Nauvoo Gathering, 2003, Part 12
The Fourth Initiation
Now, the next step up is the achievement of the fourth initiation. DK points out that this attainment gives the disciple power to begin a spiritual work that will affect the world.
So, what happens at the fourth initiation? What’s it called?
Audience: Service? Crucifixion?
JJ: Crucifixion. So, what was the symbol in Jesus’ life that symbolized the fourth initiation?
Audience: The crucifixion?
JJ: What preceded the crucifixion?
Audience: You mean we all have to be crucified to be on the fourth level?
JJ: Crucified one way or another but not the way Jesus was. There are two examples of the crucifixion initiation in the Bible: one was Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane which was the main part of his crucifixion initiation. The cross was actually the easy part. Who is the other example of somebody undergoing crucifixion initiation? Who is another example we can think of in the Bible?
Audience: John the Baptist?
JJ: No. He didn’t volunteer to have his head decapitated.
JJ: It has to be completely voluntary.
JJ: No, Moses probably passed this initiation, but we have no record of it.
JJ: Who really had to make a big sacrifice in the Old Testament?
JJ: Abraham. What happened to Abraham? Why was it such a big sacrifice?
Audience: He was supposed to sacrifice his son.
JJ: Right, when Abraham received a promise and Abraham prayed to God. He wanted to be father of a people that recognized the One God. When Abraham was young, the people he lived with acknowledged different Gods. Abraham came to believe there was one God and he wanted to be the leader of the one people that worshipped the one God. He really desired this with his heart and prayed about it and received a revelation. God told him, Abraham, look at the stars in the heavens, he says, “I will make your descendants more populace than if you could count all the stars… so it will be more than the number of stars of heaven that you can see.”
Abraham thought, “Oh boy, that is what I really want. I want to have posterity like the stars of the heavens and the sands of the sea.” I think the sands of the sea were mentioned also. His posterity would be extremely numerous. He received this promise from God. You get a promise from God, you think, “That’s it. I’ve got it clinched now.”
The trouble was he waited and waited and waited and never had any children until he was 100 years old. Once you’re about 100 years old wouldn’t you begin to wonder if you imagined if God promised you children when you have none? You’d imagine that. Abraham received another revelation and he was told they would have a son. Do you remember the story that Sarah laughed? They eventually did have a son, his name was Isaac. And it looked like, “Well, here we had our faith tested. Our faith was really tested. We didn’t have the kid till we were 100 years old and now we finally got him. I guess God will fulfill his promise after all. Now we have the opportunity to have a tremendous posterity that believes in the One God.” And then when Isaac was a few years old Abraham received another commandment. What was that commandment?
Audience: Take your son, your only son and offer him up as a sacrifice.
JJ: Yeah. What would you think if you got a revelation like that? Take your only son. Now what made this difficult, even more difficult than sacrificing his son, was the fact that if he did sacrifice his son it would mean God was a liar. Have you ever been in a situation in life where it would seem like if you did what you were commanded, it would make God out like to be a liar? Now, if God is a liar that just about undoes your faith in everything, doesn’t it? If you can’t trust God, who can you trust?
So, if he had to go sacrifice his son, then, how in the world can God be a God that tells the truth? And that probably bothered Abraham more than sacrificing his son, because if you sacrifice your son, God will still exist. But to find out that God is a liar, well, what is there to live for? It just completely undoes your whole belief system to question whether or not God has been lying to you all this whole time. Maybe the God you worshipped is just not what you made Him out to be.
Audience: Surely he questioned the revelation.
JJ: Except he didn’t question the revelation. He knew it was a true revelation from God and didn’t question that. Now he questioned if God was really reliable. Can God just change his mind on a whim and break his word? It is a very upsetting thing to think about. So it was a very tough decision for Abraham to make. He had to sacrifice everything that he had ever leaned, including his belief in God. He even had to sacrifice the way he believed in God.
Now, Josephus added an interesting thing about this in his history. He says that Abraham finally concluded that if he went and sacrificed Isaac, the only thing that God could do if he was a God of truth was raise Isaac up from the dead. That’s the way Abraham calculated it. “If God isn’t a liar, if I go sacrifice Isaac, he has to fulfill his promise so Isaac will be raised up from the dead.”
This was before the time of Jesus so there were no teachings about resurrection. So this was a really far out hope that Abraham felt may happen. As we know, he took Isaac up the mountain and as Abraham was about to sacrifice him, an angel appeared before Abraham and said, “Don’t sacrifice him. It was just a little test.” The angel gave him a ram to sacrifice instead. That’s about it.
Audience: response not clear.
JJ: One of the things that DK points out is that as we evolve as a society, the initiations change a bit. They actually become harder. He says the second initiation in the days of Atlantis was easier than the second initiation now because it didn’t involve the mind so much. We are more mentally developed now so it’s actually a little bit harder because the standards are higher as our minds are more developed. Remember the second initiation is pretty much what the hierarchy decides it is. When they decide what it is they decide to acknowledge it. The Hierarchy meets in conclaves in various cycles of 100 years or more to decide what new approaches to things are needed or to handle things a little differently.
Joseph Smith is an example of somebody that failed his fourth initiation. Joseph Smith repeated his third initiation when he was just a young boy, but then he approached his fourth initiation near the end of his life. He is an interesting example of someone who failed it, and because he failed the fourth initiation, the church was not able to get the start it needed to properly enlighten the world. Remember, a person has to pass his fourth initiation before he can give power to a spiritual work as did Jesus.
I’ll tell you exactly how this happened. When a warrant was given out for Joseph’s arrest he knew if he was taken prisoner he would be killed. In fact he stated earlier: “I told the brethren that if I or my brother are arrested one more time,” he says, “we will be slain or I’m not a prophet of God.”
Now that’s quite a statement to be made especially when he had been arrested dozens of times, gone to court dozens of times and been exonerated dozens of times. But finally this time, he said, “If we are taken by the system one more time, I will be slain or I’m not a prophet of God.” He was taken one more time and he was slain.
The warrant was put out for his arrest. He was beside himself as what to do for he knew his life was at stake. He was pacing the floor and didn’t know what he was going to do. He had already received a true impression that if he was taken again, he would be killed. His scribe, that was with him, described Joseph Smith as he was pacing the floor, wondering what to do. He said that all of a sudden he stopped and it was like his whole countenance lit up and he said, “I know what to do. God has just shown me exactly what I need to do.” He said, “I will go west and I’ll go to the Oregon territory and those who are ready will follow me out there. We’ll build a new kingdom out there. We will start afresh.” That way Joseph Smith could save his life and continue the work.
Abraham was required to sacrifice his son. Joseph Smith was asked to do something entirely different geared to what was most difficult for him. Actually, he often talked about looking forward to being a martyr. His life was so difficult, he underwent so many trials, he often talked about how he wouldn’t mind going to the other side and avoiding all these problems he was encountering. He sometimes talked like he almost looked forward to it.
But he received this revelation to go to the Oregon Territory. So he gathered together a group of trusted friends to cross the Mississippi River, in a boat. When they crossed it, a big storm came up and just about capsized it. It was almost like the wrath of God was on that river and they barely got to the other side with their lives. They stayed at a farmhouse overnight and prepared to head out west. They got a letter the next day, delivered from his wife. The letter said, “Everyone is calling you a coward. You are like the shepherd that has left his sheep. The shepherd must stay with his sheep like Christ did. Christ stayed with his sheep and saw things through and you’re a coward and you’re running away.”
Joseph Smith read the letter and he said to his brother, “What shall we do?” His brother said, “Well, we ought to go back because every time we have faced these problems, we have seen them through and we’ll see them through again.” Joseph said, “Yes, but its different this time. It’s different this time because if we go back we are going to be butchered.” Then he turned to Porter Rockwell who did the rowing and manning of the boat and he said, “What shall we do, Porter?” Porter said, “You’re the prophet, you tell us what to do.” Then Hiram was the one that really threw the wrench in the works. He said, “I’ll tell you what I’m going to do, I’m going to go back with or without you.”
Then Joseph says, “No, you don’t want to go back; we’ll be butchered.” Hiram says, “No, we can see it through. We’ve seen it through before and we’ll see it through again. And things will work out. So, I’m going back.”
Joseph said, “You can’t go back without me.” Hiram says, “Yes I can. I’m going back.” So that was the temptation for Joseph because he pictured in his mind, his brother going back, his brother getting killed, and him living. His brother would turn out to be a martyr and he’d look like a coward if he didn’t go back. Yet, he received the revelation to go west.
And so that was the big trial for him. Unlike many other fourth degree initiates, he was commanded to live. Whereas most of them are commanded to die, he was commanded to live. So Joseph Smith’s big hurdle was to live and be called a coward. Now that was very hard for him because he was looked upon by the church as being one of the most courageous men they had ever seen because time and time again he had faced death and escaped it. He had escaped firing squads, kidnapping, mobs and all kinds of things.
He had tremendous difficulty being called a coward by his people. So he gave in to the emotion. DK says the magician must beware lest he be drowned in the waters. That’s one of the rules of White Magic. At that point, when his brother said he was going back even without Joseph Smith, Joseph was drowned by the waters of emotion. He was filled with emotion and he said, “If my life is nothing to my friends, it is worth nothing to me.” At that point, Joseph was drowned by tremendous emotion and he succumbed to it and he went back and thus he failed the fourth initiation.
“Also, let it not be forgotten that once the magic of the soul is grasped by the personality, that soul steadily dominates and can be trusted to carry forward the training of the man to fruition, unhampered (as you necessarily are) by thoughts of time and space, and by an ignorance of the past career of the soul concerned.” DK, Treatise on White Magic, Page 55
Dec 16, 2003
Copyright by J J Dewey
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