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We make many decisions, some decisions are without consequence, while others change the course of our entire life. When I was fourteen years old I made a decision that changed my life. I decided to stop going to church. This decision was made in part because of something I learned at church. There are three kinds of doctrine: 1) true doctrine, 2) false doctrine, and 3) incomplete doctrine. I left church because of a doctrine that was taught incompletely.
No one in my family was active so it wasn’t a big deal when I stopped going to church. I left, in part, because I got tired of hearing about how wonderful it was to be born in the covenant and how those who were must have been among the great and noble spirits in the preexistence. Problem was, I wasn’t born in the covenant, my father wasn’t even a member. So the message to me was, “you’re a second class spirit”. I agreed and left church thinking I’d never return. It wasn’t because of unbelief, I believed.
I really did feel second class because of what I had been taught at church. The church and its leaders didn’t provide what I needed at that time in my life. When the family is breaking down like mine was, the church can’t always make up the difference.
Embracing Truth by Throwing Off Falsehoods Continue reading
Heavenly Father has said many things pertaining to the poor and needy, the sick and the afflicted. As followers of Christ he has make it clear what is required of us in order to be His disciples.
And remember in all things the poor and the needy, the sick and the afflicted, for he that doeth not these things, the same is not my disciple. D&C 52:40
The emphasis the Savior puts on remembering the poor and the needy, the sick and the afflicted is important for His followers to grasp. One scripture in particular stands out from among all the others when the Lord says:
Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me. Matthew 25:40 Continue reading
Regarding revealed knowledge the Lord said:
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( D&C 121:33).
That’s powerful. However, not all revealed knowledge is of equal value! Some knowledge is more valuable because it is knowledge that “saves”. The Book of Mormon contains knowledge that when properly applied opens up the heavens and allows us to be recipients of the things of the Spirit.
For example, Nephi teaches the Doctrine of Christ in just nine verses (2 Nephi 31:13-21). If we’re interested in being true followers of Christ these nine verses have the potential to open the path to our exaltation should if we focus our attention and faith thereon.
As I’ve mingled with church members for the last fifty plus years, one of the great ironies I’ve encountered is that some of the most capable thinkers I’ve known were focused on knowledge that doesn’t save. Continue reading
The doctrine of Christ as revealed in the Book of Mormon teaches church members how to experience the gospel; not just intellectualize it.
The gospel is experienced when we receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. It is far more important to experience the gospel than it is to be a wise and learned gospel scholar. When we experience the gospel we understand it on a whole different level as compared to becoming just a gospel scholar.
What I’ve just said may sound like I’ve got things backwards, after all, doesn’t one need to understand the gospel before they experience it? Yes, there needs to be some basic understanding of the gospel. The following definition from Preach My Gospel, page 5, explains what one needs to understand and believe.
The Savior defined His gospel in terms of the following basic doctrines:
1. He came into the world to do His Father’s will, and His Father sent Him into the world to be lifted up on the cross Continue reading
Before reading this classic talk take a moment and review the following questions and answer them before reading on.
1. How many of the following words are synonymous with repentance?
Confession Continue reading
I originally wrote this post in June 2015. This morning as I add this note, I am self-isolating because of COVID-19 pandemic. A few days ago, I felt my house sway as a 5.7 earthquake hit the Wasatch front.
Question: is the Lord sending a message? Is this a shot across the bow? Those who understand scripture know that Heavenly Father speaks to us through earthquakes and pandemics (pestilence).
And thus we see that except the Lord doth chasten his people with many afflictions, yea, except he doth visit them with death and with terror, and with famine and with all manner of pestilence, they will not remember him. Helaman 12:3
24 O, ye nations of the earth, how often would I have gathered you together as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, but ye would not!
25 How oft have I called upon you by the mouth of my servants, and by the ministering of angels, and by mine own voice, and by the voice of thunderings, and by the voice of lightnings, and by the voice of tempests, and by the voice of earthquakes, and great hailstorms, and by the voice of famines and pestilences of every kind, and by the great sound of a trump, and by the voice of judgment, and by the voice of mercy all the day long, and by the voice of glory and honor and the riches of eternal life, and would have saved you with an everlasting salvation, but ye would not! Doctrine and Covenants 43:24 – 25 Continue reading
The following account is sacred. This individual, through the gift and power of the Holy Ghost, was given a panoramic view of the Savior’s earthly ministry. Do you know who gave this talk in General Conference? Click the link below to find out.
Highlighting is mine.
While still praying, I began to lose consciousness. The siren of the paramedic truck was the last that I remembered before unconsciousness overtook me, which would last for the next several days.
The terrible pain and commotion of people ceased. I was now in a calm, peaceful setting; all was serene and quiet. I was conscious of two persons in the distance on a hillside, one standing on a higher level than the other. Detailed features were not discernible. The person on the higher level was pointing to something I could not see. Continue reading
I’ve been visiting sites authored by church members who have either lost faith or are in one of the many phases of losing their faith.
The title of this post makes an important point. I’ll restate the title in the form of a question: Why do some church members allow their faith to be compromised or even lost because of unanswered or unanswerable questions about church history/doctrine?
Recently, a church member and founder of a hard-hitting website I frequent, one that is particularly adapt at portraying church history and doctrine in unfavorable light, resigned his church membership. In a public letter to his Stake President he said his website offered only the truth. He didn’t seem to understand why the church was considering taking action on his membership when everything on his website was “factual”. In the end, he decided to resign his membership to save everyone time and trouble.
As I read his letter, I recalled an aphorism: The greater our island of knowledge the greater our beach of wonder. This saying can be viewed in several ways. I’ll apply it to those who see the world through the eye of faith. Our island of faith is surrounded by a beach of wonder where, out of necessity, there are issues that challenge our faith. This world was designed to try our faith (Abraham 3:25-26). In this world there are going to be questions that challenge faith; some questions may even be unanswerable. The author of the website didn’t seem to grasp the simple definition of faith: complete trust or confidence in someone or something.
I couldn’t help but think the websites founder had a PhD in the things of this fallen world and the equivalent of a grade school education in the manifestations of the Spirit. It appears he built his foundation of faith on a sandy beach. The beach may be an interesting place to visit, but our island of knowledge is where we build our foundation of faith—there in the spiritual rich soil of those things that build faith we will become grounded and rooted by the manifestations of the Spirit (Ether 12:6), those who are properly “converted unto the Lord never [do] fall away” (Alma 23:6). Continue reading
Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need. (New Testament | Hebrews 4:16)
Clayton M. Christensen is a returned LDS missionary and is currently a Professor at Harvard Business School. This is a portion of an essay he wrote, Why I Belong, and Why I Believe.
I was born into a wonderful Mormon family, and as I grew up I found few reasons to disbelieve the teachings of the church. My parents had deep faith in its precepts, and their example and encouragement were powerful-I believed in my parents, and I knew that they believed the gospel of Jesus Christ. It was not until I was 24, however, that I came to know these things for myself.
I had been given a Rhodes Scholarship to study at Oxford University in England. After I had lived there for a few weeks, far away from the supportive environment in which I had been raised, it became clear that adhering to Mormonism in that environment was going to be very inconvenient. In fact, doing the sorts of things I described in the first part of this essay within the Mormon congregation in Oxford would preclude my participation in many of the things that had made Oxford such a rich experience for prior recipients of my scholarship. I decided, as a result, that the time had come for me to learn for certain and for myself whether Mormonism was true. Continue reading
Nearly everyone has experience with weeds (thorns, thistles, briars, and noxious weeds). They come in many varieties. Basically, weeds are a wild plant that grows where it is not wanted in competition with other desirable plants. The scriptures teach that weeds torment humankind for a purpose, the Lord told Adam “cursed shall be the ground for thy sake” (Moses 4:23).
How are weeds helpful: “for thy sake“? A fundamental doctrine of Mormonism is that there must be opposition in all things. Without opposition there is no growth. Weeds are opposition.
To Joseph Smith in the afflictions of Liberty Jail, the Lord said, “Know thou, my son, that all these things shall give thee experience, and shall be for thy good” (D&C 122:7), “and then, if thou endure it well, God shall exalt thee on high” (D&C 122:8). To Alma and his people who were brought into slavery to the Lamanites we learn that “the Lord seeth fit to chasen his people; yea, he trieth their patience and their faith. Nevertheless—whosoever putteth his trust in him the same shall be lifted up at the last day” (Mosiah 23:21).
Opposition in the Internet Era Continue reading