Sunday, August 20, 2017

The Leadership Hustle

Previously: My Favorite Anti-Mormon

Around the middle of the 20th century, about the time N. Eldon Tanner was leapfrogged into Church leadership due to his talent for raising money, the LDS Church began a gradual shift in the type of men selected for leadership roles. As the old theologians died off, they were often replaced by men with backgrounds in business, law, and finance. These former executives may not have been accomplished scriptorians like their predecessors, but they had other skills the Church needed at the time.

This was the era of The Organization Man, when terms like "effective leadership" and "fast track to management" were buzzwords heard in the corporate boardrooms where many of these future Church leaders were plucked from. And the leadership track was working in those venues, no doubt about it. Train your employees in the art of effective leadership, and your entire company will prosper.

You won't get an argument from me on that. In the business world, effective management training at all levels is essential for the success of any company. I've been there, done that, and had a small share of success.  I'm pro free enterprise, so I understand how important it is for any large company to have someone -often several someones- trained to inspire the employees below them to stay motivated. Effective leadership in business is the key to getting things done properly and efficiently. Leaders instill vision. No vision, and your business goes stagnant.

The only problem with the leadership track is that not every management technique that works in the corporate world can properly be adapted to a church.  Where there are leaders there must be followers, and in most companies even the leaders are following leaders of their own, each manager accountable to a manager above him, all the way up to the CEO.

But the church was never intended to operate under a top down paradigm. There isn't supposed to be anyone in the church "below" anyone else, so who is the leader supposed to be leading? All are alike unto God, our scriptures teach us, and no man is authorized to manage, direct, or impose his will on another.

The Church of Jesus Christ is supposed to be a level field where no man holds title or position above another (Alma 1:26). Jesus Himself defines His church as a community of like-minded individuals with a common bond, i.e. all have repented of their sins and come unto Him (D&C 10:67). That community of believers is the church. So if the church has a leader, that leader is Jesus Christ and him alone. There is no accommodation in scripture for members of the body of Christ to follow anyone except their heavenly King. Scripture emphatically and repeatedly warns against it.

In Joseph Smith's day there were callings in the church, to be sure, but none ranked above the other in importance the way they do today.  The LDS church in the Kirtland/Missouri/Nauvoo era was patterned after the primitive Christian church, where Paul tells us Jesus called some of the members to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers (Ephesians 4:11). But these were not management positions. These callings implied a responsibility to serve their brothers and sisters, not to manage and direct them.

If you doubt things are different in our day, you need only consult this statement that was issued by the Church PR department. [1]
The Church is led by 15 apostles. The most senior apostle is the president of the Church, and he selects two other apostles as counselors. These three function as the First Presidency, which is the highest governing body of the Church. Twelve others form the Quorum of the Twelve — the second-highest governing body of the Church. Together, the First Presidency and the Twelve oversee the entire Church. (emphasis mine.)
_________________________________
[1 ] If you wonder why a church needs a PR department, you're beginning to ask the right questions. 

The prophet Joseph was once asked how he governed such a disparate group of people. He seemed to think the question was a foolish one, because he answered, "I teach them correct principles and they govern themselves."

Setting aside for a moment that Joseph Smith would have rejected the notion that church members would require a first presidency to act as overseer to them, when we read that statement from the PR department we should be asking another question: why are the Twelve Apostles declared to be "the second highest governing body of the Church" at all, seeing as how our founding prophet strictly prohibited them from getting anywhere near church government?
"The Twelve will have no right to go into Zion or any of its stakes and there undertake to regulate the affairs thereof where there is a standing High Council. But it is their duty to go abroad and regulate all matters relative to the different branches of the church." (Joseph Smith, Kirtland Council Minutes, quoted in William Shepard and H. Michael Marquardt, Lost Apostles: Forgotten Members of Mormonism's Original Quorum of the Twelve, pg 85-86)
The modern institution that calls itself "The Church"(TM) proudly furnishes a corporate flow chart showing the president of the church at the top, flanked by his two counselors, with a considerable list of officers and managers below them.

                                   

Do you notice anything missing from that chart? How about the High Council? Where did they go?

Answer: After the deaths of Joseph and Hyrum, Brigham Young threatened members of that body with excommunication if they would not defer to his wishes, and eventually abolished it altogether because the High Council stood in the way of his ambition to lead the church.

If there was an entity actually authorized to govern the affairs of the church, it wasn't the First Presidency, and it wasn't the Twelve Apostles. It was the High Council, which acted both as a court to settle disputes, and a decision-making body over Church affairs:
October 21, 1839; Monday.  The High Council met according to adjournment of the 20th inst Oct 21st 1839 -1st. Shall Joseph Smith Jun go to Washington D.C. or not- Answer It is voted as follows viz 5 voted to have him go and 2 voted for him not to go. (John Dinger, The Nauvoo City Council and High Council Minutes, pg 342)
This is instructive because it reminds us that even the prophet himself had to go before the council to seek approval in some matters; he was not some Grand Poobah in the church with carte blanc authority to do as he wished. (You may recall if you read my post on tithing that Joseph Smith and Sidney Rigdon went before the High Council to request a salary, which was ultimately denied.)

There is to be no hierarchy in the church if the church is run properly. Back then, unlike today, the Twelve apostles did not give instructions to the Seventies, and the First Presidency did not hold rank over the Quorum of the Twelve or the Quorum of Seventy. All offices were completely independent of each other. The Lord wanted it that way because the Lord understands the proclivity of men to overstep their boundaries.

In the 1840's Church affairs were governed by the High Council, and priesthood authority came not through the president but through the Patriarch. Today, however, both offices have been quietly (some would say secretly) abolished without any revelation received on the matter. That's too bad, because those two offices were the least threatening to the well-being of the members. But those offices were a stumbling block to those desiring control over the church, so it's easy to see why they had to go. Today the church that Jesus Christ set up through His prophet has been supplanted with the corporate leadership model.

In November of 1923, under the advice of attorneys, Church President Heber J. Grant converted the church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints from an independent religious society founded under the laws of God, into a legally recognized corporation chartered under the laws of the United States government. The advantage of incorporation was that the Church could now legally operate free from the constraints imposed by scripture. President Grant even legally changed the name of the church from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to The Corporation of the President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, conveniently neglecting to mention the name change to the members, as well as forgetting the Lord's warning in 3rd Nephi that "if it be called in the name of a man then it be the church of a man."

But no matter. This was a new era, a time when the Church would soon be boasting of becoming a worldwide church,  And a worldwide church would need dynamic new leaders to help it meet the challenges of the 20th Century. That meant adopting worldly programs if necessary to meet those needs.

Bring 'Em Young
In volume 2, at page 818 of The Encyclopedia of Mormonism, we are told that "leadership training of LDS boys and girls begins at a very young age." Why it would be necessary to have twelve-year-olds preside over each other as Deacons and Beehives was something I never grasped the importance of at the time, and I still don't. I was a counselor to the Deacon's Quorum President back in the day, and all three of us -president and counselors- felt the callings were a meaningless joke, since our teacher -excuse me, I think I meant to say "Deacon's Quorum Advisor,"- held all the knowledge and all the power over us and every other pubescent goof-off in the room.  I'm convinced today that these titles are nothing but a ploy to get the boys and girls acclimated to the leadership track at an early age.

The word "Priesthood," which actually has nothing whatever to do with managing or governing, has now come to be synonymous with "Leadership." And leadership implies management and governing skills.  Before long every young man who was ordained to the priesthood was taught that the way to "magnify his priesthood" -a phrase with no discernible meaning- was to aspire to leadership within the church.

To be fair, all of us were taught that it was not appropriate to "aspire" to church leadership. That would be unseemly.  But those offering us that caveat were speaking out of both sides of their mouths, because even as we were being taught to be humble and docile and look not to the ways of the outside world, we were encouraged to read books on leadership by general authorities that were based completely on their former successes in the outside world.

Foremost among these general authorities was Sterling W. Sill, a highly successful former insurance executive who published over thirty self-help books while he held office in the church, and nearly all of them meant to turn young priesthood holders into effective leaders. His books had such titles as The Law of Success, The Way of Success, How To Personally Profit From The Law of Success, and his hefty three volume magnum opus, Leadership, a set that was required reading for any young priesthood holder who hoped to make it to the celestial kingdom.

The year before I left on my mission, apostle Paul Dunn came out with a huge Church bestseller titled The Ten Most Wanted Men. Every Mormon man who aspired to personal greatness read that book. It described the type of future leader "most wanted" by the Church (and perhaps some future employer), and taught the reader the steps necessary to cultivate those qualities within himself. Such a leader would be "The man who can counsel others," "The man who knows how to delegate," "The man who knows how to call others to leadership opportunities," and so on. Given what we later found out about the author, it should come as no surprise that the list did not include "The man who is scrupulously honest."

In the face of all these books, lesson plans, and fireside talks encouraging us to excel as leaders, it was not always easy to comport oneself with the requisite humility when finally given a calling. Anyone who served a mission in the 1970's as I did knew that being called to be a District Leader, Zone leader, or Assistant to the President was a grand promotion that set you apart and above your fellows in the field. You couldn't help but be proud of your new calling. It's the first thing the young Elder wrote home about. And when he returned home it was often the thing he listed at the top of his resume under "EXPERIENCE."

And what was the function of these mission leaders? Very similar to the function of a leader in the the world of commerce. The District Leader had the responsibility of calling the missionaries in his district to get a report on the numbers for that week: how many hours did you tract, how many Books of Mormon did you place, how many referrals did you get from the members, how many discussions taught, and how many baptisms (if any)?

The District Leader would then phone his leader, the Zone Leader, and report all the numbers he got from the missionaries in his district. Then the Zone Leader would phone his leaders, the Assistants to the President, who compiled all the totals and submitted them to their leader, the Mission President. The Mission President then reported those totals to his leader, who was some member of the Quorum of Seventy back in Salt Lake. And so it went all the way up to the Quorum of the Twelve.

The bottom-line question in any corporate business is "how many products did we sell?" In the boardroom of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, that question translated as, "how many baptisms did we get?"

If the total number of baptisms in my mission are lower this quarter than they were the previous one, my mission president knows he's going to be leaned on by corporate to get those numbers up. So he'll bring in the AP's and tell them they have to do better; the AP's in turn will lean on the ZL's to do better; the ZL's will lean on the the DL to do better; and the DL will ride my butt to get out and do more tracting.

And that's what passes for "leadership" among Mormon missionaries.

I'm sorry to say that as a missionary my focus was not on how many people I had helped bring to Christ, but on how many people I could persuade to join my church. The leadership training we received as missionaries was virtually identical to the training Sterling Sill gave to his insurance salesmen back when he was at New York Life: it's a numbers game. The more people you approach, and the more people who say no, the greater the odds that ultimately you'll come across a prospect who says yes. You just have to be willing to make it through dozens or hundreds of "no's" before you finally get that sale. So the secret to becoming a successful missionary is you stay out there and keep knocking on doors until you get a fish on the end of your line.

I won't say my mission was a waste of time because it wasn't. About half the people I helped to convert remained faithful in the gospel. But I recall the many times I met people who knew Christ better than I did, but who had no interest in joining my church. I could have found common ground with so many of these good people, and I would have most certainly been edified by accepting their hand of friendship and engaging in fruitful discussions about God's love, with no pressure to get them to change.

But I failed to do that. My role as a missionary, as I understood it, was to get people to join my church, and every moment wasted talking with an already converted Christian who held no interest in joining was time that could be better spent searching for that elusive "golden contact." So my companion and I might teach one or two discussions to these committed Christians, but when it became obvious we just weren't going to close the sale, we would, in the lingo of missionaries, "dump them" and not go back.

Some of the leadership training I got through the church came in handy in my later professional life. But that's the sad irony, isn't it? If my goal was to find success in Mammon, I could have (and did) study these methods on my own. The Church should have been focusing on saving souls rather than training up an army of future business leaders. So although I did come out of it with management skills that served me in my professional life, in the end even that brand of success wore thin.

Because the sad truth is that leadership, even as taught within the Church of Christ, by its very nature carries with it the responsibility of imposing your will on others in ways that are sometimes harsh and unfeeling. If you aspire to leadership, hurting other people comes with the territory. Sometimes I was forced to fire someone who worked for me, not always because I wanted to, or even needed to, but because I had some leader of my own back at company headquarters who demanded it of me. Depriving other people of their livelihood was a function of leadership I did not much care for, so I eventually took up a line of work where the only person who ever got fired was me.

After all is said and done, the only self-help book that really made an impression on me in my youth was Dale Carnegie's How to Win Friends and Influence People, which I don't think ever made it onto the Deseret/Bookcraft list of essential reading. That book taught me to treat everyone I meet with kindness, while some of the leadership techniques touted in books by church authorities preached kindness on the one hand, but subtle manipulation on the other.

I often wonder, had I not been constantly exposed to years of indoctrination into the importance of leadership within the church, if I might have sooner come to the realization that modern church leaders possess neither the gifts nor the authority God gave to Joseph Smith. Why had it never occurred to me to ask myself why I should look to their teachings the way I looked to the teachings of Joseph Smith, since none of them had ever had an audience with God the way Joseph Smith had?

These were men who purported to be the successors of the prophet Joseph Smith in every way, yet none of them ever received or conveyed a single revelation from God as Joseph Smith had. I looked to them as if every utterance from their mouths was divine. I put these undeserving men on pedestals and made them my idols for no other reason than they held high callings and station and leadership titles in the Church. I should have been more circumspect, but I blindly followed these men because they were my leaders and they told me to.

Today I follow Jesus Christ and no other. Leaders are for suckers.

119 comments:

Dylan Hansen said...

As I read this, I reflected on the effort required to reform certain elements of the Church, including bringing back the High Council and Presiding Patriarch, financial accountability and transparency, and rearranging the hierarchy so it doesn't exist. For the first time, I feel those efforts may be futile. The Church's culture of following the leader and leader worship cannot simply be replaced by a few rule changes, even if those changes match up with the criteria set by the original Church. It's inertia. Because the culture of obedience is so prevalent, people can't understand the law of common consent even if it's emphasized by Church leaders. Members simply lack the capacity. You can change the procedure, but not the culture (at least not overnight).

Also, contextualizing the transformation of the Church into a corporation in terms of the Lord's declaration in 3 Nephi was really the nail in the coffin for me. Nicely done.

Seth said...

Excellent work Rock Waterman. Thank you

Diana said...

Check this...

Google "LDS church leadership pattern" and you will find a PDF that outlines the leadership pattern.

This has never made sense to me. Jesus is the ultimate leader?

matt lohrke said...

I think we can drop the pretense that Christ "leads" the Church.

He's been awfully quiet since 1844.

You correctly noted the absence of the High Council on the leadership chart.

Perhaps the more salient point is this:

Where is Christ?

John Scott Peterson said...

Rock,

Awesome Rock, but I think you meant to write 1923 for when Heber Grant changed the church into a church of a man. And yes, I did deliberately leave out his pretentious middle initial.

I am grateful that with the passing of my 92 year old mother, she is now learning that on the other side of the veil JESUS reigns supremely and solely.

Thanks for another great post.

John Scott Peterson

Rebecca C. said...

I used to think they had all had an audience with God. It was an assumption that was allowed and encouraged and thought to be true. I didn't start to think about it critically until my 30s and then I was exposed to writings and speeches from church leadership in different time periods that finally provided proof these audiences never happened.

Jarodious Badger said...

Recently I watched a movie where the main character is told by a high-ranking military officer: "There is the right way, the wrong way, and then there is the army way. So you need to ask yourself, "Am I a policeman or a soldier?"" The implication being that if you are a soldier, right or wrong, you need to do it the army way. That is the same thing we have going on in the LDS church; right or wrong church members and leaders are supposed to follow their leaders and follow the program. The institution and the institutional leaders are Gods, above and beyond the Most High God. That's the way it works.

Irven Hill said...

The sad thing is how any mention of this mentality to the average member of the church is met with outrage and horror. How dare you point out the obvious......where's my pitchfork?

Robin Hood said...

The church today is under apostolic administration, just as it was after the ascension of Christ. I believe this is how it is supposed to be at this time. There is no mention of the Standing High Council in the New Testament.
The current church president, though occupying the judgement seat formerly occupied by Joseph Smith, is simply the longest serving apostle. The first presidency is organised as it is in order to follow the pattern of scripture, and because it is a very effective way to manage the affairs of the church; just as in the case of Peter, James, and John.

They are not meant to receive "this saith the Lord" revelations as Joseph did. Peter didn't either. I can recall only one revelation Peter received when serving as the presiding apostle, and that was not a clear "thus saith the Lord" type either.
Folks expect too much.

In fact, the absence of this type of revelation is perhaps a comfort in a way, because at least they are not making them up like the RLDS/CofC have consistently done for years!
If the leadership were trying to decieve us they would surely have indulged in this practice.

I feel that the likes of Rock et al have forgotten that one of the virtues outlined in D&C 4 and elsewhere is patience. They demand revelation and they demand it now!

And for information, I also served as a missionary in the 1970's. We were never encouraged to read any effective leadership publications of any sort. We studied the scriptures and Jesus the Christ.
I have read Dale Carnegie's How To Win Friends And Influence People and have to say that anyone who thinks that is a book written to encourage kindness does not understand, or are mis-remembering, what they have read.

Ryan Nickel said...

Where to start?

Stednitz said...

I stand with the above commentor, Robin Hood.

Stednitz said...

I stand with the above commentor, Robin Hood.

OpenMind said...

Joseph's seat IS not one of judgement, which seat he, Joseph, sits in still.

Robin Hood said...

"Judgement seat" is a phrase from the Book of Mormon. I used it because I thought most people would understand what it meant.
Jesus referred to "Moses' seat", meaning a genuine presidential office, that was, in Jesus' day, occupied by the pharasies.

Kendal Anderson said...

A recent podcast I listened to goes into great detail about the apostolic power grab by Brigham Young. The church used to have checks and balances to help keep leaders in check. The first presidency, quorum of the 12, seventy, and high council were all separate governing bodies with different jurisdictions but equal in power and authority. One example is that the Q of 12 only had authority in the mission field, not in the actual stakes of Zion where a High Council was present. Section 107 spells this out without equivocation. It is blatantly ignored today. Yet it remains in the text in plain sight. The name of the podcast is:

Radio Free Mormon: Apostolic Coup-De-Etat pt 1 and 2

Ryan Nickel said...

Exactly, at the time of succession Sidney Rigdon was the only one who held the keys to presidency. President Marks, the stake president of Nauvoo, was the only one that attempted to defend Sidney during the succession crisis, and it was his words of counsel that there was no other man present among them who had the keys of presidency.

Brigham Young held the keys as the president of the quorum of the 12, which means to preside over that quorum. Not at any given time was Brigham authorized nor given the keys to preside over the church in the first presidency. Which is why when he decided to re-organize the first presidency in 1847 Wilford Woodruff said unless you received a new revelation this cannot be done. I'm paraphrasing Wilford Woodruff's remarks, but you can look them up.

This doesn't negate the fact that Brigham did hold keys and priesthood that have been passed down through the ranks. However, all that he claimed to have and as a result the church's claim today, isn't what we really have.

Steve said...

Also served in the 70's (in Brazil). Our mission president had us read sales books, such as How I Raised Myself From Failure to Success in Selling. Great book for selling. I guess that was what we were supposed to be doing. I think the president believed that if we just started baptizing we would get the Spirit. Or something like that.

Robin Hood said...

@Ryan Nickel,
You are right. Brigham held the keys for the gathering of Israel through the missionary outreach of the church. This is what has happened ever since. That's why we are a church led by an apostolic administration, very similar to the situation from Pentecost onwards in the primitive church.

This is also why we have been successful in establishing stakes of Zion, but not Zion itself.

My personal belief is that Joseph designated his eldest son to succeed him, but he threw his lot in with the RLDS and severed his connection to the priesthood. The default position was for the church to adopt the new testament model, and this has prevailed ever since.

This will, in my view, remain the case until the "one mighty and strong" appears and he will set the church in order.

Rhone said...

"The church today is under apostolic administration, just as it was after the ascension of Christ. I believe this is how it is supposed to be at this time. There is no mention of the Standing High Council in the New Testament."

But there is in the D&C which is what we're supposed to govern ourselves by.

"The current church president, though occupying the judgement seat formerly occupied by Joseph Smith, is simply the longest serving apostle."

There is no scriptural justification for this practice. Brigham and his contemporaries made it up.

"The first presidency is organized as it is in order to follow the pattern of scripture, and because it is a very effective way to manage the affairs of the church; just as in the case of Peter, James, and John."

Again, this is not in the D&C. The D&C stipulates multiple governing bodies and stipulates checks and balances to prevent egregious abuse of power. Rock rightly points out that one governing body no longer exists, or has been castrated to the point of uselessness (stake high counsels). The church patriarch has also been quietly removed in defiance of the word of the Lord. Hyrum's descendants were supposed to hold this position.

Either the D&C still matters or we ought to decanonize it. We're certainly not adhering to it today, much less the Book of Mormon.


"They are not meant to receive "this saith the Lord" revelations as Joseph did. Peter didn't either."

Says who?

"Folks expect too much."

I only expect them to either live up to their claims or to cease making them. The church preaches the idea that the apostleship automatically grants the spiritual gifts of prophecy, seer-ship and revelation. Church members lose their good standing if they do not acknowledge and sustain the leaders as such. Christ commanded us to analyze the fruits of anyone claiming to be His messenger. Is it too much to ask "Where are the fruits?" In the LDS church it is.

You previously mentioned Peter as an example. Peter was a wandering minister. He not only taught but performed miracles publicly. Where are the fruits of the Q15 that I may analyze them? Without them I am forced to conclude that they are charlatans.

Peter was an ignorant fisherman. He wasn't an MBA, heart surgeon, chemist, or a man of exceeding age and wisdom. He had not buildings named after him and did not entertain heads of state. The church now teaches that the Q15 are qualified by their life histories, professions, and capacities. Peter is almost the exact opposite of what the LDS church teaches an apostle should be.

"In fact, the absence of this type of revelation is perhaps a comfort in a way, because at least they are not making them up like the RLDS/CofC have consistently done for years!"

That's an odd conclusion. Are you next going to say that God has finished his work and given his power to men?

"If the leadership were trying to deceive us they would surely have indulged in this practice."

Deception comes in many forms. My opinion is that I think they know they aren't prophets and so have made a concerted effort to redefine what prophecy really is. I think they're afraid to take God's name in vain with such practices. Instead they speak in veiled half-truths and endlessly quote each other in order to appear authoritative. Joseph Smith was not afraid to proclaim his interaction with Heaven. Why then are his successors so afraid to say they've seen Jesus?

Rhone said...

I agree with Rock's premise that the church has become too corporate. Sacrament meeting feels like a board meeting. It is too homogenized. I want to worship the Lord but the church has become obsessed with leaders and followers. Why is it a bishop's responsibility to lead a ward? Are the members incapable of organizing themselves? The D&C gives a bishop no such authority. His stewardship is to the storehouse and the poor. The words "Stake President" do not appear in the D&C. Why then is there such a position? This church is obsessed with presidencies. Why is there a primary presidency? Sunday school presidency? Elders quorum presidency? How many positions are we going to invent in order to have a more complete worship experience? Have we drowned out the pure worship that comes with spontaneity? Where are the gifts of the spirit supposedly given to the true believers? Where are the manifestations that are promised when the spirit is present?

My worship is between me and the Lord. Why then does the church try to put leaders between me and Him? I don't need to be told how to serve by some puffed-up middle manager. I just want a church that I can worship with.

Robin Hood said...

@Rhone,
Bishop is an office in the Aaronic Priesthood. In the absence of a direct descendent of Aaron the office is held by a High Priest. This man becomes the presiding high priest within the ward. A bishop does not simply administer the storehouse. The scriptures make it clear the bishop is also a judge.

In current church practice the bishop has also been given the scriptural role of pastor. However, once Zion is established I personally expect the bishops to become fully engaged in their stewardship allocation responsibilities.

MC said...

Robin Hood,

I can see the logic in your position about the church having shifted from having a bonifies prophet in Joseph Smith, to being under an apostolic administration.

You seem to have thought this through pretty thoroughly, so let me ask you this, have the current first presidency and quorum of the twelve actually seen Christ? Are they literally special witnesses to His resurrection?

This was the requirement to be an apostle in the primitive New Testament church.

If the answer is that the brethren have not seen Christ, then how can they truly be apostles?

If the answer is that they have seen Christ, why have none of them said ever clearly said so? Perhaps the experience would have been to sacred or they were forbidden.

I would find that hard to believe considering the nature of their calling to be special witnesses of Christ. Even if they had seen Christ and were forbidden to say so, one would think that they would prophecy on a regular basis, since the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.

What do you think?

Robin Hood said...

@MC,
Good point.
I have no idea whether or not the apostles have seen Christ.
I think the claim that it was a requirement for that calling in the primitive church is ultimately difficult to substantiate.
We know Paul had an encounter with him, though it is by no means certain he was ever numbered in the quorum. Indeed some commentators suggest he was actually a Seventy. The Seventy's were often referred to as the Seventy Apostles in the primitive church.

It is likely the office of apostle was perpetuated for some time following the ascension and the later death of the original Twelve. According to Joseph Smith and others, based on Daniel's prophecy the apostasy was finally complete by 570AD. If this is the case (and I think it could well be) it is unlikely the church could have survived for 500 years after the death of the original Twelve, without functioning apostles for some of that time.
Now, it may well be that these apostles saw Christ, but we just don't know.

So your assertion that primitive apostles had to have seen Christ is certainly true of the original Twelve, but we don't know for sure that this remaimed the case as the church matured.
I think the same could be said of the latter-day church.

MC said...

Robinhood,

Interesting thoughts. I was actually taking that requirement that a replacement apostle had to have seen Christ based on the criteria required for replacing Judas. Both of the candidates were required to have been a witness of Christ resurrection and had personal knowledge of his ministry from beginning to end.

I don't see any evidence that there were replacement apostles in the primitive church following the deaths of the 12, or translation in John's case. Could have been I guess, but I'm not sure how that would work with the Catholics claim that the Bishop of Rome replaced Peter as the leader of the church. I think that's pretty well documented. Could be wrong.

Mads Frier said...

Damnit, why does God's word have to get in the way . . .

Robin Hood said...

@MC,
The Catholic Church didn't come into being until 325AD, and even then it was a Romancentric institution.
When Roman church missionaries arrived in England they found that Christianity had thrived here since the very early days of the Christian era in the form of the Celtic Church. These British Christians had no link with Rome or any of her bishops. They said their founding apostle was John.

I believe the original church survived in pockets in various places. The Catholic church was a political attempt to unify various factions under Roman authority (poilical and ecclesiastical). It was not the successor to the primitive church.

The whole, Peter was the first bishop of Rome and all Roman bishops are his successors, is a back-written attempt to cover up the apostasy and should be thoroughly discounted.

As I said previously, the NT clearly states that the replacement of fallen apostles was practiced, and even appears to be a matter of urgency.
It is unreasonable to advocate that apostles were not routinely replaced as they were killed.
That we have no reord of these apostles, with the exception of Paul, is unfortunate. But even he did not qualify according to the prerequisite you quote, because he did not witness Christ's ministry.

The truth is, God can call whoever he wants to call, and in whatever way he wants to call him. Whomever God calls he qualifies. He is the one who decides on a man's qualification, and not us.

MC said...

Robin Hood,

Of course you are correct that God can set whatever terms he would like for his apostles. It does appear that both in the primitive church and in the early years of the restored church that having seen Christ was originally qualification to be an apostle.

That was one of the reasons that members of the school of the prophets saw Christ in Kirtland. According to Joseph Smith that was a requirement to be true apostle.

That appears to have been modified slightly when the quorum of the twelve were called.

As for the primitive church having stayed intact in various pockets such as Britain is possible. If true that doesn't mean that they would have had to had apostles in the same way we do. Perhaps they just had elders and perhaps high priests. Interesting thoughts.

Robin Hood said...

@MC,
I think you are right.
Where the primitive church survived the longest was where it was isolated.
I think it is doubtful they had apostles with them. Personally I believe the melchizedek priesthood was lost in most places within 200-250 years. The apostolic office so e ti e before that.
The default was the Aaronic Priesthood. According to Nibley the apostles left instructions for the perpetuation of the office of bishop. This meant that deacons and priests could also be called and ordained. Baptisms could be performed, the sacrament served etc. However, no melchizedek priesthood meant no conferringof the Holy Ghost. With no HG, no continual revelation.

DeeLyn said...

Great article Rock!

I just wonder why Joseph Smith sought and claimed so much leadership positions, power and authority (even excommunicating people, setting up a church with unrighteous leaders and seeking US Presidency, etc) if he really didn't believe in leaders. It seems he was wiling to act like he had power over others, despite what he may have said or claimed.

I do not believe that Christ taught that one must see him to be or prove they are a true prophet or disciple of him. He only taught a person must keep all of his commandments to prove they are a true prophet or disciple, which is a near impossible task in and of itself, let alone to also see Christ, which may happen at that point but the commandments are the main point of proof we will know by. For no one can fake keeping the commandments for long, for they are way to hard.

Anyone can, and many do, say or even think they have seen the real Christ, when it could easily have been a false Christ like Christ warned about. And it would be impossible to know today if we were visited by the real Christ or not anyway, for mortals have no point of reference to know if the real God or Christ was appearing to them rather than a false Spirit or Personage.

Thousands in the Church and in various religions have claimed to have seen Christ or God or heavenly visions or have authority and revelations, etc, but they all differ and couldn't all be true. But who of them actually keeps the commandments like Christ said a true person would? That is the real test that few can pass.

And I do not believe there ever was an 'apostasy'. That was just a convenient idea and claim by Joseph Smith, who didn't even pass the true prophet test by keeping Christ's commandments. For the world has never lost the Gospel of Jesus Christ, it has been on the earth since the days of Christ, by either spoken or written word. It's also very doubtful authority was really needed, for Christ would have known that such authority could not be maintained or passed on by fallible mortals, for it's far to rare to find individuals who are worthy of such authority and considered to be true disciples of his cause they keep all Christ's commandments, neither would those individuals likely be able to find each other since they are so rare.

Who since Christ has ever been able to keep all of his commandments, which is the required proof they really are a true follower or prophet of Christ? None that I have ever heard of, though I'm sure there have been a few souls throughout the world here and there, but they probably never met each other.

It seems John the Baptist and maybe a few of Christ's original apostles were the last true prophets. So such authority could not be passed from mortal to mortal, let alone generation to generation and Christ would have known this, that mortals are rarely righteous enough to do so.

Joseph Smith and all the other leaders of the Church since him have surely not kept or even taught Christ's commandments, so why would anyone think they were true followers of Christ, let alone true prophets, let alone have any true authority?

Just because someone claims to have seen God or Christ or have authority doesn't mean they really have. Christ taught to prove all self proclaimed prophets by their behavior, before believing them. And even then he didn't want us to trust or follow them, but only follow Him and his few words and teachings.

As Christ taught, we will know true prophets by the proof of what they 'do (keep all his commandments), not by anything they 'say or claim', for false prophets and spirits claim all sorts of things and thus easily deceive many.

MC said...

DeeLyn,

Your comment doesn't make any sense. But before I get into that what are you doing following and commenting on a blog entitled Pure Mormonism when you are clearly an exmormon or even an antimormon? You keep making these sweeping statements in your comments about how Joseph Smith wasn't a true prophet and on and on. I think you'd be better served visiting sites like mormon think or mormon stories.

Now on to your incoherent comment.

You say you don't believe in an apostasy, yet you believe that there have been no prophets since the original apostles called during Christ's mortal ministry. Sounds like you believe in an apostasy to me. Never mind that the scriptures are 100% crystal clear that an apostasy would occur between the time of the ancient apostles and Christ's second coming.

You keep throwing out the same worn out illogical argument about prophets having to keep all of Christ's commandments. First off, where does it say that in the scriptures? Secondly how do you know Joseph Smith wasn't keeping all of Christ's commandments? Unless you have access to a time machine and have gone back in time to observe every instance in which Christ commanded Joseph to do something and can thereby verify that he didn't keep all of Christ's commandments you really don't have a leg to stand on.

Joseph Smith exed people for crimes like adultery and persecution of the saints. So what?

The Lord had Joseph call men to fill important stations in His kingdom and these men weren't perfect. In fact some of them ended up becoming traitors. So what? Didn't Christ call Judas too?

I agree with you that there are many out there who have been deceived by visits from false Christ's, but surely there must be some way to determine even a visitation by a heavenly being is real.

Mrs. Vanna Z said...

Preach! 👍🏼

DeeLyn said...

MC,

And what would that way be? To determine if a visitation is real?

Warm fuzzies or good feelins? No. Countless people in every religion base their surety and confidence in their religion on fuzzy feelings.

Feeling that the personage loves us? No. The Adversary's counterfeit love feels just like the real deal to mortals, just go ask someone having an affair if they feel like they really love their partner.

New knowledge or truth? No. It seems the Adversary loves to give lots of wonderful deep unheard of truths and knowledge out to impress and woo people so they will think it's from God and not notice the falsehoods mixed in.

That he encourages us to follow Christ? No. For most false prophets encourage us to do what's right and believe in Christ, so they can sound good and convincing, they just don't 'do' what's right themselves (that's how you discern them) and they mix in just enough falsehoods to lead people astray.

That we can shake their hand? No, false personages can be felt too.

Predicting the future? No, the Adversary knows far more about what's coming in the future than any mortal and can easily share much about the future.

Miracles? No. The Adversary can easily do miracles.

So what would it be? And how do you know Joseph Smith (or anyone) really saw the real God or Christ himself or was a true prophet or that the BoM is true, etc.? Revelation? Feelings? How would you know if they really came from God?

Bottom line is, it really doesn't matter if anyone else in the world sees the real Christ or God or not, for that proves nothing about a person's righteousness or salvation and is not what we are here to do, though its nice if it happens. But we are here to see if we can learn to keep the commandments, but it's a nice decoy by the Adversary to get people to focus on trying to get a visit from Christ as proof of their salvation, for that is so much easier than keeping the commandments. I wish that is was that easy and all we needed was a visit from Christ.

DeeLyn said...

Continued-

Even if you aren't familiar with Christ's teachings in the NT, it's only logical that what so called prophets 'do' proves far more than what they may 'say' or claim. If you think we should just believe someone's claims, why do you not also believe the claims of other religious leaders?

Only those who know and believe in Christ's commandments found in the NT will be able to see if Joseph Smith lived them or not. I can't study those for you or interpret them for you. We all interpret Christ's words according to what we are willing to believe in. If you believe in Joseph Smith's and Mormonism's commandments and teachings instead, then I can see why Joseph wouldn't look so bad to you. There are many if not most LDS who see nothing wrong with and are very accepting of Joseph's, Brigham's and other's polygamy, along with their support for racism, slavery, paid ministry, etc, etc.

People believe and see according to the beliefs that appeal to them and to the level they are willing to live. Joseph's and Brigham's teachings and commandments are a lot easier than Christ's, that's why more people believe in them instead. Polygamy, whether serial or concurrent, sounds good to most people. Thus why most LDS like and don't have a problem with a church who teaches and allows even far more serial polygamy today than in BY's day, for it appeals to the natural man and is much easier than Christ's teachings against all forms of polygamy.

And I could ask you the same question why you are on this blog, for the same reasons. You don't seem to believe in Mormonism either or at least you seem to cherry pick like me, which is what I believe we should do, for no mortal teaches all truth or even all falsehoods. I happen to agree with and like much of what Rock posts, and am very grateful for his wonderful insights and knowledge that he so generously shares. It was he who helped me finally see why little in the Church made sense and how it was not a true church. And he continues to teach alot of truth that I learn from and enjoy.

I have come to see that the 'Mormon' Christ is far different than the 'NT' Christ.
The NT Christ taught against trusting anyone to be our leader, even of his 'spiritual' church, for obvious reasons that have proven themselves for 6000 years and in countless religions.

Judas was only supposed to be a messenger and repeat Christ's exact teachings to anyone who would listen, he wasn't assigned to govern a group of people or to judge them or ex them or to have anything to do with them but tell them what Christ said to him personally and above all be an example of those teachings.

A true prophet would be able to easily see thru men like BY or Bennet, etc and would never call them to office, let alone be inspired to.

A lack of prophets for 2000 years doesn't mean there was an Apostasy of the truth, or of Christ's spiritual church or his Gospel. I don't believe Christ ever intended for any 'authority' to be passed down to others, if he even really gave any (despite what the NT says, for much is obviously not really what Christ said and just added by it's authors) nor would Christ have thought man could even remain worthy of handling or passing on such authority, even if Christ had wanted it passed on.

And you say the scriptures are crystal clear? Do you mean the scriptures that very fallible men wrote? Who likely had every reason to write according to their agendas. For Christ or God did not write any scriptures. We have to test and prove everything so called scripture says, before we think it true. And how can you prove something true if one thinks Moses, Joseph or Monson can change what Christ said and come up with something new and different.

I would suggest studying the Christ in the NT more than the Mormon Christ, for they are 2 very different people with opposite commandments.

Robin Hood said...

@ DeeLyn,
I agree with much of the first part of your latest post, but less with the second or continued part.
There appears to be an inconsistency in your appoach. On the one hand you advise us to learn of Christ's commandments in the NT, but then on the other hand say that scripture is written through the filter of human agendas and therefore can't be trusted.
We can't have it both ways methinks.

And then you end with the point that the NT Jesus (the one we learn about from potentially suspect scripture) is different from the Mormon Jesus.
So my question is:
a) how can we know this?
b) can you provide us with examples.

MC said...

DeeLyn,

I agree with you that people being deceived by false prophets, false angels, and even false Christs is a very real pitfall. I tend to agree with you that many if not most visitations are false. I agree that it is likely very difficult to know the difference between an angel and a devil posing as one. My guess would be that someone would have to be on a pretty high spiritual level to know the difference. I would also say that it is Satan's intent to deceive and bind us down, so there would have to be some false doctrine and damning teachings intermixed with any truth received from a false angel, prophet or Christ.

I also agree with you that seeing Christ face to face in this life is not a requirement for salvation, though I think once someone reaches an extremely high level of righteousness and spiritually that Christ can and will appear to them to make their calling and election sure. A visit from Christ is is not something that should be pursued (sorry Denver Snuffer and followers), but something that comes naturally to the very few who reach the required level.

MC said...

For the record I follow Rock's blog because I believe that the church is on the wrong track and needs to be set in order. I long for a return to the pure gospel of Christ and for the powerful gifts of the spirit that were manifested in the primitive church and in the early restored church. This blog gives me lots of food for thought on what exactly is wrong with the church today and what others who have discovered that all is not well in Zion think about our current state.

As for your issues with Joseph Smith and Brigham Young having been racists and polygamists I would ask you this: when and where did Christ say that either practice is contrary to his gospel and commandments? I know of no place in the Bible where Christ specifically mentions either one of these practices.

There are a couple of verses in Jacob 2 that condem polygamy among the Nephites, and a couple of verses in the D&C that can be interpreted to condem polygamy, but as far as I am aware the Bible does not ever condem polygamy explicitly or implicitly. In fact the law of Moses set forth laws govering the practice amd even commanded it in a certain instance.

All of the scriptures support racism when it comes to who can receive the gospel and priesthood and in regards to intermarriage between certain races being forbidden. In fact Christ himself was quite racist during his mortal ministry by todays politically correct standards. Look up what he said to the woman of Canaan. He called her a dog and told her that he was only sent to the lost sheep of Israel.

It seems to me that you have a specific interpretation of Christ's commandments that is not supported by the scriptures (especially the Bible). Then when you compare your own interpretations and additions to Christ's commandments to the actions and teachings of Joseph Smith you find a discrepancy and determine that he was a false prophet, because he did things that you interpret to be against the commandments but are in reality are not.

If you're so sure that polygamy and racism are inherently evil, why not share with us some scriptures that support your views?

Robin Hood said...

@ MC,
Thank you. You put it much better than I could have done.
These were precisely my thoughts.

Log said...

I think it can be proven that one must see Jesus in this life to be saved.

Log said...

And that one must see Jesus in this life to be saved can be proven via the Bible alone - see John 14 and Matthw 7:21-27. Using D&C 132 to make the same point is merely bonus.

It's not so much that the church of Jesus is off-track. It's that there are many who falsely claim to be of Jesus's church - those who claim to follow Jesus and keep not his commandments.

The Lord commands:
Give to every man that asks.
Do not ask for your stuff back whenever someone takes it.
Yield without a fight when you are sued.
If you are struck, allow yourself to be struck again without reviling your assailant.
Lend to all comers, and do not ask for what you loaned back, and hope you do not get paid back.
Do not store up for yourselves in this world gold nor silver nor anything which can be corrupted or stolen, but instead give your excess substance to the poor.
Do not lust after any woman.
Do not plan for tomorrow.

And so on. No man can be saved if he knows the commandments of the Lord, contained in Luke 6:20-49, Matthew 5-7, and 3 Nephi 12-14, without keeping those commandments.

Any man who breaks, and teaches others to break, even one of these least of the commandments of the Lord shall dwell eternally in hell with the scribes and the Pharisees.

Any man who keeps, and teaches others to keep, the commandments of the Lord until they be all fulfilled shall be saved.

Log said...

2 Nephi 9
41 O then, my beloved brethren, come unto the Lord, the Holy One. Remember that his paths are righteous. Behold, the way for man is narrow, but it lieth in a straight course before him, and the keeper of the gate is the Holy One of Israel; and he employeth no servant there; and there is none other way save it be by the gate; for he cannot be deceived, for the Lord God is his name.

42 And whoso knocketh, to him will he open; and the wise, and the learned, and they that are rich, who are puffed up because of their learning, and their wisdom, and their riches—yea, they are they whom he despiseth; and save they shall cast these things away, and consider themselves fools before God, and come down in the depths of humility, he will not open unto them.

43 But the things of the wise and the prudent shall be hid from them forever—yea, that happiness which is prepared for the saints.

John 17:3 And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.

MC said...

Log,

Thanks for sharing that link to your blog. I checked it out, but I'm failing to see how that post proves that one must see Christ face to face in this life to be saved.

The way I understand the reference to the second comforter in the gospel of John is that it is a promise that if somone reaches an extremely high level of righteousness and spiritually to the point were one has essentially passed the test of probation then Christ and even the Father can appear to them and make their calling and election sure.

As to the verses in Matthew about knowing God, that is rather subjective don't you think? I mean if Christ had meant that one must actually have a visitation by Christ and the Father in this life to be saved you'd think he would have been really clear on that point. Yet he vaguely says that it is lige eternal to know God and Jesus Christ. What does that mean? Know them by having become like them by forsaking the natural man? Know them based on the manifestations of the Holy Ghost? Know them face to face in the next life? Or any number of levels if interpretation.

Here's a question for you. Were the anti-Nephi-Lehis who were killed by their wicked brethren as they threw themselves on the ground and refused to fight back saved in the kingdom of heaven or not?

There is zero indication that any of them had seen Christ face to face, yet they had all sincerely repented and were willing to die rather than shed the blood of their brethren again.

Or what about a sweet and nearly innocent 9 year old child who has not seen Christ. What if that child dies. Are they saved? Yes or no?

Log said...

MC:

Please help me to help you: at what point in the link I provided did you jump ship and fail to see that it ineluctably established that one must see Christ in this life to be saved? If you cannot tell me where I failed to make clear, step-by-scriptural-step that one must see Christ in this life to be saved, then your feedback is not very useful to me in clarifying wherever I might have lost you.

What does the Book of Mormon have to say about the salvation of the ANLs - remember, an argument from ignorance remains an argument from ignorance after all is said and done?

What does the Book of Mormon have to say about the "nearly innocent" (which means "not innocent") 9 year old child who has apparently not kept the commandments, nor repented?

DeeLyn said...

Robinhood,

We have to even question and discern whether the words attributed to Christ in the NT are true or not (as Christ expected us to, even he didn't want blind followers), for it's apparent and even inevitable that the authors of the Gospels made errors and false additions in quoting Christ, either on purpose or unintentionally, probably both. For the 4 Gospels have Christ contradicting himself in multiple places so the quotes from Christ can't all be true and accurate.

But in questioning Christ, we must 1st go back to square one (as if we were the 1st person on earth and knew nothing, or as if we are hearing about Christ for the 1st time), no matter what religion we were raised in (for we usually believe the religion we were born in is the right one, just look at all other religions to know this, it's just pride to think we are right and they are all wrong) and then contrary to what religious leaders teach (who want people to think they need religion), we need to come to the realization that mortals cannot know for absolute sure if God even exists, or even if Christ existed or was who he said he was, or if anyone ever saw either of them or received any true revelation from them, be they prophet, pope, priest or any person.

Thus the only thing we can do is test the ideas and principles that Christ or anyone, ancient or modern, claims to be true, and even test all the ideas that come to us, by way of inspiration, revelation or even the desires of our hearts or minds, which surely will be a mix of right and wrong, for no one is perfect and the natural man in us often feels better and more sure about wrong things then right things.

There are many ways one can test or discern truth from error, even in Christ's words. We can use our conscience, which teaches us the Golden Rule and unconditional love, which most everyone understands and desires, especially as children. We can also look at history and see what principles, ideas or behaviors have brought good or bad outcomes for individuals, families or societies. We can ask the question "What would be the effect if 'everyone' did this or that?". If it's a good thing then things only get better if everyone does it, if something is bad then things get worse when everyone does it.

We can also experiment upon the ideas and principles taught by anyone and live them and see their outcome in our lives, though the problem with this is, if we experiment upon something that is wrong, and we start to like it, as the natural man normally would, then we can become quickly past feeling and not be able see the negative outcomes of those wrong ideas or principles until it's too late or til the end of our lives as we look back or often not even until the next life.

Things like 'Near Death Experiences' have also helped people learn what's right and how vital unconditional love and service is in this life and so they seek to develop that in themselves. But we can also learn false things in NDE's and in other supernatural experiences, because the Adversary can teach and influence too, so even those experiences need to be taken with a huge grain of salt and test what is taught or shown.

DeeLyn said...

Continued-

Not everyone will come up with the same answers as they test the ideas of men or Christ, for we interpret what is right and wrong depending on the commandments or level of ideals we are willing to personally live and how soft our heart is and how humble we are. The natural man in us causes us to think and feel we are usually right and righteous, no matter how wrong we are or what we may do wrong.

For example, if a person likes the idea of either serial or concurrent polygamy being an option, either for them or for the ancient prophets they want to believe in, then they are most likely not going to be willing to concur that Christ condemned polygamy in every instance.

Thus also why we can't tell truth from error based upon fuzzy things like feelings, like many religions tell their members to do, including the LDS. For the Adversary knows that's the easiest way to deceive people, just look around the world at how everyone is sure their religion is the right one, usually based on their feelings they believe came from God.
When we prove things by facts (like Christ taught to do), by outcomes, by behavior, by the Golden Rule, etc, then those are more concrete and discernable facts and not just feelings which are unreliable.

I can't tell you how many times I've heard people say how they are the happiest and most at peace that they have ever been, when at the same time they are having affairs or doing things they used to know were very wrong. Wrong can seem and feel so right and wonderful, while right often feels so wrong and not right.

And so far in my life as I have tried to test and discern right from wrong, I believe that the few and basic commandments that Christ taught in the NT Gospels are correct and just natural eternal law, like the Golden Rule and unconditional love. Again, his basic 'commandments' are correct, but I do not believe every quote attributed to him was correct, for they sometimes are contrary to his commandments and thus he wouldn't have said that. But I have observed that his commandments, when lived, bring peace, prosperity, happiness and liberty to societies, and when not lived it brings just the opposite. So that is why I hold Christ's commandments up as my standard for truth, for they prove true to me, for I haven't heard any other ways or ideals that prove better.

We all have to decide on our own what is true or false and right or wrong in this world, and hope we are right. No one can do this for us, not God, or Christ or any prophet, priest or king, even though the natural man wants to pass the buck and have someone else give them scripture and lay it all out for them. I believe this is the test of this life, to see if we are willing to follow our conscience and be humble enough to discern what's right and do it. If we fall for falsehoods or false prophets then that is usually because they appealed to us more than the truth and right did and so we show ourselves where are hearts desires really are. But even a child usually knows right and wrong better than adults. Thus why Christ said to become as little children, fresh from heaven, humble and soft and able to see more clearly.

MC said...

Log,

You asked at what point I failed to see how your blog post "ineluctably established that one must see Christ in this life to be saved?"

Well for starters you are using a statement that it is a false secretarian doctrine that Christ and the Father can dwell in one's heart as the entire premise for your post. That statement is not scripture. You're using a non-scriptural statement to interpret the scriptures. The issue isn't whether or not that statement by Joseph Smith is true or even mostly true, but that it isn't contained in God's word. That's problem number one.

Let's assume for a moment that the above mentioned statement you kept referring to is 100% true (I personally believe that the beings who we call Father, Son, and Holy Ghost are actually much more complex than that statement gives them credit). But let's assume that it is correct none the less. Even with that statement you still did not prove your case in your post. Far from it. You made several leaps in your interpretations and actually flat out misrepresented the phrase "ye never knew me."

To demonstrate my point I'll put it this way. Those verses in John about Christ and the Father taking up their abode with someone, do not even faintly hint that this is a requirement for salvation. The interpretation I provided DeeLyn is in harmony with those verses, your insistence that they say that it is a requirement to see Christ and the Father (if you go by those verses) in order to be saved just flat out isn't there.

Here I'll quote the verses. Please show me were it even hints that having Christ and the Father appear unto you in the flesh in this life is a requirement for salvation.

16 And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever;

17 Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you.

18 I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you.

19 Yet a little while, and the world seeth me no more; but ye see me: because I live, ye shall live also.

20 At that day ye shall know that I am in my Father, and ye in me, and I in you.

21 He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him.

22 Judas saith unto him, not Iscariot, Lord, how is it that thou wilt manifest thyself unto us, and not unto the world?

23 Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him.

24 He that loveth me not keepeth not my sayings: and the word which ye hear is not mine, but the Father’s which sent me.

25 These things have I spoken unto you, being yet present with you.

26 But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.

For that matter please explain what verse 20 means and how it fits with that statement by Joseph Smith.

DeeLyn said...

Robinhood,

In answer to your last question, if we study and list the commandments that Christ gave us in the 4 NT Gospels (not other men's writings like Paul, etc, for they also added in their own interpretations, right or wrong, we just want to focus on what Christ himself supposedly said) and we also determine that those commandments are true, to the best of our ability to determine that, assuming we are doing our best to keep those commandments, for only those who truly strive to live them will know more surely how true they are.

Then we can compare those commandments of Christ's to the actions, behavior, preaching and writings of others, like prophets, ancient or modern, in the OT and NT or like Joseph Smith or other LDS leaders, and see if they in fact followed those commandments or if they taught and acted contrary to them.

MC said...

cont...

Another issue is how you interpret Christ's saying "ye never knew me." You interpret this to mean that "ye never personally saw me in the flesh in this life." That interpretation cannot be justified. You recall that Christ uttered those words after telling the story of the sheep and the goats and how the sheep knew the Lord because they had helped those in need, whereas the goats had not. The goats were willing to help the savior but not their fellow man. The implication is that we know the Lord because we have charity (his pure love) towards our fellow man and not because we personally know him, because he lives in our house with us, which is what taking up his abode with us means (if you want to insist that this is what is meant in John).

I'm disappointed that you attempted to redirect my questions about the Anti-Nephi-Lehis and a 9 year old child. So are you saying then that if the Anti-Lehi-Nephis didn't see Christ in the flesh prior to being massacred by their wicked brethren that they weren't saved? Are you seriously suggesting that a 9 year old child who isn't 100% perfect won't be saved even if they have been baptized and are sincerely striving to press forward, holding on to the iron rod, but just haven't reached a spiritual level to where they have had their calling and election made sure? Come on now. Can't you see the serious problems that your insistence that one must see Christ in the flesh in this life to be saved creates.

Log said...

MC:

I'm not here to argue. Either you accept D&C 130:3 or you are not LDS Mormon. It has been canonized.

You can be disappointed all you like. Either you answer your own questions, as the answers are in the Book of Mormon, or you are simply contending, which is forbidden.

Do you believe the Book of Mormon? If so, review the words of Abinadi.

MC said...

DeeLyn,

So you're telling us that you reserve the right to pick and choose which scripture you believe. You seriously don't see how that could be a major problem?

How do you even determine for your self which one's you believe and which one's you don't without breaking your own rules and trusting in your feelings? I'm seriously quite curious how you make this determination and frankly what makes you think you even have a right to cherry pick which scriptures you will believe and which you won't.

MC said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Log said...

MC:

So, once again: help me help you: where does my argument miss a scriptural step, now that you finally acknowledge D&C 130:3 is canonized?

MC said...

You got me on D&C 130:3. My apologies I had forgotten that statement was canonized.

I know I have a tendency to get a little contentious, but why not answer my questions instead of deflecting and accusing me of being insincere or an unbeliever.

I think we both know that you can't answer the questions I posed in a way that supports your hard line stance that one must see Christ in the flesh in this life to be saved. It would be illogical for God not to save someone who has been baptized and is holding fast to the iron rod, but just hasn't made it to the point of having their calling and election sure before they die. If God would do this then he is not just nor merciful. Would it be just not to save a convert of only a year who dies suddenly and yet save someone who lives to be 90 and at age 89 reaches a spiritual level worthy of having there calling and election made sure.

If there's something I'm missing here feel free to clue me in.

MC said...

Log,

The misstep is still in the matter of whether or not having this personal appearance in this life is required for salvation. None of the verses you quoted demonstrate that it is a requirement. Really nothing has changed. John 14 still does not say it is required and is quite vague as to what exactly is suppose to take place and what it actually means.

The "you never knew me" interpretation issues also remain unresolved.

As does the issue of what would hypothetically happen to someone who was recently baptized and who was pressing forward holding fast to the iron rod, but didn't live long enough to reach a spiritual level were they had their calling and election made sure.

Log said...

MC:

I don't see a question relating to the link I posted. Help me help you: where does my argument miss a scriptural step?

Are you arguing that the conditions the Lord has set, and which I document, are unmerciful? Are you, in other words, accusing God of being unmerciful?

And if you are not arguing that God is unmerciful - the argument, methinks, of Lucifer - then what are you arguing?

Robin Hood said...

DeeLyn,
You stated that the NT gospels contain statements where Christ appears to contradict himself.
Please provide an example.

MC said...

Log,

The question is still where do any of the passages explicitly state that seeing Christ face to face in the flesh in this life is required for salvation?

God is merciful and just. Your incorrect interpretation of tge scriptures would make him unjust and unmerciful. That was the point.

Go ahead and keep dodging. And while you're at dodge this one too.

How do you harmonize Joseph Smith's vision of the celestial kingdom in which he saw his brother Alvin there with your hardline stance on one having to see Christ in this life to be saved?

Log said...

MC:

If there was a scripture that said, in these exact words, "You must see Christ in this life or else you cannot be saved," we'd not be having this "conversation."

I have asked you multiple times to show where my argument, linked to from my blog, misses any links in demonstrating step-by-step that you must see Christ in this life or else you cannot be saved (exalted), and you have declined to answer. Thus it seems we have nothing to discuss.

The scripture you claim to wish me to harmonize with the fact that you must see Christ in this life seems to require no harmonization, leading me to question why you even bring it up - either you haven't read it, or haven't understood it?

5 I saw Father Adam and Abraham; and my father and my mother; my brother Alvin, that has long since slept;

6 And marveled how it was that he had obtained an inheritance in that kingdom, seeing that he had departed this life before the Lord had set his hand to gather Israel the second time, and had not been baptized for the remission of sins.

7 Thus came the voice of the Lord unto me, saying: All who have died without a knowledge of this gospel, who would have received it if they had been permitted to tarry, shall be heirs of the celestial kingdom of God;

8 Also all that shall die henceforth without a knowledge of it, who would have received it with all their hearts, shall be heirs of that kingdom;

9 For I, the Lord, will judge all men according to their works, according to the desire of their hearts.

DeeLyn said...

MC,

Of course we all have the right to decide what is true or false, and I believe it's a test, not just a right. Why would you think it otherwise and that we would have to trust a fallible imperfect person to decide truth from error for us or receive revelation for us? Let alone men who call themselves prophets yet don't even keep Christ's commandments.

No one is righteous enough today or ever to trust them to be our leader, except maybe Christ but even his words were written by fallible men and thus highly suspect. We may listen to people's and teachers perspectives but we have to decide for ourselves if what they teach or claim is true or not.

I explained in my last few posts above to Robinhood, some of the ways one can discern truth from error and right from wrong and why feelings are unreliable and the easiest way to be deceived.

As mortals we won't get everything right but I believe we all are born with the knowledge of basic right and wrong deep down in our conscience. We all understand the Golden Rule and love, we just don't always follow it.

No one needs another person or prophet or Bible to tell them what is right. You seem to assume the Bible or BoM is all true, that the authors didn't make any errors or write in false things. Even Christ expected us to recognize that he was teaching truth, not just assume he was because of who he claimed to be.

Just because someone claims to be a true prophet 4000 years ago or 200 years ago or today, doesn't mean they really were, even if most of the world thinks so.

You may have grown up in Mormonism and thus that is why you believe you need a prophet to tell you what is right, but logic, history and even Christ teach against following prophets or anyone as leaders, for they are not perfect and are rarely true and never trustworthy to follow, for even a true prophet can still be wrong about many things and lead people astray. If you could even find a true prophets, now or in history, they would only repeat and encourage people to live the commandments of Christ, not their own new commandments and ideas.

It's the natural man in us that likes to follow leaders and let them do the thinking and deciding and discerning for us. It's much easier to think a prophet can receive true revelation for us than have to assume personal responsibility for our own salvation and discern truth and receive revelation for ourselves and then also make sure those impressions are even true. That is why most mortals like to have prophets, priests, popes, presidents and kings, because it's much easier, at least for awhile, til they lead you astray, ask for your money or use unrighteous dominion, which always happens eventually, for no one is perfect and everyone thinks they are right even when very wrong, especially those who seek to be leaders.

The test of this life may be risky to lead ourselves and decide truth and error for ourself, but if we are sincerely trying to do what's right, not just what feels good at the moment or what we want to do, and we instead listen to our heart and conscience and learn from history, we will likely do far better than following leaders who all just repeat the same cycle of history anyway.

DeeLyn said...

Robinhood,

As for an example in the NT of how they have Christ contradicting himself, one would be that they have Christ mentioning and holding up Abraham, yet Christ would not have thought him to be a true prophet, but a fallen or false one, for he fell for polygamy, concubines, and tried to sacrifice his son, and other things, etc. So Christ would never have used him as an example of righteousness. It seems you a just assuming or believing the Bible is all true.

But since you seem to believe in the Church I would guess that you believe that polygamy is ok in certain times and forms, like serial polygamy today is considered ok in the church or promised polygamy in the eternities (for men in the church are continually sealed to multiple women), so you probably won't agree that Christ clearly condemned all forms of polygamy in any age, in his multiple teachings in the NT, or that it is always abusive or that it is against the Golden Rule or real love, etc. etc.

So I won't go further into Christ's teachings against polygamy because until you believe it's always abusive, destructive and wrong, like even Joseph Smith taught in his BoM and other teachings, then you will not agree that Christ totally condemned it no matter how may verses I quote to you.

So this is why we must all decide what is true for ourselves, for we won't always agree with another person's beliefs or even agree on what Christ taught. For again, we usually interpret Christ according to the level of ideals we are willing to live.

Yet in the next life we will all be accountable for who we believed and what we supported and for our own beliefs and actions. We won't be able to pass the buck and say that such and such prophet taught or told us that some idea was ok and right.

We are expected to discern truth for ourselves in this life and if we are led astray it will be our own fault, no matter who we claimed to follow.

People usually follow leaders who are like them, and when someone is like us we tend to think they are right, even if they are very wrong.

MC said...

Log,

I'll try once more to show you where your conclusions based on your scripture chain are flawed. If we still don't get anywhere then I say we just drop it.

Before I show you again were you are adding things to God's word, let me address the vision of Alvin in the celestial kingdom.

Verses 6-9 are clear that the Lord will judge individuals based on their works, according to the desires of their hearts. Those who died without a knowledge of the gospel who would have received it with all their hearts had they been permitted to tarry, shall be saved in the celestial kingdom.

It doesn't mention anything here about them having died prior to having a personal visitation by Christ and the Father, and even if it did say or imply that, the point is still that seeing Christ in this life is not required for salvation for everyone because it isn't required of those who died without a knowledge of the gospel.

Now as to your scripture chain and interpretation. It's actually pretty logical. The problem is that you define what you think Christ means instead of sticking to what he says.

After quoting from John 14 you say "If you love Jesus, keep his commandments. You love Jesus if, and only if, you keep his commandments. If you keep his commandments, he will come to you, and he will bring the Father to you."

This is fine, and a logical summary, but the question is what is the timing of Christ and the Father coming to someone? Is it the moment the keep all of the commandments for a day, a week, a month, a year, 20 years, how long?

If its over a span of many years, then what happens to someone who is keeping all of the commandments, but hasn't had their calling and election made sure yet?

Also the first step is to receive the first comforter, meaning the Holy Ghost, who will teach someone all of the commandments. What if someone has been baptized, has received the Holy Ghost and is on the path of following the commandments taught them by the Holy Ghost (which are received line upon line precept upon precept) and then they die before receiving the second comforter, are they not saved?

Or referring back to the vision of Alvin in the celestial kingdom, what if someone is keeping all of the commandments to the best of their knowledge and has a sincere desire to live all of the commandments with all their hearts, but doesn't fully understand them?

MC said...

Log cont...

Problem 2

After quoting from D&C 132 you say: "To receive Jesus therefore means to take him into your home, or to embrace him physically. If you do not thus receive him in the world, then you do not know him, and you do not receive exaltation. If you thus receive him in the world, then you know him, and will receive exaltation. Putting it all together, you love Jesus if, and only if, you keep his commandments. If you keep his commandments, he will come to you, and you will take him into your home, or embrace him physically. If you thus receive him, he will bring the Father to you, and you will receive your exaltation."

This is where you really begin to put words in Christ's mouth and add things that just aren't contained in God's word.

1. Nowhere in the verses you quoted does it say that one "must embrace Christ physically."
2. You then take your addition to the scriptures and misapply it to what it means to "receive the savior." You say that to receive the savior you have to embrace him physically in this life. That is your interpretation (well really Denver Snuffer's) and isn't contained anywhere in the scriptures.
4. You then connect "receiving the savior" and "knowing the savior" together and again define that as "physically embracing him and bringing him into your home in this life." This is again your definition and not the Lord's.

This is essentially the issue. You made up a definition for what it means for the Son and the Father to take up their abode with someone and then force your own definition upon other scriptures to prove your point.

I've already shown where the statement "you never knew me" refers to neglecting the needy and not to a lack of "physically embracing the savior in this life."

I'm curious where did you get the definition of "physically embracing the savior?" I'm assuming Denver Snuffer.

Log said...

1. That's the literal meaning of the word "receive," as I pointed out in the link: "to physically embrace," or "to take into your home."
2. That's not a misapplication, but what it literally means to "receive the Savior:" to physically embrace Him, or to take Him into your home.
4 (3). That's not my definition, but what the word "receive" literally means.

The issue, therefore, is you literally disbelieve the scriptures, having rendered the word "receive" nonliterally, and not that I have made any errors.

Log said...

It doesn't mention anything here about them having died prior to having a personal visitation by Christ and the Father, and even if it did say or imply that, the point is still that seeing Christ in this life is not required for salvation for everyone because it isn't required of those who died without a knowledge of the gospel.

In other words, your citation was completely besides the point at issue, contributing exactly nothing to the discussion of the necessity of seeing Christ in this life in order to be saved (exalted).

I had already directed you to read Abinadi's words, which, if you had read them, would have precluded your misguided contention.

22 And now, the resurrection of all the prophets, and all those that have believed in their words, or all those that have kept the commandments of God, shall come forth in the first resurrection; therefore, they are the first resurrection.

23 They are raised to dwell with God who has redeemed them; thus they have eternal life through Christ, who has broken the bands of death.

24 And these are those who have part in the first resurrection; and these are they that have died before Christ came, in their ignorance, not having salvation declared unto them. And thus the Lord bringeth about the restoration of these; and they have a part in the first resurrection, or have eternal life, being redeemed by the Lord.

25 And little children also have eternal life.

26 But behold, and fear, and tremble before God, for ye ought to tremble; for the Lord redeemeth none such that rebel against him and die in their sins; yea, even all those that have perished in their sins ever since the world began, that have wilfully rebelled against God, that have known the commandments of God, and would not keep them; these are they that have no part in the first resurrection.

27 Therefore ought ye not to tremble? For salvation cometh to none such; for the Lord hath redeemed none such; yea, neither can the Lord redeem such; for he cannot deny himself; for he cannot deny justice when it has its claim.


You, like the priests of Noah to whom Abinadi spoke these words, are alive and have the gospel in the scriptures before you.

MC said...

Log,

It looks like we're finally getting somewhere. At least you finally acknowledged that having a personal visitation and embrace by Christ in this life is NOT a requirement for salvation.

Now here's another question for you? Does the fulness of the Melchizedek priesthood have to be on earth for someone to have their calling and election made sure?

If the answer is yes, then are you certain that anyone today can actually have their calling and election made sure? If you buy into Denver Snuffer's ideas then the Melchizedek priesthood has been gone a long time.

If the answer is no the fulness of the Melchizedek priesthood does not have to be on earth, then what would have kept Alvin Smith from receiving the second comforter? He had the scriptures after all.

DeeLyn said...

MC,

In answer to some of your above questions, for one, Christ taught the Golden Rule, which teaches total equality and totally condemns both racism and polygamy. For men would not want to have done to them what they do to certain races or to women in polygamy.

What man would want to live alone with all the kids and chores and hardly see his 1 wife cause she is always out living with her other husbands or being wined and dined by new prospective ones?

The Bible supports racism, inequality and polygamy because it seems most people for 6000 years have supported these things too. And since men wrote the Bible it of course supports these things. Why do you believe the writings and claims of fallible men, who most likely were unrighteous men? (for righteous men/people were rare throughout history)

And if it seemed like Christ supported any of these things then remember, Christ did not write any part of the NT. Ever play the telephone game? Even if men had good intentions in quoting Christ, it would be practically impossible for them to have got all his quotations correct. The likelihood is, men back then were like men today, all with their own agendas, biases, desires and beliefs they wanted promoted, and thus wrote accordingly. We have to be more discerning than the average Bible author or prophet.

And who said Moses was a righteous man or a true prophet? Men, very fallible men, who most likely wanted their own desires and beliefs condoned so they held up a leader who condoned those beliefs and behaviors.

Again, we believe and support the prophets and writings and interpretations and standards that agree with our own desires. If polygamy, inequality or racism, etc, sounds good to us in one form or another, we will likely believe in an ancient or modern prophet who condones or excuses it.

If we agree those things are destructive we will not support such prophets and will see how Christ also taught against those things.

I have long since learned it's usually useless to quote chapter and verses in discussions. For we don't believe in something because the Bible says it or even if Christ taught it, we believe in things because in our heart we desire those things in some form, wrong or right.

So no amount of verses in the scriptures (writings of men) will convince us differently of something we want to believe in or don't see as wrong. A person has to have a pretty strong desire for or acceptance of things like polygamy, racism, inequality, paid ministry, etc, etc, to believe in the LDS Church. A few Bible verses isn't going to change our hearts and desires.

While those who believe in eternal monogamy, love and respect and equality of wives, women and all races and that church leaders should support themselves and not expect others to support them, let alone the poor and widows, single mothers and elderly, who the leaders should be supporting and not the other way around, would not continue to believe in the Church, or Joseph Smith or BY, etc. But they would believe in Christ for one can see where he stood for those things too.

If we don't believe in a principle and are not trying to live it, it is very hard to understand it. Like someone who believes in polygamy in any form, would have a hard time understanding or accepting or living eternal monogamy. Or like, the Adversary knows nothing about unconditional love, respect and equality for he doesn't possess those qualities.

Log said...

It looks like we're finally getting somewhere. At least you finally acknowledged that having a personal visitation and embrace by Christ in this life is NOT a requirement for salvation.

I operate under the assumption we're talking in good faith, until you show me you are insincere or unserious. Therefore I choose not to waste my time listing out the edge cases which, in this context, everyone should be aware of - having sent you towards Abinadi should have obviated the need "to get somewhere."

A personal visitation and embrace from Christ in this life is a requirement for salvation (exaltation). You know it, as do I. We need not waste our time talking about those who die without a knowledge of the gospel, nor need we waste our time talking about unbaptized children who are under the age of accountability, and so on. We're talking about you, me, Robin Hood, Rock, DeeLyn, and all the rest reading along who are neither ignorantly dead, nor ignorantly alive, nor innocently underage.

The temple rites are intended to communicate the keys of the kingdom to the initiates, which keys - items of knowledge which unlock the meaning of things - are intended to prevent imposition, said Joseph. The interpretation of the endowments is given to men predicated upon their diligence. Therefore there is no need for me to tell you the signs or tokens by which one may recognize a Melchizedek priest - you will learn them for yourself if you will diligently keep the commandments of the Lord Jesus Christ as contained in Luke 6:20-49, Matthew 5-7, and 3 Nephi 12-14.

Without these keys, obtained by revelation from heaven through one's diligence in keeping the commandments of the Lord, you will not be able to recognize such a priest.

MC said...

Log,

Here are the definitions of receive and know from the 1828 Webster dictionary. You'll notice that there are multiple definitions for those words not just the one you provided.

Receive
RECE'IVE, verb transitive [Latin recipio; re and capio, to take.]

1. To take, as a thing offered or sent; to accept. He had the offer of a donation, but he would not receive it.

2. To take as due or as a reward. He received the money on the day it was payable. He received ample compensation.

3. To take or obtain from another in any manner, and either good or evil.

Shall we receive good at the hand of God, and shall we not receive evil? Job 2:10.

4. To take, as a thing communicated; as, to receive a wound by a shot; to receive a disease by contagion.

The idea of a solidity we receive by our touch.

5. To take or obtain intellectually; as, to receive an opinion or notion from others.

6. To embrace.

Receive with meekness the engrafted word. James 1:7.

7. To allow; to hold; to retain; as a custom long received.

8. To admit.

Thou shalt guide me with thy counsel, and afterward receive me to glory. Psalms 73:24.

9. To welcome; to lodge and entertain; as a guest.

They kindled a fire and received us every one, because of the present rain and because of the cold. Acts 28:2.

10. To admit into membership or fellowship.

Him that is weak in the faith, receive ye. Romans 14:1.

11. To take in or on; to hold; to contain.

The brazen altar was too little to receive the burnt-offering. 1 Kings 8:64.

12. To be endowed with.

Ye shall receive power after that the Holy Spirit has come upon you. Acts 1:8.

13. To take into a place or state.

After the Lord had spoken to them, he was received up into heaven. Mark 16:19.

14. To take or have as something ascribed; as, to receive praise or blame. Revelation 4:11. Revelation 5:12.

15. To bear with or suffer. 2 Corinthians 11:4.

16. To believe in. John 1:11.

17. To accept or admit officially or in an official character. The minister was received by the emperor or court.

18. To take stolen goods from a thief, knowing them to be stolen.

Know
KNOW, verb transitive no. preterit tense knew; participle passive known. [Latin nosco, cognosco, Gr. although much varied in orthography. Nosco makes novi, which, with g or c prefixed, gnovi or cnovi, would coincide with know knew. So Latin cresco, crevi, coincides with grow, grew. The radical sense of knowing is generally to take, receive, or hold.]

1. To perceive with certainty; to understand clearly; to have a clear and certain perception of truth, fact, or any thing that actually exists. To know a thing pre

includes all doubt or uncertainty of its existence. We know what we see with our eyes, or perceive by other senses. We know that fire and water are different substances. We know that truth and falsehood express ideas incompatible with each other. We know that a circle is not a square. We do not know the truth of reports, nor can we always know what to believe.

2. To be informed of; to be taught. It is not unusual for us to say we know things from information, when we rely on the veracity of the informer.

3. To distinguish; as, to know one man from another. We know a fixed star from a planet by its twinkling.

4. To recognize by recollection, remembrance, representation or description. We do not always know a person after a long absence. We sometimes know a man by having seen his portrait, or having heard him described.

5. To be no stranger to; to be familiar. This man is well known to us.

6. In scripture, to have sexual commerce with. Genesis 4:1.

7. To approve.

8. To learn. Proverbs 1:2.

9. To acknowledge with due respect. 1 Thessalonians 5:2.

10. To choose; to favor or take an interest in. Amos 3:10.

11. To commit; to have.

12. To have full assurance of; to have satisfactory evidence of any thing, though short of certainty.

KNOW, verb intransitive no.

1. To have clear and certain perception; not to be doubtful; sometimes with of.

2. To be informed.

3. To take cognizance of; to examine.

Log said...

So, let's pursue this.

How does one - literally - receive a person?

How does one - literally - know a person?

Feel free to choose from the definitions you provided.

MC said...

Log,

"A personal visitation and embrace from Christ in this life is a requirement for salvation (exaltation). You know it, as do I."

Actually I don't know this and neither do you. You believe this to be the case based on your interpretation of what the scriptures mean. I on the other hand interpret those scriptures differently. You yourself admitted that the scriptures do not at any point explicitly state that having a personal visitation with Christ, let alone an embrace, in this life are required for salvation. So I really don't see why you think I know that this is the case. Yes I may be a little snarky at times, when you continually dodge my questions, but I am acting in good faith.

There are plenty of scriptures that would lead one to conclude that having one's calling and election made sure by a personal visit by Christ in this life is not an absolute requirement for salvation, even for someone who has the fulness of the gospel and the scriptures available to them.

I think we're going to have to agree to disagree. You're post doesn't prove what you say it proves. It does however show why you believe what you do. Though your opinion is flawed and based on your own definition of certain terms, it is fairlylogical. If you want to believe that a personal embrace with Christ in this life is required for salvation, go right ahead. Just don't tell me that it can be proven that this is the case when it cannot be.

MC said...

Log,

As to your most recent question, Christ already answered that for you. We receive him by receiving and caring for the poor and the needy. This is how we come to know him, because as we become filled with charity (his pure love) we become more like him and have his image engraved on our countenance.

Of course we must also keep his other commandments and receive the saving ordinances. But as Christ taught all of the commandments basically boil down to loving God and loving our fellow man.

Log said...

MC:

You're free to disagree, of course. I will simply at this point note that what it pleases you to call "my interpretation" is what Joseph Smith said was "no interpretation at all," which he said was the rule of scriptural interpretation.

Alma 37:20 Therefore I command you... that ye be diligent in keeping the commandments of God as they are written.

"Everything that we have not a key word to, we will take it as it reads." - Joseph Smith, TWoJS p. 187

“What is the rule of interpretation? Just no interpretation at all. Understand it precisely as it reads.” - Joseph Smith, TPJS p. 276

"To be a believer, you must be a literalist with a mind open to infinite possibilities." - Hugh Nibley

You seem to wish to conflate salvation with "calling and election." You're free to do that as well.

My post proves what I say it proves. The post is not flawed, but is based strictly upon the literal meaning of the words being used. And if you have been through the temple, what significance does it have to you that within the rites you must be embraced by the Lord at the veil before being admitted into the presence of God?

Or can you climb up by some other way, and hope to be received?

Log said...

Where did Christ say "we receive him by receiving and caring for the poor and needy"?

MC said...

Log,

How about when he said "if ye have done it unto one of the least of these ye have done it unto me."

Did he not tell the people that there would be a division between the sheep and the goats where those who had clothed him, fed him, visited him in prison etc would be saved in the kingdom of heaven and those who did not would be cast out? Did he not apply that to doing this towards our fellow man and not him directly?

In fact did he not say condem those who claim that they never saw him in need of help and passed by those in need?

At least that's the way I understand that story. I believe that King Benjamin said something similar when he said that when we are in the servive of our fellow man we are only in the servive of our God.

I honestly don't know of any place in the scriptures were Christ says we have to physically receive him.

He says we must receive him and know him, but never defines what that means other than receiving the poor and the needy to my knowledge.

This is also were the law of concecration comes in. There are to be no poor among us.

Good Will said...

Excellent analysis and well-founded conclusions, Rhone! Nicely done!

DeeLyn said...

Log,

Christ probably didn't say those words exactly, but it's a collective idea one can get by reading and studying and trying to live his commandments. Christ just wanted us to keep his commandments, which include caring for the poor and the needy. He was just a messenger and didn't seem to want any glory or attention on himself, except as an example, and just wanted to teach us how to save ourselves by living right.

If one happens to be blessed with such a visitation in this life or in a Near Death Experience, etc, than that is great, if it's the real Christ, and no mortal could be sure it is the real Christ. So saying such is needed for salvation couldn't be true for no one would know for sure if they really had the experience by the real Christ, no matter how sure they are.

Thinking that one must 'see and embrace Christ in this life' or have one's 'C&E Sure' are Mormon ideas, that even most Mormons don't believe in. I once went to a small get together as a teen at a GA's home where he taught this principle to us, but such would not happen today. But if Joseph Smith does not prove to be a true prophet or disciple of Christ than it doesn't matter what he taught or how many believe in him.

We can't even know if Christ really lived or if he was who he said he was, so all we can do is study his supposed words and try to glean truth from them and live as best we can and hope there is an afterlife and a loving God and hope we are worthy to live with him.

And we don't even need to have ever heard of Christ to understand what's right and needed for salvation, for most people who have lived on the planet have never heard of him or his teachings, thus obviously not necessary. For all mortals are born with the knowledge of right and wrong deep down in their hearts and if they just follow their conscience then they will live his commandments, without even knowing them.

DeeLyn said...

No scriptures, no prophet, no Christ, no church and no religion are necessary to become absolutely perfect, in fact they usually get in the way of becoming so.

Log said...

MC:

Let me take it as given there is no scripture in which Christ says "we receive him by receiving and caring for the poor and needy." Matthew 25 says more than what you are taking it to say.

Why don't you take a crack at answering these questions I asked?

How do we - literally - receive a person?

How do we - literally - know a person?

Log said...

DeeLyn,

Just because you do not know a thing does not mean I do not know that thing.

Also, just because you do not believe a thing does not mean that thing is false.

MC said...

Log,

Lets just leave it alone and agree to disagree. We're getting nowhere.

As to your questions, we're not talking about how a person receives or knows another person. We're talking about how a person receives and knows God. The two are no one and the same. At least not in my humble opinion. I'm out. I've waster enough time in this circular discussion.

Log said...

The scriptures teach that it is necessary to receive and know Christ in this life to be saved (exalted).

1. How do we - literally - receive a person?
2. How do we - literally - know a person?

Because God is a person.

D&C 130
1 When the Savior shall appear we shall see him as he is. We shall see that he is a man like ourselves.

2 And that same sociality which exists among us here will exist among us there, only it will be coupled with eternal glory, which glory we do not now enjoy.

3 John 14:23—The appearing of the Father and the Son, in that verse, is a personal appearance; and the idea that the Father and the Son dwell in a man’s heart is an old sectarian notion, and is false.

You must receive God and you must know God in this life to be saved (exalted).

D&C 132
21 Verily, verily, I say unto you, except ye abide my law ye cannot attain to this glory.

22 For strait is the gate, and narrow the way that leadeth unto the exaltation and continuation of the lives, and few there be that find it, because ye receive me not in the world neither do ye know me.

23 But if ye receive me in the world, then shall ye know me, and shall receive your exaltation; that where I am ye shall be also.

24 This is eternal lives—to know the only wise and true God, and Jesus Christ, whom he hath sent. I am he. Receive ye, therefore, my law.

And, of course, we have the temple rites which also testify to these things, as well as the Lord's words in the Bible and the Book of Mormon.

So what motivates the rejection of this teaching, which is the literal teaching of the scriptures?

DeeLyn said...
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DeeLyn said...

Log,

That is true. But just because we believe we know a thing doesn't mean we do or that's it's true.

The wisest know they know nothing.

Log said...

DeeLyn,

Then the wisest, according to you, cannot be saved, according to Christ, for eternal life is knowing the one true God and Jesus Christ whom he has sent.

If that is wisdom to you, then I prefer to be a fool to you.

MC said...

Log,

To be clear I have no problem with a literal interpretation of the scriptures, though it is clear that not every single passage is intended to be taken literally. Some passages are metaphorical or figurative.

D&C 46

8 Wherefore, beware lest ye are deceived; and that ye may not be deceived seek ye earnestly the best gifts, always remembering for what they are given;

9 For verily I say unto you, they are given for the benefit of those who love me and keep all my commandments, and him that seeketh so to do; that all may be benefited that seek or that ask of me, that ask and not for a sign that they may consume it upon their lusts.

10 And again, verily I say unto you, I would that ye should always remember, and always retain in your minds what those gifts are, that are given unto the church.

11 For all have not every gift given unto them; for there are many gifts, and to every man is given a gift by the Spirit of God.

12 To some is given one, and to some is given another, that all may be profited thereby.

13 To some it is given by the Holy Ghost to know that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, and that he was crucified for the sins of the world.

14 To others it is given to believe on their words, that they also might have eternal life if they continue faithful.

These are just some of the gifts of the spirit that Christ promises to those who keep ALL of his commandments. Look at verses 13 and 14 very carefully.

Verse 13 says that to some it is given to KNOW that Jesus is the Christ by the HOLY GHOST not by a personal visitation.

Verse 14 says that to others it is given to BELIEVE on the words of those who KNOW that Jesus is the Christ through the Holy Ghost, that they might also have eternal life if they continue faithful.

In both of these case the person is keeping ALL of Christ's commandments and yet to one is given to know that Jesus is the Christ through the Holy Ghost and to another it is only given to believe on the words of the first person that they may also receive eternal life if they continue faithful.

I'm not suggesting that Christ and the Father will not appear unto someone who has proven themselves completely faithful for a long period of time. What I'm suggesting is that those who know through the power of the Holy Ghost and those who merely believe and faithfully keep all the commandments will also be saved. Remember that we walk by faith not by sight.

I'm sure you'll have another counter argument or you'll accuse me of working for Lucifer again or something, and that's fine. Why don't we just depart with something we can both agree on. We both agree that one must keep all of Christ's commandments to be saved. We both agree that a huge part of this is caring for the needy. We both agree that we are to follow the word of God as contained in the Holy Scriptures. We both agree that the path back to God is not easy. It is straight and narrow and few find it. It seems all we disagree about here is whether or not one MUST have their calling and election made sure in this life. The reality is that it doesn't matter and isn't worth fighting over. If we both have faith in Christ, repent, and keep all of the commandments we will be saved one way or the other.

Log said...

MC,

The fact that some are given to know that Jesus is the Christ by the Holy Ghost and not by a personal visitation has nothing - at all - to do with knowing Jesus Christ.

I know Donald Trump is the President of 'Murica. I do not know Donald Trump. There is no conflict between knowing Donald Trump is the President of 'Murica, and not knowing Donald Trump.

I understand you wish it were the case that "those who know through the power of the Holy Ghost and those who merely believe and faithfully keep all the commandments will also be saved." The scriptures say something different about salvation (exaltation), indicating that one must receive Christ in the world or else one does not know him and thus one does not have eternal life. As I have pointed out repeatedly. And Christ said he will come to them who keep his commandments, and bring the Father to them, and Joseph told us this was literal.

You're not arguing with me - I have no position on this subject apart from what the scriptures say at literal face value about it.

2 Nephi 28:15 O the wise, and the learned, and the rich, that are puffed up in the pride of their hearts, and all those who preach false doctrines, and all those who commit whoredoms, and pervert the right way of the Lord, wo, wo, wo be unto them, saith the Lord God Almighty, for they shall be thrust down to hell!

Therefore I think it wise to be far more careful about speaking on this subject.

MC said...

Log,

Actually those verses do have somthing to do with knowing the savior. As do they have something to do with what those who keep all of Christ's commandments receive in this life.

The truth is that you could know Donald Trump on a personal level without having him in your home and embracing him. You could talk to him on the phone. You could read his journal. You could correspond with him via email. His mother or wife could tell you all about him. You could even strive to live your life just as he does. All of these things are ways in which you could know Donald Trump.

Obviously the ultimate way to know him would be for you to not only meet him one time, but to see him and talk to him regularly, even daily. You would have to become his best friend.

I don't think this last part is how one is required to know the savior in this life.

I know you disagree. So go ahead and tell me I'm going to hell again. I honestly don't care what you think about me.

Log said...

You are using the word "know" nonliterally in your proffered examples, MC. You wouldn't be able to verify his identity over the phone or the email. The journal might well be a forgery, and his mother or wife imposters (you might require proofs of identity from them, but even then, all you get out of them is reports - you would know things about him, but wouldn't know him). You could indeed live by "The Art of the Deal," but you still wouldn't know him except "in a manner of speaking," which is to say you wouldn't literally know him; you might, however, find that you are very much like him if you met him after that.

MC said...

Log,

So brining this back to knowing God are you suggesting that the scriptures might be a forgery?

Or are you suggesting that one can't come to know God by literally hearing his voice out of the heavens, because that voice could be false?

Or are you suggesting that the Holy Ghost who is a member of the Godhead cannot teach someone all about the nature and personality of Christ?

Or are you suggesting that an angel couldn't teach someone about the nature of God?

And what if "Christ" does appear to you, how do you know that it is really him unless you already know him on every other level?
In my experience one can come to know the Lord and have a personal relationship with him without seeing him.

I still have a long ways to go, and perhaps one day I will see Christ in the flesh. I don't consider that to be the only way to know him. If one day I am privileged to see the Lord in a vision or hear his voice I would say that I truly know him. I don't have to see him.

Log said...

I am saying, as the scriptures say: because you do not receive Christ in the world neither do you know him. If you do not know him you do not have eternal life. I take this literally, as Joseph said is the rule of interpretation.

"I don't consider that to be the only way to know him."

That's because you are deliberately using the word "know" nonliterally, hence your use of the word "consider." You're a relatively honest person, and equivocation - your deliberate fudging on "know" - doesn't suit your conscience well. The point of equivocation, of course, is to make false seem true, or to provide cover for men to profess belief in what they in fact do not believe, and other deceptions.

The Joseph Smith Translation exists because scripture can and has been forged or otherwise materially effaced; so also with the Apocrypha. The Book of Mormon was given to, in part, restore to our knowledge plain and precious things taken from the Bible, such as the fact that the Sermon on the Mount is not optional, that one cannot be saved without doing what Christ commanded therein, and that baptism is also not optional, and that the Law of Moses, including the 10 commandments, has been done away - not renewed - in Christ; the Sermon is the law and commandments of God unto all mankind presently.

DeeLyn said...

Log,

For those who receive Eternal Life in the next life, I agree that they would 'know God and Jesus Christ' at that point, which is what I believe that verse means. I think you and perhaps Joseph Smith, are adding more into that verse than what was meant.

For I don't believe anyone can receive Eternal Life and thus 'know God' in this life (except perhaps like in a Near Death Experience but even then they are left wondering if it was really real), at least I have never heard of any mortal that righteous despite the many claims by some, including Joseph Smith, who interestingly enough don't seem to think that keeping the commandments has anything much to do with earning Eternal Life. How convenient.

If you think that Joseph Smith could have earned Eternal Life or even been a true prophet, even despite all he did contrary to the commandments then no need to discuss this further, your mind is obviously made up and no one can change it.

But I'm not surprised many like the sound of this and other teachings by Joseph Smith, for they are so much easier than what Christ taught. We can just commit whatever sins we want and still gain Eternal Life, wow.

Funny that the Adversary teaches the same thing, go figure. Apparently God and Satan finally agree. Again, I wish it was that easy. And if it is, then a lot of people are sacrificing way too much and working way too hard, for something they could have now, if they weren't so selfless.

Log said...
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Log said...

DeeLyn,

I generally wish to avoid speaking with you for the simple reason you publicly reject the scriptures and the prophets, thus undercutting any common ground and making communication laborous and unpleasant and unproductive. As I said before, just because you do not know a thing to be true it does not mean that I do not know that thing to be true; just because you disbelieve something it does not mean that it is not, in fact, true.

With respect to your repeated public revilings and condemnations of Joseph Smith: "Judge not, that ye be not judged. For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again. And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother's eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye?"

MC said...

Log,

I guess we just have different interprations of what it means to know the Lord. I don't see hoq we are going to come to an agreement on this issue.

Do you not recall that the scriptures say that the first comforter, the Holy Ghost, is to teach us ALL things?

Again the way I understand John 14 and the other scriptures that mention having one's calling and election made sure is that this is merely a conformation of what one already knows. I believe that one must first have come to intimately know the savior through the power of the Holy Ghost BEFORE one may be privileged to see him in the flesh.

Log said...

MC:

It is better to find out what the truth is and then to understand all things in relation to it rather than deciding what the truth is and bending everything else into conformity with it.

And, with that, I leave you to decide which approach you will take.

DeeLyn said...

Log,

Actually Joseph Smith, along with Christ, commanded people to judge 'righteously', they didn't mean never judge at all. For that's not wise or even possible. For we have to make judgments everyday in every situation about everyone. Especially regarding people, ancient or modern, who want us to believe they are a true prophet or that they have Eternal Life and have seen God, etc.

Again, we can't usually isolate one verse and get the whole meaning of what Christ said, usually because Christ was probably not always quoted correctly. But if we read all his words we can then get a better understanding what he was really trying to teach, which was judge and discern righteously, by using his commandments as the standard, especially those who profess to be prophets, for he didn't want us to fall for false prophets who claim to know God and Christ but don't really keep their commandments.

Joseph can have all the motes he wants, but Christ and logic just teach to beware of those motes cause they mean they are false prophets and not trustworthy to follow or believe. You don't have to be a perfect person to identify false prophets.

It sounds like you would have people not use discernment or use Christ's standard whether someone is a prophet or not, and that we should just believe whatever claim any so called prophet makes and not try to discern whether they are true and righteous or not.

Do you not believe there are any false prophets? How would you know them and not fall for them if you can't judge or discern their character and actions until you yourself are perfect?

The church, like most churches, would of course say to just trust our feelings (as if the Adversary can't make us feel really good about really bad things and people), but that is how most all religions get people to believe and feel sure they are in the one true church.

Log said...

DeeLyn,

"How would you know [false prophets] and not fall for them if [Jesus forbids us to judge and we actually do what he says] or discern their character an actions until you yourself are [keeping all of his commandments]?"

I fixed your question for you. I think you'll find that, in this rephrased form, your question answers itself.

Linda Gale said...

A true prophet is like your telephone; I don't worship my telephone. My telephone may bring me good news from family and friends, or a warning about some bad thing which may happen in the future. I appreciate my telephone, but I do not worship it. No one expects me to worship my telephone, or even take as god's absolute truth whatever message I receive over the telephone, because I know that the telephone is simply the vehicle for relaying a message.......regardless of whether the message is good news, a warning, or anything in between.


A prophet is only a prophet when he is relaying an actual message from the divine.
Feel-good memes can be generated from any number of sources. A message from the divine will be accompanied by the Holy Ghost telling me it is a true message from the divine.

DeeLyn said...

Log,

Yes, the more we keep Christ's commandments the more we can correctly discern false prophets. Someone who is keeping all his commandments would not fall for false prophets.

But I don't believe we have to be perfect to be able to discern false prophets, but we do need to study, understand and believe in Christ's commandments so we know exactly what his standards are and be sincerely trying to live them, then we can tell if a prophet does so too or not.

For instance, men who are completely faithful to and love and respect their wives will be able to easily see that men like Brigham Young or Abraham didn't.

But we must always be rechecking our standards and behaviors, for we tend to think we are keeping the commandments when we often are not. I'm sure Joseph Smith or BY or Moses thought they were keeping the commandments and weren't leading people astray.

DeeLyn said...

Linda,

I used to think the same thing, having been raised in the church. But I came to realize how easy it is to think we feel the Holy Ghost, when it may instead be the Adversary or our own mind, for they can cause us to feel just the same, the Adversary can make us feel just as peaceful and wonderful and full of love or teach just as much wonderful truth as the HG can and then once he gets us to think it's the HG, he then starts to add in falsehoods, little by little.

Thus why Christ told us to test all spirits that give us inspiration or appear to us, by making sure what they teach is true, by comparing it with what He taught. We don't really need to even know, nor can we really can know, if that spirit is really the HG, but we can compare and see if what it teaches is right or not.

For many people in every religion on earth are just as sure that the Spirit told them their messages and inspiration were from the divine and true too, yet everyone seems to be getting different or opposite true messages, like their church is the only true religion.

Even the prophets, leaders and members of the Church all get different and even opposite revelation, when most surely think their revelation is confirmed by the HG too. So we obviously need a more sure way to tell truth from error, especially from Spirits, just like with prophets or anyone else.

The natural man in us tends to think or feel we are right and those billions of other people in and out of the church are all wrong and didn't really have the HG. I have since learned how easy it is to be deceived by what we think is the Holy Ghost.

But if we follow Christ and compare notes, what a man or spirit teaches us to what Christ taught in the 4 Gospels, then it's easy to tell truth from error, especially if we believe in and strive to live his ideals.

MC said...

DeeLyn,

I'm puzzled why you keep saying we should follow what Christ taught in the 4 gospels, when you've made it clear that you don't trust the accuracy of any scripture and you yourself pick and choose what parts of the gospels you will believe?

I think I get it though. You want to believe in a different Christ than the one from the 4 gospels. You don't want to believe that he did some of the things he did and taught some of the things he did.

Linda Gale said...

Dear DeeLyn,

How sweet was your reply to my comments; thank you for being gentle and concerned.

Somehow the "prophets", or "the brethern" just don't carry much weight in my worship or attitude. At one time they did, but no longer.
I am comfortable with what Rhone said near the beginning of the comment section:
"My worship is between me and the Lord. Why then does the church try to put leaders between me and Him? I don't need to be told how to serve by some puffed-up middle manager. I just want a church that I can worship with."

I think we are all here to learn to love one another in all kinds of weird circumstances that we couldn't foresee and that we may be totally unprepared for. Like Jesus said, when we have done it to the least, we have done it to Him. And I think we are here to allow others to be who they feel is the right way for them to be.

I rather doubt that there is a "celestial kingdom"; I rather doubt that we are supposed to be working to earn our own planets. I rather doubt that there is "sealing power" on the earth. I do believe I will live again after I die. I believe in multiple lifetimes.

My desire is to be the best Linda I can be for the here and now, even though I fall way short of that goal every day. I have become a much happier person since I gave up on trying to be perfect, and just try everyday to treat others as if they were Christ.

DeeLyn said...

MC,

First, why would anyone believe any other source than the 4 Gospels to know what Christ really taught? If they are really serious about following him? All other scripture is just from minds and inspirations of very fallible mortal men who only 'think' God or Christ are revealing things to them. And since everyone thinks God says different things to them such writings from their inspirations are very suspect. Outside the 4 Gospels, the rest of scripture is not quotes from a living Christ himself personally.

To base our beliefs on what some guy 'thinks' God is telling him, is very shaky ground, but that's how we got most all so called 'scripture' that we have.

At least the 4 Gospels are quoting Christ himself when he was alive to speak for himself, and not thru someone else's mind who wants us to take their word for it.

Just consider what Rock has so well pointed out how Joseph Smith was likely so wrongly quoted by men like BY. It shows how unwise it is to just believe second hand info from someone other than Joseph himself. The same thing happened with Christ, the 4 Gospels was the best we have of him speaking for himself, the rest of scripture is men claiming they speak for Christ or God.

It's interesting how Christians just assume the Bible is all true just because the men who wrote it claim they speak for God (not even concerned about how those men lived their lives and did things most Christians would be abhorred to do), and yet they won't also believe that other religion's books of scripture are true from other men who also claim they speak for God. You would think if they just blindly believed men's claims they would believe all men's claims and believe in all religions. But they somehow can think more reasonably when looking at other religions and don't just believe what men claim, but they don't do that with their own religion.

And even though I test and question what is supposedly said by Christ, the parts that contradict his commandments, I do find that his 'commandments' seem to all be true and so I hold those up as my standard. What he taught as commandments are different than the rest of his teachings, which are just stories and snippets of his daily life and the miracles he did and some of the other general things he said. But when you glean out just the commandments he gave (which is what he said we only have to worry about and follow anyway) that is like panning for gold nuggets, they are what are the most important, not the other stuff man may have added in.

DeeLyn said...

Continued -

One reason the commandments of Christ are likely true is that they are so hard to keep and were so different than what the culture of the day was living or what the world has ever lived, so it's highly unlikely anyone would have willingly thought up such high standards, which are the greatest clue that Christ was someone very special, for he was intelligent and wise and righteous enough to come up with such rare high ideals.

Even Christ's apostles had trouble with many of his commandments and even they wouldn't have thought up such high ideals. So you know they most likely didn't come from anyone else but Christ, while the rest of what is said about him, like what he may have said about Abraham, those things could have very easily been thought up by and added by men, for such ideas were the common thought of the day back then. So we have to sift and separate the gold from the common dust and dirt of the 4 Gospels to determine what likely came from man and what came from Christ.

And again, I believe it's the test of this life to see if we can do that. Thus everyone will come up with different things and we just have to hope we are right, so we can gain Eternal Life.

So yes, I do consider the 4 Gospels the only real scripture, if Christ was who he said he was. All the rest is just men talking from their own minds, and I have never known or heard of anyone else even near as perfect or smart as Christ so why would I hold up their writings as scripture, especially when they didn't even keep the commandments of the Christ or God they supposedly believe in?

Why should I just blindly believe such unrighteous men? Let alone think them prophets?

I believe in the 'commandments' of the Christ of the 4 Gospels, not the commandments of men, who just claim their commandments came from Christ, when they actually are far different than the commandments from the real Christ.

Why should anyone believe in Joseph Smith's or BY's or Moses' Christ over the NT Christ? What did those men ever do to impress anyone they were righteous and trustworthy enough to follow over the NT Christ?

It seems people follow men like them instead of Christ because they teach much easier commandments than the NT Christ did, commandments that appeal to the natural man, like serial or concurrent polygamy, racism or inequality of women, etc, so it's no surprise that most people would flock to and hold up such men as prophets.

Yet I have never heard of any church or even anyone since Christ who believes in the real NT Christ or even knows what he taught, let alone follows it. The NT Christ seems to have no one following him. Men like to follow men, not God, for men teach way easier things.

DeeLyn said...

Linda,

Thank you for your reply. I agree with most everything you said. I too do not believe we need or even should have or trust 'middle men' between us and Christ or God. I only see them all leading people astray and taking advantage of people's blind belief.

I also don't believe in those 'Mormon' ideas anymore, like sealing power, Celestial Kingdom, etc, but that they were just made up by men. Christ never taught them and they don't make any sense either.

But I do believe in a heaven and hell, so I do believe it's vital for us to determine and live right and wrong in this life. Or otherwise there would be no point or reason for this life, and God would not want or ask us to come here. For we could just learn everything we need to know in heaven, if we could live any way we wanted and all still go to heaven.

I don't believe in multiple lives though, for I don't believe most people, if anyone, would be willing to do this kind of life over again once they get to the other side and see things as they really are. Most people who have Near Death Experiences don't even want to return to this life, let alone would want to do it over and over.

I believe 1 life is all that is needed for us to learn all we need to, for everything else can be learned in the hereafter, for we can also learn by feeling and experiencing others experiences, so we won't have to actually live and play out all scenarios on an earth.

But in your other post, It seems you still believe in the Holy Ghost and so I just wondered how you feel you can determine when you have the Holy Ghost with you and how you can be sure it isn't the Adversary or your own mind? For that seems to be the thing Mormons and most religions base their beliefs on, feelings, which again can be very unreliable in my opinion, for how can one tell what source their feelings come from, when we can feel love and all other emotions from either right or wrong behaviors and sources.

Or how would one know if they have the HG or receive correct inspiration, when billions also feel they have it too, yet God tells them opposite things? Few seem to worry about being deceived by the Adversary, as if it's very unlikely or that he doesn't really exist. But no one could know that for sure, so I believe caution in believing any of our impressions is only wise.

I agree love, unconditional love, is the most important thing we are here to learn to have, but again, without a sure concrete standard of commandments or truths or ideas to follow, which are just natural eternal law, then people will call almost anything love, even very destructive things. Like when people have affairs, they truly believe they have real love for the other person, when it couldn't be a love from God. So even if love is our aim we can get way off course w/o a set of concrete standards we try to set for ourselves, so we don't ignore or excuse or do very wrong things believing it's love.

mormons son said...

These were men who purported to be the successors of the prophet Joseph Smith in every way, yet none of them ever received or conveyed a single revelation from God as Joseph Smith had...
The Lord has and had clearly stated that no man shall receive any revelations as Joseph for the church as a body, all will come through him alone which is found in D+C 21....We have NOT been taught [ speaking of myself here ] to hold to the words of any leader of the church as gospel....Joseph said he is A prophet when he is Called as Prophet in his capacity when the Lord speaks to him and at any other time's he is a father,husband and elder to every one else.
I understand there is a crisis out there but again we have been counseled in the scriptures to be patient and be faithful and endure as Nephi stated...>>
(Book of Mormon | 2 Nephi 25:26)
And we talk of Christ, we rejoice in Christ, we preach of Christ, we prophesy of Christ, and we write according to our prophecies, that our children may know to what source they may look for a remission of their sins.

Robin Hood said...

Mormons son,
Two things:
1. The brethren have never "purported to be the successors of the prophet Joseph Smith in dvery way". In fact Brigham Young made a point of saying he wasn't.
2. However, your claim that "none of them ever received or conveyed a single revelation from God" is incorrect. D&C 136 is clearly a "thus saith the Lord" revelation from God in the first person, and was given through Brigham Young.

MC said...

Great points Robin Hood.

I agree that the brethren do not directly claim the gifts that Joseph Smith had. Nor do they claim to be his successors in every way. Their insistance on being sustained as prophets, seers, and revelators muddies the waters pretty substantially however. At least in my opinion. Especially since they do not appear to possess those gifts in the same way as Joseph or the prophets in the scriptures did.

I agree that D&C 136 is a true revelation to Brigham Young. The question I have is why we haven't had any cannonized revelations since. I guess one could include Joseph F. Smith's dream. If we count that still been 100 years. That's an awfully long time for God not to directly speak to the church through his prophets, seers, and revelators.

Then when you look at some of the compromises to Babylon that the brethren have made over the years it makes one wonder if the two are connected. I don't see how they can't be.

Robin Hood said...

MC, I agree with you to a certain extent.

I personally find the last two verses of D&C 136 (the very last recorded and canonized "thus saith the Lord" revelation) very informative.

Among other things, two statements stand out.
1. You have received the Kingdom.
2. So, no more at present.

That is followed with a firm "Amen and Amen".

I personally believe the Lord was telling us that the flow of revelation between Him and the church (Joseph) was now concluded, and we needed to get on with building the kingdom and implementing what we had already received.
This doesn't mean the Brethren don't receive revelation, or perhaps inspiration, when making church-wide decisions, but it does mean the era of regular canonized "thus saith the Lord" revelations has abated "at present".

It will return when necessary.

MC said...

Robin Hood,

I agree with you that the Lord knew that there was not going to be any more "thus saith the Lord" revelations to the church after D&C 136. This was obviously part of his grand design. I believe that the Lord led the saints to the Utah valley and then distanced himself. The saints were to remain faithful to the fulness of the gospel that they had received. I believe this was prophesied in Hosea 3. Israel was to abide many days without revelation and yet remain faithful to the Lord. She was not to play the harlot with other lovers.

The problem I see is that the church (Israel) has not remained completely faithful to the Lord. The church from top to bottom has compromised itself and become entrenched in Babylon.

Brigham Young, the man who received D&C 136, warned many times that the day would come that the saints would no longer be persecuted by the world and would "join hands with the wicked." He said that when that day came we could be sure that the Holy Priesthood was no longer in our possession. I believe that he was 100% correct in this warning. John Taylor and Wilford Woodruff made similar warnings.

In recent decades the church has desperately tried to become popular in the eyes of the world and a mainstream church. This was fully accomplished under President Hinckley. This was his desire as well as the desire of the majority of the church's membership.

Many early church doctrines and policies have been changed, without a "thus saith the Lord" revelation. I believe this is wrong.

In our lesson manuals and church classes the scriptures are twisted and there is a great deal of false doctrine taught. Anyone who tries to openly correct it or dares to ask a hard or uncomfortable question at church is viewed as being out of harmony or some kind of crazy person.

That's not to say that church members do not receive inspiration from time to time, but from what I have observed something is seriously wrong with the state of the church. I still see good in the church and especially in those members who give their lives in selfless service, but it's hard to ignore all of the bad.

The pervasiveness of graven images in the church alone makes walking the halls at church or sitting in a Sunday School class uncomfortable, at least for me. I try to put on the blinders and tell myself that the members don't know any better, but it's still tough. Things are really messed up in a lot of areas.

Robin Hood said...

MC,
My sentiments exactly!
You put it very well and sum up the current situation perfectly.
I do believe the Lord will not abandon us, but we have to be patient. We can't force the issue, like Snuffer and others have attempted to do.

Brigham Young knew the Saints needed a reformation and went about trying to impose it. However, real reformation does not come from the top down; it is a bottom up grass roots movement inspired by individuals who are convicted of the need to reform their our lives rather than the corporate church. We are, after all, the church, the ecclessia, the congregation of believers.

I absolutely hear what you say about graven images and false doctrine taught in the church, it really gets my hackles up. But I can't change the whole church, just me.

I am with you brother, and I believe others are too.

Xoticbyrd said...

Man it can turn into a real pissing contest over here.

OpenMind said...

Such a one has appeared, namely Christ, and the setting in order of Christ's Church (capitol "C", not a worldly Institution) has begun.

mormons son said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
mormons son said...

Robin Hood...fair point

Linda Gale said...

Dear Readers,

The church is true.

Oliver B. Huntington recorded in his journal that in 1881 Joseph F. Smith, who became the sixth President of the Mormon Church, taught that the Lord gave Joseph Smith the exact English wording and spelling that he should use in the Book of Mormon:

"Saturday Feb. 25, 1881, I went to Provo to a quarterly Stake Conference. Heard Joseph F. Smith describe the manner of translating the Book of Mormon by Joseph Smith the Prophet and Seer, which was as follows as near as I can recollect the substance of his description. Joseph did not render the writing on the gold plates into the English language in his own style of language as many people believe, but every word and every letter was given to him by the gift and power of God. So it is the work of God and not of Joseph Smith, and it was done in this way ... . The Lord caused each word spelled as it is in the book to appear on the stones in short sentences or words, and when Joseph had uttered the sentence or word before him and the scribe had written it properly, that sentence would disappear and another appear. And if there was a word wrongly written or even a letter incorrect the writing on the stones would remain there. Then Joseph would require the scribe to spell the reading of the last spoken and thus find the mistake and when corrected the sentence would disappear as usual." (Journal of Oliver B. Huntington, page 168 of typed copy at Utah State Historical Society)


Four important changes were made in the second edition of the Book of Mormon concerning the Godhead. One of the most significant changes was made in 1 Nephi 13:40. It was stated in this verse that the purpose of the Nephite records was to make known that Christ is the Eternal Father. In the first edition we read as follows:

"... These last records ... shall make known to all kindreds, tongues, and people, that the Lamb of God is the Eternal Father and the Savior ... " (Book of Mormon, 1830 edition, page 32)

In the 1964 edition it reads as follows:

"... These last records ... shall make known to all kindreds, tongues, and people, that the Lamb of God is the Son of the Eternal Father, and the Savior ..." (Book of Mormon, 1964 edition, 1 Nephi 13:40)

So our God needed correcting by our founding prophet.

I'm through arguing that the LDS church is lead by prophets. Even the founding prophet and translator of the BofM can't keep his story straight. Shifting sands is not a wise place to build your house.

MrHFMetz said...

Linda Gale, hello, I just read your comment and would like to write a few thoughts in response.
It is is true that I Ne 13: 40 today reads different than in the original text. It is not the only text that has been handled by the LDS church, for whatever reason or agenda. I guess there must be hundreds if not thousands. We call that wresting of the scriptures – or apostacy – and it is one of the signs of this church being out of order in our time.
President Heber J Grant even tried to scrap half of the D&C in the thirties of the former century, replacing it by a new document called Latter Day Revelations. Because of opposition in the church he was not able to carry out that plan, though quite some changes were implemented during his administration, in doctrine, ordinances, policies.
You started saying that the church is true. I think it is, but only because D&C 85: 7 says that the House of God (which includes the church) will be set in order at one time. I conclude that though the Lord has not completely accepted this church as His church, He has not totally rejected it either, still considering it as His church.
About Christ our Lord being the Father and the Son, this is explained by Abinadi in Mosiah chapter 15. We have no reason to doubt the way the BoM was transmitted as described by Joseph F. Smith. There are enough testimonies to confirm that statement. The original text must be true; I have no idea why it was changed into the later version.

Linda Gale said...

Dear MrHFMetz,

Thank you for your kind response to my comment. I don't know you, but if you are a 'Mr.,' you certainly are a gentleman--which I greatly appreciate in these days of correspondence with anonymous online personas. Your tone is truly gentle, and I for one find that courtesy a rare thing.

You also added to my expanding knowledge of church history. Thank you.

The 'shifting' of doctrine and policy are evidence of the church being the "large & spacious building" from Lehi's dream, which is portrayed as having no foundation.

Frankly it breaks my heart, as a life long member of the church, to find out that church doctrine and policy has little which encourages my confidence. Perhaps the 'broken heart and contrite spirit' which Christ expects from us as spoken of in the scriptures, is my broken heart in finding out that the church I placed my confidence in has been intentionally deceptive, mostly by half-truths, but sometimes by outright untruths and/or hiding the truth. In which case I must place my trust in Jesus Christ alone; and not with those who profess to be stewards of His church.

Linda Gale

MrHFMetz said...

To Linda Gale: thank you so much for your warm and heartfelt reply. I was surprised and a bit emotionally actually while reading. It makes my day.
It seems were are on the same level as far as church experience and feelings are concerned. I have been a member of the LDS church for almost 50 years, was always interested in finding the truth behind the stories we are told in Sunday School. Since the internet became available a wide field opened up and you bet I made use of that. And I started to read, not just on the internet, but books and books, also available through the internet.
I find it interesting that authors from the socalled fundamentalist factions, like Ogden Kraut, Lynn Bishop and Francis Michael Darter have much insight on LDS theology, and I have learned a lot from this material (though I do not share their vision on plural marriage).
Indeed it is sad to see the church as it is today. But let us be courageous and find strength in Christ our Lord, as you say, and hold on to the ideal of the restoration. It is not lost yet, and I can see many underground activities going on (like this web-blog for instance) that give me hope for the future.
May god bless you, dear sister, and thank you again.
From a brother in the gospel.

Linda Gale said...

Thank you MrHFMetz for your kind wishes. Perhaps we are both on the same path to wholeness and faith.

I want so much for the church to be on the correct path.

I teach RS on the fourth Sunday lessons which are from the previous conference talks. I have the blessing of being able to take the main theme of the conference address and steer it toward the perceived needs of my precious RS sisters. My major concern is to teach true doctrine and principles. It seems the more research I do, the less confident I am that I can ever know what those two things I desire to teach truly are. These are precious lives, and I have the responsibility to teach them things which will enhance their understanding of God and His love for us. The quandary is that I have taught things which I later found out were not "true". Yikes!

Thank you for your kindness, MrHFMetz. May God bless you and yours.

Linda Gale