Philosophies of men

The Gospel of Jesus Christ is a great whole.  It requires an overall harmony between all its parts to be understood.  Without that overall harmony it is jarring and discordant.
The problem with apostasy is that it forfeits truths which are necessary in order to comprehend the majesty of Christ’s teachings.  Those truths which get retained are not kept in balance with the rest.  Simple virtues are kept while overall righteousness is forfeited.
No one can argue with the virtue of tolerance.  But it is constrained and governed inside a larger context that prevents permissiveness and sloth.
No one can argue with the virtue of obedience.  Indeed, obedience is itself one of the bedrock requirements of the Gospel.  But divorced from the other virtues inside of which it is regulated, obedience can become a terrible weapon used to separate people from God’s Holy Spirit and drive them into submission to “Popes and Priests.”  (Any man believed to be incapable of leading you into error is a “Pope.”)
No one can argue against the virtue of patience.  But when it is urged to prevent necessary action to develop a god-like people, then it has become a tool for deception and error and not a virtue at all.

Take any virtue and remove it from its overall context within the great Gospel whole and you see how apostasy can warp a people.  They retain the conviction that they are still God’s chosen disciples, because the virtues they practice are in fact, godly.  However, they have become distorted, bloated and swollen.  They are without harmony, capable of great evil or neglect, all the while celebrating their fidelity to the “truth” as they understand it.

You MUST understand doctrine.  You MUST study the scriptures.  But more important than anything else, you MUST seek to gain further light and knowledge by conversing with the Lord directly.  Harmony of the whole is dependent upon His direct guidance and blessings.  You simply cannot move forward a piece here and a bit there, while neglecting the whole composite picture of the Gospel.  He will open it to your view.  He will show you how one part is related to another, and that to another still, so that it all moves forward together.  It is not to all be comprehended at once.  It is to be gained a little bit of the whole here, a further harmony of things there, until the whole moves forward together.  Always moving in balance, in harmony and as a complete magisterial revelation of God’s will.
Latter-day Saints are not immune from this problem of disharmony.  Indeed, it is the great challenge which we have faced since the time of the First Vision.  Joseph’s recalibrating of his own life was constant.  He wanted to reward Martin Harris for his support, petitioned for permission to let him take the 116 pages of manuscript, and when he was told “no” he persisted.  When he finally got the Lord’s reluctant permission it was not for Martin Harris’ benefit, but for Joseph’s.  Joseph was to learn a hard lesson about disregarding good advice from a superior Guide.  (D&C 3: 1-8.)  This comprehension of the harmony of the whole is what provoked Joseph to teach: “the nearer man approaches perfection, the clearer are his views, and the greater his enjoyments, till he has overcome the evils of his life and lost every desire for sin; and like the ancients, arrives at that point of faith where he is wrapped in the power and glory of his Maker, and is caught up to dwell with Him.”  (DHC 2: 8.)
Choose your teachers carefully.  None of them will neglect to emphasize a virtue.  However, without the whole of the Gospel in harmony in their own lives, they cannot bring it into harmony for you.  Finding that harmony IS the great challenge in this lone and dreary world, filled as it is, with the philosophies of men mingled with scripture.

5 thoughts on “Philosophies of men

  1. This is a very important subject since it is happening now that which was prophesied in the scriptures, that ‘everyone’ in the Church, except a few true followers of Christ, would be deceived by the philosophies of men & go astray, while still coming to Church believing & claiming themselves to be righteous.

    Denver you said above; “Any man believed to be incapable of leading you into error is a “Pope”. But don’t we believe that ‘The Prophet’ can not lead us into error or astray? Isn’t that the promise that we have as members?

  2. What is another way to look at Wilford Woodruff’s comment about “not in the program” and the traditions surrounding the prophecy that implies that the kingdom shall not be left to other people in light of the legitimate dangers you talk about?

  3. One of my favorite instructors ended each lesson by saying, “remember, the gospel is true no matter what I say.”
    He would then without exception charge students to consult the scriptures as the answers to our questions are found in the words of Christ.
    Another great teacher appealed that students take no man to be their guide.
    I would that I was better at living the advice. I think it is my insecurity or my seeking the honor of men (looking for recognition other than from The Source) that causes me to look outward when I perhaps should look inward.

  4. To AV
    Only when speaking as directed by the Spirit. Remember the Kirtland Safety Society? The onus is still with each of us, individually.

  5. The Zangs wrote: “What is another way to look at Wilford Woodruff’s comment about “not in the program” and the traditions surrounding the prophecy that implies that the kingdom shall not be left to other people in light of the legitimate dangers you talk about?”

    The Savior said in 3 Nephi 16: 10-11

    “10 And thus commandeth the Father that I should say unto you: At that day when the Gentiles shall sin against my gospel, and shall reject the fulness of my gospel, and shall be lifted up in the pride of their hearts above all nations, and above all the people of the whole earth, and shall be filled with all manner of lyings, and of deceits, and of mischiefs, and all manner of hypocrisy, and murders, and priestcrafts, and whoredoms, and of secret abominations; and if they shall do all those things, and shall reject the fulness of my gospel, behold, saith the Father, I will bring the fulness of my gospel from among them.
    11 And then will I remember my covenant which I have made unto my people, O house of Israel, and I will bring my gospel unto them.”

    While non-Latter-day Saints can reject the Gospel, I believe you have to be a Latter-day Saint to “sin against [His] Gospel”. He is indeed referring to us. Scary, no?

    The Book of Mormon details that we are the Gentiles. (See verse 4 — it’s just one of many examples.) Apparently, according to the Savior, we can and will lose the Gospel if we don’t repent. It will be taken from us and given to “[His] people, O house of Israel.”.

    Lots of Mormons argue that we are not Gentiles, but true members of the House of Israel. But it’s not important whether we are blood descendants or adopted in. Gentiles are people of the European nations, which is the predominant group of people the Gospel was restored to, who then took the Gospel and the Book of Mormon to the rest of the world. We have had the Gospel given to us in fulness, and we are still under condemnation, according to Ezra Taft Benson speaking as the prophet in General Conference. No prophet has ever told us that condemnation has been lifted.

    It’s shocking to realize that as much as we have believed the Book of Mormon is talking to those other guys, it is rather speaking to us, members of the Church. We are the ones who have been believing “all is well in Zion” and that we can’t lose the Gospel. Who else besides members of the Church can even use the phrase “all is well in Zion”? It’s either got to be us or members of the cast of the movie “The Matrix”. :)

Comments are closed.