Not the real house

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.

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A prophet, a prophet!

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:

This is blasphemy. It sets men up as a light to be followed. It contradicts the words of scripture. It contradicts the Atonement of Jesus Christ.

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.

How firm my foundation?

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!

Recognizing the Voice of God

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?