I’ve never won an argument with the Lord.
Here’s a troubling thought to ponder: The Telestrial are those who have received and bear testimony of their faith in prophets, such as Paul, John, Moses, Elias, Isaiah, Enoch, and Joseph Smith, but who “received not the gospel, neither the testimony of Jesus.” (See D&C 76: 98-102.)
I believe the Church will advance only by acknowledging the differences, explaining them and showing what great things Historic Christianity has lost. Unless we have something different and important to offer, there is no reason for anyone to become a Latter-day Saint.
The opening statement of Christ to Joseph Smith in the First Vision ought to be the point we most emphasize. It was the many defects with Historic Christianity and its creeds which provoked the Lord to open the heavens again and start this great, final work. When we neglect that message, and try to seem like another brand of Protestantism we are neglecting the only reason for our Church’s existence.
I know it is not up to me. And I do not challenge the right of the leaders, whom I sustain, to make decisions. But, if I could make a scourge of ropes and drive the social scientists out of the Church Office Building, I would. I think opinion polling and focus group results are worse than meaningless, they are misleading. It is an exercise in followship, not in leadership. If you see a trend through polling, and jump in front of it, that does not make you a leader. It makes you a clever follower.
I suppose this post is nothing more than proof of my tendency to err in judgment. But it is an honest and well meaning error which isn’t being tried by the Church at present. When it was tried, in the early years, the newspapers railed against us, editorial cartoons mocked us, mobs persecuted us, and in turn the Church grew in numbers so dramatic that a single set of missionaries sent to England baptized nearly 7,000 converts. The distinction caused by the persecution was valuable. Certainly not in a public relations sense, but very much in a “harvesting of souls” sense.
Sharp distinctions give the disinterested a reason to consider our message. Persecution attracts the honest who want to know why the persecution is happening. Joseph believed, and history has proven that persecution is the heritage of the righteous. Its absence may not really be a good thing. The cost of trying to avoid it is at the expense of forward progress. This is evidenced by the decrease in convert baptisms we see at present.
I have never seen any statement in scripture affirming that becoming popular in the eyes of the world was good or desirable. On the contrary, I see the Book of Mormon listing that as one of the great evils. (See e.g., 1 Ne. 22: 23.)
The alternatives are:
If the reason is 1, then the result is un-troubling because without a vocabulary to label the event it is easy to to understand whey they “know it not.”
Some writers have made the baptism of fire such a remarkable event that it connotes salvation, even exaltation itself. For those who accept that definition of the event, then to reduce it to an undetectable occurrence seems to somehow diminish it.
Joseph described the effects of the Holy Ghost on a Gentile (purges the blood and remakes them into an Israelite), and on a descendant of Israel (pure intelligence). [I’m not going to give the cite from the Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, because I don’t have a copy with me while I’m writing this. So you look it up.] Both effects Joseph describes could be felt in a minimal way. Neither would require it to be dramatic.
“Fire” is a description of quickening, purging sin, and receiving the love of God. [Beloved Bridegroom gives a great explanation of fire as a symbol of the love of God.] If you are living in conformity with such light as you have been given, receiving this kind of “fire” would not necessarily be physically detectable. The real place where it would begin to show would be as a person prays, and then begins to receive answers, or “pure intelligence” as Joseph put it. “A sudden flow of ideas,” which the recipient knows is beyond their capacity to think of or accomplish, would be another way in which the recipient would recognize its presence.
I think it is altogether possible for either explanation to be true. No matter which explanation, I don’t believe it diminishes in any way the importance of this baptism of fire and the Holy Ghost. It is, in my view, the event marking the beginning of the process by which someone becomes ultimately a new creature. It is not the end of the journey. I would use other words to describe that.
Now I realize those who follow this are “Readers” and only “followers” in the sense that they receive update notices. I acknowledge the insult given you by the Google label.
That having been said, now let’s go on being bemused at Google’s unfortunate choice of monikers for those who read a blog.
A good teacher will always work himself out of a job by teaching how to find light without him. A bad teacher will call attention to himself, and try to make others dependent upon him. The worst teachers are those who want to control those who will listen to them and to dictate what they do, what they think, and how they must follow. Christ, and the light He brings, liberates, making each person an agent for themselves. Satan’s plan is to put us into bondage, controlling us and making us fear.
A comment on Adam-ondi-Ahman
The description in D&C 107: 53 refers to Adam giving a blessing to “them.” You have to determine to whom the word “them” refers.
I wrote elsewhere about Daniel and the way in which the Lord’s appearance was veiled from others who were present, Daniel alone seeing the vision. The same is true of the Lord’s contact with Saul of Tarsus on the road to Damascus. Those with him did not have the same open vision.
When Joseph and Oliver saw the vision in the Kirtland Temple, they were behind a drawn canvas veil, and others were in the building. They didn’t see what Joseph and Oliver saw.
In the dedication of the Kirtland Temple, the visions which were opened to some were not to others.
There was an inner group of high priests for whom the Lord’s appearance would be appropriate and they are named. Naming means something. The rest are referred to as “the residue” and are not named.
These patterns are very real. They are set out in scripture because they are real. There is a great difference between being one of “the residue” of good people and being a clearly named high priest, particularly when you encounter the number of seven for the meeting. The number is also important, as I’ve explained in books I’ve written.
The picture people get into their heads is difficult to remove. But this process is dependent upon the preparation of the individual, not membership in a group. I’ve associated importance with elements of the revelation which others may not think important. I believe naming the seven, the number of them (seven), identifying them as high priests, calling those others “the residue” and leaving their names out of the narrative, and the overall setting takes this incident and puts it into the Daniel/Kirtland Temple/Apostle Paul category of visions of the Lord. Where some present are excluded and only a specific group or individual whose presence was specifically invited by the Lord, are permitted to stand in His presence.
It is a terrible thing to enter into the presence of the Living God. Not all who are righteous are prepared for that. Hence my reading of the verses.
The United States’ Constitutional form of government presupposes an agreement on fundamental first principles. As that common consensus diminishes on fundamental principles, our form of government is increasingly less likely to work. If the “Elders of Israel” are going to save the Constitution, it will not be through legislation or litigation, but by conversion of people back to a common set of beliefs. Only then Constitutional government has a chance to survive.
There is an alarming statement in D&C 93. It follows the definition of truth found in D&C 93:24: “Whatsoever is more or less than this is the spirit of that wicked one who was a liar from the beginning” (D&C 93: 25); meaning that we are all required to find the truth. Anything more or anything less is evil and means we have been deceived. In addition, the follow up to the parable of the Ten Virgins found in D&C 45:56-57 warns everyone that the five foolish virgins who will not take truth as their guide are going to be hewn down and cast into the fire.
These decisions about what truth you must accept are important, but can only be made by trusting the Spirit. You should look to the Spirit for the answer to where and what is truth in this day of so much deception. Marketing, by its very nature, is deception. (See, The Marketing of Evil: How Radicals, Elitists, and Pseudo-Experts Sell Us Corruption Disguised As Freedom, by David Kupelian) All of modern commerce is based on deceiving you. Making you think you need something when you do not. Exciting your envy to get you to purchase something you really don’t need. So when it comes to the truth, you will need to demonstrate some “sales resistance” to Satan, and not be fooled into rejecting truth although it comes from a lone voice, crying from the wilderness (as has been so often the Lord’s pattern in the past).
To the extent that there are any personal matters in the book, they are designed to illustrate common mistakes. My mistakes and errors are set out in the beginning of the chapters. Then the chapter explains how to get the principle right. Other than showing how poor a student I have been, my presence in the book is entirely secondary. I do bear testimony about the truth of the teachings, which I think is required for a book of that nature. But the book is entirely about you, the reader.
I reiterate several times in the text that it is not a book for every reader. It is not publicized, advertised, or promoted in any way. It is entirely a word-of-mouth book which will find appropriate readers without any effort on my part to promote it.
I account for this by recognizing that the festival season caused a migration later in the year. At that time their presence at the Temple site would have introduced them to the destruction for the first time, despite the fact the great quaking and tempests had ended eleven months earlier. I also account for the various appearances of the Lord to “other sheep,” as well as the forty-day ministry at Jerusalem in my reckoning.
However, I do not think it important for someone to disbelieve McConkie/Smith. It is only important how one decides to read the scriptures. Borrowed opinions are just that. People need to read the scriptures and decide what they mean for themselves.