The things of God are of deep import

by Rusty Lindquist on January 25, 2011 · 34 comments

Joseph Smith once said the following…

“A fanciful and flowery and heated imagination beware of, because the things of God are of deep import, and time, and experience, and careful, and solemn, and ponderous thoughts can only find them out.  Thy mind, oh man, if thou wilt lead a soul unto salvation must stretch as high as the utmost heavens and search into and contemplate the darkest abyss and the broad expanses of eternity, thou must commune with God.  How much more dignified and noble are the thoughts of God than the vain imaginations of the souls of men.”

We have been blessed to come to the earth during a time when the fullness of the gospel has been restored, and the great and everlasting principles of eternity have been manifest in their purity, and we have great claim to that knowledge.

The Lord has said:

“How long can the rolling waters remain impure?  What power shall stay the heavens?  As well might man stretch forth his puny arm to stop the Missouri river in its decreed course, or to turn it up stream, as to hinder the Almighty from pouring down knowledge from heaven upon the heads of the Latter-day Saints” (Doctrine and Covenants 121:33).”

There is much truth for us to discover, and an endless source from whence we can find it.  With living prophets and apostles whose very words are scripture, with the Book of Mormon, the Bible, the Doctrine and Covenants, and the Pearl of Great Price, and with a great many other inspired works to choose from, the saving principles of eternity are before us, and we have but to exert some effort to make them ours.

The value of such exertion is clear, and enduring. 

“Whatever principle of intelligence we attain unto in this life, it will rise with us in the resurrection.  And if a person gains more knowledge and intelligence in this life through his diligence and obedience than another, he will have so much the advantage in the world to come” (Doctrine and Covenants 130:18-19).”

We are also assured that the scriptures contain the words of Christ, his very voice and spirit.  And that “His spirit abideth and hath no end and if it be in you it shall abound.  And if your eye be single to my glory, your whole bodies shall be filled with light, and there shall be no darkness in you; and that body which is filled with light comprehendeth all things.” (D&C 88:66-68).

But that very same, almost unimaginable blessing of full comprehension is followed immediately by the warning to “cast away your idle thoughts and your excess of laughter far from you” (D&C 88:69).

Does that mean we should be humorless, or without gaiety?  I think it means that the things of God are of deep import, as Joseph Smith so eloquently described, and we need to be anxiously engaged in exploring the words of God and endeavoring to enrich our minds with the principles of eternity.

As we prove our commitment and demonstrate our thirst by throwing ourselves at the study of the scriptures and other inspired works, then line upon line, precept upon precept, the doctrines of the priesthood shall distill upon our souls as the dews from heaven.

By so doing we build a foundation for our souls, built with the words of Christ.  A foundation that will keep us firm and steadfast amidst the fiery darts of the adversary and even the most assailing of life’s challenges.

May we all remember that the things of God are of deep import, and apportion our time appropriately, for the worth your soul is great in the eyes of God, and He is anxious to pour down knowledge upon you.

Rusty

{ 34 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Margaret D November 24, 2008 at 10:54 PM

What a wonderful way to learn of the things of God-by diligence and obedience! And there is so much to learn, that we can spend a lifetime learning and never learn it all.

I. too, am so grateful for all of the scripture we have the opportunity to study, and all the commandments we have the opportunity to obey. If we look at them as the privilege that they are, maybe it would be easier to obey.

Of all times, now is the time to hold fast to the Word of God. To find it where it is. In the Bible, the Book of Mormon, the Doctrine and Covenants, the Pearl of Great Price, and the words of our Prophet and Apostles. In all our comings and goings, I believe there is nothing more important to be the focus of our lives.

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2 dontloseyourhair November 25, 2008 at 8:08 AM

Hi there, it’s really good to see a well written blog that’s insightful as well as entertaining. cheers!

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3 Mary Reason November 29, 2008 at 8:12 PM

“But the prophet who shall speak a word presumptuously in My name which I have not commanded him to speak, or which he shall speak in the name of other gods, that prophet shall die.’ 21 “And you may say in your heart, ‘How shall we know the word which the Lord has not spoken?’ 22 “When a prophet speaks in the name of the Lord, if the thing does not come about or come true, that is the thing which the Lord has not spoken. The prophet has spoken it presumptuously; you shall not be afraid of him,” (Deut. 18:20-22). emphasis added.

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4 Rusty Lindquist December 1, 2008 at 1:50 AM

Mary,

Thanks for your comment.

One of my most favorite of the fulfilled prophecies of Joseph Smith was when he said that this, the Church of Jesus Christ, would roll forth to fill the whole earth.

It was spoken at a time shortly after the restoration of the gospel and the restoration of the priesthood authority, when there were but a handful of members facing persecution at every turn.

How unlikely was that prophecy, especially as that persecution has never abetted.

But it matters not. For being continuously led by a living prophet of God, and guided by pure principles and true doctrine, here we are today watching the litteral fulfillment of that prophecy. With that membership now having grown to greater than thirteen million members. The gospel now being taught in nearly every country and in over 150 languages by over 52,000 young missionaries (a miracle in itself). With over 120 temples temples dotting the planet, and hundreds of thousands of meeting houses. Indeed, according to the National Council of Churches, the second-fastest-growing church in the United states, without mention of it’s worldwide growth.

Not even mentioning the myriad other aspects and accomplishments of this great church, such as having established a major media company producing dozens of monthly church periodicals translated into hundreds of languages and distributed around the globe, and broadcasting on its own satelite network to homes and meetinghouses worldwide, and with a website ranking in traffic higher than those of any other religious organization. And having established one of the most sophisticated, fast-acting emergency response systems offering relief to some major catastrophy nearly every two days. With over $750 million doallars worth of humanitarian donations and assistance donated by its membership, committed to following the example of the Savior to help those in need.

Indeed, who would have thought it.

So as the scripture suggests, if we’re not to fear a prophet whose words do not come true, then let us fear the great prophet Joseph, for his words surely have.

Thanks again,
Rusty

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5 mormonsoprano December 1, 2008 at 3:44 PM

In a world that is focused on getting “fast food”, “instant access” , and “immediate gratification” at every turn, it takes great self control and diligence to “be still” and learn of God.

I try to set time apart each day to “feast upon the word of God”, to study, to pray, to remove myself from the world and devote a portion of my day to heavenly matters. This takes great personal effort. I have found this effort brings heavenly rewards. There is a greater peace to my soul. My life is more meaningful. My mind is more clear. My focus turns to the things that matter most. I think Prophet Joseph’s instruction reminds us that life is short, and the way in which we spend the precious time we are allotted is critical. The only way we really know how to spend our time wisely is by turning to God and allowing Him to direct our path.

Thank you for a post which reminds us of this.

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6 Mary Reason December 2, 2008 at 12:14 AM

Rusty, populating New York City is a far cry from “filling the earth”. And everything I’ve read is that the membership is declining not growing.

What about these prophetic revelations?..

*Write that the Saints would go back to Jackson County Missouri before all those living in 1832 had all died (Times & Seasons 6:956)

*Write that the Millennium began in 1845:

“Know ye not that the Millennium has commenced?” (Times & Seasons 6:12:956)

*Teach that only polygamists can become Gods (JD 3:266)

*Declare that all of his published sermons (published in the Journal of Discouses) should be considered Scripture (JD 13:95)

*Declare in General Conference that the Civil War would ___NOT___ free the Negroes (JD 10:250).

*Advocate that interracial couples and their children be killed. In 1852 Brigham Young said:

Any man having one drop of the seed of Cain in him Cannot hold the priesthood and if no Prophet of God has said it before, I will say it now in the name of Jesus Christ. I know it is true & they know it. The Negro cannot hold one particle of Government … if any man mingles his seed with the seed of Cain the ownly way he Could get rid of it or have salvation would be to Come forward & have his head Cut off & spill his Blood upon the ground. I would also take the life of his Children. (Wilford Woodruff’s Journal, Vol. 4, p. 97)

“Shall I tell you the law of God in regard to the African race? If the while man who belongs to the chosen seed mixes his blood with the seed of Cain, the penalty, under the law of God, is death on the spot. This will always be so!” Journal of Discourses 10:110 (March 8, 1863)

*Teach the doctrine of Blood Atonement; that apostates, thieves, murderers, adulterers, and those who criticized him or challenged his authority should have their blood spilt on the ground to atone for their sins.

*Teach the Adam-God Doctrine; that Adam was God the Father and the father of our spirits and the father of the spirit and body of Jesus Christ.

*Teach the Heavenly Incest Doctrine that Adam came down and had sex with his spirit-daughter Mary in order to produce the physical body of Jesus Christ.

*Teach that all his talks and sermons and “counsel” to the Latter-day Saints was without error:

“What man or woman on earth, what spirit in the spirit-world can say truthfully that I ever gave a wrong word of counsel, or a word of advice that could not be sanctioned by the heavens? (Journal of Discourses, Vol. 12, p. 127).

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7 Bob Loblaw December 2, 2008 at 10:38 PM

Mary, Mary, Mary – Many of the quotations you listed above are not prophesies, some are opinionated sermons. You seem to focus in on race-related topics. Let me refer you and any readers to http://www.blacklds.org/priesthood

which contains actual facts regarding LDS churches actions. Joseph Smith himself ordained black men to the priesthood. You can research it at the link above.

Joseph Smith prophesied that slavery would result in the Civil War, and was he really incorrect in stating that the civil war would not free negroes? I am sure many African Americans living prior to 1960 would have strong feelings regarding their “freedom.”

Your attempt to alienate readers from the LDS faith by thinly veiled attacks of racism are out of context and intellectually dishonest. The Church has many great factual stories and actions favorable to people of all races. In fact, the early Mormons were driven from Missouri with a government issued Extermination Order because the people knew Mormons would not vote for slavery to be practiced in the state.

The US Supreme Court issued dozens of racially charged opinions post civil war. Certain teachings by Brigham Young’s personal beliefs at a time when much of society shared much stronger sentiments regarding race is, I believe, intellectually dishonest.

Many of the other statements you make here, such as the Adam/God doctrine are taken completely out of context. The LDS Church has never taught as official doctrine that Adam was God the Father. If you read the entire quote in context it is quite simple to understand. I do not feel the need to dispute each of the statements you listed as apparent examples of false prophesy, as many of them are not prophesies and are disputed elsewhere on this blog and others.

In conclusion, I will say that a prophet is only a prophet when s/he is being prophetic. (Yes Mormons do believe that woman can be blessed with the gift of prophesy – Eliza R. Snow, Mary Fielding Smith among others in our history displayed this gift). We do not believe our Church Leaders are infallible. They are righteous men and woman called by God to lead. Not everything they teach, write or proclaim is done in the spirit of prophecy.

That Joseph Smith was a prophet called by God is a fact I know to be true. Searching for obscure statements, taken out of context does not diminish this confirmation of truth I have received from the Holy Ghost. I would encourage you to open your mind and search honestly the teachings of Joseph Smith in complete context before judging him to be a true prophet or not.

For those interested, the following website describes an amazing project undertaken by scholars and the LDS Church to publish every paper concerning the life and teachings of Joseph Smith. It will comprise 30 volumes and is being compiled from LDS and non-LDS scholars from all over the country, including Yale & Harvard. Check it out. The first volume was publish last month.

http://josephsmithpapers.org/Default.htm

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8 Rusty Lindquist December 3, 2008 at 12:04 AM

Bob,

Magnificent reply, I can’t tell you how much I appreciate you taking the time to reply so well to some of these posts. Your knowledge, temperance, and testimony add unspeakable value.

Mary,

I’m sorry that you harbor such negative feelings, and wonder if you wouldn’t mind sharing where they come from. How did you come to harbor such animosity?

Like Bob, I don’t believe that it would be of any value for me to address, statement by statement those things you’ve listed. First, as already mentioned, these are not a collection of prophecies, but an amalgamation of statements extracted from their full context to imply dramatic, controversial, and false meaning.

That, by itself, leads me to question your intent. For either you extracted them yourself from their original context, and therefore know full well of their misleading nature which would mean you’re intentionally misleading others, or you simply copied and pasted them from some other ill-informed anti-Mormon text, which would mean you’re being disingenuous.

In either case, spending my time to answer these questions would be of no value to you. Still, in the past, I’ve entertained questions of such an “anti” nature, because I thought they added value for other readers. But this particular list is so silly that I don’t even find the value with that.

But, I could be wrong. You could be totally sincere, in which case I apologize. If that is the case, please indicate those from this list that you truly would like me to speak to.

Otherwise, Bob’s reply was impeccable in addressing the list as a whole, and the rough concepts they represent.

Lastly, if you really seek to know what Mormonism is about, then study it. Read the Book of Mormon. Spending your time reading anti-Mormon doctrine will do no more to teach you about Mormonism, then reading books on evolution to learn about the creation. If you want to know about the creation, you don’t go talk to evolutionists. To learn about Mormonism, you don’t go talk to anti-Mormons, unless you’re content with your own salvation being based upon the opinions of others. Be courageous, take the charge, read the Book of Mormon, think for yourself.

You might just find yourself in the situation of Paul. Who even though he persecuted the church with all his might, later found it to be true. Oh how he wished then, that he would have followed Gamaliels advice, whose scriptural, divine counsel was to not persecute, but trust in the Lord. “…for if this counsel or this work be of men, it will come to nought: But if it be of God, ye cannot overthrow it, lest haply ye be found even to fight against God.” (Acts 5:38-39).

If Mormonism be the work of man, then it too will come to naught. But if it be the work of God, then ye will be found fighting against God. Religious criticism, especially active criticism, is a dangerous path for one’s soul. I understand why it happens, and that many feel so threatened by the magnificent growth and properity of the Church (Mormons), as indeed, it would indicate that it is anything BUT “coming to naught”, but that should be all the more reason to search for yourself, and not be found fighting against it. If it is of man, it will be nothing, but if it is of God, which I testify that it is, then you’re doing yourself a grave disservice.

Most sincerely,
Rusty

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9 Chris December 3, 2008 at 12:22 PM

Mary,

I wanted to laugh at your supposed documented “prophecies”, but then I realized you’re actually serious. You’ve got a lot of falsehoods in there, intentionally designed to shock, scare and promote distrust. And it’s all based on things that are not factual, if not outright lies.

I agree that it’s not worth wasting time responding to each of your accusations. But it’s worth taking a look at the first one you make, just because it points to your credibility from there on: “From everything I’ve read, church membership is declining.” Really. You need to do just a little more reading. LDS.org reports a net increase of 288,916 members in 2007, with total membership of over 13 million.

(http://www.lds.org/ldsorg/v/index.jsp?vgnextoid=2354fccf2b7db010VgnVCM1000004d82620aRCRD&locale=0&sourceId=4ff1558fcc599110VgnVCM100000176f620a____&hideNav=1)

Now, from what I’m reading there, that’s not a decrease. But beyond simple stated statistics, everything we see the church doing to accomodate its increasing membership points to a vibrant, growing organization. Meetinghouses continue to pop up all over the world – over 700 this year alone (that’s about 2 per day) – and we see that in our own neighborhoods and cities. Think about the cost and effort it takes to find houses of worship for 300,000 new members every year, and then supply those chapels with leaders, teachers, and teaching materials. Temples continue to be built and dedicated on an ongoing basis, worldwide, with no signs of slowdown (a new bunch were announced again last month), and members somehow manage to fill them up once they’re opened. No, Rusty’s right: The church is filling the earth at an ever increasing pace, and doing it amazingly well.

One other accusation worth responding to is your so-called “heavenly incest” doctrine. It’s worth responding to because it’s so offensive and vile to me as a Mormon. Please, don’t tell me I believe something that I don’t. I know what I believe, and as a Mormon, I certainly don’t believe in that. I ask that you don’t offend the Savior, or His mother by attempting to accuse Mormons of believing such an offensive doctrine. To be clear, we believe Jesus came into the World from a virgin birth. (If you have any doubt, watch Elder Holland’s video statement on http://www.mormon.org).

Mary, above all, I challenge you to go to the source. If you’re going to attempt to come across as such an expert on the Mormons, then really find out from the Mormons what they believe. I challenge you read the Book of Mormon – the whole thing, with real sincerity. I challenge you to visit wih the missionaries in your local area and listen to what they have to say with an open heart and mind. You may be surprised with the results.

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10 Mary Reason December 4, 2008 at 12:23 AM

Chris and Bob,

Well sorry for not laughing. For your deception is no laughing matter.

Please quit trying to repaint history for I know the real facts. Following the pro-Mormon blogs has been eye opening for me. I have followed such like bycommonconsent.com for years and find that most Mormons accept these doctrines were taught. But they have chosen to try to work through them.

However, faith is not the abandonment of reason. People who think faith needs to be divorced from our intellectual faculties have in effect abandoned the very possibility of discernment.

The notion that logic and sound reason are hostile to faith actually substitutes irrationality for genuine faith. Irrationality and discernment are polar opposites.

When Paul prayed that the Philippians’ love would “abound still more and more in real knowledge and all discernment” (Phil. 1:9), he was affirming the rationality of true faith. He also meant to suggest that knowledge and discernment necessarily go hand in hand with genuine spiritual growth.

Biblical faith, therefore, is rational. It is reasonable. It is intelligent. It makes good sense. And spiritual truth is meant to be rationally contemplated, examined logically, studied, analyzed, and employed as the only reliable basis for making wise judgments. That process is precisely what Scripture calls discernment.

The apostle John drew a very sharp distinction between Christianity and the spirit of antichrist–and he zealously held the line: “Anyone who goes too far and does not abide in the teaching of Christ, does not have God; the one who abides in the teaching, he has both the Father and the Son. If anyone comes to you and does not bring this teaching, do not receive him into your house, and do not give him a greeting; for the one who gives him a greeting participates in his evil deeds” (2 Jn. 9-11).

Lastly, could you tell me the last time when the prophet was prophetic?

Mary

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11 Bob Loblaw December 4, 2008 at 9:09 AM

Mary, I completely agree with your comments, reason and logic definitely have their place in religion. In fact, the LDS Church encourages its members to gain a testimony of each teaching offered by the Church Leaders.

As for your comment that our Church taught some the statements listed above is false. Again, I ask you to research for yourself these statements. They are out of context. You ask for logic and reason, but fail to apply it to your own understanding. In academic circles, citing quotations without reading the source is considered a form of plagiarism. I have seen a list similar to the one posted above in many places. I do not discount the fact that Mormon Church leaders said some of the comments you listed above, but I emphatically discount the fact that such teachings were ever doctrine of the Mormon Church.

I know what I believe. If other “Mormons” struggled with concepts like Adam being God etc. then they are not very diligent Mormons. The doctrine of who Adam was is plainly taught in the LDS Church and has not changed since the time of Joseph Smith.

Again, I renew my plea to you to actually do your own research, not that offered by your preacher or minister, who definitely has financial incentive to discredit the Mormon Church. I have no such conflict of interest. I have studied and researched the many teachings and doctrines of the Mormon faith. I know it to be the Church of Christ. I invite you to put aside your biased approach and go to the source http://www.LDS.org has many great resources. There are many talks printed from the recent Prophet, Thomas S. Monson. I invite you to read his teachings and determine for yourself if he is prophetic.

God Bless.

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12 Chris December 4, 2008 at 11:40 AM

Mary,

No problem agreeing with faith and ration. Biblical faith does make sense. I have faith in the Bible, sure. But when I explain Bible stories to my non-Christian friends (stories like Noah and the flood, Moses parting the Red Sea, or the many miracles that Jesus performed), their instant response is “that’s not rational.” So I guess it depends on what you think makes sense and what you have faith in. To me personally, I have a testimony that the events in the Bible actually happened.

When Hannah took her young son to Eli “on loan”, and young Samuel conversed with God in the middle of the night, that made him a prophet. I think Hannah knew of the great foreordained future that was awaiting her son. But at the time, and in everyone elses eyes, he was just a boy. To me, that seems reasonable. But it still takes faith to believe that it’s true.

I also believe Amos 3:7 is true. “Surely the Lord will do nothing save He reveal his secrets unto His servants the prophets.”

So for me, it’s also reasonable to think that a boy could go into the woods, visit and talk to God, and receive the keys and authority from God to restore His true church on the Earth. That’s also reasonable to me, but it also takes faith.

The last time the prophet was prophetic? That would be the last time he spoke to the members of the church. Sure, prophets can give warnings about the future, and we could dig examples up. But the real value of a prophet is his ability to be the voice of God about today. Throughout history, God has used His prophets as His voice to warn, teach and advise His children. In the Bible, you see that as well. Most prophets emphasize to the people what they need to be doing today, not what’s going to happen later. And for us personally, that’s the real value of having God’s living prophet on the earth today and it helps us with our spiritual growth.

Now, you may not agree. That’s not surprising either, given that throughout history, prophets were usually rejected by the majority of the people. That’s because when prophets speak as a respresentative of God, they say things that are uncomfortable to the listener. The life of Jesus is the best example of this.

Here’s the real question to ask: If the Bible is true (which it is) and we see in it that God always provided prophets as His voice to guide His people (over thousands of years of history), shouldn’t it be the same today? Is God that different now? Has He changed His mind? Where’s your prophet? I suggest you go to http://www.mormon.org and click on the Truth Restored link and watch those videos, if you want to really get the Mormon perspective on this issue.

Mary, once again – are you up to the challenge? Are you willing to read the Book of Mormon with real sincerity and an open mind? The whole thing? Are you willing to talk to the missionaries with an open heart and listen to what they have to say? If you want to continue to portray your supposed expertise of Mormon belief and doctrine and have any sense of credibility, you have to do that. Otherwise, you’re running on falsehoods and half-truths.

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13 Mary Reason December 4, 2008 at 9:23 PM

Mr. Loblaw says: “The doctrine of who Adam was is plainly taught in the LDS Church and has not changed since the time of Joseph Smith.”

Mr. Loblaw What’s this?

(Brigham Young, Deseret News, June 18, 1873, emphasis added)

“How much unbelief exists in the minds of the Latter-day Saints in regard to one particular doctrine which is revealed to them, and which God revealed to me — namely that Adam is our father and God – I do not know, I do not inquire, I care nothing about it. Our Father Adam helped to make this earth, it was created expressly for him, and after it was made he and his companions came here. He brought one of his wives with him, and she was called Eve, because she was the first woman upon the earth. Our Father Adam is the man who stands at the gate and holds the keys of everlasting life and salvation to all his children who have or ever will come upon the earth. I have been found fault with by the ministers of religion because I have said they were ignorant. But I could not find any man on earth who could tell me this, though it is one of the simplest things in the world, until I met and talked with Joseph Smith. ”

Gross heresy among Mormon teachings through out history is a signal that something is seriously wrong with the church. But an even greater problem is the lowering of standards to accommodate the leader’s sin. That the church is so eager to retain these men as God’s prophets is a symptom of rottenness at the core.

We must recognize that leadership in the church cannot be regarded lightly. The foremost requirement of a church leader is that he be above reproach (1 Timothy 3:2, 10; Titus 1:7). That is a difficult prerequisite, and not everyone can meet it.

There are some sins that irreparably shatter a man’s reputation and disqualify him from a ministry of leadership forever. Even Paul, man of God that he was, said he feared such a possibility. In 1 Corinthians 9:27 he says, “I discipline my body and make it my slave, so that, after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified.”
When referring to his body, Paul obviously had sexual immorality in view. In 1 Corinthians 6:18 he describes it as a sin against one’s own body–sexual sin is in its own category. Certainly it disqualifies a man from church leadership since he permanently forfeits a blameless reputation as a one-woman man (Proverbs 6:33; 1 Timothy 3:2).

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14 Chris December 4, 2008 at 11:34 PM

Mary, what’s this?:

From Moses, chapter 4 (LDS Scriptures)
“14 And they heard the voice of the Lord God, as they were walking in the garden, in the cool of the day; and Adam and his wife went to hide themselves from the presence of the Lord God amongst the trees of the garden.
15 And I, the Lord God, called unto Adam, and said unto him: Where goest thou?
16 And he said: I heard thy voice in the garden, and I was afraid, because I beheld that I was naked, and I hid myself. ”
Who was Adam talking to? Do you think Brigham Young thought Adam was talking to himself? That wouldn’t make sense, huh.

From Moses Chapter 5:
“10 And in that day Adam blessed God and was filled, and began to prophesy concerning all the families of the earth, saying: Blessed be the name of God, for because of my transgression my eyes are opened, and in this life I shall have joy, and again in the flesh I shall see God. ”

Was Adam hoping to see himself? Is that what Brigham really taught? (Nope.)

Once again, you’ve taken a single quote out of context, filled in your own half-truth, and intentionally attempted to lead astray.

I can’t stress it enough: You really need to go to the source to find out what really going on here. Get the whole picture.

Are you up to the challenge?

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15 Mary Reason December 5, 2008 at 12:01 AM

Chris, since you seem like your an expert in what Brigham wasn’t teaching. Maybe you could educate the rest of your faithful on what He was really teaching.

I’ll wait here silently until you reply.

Mary

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16 Bob Loblaw December 5, 2008 at 8:41 AM

Mary, B.Y. was teaching who Adam was – the father of the human race. Do you believe another man was here first? As you may know we believe in the complete exaltation of man. Adam has achieve godliness. We also believe that Adam was there when the Earth was created. This does not mean that Mormons believe that Adam is God The Father. These are teachings revealed by God. This is not an appropriate forum to justify my beliefs to you or anyone else. You are being intellectually dishonest in mischaracterizing sacred teachings from the 1800’s, by only including part of the context of the teachings. In both instances B.Y. teaches not that God the Father and Adam are the same person, as you try to infer, rather that Adam has achieved godliness through the grace of God. There are many teachings and posts regarding man’s ability to attain godliness. I refer you yet again to http://www.lds.org or http://www.mormon.org to actually read these teachings in their context, instead of referring to the cheat sheet you got in Bible School from your minister.

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17 Mary Reason December 5, 2008 at 10:49 AM

Bob, Bob, Bob, – My heart pains to see you write such falsehoods. I know and many more Mormons know that what you suggest wasn’t what B. Y. was teaching.

I suggest that you study more of B.Y.’s doctrine instead of referring to your cheat sheets handed to you by your leaders.

Nevertheless, I pray for your soul that you will be awakened to the many falsehoods promoted by your doctrines. Including the the dilemma above where Rusty gives full accountability to J.S. for his prophecy of “filling the earth”…. Yet when B.Y. says “Which God revealed to me” referring to the Adam-God doctrine you say it was only a sermon – not prophecy.

If “which God revealed to me” is as you say it is, that “that Adam has achieved godliness through the grace of God.” Then why was there so much “unbelief exists in the minds of the Latter-day Saints in regard to one particular doctrine”…..

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18 Chris December 5, 2008 at 12:27 PM

Mary,

I take it from your answers and tone that you’re really not up to the challenge. You’d rather flaunt fear, doubt and shock with your untrue statements about my faith, all while refusing to go to the source of the information and find out for yourself what it really says. Too bad.

I wish you the best.

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19 Rusty Lindquist December 5, 2008 at 1:25 PM

Mary,

I’m still not sure why you harbor such animosity, if there’s some experience in your past, or anything else that has caused you to offense, I’d welcome you to “vent” it here. I apologize if someone has wronged you to cause your ill-will.

If you’re just passionate about the teachings of our Savior, then I totally understand that too. Sometimes, it’s difficult for me too when someone comes and criticizes Mormonism, especially when we strive so diligently, invest so much money, thought, time, and effort, individually and collectively to bring about much good, to elevate society, to encourage people to live just a bit more righteously, and to teach about our Savior as best as we know how.

I truly enjoy sharing discussions with people of other faiths, for while we differ in some of the specifics of our beliefs, we share the same goal and purpose.

For that reason, I hope that we can continue discussing important topics (even those that tend to get us a little worked up), but do it all in a spirit of love, and for the purpose of understanding. I believe that would be the way the Savior would prefer it done. Additionally, that kind of approach leaves us all enriched, rather than incited.

Now, to your comments… You mention that you’ve talked to other Mormons who suggest that isn’t what Brigham Young was teaching. I don’t suppose these conversations happened online did they? If so, could you direct me to the locations so I can read the discussion. I’d greatly like to help them come to an understanding of what he was teaching, for Bob is correct in his description.

I can break this teaching up into several core beliefs of Mormonism.

Adam as a father: We believe that Adam was the father of all man, the head of all dispensations, and stands at the head of the human race.

Adam as a god: We believe in that Adam fulfilled his mission on earth and has been saved by the Grace of the Lord and exalted, even as a god. We believe the apostle Peters biblical reference to partaking of the divine nature, and Paul’s reference to being “joint heirs with Christ” reflect the intent that the children of God should try to emulate him, until they “become perfect, even as your father in heaven is perfect”. Not to replace him, but to imitate and acquire his perfect goodness. I more fully explore this teaching of “theosis” (which is not unique to Mormonism), here amongst other places in the “Mormon Beliefs” section of my blog.

Adam as creator: We believe in foreordination. That Adam was foreordained to this great calling, as the head of all dispensations, and because of his divine calling, role in the salvation of mankind (for God children could not come to earth unless he first fulfilled his mission), and stature, he was a participant not just in the population of the world, but in its actual creation. It doesn’t mean he was the sole creator. But we believe that God’s pattern, as revealed throughout time, is one of delegation, where he allows others to do His work, and gives them the authority to function in that capacity. We believe that the creation of the world was no different. That it was created by Him, but that he let others play a role in that great endeavor, just as he stands at the head of the church, but allows others to have roles in that church, such as pastors, teachers, bishops, prophets, apostles, deacons, teachers, etc. and gives them authority to function.

So you see, this is the additional context absent from the quotation you provide above. With adequate context, that statement now has meaning and provides understanding. But extracted by itself, does little but create confusion, which is why it’s so often used by critics of the church. It’s a tactic that is effective in creating confusion, mystifying Mormonism, but is frustratingly inappropriate, for its goal is not to drive toward understanding, but to sway opinions among those who lack the will or courage to discover its truth independently.

It’s often used by leaders of other churches, whose livelihood is threatened by the explosive growth of the church (as I discuss here in “Commercialized Religion”. But it’s both unfair and dishonest, which is why it can be frustrating for people like Bob, Chris and I, who so frequently have to work to correct such misunderstandings, perpetuated by the insincere.

So if we come across a bit harsh, it’s only because we grow tired of these tactics. But, we don’t tire of teaching the truth, which is why I always welcome open discussion here. There is nothing to hide. The more one comes to understand Mormonism, the more one realizes that we’re actually pretty OK people.

Please let me know if any of this was unclear, or only raised additional questions. Otherwise, thanks for having this discussion.

Rusty

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20 Bob Loblaw December 5, 2008 at 4:12 PM

Great job Rusty, just one more thing…

There is a big difference between a revelation (what B.Y. received regarding Adam) and a prophecy (what J.S. received from God regarding the FuTuRe of Christ’s Church here on Earth). Since this whole discussion started in reference to latter-day prophecy, I would suggest that Mary actually learn what a prophecy is before trying to discuss it.

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21 Margaret December 5, 2008 at 4:34 PM

This is an extremely valuable discussion. Mary’s questions have been answered respectfully and accurately. I really hope, Mary, that you will study with an open heart to find the truth for yourself, instead of relying on what we and/or the critics tell you. The Holy Ghost will tell you what the truth is. I just don’t understand why so many are so afraid to really search for the truth. It’s like coming from the dark into the light when you find it!

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22 Mary Reason December 5, 2008 at 11:25 PM

I have found the post I wanted to share here.

You will see the online discussion isn’t from critics but from within your own walls.

I also know you write your replies knowing that other readers may follow your suggestive remarks that I harbor some anger for commenting as I do. “There must be something wrong with her to feel that way”…..That’s a line made up by the evil one. I harbor nothing toward any individual but faithfully love God’s word and am sickened by the ways it is perverted.

I would call that a righteous anger wouldn’t you?

Bob, could you take a moment to explain the differences between revelation and prophecy. I need to know when it’s OK to disregard what God has inspired in the Bible as just revelation.

Mary

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23 Mary Reason December 5, 2008 at 11:32 PM

Woops! That didn’t work…Your going to need to copy and paste into your browser below text.

http://www.bycommonconsent.com/2008/03/can-anyone-articulate-adam-god/

mary

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24 Rusty Lindquist December 6, 2008 at 12:15 AM

Mary,

I didn’t say there must be something wrong with you, I wondered if you were upset at some past event. There just appears to be a lot of malice in your words, and the spirit of contention. I don’t have many rules on my blog, only one really, that we discuss things with respect. I know sometimes people will get riled up, I’m not naive, we’re dealing with truths people hold sacred, but we can still discuss them with respect. When it gets disrespectful, I have to draw the line.

“Cast out the scorner, and contention shall go out; yea, strife and reproach shall cease” Proverbs 22:10, and we are taught to avoid contention “But avoid foolish questions, and genealogies, and contentions, and strivings about the law; for they are unprofitable and vain” (Titus 3:9).

I’ll allow virtually any discussion, as long as we maintain civility and mutual respect in our conversations.

I fixed the link on your first post for you, and I just read the post, as well as the first several comments. I don’t see anything contradictory to what I’ve stated. I do see that there are some people confused by Brigham young’s statement.

Is that surprising to you? I’m not sure why it would come as a surprise that doctrine in any religion will be understood to varying degrees by varying individuals. It’s the reason why we have teachers. I guess I don’t see how this in any way invalidates the clear explanation I’ve given you. Still, thanks for the link. It appears they need a bit of clarification over there too, which I’ll be happy to go share.

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25 Mary Reason December 6, 2008 at 1:19 AM

Thank you for fixing the link. I can’t understand why Olson Pratt was having a problem with the B.Y.’s teaching if it is as you say it was. And if the B.Y.’s teaching was in line with Mormon doctrine then why In 1897, Joseph F. Smith, then a counselor in the First Presidency, wrote a private letter concerning Young’s teachings on Adam, stating:

“The doctrine was never submitted to the councils of the Priesthood nor to the church for approval or ratification, and was never formally or otherwise accepted by the church. It is therefore in no sense binding upon the Church. Brigham Young’s ‘bare mention’ was ‘without indubitable evidence and authority being given of its truth.’ Only the scripture, the ‘accepted word of God,’ is the Church’s standard (Letter to A. Saxey, January 7, 1897, HDC).”

and in 1980, Latter-day Saint apostle Bruce R. McConkie gave a talk elaborating upon the Adam–God theory:

“There are those who believe or say they believe that Adam is our father and our god, that he is the father of our spirits and our bodies, and that he is the one we worship.
“The devil keeps this heresy alive as a means of obtaining converts to cultism. It is contrary to the whole plan of salvation set forth in the scriptures, and anyone who has read the Book of Moses, and anyone who has received the temple endowment and who yet believes the Adam-God theory does not deserve to be saved.* Those who are so ensnared reject the living prophet and close their ears to the apostles of their day. ‘We will follow those who went before,’ they say. And having so determined, they soon are ready to enter polygamous relationships that destroy their souls.

I am ever so grateful that the doctrine was denounced too Rusty. But who is “those who went before” that McConkie had referred to?

I will be waiting for your post at bycommonconsent to get them straightened out. That would be a good to get this ironed out.

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26 Bob Loblaw December 6, 2008 at 7:47 PM

Mary,

Thank you for the recent quotations you’ve offered in your last post. As for who Elder McConkie referred to as those believing God and Adam were the same person, or that our Church officially endorsed such doctrine is unknown to me. There have been several groups break off from the LDS Church over the years. What I do know is that as Elder McConkie wrote, the knowledge we have as a Church regarding who Adam actually was comes from teachings found in the Book of Moses in The Pearl of Great Price (revelation given to Joseph Smith). As far as I know B.Y. was misinterpreted – as a whole the Church has never believed, nor taught that Adam was God the Father. Some small segments may have focused in on that statement from him and dissented. This is a common practice that is evident today in the many Christian faiths. Some focus in on what day should be the Sabbath, others on what baptism should actually be performed. I assume something similar happened with the Adam/God teaching.

As for revelation vs. prophesy the difference is not limited to Mormon theology, nor was I inferring that one should be disregarded. (As Rusty and others have pointed out, B.Y.’s revelation regarding Adam is clearly understood when one reads the entire REVELATION).

Revelation in the religious aspect is a communication from God to an individual He has selected to be His messenger. We believe any righteous person can receive revelation for his/her own life. The dictionary defines revelation as: “The divine or supernatural disclosure to humans of something related to human existence in the world.” Such a communication is generally something previously unknown. But Christ also taught that revelation can be from the Holy Ghost calling to our remembrance something forgotten (See John 14:26).

Prophesy is a communication from God to a chosen recipient (called a prophet) to predict a future event. Again, we believe this to be a gift from the Holy Ghost that is available to any righteous follower of Christ. However, Christ’s Church has order, and as the Lord revealed to Amos, he will instruct his Prophets, (see Amos 3:7). Since Adam, the Lord has called Prophets to guide and direct His Church. Even the Paul taught that Christ’s Church is built on a foundation of Prophets and Apostles (Ephesians 2:20). In latter days the Lord has called Prophets and Apostles to guide and direct His Church in preparation from His Second Coming.

So, when a Church leader is teaching a new gospel principle (like GBH before he passed away taught Church members to respect their bodies as temples as instructed by Paul meant to not tattoo our bodies) that is a revelation. But when a Church leader predicts a future event and tells the membership to prepare for such event, that is a prophesy. (An example would be President Hinckley predicting a recent sharp downturn in the world economy, therefore counseling against debt and encouraging members to build up a 6 month supply of food).

Now, the list you provided initially did contain some prophesies, but were mostly teachings or writings from Church leaders at the time. Again, I just want to emphasize my intention was not to toss away the reveled things of God in the Bible because they are not prophecy.

One more point to clarify – you mentioned that populating NYC was a far cry from populating the whole Earth. True point. Bear in mind that when J.S. made that prophesy, there were only a handful of members. Rusty has a link posted on his blog to the youtube video showing the growth of the Church worldwide, but can be found here: http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-4731328707513660562

Your comment about perverting God’s word is interesting…considering the fact that to Mormons your characterization and insistence of the Adam/
God doctrine is taught and believed by Mormons is a perversion of God’s Word to latter-day Prophets. Irony is fun isn’t it?

Lastly, you comment on Joseph F. Smith and Orson Pratt and their apparent dissension regarding B.Y.’s teaching is interesting. The Lord provides knowledge line upon line and precept upon precept. (See Isaiah 28:13). The Church has always encouraged its members to gain what we call a testimony of the teachings of the prophets. The Church does not expect brainwashed acceptance, rather to study out doctrines and pray about their truthfulness. It is my opinion that these men were trying to understand Adam’s true calling as described by Rusty above. This knowledge about Adam was learned over time, in the method described by Isaiah as referenced above. (Note it is further light/knowledge regarding the first man and carnal father of the human race than contained in the Bible. Not essential to the salvation of man, rather a nice faith building story that sheds light on God’s overall plan for the salvation of His spirit children.

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27 Bob Loblaw December 6, 2008 at 10:17 PM

Mary, as for the link you posted above, my opinion is simply that those individuals are focusing their discussion too much on what we call “deep doctrine.” Much of the deep doctrine in the LDS Church is based more on opinion than actual revelation, much like people within the same congregation can read a passage from the Bible with a different interpretation.

Joseph Smith counseled the members, that when they taught doctrine they should stay close to the trunk (or core doctrines of salvation) rather than venture too far out on the branches. He compared the doctrine of Christ’s Church to a tree. The principles of salvation that are found in the “trunk” of the tree; whereas, speculation, opinion (e.g. whether the pearly gates swing or roll open) would be the branches.

The discussion found on the link above is trying to figure out what was actually intended by BY’s teaching. A Prophet of God has cleared it up with the doctrine relayed by Rusty posted in the comments above.

There are still many mysteries about God. It seems silly to me to focus too much attention on this mischaracterized teaching as it has been clarified ad nauseam by the Church. The role of an active LDS member would be to pray to the Lord for their personal confirmation of the truthfulness of Adam’s role in the pre-existence, not pontificating on things of little to no importance to our personal eternal salvation. But that is my opinion.

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28 Rusty Lindquist December 7, 2008 at 4:53 PM

Bob, I totally agree, and think that it’s a good characterization, classifying the discussion of this doctrine as much as they have there as playing in the branches. It’s straining at a nat. As you’ve noticed on my blog, all of my posts are “trunky”. I like to focus on faith, repentance, hope, inspiration and enlightenment, and other key attributes that actually make a difference and play a real role in living our lives. It’s for this reason I’ve been hesitant to even go perpetuate that conversation further. It’s a waste of time. We know what the revealed doctrine is, scripture makes it evident. I find greater value in creating… spending the little time I can spare to creating new posts that make a difference, not debating topics that don’t.

I’m not belittling the question you asked, that’s why I’ve spent so much time on it here. I’m anxious to remove any stumbling blocks one might have to truly understanding Mormonism. My intent is not to convert, but to clarify. The spirit converts, and if my meager efforts can in any way clear up widespread public misperceptions, then I’ve played a small part in preparing the path for the spirit to do that work.

All too often, it’s things like this, perpetuated by others, that instantly close the hearts and minds of a person to the spirit. My goal is to open those doors. That’s why I allow any question, any discussion, as long as it’s respectful and sincere.

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29 Mary Reason December 7, 2008 at 7:50 PM

Although I do understand your desire to sweep this under the rug, I on the other hand, as you know an opponent of Mormonism, would like to continue the discussion. I am trying to establish that Brigham Young taught the Adam-God theory, that it is contrary to Biblical teaching, and that
Brigham Young could therefore not have been a true prophet. I am doing so honestly so that you will know the Truth that is in Jesus Christ our Lord. That you will turn to God of the Bible, repent of your sin, and trust in Him alone for the salvation of your soul. That Christ is the end of God’s revelation and in Him it is forever delivered and complete.

I have found the following article here if you want to continue reading about Adam-God and B.Y.’s teachings.

http://www.lightplanet.com/response/adam-god.htm

The intent of this authors article is to refute people like me who claim that B.Y was not a true prophet and other fundamentalist Mormons who still hold true to the B.Y.’s teaching. The author starts the article with:

“At the age of twenty, as a missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, I first came in contact with the so-called Adam-God theory in an anti-Mormon tract. I had read such literature before and knew that it frequently twisted and misinterpreted LDS sources. I therefore felt certain that the purported quotation from Brigham Young’s April 9, 1852 discourse–that Adam is our father and our God–either was taken from context or was an outright fabrication.

After examining the evidence, however, I soon became convinced that on at least two occasions Brigham Young had taught a concept which generally has not been accepted by Mormons–namely, that God the Father, the Father of our spirits and the Father of Jesus (of both his body and his spirit), came to this earth, took upon himself mortality, and was known as Adam, the progenitor the of human family. Simply stated, according to President Young, God the Father became Adam. (Journal of Discourses [JD] 1:50; Deseret News, June 18, 1873). Later I found several other references in which President Young hinted at this belief. (JD 4:216-218, 271; 5:331; 6:274; 7:290; 11:41,42).

Over the past fifteen years I have found many additional sources which confirm that this idea was taught for a period of time in the past century. They include sermon reports, private diary entries, minutes of meetings, letters, articles, and statements. Many of these are unpublished and have only come to light in the last several years.”

I was also wondering if your prophet prophesized the year that this recession would come or if he left wide open? Has there been any real solid prophecy that we can sink our teeth into?

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30 Bob Loblaw December 7, 2008 at 10:45 PM

Mary, as Rusty and I have posted above this discussion has really run its course. I have nothing more to add. All I can tell you is what the Prophets teach today, and what doctrine is taught in the Scriptures. Rusty does an excellent job of sticking to the meat of gospel principles in his blog. Your attempt at undermining B.Y. as a prophet using the Adam-God idea is nothing new. What I can remind you of is that we do not believe a Prophet of God is infallible. Even if B.Y. made a mistake in understanding Adam’s true role (a concession I am not making), does not discredit him as being a prophet to me. The prophets of the Bible made mistakes too. Only One was perfect.

As for the exact date of a recession, not to my knowledge. As you seem persistent on learning the recent prophecies of the Latter-day Prophets I renew my invitation to read the recent general conference addresses found at http://www.lds.org – This is not an issue I have spent a lot of time researching lately. Maybe we can look forward to a future post from Rusty!?!

Rusty, great job on your blog. I really enjoy your posts. I am happy to add my opinion whenever I have time. Lately my posts have been nothing short of a guilty pleasure stealing precious moments away from the mountains of work piled around me.

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31 Rusty Lindquist December 7, 2008 at 11:17 PM

Bob,

I can associate all to well with that! LOL.

Mary,

I agree, if you wish to spend more time upon the matter, you’ll need to seek information elsewhere. We’ve already addressed it, and have extracted all the value from the conversation on this particular topic. I’m sorry if we’ve not answered you to your hearts content, but not every path is worth following.

I fear you’re straining at a nat, while the important things pass you by.

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32 Mary Reason December 8, 2008 at 3:38 AM

Bob just a note to end this topic then. If it is God inspired revelation to forbid getting a tattoo, then my kids can testify that I also am a living prophet. But seriously you confuse me. On one hand you say the prophet isn’t infallible, yet on other posts you praise your religion for having the living prophet. For me that is like sitting in a race car knowing the tire can explode at any time. I don’t find that comforting at all. I’m sure it isn’t comforting having to defend the polygamy and racist priesthood band. How many Mormon missionaries were sent to Jamaica before the priesthood band was lifted?

Isn’t it more comforting, knowing that the mystery has been revealed in Jesus Christ, the perfect one, and delivered to the Saints once and for all, and that there isn’t any longer a need for a prophet?

Rusty, you ever brought home a gnat on your fruit from the grocery store?

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33 Rusty Lindquist December 8, 2008 at 11:31 PM

Mary,

I’m sorry to have to point this out, but your last comment makes rather poignant and entertaining illustration of how critics attempt to mislead others my ridiculous over dramatizations that distort truth.

Let me explain.

You said you’re confused because “On the one hand you say the prophet isn’t infallible, yet on other posts you praise your religion for having the living prophet”. You compared that to sitting in a race car knowing the tire will explode at any time.

Let me ask you four questions?

1. According what you believe, how many infallible people have ever lived?

2. According to your belief, how many prophets have ever lived?

3. Are you grateful for the prophets?

I don’t know if you’re Christian or not, but I am. And as such, I believe that Christ was the only infallible person who ever lived, and that’s a rather orthodox view. It’s also an orthodox view that the bible contains the words of the prophets, which I guess draws the obvious conclusion that indeed, as you state “the prophet isn’t infallible”. But should that stop us from being grateful for having a prophet? Does it stop you, or others who believe in the Bible from being grateful to the prophets?

I hope you like racecars, because if you feel that being grateful for a prophet, however fallible, feels like sitting in one that’s about to explode, then you’re in for a journey. But perhaps it feels so dramatic to you, because it’s in your character to over dramatize things. How much time have you spent worrying over the topic in this thread? It’s a lot of drama, leading nowhere, and I fear it’s wasting your time. But, then again, I suppose it’s your time to waste. I just wish you’d waste it elsewhere, for my tolerance of the discussion has grown short.

You’ve now sufficiently illustrated your tendency to warp facts in order to sway opinion, and I never had any tolerance for that to begin with.

I hope you’re able to move on to more productive channels for your thoughts and attention, and wish you the best.

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34 OneWhoIsWatching May 7, 2009 at 6:19 PM

Well… obviously I am a little late weighing in on this post, but mary, if you ever come back to check this out, I would suggest that you accept the challenge of reading the following essay on Sidney Rigdon and the associated posts.

http://onewhoiswatching.wordpress.com/2009/01/19/the-return-of-sidney-rigdon-gods-spokesman/

All four parts of that article and the other articles and posts mentioned in it will provide answers to ALL your questions from a much deeper and different perspective.

I must believe from the nature of your questions and the fact that you visit Mormon related sites, that even though you have not been able to accept Mormonism, perhaps you haven’t totally ruled it out and you are looking for the deeper answers to the questions you have.

Let me assure you that there are other perspectives than the usual answers given by LDS apologists.

The missing pieces of the prophet puzzel can be found in scripture if you search deep enough.

Joseph Smith was not perfect nor was he infallible, but, he WAS a prophet.

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