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: "...no 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

Saturday, February 7, 2015

Sermon: Choose The Latter Day Church

The main reason you should choose to worship and join with The Latter Day Church of Jesus Christ is because the work of the Church as restored by Joseph Smith in 1830 still lies undone and the work has need of willing hands.  Indeed it must be understood that Zion is yet to be redeemed in the eyes of the Lord.  We at the Latter Day Church of Jesus Christ testify that Jesus Christ restored His church to earth through the Prophet Joseph Smith in 1830, gracing it with the Saviour's pristine gospel, returning His original ordinances and authorising new Apostles and Prophets to proclaim the glad tidings of the gospel.  The Restoration of 1830 began with the revelation that scattered Israel would be gathered in and cleansed. The Lord even provided a book, written by an ancient remnant of native Americans of North America to facilitate that work. Translated by the gift and power of God, the Book of Mormon is one of the foremost witnesses to the Restoration.  Its appearance, coupled with marvellous manifestations of spiritual gifts similar to those endowing the apostolic church, attracted thousands to the restored church and to the Prophet Joseph Smith.
 
Today the Lord has seen fit to finally redeem Zion and also to call forth those that are willing to shine a light upon the truth and so he has called a new Prophet and Seer and has brought forth new scripture to help redeem Zion and his church. The Latter Day Church of Jesus Christ stands as the only true church of Christ upon the face of the earth and it is through the Lords anointed Prophet that he has given us direction and has set right what was once torn down and has made what was hidden once again to stand in the light of truth. So with this the Latter Day Church of Jesus Christ is established and has brought forth new scripture called the Book of Jeraneck which stands as a witness to Christ along with the Bible and the Book of Mormon and we are ready to serve the Lord Jesus Christ and the Father of us all even God and to bring the world his truth and light again the path of mankind even unto salvation.
 
Now The Latter Day Church of Jesus Christ welcome in fellowship those who wish to join with us from around the world to become members of The Latter Day Church of Jesus Christ and members of the Lord's Restored Church for this age. We welcome those to membership who are committed to leading Latter Day Mormon and Christian lives, who accept our Articles of Faith, the Lord Jesus Christ, and the teachings of the Prophet of Joseph Smith, Jr. and the leadership and moral guidance of the living Prophet in our day who has been called to stand in brother Josephs stead, Matthew P. Gill. All Members of The Latter Day Church of Jesus Christ agree to support the Latter Day Church of Jesus Christ financially by regular tithing and donations, according to one's conscience, and to support it spiritually by upholding it by prayer, sacrifice and to worship regularly with others who are joined in membership. As you learn more about the restored gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ, you will experience feelings of peace and comfort. Some of our members have expressed that they feel a familiarity with the truths they are being taught and feel that they are coming home. If you have a desire to follow Christ’s restored teachings and obey His commandments, you are encouraged to contact the church and the Prophet will introduce you to the basic principles of the restored gospel of Jesus Christ. Then, when you are ready, you can become a member of The Latter Day Church of Jesus Christ after you have been received in to the ordinance of baptism by immersion for the remission of sins. It is after baptism that hands will be placed upon your head and it is then that you will be confirmed as a member of the Church and a blessing will be placed upon you that you may receive the gift of the Holy Ghost (see Acts 8:18-20).
 
As a member of The Latter Day Church of Jesus Christ, you belong to a young but growing congregation of dedicated members. While at church you are taught the truths contained within the restored gospel of Jesus Christ, you will have many opportunities for service, have access to the living Priesthood and all its ordinances, and find fellowship with other Latter Day Mormons within the church, it is there that you have a Prophet and teachers who help to teach you and serve you. Another promise of membership is the promise to serve. Having callings extended or responsibilities within the church is a wonderful blessing and opportunity. When you serve, you will grow spiritually and temporally and you will experience the joy of following Jesus's example in service. As a member of the church you will form friendship and love with those you serve as you reach out to help others on the path to eternal life in the kingdom of the Father. As you serve within the church you will find that you will be strengthened on your journey that you started at baptism. There are many ways that you can serve in The Latter Day Church. You may be asked to teach a Sunday class, lead the congregational singing, organise social activities, coordinate food storage preparedness, or fulfil a variety of other responsibilities. In addition to whatever formal assignments you receive, you can often serve best by just being a friend to the members of the church congregation, as well as those not of our faith. We must remember that as members of The Latter Day Church of Jesus Christ we are blessed to be guided in our day just as the early saints in the 1830’s and 40’s by a living Prophet who receives ongoing revelation from God. We know that Gods plan is a plan of happiness and that if we are faithful, He will give us peace in this life and glorious blessings in the life to come. It is in these truths we find joy, and for these reasons we help one another on our journey.
 
If you are interested in joining with us please contact us via our contact page and we will do all we can to assist you on your path to the restored gospel.

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Sermon: Redeeming Zion

Let me first say that we the church are grateful beyond any measure for the very excellent work being done in the Church by everyone. We extend our high commendation to those who serve in this church. We feel that a foundation has been laid for great progress and development in the days, weeks and months to come. We foresee a day when the Church will be an ever present influence in the world. I would like to make my first address of 2015 one of great importance and one that follows with it great gravitas, for I wish to speak of the building of Zion in these last days. As we also know the Lord God is now in the process of gathering in the lost sheep of and laying upon them the obligation to build up his Latter Day Zion. This is something that the Lord has spoken to us about ever since he parted the veil again and helped to establish his kingdom again in glory upon the earth, it is not something that is just being spoken of or that has just this instant sprang to mind, it is something that we have been proclaiming now for sometime. By the mouth of an ancient prophet who lived 3,000 years ago, the Lord sent a message to us. The holy prophet spoke as he was moved upon by the Holy Ghost and he spoke these words: “This shall be written for the generation to come” it is sent to “the people which shall be gathered” to a people who “shall praise the Lord.” (Ps. 102:18.) We are that people, a people who once again receive revelation, a people to whom God has given a gain the fullness of his gospel. The message which has come to us is that the Lord will “have mercy upon Zion: for the time to favour her, yea, the set time, is come.” The message is that “when the Lord shall build up Zion, he shall appear in his glory.” (Ps. 102:13- 16.)

Zion has been established many times among men. From the days of Adam to the present time, whenever the Lord has had a people of his choosing, whenever there have been those who have hearkened unto his voice and kept his commandments, whenever his people have served him with full purpose of heart, there has been a Zion always and forever, for he has placed them in his protective care in a city that is for him and him alone to be worshiped. The Latter Day Church of Jesus Christ is in the process of a period of change and realignment where one of the basic doctrines of the Restoration is concerned. We were directed in the days of Joseph Smith to do one thing, a thing of such importance the prophet tried and tried again and again to do it, and that was the building up of Zion. Today we are counselled again and again in the revelations of the Lord to once again establish Zion and to turn away from the world entirely. Since the glories days of our beloved first Prophet Joseph Smith the keys of the building up of Zion and of the gathering of the ten lost tribes from the land of the north, we the church of God have been using what little means and strength we have to recover the remnant of that once favoured blessing, to establish once again Zion upon the earth. Some success has attended our labours; we have brought forth the Book of Jeraneck, we have established scriptures to be used in Gods kingdom, we have also established laws by which Zion shall be governed. Our message has gone to unto all the nations and many seeking the truth have come unto us for baptism and membership, we have sent word inviting them to come “to the house of the God of Jacob, and he will teach us his ways, and we will walk in his paths" fulfilling the words “out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the Lord” (Isa. 2:3.)

Now the Latter Day Church of Jesus Christ and its membership need to know now that we are sent to redeem Zion, that is our work, this is what we have been asked of God to do so let us play the part assigned us in the Lord’s eternal drama concerning his people, we ought not to struggle trying to determine, as did the New Testament saints in what part we should play in the building up of Zion for the building of Zion and the establishment of Zion in this latter day is set before us we know what it is we have been asked to do. We should all be aware that we are now living in the days before second coming of God, we know that we are living in the tribulation and that we are here not just to proclaim truth but to establish it in a tangible edifice and that edifice is Zion, Zion is to be touched, it is to be walked upon and to be seen now in our lives, not in some distance far of tomorrow but now and our work lies ahead of us. The Lord has spoken again and again on this subject and I have been reminded to proclaim again that If we do not rightly follow the word of God, we will face confusion and uncertainty and we will keep wondering if and when and how. But If on the other hand we correctly envision our proper role and know what should be done today, then we shall then be able to use our time, talents, and means to the best advantage in building up Zion and preparing the people for the second coming of the Son of Man.
 
My brothers and sisters let us not forget that we live in the age of restoration. Peter called it “the times of restitution,” meaning the period or time in the earth’s history when that which once was shall be restored in all its original glory and perfection, what better example of this do we need than this church and the fruits that it brings forth. have we not been shown that the church fell because of unrighteousness amongst the saints, have we not been shown that the Lord has had his hand in restoring what was once left abandoned to the wolves in sheep's clothing? Let us not forget that the things to be restored include “all things, which God hath spoken by the mouth of all his holy prophets since the world began.” (Acts 3:21.) And there are few things of which the prophets have spoken with more fervour and zeal than the building of Zion and the gathering of the Lords  favoured people. Many things have already been restored, and many things are yet to be restored. The Lords people have been gathered in some small part, but the greatest part of the gathering is ahead. The foundations of Zion have been laid in our hearts, but the promised City has yet to be built. We have done some of the things destined to be accomplished in this dispensation; we are now engaged in doing the very things reserved for our time; and there are many things ahead to be done not by our children and grandchildren but by us for we have been chosen as the ones who shall build Zion, we and we alone have been charged with this act, we can not keep kicking the can on down the street, the time has come when the Lord has put an end to this prevarication and asked us to sacrifice all, everything we have to establish Zion, I ask once again are we building the foundations of Zion are we living the principles of God? are we proclaiming that which God has asked or are we like those that dwell in the western desert and doing as we see fit for ourselves and only ourselves. This church has been asked to call everyone to establish and build Zion, and so we must and in doing so we must give all we have not just spiritually but also temporally as well holding nothing back, so that we may be redeemed as well as Zion. Amen
 
Prophet Matthew P Gill

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