If we truly believe in the idea of exaltation and that we will inherit God’s throne and become like Him, then we are explicitly saying that we believe that we must learn orbital mechanics, cellular biology, theories of computation, and advanced mathematics. For these are among all the tools that God uses to ordain His kingdoms. And if we are to be like Him, then we must understand and use these tools as well.
A couple of weeks ago, I had an interesting conversation with a man named Jonathan. We got talking about religion, and I proclaimed myself a believer of the Book of Mormon. He was happy for me, but proceeded to say that all we need is the Bible, and quoted Revelation 22:18:
… If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book:
To him, this was proof that all we need is this Bible, because no one can “add” unto “this book”, and he interpreted “this book” to mean “the Bible”.
(Never mind the fact that the Bible didn’t exist until a couple hundred of years after that was written, but whatever.)
But this got me thinking. In our conversation, we had talked about how true religion was the love of God, and that all religions are trying to experience that love. People tend to leave those religions when they realize that the love of God is larger than the limitations imposed on it by their church. The God they believe in is “too big” to fit in the box their church prescribes.
I absolutely believe this. But after we ended our amicable conversation, a thought struck me:
We had just talked about the infinite love of God, and how God places no limitations on that love. If we accept that premise as true, then wouldn’t it follow that the manifestations of His Love are also infinite? Why then would we limit ourselves to only experiencing His Love by means of a single compilation of books?
To take this even further, why are we saddened when our friends, family, and colleagues decide to leave their church? If they truly believe that they have found another (and perhaps for them, better) way to experience God’s love, ought we not to rejoice with them?
Why do we place limitations on what God can and cannot do? He is an infinite being. Is it not conceivable that He might know what’s better for us than we do? We should trust in Him, and not in the short-sighted policies of man.
Here is a simplification of a previous post:
Joseph Smith was not a prophet, but he said and did prophetic things.
Brigham Young was not a prophet. He may have said or done prophetic things.
Denver Snuffer is not a prophet. But, he says and does prophetic things.
Thomas S. Monson is not a prophet. If you have evidence of any prophetic things he has said or done, please let me know.
A beautiful summation of the false illusion of the eternality of the LDS Church from the Exploring Sainthood blog:
But just like the fort made of couch cushions and blankets that has provided safety and comfort for my children from time to time in our playroom, your house was designed to come down. It was always temporary. Because it’s not the real house.
And then if any man shall say to you, Lo, here is Christ; or, lo, he is there; believe him not: (Mark 13:21)
We have an obsession with titles, and it can be a dangerous thing. I’ve been thinking a lot recently about prophets and their missions, and every time I talk with someone about this, the same phrase is invariably used:
“So-and-so is/is not a prophet”.
This is a very dangerous statement. By using the copular verb “to be”, we express an idea about the nature of the person, as if describing a characteristic of that person. However, when it comes to prophets, we should not do this. When we declare a person to be a prophet, we enter a perilous road of implications. If we say that a person is a prophet, then we are implying that anything that person says or does falls under the purview of his/her prophetic mantle. This, in turn, implies that everything this person does is the will of God. And if that’s the case, then anything this person says we should immediately obey, no questions asked. Essentially, to declare that someone is a prophet is to declare that they are infallible.
This language is how we end up with such heresy as:
- “The Lord will never permit me or any other man who stands as President of this Church to lead you astray.” – Wilford Woodruff
- “Follow the prophet; he knows the way.” (Follow the Prophet, Children’s Songbook)
- The 14 Fundamentals in Following the Prophet
- “My boy, you always keep your eye on the President of the Church, and if he tells you to do something wrong, and you do it, the Lord will bless you for it.” – Heber J. Grant, as quoted by Marion G. Romney; The Covenant of the Priesthood, Ensign, July 1972, p. 98
Instead, we should remember the words of Joseph Smith, when he declared: “A prophet is a prophet only when he is acting as such.” (emphasis added)
It is fallacious to declare that someone is a prophet; the person is irrelevant and does not matter. What matters is the message they bring. Judge the message. If the message persuades you to “believe in Christ”, then “it is of God“. Otherwise, reject it and continue to seek the face of God.
I have a special place in my soul for the hymn “How Firm a Foundation”, especially the latter verses. I think we sing this absent-mindedly, and don’t recognize the significance of this hymn. This is one of a handful of hymns where, instead of us speaking to God, God speaks to us. It is beautiful and humbling to contemplate His words:
Fear not, I am with thee; oh, be not dismayed, for I am thy God and will still give thee aid. I’ll strengthen thee, help thee, and cause thee to stand, upheld by my righteous, omnipotent hand.
When through the deep waters I call thee to go, the rivers of sorrow shall not thee o’erflow, for I will be with thee, thy troubles to bless, and sanctify to thee thy deepest distress.
When through fiery trials thy pathway shall lie, my grace, all sufficient, shall be thy supply. The flame shall not hurt thee; I only design thy dross to consume and thy gold to refine.
E’en down to old age, all my people shall prove my sov’reign, eternal, unchangeable love; And then, when gray hair shall their temples adorn, like lambs shall they still in my bosom be borne.
The soul that on Jesus hath leaned for repose I will not, I cannot, desert to his foes; That soul, though all hell should endeavor to shake, I’ll never, no never, no never forsake!
Behold, I am God and have spoken it; these commandments are of me, and were given unto my servants in their weakness, after the manner of their language, that they might come to understanding. (D&C 1:24)
The manner of my language is different from the manner of my spouse’s language. My language is different from my mother’s language and my father’s language. In fact, my language is unique to me. The phrases I use, the idioms I use, the very order of the words themselves, are all unique to me. That is my language, and it is as individual as are my fingerprints.
But if God speaks to me “after the manner of [my] language”, how do I know that it is His voice that I hear, and not my own?