Friday, November 22, 2013

Insomuch

Alma 30: 53 But behold, the devil hath deceived me; for he appeared unto me in the form of an angel, and said unto me: Go and reclaim this people, for they have all gone astray after an unknown God. And he said unto me: There is no God; yea, and he taught me that which I should say. And I have taught his words; and I taught them because they were pleasing unto the carnal mind; and I taught them, even until I had much success, insomuch that I verily believed that they were true; and for this cause I withstood the truth, even until I have brought this great curse upon me.

"Success" or having your teaching accepted doesn't always mean that what you are teaching is true.  Nor does lack of success mean that what you are teaching is false.

Korihor says he taught the people, even until he had much success INSOMUCH, (meaning "to such a degree") that I verily believed that they were true.  But it wasn't. He was deceived by the audience's acceptance of what he said.

Don't be fooled that large scale acceptance equals truth.  The scripture more often than not show how a large scale audiences acceptance of a belief or message almost NEVER equates to the truthfulness of the message.  Small audiences also do not mean it's false. The followers of Christ when he lived his mortal life were very small.   

Friday, November 15, 2013

Who can say the scriptures are plain unto them?

Finish reading this post before you let your reaction determine what it is you may think I'm saying.



Unfortunately today is a day when many have assumed that titles and offices in our religion confer gifts, powers, and abilities when in fact they are mere invitations to obtain them. It's a calling. A call (by very implication of the definition) is an invitation.  I can sustain the leaders of the Church, but what I cannot do is cause them to be or possess something they themselves must obtain by obedience to God.  I support their "callings".  I sustain them with prayers.  However, the receipt or display of the gifts they are "called" to exercise is not up to me.

Where is there an authorized prophet or apostle in the current Church that can declare that the words of Isaiah are plain unto him? On the contrary, most of them will admit they do not understand them.  This isn't meant to be critical or demeaning. We don't like to become aware of such things but we ought not fear the truth.  The truth is not evil, so pointing out the truth is not evil speaking.  I affirm their God given calling and pray for them.  However if the gifts are absent, I don't think anyone needs to get irritated and cry "apostate".  That's not the case.    

What can happen when a people hold too tight to the idea of a "prophet", is they create myths to explain away the absence of something.  They may start to call "policy changes" revelation.  And call political research and opinion surveys evidence of divine gifts.  They are not.  But understandably it would be very troubling to entertain the idea that a leader who we call a "revelator" isn't revealing anything about God or his will.  In fact many other Christian pastors do more revealing than the men we sustain in our own church as revelators.

Think back to what started the restoration. An experience we all know.  An experience where a man, spoke with God himself.  He said so, in plain English  He encouraged everyone to come to God and see and know for themselves.  Joseph Smith taught a list of shocking doctrines, encouraging man to connect directly with heaven which are now completely avoided, discarded, and intentionally left out of church curriculum by the correlation department. What once was scripture (Lectures on Faith) is not allowed to be read by missionaries in many missions in the Church.  We teach to spread truth while at the same time intentionally neglecting it.   

The scriptures become increasing vague and difficult to understand the more more darkness we allow ourselves to remain in.  There are forgotten scriptures restored by Joseph Smith in the Book of Mormon that used to speak of neglecting and robbing the poor in favor of "fine apparel" and "fine sanctuaries".  (2 Nephi: 28:13) (Mormon 8:38-41) Scriptures speak of the "widows" mite and how she gave more than the rich who were paying donations to be seen of men.  Yet we all seem to miss the fact that the widow went away with nothing.  No one helped her.  All those religious donations were given and no one had eyes to see the poor widow.  Even though they all had eyes, they all knew she was poor, and they all knew she gave much.  Yet they were blind.

We gloss over these things not seeing that they describe the condition of all of us.  We, the Church calming Christ's name spent over 5 billion dollars on a high end shopping mall and luxurious housing complex. I find no one, anywhere, that fits the description in the Book of Mormon of those who "build fine sanctuaries and rob the poor" better than us Mormons who are for some reason spending billions on commercial endeavors.  After all we, not others, are the ones reading that book and believe it to be true.  We are a church bearing Christ's name who owns a multi-billion dollar shopping mall which houses Tiffany's jewelry next door to a temple.  Yet members of our own faith in other countries perish with hunger.  Even though I would bet most members are willing and have a heart to donate.  Somehow the donations seem to have been seized.  It's as if the scripture authors saw our day, and predicted out exact errors. But we'll never be able to do anything about it until we recognize it.

The good news is that we can repent.  And there isn't a moment to loose.

The scriptures are plain, but it's hard to see it because of how squarely it slaps us all in the face.  We have to drop our religious pride, our arrogance, and then we see the scriptures are indeed plain.

Many do not see a high end church owned shopping mall as anything other than intelligent investing and managing of the Lord's funds.  Kind of like the parable of the talents, with the one servant bringing a big return on the talents given him.  I view it differently.  Did not the Lord in the parable require even the interest to be returned to Him?  It was all His, including the interest.  So we are indeed accountable for what we do with the interest and the original donation which always belonged to Him.

The scripture can become a lot more plain when you start seeing how precisely they describe some of our modern day behavior.  Christ's words aren't so old or obscure that they require some leader to help us determine how they meet the needs of our day.  They are plain.  The Holy Ghost makes them plain to each who seeks.  Come unto Christ.