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BookI-Looking Beyond the Mark

BookI-Looking Beyond the Mark

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This book is the first of a four-part series which describes my own journey in deeper understanding which led to a wonderful blessing which I, personally, had never known before. I had desired and sought for that blessing much of my adult life, but, up to that time, had yet to see those desires fulfilled. The blessing I had sought was what Mormon promised when he declared, that "YE CAN ENTER INTO THE REST OF THE LORD FROM THIS TIME HENCEFORTH UNTIL YE SHALL REST WITH HIM IN HEAVEN." (Moroni 7:3)

. . . The purpose of this Book I, Looking Beyond the Mark, is to help readers take their first steps in understanding that there are more than one level to the gospel of Jesus Christ. It is my prayer that by better understanding the mark and what looking beyond it means, that the blessing hitherto unknown promised to us by President Benson will begin to be enjoyed by more and more children of Zion. . .
This book is the first of a four-part series which describes my own journey in deeper understanding which led to a wonderful blessing which I, personally, had never known before. I had desired and sought for that blessing much of my adult life, but, up to that time, had yet to see those desires fulfilled. The blessing I had sought was what Mormon promised when he declared, that "YE CAN ENTER INTO THE REST OF THE LORD FROM THIS TIME HENCEFORTH UNTIL YE SHALL REST WITH HIM IN HEAVEN." (Moroni 7:3)

. . . The purpose of this Book I, Looking Beyond the Mark, is to help readers take their first steps in understanding that there are more than one level to the gospel of Jesus Christ. It is my prayer that by better understanding the mark and what looking beyond it means, that the blessing hitherto unknown promised to us by President Benson will begin to be enjoyed by more and more children of Zion. . .

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Published by: Friends of Max Skousen on Apr 25, 2009
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06/11/2015

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1 
Looking Beyond The Mark 
 
 Book I  A Blessing  Hitherto Unknown
Max B. Skousen
PREFACE
SECOND EDITION
In 1986, when President Benson spoke at his first conference as president of the Church, heannounced a revelation he had received from the Lord calling the Church and all the children of Zion out from under the Lord’s “condemnation, scourge and judgment” by allowing the sacred pages of the
 Book of Mormon
to become the center of our spiritual lives. He promised that eachchild of Zion who did so would
“receive
a blessing hitherto unknown.
(Ensign, May 1986, p. 78)
WHAT BLESSING WOULD BE HITHERTO UNKNOWN?
This book is the first of a four-part series which describes my own journey in deeper under-standing which led to a wonderful blessing which I, personally, had never known before. I haddesired and sought for that blessing much of my adult life, but, up to that time, had yet to seethose desires fulfilled. The blessing I had sought was what Mormon promised when he declared,that
YE CAN ENTER INTO THE REST OF THE LORD
 
FROM THIS TIME HENCEFORTH until  ye shall rest with Him in heaven.
 
(Moroni 7:3)
ENTERING THE REST OF THE LORD
I was thrilled by President Benson's promise because I thought that
“entering the rest of theLord”
might be the blessing he was promising the Saints. If so, he would be in harmony withthose scriptures in all four of the Standard Works which bear abundant testimony to the criticalnature of this heavenly blessing.So I followed the prophet's counsel, having faith that there might be such a special blessingfor those who would, as he instructed, sup daily from the pages of the
 Book of Mormon
andABIDE BY ITS PRECEPTS. Wonderfully, it was not long before I began to have a series of surprising experiences. I found, as Mormon promised, that we
enter His rest 
when we receivethe gift of the pure love of Christ because that love, as John declared,
casts out all fear.
For thefirst time I understood what it must mean to walk in the light
as Christ is in the light.
I beganenjoying a
totally
new relationship with both our Savior and this world He has created for us.Just as He has promised, this new-found relationship had none of the old spiritual burdens I hadcarried so long.
 
2 
As I continued searching the scriptures, they began to expand into deeper meanings, clearlydescribing what to me had been this “hitherto unknown,” deeper relationship with Christ.
IS THE “REST” ONLY FOR THE NEXT LIFE?
 Not many of us have focused our attention on
entering into the rest.
Perhaps the reason isthat we have not believed Christ was talking about a blessing for this life when He said
“Comeunto me all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and
 I will give you rest.
 
(Matthew 11:28)
Yet, I found that many of His prophets have testified that
entering into the Lord's rest 
is a blessing that we are invited to let Christ bestow upon us during our earthly probation. For exam- ple, Paul testified that he and many others of his fellow Saints had
already entered into this rest,
 even though most members in his day were still failing to do so. Paul pled with them to enter into His rest before it was too late. He wrote:
Let us therefore fear, lest a
 promise being left us
 
of entering into His rest, any of you should  seem to come short of it...for we which have believed DO ENTER INTO REST.
 
(Hebrews 4:1&3)
It appears that Paul also used other labels to describe
entering the rest,
such as being in
the fellowship of the mystery of Christ.
 
Paul mourned that he was not allowed to teach such a deep,spiritual level to the zealous Saints at Corinth, but he was joyfully permitted to talk plainly to theSaints at Ephesus because they had already experienced being
 sealed by the Holy Spirit of Prom-ise.
Here are his profound words to the spiritually advanced Ephesians:
Whereby when ye read, ye
may understand my knowledge in the mystery of Christ 
...
[That tome,]
who am less than the least of all saints, is this grace given...to make all men see what is the
 fellowship of the mystery.
..that CHRIST MAY DWELL IN YOUR HEARTS by faith; that ye,being
rooted and grounded in
 
[His pure]
LOVE, may be able to comprehend with ALL SAINTSwhat is the breadth, and length, and depth and height; and to KNOW THE LOVE OFCHRIST, WHICH PASSETH KNOWLEDGE, THAT YE MIGHT BE FILLED WITH ALLTHE FULLNESS OF GOD
.
(Ephesians 1:13, 3:4-19 – As will be the case with all quotations throughout this book, the em- phasis by capitalization, italics and brackets are added by the author unless otherwise noted.)
 
As for this statement by Paul, I have found no greater description of the magnitude of Christ’s gift of His pure love, which is so great that it
“passeth knowledge.
 
I believe that it is for this reason that Christ is called a MYSTERY,
to make all men see what is the
 fellowship of themystery.
..that CHRIST MAY DWELL IN YOUR HEARTS by faith.”
 
THE LORD’S REST IS THE GIFT OF THE PURE LOVE OF CHRIST
In the
 Book of Mormon,
we have many prophets declaring the same message. Mormon endedhis message about entering the rest of the Lord by saying that it is the blessed result of receivingthe gift of charity,
“the pure love of Christ,”
which the Father 
“hath
bestowed 
upon
all 
who aretrue followers of His Son, Jesus Christ, that ye may become the sons of God...that we may be puri-fied even as He is pure.”
 
(Moroni 7:48)
 The great prophet Alma was just as emphatic about the availability of receiving this giftwhile still in this life. He testified that
“there were many,
exceedingly great many,
who were made
 pure and entered into the REST of the Lord their God.
 
(Alma 13:12)
What I also began finding was that the deeper spiritual treasures of all the four StandardWorks tell us much about
WHAT 
we are to experience in “
the rest of the Lord.
” Yet, even moresignificantly,
the Book of Mormon does more than tell us WHAT, it also tells us HOW!
So the central theme of this series of four books will deal with the principles of HOW we canreceive a blessing which, for most of us, has been “hitherto unknown
.
These books are an in-depth study of the teachings of our ancient and modern prophets who have cautiously revealed,and often
 partially concealed,
this awakening process. They have assured us that all who dili-
 
3 
gently seek, with a humble heart, may be able to partake of the delicious fruit of 
the tree of life,which represents this pure and holy love of God which is shed into the hearts of the children of men.
THE TREE OF KNOWLEDGE VS THE TREE OF LIFE
The essential fall of mankind comes from “looking beyond”
the tree of life
to seek the “wise”yet “bitter” fruit from
the tree of knowledge.
As we are reminded each time we go to the temple,we cannot have both trees at the same time. When we choose to live by the tree of knowledge of good and evil, we inevitably lose access to the tree of life. It seems to me that this critical choiceof taking pride in our great knowledge of good and evil has kept us under condemnation all theseyears and is referred to by the Lord as
walking in darkness at noonday.
 But behold, verily I say unto you, that there are many who have been ordained among you,whom I have called but few of them are chosen. They who are not chosen have sinned a very grievous sin, in that they are walking in darkness at noon-day.
 
(D&C 95:5-6)
 
So, for the cover of this first volume,
 Book I, Looking Beyond the Mark,
I show a picture of the symbolic white tree of life on a solid
black 
background, representing that when we look be-yond the tree of life, we look to the darkness, even
“the darkness at noonday.
This darkness isthe essential characteristic of the
 forbidden
tree of knowledge, because the penalty of that
tree isdeath,
which is separation,
 
rather than
life,
which is eternal union
.
 It is my firm belief that the prize or “mark” of the gospel is none other than being bestowedthis most precious of all gifts, the pure love of Christ, thus enabling us to
enter into the rest 
of the Lord, symbolizing the partaking of the precious
 fruit of the tree of life. Book II, Finding theMark 
also has a white tree on the cover, but the cover is a rich purple, symbolizing the love of Christ, which we receive
when we find the mark.
PURPOSE OF THIS REVISED EDITION
 
The first edition of this book was published in 1993. Then, four years later, in 1997, I pub-lished
 Book II, Finding the Mark.
Readers have told me that the second book is much clearer than the first. I had to agree. So in preparing a second edition of Book I, I have made a number of changes to provide more clarity in understanding the difference between these two primarylevels of the gospel, one being “milk,” symbolized by the tree of knowledge, and the “meat,”symbolized by the tree of life. In Book II, I deal in greater depth with these two primary levels,showing the two different levels of the “milk gospel” and the two different levels of the “meatgospel,” making four in all.For greater clarity, this book has been divided into two sections. Section I has to do with un-derstanding the significance of looking BEYOND that aspect of the gospel which is referred to asthe “MARK.” The second section will consider the implications of looking beyond the mark asit relates to the darkness which covers the whole earth.The purpose of this
 Book I, Looking Beyond the Mark,
is to help readers take their first stepsin understanding that there are more than one level to the gospel of Jesus Christ. It is my prayer that by better understanding the mark and what looking beyond it means, that
the blessing hith-erto unknown
promised to us by President Benson will begin to be enjoyed by more and morechildren of Zion. If you have questions, feel free to give me a call.
Max B. Skousen
 (Oct. 28, 1921 - Nov. 16, 2002)For more information, visit:www.maxskousen.org

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