Updated on May 29, 2023
Doug Tales 120: Sacrifice, Part Two
In his daily life, Doug Mendenhall took seriously Joseph Smith’s teachings about sacrifice. He emphasized that our Savior offers the covenants we need to sacrifice for. We do not initiate or make promises to God on our terms, only on His. Doug quotes Joseph’s teachings on sacrifice in I See…Awake! (2015) on pages 53-55, and then shares his own experience being asked to make a covenant by sacrifice on pages 55-61:
Joseph Smith explained the principle of sacrifice in the Lectures on Faith:
“Let us here observe that a religion that does not require the sacrifice of all things never has power sufficient to produce the faith necessary unto life and salvation. For from the first existence of man, the faith necessary unto the enjoyment of life and salvation never could be obtained without the sacrifice of all earthly things: it was through this sacrifice, and this only, that God has ordained that men should enjoy eternal life, and it is through the medium of the sacrifice of all earthly things that men do actually know that they are doing the things that are well pleasing in the sight of God. When a man has offered in sacrifice all that he has for the truth’s sake, not even withholding his life, and believing before God that he has been called to make this sacrifice because he seeks to do his will, he does know most assuredly that God does and will accept his sacrifice and offering, and that he has not nor will not seek his face in vain. Under these circumstances, then, he can obtain the faith necessary for him to lay hold on eternal life.
“It is in vain for persons to fancy to themselves that they are heirs with those, or can be heirs with them, who have offered their all in sacrifice, and by this means obtained faith in God and favor with him so as to obtain eternal life, unless they in like manner offer unto him the same sacrifice, and through that offering obtain the knowledge that they are accepted of him.
“It was in offering sacrifices that Abel, the first martyr, obtained knowledge that he was accepted of God. And from the days of righteous Abel to the present time, the knowledge that men have that they are accepted in the sight of God is obtained by offering sacrifice. And in the last days, before the Lord comes, he is to gather together his saints who have made a covenant with him by sacrifice. Psalms 50:3–5: Our God shall come and shall not keep silence. A fire shall devour before him and it shall be very tempestuous round about him. He shall call to the heavens from above and to the earth that he may judge his people. Gather my saints together unto me, those that have made a covenant with me by sacrifice.
“Those, then, who make the sacrifice will have the testimony that their course is pleasing in the sight of God, and those who have this testimony will have faith to lay hold on eternal life and will be enabled, through faith, to endure unto the end and receive the crown that is laid up for them that love the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ. But those who do not make the sacrifice cannot enjoy this faith because men are dependent upon this sacrifice in order to obtain this faith, therefore they cannot lay hold upon eternal life because the revelations of God do not guarantee unto them the authority so to do, and without this guarantee faith could not exist.” (Lecture Sixth, paragraphs 7–10.)
I need to clarify that it is the Lord that makes covenants with us, we do not initiate them with Him. And as He says above, it is a “covenant with me by sacrifice.”
Several years ago I was plainly told by the Spirit to go outside in my yard and dig a hole. I was directed where to dig it. I wanted a second witness and a good friend happened to come over, and I asked him about dowsing. It just so happened that his father had taught him how to use a dowsing rod. He made one up and went over my yard and found the spot where I was shown to dig. I had my witness.
When I went out to dig, I said a prayer and consecrated my efforts to my Father. Please understand I had no idea why I was to dig this hole. As you will read in this book, the Spirit has directed me do many “different” things in the past and this was just another one, though I did hope to “find” something in the hole. (I once dug a hole and found a seer stone.) I was told the hole needed to be 4’ X 4’ in width and then ten feet deep. I kind of freaked, but started to dig anyway. I knew this wasn’t going to be a one day effort.
For many days I went out into the “hole” at about 4 pm and finished at 1:00 am. After many days of digging I encountered a rock that stuck straight out into the hole, and I couldn’t get it to drop. I’d jump on it, dig around it, and jump again. All to no avail. Then I heard the Spirit tell me: “I have received your sacrifice of sweat and labor. Now I require the sacrifice of your blood.”
“Really?” I said, quite incredulous.
Denise happened to come into my room later, and I asked her about this “requirement” of my blood in this hole I was digging. She witnessed that I’d heard right. So for two weeks I wouldn’t go outside and dig in the hole. Somehow I knew that this just wasn’t going to be a “small thing”, and it would be painful.
I actually went and asked Denise for her blood testing kit. I wanted the “finger poker” so I could go outside and poke my finger and drop several drops of blood into that hole.
“That won’t work Dad,” she replied.
A day or so later all of this escaped my mind somehow and I went out into the hole. I still had that rock sticking out way down there and wanted to get rid of it. I jumped on it again and again. Nothing happened. Then I sat under it with my legs crossed and was going to dig around it where it went into the side of the wall.
“Don’t sit under the rock,” I heard the Spirit say.
“Really?” I replied, “I will show you what this rock won’t do. It won’t budge.”
I got up and stood on the rock and jumped up and down again.
“See, Lord,” I said looking up, “it won’t move!”
I got back down and knelt beside this rock. I put the tool I was using to dig the dirt into my left hand and put my right hand onto the ground. I tapped once into the side of the wall and that rock came down onto my right hand.
It squashed my right index finger on both sides of the big knuckle, cutting it to the bone on each side. I pulled my glove off, and blood was going everywhere. The pain was intense. I crawled out of the hole, grabbed my finger with my left hand and went into the house, leaving a trail of blood in the snow on the ground. I was breathing quite hard.
I immediately went to my bathroom sink and started washing it with cold water to stop the flow of blood. Denise came in and asked if I was all right.
“Is this what He wanted,” I said through clenched teeth.
“Yes,” she said.
I was quite mad, since it just wasn’t two cuts I was dealing with; my finger was also broken at the knuckle.
I said, “I hope He’s happy.”
After I had calmed down, I realized that He had made a covenant with me. It did require pain and my blood. The Lord Jesus Christ makes covenants with us. My daughter would later tell me the Lord told her that I was going to come into the house breathing quite funny, but that I was all right.
Oh, I did find something in digging that ten foot deep hole. I found that Lord came with a covenant for me from Him. My reminder? Every time I point with my right index finger I see scars and how it is now bent.
There have been several people that have heard this story and have decided that they were going to make a covenant with the Lord. They went up the mountain or wherever and cut themselves so they would bleed a lot. That is not the way He does it. As I have stated, He makes the covenant, not us. It is done His way and on His time schedule….
My point with these examples is that God makes the covenant, not us. And yes, sacrifice is necessary. I related in Conquering Spiritual Evil, Volume One about going to Kitten’s house and being involved in a “spiritual” battle that took place there. What I didn’t mention was the question the Lord asked before I agreed to go. “Are you willing to give your life for her?” I thought about it for a few seconds and said “yes,” knowing that He wasn’t joking around.
The law of sacrifice works in all aspects of our lives. He probably will require food, service, money, time, blood, pain, suffering, and all you have. Whether we will receive new knowledge or light, make a covenant with Him, teach things, or give light, there is always sacrifice involved. If there is no sacrifice, there is not enough faith generated to show us that what we are doing is pleasing in the sight of God.