Wednesday, October 28, 2015

To be born into independence

I believe that everyone, sooner or later, needs to learn how to stand on their own two feet, needs to learn how to be independent of everything beneath the celestial world (D&C 74:18). The only dependence worthy of having is dependency on God. Any other will eventually turn into an addiction. And things that you can be addicted to are not admissible into the Kingdom of Heaven.

Becoming independent is hard work. It takes faith, it takes determination, it takes courage, and it's oftentimes a lonely path. It's done in the anguish of your own soul, far away from pulpets and firesides. It's done on your knees and in your humble heart, and not where you are seen. It's done entirely between God and yourself, a sphere where no person or earthly institution should be allowed to interfere.

When I think of this concept of becoming independent, I find there's a parallel in giving birth to babies. The baby has grown and matured in the womb and is finally ready to breath with its own two lungs, and see with its own two eyes, feel with its own two hands. The process of birth is lethal for both the baby and its mother. Despite this fact, God has designed it to be this way. I believe this is indicative of how it is to become independent, or in other words, born again.

Both the mother (i.e. the thing, place, group of people, organization) and the baby (you) experience pain when you are born. The mother had less pain when you still were in the womb, and might have chosen it to be that way forever if God hadn't designed it to be otherwise. And you might also have chosen to stay in the safety of your mother. Nevertheless, we do know, that this isn't possible. And I believe it's a spiritual impossibility as well.

Sunday, October 11, 2015

No law but love, no creed but Christ!

This slogan - No law but love, no creed but Christ! - recently came to my attention, and I fell in love at first sight.

As of late, I've been drawn between two main themes: the current state of the Church and the restored Gospel of Jesus Christ. One empowers, the other doesn't. One gives life, the other consumes time. 

I realize that I will never have enough time to sift through all the aspects of the Church and it's history, and I've come to understand, that even if I did, it would make me neither happy nor saved.

There are som many things to get caught up in. So many questions to take a different stand on. There seems to be no end to issues on which to digress from the traditional view. Falling into the trap of dissent is so easy, any one can do it! To work for unity despite disagreements is harder. To give the same latitude for different beliefs within our "household of faith" (D&C 121:45) as we extend to those of other traditions is hard, but a sign of respect, tolerance and open minded- and heartedness. It's a sign of a desire for unity in Christ.

No matter who's right on the "hot" issues, no matter if the Church is "true" or not, no matter if the leaders are called of God or not, I have to be true to the light within me. No matter what, I have to repent from all my sins in order for me to come to know God. Love will bridge all gaps, love will root out the critical devil from my chest, and love will keep my heart open for those around me. Should I let other, less important things, obfuscate my eye of faith and cause my strength to slacken and my heart to weep and my soul linger in the valley of sorrow? (2 Ne. 4:26) 


These words from Joseph will be my guide going forward.

"If I esteem mankind to be in error, shall I bear down on them? No. I will lift them up, and in their own way too, if I cannot persuade them my way is better. I will not seek to compel any man to believe as I do, only by force of reasoning, for truth will cut its own way. Do you believe Jesus Christ and the gospel of salvation which he revealed? So do I. Christians should cease wrangling and contending with each other, and cultivate the principles of union and friendship. I am just as ready to die defending the rights of a Presbyterian, a Baptist, or a good man of any other denomination.” (History of the Church, 5:498–499)

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Step 4 - Receive the Holy Ghost (laying on of hands)

Some time ago, I came across the book “Experiencing the Mighty Change.” Recently, I opened it up (on my iPad) and was truly touched. This feeling has lingered with me, even though I, for a week or so, exchanged it for the frustration that comes from studying Church history and getting acquainted with the traditions of my fathers.

There are many things to ponder, read and talk about, but I’ve settled that the most important thing for me will be to understand and to share my belief and faith in the Gospel of Jesus Christ. The principles of faith, repentance and baptism, along with prayer and fasting, has taken on a whole new dimension. I realize I’ve only just begun, but I’m excited for the journey.

Some time ago, while I was serving in a bishopric, I entertained some doubts about the current state of the Church, and I thought long and hard about asking to be released. I didn’t get clarity from discussions with my wife or trusted friends. Also, my prayers were left unanswered. I got the thought that I should try the scriptures. I took my triple combination from the shelf and opened it up. My answer was given in these verses:
Preach unto them repentance, and faith on the Lord Jesus Christ; teach them to humble themselves and to be meek and lowly in heart; teach them to withstand every temptation of the devil, with their faith on the Lord Jesus Christ. Teach them to never be weary of good works, but to be meek and lowly in heart; for such shall find rest to their souls. (Alma 37:33-34)
The Lord showed me what’s important to him and I was on board. This insight has stayed with me, and I’m happy to be able to share my thoughts on the Gospel of Jesus Christ with you.

My goal is never to investigate every aspect of a topic, but rather raise some points I've been pondering lately.

Receive the Holy Ghost

When speaking about baptism, the doctrine of Christ and the Gospel of Jesus Christ, the concept of receiving the Holy Ghost is of paramount importance. Joseph Smith taught the following:
”You might as well baptize a bag of sand as a man, if not done in view of the remission of sins and getting of the Holy Ghost. Baptism by water is but half a baptism, and is good for nothing without the other half—that is, the baptism of the Holy Ghost. The Savior says, “Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.” “Though we or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed,” according to Galatians 1:8.23” (July 9, 1843.) DHC 5:498-500. TPJS p. 314.
I believe this rebirth has many names (born again, baptism of fire/spirit, born of God, mighty change of heart and so forth). There might be slight differences between these different concepts. Since I haven’t attained unto this stage of spiritual development, so I don’t know about the subtle differences that might exist. If someone, out of experience will care to enlighten me, please do so! What I write here is what I gather, and understand, from reading the scriptures.

The GIFT of the Holy Ghost

In the scriptural discourses on the reception of the Holy Ghost as a finalizing part of the ordinance of baptism, the laying on of hands aren’t mentioned. Despite this fact, the laying on of hands has been portrayed as an essential component of receiving the Holy Ghost.

Below are a few examples.
Acts 2:1 And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place.2 And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting.3 And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them.4 And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.
Mosiah 18:10 Now I say unto you, if this be the desire of your hearts, what have you against being baptized in the name of the Lord, as a witness before him that ye have entered into a covenant with him, that ye will serve him and keep his commandments, that he may pour out his Spirit more abundantly upon you?
2 Ne 31:11 And the Father said: Repent ye, repent ye, and be baptized in the name of my Beloved Son.
12 And also, the voice of the Son came unto me, saying: He that is baptized in my name, to him will the Father give the Holy Ghost, like unto me; wherefore, follow me, and do the things which ye have seen me do.
13 Wherefore, my beloved brethren, I know that if ye shall follow the Son, with full purpose of heart, acting no hypocrisy and no deception before God, but with real intent, repenting of your sins, witnessing unto the Father that ye are willing to take upon you the name of Christ, by baptism—yea, by following your Lord and your Savior down into the water, according to his word, behold, then shall ye receive the Holy Ghost; yea, then cometh the baptism of fire and of the Holy Ghost; and then can ye speak with the tongue of angels, and shout praises unto the Holy One of Israel.
14 But, behold, my beloved brethren, thus came the voice of the Son unto me, saying: After ye have repented of your sins, and witnessed unto the Father that ye are willing to keep my commandments, by the baptism of water, and have received the baptism of fire and of the Holy Ghost, and can speak with a new tongue, yea, even with the tongue of angels, and after this should deny me, it would have been better for you that ye had not known me.
3 Ne 11:35 Verily, verily, I say unto you, that this is my doctrine, and I bear record of it from the Father; and whoso believeth in me believeth in the Father also; and unto him will the Father bear record of me, for he [the Father; compare with 3 Ne. 19:20] will visit him with fire and with the Holy Ghost.
3 Ne 27:20 Now this is the commandment: Repent, all ye ends of the earth, and come unto me and be baptized in my name, that ye may be sanctified by the reception of the Holy Ghost, that ye may stand spotless before me at the last day.
Moroni 6:And after they had been received unto baptism, and were wrought upon and cleansed by the power of the Holy Ghost, they were numbered among the people of the church of Christ; and their names were taken, that they might be remembered and nourished by the good word of God, to keep them in the right way, to keep them continually watchful unto prayer, relying alone upon the merits of Christ, who was the author and the finisher of their faith.
3 Ne 26:17 And it came to pass that the disciples whom Jesus had chosen began from that time forth to baptize and to teach as many as did come unto them; and as many as were baptized in the name of Jesus were filled with the Holy Ghost.
3 Ne 19:8 [The disciples] knelt again and prayed to the Father in the name of Jesus.
9 And they did pray for that which they most desired; and they desired that the Holy Ghost should be given unto them.
10 And when they had thus prayed they went down unto the water’s edge, and the multitude followed them.
11 And it came to pass that Nephi went down into the water and was baptized.
12 And he came up out of the water and began to baptize. And he baptized all those whom Jesus had chosen.
13 And it came to pass when they were all baptized and had come up out of the water, the Holy Ghost did fall upon them, and they were filled with the Holy Ghost and with fire.
14 And behold, they were encircled about as if it were by fire; and it came down from heaven, and the multitude did witness it, and did bear record; and angels did come down out of heaven and did minister unto them.
3 Ne 28:18 But this much I know, according to the record which hath been given—they did go forth upon the face of the land, and did minister unto all the people, uniting as many to the church as would believe in their preaching; baptizing them, and as many as were baptized did receive the Holy Ghost.
Acts 2:37 Now when they heard this, they were pricked in their heart, and said unto Peter and to the rest of the apostles, Men and brethren, what shall we do?
38 Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.
From these examples, it’s clear that the Holy Ghost is a gift from heaven and can’t be controlled by men (unless these have been given a specific charge; we’ll come to that shortly). Jesus makes it clear when he prayed thusly:
3 Ne 19:20 Father, I thank thee that thou hast given the Holy Ghost unto these whom I have chosen; and it is because of their belief in me that I have chosen them out of the world.
21 Father, I pray thee that thou wilt give the Holy Ghost unto all them that shall believe in their words.
22 Father, thou hast given them the Holy Ghost because they believe in me; and thou seest that they believe in me because thou hearest them, and they pray unto me; and they pray unto me because I am with them.
23 And now Father, I pray unto thee for them, and also for all those who shall believe on their words, that they may believe in me, that I may be in them as thou, Father, art in me, that we may be one.
 We receive the Holy Ghost as it is a gift from the Father.

Just a side note at this stage. We tend to think that the Holy Ghost denotes a personage of spirit. We might also understand this concept as a description of what happens to our spirit when it’s touched by the Father—it becomes holy and sanctified!

Why the laying on of hands?

If the Holy Ghost is a gift from the Father, why do we practice the laying on of hands. First, it should be noted, that when someone is confirmed a member of the Church, they are told to receive the Holy Ghost. This isn’t the same thing as giving the Holy Ghost.

When we read how Jesus equipped his Book of Mormon-disciples with the power to give the Holy Ghost, some important things stand out.
3 Ne 18:36 And it came to pass that when Jesus had made an end of these sayings, he touched with his hand the disciples whom he had chosen, one by one, even until he had touched them all, and spake unto them as he touched them.
37 And the multitude heard not the words which he spake, therefore they did not bear record; but the disciples bare record that he gave them power to give the Holy Ghost. And I will show unto you hereafter that this record is true.
38 And it came to pass that when Jesus had touched them all, there came a cloud and overshadowed the multitude that they could not see Jesus.
Jesus explicitly touched his disciples before they could give the Holy Ghost. What if the same thing holds true today–what if you can’t bestow the gift of the Holy Ghost on anyone unless you’ve had the hands of Jesus placed upon you with the specific purpose of granting you this power? What are we then doing at confirmation?

In Moroni 2, we read the “words of Christ, which he spake unto his disciples, the twelve whom he had chosen, as he laid his hands upon them—And he called them by name, saying: Ye shall call on the Father in my name, in mighty prayer; and after ye have done this ye shall have power that to him upon whom ye shall lay your hands, ye shall give the Holy Ghost; and in my name shall ye give it, for thus do mine apostles. Now Christ spake these words unto them at the time of his first appearing; and the multitude heard it not, but the disciples heard it; and on as many as they laid their hands, fell the Holy Ghost.”

From this we learn that the prerequisites for giving the Holy Ghost are:
1. Be touched by Jesus
2. Call on the Father in mighty prayer
3. Receive the power to give the Holy Ghost
4. Give the Holy Ghost in the name of Christ

Joseph Smith is quoted as saying the following:
We now became anxious to have that promise realized to us, which the angel that conferred upon us the Aaronic Priesthood had given us, viz., that provided we continued faithful, we should also have the Melchizedek Priesthood, which hold the authority of the laying on of hands for the gift of the Holy Ghost.” (History of the Church, Vol.1, Chapter 7 [June 1829 - Apr. 1830] The Day Appointed For Organizing the Church--Revelation On Church Government, p. 62)
The reason why I bring this up is that the Melchizedek Priesthood is bestowed by the voice of God. I guess that the voice of God might qualify as “the touch of Christ” (see JST Gen. 14:25-40).

Why is it important to receive the Holy Ghost?

Lehi taught his son Jacob that ”[Jesus] offereth himself a sacrifice for sin, to answer the ends of the law, unto all those who have a broken heart and a contrite spirit; and unto none else can the ends of the law be answered.” (2 Ne. 2:7)

On the same theme of the broken heart and contrite spirit, Jesus taught that “ye shall offer for a sacrifice unto me a broken heart and a contrite spirit. And whoso cometh unto me with a broken heart and a contrite spirit, him will I baptize with fire and with the Holy Ghost.” (3 Ne. 9:20)

When we’ve come to the Savior with a broken heart and a contrite spirit, we will receive the Holy Ghost. If we haven’t received the Holy Ghost, we haven’t come unto the Savior according to his word, which also means that ”the ends of the law [hasn’t and cannot] be answered” on our behalf.

Another way to describe the reception of the Holy Ghost is to wash our garments in the blood of Christ. I will post some thoughts on this topic in the near future. Stay tuned!

Are we talking about a process or an event?

Someone who reads the above quoted scriptures might relate to the following excerpt from a teachers’ manual for Alma 5.
Some students may feel that they have not experienced a spiritual rebirth because they haven’t seen a dramatic change in their lives. Ask: Is a change of heart an event or a process? Share the following caution by President Ezra Taft Benson: “The scriptures record remarkable accounts of men whose lives changed dramatically, in an instant, as it were: Alma the Younger, Paul on the road to Damascus, Enos praying far into the night, King Lamoni. Such astonishing examples of the power to change even those steeped in sin can give confidence that the Atonement can reach even those deepest in despair. “But we must be cautious as we discuss these remarkable examples. Though they are real and powerful, they are the exception more than the rule. For every Paul, for every Enos, and for every King Lamoni, there are hundreds and thousands of people who find the process of repentance much more subtle, much more imperceptible. Day by day they move closer to the Lord, little realizing that they are building a godlike life. They live quiet lives of goodness, service, and commitment. They are like the Lamanites, who the Lord said ‘were baptized with fire and with the Holy Ghost, and they knew it not.’ (3 Ne. 9:20; italics added.)” (“A Mighty Change of Heart,” Ensign, Oct. 1989, 5).
Who were these lamanites?

In the 1921 version of the Book of Mormon, 3 Ne. 9:20 (“And ye shall offer for a sacrifice unto me a broken heart and a contrite spirit. And whoso cometh unto me with a broken heart and a contrite spirit, him will I baptize with fire and with the Holy Ghost, even as the Lamanites, because of their faith in me at the time of their conversion, were baptized with fire and with the Holy Ghost, and they knew it not.”) has two footnotes (y and z). The last of these concerns the conversion Jesus alluded to. The reference is given to Hel. 5:45 and Eth. 12:14.
Hel. 5:45 And behold, the Holy Spirit of God did come down from heaven, and did enter into their hearts, and they were filled as if with fire, and they could speak forth marvelous words. Eth. 12:14 Behold, it was the faith of Nephi and Lehi that wrought the change upon the Lamanites, that they were baptized with fire and with the Holy Ghost.
The lamanites spoken of were not anything different from Paul or king Lamoni–all of them harbored murderous intentions towards the servants of and believers in God. The same is not true for Enos. To put him together with these ”cold” men (Rev. 3:15-16) is, on my view, unfair and wrong. (Read Denver Snuffer’s ”Beloved Enos” for a full treatise on this.)

President Benson uses the words of Christ to perpetuate the teaching that the baptism of fire is a gradual process we’re barely aware of. True, the process of repentance and change that leads a person to this point of rebirth can be subtle. But the baptism, the rebirth, the becoming of a new creature should and, according to scripture, is as discernible as a woman giving birth to a child.

Saturday, October 3, 2015

Step 3 – Baptism by immersion (and the erroneous teaching of renewing covenants by partaking of the sacrament)

Jesus and John
Why baptism by immersion in water?

Alma said: ”Show unto your God that ye are willing to repent of your sins and enter into a covenant with him to keep his commandments, and witness it unto him this day by going into the waters of baptism.” (Alma 7:15).

He also said ”[be] baptized in the name of the Lord, as a witness before him that ye have entered into a covenant with him, that ye will serve him and keep his commandments, that he may pour out his Spirit more abundantly upon you?” (Mosiah 18:10)

In Moses 6, we read the following:
 59 That by reason of transgression cometh the fall, which fall bringeth death, and inasmuch as ye were born into the world by water, and blood, and the spirit, which I have made, and so became of dust a living soul, even so ye must be born again into the kingdom of heaven, of water, and of the Spirit, and be cleansed by blood, even the blood of mine Only Begotten; that ye might be sanctified from all sin, and enjoy the words of eternal life in this world, and eternal life in the world to come, even immortal glory; 60 For by the water ye keep the commandment; by the Spirit ye are justified, and by the blood ye are sanctified; 61 Therefore it is given to abide in you; the record of heaven; the Comforter; the peaceable things of immortal glory; the truth of all things; that which quickeneth all things, which maketh alive all things; that which knoweth all things, and hath all power according to wisdom, mercy, truth, justice, and judgment. 62 And now, behold, I say unto you: This is the plan of salvation unto all men, through the blood of mine Only Begotten, who shall come in the meridian of time.
In a dry womb, without the water, no child would survive a pregnancy. There would be no births. This is easily understood and logical. In what way could the same be said about baptism by water? Without baptism by water, no child of God would survive the process of becoming born again? Or, the rebirth wouldn’t occur without the baptism by water. But, if this is the case, I need to ask, why? Is it because God has said that it should be so, and everyone has to come in at the gate (Joh. 10:1-9) and not by some other way? God’s word is law, indeed, by why does he make baptism by water his law?

Since the cleansing from sin is wrought through the Holy Ghost, baptism by water has to serve another purpose. Which?

God works in patterns. We are born back into his presence by the same elements that we are born out of his (immediate) presence. We show faith in God and his revealed word when we accept this process and show our willingness to serve him by obeying. Baptism by water is a ritual filled with symbolism capable of helping our minds penetrating deeper and deeper into the importance and meaning of the ritual. Maybe this is reason enough. The purpose of baptism by water might fulfilled when we ponder about it and when we seek God, in order to have him shed some of his light upon us and answer the questions we have.

I’ve asked God, ‘why this way?’. His answer has been… Well, the thoughts above have come to mind. And maybe that’s his answer to me right now – continue pondering and one day I will enlighten your mind in this regard. The search for the mysteries of God is the important thing in all of this, because your search conditions your heart and focuses your mind on things not of this world.

Covenants made at baptism and the renewal of these through partaking of the sacrament

From the words of Alma we can conclude that we are invited to let the baptism of water be a start for a new life as a prospective disciple of Christ. We can show our desire to follow him and keep his commandments by being baptized. He can then lead us along toward the reception of the Holy Ghost.

The teaching of renewing covenants through partaking of the sacrament is well established in the Church (see here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here and here). According to an official Church publication, doctrine is established when ”the First Presidency (the prophet and his two counselors) and the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles (the second-highest governing body of the Church)[ With divine inspiration,] counsel together to establish doctrine that is consistently proclaimed in official Church publications.” 

With this in mind, I dare to say that "renewing covenants through partaking of the sacrament" is Church doctrine. This is disconcerting, since there's ample reasons to believe that it's not true. Against the back-drop of 3 Ne. 27:8 (a Church not built on His Gospel isn't his), this might be detrimental.

In a recent (april 2015) General Conference Leadership Training, Neil L.Andersen said the following: “The title ‘renewing our baptismal covenants’ is not found in the scriptures. It’s not inappropriate. Many of you have used it in talks [pointing to the group of General Authorities, Area Seventies and General Auxiliary Presidencies in the congregation]. We have used it in talks [pointing to members of the Q12 sitting behind him]. But it is not something that is used in the scriptures, and it can’t be the keynote of what we say about the sacrament.” (Neil L. Andersen's address is found at 3:45-4:12 minutes.)

During the October 2014 General Conference, James Hamula spoke well about the sacrament and the atonement. In his talk, he cited/quoted/referenced about 120 scriptures. But he said nothing about the sacrament being about renewal of covenants. I guess he already then knew that this doctrine was unscriptural.

This makes me wonder where this unscriptural doctrine comes from.

Joseph Smith, as far as I’ve been able to find, never once taught that we renew our covenants made at baptism (or elsewhere) by partaking of the sacrament (I’ve searched through “Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith”, “The Words of Joseph Smith” and “Teachings of the Presidents of the Church: Joseph Smith”). The teaching isn’t found in the scriptures either, just like Neil L. Andersen said.

When I’ve searched through the Journal of Discourses, I’ve found a few references to this doctrine. The earliest one is from Heber C. Kimball, given in July of 1863,
“This is what we are doing this afternoon, and, brethren and sisters, let us be faithful and remember in partaking of this ordinance [partaking of the emblems of the broken body and shed blood of Jesus Christ], we renew our covenants, and we have a promise that we shall receive a renewal of the Holy Spirit, to enable us to be humble and to perform the duties that are enjoined upon us as Saints.” (Heber C. Kimball, JD 10:239, Heber C. Kimball, The Young Missionaries, Etc.) 
This teaching has since then been repeated so many times, that it’s like it came from the Savior himself.

In August of 1875, Brigham Young suggested another way of  renewing covenants. He said:
“You are at perfect liberty to go and renew your covenants by baptism; but if you will not live according to the instructions that are given, we object to you renewing your covenants; we do not wish you to say one thing and do another.” (Brigham Young, JD 18:70, Brigham Young, Present Revelation, Etc.) 
Interesting! Renewing covenants by re-baptism. This seems to be a sound Gospel principle as it was practiced by the disciples chosen by Jesus (3 Ne. 19:9-13) and by Alma, the convert of Abinadi (Mosiah 18:12-15). My conclusion is that whenever the Lord renews us to his path, we are invited to show this rededication by being baptized anew. I find this beautiful.

This practice was common during the earlier years of the Church.
Brigham Young (BY), Wilford Woodruff (WW), Heber C. Kimball (HCK) och Lorenzo D. Young (LDY) taught as follows concering renewing of covenants.
"When I first met the train of handcarts my soul was full, the scene was overwhelming, our hearts were swollen, as brother Kimball said, till they felt as though they were as big as a two bushel basket. Was it sorrow that produced this? No, but joy; and why so? Because it looked as if the very flood gates of deliverance were opened, and as if we could say to the starving millions, “Come home to Zion, and improve the opportunity that is now open, and renew your covenants, reform yourselves in your lives and conduct.” (BY September 1856, JD 4:43)
"I repeat that, as for as those who are disposed to refrain from their evils, to renew their covenants and live their religion, I will have the honor and you the privilege of going forth and renewing your covenants, otherwise their must be a separation." (WW October 1856, JD 4:94)
Heber C.
"When brother Brigham predicts that certain things will happen if the people persist in a certain course, that prediction will be fulfilled, except the people make a retraction and an atonement sufficient to satisfy the demands of justice; for that is what God requires. When that is done, the sins of the people will be remitted. I speak of this, that you may understand that your rebaptisms must be agreeable to the order laid down. It is not simply a man's saying, “Having been commissioned by Jesus Christ, I baptize you for the renewal of your covenant and remission of your sins,” but you must be subject to your brethren and fulfil the law of God. […] If I have offended brother Brigham in any way whatever—rebelled against him, lied about him, or sought to abuse him, what is the use of my going to the water to renew my covenant, until I have made satisfaction to him? The proper way would be to go to him and say, “Brother Brigham, I lied against you willfully, under the influence of an evil spirit;” or, “I have ill-treated and wronged you, and know that I must make satisfaction, and I am ready to do anything that you say.” Satisfaction must be made to the one injured, or baptism will be of no benefit: the Holy Ghost will not ratify that act until I have paid the debt. Then brother Brigham would say, “I forgive you, and pray my Father, in the name of Jesus, to forgive you also.” Then our Father in heaven would forgive you, and the Son, and the Holy Ghost would forgive you. And if you get pardon of those you have injured, and of the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, you are free and ready to begin a new life. (HCK, October 1856: JD 5:202)

Lorenzo D.
"Within the last twelve months I have seen this people become more humble and prayerful, and I have seen them renew their covenants; I have seen them make restoration and restitution, and give the pledge of their sincerity and integrity; and I have seen the Spirit of the Lord poured out upon them. This also gives me exceeding joy; it affords me comfort and sweet consolation." (LDY August 1857, JD 6:235)