During the journey to obey Jesus’ commandment to search and study Isaiah’s words (3Nep 23:1), we realized the prophet was addressing a specific collection of souls staggering through this world in darkness. We called them the souls of no light. When our studies turned to the other prophet’s writings, including John’s Gospel, we recognized John addressing the same souls of no light. This was no mere coincidence and was one of the KEYS to help us identify The Gospel of John as another witness of the Isaiah Story. (See our post which explains this discovery)
The scriptures tell us the earliest public effort of the Servant, who is the Son of God, will be to minister with tremendous compassion to these same souls who are lost in the darkness and cannot comprehend the tremendous LIGHT that is in their midst. There will be miracles, healings, signs and wonders, but for the most part, these souls will reject the Son of God; it’s one of the most poignant, distressing, and heartbreaking episodes of the Great and Marvelous Work (GMW). These are people who on the surface, believe they are using their agency to choose a moral life in their daily walk and they attempt to conform their lives to the cardinal virtues of a good Christian life. Just below the surface however, their lives are manipulated and controlled by stringent rules and precepts of men with requirements to conform their lives in every respect to the corporate church mandates placed upon them, including a business dress code in order to worship God and participate in the activities of their priesthood.
Members must be unquestioningly obedient to a hierarchy of male authority from the local level to the general level. These stipulations are reinforced regularly by an interview of worthiness to receive and hold a temple recommend which allows them to participate in the activities of temple worship. Having an original thought or questioning anything from the carefully correlated program of the church is considered inappropriate and apostate; consequently, any soul who walks to the beat of their own drum, lives under constant threat of expulsion and loss of their Mormon exaltation if they step out of authorized bounds. The life of an active participating Mormon is debilitated by guilt because they worry overmuch about their worthiness and whether they measure up to all that’s required of them. They readily accept a level of overt influence in their lives that most other sensible people would never tolerate. Most active Mormons hold two to three assignments known as “callings” to serve in various capacities which consumes their free time. They draw breath and exhale as though they are alive, but in reality, they’ve become past feeling as the system of religion they adhere to has induced them to be more of a reactionary machine than a cognitive and compassionate person who looks to God to guide their life.
We have discussed the Mormons often because they are the central focus of the first segment of the GMW. If we’re to understand how the “O Jerusalem” Mormons will dismiss and reject the “great light” of the Son of God in their midst, just as the Jews rejected Jesus, then we must understand the chains with which these souls of no light are bound. Due to our collective experience within the church, we can describe Satan’s chains to you with an insider’s view of honesty if you’re a Mormon who has awakened to the life of abject limitations and control the church holds over you. For readers who are not from a Mormon background, the fact that otherwise intelligent people would allow themselves to be oppressed in this manner might seem absurd or even ludicrous to you. Be that as it may, our own experience within the corporate church lends itself to seeing things as they really are, and as they really will be.
Let us outline more of the issues as we see them so you’ll understand the darkness in which these souls live their mortal lives. Members are required to sustain the leading authorities of the church as prophets, seers, and revelators notwithstanding these men never display any of the gifts of such offices. Mormons claim to be the embodiment of Zion, yet they don’t actually care for the poor. Members are counseled not to give financial assistance to the homeless persons petitioning for help around Temple Square in Salt Lake City. The scriptures inform us that in the real Zion they had all things in common; does anyone see the hypocrisy here? Rather than minister to the needs of the poor in the church and community, the Mormon Church is more interested in spending billions of dollars on exclusive shopping malls and high-rise housing for the wealthy. Members are required to donate 10% of their gross income as tithing as well as other offerings to the church to be considered as members in good standing. Temple going members must covenant to give their time, talents, and all that they possess to the church as part of their guarantee of eternal life. Members are only encouraged to study the scriptures an allotted 15 minutes per day and sternly warned to leave the mysteries alone. Therefore, there is little desire in the people’s hearts to search for truth and they are indifferent and have lost their passion towards the scriptures. Truth within scripture is supplanted by other correlated church publications such as “Preach My Gospel.” In the Mormon Church there is greater emphasis placed on their health code known as “The Word of Wisdom,” rather than the weightier matters of loving God and your fellow man. The chains with which these souls of no light are bound down are heavy and nearly immovable. Those chains are welded even more tightly around many in the most senior leadership positions who serve in Stake, Area, and General Authority callings when those persons and their spouses receive the so-called “second anointing” from an apostle or member of the First Presidency who seals promises upon them and guarantees eternal exaltation, as though a mere mortal man could make such promises!
Anyone, who has met an active member of the church, has been faced with this question, “Are you a member of the church?” Depending on your answer, you’re often judged as either someone undesirable to associate with or you might become a “project” whom they will try to convert. If you are a member and answer that question in the affirmative, then you’re soon cross-examined as to what callings you hold in the church and another level of judgment takes place as the two parties jockey for superiority and preeminence based on your experience and positions in the church. A similar type of thing occurs between members as they judge one another’s righteousness based on a checklist of accomplishments in their families that include missionary service and temple marriages. Loving others within this strangely contorted culture is conditional and centered on whether a person lives the “standards” of the church which means grooming, dress, attendance, obedience, and adherence to the Word of Wisdom. It’s all based on outward appearance and not the worth of the person’s inner soul. Service to others in the church is mandated by assignments passed around on clipboards at church rather than by love and concern. The church promotes itself as being family oriented and yet forbids inactive members or non-members from participating in family wedding ceremonies held in its temples which puts great strain on families. Tremendous pressure is applied to family members who are not in-line with temple attendance for fear their place in Mormon heaven will be forever vacant. Those who choose NOT to marry in the temple are judged as guilty of some moral lapse or grievous sin, and members of the LGBT community altogether are left behind including their children!
It’s disheartening to read these things and just imagine what it must be like for the millions of members of the Mormon Church who live under the oppressive weight of these burdensome social customs and belong to a church which places Jesus’ name prominently in its official title, “The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints,” but has next to nothing to do with Jesus’ doctrine. I’m reminded of a friend who carried a notebook to church every Sunday throughout the year 2009 so she could track each time she heard Jesus mentioned, compared with how often she heard Joseph Smith or any of the “brethren” quoted. She attended Sacrament meeting, Sunday school, and Relief Society. She also tracked these statistics at ward and stake conferences, regional conferences, and the two general conferences held that year. At the end of the year she tallied the results. To her dismay, in the instances she tracked, leaders of the church from Joseph Smith down to the present day were mentioned more than 90% of the time by speakers, teachers, and priesthood leaders, while Jesus was cited less than 10% of the time. My friend withdrew from active participation at the end of her experiment to pursue her own relationship with God and seek to know the Jesus of scripture.
But there is HOPE! And this paper is a message of HOPE for those living in this oppressive condition. When we are on the inside of the Mormon system, it looks glorious and beautiful and filled with light testifying of our ‘forever family’ and eternal exaltation. We’re told that “All is well in Zion” and our salvation is assured because we have received the signs and tokens to pass by the sentinels who stand guard at God’s throne. One of the BIGGEST ATTRACTIONS is that your children are accepted socially by the dominant culture of Utah and everyone pats you on the back as you glory in your group exaltation. The church defends its history and doctrine as systematic and without blemishes of any kind, and there is no reason to question anything when you are entrenched in the system. With the dawn of the internet however, things began to change drastically as many with valid questions had greater access to the truth, and as a result people today are leaving the church in droves, but sadly they do not know the Isaiah Story! If you’ve had the good fortune to notice the cracks in the façade of the church’s whitewashed exterior and dig into the walls of “untempered mortar,” you awaken and shamefully realize you actually had turned your back on God and His Son Jesus Christ as you fell victim to the system of rules and arm of flesh which controlled your life. Many have awakened and continue to do so week after week, walking away from the religion of their fathers. The message of HOPE the scriptures bring is that this great and last work of the Son of God who is the Servant in our midst, will extend one final opportunity to these souls of no light to accept the GREAT LIGHT that He brings and shake off the awful chains with which they are bound.
Isaiah knows these souls and writes of them as the walking dead:
2 The people that walked in darkness have seen a great light: they that dwell in the land of the shadow of death, upon them hath the light shined. (Isa 9:2)
The scriptures are realistic and Isaiah tells us that only 1/10 of the souls of no light will awaken and accept the GREAT LIGHT of the Son of God when He comes. The rest will reject Him and kill Him. Search the scriptures and you’ll discover the truth. This 1/10 who will be rescued from darkness are SO important to God that He condescends to come to earth and offer them LIGHT if they will but open their eyes and believe Him.
We will turn to the Gospel of John next to witness these events of the Isaiah Story clearly portrayed. Please remember John is writing about the Great and Marvelous Work using Jesus’ life and ministry as a type for the Isaiah Story. Read these things with all the KEYS we have provided and you’ll find you can see into the mystery of John’s Gospel.
4 In him was life; and the life was the light of men. (The Servant)
5 And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not.
6 ¶There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. (John the Beloved who will prepare the way!)
7 The same came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light, that all men through him might believe.
8 He was not that Light, but was sent to bear witness of that Light.
9 That was the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world. (Even the prisoners of no light have this spark of God in them when they come into the world. This will enable the 1/10 to awaken and believe.)
10 He was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not.
11 He came unto his own, and his own received him not.
12 But as many as received him, (the 1/10) to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name:
13 Which were born, (awakened) not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God. (John 1:4-13)
16 ¶For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
17 For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.
18 ¶He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.
19 And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.
20 For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved.
21 But he that doeth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God. (John 3:16-21)
24 Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life.
25 Verily, verily, I say unto you, The hour is coming, and now is, when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God: and they that hear shall live. (John 5:24-25)
36 But I have greater witness than that of John: for the works which the Father hath given me to finish, the same works that I do, bear witness of me, that the Father hath sent me.
37 And the Father himself, which hath sent me, hath borne witness of me. Ye have neither heard his voice at any time, nor seen his shape.
38 And ye have not his word abiding in you: for whom he hath sent, him ye believe not.
39 Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me.
40 And ye will not come to me, that ye might have life.
41 I receive not honour from men.
42 But I know you, that ye have not the love of God in you.
43 I am come in my Father’s name, and ye receive me not: if another shall come in his own name, him ye will receive.
44 How can ye believe, which receive honour one of another, and seek not the honour that cometh from God only? (John 5:36-44)
In the initial scenes of the GMW, the Son of God is here as the Servant to open the prison doors to allow as many prisoners as possible to come out of darkness and into the glorious LIGHT. For those who accept this invitation, the LIGHT will arrest their downward spiral toward oblivion and set their feet back on the staircase of Jacob’s ladder of eternal lives. For those who REJECT the great LIGHT, the prophets tell us they will suffer double in the furnace of affliction. We will close this paper by citing the prophet’s words with regard to opening the prison doors.
7 Bring my soul out of prison, that I may praise thy name: the righteous shall compass me about; for thou shalt deal bountifully with me. (Psm 142:7)
22 And they shall be gathered together, as prisoners are gathered in the pit, and shall be shut up in the prison, and after many days shall they be visited. (Isa 24:22)
6 I the Lord have called thee in righteousness, and will hold thine hand, and will keep thee, and give thee for a covenant of the people, for a light of the Gentiles; 7 To open the blind eyes, to bring out the prisoners from the prison, and them that sit in darkness out of the prison house.
16 And I will bring the blind by a way that they knew not; I will lead them in paths that they have not known: I will make darkness light before them, and crooked things straight. These things will I do unto them, and not forsake them.
22 But this is a people robbed and spoiled; they are all of them snared in holes, and they are hid in prison houses: they are for a prey, and none delivereth; for a spoil, and none saith, Restore. (Isa 42:6-7, 16, 22)
1 The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me; because the Lord hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek; he hath sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound; 2 To proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all that mourn; 3 To appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that he might be glorified. (Isa 61:1-3)
33 For the Lord heareth the poor, and despiseth not his prisoners. 34 Let the heaven and earth praise him, the seas, and every thing that moveth therein. 35 For God will save Zion, and will build the cities of Judah: that they may dwell there, and have it in possession. 36 The seed also of his servants shall inherit it: and they that love his name shall dwell therein. (Psm 69:33-36)
11 Let the sighing of the prisoner come before thee; according to the greatness of thy power preserve thou those that are appointed to die; (Psm 79:11)
19 For he hath looked down from the height of his sanctuary; from heaven did the Lord behold the earth; 20 To hear the groaning of the prisoner; to loose those that are appointed to death; 21 To declare the name of the Lord in Zion, and his praise in Jerusalem; 22 When the people are gathered together, and the kingdoms, to serve the Lord. (Psm 102:19-22)
11 As for thee also, by the blood of thy covenant I have sent forth thy prisoners out of the pit wherein is no water. 12 ¶Turn you to the strong hold, ye prisoners of hope: even to day do I declare that I will render double unto thee; (Zech 9:11-12)
6 And he said: It is a light thing that thou shouldst be my servant to raise up the tribes of Jacob, and to restore the preserved of Israel. I will also give thee for a light to the Gentiles, that thou mayest be my salvation unto the ends of the earth. 7 Thus saith the Lord, the Redeemer of Israel, his Holy One, to him whom man despiseth, to him whom the nations abhorreth, to servant of rulers: Kings shall see and arise, princes also shall worship, because of the Lord that is faithful. 8 Thus saith the Lord: In an acceptable time have I heard thee, O isles of the sea, and in a day of salvation have I helped thee; and I will preserve thee, and give thee my servant for a covenant of the people, to establish the earth, to cause to inherit the desolate heritages; 9 That thou mayest say to the prisoners: Go forth; to them that sit in darkness: Show yourselves. They shall feed in the ways, and their pastures shall be in all high places. 10 They shall not hunger nor thirst, neither shall the heat nor the sun smite them; for he that hath mercy on them shall lead them, even by the springs of water shall he guide them. 11 And I will make all my mountains a way, and my highways shall be exalted. (1Nep 21:6-11 or Isa 49:6-11)
These are some of the mysteries of the Isaiah Story that have been waiting in scripture for us to awaken and appreciate; preserved for us to understand now BEFORE the GMW begins.