Saturday, April 4, 2015

Official Statement: Why we Call it Passover and Not Easter

This weekend the whole of  the Christian world is celebrating Easter, many who believe are commemorating the resurrection of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, one of the most important events that has ever taken place on this earth. For many Christians around the world Easter is a forceful reminder of the life of Christ and his ultimate sacrifice. However the sad fact is that scores of people do not celebrate the real meaning of Easter at all, indeed it is a time for giving and receiving chocolate eggs giving no thought for the reason we have this holiday at all. Indeed the very word eater has become and in reality is a very real excuse to forget Christ. The Lord seeing all and knowing the evil and sinful nature of man has in his wisdom given us direction on how we are to celebrate and keep this most important time of the year. Once again the Latter Day Church of Jesus Christ will outline the true meaning of this wonderful time of year and explain why we call in Passover and not Easter.
The Latter Day Church of Jesus Christ is a Resurrection Church – a church celebrating and honouring with all dignity the atonement, sacrifice and resurrection of Our Lord Jesus Christ. The time of year set aside for such a remembrance has long been called “Easter.” But “Easter” did not always symbolize Christ's resurrection from the dead and the Christian meaning of the celebration was originally quite different from today’s celebration of eggs and bunnies.
The feast day of Easter was originally a pagan celebration of renewal and rebirth. Celebrated in the early spring, it honoured the pagan Saxon goddess Easter. When the early missionaries converted the Saxons to Christianity, the holiday, since it fell around the same time as the traditional memorial of Christ's resurrection from the dead, was merged with the pagan celebration, and became known as Easter. This is far from its original meaning. The first Christians honoured the Lord with reverence and dignity, without the admixture of paganism and frivolity. But the Church fell away, and was lost, only to be restored and resurrected once more in Ancient Britain, amongst the People of the Light, as has been revealed in modern times with the restoration and translation of the Book of Jeraneck. There, in Chapter sixteen, the Lord revealed to the Prophet Jeraneck, saying, “and I saw that he was in a garden and I saw that he bled from his skin and the Lord said unto me ‘Behold I bleed for you and your people behold I bleed for all that have lived and will ever live. I bleed and take upon my self the sins of the entire world.’ and then I saw that the people spat on him and whipped him and they placed thorns on his head and they nailed him to a tree in the form of a cross and there he died. And my heart sank that the people would do this. Now the Lord commanded me to look and I saw that he had risen from the dead and that he walked upon the earth once again and that he did many great things unto the people.”
Thus, the proper focus of this holy and sacred holiday was restored to His people. And again, the Lord appeared unto His people in the Americas, and in the Book of Mormon, the Lord testifies that there is a resurrection, “therefore the grave hath no victory, and the sting of death, is swallowed up in Christ.” (Mosiah Chapter 8)
In today’s restored Latter Day Church, which has been resurrected in our time just as it has been in ancient times amongst ancient peoples, these pagan additions have been stripped away from the original holiday and the wheat has been separated from the chaff, and the day is once again focused on the Lord’s sacrifice on our behalf. On the 8th of March 2007, He gave to His church a new revelation and outlined His will concerning the celebration of Easter. The Lord said:- "I, the Lord, am most displeased with the world for they have taken my sacrifice and they have desecrated it and they have set it at naught. Behold I say unto you that it is not pleasing unto me that Easter be celebrated amongst my church in the manner in which it is being done. … Wherefore come unto me at the time you call Easter and lay a feat at your table in my honour and lay upon the alter table well prepared and cooked lamb which is a similitude of me and also bring before me unleavened bread mixed with bitter herbs that you may remember that I suffered in the garden and upon the cross for you. Behold I say that this is not to take away the sacredness of the sacrament but it is to prove unto me that I, the Lord, am remembered amongst you and that my sacrifice is not set at naught.”
Therefore, we choose to obey the Lord, and to stand firmly with the traditional teaching of Easter, the New Passover of the Lord, who has commanded us to keep this celebration special and holy. It is not just another holiday to be spent in frivolity and overindulgence, but a celebration and remembrance of the Lord’s sacrifice for us.
In these last days the Lord has seen fit to call a people forth to set right what has for so long been in error. He has seen fit to enlighten humanity with more revealed scripture and has enabled us to read the words of others who also worshipped at the feet of Christ. And so today he has chosen to do away with the errors of the Easter season. In these last days the church of God has been commanded to set aside all the unrighteousness of Easter and has been commanded to remember the Passover of Christ from mortality to immortally from corruptible to incorruptible. The Feast of the New Passover is a true celebration of the true meaning of the celebration of a wonderful time of year named by the world as Easter. To all our members worldwide, we ask that you remember the words spoken in the Doctrine and Covenants when the Lord said:-“Hearken, O my servant, my Prophet, for verily I say unto you that I, the Lord, am most displeased with the world for they have taken my sacrifice and they have desecrated it and they have set it at naught. Behold I say unto you that it is not pleasing unto me that Easter be celebrated amongst my church in the manner in which it is being done. For it is a celebration that mocks me and it is done in memory of a pagan God. Now I say unto you that it is expedient unto me that these things are done away with and that they not be done in my name, for my name is sacred and shall not be cast down amongst the swine for them to feast upon.”
So let us brace ourselves to our duty to do as the Lord commands and leave behind all the trappings of Easter eggs and bunny rabbits and let us instead look to Christ, for He is our Lord and it is to Him that our minds must be turned this time of year. God bless you, my brothers and sisters, members of the Lord’s Resurrection Church in these Latter days, and may you all have a wonderful and happy and Christ-centred New Passover weekend.

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Sermon: Tolerance

Brothers and sisters it is an honour to be able to speak to you today. To all those that are here and also throughout the world. Today I wish to speak with you on a subject I have had to learn about a lot this last week, tolerance! It seems that with suffering with ill health from time to time, I find that I want to do a whole lot of things, but I can't, I have had to learn a lot about tolerance. I have had to learn that tolerance is a virtue that we need in our very turbulent world, a world filled with great chaos and strife, war and violence, and all manner of things which are trying our faith left, right and centre. However, at the same time, we must also realise and spot that there is a difference between tolerance and tolerate. Just because you may have tolerance toward someone or something, does not grant whatever it is or whoever they are the right to do wrong, nor does it obligate you to tolerate any misdeeds which have taken place. It is therefore fundamental that as Latter Day Mormons, we need to understand this vital virtue, the very virtue of tolerance!
Jesus Christ gave us two great commandments, the highest objectives in this mortal life are summed up in the two greatest commandments, two commandments which have never before been fully realised by hardly anyone. But, if we are to understand tolerance, we must also understand what these two great commandments are, we must also understand the reality of living these in our own personal lives. These two great commandments of which I speak are, loving God the Father and also loving our neighbours, those around us, when we do this then we take on a whole new outlook on things. When we love both the Father and our fellowmen, we take on a whole new recognition of our own lives, understanding that we are not free to do just what we want, but rather, that we must live our lives showing gratitude, honour, and respect. We need to be obedient to both of these commandments, which means that when we are obedient to both of these commandments, then we are also obedient to all the fundamental laws of the Gospel. But, it also means, just as Mosiah had summed up, that when we are serving others, we also are in the service of our God.
The Latter Day Church of Jesus Christ reaches out to all backgrounds. We have been asked by the Saviour to reach out to all nations as told to us in the holy scriptures when it says "Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost; Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, unto the end of the world. Amen"  (Matthew 28:18-19)
It is our mission therefore to go and to baptise all nations, teaching them to keep His commandments. With that comes an additional need for tolerance. This means that we are reaching beyond our own borders, we are literally reaching hands across borders in fellowship and in love. One of the hardest things that may come about when we are doing this is to learn to love those who live in other lands that we might have considered being enemies to our own people in our own nations. But, rather than looking at it like this, we need to look at it in terms that they are a part of our own people, the human race. The real understanding of the two great commandments can only come when we learn to have tolerance for those not of our own home land. When we learn to have tolerance for those of other nationalities, when we learn to have tolerance and love toward those who perhaps in Muslim nations, we then learn that we can have great concern for them having tolerance for them, while not tolerating their beliefs, we have great tolerance for them, great compassion for them, and we want to help them and to fellowship them just as anyone who has not before had a chance to hear the restoration. Indeed we need to show that our tolerance is greater than there's, for we say to the world today to join with Christ of you own free will, gone are the days when men of the west say convert or die, for this is not the way of the Father or the Son, but the one whom was cast down.  It is for this reason that intolerance of other nations and people is one reason why we have wars and conflicts which take place all around the globe, indeed much of the conflict in the Middle East today is because one set of people are showing total intolerance for others. The situation that is effect throughout the world has nothing to do with religion but intolerance. We know that humanity is in the grip of something which it needs to strive to come out from under, but it will not be the case until the nations learn that intolerance is nit the answer and to look for the time when Jesus Christ returns. But for us, as children of the Father and followers of the Christ we can learn tolerance for other nations. In our walk along the path of life we may come into contact with those people that do not share the same beliefs as ourselves, does this mean that we have no responsibility toward them? No, rather it means that we should still show love towards them, that we should still have great tolerance for them and show them the love of God, to educate them in the role and life of the Saviour for the sake of their own redemption, and in doing so we share with them the truth of the Restored Gospel and what is holds for them. Then if they desire baptism, we take them down into the waters of baptism and give them the laying on of hands for the gift of the Holy Ghost.
There are risks with tolerance, this may sound silly but let me offer some more important information on the side of caution. There is an assumption amongst many people that says, that if a little of something is okay, then a lot of something must be even better, but, this is not always so! For example, why would one take a prescription medicine that might help to relieve their earache and because it has helped that earache, take even more, so much so that they have overdosed? Mercy can also oppose justice, so then, tolerance with limit can also lead to giving permission for things to go too far. So with this, we might want to just take a look at how much tolerance we should afford, especially if we have been wronged numerous times. Remember that while we have tolerance, it does not mean that we have to continue being wronged. The Lord has drawn boundary lines upon tolerance. Just as in the early history of the Church in this dispensation, the Lord has drawn lines with how long the Saints stayed in an area in the midst of great persecution. So the Lord from time to time made provisions for the Saints to move around, an event which was symbolised in the Bible by the forty years in the desert of ancient Israel.  Just as we as parents, no matter how old or young we teach our own children not to do certain things, if you are parents to younger children it might be not to run and play in the street. Our Father through his Son our Saviour Himself has taught us to not tolerate evil. “Jesus went into the temple of God, and overthrew the table of the moneychangers” (Matt. 21:12; Mark 11:15) Though He has great love for the sinner, the Father cannot at all look upon sin with the least degree of allowance hence the need for a Saviour. Real love means that we may compel courageous confrontations, not acquiescence! Real love in no way supports self-destructing behaviour which only leads toward more damage, therefore, we must be responsible in what we do.
Tolerance Demands Mutual Respect. In our desire to commit to the Saviour, we must scorn sin, yet while scorning sin, we love those around us. For example, since the attacks on the world trade centre and the London underground and the continued unrest we find ourselves in today with many of the Muslim nations within the Middle East there are those who have  began showing great hatred and still do and this anger is turned towards their Muslim neighbours. They hate them with a passion for the terrorist attacks, for the murder and the bloodshed that many belonging to this religion have spawned and are still indeed spawning all over the world. Let it be clear that while we can hate what took place and what is still taking place, we should never forget that we should love all men and that includes Muslims. Does it mean that those terrorist attacks represented Muslims or Islam as a whole? Of course not, so therefore, we should love them as our own neighbours, we may not agree with their beliefs, indeed we do not, we may not agree with the way they choose to live and we may have massive cultural and religious differences, indeed we have, but in the grand scheme of things we are all children of God and we are all living together on this planet which has to be tended, subdued, and shared with gratitude. We are all children of our Heavenly Father. Each one of us is able to help make this world a more pleasant experience if we only work at it together, therefore, we should never let the sin of our natural man stand in the way of loving those whom we might think are our enemies, just because a few are standing as the enemy. It is morally unacceptable for us as Latter Day Mormons to deny anyone or any group their dignity on the tragic and abhorrent theory of racial and or cultural superiority, for we are not better than they, we are but equal with them. Therefore, I urge the Latter Day Church of Jesus Christ to recommit themselves to the time-honoured ideals of true tolerance and mutual respect that should be afforded everyone. We acknowledge that there are more people than us and that they come from differing backgrounds, cultures, and races and although we know that the gospel of Christ restored is his plan for us and none other , we should however have great tolerance for them, desiring to live in peace and coexist together until The Lord Jesus Christ should return and bring all people under His rule to know truth.
Remember that we the Latter Day Church of Jesus Christ have been wronged, many times, indeed we continue to be wronged by many people and we know that that feeling is not nice nor is it something that we wish to export to anyone, so therefore, let us reach a hand of fellowship and love toward others who are different from us. Let us carry this on in our messages of hope and love toward all people, that they might see that the Lord’s church is not a church which hates, but a church that loves, a church of  peace and tolerance. To this end, I leave these words with each of you. Amen.
Prophet Matthew P. Gill

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Sermon:- God and Christ are Two Separate Persons

"My Father worketh hitherto, and I work" (John 5:17)
I wish to express to you at this time the churches teachings concerning God and what we believe. In answering the following question "Are God and Christ two persons, or are they only one person?" My opinion is of no importance, but rather it is what Christ himself said on this matter that is important and which frames our belief in this church. Jesus Himself appealed to certain standards of evidence when He said, "It is written." There is no doubt that the Scriptures present God and Christ to us as two persons, before, during, and after the brief life and mission of Christ on earth.
We have the word of God in the beginning of revelation to us in the first chapter of Genesis; however because of the plain and precious things lost from the scriptures we are left with the following from the King James Version of the Bible: "God said, Let us make man" (Genesis 1:26). Now I ask to whom was God speaking? Certainly to some person separate from Himself in identity and capable of working with Him in the creation of man. The matter is cleared up for us through the revealing work of or prophet Joseph Smith and the Inspired Version of the Bible where it states: "And I, God, said unto mine Only Begotten, which was with me from the beginning, Let us make man" (Genesis 1:27).
Here we have the Father speaking to His Only Begotten Son who had been with Him from the beginning, again let us look at the following verse it says "I, God, said unto mine Only Begotten (another person), Let us make man." There is no recorded evidence that at any time after this event the Son became merged into the personality of His Father and lost His own identity, I must be stressed that is not the doctrine of our church. Christ's ideas of oneness, unity, is different to our own mortal understanding. It is written of the city of Enoch, "The Lord called his people Zion, because they were of one heart and one mind" (Doctrine and Covenants 36:2). It is true that Christ said, "My Father and I are one." He also prayed earnestly to His Father that His followers might become one "even as we are one." God and Christ are one in the same sense that He wished His followers to be one. We are told in the Book of Mormon that "plain and precious" things had been taken from the Scriptures which were to be restored. We have noted that one of them (as restored in the Inspired Version) is a very plain statement concerning the creation of man. God said to His Son, "Let us" make man.
In the third chapter of Genesis in the Inspired Version of the Bible, we have another of those very plain and precious things restored to us. The ultimate salvation of man was under consideration in the life before this and we see Satan appear before God and he said, "Behold I, send me, I will be thy Son, and I will redeem all mankind, that one soul shall not be lost ... wherefore, give me thine honour." After this another person appeared before God, of whom it is written, "But behold, my beloved Son, which was my beloved and chosen from the beginning, said unto me; Father, thy will be done, and the glory be thine for ever" (Genesis 3:1–4). Here we have the word of God that His Only Begotten Son talked with Him as to another person and volunteered to do the will of the Father, not demanding glory for Himself. As we all know the Father rejected Satan because Satan planned to "take away man's agency" and become the first great dictator, saving men whether they wished to be saved or not. God, the Father, chose Christ, the Son, to come to earth with a gospel of persuasion and love and show us the greatest love of all for it says: "For God so loved the world, that he gave his Only Begotten Son." Thus we find the Father and the Son, two distinct personages, planning together with each other the creation and salvation of man.
The origin of confusion for a lot of people seems to have grown out of the fact that some of the prophetic writers have given to Christ, the Son, certain titles that are reserved for God, the Father and him alone. In an introductory note to the Book of Mormon the statement is made that one purpose of the book is to convince Jew and Gentile that "Jesus is the Christ, the Eternal God." The title, "the Eternal God," may be modified by the preceding words that "Jesus is the Christ." The title, "Christ," as we know this title is always reserved for Jesus. This statement in the preface seems to embody one by Nephi which is much more explicit in its reference to the Christ: "And as I spake concerning the convincing of the Jews, that Jesus is the very Christ, it must needs be that the Gentiles be convinced also, that Jesus is the Christ, the Eternal God." Let us stop for a moment and take note that in the very same connection Nephi speaks of the Father and the Son as two persons, for he says: "...until they [the Jews] shall be persuaded to believe in Christ, the Son of God;... and when that day shall come, that they shall believe in Christ, and worship the Father in his name ... the Lord will set his hand again the second time to restore his people from their lost and fallen state" (2 Nephi 11: 26–28). And again: "...according to the words of the prophets, and also the word of the angel of God, his name shall be Jesus Christ, the Son of God" (2 Nephi 11: 36). Therefore it is without doubt that Nephi clearly understood that one was the Father, the other the Son.
Certainly the Book of Mormon has no new and mysterious doctrine on this point that is drastically different from that in the Bible. However the Bible can be confusing on this matter if one approaches it from a single mind set, and has not the revealed voice of God. For example, in the ninth chapter of Isaiah there is a wonderful little prophecy concerning the coming of Christ, it says: "...his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace." This statement may be modified by the ensuing verse which says that He shall reign upon the throne of David and be called a prince. Probably the one passage of scripture that most lends itself to support of the argument that the Father and the Son are one person is the following from Luke 10:23 of the Inspired Version: " man knoweth that the Son is the Father, and the Father is the Son, but him to whom the Son will reveal it." However it must be noted that even in that passage it is still Father and Son. There is no doubt that though Father and Son were two persons(as represented in the first chapter of Genesis in the Inspired Version of the Bible), yet in their work they were one to an extent that we cannot comprehend except it be revealed (and this oneness we also are to attain). This passage must be interpreted to harmonise with the overwhelming number of scriptural statements which clearly present Father and Son as two persons; yet one in the sense Christ had in mind in His great prayer for His disciples, "Holy Father, ...that they may be one, even as we are one" (John 17:11, 22). Father and Son are one in the same sense that Christ wished His followers to be one, and He certainly did not expect or desire that they should all become one person. As Latter Day Mormons we remember that Jesus himself said, "I am come in my Father's name" (John 5:44). Since He did come in His Father's name and with His message and authority, it is not surprising that some of the prophetic writers gave to Him titles commonly reserved for the Father, thus causing some confusion.
Jesus sometimes spoke of Himself as "the Son of Man," sometimes as "the bridegroom". On a memorable occasion He put His stamp of approval on a title which recognised the relationship of Father and Son. He had said to the apostles, "But whom say ye that I am?" Peter replied, "Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God". Then Jesus with very evident pleasure voiced His approval of that statement, in these words, "Blessed art thou, Simon Bar-Jona; for flesh and blood hath not revealed this unto thee, but my Father who is in heaven" (Matthew 16:16, 17, 18). The Father in heaven had revealed to Peter that Jesus on earth was His Son. This sonship is all important that Christ said, "upon this rock I will build my church" meaning the gift of revelation that Peter was given to reveal unto him the title and office of Christ.
In the book of Mosiah in the Book of Mormon there is a record of an address by Abinadi containing a remarkable prediction of the coming of Christ. In one part of the discourse Abinadi attempts to explain the theology of the oneness of the Father and the Son which had troubled people at that time, very much like today. However with all due reverence we must state that this should not be made the basis of any radical conclusions not in harmony with many plain statements in other prophetic utterances. Abinadi's sermon might be mistakenly taken to evidence a belief that the Father and the Son always were one person; however, again and again he speaks of them as two separate individuals persons, Father and Son, and of the will of the Son and of the will of the Father. There can be no will without personality. Christ had a will of His own, free agency, and He chose to bring His own will into accord with that of His Father. Here, as many times in the Bible, these two wills of two persons are mentioned, one only in their complete agreement.
Anyone who is familiar with the scriptures alone will know that they abound in definite statements indicating the separate personalities of God and Christ, no matter where they are found they testify of two persons.
From the Bible: A
And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and man. (Luke 2:52)
He that abideth in the doctrine of Christ, he hath both the Father and the Son (2 John 9).
If I do not the works of my Father, believe me not. (John 10:37)
As my Father hath sent me, even so send I you. (John 20:21)
And I will pray the Father. (John 14:16)
I send the promise of my Father upon you. (Luke 24:48)
I have finished the work which thou gavest me to do. (John 17:4)
And when Jesus had cried with a loud voice, he said, Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit. (Luke 23:47)
Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us. (Romans 8:34)
Who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high. (Hebrews 1:3)
Who is gone into heaven, and is on the right hand of God; angels and authorities and powers being made subject unto him. (1 Peter 3:22)
If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. (Colossians 3:1)
Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God. (Hebrews 12:2)
The following statement is found in the King James translation of the Bible, John 1:18: "No man hath seen God at any time." That singular declaration is in conflict with testimonies found elsewhere in the Bible. Isaiah saw the Lord "sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up" (Isaiah 6:1). Jacob declared, "I have seen God face to face" (Genesis 32:30). Moses, Aaron, and seventy of the elders of Israel "saw the God of Israel" (Exodus 24:9–10). The statement, "And no man hath seen God," found in the King James Version, is clarified in the Inspired Version as follows: "And no man hath seen God at any time, except he hath borne record of the Son; for except it is through him no man can be saved" [John 1:19].
That is in accord with the Master's own statement, "no man cometh unto the Father, but by me" (John 14:6).
Indeed as seen from the many verses in the Bible alone we have been given direction on the nature of Christ and the Father, and as Latter Day Mormons we have truth revealed through other sources as well but I say to you have we forgotten the final testament of  Stephen when he was killed by a mob, do we not remember the vision of the man, he had this vision: "But he, being full of the Holy Ghost, looked up steadfastly into heaven, and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing on the right hand of God. And said, Behold, I see the heavens opened, and the Son of Man standing on the right hand of God." (Acts 7:55–56). This was after the resurrection and ascension of our Lord. He saw God and Christ as two persons, Stephen was filled with the Holy Ghost, which would scarcely have given him a false and utterly misleading vision. The substance of Stephen's vision is confirmed by unimpeachable scriptures. After Christ had given to His apostles His last commission to go into all the world and preach the Gospel, He was received up into Heaven and the scripture records: "So then, after the Lord had spoken unto them, he was received up into heaven, and sat on the right hand of God" (Mark 16:20).
These visions of old all come full circle when we remember the vision of our prophet Joseph Smith. The first vision and the revelation it contained opened up this last dispensation and also set upon the road the course for the Restoration. When the young Prophet had gone to the forest to pray, his first vision came to him gloriously, he said: "I  was enwrapped in a Heavenly vision and saw two glorious personages who exactly resembled each other in features, and likeness surrounded with a brilliant light which eclipsed the sun at noon-day. They told me that all religious denominations believed in incorrect doctrines, and that none of them was acknowledged of God as his church and kingdom. And I was expressly commanded to "go not after them," at the same time receiving a promise that the fullness of the gospel should at some future time be made known unto me".
Thus in the very beginning of the Restoration the young Joseph who would latter go on to become the Prophet, saw in vision saw two personages, he saw God and Christ as two persons, separate and apart. I ask you brothers and sisters was the Prophet seeing double and under a delusion concerning such a vital matter, his first great spiritual experience? Was God giving him a deceptive vision? We will not and we can not ever give credence to either of those positions. No! we state here today in full vigour of our belief that the Prophet actually saw two persons. Both spoke to him, this experience was so convincing that the Prophet wrote that though he were slain he could never deny it. He was slain, and thus with his blood sealed his testimony to the truth of that sublime experience. Let nothing therefore shake your faith in this anymore than it did Josephs. After the many testimonies which have been given of Christ, "this is the testimony, last of all, which we give of him, that he lives; for we saw him, even on the right hand of God; and we heard the voice bearing record that he is the Only Begotten of the Father" (Doctrine and Covenants 76:3)
In conclusion I wish to remind you of the last days of our Saviour, just before He went out from the "last supper" into the Garden of Gethsemane, the Lord offered up a wonderful prayer. More than once in that petition He prayed for His disciples and for all those who might believe their message that they might be "one". He used these very explicit words, "Holy Father, keep through thine own name those whom thou hast given me, that they may be one, as we are" (John 17: 11). It is obvious to us that Christ did not pray that those present with Him, and the hundreds of thousands who would believe on their testimony, might become one great big man, one person. They were to be one even as He and His Father were one, or, to transpose the thought, God and Christ are one in the same sense in which He wishes His followers to be one. It is said of Christ that "he loved righteousness and hated iniquity". Since He and His Father desire always to do the right thing, the righteous thing, and since all truth is known to them both, they are eternally one in their choices and in their work. As we "grow in grace and in the knowledge of the truth" we come nearer the time when His prayer shall be answered and we shall be one, as He and His Father are one.
It is my fervent prayer that we his church, The Latter Day Church of Jesus Christ and we as Latter Day Mormons may live to understand the nature of the two great influences in the universe God the father and His Son Jesus Christ. I pray with all my heart that we as Latter day Mormons will strive to understand that relationship more than any another for without this understanding we can never, ever, fully understand the nature of the work that we are about. I pray that our Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of our Father God, be with you forever and for always. Amen.
Prophet Matthew P Gill

Saturday, March 7, 2015

Sermon: Christ Like Knowledge can Change Us

My brothers and sisters it is an honour and pleasure to be able to address you for the first time in my capacity as the presiding bishop of the church. From the Sixth Lecture of Faith we read "For a man to lay down his all, his character and reputation, his honour and applause, his good name among men, his houses, his lands, his brothers and sisters, his wife and children, and even his own life also, counting all things but filth and dross for the Excellency of the knowledge of Jesus Christ, requires more than mere belief, or supposition that he is doing the will of God, but actual knowledge: realizing, that when these sufferings are ended he will enter into eternal rest: and be a partaker of the glory of God." Then we read from the Fifth Lecture of Faith we read "the Spirit of the Father: which Spirit is shed forth upon all who believe on his name and keep his commandments: and all those who keep his commandments shall grow up from grace to grace, and become heirs with Jesus Christ; possessing the same mind, being transformed into the same image or likeness, even the express image of him who fills all in all: being filled with the fullness of his glory, and become one in him, even as the Father, Son and Holy Spirit are one."
As our knowledge of Jesus Christ grows our desires change from materialistic dreams, into a passion for feeling the spirit in our lives, with a hunger to partake of God's glory. As we keep his commandments and grow, we understand his grace and partake of His Atonement, we find our selfishness changes and our hearts are opened to our fellow men. As I think about those changes my mind is drawn to The Book of Mormon. The account of Alma the Younger and the sons of King Mosiah, in The Book of Mosiah, chapter 11, from verse 112-125 we can read their account, from there experience they received knowledge about the true nature of their Saviour. They started to change there sights onto heavenly goals. Later we learn about the sons of King Mosiah with their newly found knowledge and faith were so touched that they had changed there whole hearts and now loved even their enemies the Lamanites. in Chapter Twelve verse 5 we read:- "Now they were desirous that salvation should be declared to every creature, for they could not bear that any human soul should perish; Yea, even the very thoughts that any soul should endure endless torment, did cause them to quake and tremble. And thus did the Spirit of the Lord work upon them, for they were the very vilest of sinners."
I pray that as we grow in spirit that we will be blessed to have such a knowledge as these men did of our Saviour. That we may have that same deep desire to care about everyone regardless of who they are or what they have done. That we may love thy brother as thy self. It is my fervent desire that we develop true Christ like attributes and become one with our Savior and care about everyone. Let us not forget that as members of The Latter Day Church of Jesus Christ that we have the truth and we have an obligation to know the truth for ourselves and to share it with all men, no matter their station in life. It has been my pleasure to give this, my first address for the church and I hope that my words have touched your sprits in small way. May God bless you all. Amen.
Presiding Bishop Elder Paul Barber

Saturday, February 28, 2015

Official Statement: Baptism of Sister Annette Barber

Dear brothers and sisters. What a wonderful day we have been blessed with today. It is our pleasure to inform you all that today the 28th of February 2015 this afternoon Sister Annette Barber took the first step on her road to fellowship with Christ by being baptised. Sister Annette was baptised by the Prophet Matthew Gill in what was a truly wonderful and spiritual moment, with sister Annette exclaiming that Angels were present. The baptism took place in a beautiful font loaned to us and situated in the garden of the prophet and his family, therefore allowing sister Annette Barber to be baptised by immersion. The spirit was in full abundance and all who participated felt the sprit work and for some those angles were truly part of the service. Following the baptism of Sister Annette she was bestowed the Holy Spirit and set apart as a member of the Latter Day Church of Jesus Christ and ordained a Priest in the Aaronic Priesthood by the priesthood of the church.
Today has been a wonderfully spiritual day, and a day that all who were present will not forget for a long time to come.

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Sermon: Everlasting to Everlasting

It is a pleasure to be able to speak to you today and for us to be here again on this Sabbath set aside for us by the Lord to worship. As members of The latter Day Church of Jesus Christ and followers of Christ we are always striving to live the gospel within our capacity to live it. As we walk along this path we call life we become aware that there are standards that our Father in heaven and Jesus Christ live by and so we in turn are expected, and required to live up to these standards, not just for a little but for all our time upon our journey. These standards given unto us by our Father in Heaven and through the Saviour Jesus Christ are based upon preciseness, and exactness to eternal principles, which do not, and will not change because our father is everlasting to everlasting and unchangeable and in turn his son who serves him and is of him is also the same. In this wonderful period of the revealed gospel, and with the rise in technological devices we are blessed in need for all these advances assist us in our work towards godhood.
A closer perspective is really at a micro level. Take for example the unit of length.(meter). Building a ship over 100 meter long. One meter error would not make a much of a difference. But it would if building the ships engines. The French originated the meter in the 1790s as one/ten-millionth of the distance from the equator to the north pole along a meridian through Paris.  It is realistically represented by the distance between two marks on an iron bar kept in Paris.  The International Bureau of Weights and Measures, created in 1875, upgraded the bar to one made of 90 percent platinum/10 percent iridium alloy. In 1960 the meter was redefined as 1,650,763.73 wavelengths of orange-red light, in a vacuum, produced by burning the element krypton (Kr-86).  More recently (1984), the Geneva Conference on Weights and Measures has defined the meter as the distance light travels, in a vacuum, in 1/299,792,458 seconds with time measured by a cesium-133 atomic clock which emits pulses of radiation at very rapid, regular intervals. None of the definitions changed the length of the meter, but merely allowed this length to be duplicated more precisely. Our English foot has not been so constant.  The U. S. Congress legalized the use of the metric system in 1866 on the basis that one meter is exactly equal to 39.37 inches.  In 1959 a number of English-speaking countries agreed that an inch is exactly equal to 2.54 centimetres so that the International foot is exactly equal to 0.3048 meters.  The United States retained the old 1866 equivalency and called it the U. S. Survey foot so that 1 U. S. Survey foot equals 1.000002 International feet.
So as we consider therefore the principles of the gospel. We will see that they do not change in any way. They are exact. God does not change, he is everlasting to everlasting. So is his church everlasting to everlasting doing all in his name. 
We read in the Book of Mormon the following:-
1  NOW it came to pass that after the end of Korihor, Alma having received tidings that the Zoramites were perverting the ways of the Lord, and that Zoram, who was their leader, was leading the hearts of the people to bow down to dumb idols, his heart again began to sicken because of the iniquity of the people.
2  For it was the cause of great sorrow to Alma to know of iniquity among his people; therefore his heart was exceedingly sorrowful because of the separation of the Zoramites from the Nephites.
Now the Zoramites had gathered themselves together in a land which they called Antionum, which was east of the land of Zarahemla, which lay nearly bordering upon the seashore, which was south of the land of Jershon, which also bordered upon the wilderness south, which wilderness was full of the Lamanites.
Now the Nephites greatly feared that the Zoramites would enter into a correspondence with the Lamanites, and that it would be the means of great loss on the part of the Nephites.
5 And now, as the preaching of the word had a great tendency to lead the people to do that which was just? yea, it had had more powerful effect upon the minds of the people than the sword, or anything else, which had happened unto them? therefore Alma thought it was expedient that they should try the virtue of the word of God.
6 Therefore he took Ammon, and Aaron, and Omner; and Himni he did leave in the church in Zarahemla; but the former three he took with him, and also Amulek and Zeezrom, who were at Melek; and he also took two of his sons.
7  Now the eldest of his sons he took not with him, and his name was Helaman; but the names of those whom he took with him were Shiblon and Corianton; and these are the names of those who went with him among the Zoramites, to preach unto them the word.
8 Now the Zoramites were dissenters from the Nephites; therefore they had had the word of God preached unto them.
9 But they had fallen into great errors, for they would not observe to keep the commandments of God, and his statutes, according to the law of Moses.
10 Neither would they observe the performances of the church, to continue in prayer and supplication to God daily, that they might not enter into temptation.
11 Yea, in fine, they did pervert the ways of the Lord in very many instances; therefore, for this cause, Alma and his brethren went into the land to preach the word unto them.
12 Now, when they had come into the land, behold, to their astonishment they found that the Zoramites had built synagogues, and that they did gather themselves together on one day of the week, which day they did call the day of the Lord; and they did worship after a manner which Alma and his brethren had never beheld; For they had a place built up in the centre of their synagogue, a place for standing, which was high above the head; and the top thereof would only admit one person.
13 Therefore, whosoever desired to worship must go forth and stand upon the top thereof, and stretch forth his hands towards heaven, and cry with a loud voice, saying: Holy, holy God; we believe that thou art God, and we believe that thou art holy, and that thou wast a spirit, and that thou art a spirit, and that thou wilt be a spirit forever. Holy God, we believe that thou hast separated us from our brethren; and we do not believe in the tradition of our brethren, which was handed down to them by the childishness of their fathers; but we believe that thou hast elected us to be thy holy children; and also thou hast made it known unto us that there shall be no Christ.
14 But thou art the same yesterday, today, and forever; and thou hast elected us that we shall be saved, whilst all around us are elected to be cast by thy wrath down to hell; for the which holiness, O God, we thank thee; and we also thank thee that thou hast elected us, that we may not be led away after the foolish traditions of our brethren, which doth bind them down to a belief of Christ, which doth lead their hearts to wander far from thee, our God.
(Book of Mormon)
We In The Latter Day Church of Jesus Christ are blessed above measure to have as the head of the Lord's church a living prophet Matthew Gill. He is sustained by our Father in heaven to lead us in the light, and truth being led always by the Lord who is unchangeable and so is his church. As we continue upon our journey in Christ and look at the things God asks of us we need to remember that what God asks us to live now he has asked of very generation and so I appeal to us al to live by the Lords command and to do what has asked. I leave you with these words and my testimony. Amen
Apostle Elder Peter C. Barber

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Official Statement: Baptism of Brother Paul Barber

Dear brothers and sisters. What a wonderful day we have been blessed with today. It is our pleasure to inform you all that after a spirit filled service this Sunday, the 15th of February 2015 in the early afternoon Brother Paul Barber took the first step on his road to fellowship with Christ by being baptised. Brother Paul was so filled with the spirit that he asked to be baptised following our sacrament meeting. The baptism took place in a stream not to far from our meeting place, although not ideal it served its purpose in allowing brother Paul to be baptised by immersion. The spirit was in abundance and all who participated felt overcome. Following the baptism of brother Paul the presiding Elders bestowed the Holy Spirit and set Paul apart as a member of the Latter Day Church of Jesus Christ.
Today truly has been a wonderfully spiritual day, a day that all who were part of the occasion will not forget for many years to come.

Sermon: Our Church Heritage

Joseph Smith junior’s first known autobiographical sketch states the idea that his birth,  was "of goodly parents, who spared no time to instruct me in the Christian religion." The year before his martyrdom, Joseph Smith spiritedly defended religious liberty for "any other denomination" and then became personal: "…love of liberty… was diffused into my soul by my grandfathers while they dandled me on their knees."  The Prophet’s paternal great-grandfather, Samuel Smith, gave considerable public service to his town and state legislature. He was characterized in his obituary as "a sincere friend  of his country, and a strenuous advocate for the doctrine of Christianity." His son Asael promoted this patriotic tradition as a soldier in the American Revolution, though then a father with five children aged eight and under. An enterprising farmer, Grandfather Asael Smith was prominent for years in several communities of Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Vermont. The Prophet’s memory of his grandfather is easily provable in its continuity, for Asael looked forward to the spread of liberty from the United States to the world. Political views merge with religious ones, since Asael believed literally that the second chapter of Daniel would be fulfilled as all the monarchical and ecclesiastical tyranny will be broken to pieces. It is no wonder then that on hearing of the Book of Mormon prior to his death in 1830, he said it was true, for he knew that something would turn up in his family  that would revolutionise the world. He never joined any permanent congregation although he did worship. In 1797 he joined the Universalist society in Tunbridge along side Jesse Smith and Joseph Smith senior.
In 1803 Asael wrote "We believe there is one God, whose nature is love, revealed in one Lord Jesus Christ, by one Holy Spirit of Grace, who will finally restore the whole family of mankind." Six years before the birth of the prophet Asael wrote to his wife and children starting with the phrase "My Dear Self's." The priceless original of this document (now housed in the LDS Church Historian’s Office) reveals the profound Christian piety of Asael. Asael wrote to his family "Do all to God in a serious manner—when you think of Him, speak of Him, pray to Him, or in any way make your addresses to His great Majesty be in good earnest. Trifle not with His name nor with His attributes, nor call Him to witness to anything but is absolute truth." True religion for him consisted not of empty ceremonies, but of personal goodness, it should be tested by the "two witnesses" of "the scriptures" and "sound reason.” Such a heritage of commitment does not die easily. Grandfather Asael spoke to the parents in his family one of whom was Joseph Smith Sr.
Once the known convictions of Asael Smith, Solomon Mack, and their wives are identified, they become significant in understanding Joseph Smith in two ways. First, the Prophet’s parents obviously possessed characteristics formed in the Smith and Mack homes. Second, the Prophet had some direct contact with his grandfathers, who (as he said) taught him to value the freedom that they had fought for. Most significantly, however, their achievements and ideals were clearly respected and taught to the young Joseph Smith by his own parents. Smith commented on accompanying them at the beginning of their westward trek. The parting scene was the grandmother’s "last admonition" to Lucy Mack Smith "to continue faithful in the service of God to the end of your days, that I may have the pleasure of embracing you in another and fairer world above."  No informed biographer can deny the sustained exposure of the young Prophet to profound ideals and rational religious commitment. The intelligent sincerity of Joseph Smith’s grandparents goes a long way toward proving his own. In doing so we have been left with a lasting heritage, a heritage that shone forth from our founding prophet and leader and had come don to us today in all his character and his teachings. Our church heritage is therefore linked with the smith family and is an intrinsic part of who we are as a people. I for one value our church heritage and what it stands for and i bare testimony of it here in this sermon. My brothers and sisters I encourage each and everyone of you to gain a firm grasp on the history of our great church and the heritage that it has left us, for without it we stand naked and exposed to the world, but with it we are enwrapped in the joy and commitment that has been handed us by God. Let us remember that we to will leave a lasting heritage to those that come after us, and let it be a good one, let it be one that rings true and sincere just as brother Joseph's rang true for us. Amen.
Apostle Elder Philip A. Gill

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