Sunday school today dealt with Helaman 13:24-27.
The majority of the lesson dealt with Samuel the Lamanite, his prophesies, and his call to the Nephites to repent.
The teacher's lesson material included this found in a book by some recognized Gospel Scholars:
"Gospel scholars Otten and Caldwell in their book say " It seems to be an easy decision for mankind to decide whom to follow, since we know the ultimate destiny attached to our choice of the leader of each cause. It is difficult to imagine that anyone would knowingly choose to follow Satan. But the problem isn't just a choice of whom we choose to follow. The real challenge for us is to discover the true identity of those who encourage and persuade us.
One reason it is so difficult is that we don't personally see or deal directly with Satan. He is a master of camouflage, desiring that he not be discovered as the author of his work. He has legions of agents who also hide in sinful shadows while helping him in the battle for our soul. We have to recognize the evil inherent in the enticements of his representatives before we will reject him and his ways.
We don't deal directly with the Savior, either. Our contact is with those who represent him, but they declare that relationship openly. The Savior's name is clearly displayed upon that which is of Him, and those who represent him. His work is done in the light. If we respond positively to His authorized representatives, His spirit, and especially the words of His prophets, we will receive a witness through the Holy Spirit that verifies the truthfulness of His words. We will be safe while we pursue the well marked path to salvation. But if we ignore or reject the Lord's agents, we will, by default, be choosing to travel the obscure trail leading to Lucifer's kingdom of evil".
-End of quote
The first paragraph of the quote was awesome. It ironically applies perfectly to the very people speaking.
After that, however we see the dark and sad state of many scholars who have joined a false religion. They claim that we don't deal directly with the Savior, that our contact is with those who represent him. The last paragraph continues on with additional sickening idolatry. How can you be a Christian and say we don't have direct contact with the Savior? And then say our contact is instead with representatives? That's either Antichrist priestscraft, idolatry, or just plain faithless.
How did this garbage get past the peer reviews and make it to the shelf of Deseret Book? Apparently these scholars have forgotten the very first thing missionaries tell people. This is missionary discussion number 1 material. Joseph Smith both dealt directly with the devil and directly with the Savior. How are they Mormon scholars and don't know that? And not just Joseph! After the Lord's resurrection in Jerusalem the missionaries share how the Lord appeared personally to the Nephites in the Americas. Large numbers of people including men women and children had direct and personal contact with Jesus Christ. They felt the nail prints in his hands and feet (3Nephi 11:13-14). If that's not dealing directly with the Savior than I don't know what is. But even still, these scholars manage to publish a book that teaches we don't experience such direct contact with the Lord. And then not 2 sentences later they go on and on about how we shouldn't reject the Lord's agents all the while they are rejecting the Lord himself.
Now I've heard quotes like the one above enough times in my life as a member that I get what they are trying to say. I've heard similar things for years. But it needs to be exposed. These kinds of teachings by definition is denying the fullness of the Gospel. Not to mention denying the experience of thousands of people in the scriptures.
I'm not taking the scholars quotes out of context either. Read it yourself. Their meaning is not vague or abstract. Where did they dig this up is my question. It's not from the scriptures or teachings of Joseph Smith, and you couldn't conclude what they conclude from hearing the missionaries. So why would they teach this "representative" Savior doctrine? How did they come up with it? Who's doctrine is this that we do not deal directly with our Savior? Is that Joseph's doctrine? Paul's? Nephi? Alma? Moroni? Ether? Last I heard we pray directly to God. That would be "direct contact" at it's most fundamental, basic level. Who's doctrine is it that we look to representatives, and that they can openly declare a direct relationship with the Lord but we don't? Isn't that idolatry? No true prophet has ever taught these things. Yet many Latter Day Saints believe it and pay money for it.
So I'm asking myself did they mean that we don't or can't physically see God? Even if they did mean that, that's false too. How can you conclude anything else from reading 3rd Nephi 11? Or from hearing Joseph Smiths first vision encounter taught to non members all across the world by the missionaries? CLEARLY we can have direct contact with the Savior. Maybe the scholars don't have direct contact, but we by no means need to share in their darkened and false religion
The Lord teaches the exact opposite of what these scholars do (D&C 93:1, 2 Nephi 9:41, 3rd Nephi 11). Despite this, there is a trend of folks who teach the same thing as these scholars. They point to men, and falsely teach that we look to them in place of direct contact with the Lord.
The whole restoration came about from a boy coming into direct contact with our Savior. This is basic missionary lesson number 1 doctrine...... so why then is it so easy to trust in and quote scholars who can't even get the first missionary lesson right? Should we trust scholars? Does their position give them credibility? Does their status mean they speak truth? These emblems of authority are called "the arm of the flesh" in the scriptures, or "man's learning". It's easy to see why there is never safety in the arm of the flesh. Man's words, teachings and doctrine unless given by the Spirit are never safe.
I'm not saying these, or any other scholars are bad people. Not at all. I really like Joseph Smith's comment dealing with this: "It does not prove that a man is not a good man because he errs in doctrine" (DHC 5:340). So I'm not calling anyone bad. Only that we shouldn't just fluff off and sit idly by while false teachings run all through our meetings, books, and minds.
We should all have direct contact with our Savior.