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Sermon by Patriarch Lou Richards, transcribed from a cassette tape

FATHER'S DAY, JUNE, 1970

Scripture lesson: Joel 2:28-32

"And it shall come to pass afterward that I will pour out My Spirit upon all flesh, and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions;

And also upon the servants and upon the handmaid in those days will I pour out My Spirit. And I will show wonders in the heavens and in the earth, blood and fire, and pillars of smoke. The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the great and terrible day of the Lord come.

And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be delivered; for in mount Zion and in Jerusalem shall be deliverance, as the Lord hath said, and in the remnant whom the Lord shall call."

Sermon:

I thank you sister, very much for the ministry of song.

I think you've not been told that I feel honored to be asked to occupy your pulpit at this hour, and I have given considerable thought as to what I should preach as to subject matter and being a father myself, probably with as many children as most of you have, I think that fathers don't care too much about being eulogized on a Sunday like this, even though this is Father's Day. Suffice it to say, perhaps, that the word "Father" implies very much and for a person worthy of that name--actually worthy of it--, it requires some thinking, some adaptation, some adjustments; for the Lord says that for one to be worthy and deserving of that name in any measure at all, he needs to be worthy of bilateral affection by those who know him best. You men can judge whether you are deserving of that, and I'll be doing the the same as we contemplate these things. It is one thing to be the head of that family, and quite another to be worthy as head. I've long since found that out.

But I'm going to talk to you this morning about something that I feel is more appropriate at this time. I've preached this sermon; I may have preached it here before, (I'm not too sure of that), but at any time previous I have felt it was distantly removed from us as yet. But as I come into your pulpit, I feel this that I'm going to talk about, it much nearer now than ______? [unclear words]

You now know the history of His church, the early history of it, readily recognize that my scriptural lesson was taken from the second Chapter of the Book of Joel, reading from the 28th to the 32nd vs. inclusive, verses that were (told?) to the prophet Joseph, before he became a prophet, by an angel that had come from heaven. This angel visited him three times during one night, if you remember. Then in the early hours of the following day he tried to reach the field where his father was working; he was a farmer. This same angel visited him again and each time this angel quoted these verses [to him] that I read for a scripture lesson. He was informed that "this has not had its fulfillment, ...but will have." This isn't the only scripture that was quoted upon that occasion; there were several passages of scripture, most of them having to do with giving this young Palmyra prophet the assurance that Jesus is indeed the Christ.

But you know the certificates for the first line of this quotation, the AFTERWARD used or employed at this time--"and it shall come to pass afterwards..." Now, if any passage of scripture should be as my text for this setting, then this scripture will be used in that text: "It shall come to pass afterward .... "

Now, throughout the years of my ministry, and its been a long time now, I have used excerpts from the Book of Joel because his language is very beautiful, but never did I until a few years ago, when visiting a branch in Topeka--and it happened to be the occasion of our wedding anniversary--my wife went with me, and we spent the night in a Hotel Kansas. That's always going to be a more or less sacred place to me and I'll tell you why.

I didn't have anything particular in mind other than I thought I'd go to the early service of the next day and sort of determine there what my sermon would be. Frequently I'll do that when serving outlying branches. But during the night the Book of Joel was opened to me just like a scroll. I arose from my sleep or bed, obtained a blue and red pencil that I usually carry with me (especially the past few years until I got my books all marked...) and I underscored this scripture in Joel agreeable with the impressions that came into my mind. Some of them are impressions of impending disaster in a history-making process in keeping with the word or the Lord in all ages.

I want you to understand that when the Lord declares disaster to fall on certain _____[??], all in keeping with the broken laws, he gives an alternative, otherwise God wouldn't predict anything to us. If it had to be and there was no alternative, then it would be just that way and we would have to take it for granted. But whenever the Lord moves upon one of His servants to declare disaster ____[??] or even portions, He gives with that pending disaster an alternative so we can escape it. Just like He did with Jonah when He called him to go to prophesy to Nineveh. He gave the opportunity of repentance, and to the consternation of Jonah, Nineveh repented. It made Jonah mad. You know the story, but this is the way God always works, has always worked, and continues to work today. Thank God for that; He'll continue to work that way.

But what could I say here today at the very offset will be rather weird, and could cause you to be fearful. But I want you to remember my text--the first verse of this lesson reading which is the 1st verse of the scripture (Judism) quoted by this angel upon four different occasions; "and it shall come to pass afterward..."

Well, when this stood out so pronounced to me that night, I asked the question quietly but fervently, "After what?" Never in times of reading had this text stood out so pronounced as it did upon that occasion. I didn't hear a voice but I felt the influence of direction of the Holy Spirit as I have experienced it many times, and the answer to that interrogation was "After the things that Joel had prophesied." And so I turned back to the 1st verse of the Book of Joel. And this is what I read:

"The word of the Lord that came to Joel the son of Pethuel. Hear this, ye old men, and give ear, all ye inhabitants of the land, hath this been in your days, or even in the days of your fathers? Tell ye your children of it, and let your children tell their children, and their children another generation."

Not subsequent generations, but another generation, and under the inspiration of the Spirit that night I came to know this was the generation that He is referring to as the "other generation."

"For a nation is come upon My land, strong, and without number, whose teeth are as the teeth of a lion, and he hath the cheek teeth of a great lion. He hath laid My vine waste, and barked My fig tree; he hath made it clean bare, and cast it away; the branches thereof are made white."

Now to begin with, here is a condition of impending war of very disastrous conditions, and you'll notice here at the very offset that this was to take place upon what the Lord referred to as His land. Now Latter Day Saints have some information that no other people under the canopy of heaven have relevant to the land that the Lord has claimed to be His land, that land choice above every other land. This is the land here that was to be invaded by a strong nation, an old nation, a nation with much fury and much strength and without number.

Well, there are two nations on the face of the earth today that are not numbered. They don't know really just how much population they have. Do I need to name them? They are about the same brand although they are forever quarreling among themselves, but they are communistic nations, both of them; and while in principle they vary a little bit, yet in common they are pretty much one. And this shall comprise the nation referred to in this prophecy.

"Alas, for the day.' For the day of the Lord is at hand, and as a destruction from the Almighty shall it come. Is not the meat cut off before our eyes, yea, joy and gladness from the house of our God? The seed is rotten under their clods, the garners are laid desolate, the barns are broken down; for the corn is withered. How do the beasts groan.' The herds of cattle are perplexed, because they have no pasture; yea, the flocks of sheep are made desolate.

Oh Lord, to Thee will I cry; for the fire hath devoured the pastures of the wilderness, and the flame hath burned all the trees of the field. The beasts of the field cry also unto Thee; for the rivers of water are dried up, and the fire hath devoured the pastures of the wilderness. (Joel 1:15-20)

A day of darkness and of gloominess, a day of clouds and of thick darkness, as the morning spread upon the mountains; a great people and a strong; (now get this) there has not been ever the like, neither shall be any more after it, even to the years of many generations."

We are living now in this fulfillment because there never has been as many people on the face of the earth as there is right now and they're multiplying by the hour. So judge whether this will take place momentarily or whether in subsequent years; I don't know that, but this thing is ahead of us just as sure as there is a God in heaven.

"A fire devoureth before them; and behind them a flame burneth; and the land is as the garden of Eden before them; (and there never was a time on the earth when it is as productive as it is today. It is indeed as a garden of Eden as of now), and behind them a desolate wilderness; yea, and nothing shall escape them.

The appearance of them is as the appearance of horses; and as horsemen, so shall they run. Like the noise of chariots on the tops of mountains shall they leap: like the noise of a flame of fire that devoureth the stubble, as a strong people set in battle array (all this in our day).

Before their face the people shall be much pained; all faces shall gather blackness. They shall run like mighty men; they shall climb the wall like men of war; and they shall march every one on his ways, and they shall not break their ranks; "

Listen! "Neither shall one thrust another; they shall walk every one in his path; and when they fall upon the sword, they shall not be wounded." (That is exactly ---the training of the ROTC--to know what to do---how to carry their weapons).

"They shall run to and fro in the city; they shall run upon the wall, they shall climb up upon the houses; they shall enter in at the windows like a thief. The earth shall quake before them; the heavens shall tremble; the sun and the moon shall be dark, and the stars shall withdraw their shining; "

Now as' I have already said, this thing is ahead of us only on true and genuine repentance can this thing be averted. So far as I'm concerned we've waited too long. I don't believe personally that it's possible to avert it. And the church hasn't done its part as it ought to have done, or it could have been averted, and when this falls, much of the blood of this generation shall be upon the shoulders of those who profess Jesus Christ and claim to believe in the restoration movement. And yet our very ways have given lie to the thing that we profess to believe in.

I'll go back and pick up my text: "And it shall come to pass afterward..." We aren't doing too much about the purpose of Zion today, are we: Not very much. In fact, we are not the people as now to accomplish the purpose of Zion. There are several things that have crept in, that we better as a people know have crept in and we better know too, that we're going to have to get rid of it before we ever become that people. Because God's word, we read this morning, has never changed and never will change. His purposes are not defeated or changed and if we are to experience that scripture which says that we will, after we have paid the price, then shall come the fulfillment of the word of God that "it shall come to pass afterward."

And then the promise that follows. And the call to repentance to us right now is "Turn yourself and repent," ordained ministry, now, and that's where the charge lays--at the door of the ordained ministry, at their very feet, for as priesthood which the Lord has restored His church by, we have permitted priestcraft to enter in and we are saturated with it!

"Gird yourselves, and lament, ye priests; howl, ye ministers of the altar; come lie all night in sackcloth, ye ministers of my God; for the meat offering and the drink offering is withholden from the house of your God. Sanctify yea fast, call a solemn assembly, gather the elders and all the inhabitants of the land into the house of the Lord your God, and cry unto the Lord."

This is the call to total repentance and it shall begin in the house of the Lord, and especially in the ordained ministry that furnished the house of the Lord, beginning with the highest tribunal or council of the church and going on down through the quorums of the church, none to be exempt.

"Blow the trumpet in Zion, and sound an alarm in My holy mountain; let all the inhabitants of the land tremble; for the day of the Lord cometh, for it is nigh at hand;"

And believe me it is nigh at hand right now!

"And the LORD SHALL UTTER HIS VOICE BEFORE HIS ARMY: FOR HIS CAMP IS VERY GREAT, for he is strong that executeth his word; for the day of the Lord is great and very terrible; and who can abide it? Therefore also now, saith the Lord, turn ye even to me with all your heart."

Not just a little, for the Lord has not accepted a little bit from anybody. The first and great commandment is to love the Lord thy God with all our heart, with all our might, and the second is like unto it, love your neighbor like yourself.

"The Lord shall utter His voice before his army; for his camp is very great, for he is strong that executeth his word; for the day of the Lord is great and very terrible; and who can abide it? Therefore also now, saith the Lord, turn ye even to me with all your heart, and with fasting, and with weeping, and with mourning;"

How much do we hear any more about the importance of fasting? How much do we hear about going into periods of purification where we can really pray and supplicate the Throne of Grace? I'm asking you, how much do you hear of that today?

"And rend your hearts, and not your garments, and repent, and turn unto the Lord your God; for He is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness, and He will turn away the evil from you."

I'm hearing almost every day from those who are conscientious and concerned about the restoration movement, and they ask me, "How long is the Lord going to put up with the situation as it is now?" No doubt in your heart you have asked that question. "How long O Lord, how long?"

"Therefore repent, and who knows but He will return and leave a blessing behind Him; that you may offer a meat offering, and a drink offering, unto the Lord your God? Blow the trumpet in Zion, sanctify a fast, call a solemn assembly;"

We need less banqueting and more fasting, more periods of really getting together and worshipping as the true believers in Spirit and in truth. Something we have yet to learn.

"Gather the people, sanctify the congregation, assemble the elders, gather the children, and those that suck the breasts; let the bridegroom go forth of his chamber, and the bride out of her closet. Let the priests, the ministers of the Lord, weep between the porch and the altar, and let them say, Spare Thy people, 0 Lord, and give not Thine heritage to reproach, that the heathen should rule over them; wherefore should they say among the people, Where is their God?"

Instead of making of this church and everything that goes with it a gravy train, we need to learn the first principles of repentance.

"and give not Thine heritage to reproach, that the heathen should rule over them;"

And that's what the heathen world is trying to do right now. And mind you, we have quite a number of heathen among our own framework--rank and file.

"that the heathen should rule over them; wherefore should they say among the people, Where is their God?"

I wonder how observing of our situation today--how much do they see that we are God's children? What are the earmarks? Just what would indicate that we are different from other people? We need to be a distinctive people, called apart, dedicated to an all wise and eternal purpose, the purpose for which the Lord gave His life; but I'm afraid we haven't measured up too well.

"Let the priests, the ministers of the Lord, weep between the porch and the altar, and let them say, Spare Thy people, 0 Lord, and give not Thine heritage to reproach, that the heathen should rule over them; wherefore should they say among the people, Where is their God?"

Now, when we have done this, here is the promise, and we're not going to do it until after the things that are depicted here. I'm sure of that right now, even though the Lord wants us to. He doesn't want these things to happen, but we've taken this thing too far. There isn't any alternative for many of us.

"But the Lord will say to His people, behold, I will send you corn, and wine, and oil, and ye shall be satisfied therewith; and I will no more make you a reproach among the heathen;"

"No more," that is, once we have truly repented, but repentance is the call of this hour. When we think that we have become a favored people and continue to make of the church a gravy train and develop a hierarchy, a segregation of people, this class of people by virtue of their being on the general church payroll, and the other, is another class because they have never been favored thus, I want to tell you that this type of thing is of the devil and is priestcraft in the priesthood!

"Then will the Lord be jealous (when we have truly repented), for his land (physically), and pity His people. Yea, the Lord will answer and say unto His people, Behold, I will send you corn and wine ? (the Lord is going to have to prepare it) But I will remove far off from you the northern army."

That's pretty plain isn't it? Even tells us what location, but they're not going to be alone. They're going to have like variety with them. Two nations without number will join hands as sure as there's a God in heaven, and we're headed for this very thing.

"And I will remove far off from you the northern army, and will drive him into a land barren and desolate, with his face toward the east sea, and his hinder part toward the utmost sea, and his stink shall come up, and his ill savor shall come up, for he hath done great things."

In fact he has led the U.S. in all things until very recently; he has done really (achieved) great things.

"And ye shall eat in plenty, and be satisfied, and praise the name of the Lord your God, this is on the basis of repentance now, that hath dealt wondrously with you; and My people shall never be ashamed. And ye shall know that I am in the midst of Israel, and that I am the Lord your God, and none else; and My people shall never be ashamed."

Then comes the reading that the angel quoted: "and it shall come to pass afterward that I will pour out My Spirit upon all flesh;"

Now, you know and I know there is a dirth of the influence of the Good Spirit among all of His creatures today. There is actually a dirth of it in the church. Anybody care to deny that? I don't think anybody would.

"And it shall come to pass afterward that I will pour out My Spirit upon all flesh:"

World War III is not going to annihilate man from the earth. These things are yet to be achieved. However, in the same book, there shall never be as many people on the earth as there were from generation to generation.

"And also upon the servants and upon the handmaids in those days will I pour out My Spirit. On the basis of repentance now; and I will show wonders in the heavens, and in the earth, blood, and fire, and pillars of smoke. The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the great and the terrible day of the Lord come. And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord SHALL BE DELIVERED; for in Mount Zion (we don't have Zion to-. day), and in Jerusalem (future tense), that as the Lord has said, and in the remnant whom the Lord shall call."

This is our responsibility. This is all interwoven. We are called upon to be the salt of the earth. We are a people who project the work of the Lord so we that have history for our posterity, and all the history that we have that is essential in the past has come as a result of the existence of the church in other generations and that same thing holds here today.

"Proclaim this among the (heathen) Gentiles... "Prepare war." This doesn't say peace at any price; it is not to say "declare" but "prepare." Wake up! ! Proclaim ye this among the Gentiles; PREPARE WAR, WAKE UP THE MIGHTY MEN, LET ALL THE MEN OF WAR DRAW NEAR: let them come up; Beat your ploughshares into swords, and your pruning-hooks into spears; let the weak say, I am strong."

You might just as well because it won't be the age of 18-21 when this thing cuts loose. Men of my age will be called to the colors, and you can believe me that I'm enough of an American with a whole background of America in my veins, that any time the United States of America, which is the greatest government under the whole canopy of heaven, the only one that permits this movement to go forward as we have here, in spite of our folly, if it needs me I'm willing to serve our country any time she is ready to call.

"Put ye in the sickle, for the harvest is ripe; come, get you down; for the press is full, the fats overflow; for their wickedness is great."

You know I've been a baptizing minister all the days of my ministry and I'm in a unique setting right now, working with and for people that are good people, not members of our persuasion; ...but the queen of this whole flock of people, whole group of people--is a good Baptist woman--has many contacts. I'd been with them about four months and do you know who they asked to have her service, in one of the outstanding mortuaries in all KC? I was never so humbled in all my life when they said, Lou would you take this service?

Now these people are ripe and if the church was as it was when I first came into it, I could baptize that whole clan. But I'm afraid to do it, because about two weeks from the time I would baptize them and they would listen to some of the things that we're listening to all over the place, by men who have made of the church a gravy train, and thinks that everybody that isn't thinking their quoted thinking are a bunch of squares, you know what those people would do? They would do it humbly, but they would say, "Brother Richards, what have you really baptized me into?" For once in my life I'm afraid to do it. These are plain thoughts, but believe me, if this were the last sermon I would preach, this would be the one I'd want to preach.

"Put ye in the sickle, for the harvest is ripe; come, get you down; for the press is full, the fats overflow; for their wickedness is great. Multitudes, multitudes in the valley of decision; for the day of the Lord is near in the valley of decision. The Lord also shall roar out of Zion, and utter His voice from Jerusalem; and the heavens and the earth shall shake; but the Lord will be the hope of His people (His converted people). So shall ye know that I am the Lord your God dwelling in Zion, My holy mountain; then shall Jerusalem be holy, and there shall no strangers pass through her any more."

Now that should tell you something. That what we speak of as Israel over there now is not Israel at all. We've got the most twisted cork-screw generation in our land right now than the world has ever known. And our people need, it would seem, need be converted from these things.

"And it shall come to pass in that day, that the mountains shall drop down new wine, and the hills shall flow with milk, (after these things now) ..Egypt shall be a desolation, and Edom shall be a desolate wilderness, for the violence against the children of Judah, because they have shed innocent blood in their land. But Judah shall dwell forever, and Jerusalem from generation to generation."

I'm going to quote it directly by injecting a thought that I hope all you believe in. Do you accept the first book that the Lord has provided for us as a key that unlocks all other records that we have, and I'm referring to the Doctrine and Covenants? Do you? A lot of our people don't anymore! And they have joined hands with a group of kooks that think they want peace at any price. And they cry peace, peace and there is no peace!

And this type of element hinders that very thing in itself and prevents the very thing that they clamor for. Now this is what the Lord has said in the 63rd. Sec. of the D. & C., the nineth verse:

"I the Lord am angry with the wicked (Do you think there is any reason for Him to be angry with us? Now He has said this:) I am withholding My Spirit from the inhabitants of the earth (Here's the answer to the questions that I'm getting almost every day, 'Why this, and why that?') I have sworn in My wrath and decreed wars upon the face of the earth. (A lot of people don't believe that today, yet the Lord said that He would do just that very thing). And the wicked shall slay the wicked and fear shall come upon every man, and the saints shall hardly escape; (LET'S WAKE UP!)

Nevertheless, I the Lord am with them and will come down from heaven from the presence of My Father and consume the wicked with unquenchable fire... AND IT SHALL COME TO PASS AFTERWARD--

And behold this is not yet but by and by; wherefore seeing that I, the Lord, have decreed all these things upon the face of the earth, I will that My saints should be assembled upon the land of Zion; and that every man should take righteousness in his hands, and faithfulness upon his loins, and lift a warning voice unto the inhabitants of the earth; and declare both by word and by flight, that desolation shall come upon the wicked."

I think I've said enough. But our people need not to be clamorous minded; the only thing you need to fear is your own sins and we need to be delivered from self and sin because self, itself, is the very center of sin. And the God that we worship has taught that He can not look upon sin with the least degree of allowance, and yet His disposition toward even the sinner is that he'll be given an opportunity to repent.

What do you say, you and I and all of us together exercise this great second principle of the gospel... supplicating the throne of grace...enabling us to have the power and genius of true repentance. End of Sermon

 



The following is the experience of William Oliver taken down by Mary Lou Phipps, March 18, 1973. I also have heard Bill tell this experience and know it to be accurately recorded. jph

"Some years ago Brother Oliver had an experience in which he was asking questions and the Lord was answering his questions. He was told three different times - 'Many of My young men you will see no more.'

"He asked if they'd be taken by the sword, etc., or what would happen to them, but the statement was declared to him three times.

"He wanted to know about the requirements of those holding Priesthood today in the church, their education, etc., and he was told these requirements were not of God, but of man. He wanted to know how old the men were to be for God to send them, and His requirements. The Lord told him He required the following:

'A broken and contrite heart with the willingness to serve, and THE REST I WILL SUPPLY.'

"As for their age, he was told God would call forth men they've put on the shelf; the old men and those of my age (he was about 80) and older, would be called forth of God. Later he was told or asked if he knew that Brother. J. Luff had been told a similar message long before. He said that he had not known of this."

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