How many times have you heard someone in testimony meeting say that they “know” we have the fulness of the Gospel with all the priesthood keys that have ever been on the earth? Every time I hear a similar testimony I want to stand up and shout: “You don’t know your scriptures or what the fulness is!” But then again, that would be an overt act of rebellion in direct contradiction to what is taught by the hierarchy. In defense of the ones bearing testimony they are only parroting what they have been taught to believe from a very early age.
The Lord tells us very clearly in the Book of Mormon that the Gentiles would reject the fulness of the Gospel.
And thus commandeth the Father that I should say unto you: At that day when the Gentiles shall sin against my gospel, and shall reject the fulness of my gospel, [note that one has to have the fulness offered for it to be rejected] and shall be lifted up in the pride of their hearts above all nations, and above all the people of the whole earth, and shall be filled with all manner of lyings, and of deceits, and of mischiefs, and all manner of hypocrisy, and murders, and priestcrafts, and whoredomes, and of secret abominations; and if they shall do all those things, and shall reject the fulness of my gospel, behold, saith the Father, I will bring the fulness of my gospel from among them.
And then will I remember my covenant which I have made unto my people, O house of Israel, and I will bring my gospel unto them.
And I will show unto thee, O house of Israel, that the Gentiles shall not have power over you; but I will remember my covenant unto you, O house of Israel, and ye shall come unto the knowledge of the fulness of my gospel [having the knowledge of the fulness is not necessarily the same as having the fulness]. 3 Nephi 16:10-12
When the saints rejected the law of the celestial kingdom and failed to establish Zion they had effectively rejected the fulness of the gospel. We will leave the details for another post, but the saints had the fulness when the highest order of priesthood was revealed at a special conference that was held at the Morley Farm in Kirtland in June 1831. The contemporary journals of those involved verify that Joseph clearly identified this as the first time that the highest priesthood had been manifest, and that it constituted the fulness. At that conference 23 men were called by the voice of God out of heaven to be ordained high priests. Lyman Wight had a vision of the Savior on the right hand of God and prophesied of the second coming. He ordained many of the Elders, as also did Joseph. Additionally, at the conference, the Man of Sin was revealed and rebuked. This fascinating event shall become the subject of a future post.
By the time the Saints have reached Nauvoo, the Lord tells them that they no longer have the fulness.
For there is not a place found on earth that he may come to and restore again that which was lost unto you, or which he hath taken away, even the fulness of the priesthood. D&C 124:28
This section was given in January of 1841. The saints had been given a commandment to build the Nauvoo Temple and to therein perform their baptisms for the dead. Up until that point the saints had been performing baptisms for the dead in the river.
For a baptismal font there is not upon the earth, that they, my saints, may be baptized for those who are dead–
For this ordinance belongeth to my house, and cannot be acceptable to me, only in the days of your poverty, wherein ye are not able to build a house unto me.
But I command you, all ye my saints, to build a house unto me; and I grant unto you a sufficient time to build a house unto me; and during this time your baptisms shall be acceptable unto me.
But behold, at the end of this appointment your baptisms for your dead shall not be acceptable unto me; and if you do not these things at the end of the appointment ye shall be rejected as a church, with your dead, saith the Lord your God.
For verily I say unto you, that after you have had sufficient time to build a house to me, wherein the ordinance of baptizing for the dead belongeth, and for which the same was instituted from before the foundation of the world, your baptisms for your dead cannot be acceptable unto me;
Unfortunately, the saints were not diligent in keeping the Lord’s commandment to build the Nauvoo Temple.
Joseph declared in general conference October 1841:
“There shall be no more baptisms for the dead, until the ordinance can be attended to in the Lord’s House; and the Church shall not hold another General Conference, until they can meet in said house. For thus saith the Lord!” (HC 4:426)
The saints knew what this meant–that the sufficient time had lapsed and they had failed to fulfill the commandment of the Lord.
In November 1851 Lyman Wight stated in a letter that the church had been rejected.
“The church mostly went from there Kirtland Ohio to Missouri where they commenced another house from which they were driven to the State of Illinois where we were commanded to build a house or temple to the Most High God. We were to have a sufficient time to build that house during which time our baptisms for our dead should be acceptable in the river. If we did not build within this time we were to be rejected as a church we and our dead together. Both the temple and baptizing went very leisurely till the temple was somewhere in building the second story when Bro Joseph from the Stand announced the alarming declaration that baptism for our dead was no longer acceptable in the river, As much to say the time for building the temple had passed by and both we and our dead were rejected together. The church now stands rejected together with their dead. The church being rejected now stands alienated from her God in every sense of the word” (Church History Vol 2 p 790)
As we know, the temple was never completed in Joseph’s lifetime. The Lord had promised that the saints would not be moved out of their place if they would hearken and be diligent.
And if my people will hearken unto my voice, and unto the voice of my servants whom I have appointed to lead my people, behold, verily I say unto you, they shall not be moved out of their place.
But if they will not hearken to my voice, nor unto the voice of these men whom I have appointed, they shall not be blest, because they pollute mine holy grounds, and mine holy ordinances, and charters, and my holy words which I give unto them. D&C 124:45-46
The rest is history. We know what happened to the Saints.
THE FRUITS OF THE FULNESS
So the big question is: If we had the fulness, what would it look like?
And these signs shall follow them that believe–
In my name they shall do many wonderful works;
In my name they shall cast out devils;
In my name they shall heal the sick;
In my name they shall open the eyes of the blind, and unstop the ears of the deaf;
And the tongue of the dumb shall speak;
And if any man shall administer poison unto them it shall not hurt them;
And the poison of a serpent shall not have power to harm them. (D&C 84:65-72)
In other words we would have POWER associated with the highest level of the priesthood.
We would have Pentecostal outpourings of the spirit similar to what happened in Kirtland after the fulness had been restored and before the saints failed to redeem Zion. We would have Apostles who have seen the risen Lord and bear bold testimony of the fact. We would have prophets who give us revelations in the name of the Lord. We would have power to give the gift of the Holy Ghost as opposed to just advising someone to receive the Holy Ghost.
Every Latter-day Saint should ask themselves how we avoided the same fate as the children of Israel under Moses. (See D&C 84)
23 Now this Moses [Joseph] plainly taught to the children of Israel in the wilderness, and sought diligently to sanctify his people that they might behold the face of God;
24 But they hardened their hearts and could not endure his presence; therefore, the Lord in his wrath, for his anger was kindled against them, swore that they should not enter into his rest while in the wilderness, which rest is the fulness of his glory.
25 Therefore, he took Moses [Joseph] out of their midst, and the Holy Priesthood also;
26 And the lesser priesthood continued, which priesthood holdeth the key of the ministering of angels and the preparatory gospel;
It is very interesting to me that the Lord even puts this in the D&C. Is he trying to tell us something?
As a people we rejected the law of the celestial kingdom.
As a people we rejected the second chance the Lord gave us to build the temple in Nauvoo and publish the JST.
As a people we were led off into the wilderness with only the preparatory gospel.
This is not a pretty picture, especially when we steadfastly maintain that we have the fulness. Thus the need for a Marvelous Work and Wonder. It is coming. When the servants return we will again experience the fruits of the fulness. In the meantime, I am watching and waiting and searching. Are you?