Living Works


Living Works

Let us talk a minute and talk about the sacraments of the church such as baptism, laying on of hands, the bread and wine or Eucharist.

Both the Bible and the Mormon scriptures make it sound like you must be physically baptized to enter the kingdom of heaven, but is this the case? Exactly what does a physical baptism accomplish and why do you suppose it was instituted by the prophets?

The standard answer is that God commanded the ordinance so we should just obey it and not question, but such an unthinking injunction is not good enough for the seeker of the coming age. The person of Light in this day and age wants to know why he is expected to do a thing. If the ordinance has no effect then perhaps we do not want to waste our time.

Concerning baptism Joseph Smith received an interesting revelation:

D&C 22:1 Behold, I say unto you that all old covenants have I caused to be done away in this thing; and this is a new and an everlasting covenant, even that which was from the beginning.

D&C 22:2 Wherefore, although a man should be baptized an hundred times it availeth him nothing, for you cannot enter in at the strait gate by the law of Moses, neither by your dead works.

D&C 22:3 For it is because of your dead works that I have caused this last covenant and this church to be built up unto me, even as in the days of old.

D&C 22:4 Wherefore, enter ye in at the gate, as I have commanded, and seek not to counsel your God. Amen.

Read this and ask the question. Why was Joseph given the mission to restore a church very similar to the early Christian church with all of its ordinances including baptism?

The answer: “For it is because of your dead works that I have caused this last covenant and this church to be built up unto me, even as in the days of old.”

Because the people’s minds were centered on “dead works” the church and ordinances were reestablished.

Interestingly, I have never met a Mormon who was taught this in church. Most of them believe that they have living works and the highest and the best that God has to offer.

Now the question is this. What would Joseph have been commanded to establish if the people’s minds were centered on “living works?”

What is the difference between a dead and living work?

The physical act of baptism is a dead work. Taking a person and placing him under the water and bringing him out of it, by itself does nothing, even if you have all the authority of the hosts of heaven.

What then is the living work behind baptism?

The living work is the meaning behind the symbol and if a person understands this he could obtain all the benefits of baptism without baptism.

The scriptures basically tell us that we need to be baptized to be saved. If baptism itself is a dead work then what is it really telling us to do to become saved or delivered?

The basic meaning of baptism as many have been taught in church is to have our sins washed away, but if physical baptism is a dead work then what really washes our sins away?

We have learned that the real meaning of sin is error or “missing the mark” therefore the washing away of sin is the removal of error. But what is the error or errors that need to be removed?

The basic error that baptism helps to remove is this.

All except those who have the name of God in their foreheads (Rev 14:1) look for authority from a God without. Now when that God without speaks and we accept without question, a great error is created. It is not long before we imperfectly follow the God without and as soon as we disobey, even in the slightest, guilt is created.

Now there are two ways to remove this guilt. The first is to satisfy the demands of an angry “God out there.” But the trouble with this method is that it is not long before you break more commandments and guilt returns. The Catholic confession is a good method of alleviating this returned guilt, but this is a temporary measure and you are again dependent on a voice for God out there rather than the Spirit within.

What is the second and permanent way to remove the guilt?

The second way is to remove yourself from the voice of the outer God, or the “beast” as we taught earlier, and subject yourself to the one authority, the Spirit of God within.

This was the difference between the foolish and wise virgins in the parable. The five wise had oil in their lamps, or the Spirit of God in their hearts and this light of the Spirit lead them to the Christ. The five foolish had no oil and had to go buy some from the authorities, but the oil from the authorities without did not light the way and they “missed the mark” or sinned and were not able to find the Christ.

Thus we see that the true meaning of baptism is to remove the error of guilt, permanently, which guilt is caused by an error in thinking. True salvation is the removal of guilt. The scripture could have said: “Remove the cause of guilt, center yourself on the Spirit within and you will be saved.”

Because the true salvation through baptism is the salvation or deliverance from guilt, does this mean that the physical act should not be done?

No. It does not. The ordinance of baptism was instituted because it does indeed serve a useful purpose as do all symbols. Many angelic lives that differ from human evolution, as well as higher aspects of ourselves communicate with symbols. Also the Masters largely communicate with symbols.

The act of physical baptism sends a communication to higher spiritual lives that you are attempting to enter into a higher spiritual life and this symbolic communication therefore sends a message to refined lives who can help you remove guilt and center yourself on living the life of Christ.

Let us pick two other ordinances.

After baptism, the early apostles laid hands on the persons and they were then supposed to receive the Holy Ghost.

Now the dead work was the laying on of hands. What was the living work or meaning?

Christ also instituted the act of sacrament or Eucharist by eating bread and drinking wine to take upon themselves the body and blood of Christ.

What is the living meaning behind this?

Words of Life

After baptism, the early apostles laid hands on the persons and they were then supposed to receive the Holy Ghost.

Now the dead work was the laying on of hands. What was the living work or meaning?

Christ also instituted the act of sacrament or Eucharist by eating bread and drinking wine to take upon themselves the body and blood of Christ.

What is the living meaning behind this?

To fully understand this it must be looked at in connection with baptism. Baptism is a symbol of the removal of error and making a change in life from the physical to the spiritual. This is such a dramatic change it is referred to as a symbol of a new birth. When one truly follows the living principle behind baptism he will enter the path of Spirit as guilt free as a new born baby.

I was at the birth also of all my children and one thing I noticed is that the baby seems lifeless and does not appear alive until he takes his first breath. One of my children spent over a minute in this condition before he breathed and it made me quite nervous. I can imagine how a parent would feel with a stillborn.

Thus to complete the life of a new birth, the spirit from God must enter into the body.

In the days of the Apostles there was first a symbolic baptism followed by a short period of waiting for the Spirit, just as the parent waits for the spirit to enter the new baby. Then there was a laying on of hands and through a living link to the tree of life, the Spirit flowed stimulating new life from the crown chakra on down. All seven chakras vibrated a little higher according to the consciousness of the seeker and a new life of belonging to the body of Christ was created.

A number of Churches use the laying on of hands today, some claiming authority and some not, but even this sacred act will be a dead work if the process is all that is followed, with no living connection and awareness of the link with the Spirit flowing through you as well as all the Brotherhood of Light.

The Spirit of new life flowing through the hands into the new disciple is usually necessary to create the baptism of fire mentioned in connection with Jesus. In this age the true baptism of fire is very rare and only comes through a high demonstration of faith. The reason it is rare is that the connecting link (as taught in the Molecular Relationship) is not currently secured on the earth. When it is the baptism of fire will become much more common as well as the return of miracles.

Now let us examine the meaning behind the bread and wine of communion.

After Jesus fed the five thousand with fishes and loaves and the crowds pressed toward him thinking that this miracle worker may be their meal ticket for all their needs, Jesus grew a little sad and impatient with their selfish thoughts so he shouted out:

“Except a man eat my flesh and drink my blood he has no part with me.”

This statement shocked and horrified many. Many concluded that he must have been doing miracles by the power of the devil to make such a statement and got away from him as fast as they could. Some of his own Apostles doubted his sanity as he turned to them and asked: “Will you also leave me?”

Then Peter answered and said: “Lord, we have no where else to go. You have the words of eternal life.”

Jesus explained to them that if one eats his flesh and drinks his blood then as the Father dwells in him through the Spirit so will Christ dwell in them. They thus all become part of one living body. Finally he clarified the true meaning of eating and drinking the flesh and blood of Christ.

“It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life.” John 6:63

In other words, he was saying that the actual eating of real flesh would profit nothing. The true meat and drink that he was feeding them were his words for his words were life because they were in harmony with Spirit.

Thus if we go to church and eat bread and liquid in remembrance of Christ, the actual physical eating “profiteth nothing” as Jesus said for this by itself is a dead work. What does profit us is to take in the words of life as we eat and drink, or better still make the words of life themselves your meat and drink.

How this is done is one of the keys of eternal life leading to the overcoming of death, but in the meantime those who are ready will receive light from the Oneness Principle on the subject and much benefit can be derived therefrom.

Copyright by J J Dewey

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Mission Experiences, Chapters 11 & 12

This entry is part 6 of 18 in the series Mission

Chapter Eleven
A Contest and Good Conversation

Elder Ware and I worked hard and before long we were breaking mission records in baptisms. Quite a few of these were investigators that we started teaching while Elder Huish was with me.

During this time period the mission headquarters had created a mission wide contest in hopes of motivating the missionaries to achieve greater success. How you scored in this contest was determined by the number of points you received and the various parts of missionary work received a certain number of points. If you knocked on so many doors you got a certain number of points. Then you were given points for working with members, teaching, baptizing and a number of other things.

The individual missionaries who scored the most points received a prize and the district of missionaries who scored highest did also.

I personally did not like the contest because if I worked to score the highest number of points I would be doing a lot of busy work and not be effective. Elder Ware and I decided to ignore the contest and just see how many people we could baptize. After all, that was why we came on missions to begin with.

As it turned out we did not score very high in the point category even though we were teaching and baptizing more than anyone in the mission.

Now every couple weeks we had a district meeting. A district was composed of about a dozen missionaries. Above this was a Zone composed of a half dozen or so districts and then the mission was composed of a similar number of zones. It seems like there were somewhere around 200-300 missionaries in our mission.

Anyway a district was presided over by a district leader and his companion. He had called a regular meeting that took place every couple weeks. In this meeting he was following orders and presenting to us the progress of the contest and how we were doing in relation to other districts. It turned out that as far as scoring points went our district wasn’t doing that great. Then the Elder put down his papers he was using and looked at me with strain in his eyes

Now District Leader was a great guy and we had become good friends, so he was very reluctant to chastise me, but said something like this:

“Elder Dewey, I don’t know how to say this and if it was up to me I would give you and Elder ware nothing but praise for your work, for you have been far outperforming all of us in teaching and baptisms. Even so, I have received a message from the mission home to give to you. They say you are bringing down the score of our district because you do not have enough points in the tracting area (knocking on doors). They want you to spend more time knocking on doors.”

I couldn’t believe what I was hearing and replied in exasperation, “How are we supposed to spend more time tracting when so much of our time is taken up in teaching?

The Elder shrugged his shoulders and replied, “Believe me, I’m on your side and if was up to me I’d tell you to just keep doing what you are doing, but headquarters insisted that I tell you that you need to increase the number of points on your score and the best way to do this is to knock on more doors.”

“So what are we supposed to do then,” I asked, “quit teaching and baptizing new members and knock on doors instead? That’s insane!”

“I agree with you,” he said, “but I’m just the messenger here and I was tempted to not even tell you this, but I have to or I could get into trouble.”

“I understand your situation,” I said “and have no problem with you delivering the message, but I have one for you to deliver back to the mission home. Tell them this. The reason I came on a mission was to teach and baptize and we are too busy doing these things to knock on any more doors. Besides, Peterlee is a small town and there are not that many doors left so we try to make the most of each door we do knock on.”

“Are you sure you want me to tell them that? I’m not sure they’ll see things the same way you do.”

“Well, I’m not going to knock on doors just to win a contest and sacrifice people we are teaching. There’s no other reply I can give.”

My friend gave me a concerned look and then moved on to other business.

I figured that we were on fairly secure ground because of our success and that President Payne would not hold our low contest scores against me. (More on this later.) In this assumption I was wrong, but around the same time I crossed the line in another area that didn’t help my case.

Missionaries are supposed to be back in their digs by 10 PM and to bed by 10:30 but we rarely got to bed before midnight. Because this was supposed to mean we were working beyond the call of duty we didn’t get a reprimand for this but I’m sure we didn’t score any points either. Sometimes we were just teaching late into the night, but other times we would go visit our favorite member who didn’t mind us coming over later in the evening.

Her name was Sister Douglas. Missionaries call all the members by the prefix brother or sister. She was a very interesting lady, about 50. Her husband was a sea captain and was gone six months at a time. Her good-looking divorced daughter was staying with her. Her name was Jo.

I found both of these females to be very attractive for different reasons. I was attracted to Sister Douglas purely on mental and spiritual levels. She was one of those few people that I could just sit and talk with indefinitely. She loved to talk about church doctrine, philosophy, people, ideas and lots of other things. I never grew tired of talking to her and with each visit I wished we didn’t have to leave.

Now her daughter, Jo was not deep like her mom but was very attractive, fun-loving, sexy and fun to talk to. Elder Ware liked them both also and often had involved conversations with the one I was not engaged with.

Now missionaries are under strict rules to not get romantically involved with any females and dating was forbidden. Even being alone with a female without your companion present was against the rules.

Most missionaries, including myself, followed these rules, but most also meet a couple females on their missions where a strong attraction occurs and a great deal of self control has to be used to follow the rules. Here I found myself strongly attracted to both mother and daughter; the mother for her mind and the daughter on the emotional/physical level. I fantasized about how fun it would be if I came back to England after my mission and married Jo and garnered such a cool mother in law in the deal. I even wrote a song for Jo called “Love Eyes.” You can listen to it here:

I never told Jo I wrote that song for her as I thought that would be crossing the line of the mission rules. It’s too bad she never heard it or read the words.

What’s ironic is that as I fantasized about coming back to England and marrying Jo fate had something quite different planned for me. A short time later I was to meet my future first wife and five years later I was to return to England and marry her.

Each night when we did visit with Sister Douglas and her daughter we tied to leave before midnight to keep in the good graces of the mission home. But one night, time just slipped away and before we knew it, it was 1 AM. Then I figured, what the heck, if we were to get in trouble we might as well give headquarters a good reason to complain so we stayed on and on until 3AM. Finally we left for home.

The next morning Elder Ware and I were faced with filling out our daily report form. Elder Ware said, “What shall we do about filling in a time for returning to digs? We can’t put 3 AM. They’ll go ballistic and figure we were up to no good.”

Actually, I had known a number of elders who had stayed out late as well as broken a number of mission rules and most of them came up with a simple solution to satisfy the mission home. They lied.

I was pretty much born believing in being honest and have always tried to tell the truth, even if it hurt. I was indeed tempted to write in an earlier hour but told elder Ware we needed to fill out the report accurately. I told him I would take most of the heat since I was the senior companion. We thus filled out the report with the correct hour inserted.

I didn’t hear any feedback until our next district meeting. The District Leader spoke to me, “I’ve got another strange request from headquarters that I am supposed to ask you. They want to know what you were doing out until 3 AM. They say they have never had a missionary report returning back to the digs so late and are very curious about it.”

“Well, we were just visiting with a couple members and were involved in interesting conversation. That was it. Nothing sinister happened.”

The district Leader got up and paced the floor. “Look, a lot of us have stayed out late and have broken the rules but you don’t put something like this in black and white on the report. What were you thinking, man?”

On hindsight, it seems that not cooperating in the silly contest, staying out till 3 AM and being honest about it created a problem for me later on as we shall see.

Chapter Twelve
Meeting my Future Wife

Elder Ware and I didn’t hear anything else out of the ordinary from the mission home during our stay in Peterlee. We just kept our noses to the grindstone.

One family we baptized, called he Corrigans, left us with fond memories. They were very enthused about the church and later moved to Winnepeg, Canada. Over a year later I arranged my flight home so I could stop and see them. It turned out that they were such great members and referred so many people to the missionaries that over 30 people were baptized because of them.

Unfortunately because they were such a great source of leads the missionaries just about camped out on their doorstep. It came to the point that they were pestered so much they were thinking of leaving the church.

Even so, I had a good visit with them and renewed the good feelings we used to share.

Then I saw Brother Corrigan one other time. I believe it was around 1972 he made a trip down to visit me. He had created a new invention that he wanted me to market for him in the United States.

Have you seen those devices that you drive by and they tell you how fast you are going? If you are speeding and see you are going over the limit it is hoped that you will then slow down.

Brother Corrigan, I believe, was the first to invent such a thing. We had a good visit, but I told him I didn’t have the time or means to give him much help.

That’s the last I saw of him and always wondered if the current machines use his patent or some big company worked their way around it.

Anyway, after I had been in Peterlee about three months we found that we had knocked on about every door in town. The Elder before me said it would only take a month, but we made the most of what we had and worked it very thoroughly, but after three months we had squeezed out about all the good leads in the town.

We did some brainstorming and looked at a map. A few miles away there were a couple small towns that didn’t have missionaries assigned that might supply new leads. We thought it was quite possible that missionaries had never worked these areas.

The only problem was that we would have quite a bit more travel time than usual as our mode of transportation was our bikes and the towns were a few miles away.

Also my bike was on its last leg as one day we were sailing down a hill at a good clip and I hit a rock. This sent me sailing up in the air quite a few feet. Fortunately, I lit on the back of my neck and shoulders just right so I rolled, avoiding a dangerous impact. Then within seconds I faced another danger as I was rolling toward a busy intersection of traffic. Thank God I was able to stop just before I rolled in front of the cars.

Elder Ware saw the whole thing and was worried I may be seriously injured, but I dusted myself off and seemed to be unscathed. My bike wasn’t so lucky. My front wheel was bent at a right angle as it endured quite a shock. I couldn’t afford a new one so we took it to a shop to see what he could do for the least amount of money. The guy bent the wheel back as good as possible and patched it up but it was never the same again. From that point on it always had a wobble to it. I received a lot of comments on that wobble.

Anyway we braved it over to the nearby hamlets and started seeking people to teach. Most of the people in these areas were coal miners and were a more earthy bunch not much interested in spiritual things though we did get a lot of invitations to the local pub. Unfortunately, missionaries had to refuse such invites.

These were tougher areas to work than Peterlee but we did have some success. Finally after working these areas for a few weeks one day we were knocking on doors in a coal mining area called Black Hall. At one residence a sweet lady with gray hair came to the door and we gave her our presentation. She said she was not interested, but she did have a daughter who had read the Bible. She wasn’t home at the moment but if we wanted to come back another day she might be willing to listen.

That really wasn’t much of a lead and it was out of our way to come back a few days later but I had the impression that we should call on her. A few days later we knocked on her door and the daughter answered. Her name was Margaret.

We introduced ourselves and she gave us a strange response. She stood before us with a defiant look with her arms crossed and said:

“I don’t like Mormons and I don’t like Americans. What could you possibly have to interest me?”

I said, “What do you like then?”

She paused a moment as she didn’t seem to be in a mood to like anything at that moment.

Then I said, “Your mother tells us you like the Bible and have read it.”

She admitted she liked the Bible and that lead us into some discussion, which opened the door for me to tell her about the story of Joseph Smith. As I recounted it, the resistance seemed to melt as it appeared to have a huge effect on her. I then asked her if we could come back and teach her.

It was amazing that someone so defiant had changed in just a couple moments to one who seemed almost anxious to see us again.

As we walked away I said something very unusual to Elder Ware. “That woman,” I said, “is of the blood of Israel and if I wind up marrying anyone from England it will be her.”

“Yeah, right,” said Elder Ware with great skepticism. Besides, he knew I had a crush on Jo Douglas and thought I would be much more likely to marry her.

Most missionaries think about such possibilities but it rarely happens. When missionaries get home to the states they find lots of prospects in their own back yards that make them forget about the pretty lasses back in the old country. Also Mormon parents place lots of pressure on their daughters to marry a return missionary so he finds getting dates with LDS girls to be a lot easier than before his mission.

We returned a few days later and taught not only Margaret, but also her younger sister. For some reason I was very nervous. I even put the picture of the Angel Moroni on upside down on our teaching board and had never done that before.

Then a few days later we took her a Book of Mormon to read. When she answered the door I dropped it on her feet. I had never done that before either. Why was I so nervous I kept asking myself.

We then invited her to come to church with us the next Sunday. I kept my finders crossed that it would be a good service.

She kept her word and showed up and we sat next to her as the service began. The members in the branch were all sincere and intelligent and we had never had a bad meeting while I had been there so I was expecting smooth sailing.

To my astonishment and horror the main speaker decided to be creative with his visual aids. He was talking about the subject of tithing and as he was placing emphasis on the importance of paying it he pulled out an ax and it seems like a chain as well and said something to the effect that if people don’t pay their tithing the church has its ways of dealing with them.

I slunk into my chair and didn’t dare look at Margaret. Where in the world did this normally intelligent member get such an idea as this?

Fortunately, the rest of the meeting went fairly well and after it was over I nervously approached Margaret and asked her what she thought. I was expecting her to say that she wasn’t coming back, but her answer surprised me.

“This is what I always dreamed a church should be like,” she said. Fortunately, she took the member’s visual aid with a grain of salt and liked how the church was run with so much member participation.

I had worked in Peterlee over four months and I knew a transfer was overdue. One usually spends between 3-4 months in an area so I was expecting a letter of transfer any day. I was hoping I could stay long enough to baptize Margaret and her sister, but such was not the case. When we were only about half way through the lessons the letter came.

After the success we had in Peterlee, a town they were ready to close down, I thought that I had no worries about not being in a leadership position again. When I arrived in Peterlee only about 15 members attended church and when I left we had as many as 65. We had baptized 18 people and 20 if we counted Margaret and her sister. In addition, the families we brought in had 15 or so kids under eight that were not yet eligible for baptism. In addition we had a couple dozen people we were teaching of which a good portion we were expecting to baptize.

As far as I knew this was a mission record for the average baptisms in that mission for an entire two year period was only 3-4 people.

Surely President Payne had enough sense to keep me in a leadership position so I can do things my way, I thought.

I thought wrong.

My transfer was to the city of Lancaster. I would no longer be a senior but would be with an Elder who had been out longer than me. We would be what was called “co seniors,” where we would share responsibility.

This threw a monkey wrench in my goal of 100 baptisms for the two years. It was unlikely a seasoned Elder would accept my unorthodox way of doing things and would want to work business as usual.

I got my affairs in order so I could leave, but there was one more thing I needed to do. I wanted to say goodbye to Margaret.
Copyright 2010 by J J Dewey