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Let Your Light Shine!

Once in awhile the spirit leads me to a verse of scripture that is sometimes mis-characterized in culture. This usually happens when we take a catchy part of a verse and leave the rest alone, and then we pass it along through the telephone game, and we all know how that ends. When we do this we lose context, and can even miss out on important messages from the Lord.

I have a close friend in the public eye who shares a gospel focused message and is often accused of priesthcraft, and of setting themselves up for a light. This frequently quoted and incomplete phrase comes from 2 Ne. 26: 29 which says:
He commandeth that there shall be no priestcrafts; for, behold, priestcrafts are that men preach and set themselves up for a light unto the world, that they may get gain and praise of the world; but they seek not the welfare of Zion.
It then becomes important when we think someone has set themselves up for a light to consider the next three points in the verse before casting judgement:

Are they doing it for gain? 
Learning whether someone is earning money for their efforts should be pretty easy to prove. But there is more to defining gain than the exchange of currency. 

It used to bother me when someone used their god-given gifts to receive monetary compensation. Money always has an ironic way of cheapening sincere acts of kindness. But I've come to see the problem is in the way we value money, not the way it is used.

Consider the talented musician who teaches piano and receives payment for their God-given gifts. Or the gift of being a teacher of science, or - let's face it, nearly all the professions in the world involve gifted people who receive compensation for it. There are even paid ecclesiastical positions, and commercial ventures by General church leaders, selling books for example (hardly a profitable venture in my experience). I do not consider any of these priestcraft. 

In our monetary system it is difficult to judge where the lines are between making a living or recuperating lost costs in some cases, and getting gain. I try to leave judgement out of it, at least until that obvious point when the person drives away in a red ferari from their efforts for example (not that there is anything inherently wrong with sweet cars).

Are they doing it for praise? 
Here it is important to understand that just because a person receives praise, doesn't mean they are seeking it. It can be hard to judge, but again, there becomes a point where it is obvious, and until then I'm inclined to just let the Lord be the judge of their praise seeking interests, and give them the benefit of the doubt that they are genuinely trying to do good. 

Are they seeking the welfare of Zion? 
With this last point I think it is usually self evident if the person seeks their own good verses the welfare of Zion, but we will never be a perfect judge of what is in the person's heart and if they are truly working toward the establishment of Zion. The Savior suggested that we would know by examining their fruits. A good tree brings forth good fruit. A bad tree - bad fruit. Bitter fountain, bitter water, etc. 

I feel it is good to ask questions and try to discern the motives of those who teach. While there are unquestionably those with impure motives, we should not be quick to assume anyone who teaches does it to set themselves up for a light unto the world. I know for myself there really are people who believe in the cause of Zion, and will do all in their power to help establish it. I believe they are among the Noble and Great ones described by Abraham (Abraham 3:22). 

The Savior taught that we are the light of the world and:  
A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid. Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven (Matthew 5:14-15).
Years ago I began intensely researching the gospel and found that documenting my research was a useful way to ask more questions and receive more doctrinal answers. Elder Bednar then conveniently came along with his famous address on using social media to "Sweep the earth with a flood". He said:
I exhort you to sweep the earth with messages filled with righteousness and truth—messages that are authentic, edifying, and praiseworthy—and literally to sweep the earth as with a flood. - Elder David A. Bednar. 
I prayerfully took his challenge to the Lord if I could share my research and thoughts with the world, and then this blog came to be. Only the Holy Spirit can convince others of my motives, but I can say that I don't monetize my blog; while I do gratefully receive praise on occasion I don't seek it; and lastly, I am a believer in the welfare of Zion. And for the record, I know the same to be true of my public figure friend. 

Even if I had no audience in the world, I often feel a divine smile of approval and even a tear of gratitude from my Loving Heavenly Father who recognizes my pure desire to receive and teach truth, and that is more than enough. 

Comments

  1. Thanks, Eric, for another spot-on blog post. I add my smiles and gratitude, too.

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    1. Thank you Eric for you support, research, and enlightenment. love to you and your family! :)

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  2. I am eternally greatful for your wonderful gifts Eric, I truly feel the spirit from your words. While some of fathers children behave like the Pharisees and Saducees, there are others on the other side of the world who pray for you both every night because our testimonies have been strengthened and our hearts opened. All six of us have received witness of our own, gained greater conviction, and deeper connection with Father and Christ. The fruits of your teachings have blessed us, our whanau and tupuna. It's a witness to me of Fathers grace and glory. We're here for you with love and prayers, as we say in New Zealand, Kia Kaha toku hoa, aroha nui xo

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    1. Thank you Katie. You make me want to learn New Zealand-ish.

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  3. I enjoyed your words and echo their truth, thank you for taking the time and energy to share!

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  4. Thankyou for your post! I love your advice on not judging others too quickly. I also have used the phrase, by there fruits you shall know them. It's getting easier to use this method today. Thx Cathie

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  5. thank you and your "friend" for all your efforts on behalf of the Lord and zion in sharing truth to the world even when many may disagree...i look forward to the day that "all truth shall be circumscribed into one great whole"

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  6. I think if you are asking for payment to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ, you are crossing a line, since Jesus has asked us to come to Him and receive milk and honey without price. It is hard to draw the line, since the gospel is not separate from daily experience. It helps to ask, do you value life more than money? Would you help someone even if they couldn't pay? I imagine Jesus ate and slept at people's houses during his ministry, and he may have relied on the support of the people to feed Him. But, if there were times when people chose not to feed or house Him, He still would have done His Father's work, meaning, receiving support wouldn't come between Him and the work His Father asked Him to do, even if that meant going without food and shelter some times. If a leper came to Him asking for healing, Jesus would not turn Him away if He couldn't offer food or shelter. But how could someone ask for help and not give what they had to support Jesus if they saw He was lacking?

    The greatest work we do is in our home, raising children. When we receive a child, we receive Jesus. We don't ask the child to pay us for our love. We love, feed, clothe, and sacrifice for our children because we love them more than what they could give to us.

    That type of love is what will build Zion, when we treat not only our own children with pure love, but when we see all people as receiving Jesus. When feeding and clothing each other is a matter of course. The day must come when money is no longer important, because life is what is important.

    Until then, how anyone makes it through the babylonian system, I do not know. I can't wait for the day when we don't need money anymore.

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    1. I look forward to that day too. Thanks for commenting!

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  7. Appreciate you so much Eric! I am grateful for your insights and teaching, for your love of truth and efforts to build Zion. You are doing much to give your time and talents to assist in the building of the kingdom. Many thanks!

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  8. So many people do not understand the definition of priestcrafts. One could even be preaching truth, but if the goal is to seek self-promotion, then it is priestcraft. Cult of personality is truly a real concept. Instead of seeking Christ, people are drawn to all of the grandeur of fandom. It seems that our entire culture is based on priestcrafts.

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    1. Interesting point about our entire culture being centered on priestcraft!

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  9. I have found that I have some God given talents and people will search me out to utilize these talents. I don't charge them. But as I assist them the word gets around how well I do on these endivers. Whatever I do it is God given and with his guidance I can succeed.

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    1. Thanks for sharing your gifts Nina! ...and for acknowledging their source!

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  10. Eric I have always appreciated your doctrinal insights and your sincere love of them. They have always uplifted me and caused me to ponder things I've never thought of. I feel the spirit when you write and when you speak on podcasts.
    It seems this is a precarious time for some other people I believe to be helping bring others to God/zion, yet they are getting excommunicated. I don't understand this but I know we are all in the Lords hands. My prayers are with you and hope you can continue in your blog. May Gods blessings be with you as you go forward in Christ.
    Anna Brown

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    1. Thank you Anna. While some excommunications are justified in heaven and on earth, I have the assurance that some are not, that those actions will be corrected one day, and that the Lord will use them to suit His righteous purposes. D&C 121: 36-37 are key. Nice to hear from you.

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  11. Thank you my brother in the gospel. This really helped me!

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    1. I'm glad this was useful to you Jacque! Best wishes to you!

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  12. I appreciate you so much and also Julie!! I know it's all about love and light!! I just keep praying that day will come when we are able to leave Babylon!! Praying harder and harder by the day!! Big hugs to you all from California (keep the righteous out here in your prayers, it's getting crazy and we are no able to move anywhere because of our business that blesses us daily, just keep us in your prayers) Anne

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  13. That was a very thoughtful post. As we serve missions many are surprised that we pay our own way. They just can't believe it. Those who require pay for their services and sermons usually cast us out. They become angry because we might take some of their flock. It is a very powerful message of dedication and commitment. The Lord is very wise. Thanks again you help our thought processes.

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  14. One Grateful DawnApril 17, 2019 at 7:31 PM

    It is mind blowing, and amazing and confusing and loving and light, but sometimes truth is not what and where I expected. It seems I am to rise from where I am and to be lifted to a more holier place. I am trembling and excited and finding truth in this obscure place. I suspect many people are like me, reading, listening and understanding, but rarely commenting. (Just trying to grow in attaining more light in Christ.) I take it all in, sort it out and change for the better. Thank you, Eric for flooding the earth with goodness.

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  15. I enjoy all of your posts, Eric. I also enjoy hearing from your friend. I miss the podcasts. It was my nightly ritual, until they lessened. I love to review and have been going on you tube and everywhere else to find the podcasts, but they have been removed, or show private video. The spirit is very strong with you and I feel it in your words and expressions. Don't allow people or Satan to hinder what you and your friend have to offer. There are many of us who will listen and wait to know more. Those who put down you or your friend, will have a judgment placed upon them for unrighteous judgment. There is nothing you can do to change that. Keep moving forward in the Spirit of Lord and you will be blessed. Life is hard now and will continue to be harder for all of us. We need to be open to that Spirit so that we can receive His light and continue to move forward doing His work and bringing Him His glory. We all work to that end. You are both in my prayers that you remain safe and continue to His work for all our good.

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