Yesterday was a day filled with inspiration and revelation, received by the Holy Ghost through God's servant called to lead this Mission. As I mentioned yesterday, we had interviews and a training meeting with President Gulbrandsen. We learned plenty of new material. Actually, almost none of it was new, but it was presented in such a way that I have understood the plan of salvation in a way that I never have before. Everything that God has given us, physical and spiritual, gift, blessing, and commantment, has been extended to us with the purpose and end that we return to His presence and live in the Celestial Kingdom. More than just that, He desires more than we can possibly imagine our exaltation. That exaltation is the highest degree of glory that we can receive.
In Doctrine and Covenants, we learn that in the Celestial Kingdom, there are three degrees or glories, and for a man (or woman for that matter) to obtain the highest, he must enter into the new and everlasting covenant of marriage (which is the sealing ordinance given in the Temple). That was more or less paraphrased because I don't have an english copy of the scriptures in front of me right now. So, in order to obtain exaltation, we must receive the sealing ordinance as man and wife. Sounds simple enough. But not so.
That was the purpose and divine end since before the council in heaven. When we were present in the council in heaven, we listened to God explain that purpose and the way in which we could obtain it. We were explained that the road would not be easy; on the contrary it would be one of the most difficult things that we could choose. But we were promised that if we followed the path He set, we would obtain that most wonderful gift, eternal life, "which gift is the greatest of all the gifts of God" (D&C 14:7). Once the debate was over and those who opposed the plan had been exiled, according to their own agency and choice, creation began.
From the Bible and the Pearl of Great Price we read in three places the story of the creation and understand that God the Father created the world and all things that reside upon and around it through His Eternal and Almighty Son, Jesus Christ. To pronounce the creation complete, God created Man and Woman, with the end that through their differences, they could participate in the creation of life. Yet, while in the Garden of Eden, they were innocent and knew not the difference between good and evil. With the commandments given, and the consequence of breaking either being death, they lived for a time in the Garden, having everything given them, and yet at the same time having nothing. Because they could not know evil or bad, neither could they know righteousness or goodness.
Then came the tempter, through whose cunning words persuaded Eve, and through her, Adam, to partake of the forbidden fruit, thus disobeying the commandment of God. Keeping in mind that they both chose to partake--either one could have said no at any time--they wilfully broke a commandment of God, and knowing the consequence, and discovering their nakedness, they tried to hide. But God knew them and knew that, even though He loved them and would surely miss having them in His presence, He would have to expel them from His presence, for He has said "No unclean thing can dwell in the presence of God."
Thus, having chosen to disobey, they were cast from the eternal and loving presence of God; but not without help. After this Fall from immortality to mortality, Heavenly messangers were sent by God to teach them the plan of Salvation. They were taught that they would need to exercise faith unto repentance, be baptized by immersion, receive the gift of the Holy Ghost, and endure to the end faithful to the commandments of God if they were to hope to enter into the presence of their Loving Father again. They were also taught the consequences for disobedience to this plan, and the way through which one can be forgiven.
The plan they were taught is the Gospel, the Good News of Christ. In their fallen state, Man could not ever enter into the God's presence, for "No unclean thing can enter into the Kingdom of God." They were also explained that "the natural man is an enemy to God and has been from the fall of Adam..." The natural man was described as sensual and devilish, full of all kinds of evil, and they were told that only by putting off the natural man could they become saints, or holy, and pure enough to enter into God's Kingdom.
But in and of themselves, they did not have the power to overcome the punishment of their own sins. The eternal law of Justice demands payment for all debts, and no matter how much a man tries not to, he will sin and cannot erase the stain of that sin. Thus it was necessary that a Savior be prepared, a Redeemer, a Perfect Man, one who could resist all temptation and be an example unto all. Chosen before the foundation of the world, Jesus Christ came to earth to atone for the sins of mankind. Suffering an agony that no human mind can even conceive, so much so that he bled from every pore and plead with God that if it were possible he could be spared this pain, nevertheless, he fulfilled His work. As Mormon tells us, quoting the words of Christ himself: "Behold I have given unto you my gospel, and this is the gospel which I have given unto you—that I came into the world to do the will of my Father, because my Father sent me. And my Father sent me that I might be lifted up upon the cross; and after that I had been lifted up upon the cross, that I might draw all men unto me, that as I have been lifted up by men even so should men be lifted up by the Father, to stand before me, to be judged of their works, whether they be good or whether they be evil—And for this cause have I been lifted up; therefore, according to the power of the Father I will draw all men unto me, that they may be judged according to their works" (3 Nephi 27:13-15).
Therefore, we are left to choose our path, but the consequence that we must understand is that whatever disobedience that we perform, it makes us unclean and unworthy to return to live with God. That unworthiness also prevents us from ever living with our families again. We are taught by modern revelation that only in the Celestial Kingdom can we live with God eternally and together with our families. Thus, disobedience prohibits us entry and damns us, or stops us, from ever seeing Gods face or those of our loved ones again, for the rest of eternity. ...That's a long time.
But Christ continues: "And it shall come to pass, that whoso repenteth and is baptized in my name shall be filled; and if he endureth to the end, behold, him will I hold guiltless before my Father at that day when I shall stand to judge the world. And he that endureth not unto the end, the same is he that is also hewn down and cast into the fire, from whence they can no more return, because of the justice of the Father. And no unclean thing can enter into his kingdom; therefore nothing entereth into his rest save it be those who have washed their garments in my blood, because of their faith, and the repentance of all their sins, and their faithfulness unto the end. Now this is the commandment: Repent, all ye ends of the earth, and come unto me and be baptized in my name, that ye may be sanctified by the reception of the Holy Ghost, that ye may stand spotless before me at the last day" (3 Nephi 27:16-17, 19-20).
When we stand in judgement before Christ after the resurrection, we will see the face of Our Father in Heaven. We will know exactly the condition of our guilt or innocence. We will look wildly for one who can intercede for us, but none shall step forward... Except One. If we have followed the prescribed path--faith in Jesus Christ and his Atonement, complete repentance of all sins, baptism by immersion by someone who holds the authority to do so, receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost by the laying on of hands by the same authority, and our failthfulness and endurance until the utter end of our lives--Christ shall intercede and before the Father testify that He has already paid the price and punishment for our wrongdoing. Then we shall hear the words, "Well done, thou good and faithful servant...enter thou into the joy of thy Lord" (Matthew 25:21). Then we will enter into the Kingdom of God and be reunited with all those loved ones who have also met those requirements.
On the other hand, for all of us who have not followed the straight and narrow path taught by Christ, we shall also appear before Christ, and we shall see the face of our Father. We are taught that "Nothing will surprise us more than when we get to heaven and see the Father and realize how well we know Him and how familiar His face is to us" (Ezra Taft Benson, not sure when, look it up on internet). So, to see that face, so familiar, so full of love, we will be devastated to know, also knowing our guilt before Him, that we will never again for all eternity see that face. We will also never again see the faces of our loved ones and feel their love, for only within the bounds of the Celestial Kingdom of God can families live together forever. How utterly sad, depressed, and tormented will we be in that day if we have not followed the ways of God.
That is what was explained to us before coming to this earth. It is that plan, that reality, that blessing or doom that we claimed to understand when we accepted God's plan and chose to come to earth. Those who rejected this plan before the creation met an early damnation by their own choice. But in the justice and the mercy of God, we were presented and knew His plan and in the hopes and desires to prove ourselves, we accepted the challenge to come into this life.
For all those who never in this life heard of this marvelous and merciful plan, God has, in his love and mercy, provided a time and place in which they can hear the plan, accept it, and receive the ordinances necessary for salvation and exaltation. The time is now, and through the milenial reign of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. The place is the Holy Temple. We have been called and chosen to come forth in this day, to be in this family, and to have these callings which we now hold because God knew and planned before the foundation of the Earth exactly that path. He knew our abilities, and because of that, he reserved us for now.
I feel blessed to be a son to you Ron and Sharon Dewsnup, and brother to Sarah, Megan, and Joseph; to be connected through holy sealing marriage of my sisters to Brandon and Marvin; and to witness and participate in the furthering and advancement of the next generation, more prepared than my own, which up to now includes our beloved Anika, Zayne, and Royce. How grateful I am to be at this time one of the Lord's chosen messangers to take this Gospel, this Good News, to all the world: That Christ lives, and that through Him and the Mercy and Grace of God we can become clean and pure--prepared to face the judgment and enter into our Father's presence, enjoying eternally one another's presence as well.
I love you, each and every one of you. This is much longer than I thought it would be, but it is something that I felt I needed to share with you. This revelation that I have received through the teachings of President Gulrandsen, you, My family, and the Holy Ghost, is helping me to become a better servant of the Lord. Thank you for being part of my family and for the love, encouragement, and Spirit that you share with me always. I thank you for your prayers and want you to know that I feel them. I want you to know that whatever happens, I am trying my best to work towards that end goal.
I love you. I pray for you. Know that God wants for each of us to obtain the same goal and that in His mercy and love, He is guiding and directing you.
As a forever family, I hope to be privileged enough to live with you forever and for always. As long as... eternity, My Family you'll be.
With all the love I can share,
p.s. this letter can be excluded from the blog, if it is still being updated.
Elder Matthew H. Dewsnup
Misión Buenos Aires Norte
Gral. Lavalle 1828
1646 San Fernando
Buenos Aires, Argentina