1 Sam 8:6 "But the thing displeased Samuel, when they said, Give us a king to judge us. And Samuel prayed unto the Lord."
1 Sam 8:7 "And the Lord said unto Samuel, Hearken unto the voice of the people in all that they say unto thee; for they have not rejected thee, but they have rejected me, that I should not reign over them."
The world is divided since the days of Cain and Abel, to the days of the Tower of Babel, and the division continues everywhere in the world, but the Heavens remain united. There are two powers controlling these dominions, God controls the united side:
Nation against nation, race against race, tribe against tribe, clan against tribe, tongue against tongue, gender against gender, family against family, religion against religion and so forth. This is how the devil manages his Kingdom. This is the characteristic of his control.
We can only be united if we subject our lives to the laws of Heaven. It is the laws of Heaven that shall allow the Spirit of God to work in us. We shall continue to disintegrate, dying slowly like the Israel of Moses in the wilderness until we are no more, or unless we embrace the laws of Christ. The laws of Christ are the laws of eternal harmony graduating the sons of men to the sons of God; allowing the spirit of God to bring charity among the saints. No other laws, however good, can have lasting harmony and bring unity of purpose among the sons of men. However much our efforts may be pleasing in our sight, the only laws that shall redeem Zion are the laws of Christ. This is because these are the laws that unite the earth to the Heavens of God above "[Sec 102:2c] and Zion cannot be built up unless it is by the principles of the law of the celestial kingdom, otherwise I cannot receive her unto myself…"
We speak of Zion, the city of God, but we do very little to bring about her redemption. There is no shortcut brethren, the only way to that Heavenly city is by bringing ourselves under the Heavenly rule; our lives and talents must be consecrated to be of use for the work of the Kingdom of God.
It is my prayer that we can find it the privilege of the Christ in us to seek for ways to work with one another. It is my prayer that we may not be satisfied with what we presently have, for this shall take us nowhere. The work of the Kingdom is not for any one person or group, but requires the participation of all of the body. If we go for the laws of Christ, the rest shall fall in place.