Follow Him Podcast: Episode 25, Part 1–D&C 64-66 with guest Dr. S. Michael Wilcox | Our Turtle House

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Have you ever struggled with forgiving others or forgiving yourself? Do you ever doubt if you can truly be forgiven? Join Hank Smith, John Bytheway, and Brother S. Michael Wilcox as they delve into Doctrine and Covenants 64 and discuss forgiveness. What did the Lord have to say about forgiveness and mercy to the early saints? Brother Wilcox teaches that a key to forgiving is to celebrate the good and forgive everything else--hatred can end only through love. Show notes: https://followhim.co/ Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/followhimpodcast Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/followhimpocast Enjoy this podcast? Download the Our Turtle House app and access thousands of hours of fun and inspirational firesides, talks, devotionals, and podcasts (including the follow Him podcast) that your whole family will enjoy! Get the app here: http://turtle.link/app ----- 0:00 Intro 01:00 Introduction of S. Michael Wilcox 02:42 Background of Doctrine and Covenants Sections 64-66 05:30 How the JST provided revelations that became our Doctrine and Covenants 10:19 How the First Vision applies to these sections 14:15 Dr. Wilcox loves the Joseph of the Grove 17:12 The Revealer is merciful and forgiving 21:09 Eastern religions deal with suffering--Christianity, Judaism, and Islam deals with sin 25:10 The Lord tells us to stop “seeking occasion” to find fault with Joseph 31:28 The Lord forgives and commands us to and to become Zion 37:48 Discussion of the Unforgiving Servant 46:43 The Church is full of “Pink People” 48:53 Not Everyone is to rush to Missouri 54:22 Discussion of the Laborers in the Vineyard 56:11 The Lord loves a “willing heart and willing mind” 59:45 Dante’s Two Rivers in the Divine Comedy 1:04:50 What the word judgment means in the scriptures #followhimpodcast #comefollowme #doctrineandcovenants #forgiveness

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[Music] welcome to follow him a weekly podcast dedicated to helping individuals and families with their come follow me study i'm hank smith and i'm john by the way we love to learn we love to laugh we want to learn and laugh with you as together we follow him hello to our favorite listeners this is Hank smith i am here with my splendid co-host john by the way hi john hi hank you can come to our website follow him dot co follow him dot co and you can get uh notes um uh you can get the transcription of the of the interview you can get sources all that you need there of course we'd love for you to rate and review the podcast that always Uh helps us and tell your friends about it um john um i'm i'm excited every week uh for follow him but this particular week i have a little bit of extra giddiness for who is joining us this week yeah me too we we've got with us brother s michael wilcox and he uh well i'll read his bio and then i'm gonna add I'm gonna add an addendum but brother s michael wilcox received his phd from the university of colorado and taught for many years at the lds institute of religion adjacent to the university of utah he has spoken to packed crowds at byu education week has hosted tours to the holy land and the church history sites he served in a variety of callings including his bishop and a counselor and a steak presidency He has written many articles and books including house of glory sunset 10 great souls i want to meet in heaven and finding hope he and his late wife laurie are the parents of five children and he's written so many others i love one called don't leap with the sheep i love the way brother wilcox just doesn't teach the scriptures but teaches what the scriptures teach and he has helped me so much i i loved Going to timeout for women not so i could talk so that i could listen to brother wilcox's talks and thank you for your influence on me personally and on so many and welcome to follow him today well thank you i'm really happy to be here i can't think of anyone who has had as much of an impact on my own teaching i guess the teenagers would say we're fangirling John uh yeah remember what i told you it took the father seven words to introduce the son so now it's gonna feel bad when it takes more than seven to introduce me it took us a little bit more yeah i prefer here's johnny for me that's there we go all right well um let's jump into our uh our week's lesson Uh brother wilcox we're studying sections 64 through 66 of the doctrine covenants they're all received in september and october of 1831. joseph smith and many other missionaries have returned from a long journey to missouri uh let's back up as far as you want to kind of give the the background uh to what's been happening to joseph smith and his contemporaries that leads up to This uh september 11th uh section section 64. well they've been i mean there's not a tremendous amount of historical background that i think you need i i want to we'll do a little bit but then i want to go way back as another historical thing for for verse one in particular uh the zi id of zion is the dominant feature all through this period church history uh they want to Build zion i'm sure in your previous ones they've talked about that joseph has been out to missouri for the first time it's a rather shock to his cultural system the missourians are not quite like boston or new england or even kirtland and so it is a bit of a shock and they walked ezra booth is mentioned in section 64. a little kind of a sidelight about that That i get a kick out probably because i was raised on a ranch the idea of walking all that way you know if you're in england you're going to take a stroll with wordsworth great but this is america in america we ride horses and ezra booth in particular was not too happy with the fact that he had to walk now they probably walked so they could preach the gospel but he's a little bit peeved and he's going To part of the background of seeking occasion against joseph is maybe for something as simple and inconsequential as having to walk instead of riding a horse so that he's back in kirtland now after the missouri trip they've dedicated the land they've dedicated the temple uh they're they're back in kirtland he's going to Pick up re-translation of the bible that's that's basically section 64. you know 66 we're going to be introduced to william mcclellan who is uh going to be one of the early 12 apostles he's not going to have a long history in the church he'll become disaffected in missouri and uh wander around for a while and never never return so but there are some Things that are said to him also that's that's the immediate context of it i think there's a broader context we can look at when we start into verse 1. let me explain what these verses mean and this is joseph smith saying i'm going to correct the bible now it's it's not enough that he is going to say by the way i'm going to give you additional scripture i'm going to go to The one you've already got and i'm going to amend it and change it it's a tremendous thing but i think the most important element of the re-translation of the bible that he'll work on for for a number of years is that it will become the catalyst for other revelation like section 76 the most important example of that where we are taught in that in our own relevancy for our own lives that the Scriptures are one of the major catalysts for personal or private revelation and that's what's going to happen in joseph smith's life with the he and sidney rigdon going through this but for me it is not so much some of the changes that he makes or clarifications that he adds you know the pearl great price book of moses is the beginning of that and then That is tremendous it is just the audacity of this farm boy having the the desire you know the uh yeah i don't know any other better word than audacity to say um let me fix this for you right uh let me tell you what jesus and paul really meant so okay yeah we had uh dr garrett dirk mocked here and he said there he basically said there is no historian Uh who takes joseph smith seriously who would say he didn't believe he was a prophet yeah he he to have the audacity like you're talking about he believed in his calling yeah and he had audacity to do a lot of other things too yeah but this is certainly one and he's a kid we keep we keep forgetting that i mean yeah early 20s and some of the guys that he's got surrounding him are a lot more educated Than he is and i just think what how interesting for them to be teachers and and and store owners and things to come around joseph and then wait where are you from and and then to accept him as a prophet i love i love what must have taken for them to do that yeah there is a lot of humility in some of them mcclellan will be one yeah who never quite gets to the point brigham young gets two or he bc kimball Gets to yeah um and a lot of times those who had the earliest the most trouble with joseph in the early days were those who thought they they knew more you know pride is a very difficult thing to deal with um there is pride in wealth i think pride in learning is a more dangerous one if i had to pick what's the most dangerous pride ironically maybe for Some it would be pride in goodness that we call self-righteousness so probably easier to get rid of pride of wealth or pride of learning but pride in goodness can be a real real challenge and some of the early uh men will will face that they will face that yeah thanks for that that was that was very helpful i i think as latter-day saints we might Not quite understand the relationship between the restoration and the joseph smith translation we kind of keep them separated like they're two separate projects but they really are woven together i i was thinking of jesus in the sermon on the mount and his audaciousness and saying you've heard it said of old time but i say right yeah he's correcting moses The people he's correcting who is this you know and then to have it at the end say he taught with authority and not as the scribes and then to have the jst he taught with authority from god and not with authority from the scribes i and audacious is the word that uh that i've seen used for jesus's sermon on the mount and i hadn't thought yeah this is here's joseph smith saying let me fix That and you know i could have rendered that a little plainer let me say it this way but a process that later on yeah yeah let's get into section 64. what are some of the things that we see here that are um that stand out to you let me give you just this since we started with a little bit historical background i would go all the way back To the first vision if you asked somebody what is the very first command counsel suggestion whatever word you want to use of the restoration and who gave it and it's a two word command hear him given in the sacred grove by the father himself and so i think it is i think it is that's such an important word and it's all through the doctrine and Covenants you see many many sec the whole doctrine of covenants begins with hearken hear listen so here it is in verse one behold thus saith the lord your god unto you o ye elders of my church hearken ye and hear and receive my will concerning you just as a side thought you know you hear with your ears and he didn't say read i'm just doing this As a suggestion to people if they want to maybe do something very easy to get a little more out of their study it is to take that maybe a little more literally normally we read and we engage our eyes on our mind but when you hear you're engaging your ear now i know i'm putting a little more into this Probably there but i sometimes say to students scriptures originally were meant to be oral to be read out loud to be heard you listened to it and i say the tongue and the ear knows things that the eye and the mind doesn't know so when i read the doctrine covenants or any scripture i try in as much as i can to read it out loud or even in a whisper i like to Hear it i like to hear the lord's words sounding in my ear the tongue will put tone in that the eyes don't see and tone in scriptures is a very important thing so i i love the idea of hear and actually hearing engaging eyes mind tongue ear i'm much more likely to pick up little nuances that i might not get now if i go back to the sacred grove What was the context of that first hear him and that context reason i bring that up is that it fits section 64 so perfectly because section 64 among other things but at least it's initial thing and it's i think most important thing has to do with forgiveness so what is it that that 14 year old boy wanted in the sacred grove that morning when he first Heard the father say hear him give the initial commander counsel of the restoration we have to go to the 1832 and the 1835 accounts which i wish we had canonized right alongside the 1838 the 1838 is the most literally perfect but the 1832 and the 1835 tell us joseph wanted mercy he said i i felt convicted of my sins i mourned for my sins now this is new england this is Calvinistic territory this is uh you know guilt on people worse than latter-day saints put on themselves and joseph wants forgiveness and mercy the reason he wants to know which church to join is so he can know how to be saved know how to get mercy now if you put that into context i love the boy in the grove more than the man of nauvoo i just will tell you It's the boy bewildered in the grove wanting that strikes me so deeply and he's praying and here comes the father and what does he say joseph remember what does joseph want forgiveness joseph this is my beloved son hear him and one of the very first words jesus says to joseph joseph my son thy sins are forgiven me i go to the sacred grove in my mind Every day of my life and offer that same prayer and all of us do in a sense and every day of my life the restoration begins anew for me and all of us when the father again comes into my soul and my mind and says michael this is my beloved son hear him and what do we hear jesus say to us michael my son john my son hank My son thy sins are forgiven thee that is the greatest hear him of all hear hymns and we get it over and over again the doctrine covenants and section 64 it's like he's saying remember what i taught you clear back in 1820 spring let me teach it here and i'm going to broaden it and widen it because i want you to do that with other other people this is this is my will concerning you So that's the great hear hymn that i really love about this section and and how it begins because we all need it and we need it every day so i can go to the doctrine covenants and learn doctrine and covenants i can learn the ideas behind it ordinances i can look at history but what i really want to pull out of every section is the voice behind The words i want to know the revealer and in the doctrine and covenants is a book about forgiveness uh i call it the forgiving book of the doctrine and covenants everybody's getting forgiven all the time in this book yeah constantly they're being forgiven and section 64 is what we do and so he starts out verse two verily i say unto you i will that ye Should overcome the world now notice what we're learning about the revealer it's it's jesus and the father i want to find in these sections i want you to overcome the world i say i want to overcome it too lord i will i will have compassion upon you i wish a compassionate god there are those among you who have sinned and then look at that next word it's such a lovely word we're going to see it again But verily i say unto you truly i say unto you this once now it's not that he's forgiving just once it's it's once again okay that's the idea i'm going to tell you again i've been telling you under if you underlined every time i say i don't for i don't condemn you and i forgive you the doctrine of covenants you're going to see a lot of this theme I'm telling you once again for mine own glory what is his glory his glory is his forgiving heart and for the salvation of your souls i have forgiven you your sins i will be merciful unto you notice that i will have compassion i have forgiven i will be merciful those are the key ideas in those first verses i have given you the kingdom and the keys of the mysteries of the kingdom shall not be taken from my servant Joseph smith jr i mean poor joseph you know he was always the he's always on the receiving end of criticism and they're going to criticize him here they haven't criticized him even simply as ezra booth saying i want to ride my horse to missouri okay so there is some criticism this is one of the finest places i know of to to use as an answer to those who want to Go back in church history and find problems with joseph smith notice what he says in verse 6 there are those who have great words for our modern world sought occasion against him without cause now i like the without cause because the very next verse word verse seven says nevertheless he is sinned okay sinned you sought it without cause i'll give You cause he has sinned and then what's the next word what but now i already saw that but for everybody else okay he's going to give the example i forgive you your sins i'll admit joseph's not the most perfect he's made mistakes we all make mistakes he has sinned but truly verily i send you i the lord forgive Sins unto those who confess them before me they they admit i go to the father i tell him i've done something wrong and ask forgiveness sometimes i i i say what do you have to do to be forgiven of your sins and especially in the doctrine of covenants class i'm going to usually get a doctrinal answer to be forgiven of your sins you have to repent And i say that's a perfectly good doctrinal answer but it's usually not the the answer that the revealer is going to give you certainly not in the doctrine covenants uh certainly not in the new testament he's going to give you two other things and we get them both right here number one what do i have to do to be forgiven our sins ask just ask it's that simple And the second thing be willing to forgive others uh you know what there there's a difference i don't mean to monopolize everything here you know um there there's a difference between the major problem humanity faces in eastern religions and in western religions so if you go to the eastern religions buddhism hinduism confucianism especially buddhism in religions out of India the problem with that religion has to solve the problem it has to solve is suffering that's the problem problem is human suffering that the answer to suffering is compassion compassion and selflessness that's the answer part of it is i can't hurt if i'm not thinking of me the problem in western religions Particularly christianity but also in islam and and to a certain extent in judaism uh but certainly in christianity the problem is sin not suffering it's sin and man's human weaknesses we don't like the word sin anymore we like weaknesses and mistakes and you know we got all our kinds of words for sin and what is the solution to sin Forgiveness mercy that's what jesus came that's his whole message forgiveness and mercy i will make you at one we use the word atonement we probably use the word atonement too much we're we're going to wear it out where it doesn't mean as much anymore originally it meant the conclusion that jesus was going to bring us to we're going to be at one with the father and each other and he's Concerned about us at being at one with each other and not just with god you'll see this in section 64. so sin is the problem forgiveness is the answer but unfortunately in the world we live in and in particularly you know i don't want to speak about any other's nation i can speak about my own um but particularly in america the answer we are giving now to A human weakness failings foibles insensitivities sin the the answer we give is outrage jesus tried not forgiveness not mercy not empathy not compassion but outrage now there are some things that are done that we need to be outraged about but the solution the savior is always giving is forgiveness understanding so he asked the question in the new testament uh he he refers To it my disciples in days of old there's that phrase again sought occasion that's isaiah's make a man an offender for a word sought occasion we live in a seeking occasion world unfortunately and so we asked a question i've been fascinated by the questions of jesus lately and i assume that they're all directed to me And one of them is why beholdest thou the mote in thy brother's eye so i answered jesus it's there and and jesus asked me a second question the second question he asks is i know it's there why are you looking at it and the idea is that there are probably a lot of the things that you can look at so what are they looking at Joseph are they looking at this marvelous boy this man this this human being who is going to give so much goodness and truth and beauty into the world but who's human like all of us they're seeking occasion they're looking for the motes in it and you can always find them and the lord is saying why are you doing that does it make you feel better about yourself to seek occasion at other People to look at their failings and faults and i have to you know i have these private conversations with god and and i have to say well lord to be honest yeah it does kind of make me feel better about myself to look at the motes in other people and to seek occasion against him or to make him an offender for a word another story in the new testament mary Comes to wash anoint jesus's feet before the last week of his life and how how is that act of devotion and sweetness uh reciprocated by everybody but jesus you know yeah uh you we read these words and some of them disciples apostles were moved with indignation there's a phrase i can attach to my world we live in a moved with indignation World and they murmured against her and so jesus asks a question why trouble ye her she's doing the best she can she did what she could she's done a good thing okay why are you troubling her and i just look at those all those phrases you know i love section 64. it really makes me have to dig into my own life am i a seeking occasion against other people Am i answering human weaknesses and failings and injustices with outrage or with forgiveness especially when they ask for it or apologize or admit it am i filled with indignation and murmuring against people i don't want to be part of the seeking occasion moat picking murmuring seeking indignation outraged world of my time and i have to stop myself because it's So easy to get there whether we're talking political arenas or my heavens we're having things about this and something as simple as wearing a mask or not wearing a mask so here is this revealer behind the revealed that we're starting to understand something i forgave you verses one through four would you please forgive Joseph that we can find problems in his life i have a rule when i look at people in history i can't always keep it as well as i can and it's not going to work for the hitlers and stalins of life but it's certainly going to work for the founding fathers or joseph smith so i have a i have a rule that i just try to apply you know i'm just like everybody i have My problems with applying my own rules shakespeare once said once wrote i would rather preach 20 sermons then live one sermon i preach so i feel the same but but i really try hard to keep this rule which is celebrate the good and forgive everything else because that's what i want people to do with me and since in the first few verses that's what he did with everybody he's going to do it later specifically with isaac Morley and edward partridge and like you said mike it's going to be tough with some characters from history right it is yeah i can't do it with stalin and hitler i i can't do it and there are some injustices and problems that rightly i suppose our sense of outrage would be would be there but not the way we have it you know the buddha said you can't end Hatred by hatred you can't end anger by anger you you can only end hatred by love that's that's the savior it's the spirit of section 64 here and so he says my disciples and days of old sought occasion against one another and forgave not one another in their hearts in their hearts that that you know forgiveness is heart especially deep hurts And sometimes i have to go to the to the lord and with 64 in my brain especially when he's going to say you ought to forgive one another he that forgiveth not his brother his trespass standeth condemned before the lord there remaineth in him the greater sin it's as as though i don't have enough sins now if i can't forgive i got another one i Gotta try and repent for okay so it's a challenge i go to the lord sometimes and say about some of the deep things lord i know what you want me to do i know i want to forgive i don't want to fill my soul with bitterness i don't want to the word he's going to use later on is perish we'll get to that in a second i don't want to perish because i can't forgive Because i'm obsessed with moat picking and murmuring and seeking occasion i have a hurt i'll i'll give you what i can i will forget i will not feed it i won't think about it because if i think about it it hurts and i get angry okay and you know he has always accepted that from me always has he accepted that from me Sometimes people say i can forgive but i won't forget i say i think that's backwards i think sometimes we say i can forget i may not be able to forgive but i can forget and i can stop seeking occasion and trying to feed it it's just uh it's just such a beautiful place i the lord will forgive whom i will forgive that that's how part of me says well how come You get to different standard than i do okay but of you it is required to forgive all men now part of me can say well that's because he he's a perfect judge he knows what he's doing i'm not sure that's how i want to read that 10th verse i think i want to read it as maybe lord how come you're forgiving all these people i don't think you should be Forgiving all these people um and i think that's the meaning of i the lord will forgive whom i will forgive if i want to forgive joseph i'll forgive him can you do that too i've forgiven him what's your problem and i think that's true today also when we look back in history and criticize him and pick out his faults i just can't hear the lord say i forgave him how come you what what's your problem i Forgive you i forgive him i forgive everybody you want to say in your hearts let god judge between me put it put it in his hands and reward thee according to thy deeds now we don't want him that could be a little bit well lord he's done me wrong so you take care of him i'm sure you can handle him better than i can i remember a time that i had a disagreement with a a brother In the church over what thoreau would call mosquito wings and nutshells that get on the railroad tracks of our lives you know what john taylor called baby toys um so i apologize but and i thought i had fixed it but i hadn't and found out that you know it other people had been told about the disagreement it got bigger and bigger And the little mole hill of our our mosquito wing became you know a great big 747 and i'm upset and i'm lying in bed at night and the voice of the lord come comes and says michael help your brother get the anger out of his heart and i said lord i already apologize he didn't accept it He blew it up he knows the scripture as well as i am you're supposed to keep these things to yourself not supposed to spread it all over the world half hour later i'm calm down michael help your brother get the anger out of his heart and you know after hearing that uh you know sometimes god has to tell me to do something more than once and after about the fifth or sixth time When i'm saying lord i already applaud the ball's in his car why don't you tell him to do that help your brother get the anger out of his heart so i got up wrote a letter and as soon as i picked that pen up and began to write the softness came and the poly and i could write a sincere deeply deeply consoling remove anger letter Which won me my brother back and so even though i say it's between me and thee the lord is going to always come back and say if are you leaving it to me okay this is what i want you to do we don't want contention we want we want you to stop seeking occasion and i'm the great example jesus is saying because you just keep Going through this doctrine and covenants you're going to see me forgiving everybody all the time then he does some specifics you know he mentions ezra booth and isaac morley who were missionary companions who were supposed to go out to missouri they sought evil in their hearts there's another phrase to add to seek occasion against one another They sought evil in there they're looking for problems in other people i withheld my spirit they condemned for evil the thing that was there was no evil nevertheless oh i love his neverthelesses and his butts lots of wonderful butts and neverthelesses nevertheless i have forgiven my servant isaac morley now we say what about ezra booth well ezra booth wasn't very uh very repentant he wasn't asking for It you know and he's going to be part of the cause of the mob little tar joseph smith uh added hiram uh shortly after this ghost edward partridge uh he is sinned in verse 17. um satan seeks to destroy his soul i would say how is satan seeking to destroy his soul i would say in the contest of 64 it is By getting him to seek occasion and seek evil and murmur and criticize and mote pick because if he can get us to do that he will destroy what they're trying to build what are they trying to build zion what is zion one heart one mind yeah i can't be one heart one mind if i'm seeking occasion and looking for evil in other people and murmuring and being filled within Nation and responding with every problem with outrage so he then forgives every product i've gone on long no no no this is wonderful i want to ask you um if you see a little bit of matthew 18 in this section so far with the parable of the unforgiving servant i remember it hit me when you said you know what do you do to seek forgiveness ask and in this parable those of our listeners who Who who can't remember it it's a it's a parable about a man who owes a lord a a debtor uh or someone who has given him a loan he owes him 10 000 talents which is a national national debt number yeah even the government only only the government owes more yeah yeah there's very few people that are in that much debt he says lord have patience with me and i will pay thee all the lord of the Servant is moved with compassion forgave him the debt now if you've stopped the parable right there it's a beautiful parable about the incredible forgiveness of god but the parable continues that this same servant went out found one of his fellow servants that owed him a hundred pence which is i think you know a small a small amount comparatively to the to 10 000 talents The the fellow servant falls down at his feet says the exact same thing have patience with me and i will pay the all he would not he cast him into prison uh the lord hears about it and he says you wicked servant and this is the part i wanted i wanted to bring up because you said it mike i forgave thee all that debt because you asked that's it you asked because you asked you asked And then he says in verse 33 should you not have had compassion on thy fellow servant even as i had pity on thee um to me there's a little bit of that language here in section 64. i was just wondering what you thought about that yeah it's the same idea you get uh in that parable that's a wonderful linkage in the parable there are two things you have to do to be forgiven You have to ask i forgave you why because you asked should it thou not have had compass another question should have thou not have had compassion on that fellow servant even as i had pity on thee and section 64 is saying the same thing i forgave you i forgive you first few verses joseph's got his problems like everybody and you're seeking occasion and you're not forgiving and you're not forgiving One another my disciples of old did it i know this is a hard thing i'm asking of you it's the big answer to western religion i came to give you i always point out to my students that the very first time he calls him wicked is not one he owes it's not when he can't pay it's not any of that the first time he calls him wicked is at the very end of the parable when he would not forgive when he went after the when After the other servant right yeah that's correct sometimes members of the church wonder if they've been forgiven that's a question a lot of people have especially if you've done you know what isaiah calls crimson sins have i been forgiven and i would just ask people two questions um have you asked for it yes sincerely asked for yes You've been forgiven second have you forgiven others is there anybody still in debt to you that you haven't removed the debt and if they say there's i can't think of anybody that i still owes me something and i say then you walk away you've been forgiven uh we do you know we do the steps of repentance And forgiveness and and we make it real complicated and and and there is some things and he is in section six four we didn't go to it he does say somebody's not going to repent and you may have to to to do something church wise for them either by he says commandment or revelation either you follow the handbook or or i'll inspire you how to handle the particular situation There are things that we do we have confession and and restitution we do all the ours but i'm not sure i ever felt like forgiving somebody or repenting due to a lesson on the the steps of repentance i think the gospel is simple and i think section 64 he's trying to make it simple as he does in that parable you want to be forgiven i do want to be Forgiven i want to hear him say michael my sins are forgiven me then ask just ask and forgive others and then you'll know in your heart if i've asked and i've forgiven others i'm forgiven now i still do because i still do what i can for to make up and i try to try not to do it again you know but that's what the 7 times 70 Is for because i'm going to do it again and again and again maybe i also love the parable because we worship what i call a 10 000 talent forgiving god he can forgive 10 thousand talent sins and he can forgive them easily you you sense that even in sixth section 66 we're not there but you know we may never get there Um but when he's talking to william mcclellan you know and he says you're clean but not all so he says you've got some problems and then then the very next verse it says uh but you're still called and i want you to go out and preach you know and by the way you've had a little trouble with adultery uh a desire you know a temptation you had Some problem with but but you're still called you're still going to teach i hate to call god a casual forgiver because sometimes we aren't casual forgivers and he does say there's a little justice here you know you might have to take the membership of somebody away you're not going to do it he says because you don't forgive him or because You don't have compassion but because i have to think of the relation the reputation of the church and and the other members we can't have woven wolves among the sheep you know he does have a little justice in there but um maybe casual forgiver isn't the right phrase we worship a delightful forgiver he likes to do it He delights in it ironically forgiveness blesses both the giver and the receiver we certainly see that within ourselves i think we see it with jesus also he he likes to do it it he it blesses him to forgive i had been listening to this uh section in my car and uh it was kind of fun just on that first page because i'm still using pages how Many times i heard forgive forgiveness and mercy and so i'm so glad we're talking about this and it reminds me of there's a there's a scripture that i've always i've always thought look alma and amulek are teaching the zoramites that god will have a son and so over and over they're quoting zenith and zeonoxy you've been forgiven because of that Because of his son and trying to tell them that their understanding of the uh the nature of the godhead is a little messed up and then i read alma 33 16 once and went oh don't miss that point because of the other point that's in here and i'm not looking at it but i think i've got it pretty close um thou art angry o lord this people because they will not Understand thy mercies which thou has bestowed upon them because of thy son and i thought whoa don't miss that it's not that they cannot but they will not understand and and as as a as a bishop what you just brought up people that that are worried and won't forgive themselves so by have i been forgiven and can i forgive myself and i've always just loved that verse they will not understand thy mercies and What a wonderful thing to take time and and study here beautiful yeah people in the church sometimes i know the the kind very well i can be one myself or what i call pink people pink people isaiah says though your sins be scarlet i'll make them white as snow though they be crimson i'll make them white as well and and i think sometimes we read it if you have scarlet sins or crimson sins With a lottery opinion on your part and a lot of atoning on my part i can make you a light shade of pink i'm gonna get you pink uh you're never gonna be quite as white as those snow people over there never did the big sins but uh i'll get you pink and i think that that is why i love the doctrine and covenants and how forgiving he is wow yeah i love the first vision I mean joseph didn't do any great sins but uh we worship a really forgiving god and he he tells sydney gilbert if i get back just a little bit maybe finish this off uh i'll i'll shoot us to another spot here in verse 18 and 19. now sydney you're going back out to zion so you that which he has seen and heard may be made known unto my disciples You tell him to go out and tell him what he just heard that they perish not and for this cause have i spoken these things i've told you all this about me about you i've given you these councils um so you don't perish you don't perish in bitterness and uh recrimination against one another in anger and seeking occasion and filled with indignation and outrage you will be merciful now again i know That's hard if i just jumped over to verse 32 verse 32 all things must come to pass in their time now that's a specific reference here to obtaining an inheritance in the land of zion in a church history perspective if we're just looking at what this means i'm going to apply it to myself but a lot of people wanted to go out to zion Right away in fact that's going to cause part of the problems in missouri that it was supposed to be controlled you were called to go out we don't want a whole lot out there all at once it's people are going to go out and and antagonize the missourians there's going to be problems he says in this section i want to have a stronghold here for at least five years and they'll be in kirtland another five years and then Then if you want to go out design i won't hold you guilty okay that's verse 22. so everybody can't go rushing out to zion right now though a lot of them want to like i say that's going to cause some problems later on in missouri you're going to get your inheritance in time so that's the background of it but i i want to take Verse 32 and my inheritance hopefully with my father in heaven sometime in a future world and i can hear the law i get impatient with myself do you ever get impatient with yourself i get impatient with myself i can be frustrated with myself i believe in a 10 000 talent for giving quite like snow not pink god i for everybody else but me and so i can hear the lord say as i am Trying to build my character i'm trying to be a christ-like person i want to think and love and pray and obey and forgive and be kind just like jesus that's what i want and he says michael what i want is your heart he says that verse 20 2 i the lord require the hearts what i want is your heart and i can see and i hope everybody That's listening is really trying obedience isn't perfection obedience is trying i want your heart i can see i have your heart mike and so i'm telling you as you try to perfect yourself as you try to to be as merciful as i am as you try to stop seeking occasion all things must come to pass in their time Takes time wherefore be not weary it's just so tender be not weary and well doing you are laying the foundation of a great work i know he's talking about zion but i'm talking about me i'm trying to talk about the great work of trying to make the soul of michael wilcox just like the soul of jesus Of nazareth it'll come in time mike you'll get there i know i've got your heart and out of small things preceded that which is great you just do those little day by day acts of goodness and kindness that nobody's going to see and nobody's going to celebrate but i notice it because i am a god who watches small things i'm a small things god By that i mean i i i know sparrows fall and i know the little sparrows of your life out of small things proceedeth that which is great and then he reiterates the lord requires the heart and willing mind and the willing and obedient shall eat the good of the land in these last days i i'm not a perfect person far from it but i want to be God knows he has my heart it's one thing god knows he's got my heart and my mind so what do i get from him i get forgiveness i get mercy i get don't give up you're laying the foundation and you'll get there we're going to get you there he does that time and time again you are little children you don't understand all that god has prepared but Be of good cheer i'll lead you along that's section 78 all those little tender moments that you see in the doctrine and covenants from time to time when he just tries to help us just hold on here and 64 he's dealing with one that's a big a big challenge for all of us we got we got to stop seeking occasion i um i have a thought here from elder jeffrey r holland this is in the april 2012 general conference um he says he was actually talking about a different parable in the new testament the laborers in the vineyard um he says uh this parable like all parables is not really about laborers or wages any more than the others are about sheep and goats this is a story about god's goodness his patience and forgiveness and the atonement of the lord jesus christ it is A story about generosity and compassion it is a story about grace and then i wanted you to hear this thought because it goes along with what you've said mike about the delightful forgiver it underscores the thought i heard many years ago that surely the thing god enjoys most about being god is the thrill of being merciful especially to those who don't expect it And often feel they don't deserve it uh it's oh i just the thrill of being merciful i think one of the reasons we as members of the church love listening to elder holland is there is a tenderness in that man's heart he's an apostle an apostle hard to give the message of the savior the good news the gospel and his heart for me is the message Just listening uh there's such a tenderness in elder hall and and in so many of them you know that an apostle has to reflect what jesus was what manner of men are you to be says to the twelve even as i am and that means just as just as forgiving i think one of the things i i love about verse 34 uh the heart and a willing mind and i one day Just uh did a search on the word willing and was struck with how the lord is able and it doesn't say an able mind we can be willing though when in second nephi it says i am able to do my work and god is able we are weak but thou art able you know it's that thing but we can be willing and so those words give me some hope to keep trying and be willing i love what you said obedience isn't perfection Obedience is trying and i'm willing to keep trying that word has in the sacrament prayers has blessed me a lot i'm gonna keep being willing to do those things and the lord is so merciful he says come back next week and we'll we'll make this covenant again oh you said that latter-day saints heap sometimes heap guilt upon themselves Where do you think that comes from why do we why do we do that i've seen that in my own life i've seen it in my family's life we just we heap the guilt upon ourselves and you said joseph smith comes from a calvinistic society which is even worse than that where do you think that where does that come from well when you you know we set the bar high in our lives and wherever you have a High expectation of yourself uh you know it and you don't meet it and i i have to remind myself that of that sometimes that the great message of christianity the savior's life was to learn to love the father and to trust him but we do have that ingrained in us somewhat that fear of sin is has eclipsed our our love of god or our ability to feel Um the love of god uh you know i think another problem that had developed in christianity is being right became more important than being good and so we argue about all kinds of things you know that throws us into section 66 a little bit uh also when the lord says to william mcclellan reason with people and and all through uh the doctrine and Covenancy saying don't revile don't argue don't listen that's contention this is not of me it's not about always being right uh it's about being good that there's something that comforts me out of islam out of the teachings of of the prophet muhammad that comfort me somewhat in this perfectionism guilt complex that a lot of latter-day saints have he said good deeds weigh 10 times more than bad deeds and and we say why and the answer is because bad deeds i can forgive and they're gone but your good deeds are always there i never forgive them they're always there i think my favorite muhammad quote or quran quote is that gives me some hope is he deserves paradise who makes his companions laugh yeah that's a glass yeah there's a lot in islam that's really beautiful There's a point in the divine comedy that dante's divine comedy uh his this great masterpiece of italian literature when he's leaving purgatory you know he takes his journey through uh hell purgatory and he's going into paradise and the last thing he does as he leaves purgatory now he's gonna he's preparing to go into the presence of god And there are two rivers he wades through and drinks from the first river comes from greek mythology it's laithy which is the river of forgetfulness and when he drinks from the river laithy he forgets all his sins all the negatives of his life he forgets them then he goes to a river that dante invents it's called the river of you Know not you know but e-u-n-o-e and it means good memory or good mind and he drinks from that one and every good thing he ever did in his life all the good all the positives he remembers so now all sins all negatives all mistakes forgotten and all good remembered he is prepared now to enter into the Presence of god there are times i pray you know i sometimes feel poets know things that maybe even prophets don't know occasionally uh there are times i pray lord please let dante be right i know it's in a poem i know but it's great literature i long to drink from those rivers we can't go moaning through all eternity remembering the mistakes of our past Sooner or later we got a drink out of that river one of the most tender things i hope i can tell it when my wife was dying of cancer towards the end now my wife was a typical latter-day saint woman and a response to your question why is it that we have so much you know we carry so much guilt and perfectionism She had it and as she was dying she said to me one time she looked at me up at me bright eyes and a look of serenity and peace on her face and she said for the first time i can remember i don't feel any guilt i don't feel any shame i can't tell you what that meant for me she's about to go into god's presence and a baptism of cleansing takes place at that veil and She drinks from dante's rivers and goes into god's presence all the moats all the beams all the negatives all the regrets gone there is a deep deep deep part of me that believes firmly that we're going to have something like that the closest is alma the younger who says i could remember my i if i could edit that I'd love to save my sins no more but i guess we need to remember some of our mistakes so we can learn from them right but he said i could remember my pains no more and you know i think if we if if i try and throw us back into section 64 i think if we can understand the mercy and the love the goodness of jesus and our father now we become what he wants zion to be they're just Starting out zion they want they want to create this city new jerusalem out in the wilderness and so i go to verse 37 i the lord have made my church in these last days like unto a judge sitting on a hill or in a high place to judge the nations now that's a metaphor that's likes in there let's let's not take this too literally this is metaphoric language And judge in this case means to minister to now we're going to kill that word in the church too we're going to use that word so it's not going to be any value anymore okay it means to tend to care for people go up to see the judge because they're going to get justice and peace and goodness from him it's not a harsh our word judge we tend to read Harshly zion isn't going to be harsh on the word condemn the world i want you to be up on that hill in that high place to judge the nation skip a little bit verse 41 i say unto you zion shall flourish and the glory of the lord shall be upon her well what is the glory of the lord well he said i earlier i forgive you remember clear back in verse 3 i forgive you for my own glory And one of the greatest glories of the lord is his mercy his love his compassion his forgiving heart zion shall flourish and the glory of the lord shall be upon her and she shall be an enzyme unto the people and there shall come unto her out of every nation under heaven because what will they find In that judge on the hill and that city on the hill they will find peace and goodness and love and forgiveness and mercy please join us for part two of this podcast

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