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Wednesday, November 29, 2006

If any of you lacks wisdom, don't ask.

by Sharon

On November 7, 2006 LDS Apostle Dallin Oaks presented a devotional address to the students at BYU-Idaho. In his talk, entitled "Be Wise," Mr. Oaks defined the principle of wisdom and demonstrated how wisdom may be applied in several different areas of life. Covering various subjects including prayer, dating, and self-characterization, Mr. Oaks spoke of another area in which wisdom must be exercised. He said,
My second subject of wisdom concerns looking beyond the mark. In the Book of Mormon the Prophet Jacob described a people who "despised the words of plainness,...and sought for things...they could not understand" (Jacob 4:14). He said this caused them to fall because when persons are "looking beyond the mark," God takes away plainness and gives them what they sought -- things they cannot understand.

We see this today. For example, some persons write General Authorities asking when we will be returning to Missouri or how we should plan to build up the New Jerusalem. Others want to know details about the Celestial Kingdom, such as the position of a person who lives a good life but never ever marries.

I don't know the answers to any of these questions. What I do know is that persons worrying about such things are probably neglecting to seek a firmer understanding and a better practice of the basic principles of the gospel that have been given to them with words of plainness by the scriptures and by the servants of the Lord[.]

It's interesting that Mr. Oaks -- as a prophet, seer and revelator who, by virtue of his position in the LDS Church, believes he has been divinely equipped to guide, counsel and instruct Latter-day Saints; who holds every gift, qualification and key necessary to lead people to into the Celestial kingdom; who has had bestowed upon him all the power of God that it is possible for a human being to hold on earth; who has been placed in the LDS Church for the express purpose of keeping the Saints from being carried away by false doctrine (see George Q. Cannon, Gospel Truth, Two volumes in one, 205-214) -- it's noteworthy that he does not know the answers to sincere gospel questions. Nor does he appear interested in seeking God to receive those answers.

Joseph Smith and other early LDS leaders had no qualms about asking God to grant them deeper understanding or revelations of clarification (for example, see Doctrine and Covenants section 7; Doctrine and Covenants section 132; Doctrine and Covenants -- Declaration 2). Indeed, the introduction to Doctrine and Covenants section 33 says,
In recording this revelation the Prophet affirmed that "the Lord is ever ready to instruct such as diligently seek in faith."

I can see that wondering about God's specific timeline might be a question that "goes beyond the mark," but if exaltation in the Celestial kingdom is the goal of every Latter-day Saint (as affirmed by LDS Apostle Jeffrey Holland, Ensign, October 2006, 11), surely, the eternal consequences for a person who never marries is a valid and important matter.

Rather than encourage or instruct a person bearing such a weighty concern, Mr. Oaks states he does not know the answer. But he does claim to know the heart of the seeker. Instead of considering that the questioner may be someone who is worried about a loved one who doesn't seem to be living the LDS gospel essentials (like marriage), Mr. Oaks paints a picture of the person as someone who is most likely negligent in gospel study and righteous living.

Mr. Oaks concluded this section of his talk with this:
If we neglect the words of plainness and look beyond the mark, we are starting down a path that often leads to a loss of commitment and sometimes to a loss of faith. There is enough difficulty in following the words of plainness, without reaching out for things we have not been given and probably cannot understand.

On our refrigerator at home Sister Oaks has posted these wise words of Sister Elisa Wirthlin: "Don't complicate the simplicities of the gospel with questions that are not in harmony with simple truths."

In what way are fundamental questions about one's eternal fate "not in harmony with simple truths"? Isn't a basic understanding of the three degrees of glory part of the "simplicities of the [LDS] gospel"? Isn't it imperative that we understand the eternal ramifications of our actions in mortality?

In Christianity, a truly simple Gospel is found: Be reconciled to God and enjoy His presence forevermore; or remain an enemy of God and suffer the eternal and excruciating consequences of our sins. What happens to a good person who never marries? The same thing that happens to a bad person who never marries, or a good person who does marry. Whether a person is married makes no difference. Whether the world sees a person as good or bad makes no difference. It is the individual's standing before God, based not on works or ordinances, but based on God's mercy and grace that makes all the difference in the world (see Isaiah 59:2; Romans 6:23; Hebrews 9:27; 1 John 5:11-12; Ephesians 2:8-10; Romans 3:21-26).

In Mormonism there are four possible eternal destinations for human beings, and in the highest destination there are various positions that might be achieved. Some become Gods; some, something less. Some have said the dead have an eternity to progress and move up to better kingdoms; some have said that can't be done. Some claim baptism into the LDS Church guarantees a person will at least become a servant in the Celestial kingdom; some claim those who think so will be surprised to find they were wrong. In Mormonism there are no "simplicities of the gospel"; it's a complicated system from start to finish. No wonder Mormons have questions for their General Authorities. It must be disheartening for a Latter-day Saint that nobody seems to be able to answer them; and undoubtedly devastating to be branded spiritually negligent just for asking.

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17 Comments:

  • At November 29, 2006 6:42 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Look what I found on Amazon.com what do you think of this?????

    Absolute Proof: That the Book of Mormon is a Fake


    by Timothy W. Henline

    http://www.amazon.com/Absolute-Proof-That-Book-Mormon/dp/0978791401/

     
  • At November 29, 2006 7:05 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    What is really sad is, dallen oaks seems ignorent of his beliefes. in this case I would ask, is he saved? I ask that in light of D and C 131:6 It is impossible for a man to be saved in ignorence.

    If he is ignorent of his beliefes, is he saved? Also why is it, the avrage Joe mormon seems to know the answres to simple questions, but an LDS leader does not.

    I know some mormons on this blog and my blog that seem to know I am wrong about everything while they know everything. Am I correct about you chuck? Rick b

     
  • At November 30, 2006 6:22 PM, Blogger jer1414 said…

    Sounds interesting and I'd like to read it. Unfortuantely, as one Mormon put it to me, "No matter what" he couldn't leave Mormonism.
    For some, *no matter what* evidence may come their way, they cannot deal with it. Perhaps this will be different.

     
  • At November 30, 2006 8:56 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I cannot find the devotional address you speak of. Where can it be found for use as reference?

    Rick. It's not that you are wrong about everything, it's just that you bring up positions on certain topics that cannot be verified as truth. You complain and are negative about a lot of things, but there's not a lot of foundation to any of your claims.

    Just like in this article. Why is it that 1) the focus of this blog is usually negative, and 2) when ever someone has a point to make, it's always started with something like, It's interesting that or It's sad that.

    Why all the speculation? Why the opinions? That's why it is so simple to disprove your theories. Because that is exactly what they are. Your ideas, feelings, understanding, etc. does not provide a foundation for truth. There is no foundation in most of the things that are written in these blogs or yours Rick. Most of the time things are published just to stir up contention, to argue, and to put down someone elses religion or their leaders. But when it comes down to facts, rarely are any provided. However, there are times when you are right on the money, Rick. Like when you testified to the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon. You said yourself, you have yet to have any mormon (or anyone else) show you a list of 10 new things in the Book of Mormon that are not in the Bible.

    Let's talk about this book Absolute Proof. If it's absolute proof, why hasn't the media broadcasted it and denounced mormonism around the world? They talked about the Pope and his controversial comments. Why wouldn't they share the proof that disproves the LDS Religion? It's been available for nearly three months. You would think if there was any credibility, the news media would be blasting the mormons by now.

    I can tell you why, it's most likely a book heavy in opinions, with nothing factual, and designed to make it's author a truck load of money. He's the one laughing all the way to the bank. And suckers buy into it.

    I guarantee you this, if I wrote a book denouncing the LDS Faith, I could make a ton of money too. Regardless of whether or not it's based on facts.

    Maybe I will buy the book. I am looking for another good piece of fiction. Especially when I can predict the ending.

    Sharon, why can't your posts be like Eric's last post. Although it had undertones of bias, he focused on the positive of the Gospel. He didn't zoom in on a paragraph of thousands of talks and start a little gossip fest. That's just silly.

    If you want to do a service to Christians, tell them what you offer by way of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Don't politicize things. This blog is like the Democratic party. Always something to say negative about something or someone else, but no platform or ideas to offer anyone. The blind leading the blind.

    You have a lot of visitors. Make use of your time. Tell them about the Gospel. Share stories that uplift and not destroy. Share truths about your faith without attacking something. Be positive.

     
  • At December 01, 2006 12:59 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Why is Chuck bent on criticizing Rick and Sharon? "Wrong about everything"? "Gossip fest"? Why is he so negative? Can't he be more positive? Why must he always give his opinions?

     
  • At December 01, 2006 9:49 AM, Blogger CCR said…

    Well as we know, when the leaders (like Oaks) speak, the "thinking has been done," and apparently that hasn't been a whole lot of thinking.

     
  • At December 01, 2006 11:18 AM, Blogger Sharon said…

    Chuck asked: "I cannot find the devotional address you speak of. Where can it be found for use as reference?"

    There is a hot link to the devotional text embedded in the blog post (in the devotional title) -- click on it and you'll find Dallin Oaks' speech in a new window, posted by BYU-Idaho.

     
  • At December 01, 2006 12:23 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Sorry about this rather long post, and sorry in advance that it is an entire topic.

    Chuck my statment about the BoM was not evidence that the BoM is correct, here is a better way of stating what I said, or better yet, what the LDS teacher, Bruce M said. After reading this, either provide evidence or admit Bruce was wrong.

    Bruce R. McConkie's "Challange

    In the Oringal 1958 Edtion to the Book Mormon Doctrine By Bruce R.McConkie He states In the Preface:

    This Work on Mormon Doctrine Is unique--the first bookof it's kind ever published.
    It is the first major attempt to digest, explain, and analyze all of the important doctrines of the kingdom.
    It is the first extensive compendium of the whole gospel--the first attempt to publish an encyclopedic commentary covering the whole field of revealed religion.

    True, there are many Bible commentaries, dictionaries, and encyclopedias; but they all abound in apostate, sectarian notions. Also, there are many sound gospel texts on special subjects.

    But never before has a comprehensive attempt been made to define and outline, in a brief manner, all of the basic principles of salvation--and to do it from the perspective of all revelation, both ancient and modern.

    This work on Mormon Doctrine is designed to help persons seeking salvation to gain that knowladge of God and his laws without which they cannot hope for an inheritance in the celestial city.

    Since it is impossible foe a man to be saved in ignorence of God and his laws and since a man is saved no faster than he gains knowledge of Jesus Christ and the plan of salvation, it follows that men are obligated at their peril to learn and apply the true doctrines of the gospel.

    this gospel compendium will enable men, more effectively, to "teach one another the doctrine of the kingdom"; to "be instructed more perfectly in theroy, in principle, in doctrine, in the law of the gospel,in all things that pertain unto the kingdom of God, that are expedient" for them "to understand." (D and C 88:77-7

    For the work itself, I assume sole and full responsibility. Observant students, however, will note that the four standered works of the Church are the chief sources of authority quoted and that literally tens of thousands of scriptural quotations and citations are woven into the text material.
    Where added explanations and interpretations were deemed essential, they have been taken from such recognized doctrinal authorities as Joseph Smith, Brigham Young, Joseph F. Smith, Orson Pratt, John Taylor, and Joseph Fielding Smith.

    Two persons have been particularly helpful in the actual preparation of the work: 1. Velma Harvey, my very able and competent secretary, who with unbounded devotion and insight has typed manuscripts, checked references, proofread, and worked out many techincal details; and 2. Joseph Fielding Smith , Jr., my brother in law, who both set the type and made many valulable suggestions as to content and construction.

    Abundant needed and important counsal has also come from Milton R. Hunter, my colleague on the First Council of the Seventy; Marvin Wallin, of Bookcraft; and Thomas S. Moson, of the deseret News Press. Salt Lake City, Utah June 1, 1958 --Bruce R. McConkie.

    Keep in mind Bruce stated He looks to people Like Joseph Smith and Bringham Young as recognized doctrinal authorities. So with that in mind, Is a challange as it were, Issued By Bruce R.McConkie.

    I have read all 4 standered works. I find nothing at all in the Book of Mormon to prove it is inspired by God as LDS claim. Bruce states we can find hundreds of topics, I would like to issue a challange to all my Latter-day saint friends to bring forth just 10 topics of your choice, compare them to the Bible and show me how they are a more accurate display of the Gospel. Please keep in mind, I am following Acts 17:11 and 1st peter 3:15. Then after you read Bruce's challange, I lovingly added a list of thigs That LDS feel are core doctrine yet cannot be found in the BoM. This matter has everlasting eternal consequencese. sinserly Rick b.

    In the Book Mormon Doctrine By Bruce R. McConkie, under the title Book of Mormon.
    bruce says the Purpose of the book of mormon is this.

    1. To bear record of Christ, certifying in plainness and with clarity of his divine sonship and mission, proving irrefutably that he is the Redeemer and Saviour.

    2. To teach the doctrines of the gospel in such a pure and perfect way that the plan of salvation will be clearly revealed; and

    3. To stand as a witness to all the world that Joseph Smith was the Lord's anointed through whom the foundation was laid for the great latter-day work of restoration. Almost all of the doctrines of the gospel are taught in the Book of Mormon with much greater clarity and perfection than those same doctrines are revealed in the Bible. Anyone who will place in parallel columns the teachings of these two great books on such subjects as the atonement, plan of salvation, gathering of Israel, baptism, gifts of the spirit, miracles, revelation, faith, Charity, ( or ANY of a HUNDRED OTHER SUBJECTS), will find conclusive proof of the superiority of the Book of Mormon teachings.



    Where in the Book of Mormon does it teach that Elohim (God the Father in Mormonism) was once a mortal man and that he was not always God?
    Where in the Book of Mormon does it teach that God has a body of flesh and bones?

    Where in the Book of Mormon does it teach that God is married in heaven?

    Where in the Book of Mormon does it teach that men can become Gods?

    Where in the Book of Mormon does it teach that temple participation is necessary to become exalted?

    Where in the Book of Mormon does it teach Jesus and Lucifer are brothers?

    Where in the Book of Mormon does it teach the blood of Christ does not cleanse certain sins?

    Where in the Book of Mormon does it say there is more than one God?

    Where in the Book of Mormon does it say males must hold either the Aaronic or Melchizedek Priesthood?

    Where in the Book of Mormon does it teach that there are "three degrees of glory"?

     
  • At December 01, 2006 2:46 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Sharon wrote, In Christianity, a truly simple Gospel is found: Be reconciled to God and enjoy His presence forevermore; That is really positive.

    This is in contrast to Mormonism, were a supposed living apostle is in essence stating, I don't have the answers you think I should have. You're on your own. Figure it out by searching the volumes of scripture, but stick to the mark. Ignore the weird teachings of our church. That is where the negative of the article is found. In the emptiness of Mormon faith.

     
  • At December 01, 2006 10:04 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Jonathan, you started out well, but then ended very negatively. Thanks for establishing the point I originally made.

    Rick, I am working on your request as we speak. It will be much to large to post here, so I will either email you or set up a location where you can read the results. I will let you know.

    Maybe I will publish a book; the opposition to Absolute Proof, and make some cash from it. But do not worry, I will give you a free copy. I will even autograph it if you like.

    More to follow.

     
  • At December 02, 2006 1:02 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    chuck, just email me the reply. rick b

     
  • At December 03, 2006 2:21 PM, Blogger jer1414 said…

    Sharon wrote, "In Christianity, a truly simple Gospel is found: Be reconciled to God and enjoy His presence forevermore"

    But the good news isn't good until people see the desperate situation they are in (the bad news). The adulterers, tax-collectors, etc. already knew the bad news - their sin separated them from a Holy God and they needed His forgiveness.

    But those Jesus found in ignorant religious bliss didn't have any clue they were separated from God, why would have any need to be "reconciled to God"? He pointed out the error of their ways. Some may have called Him negative, scoffed and continued on their way. Others accepted His message, realized they were separated from God, and cried out for mercy.

    But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name - John 1:12

     
  • At December 06, 2006 9:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Fools mock, but they shall mourn. So we have reduced ourselves here to convicting a religion from a title of a book which nobody here has read?

    First off, evidence is something different than proof. Second, nobody has reviewed the evidence on its merits...

    Can somebody summarize the evidence and let that become the focus of the argument?

    To those of you refuting men like Oaks and McConkie, you are simply out of your league. Trust me on that...

     
  • At December 08, 2006 1:54 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Just in case someone is following the debate between me and Chuck, and wants to know what he sent me , he has yet to supply me with the info I asked for. I belive he will send something, so he can say he replyed. Only time will tell if it was what I asked for. Rick b

     
  • At December 11, 2006 8:26 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Will you be clear as to what you are asking for Rick?

    Is it: any verses you provide cannot be something found in the Bible already?

    Or is it: bring forth just 10 topics of your choice, compare them to the Bible and show me how they are a more accurate display of the Gospel.

    I thought it was the later, but after some posts in other articles, I am now unclear again. So will you reiterate here which you are looking for?

     
  • At December 17, 2006 8:57 AM, Blogger rick b said…

    Anonymous said Will you be clear as to what you are asking for Rick?

    I was very clear in what I was asking, Chuck like to play games and I suspect you either were confused by reading his replys to me or you did not read what I wrote. For some reason when I posted my little question/article, It put me under Anonymous.

    Go to my blog and read my topic over their, it is called the Bruce Mc Challange. I posted that exact topic here for chuck as a reply. We can go back and forth with this issue better on my blog. Otherwise it will get off topic on here. Rick b

     
  • At December 18, 2006 2:33 PM, Blogger R Pavich said…

    One of the longstanding issues is debating Mormon Theology is that it's a moving target. A Mormon reader quotes McConkie but when pressed, any Mormon will disavow doctrine that they don't like by saying "that's not the belief of the church; just his opinion".
    I've dealt with this over and over again.
    You can't have it both ways...either your Prophet speaks to you from God or he doesn't.

     

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