One of the Best Kept Secrets of the Church

Mike: Why are the scripture so important? After all, the Bible is scripture and look at all the different Christian churches that have sprung into existence since it was published. Obviously scripture is subject to interpretation, and if this is the case, what real good can they be?

Jack: That’s precisely why the Lord called on the prophet Joseph Smith. His calling as a prophet and the calling of other prophets since then–provides us with leaders whose responsibility it is to interpret scripture. Without apostles and prophets scriptures wouldn’t be enough.

Mike: You make a good point, but haven’t the apostles and prophets made mistakes and lead the members of the church in error. What about the ban on the priesthood? How do you explain that?

Jack: If you believe the Lord is at the head of the church and works through His prophets then the ultimate responsibility for the ban on the priesthood is with the Lord. The Lord waited until 1978 to lift the ban on the priesthood.

Mike: If what you say is true, then you must believe that the apostle and prophets are infallible?

Jack: No, I don’t believe they are infallible, but I do believe the Lord is at the head of the church and inspires His prophets.  If it’s like you believe, Mike, and the prophets were in error due to the culture they lived in, then the answer is still the same for me, the Lord allowed it, and He must have had a purpose in it.

Jill: I’ve been listening without saying anything. The conversation started out about the scriptures.  The scriptures don’t have a direct answer about every question we encounter. But they do give us the means to obtain something even more important than answers to every question. They teach us how to gain access to the Holy Ghost, one of the members of the Godhead. Mike, you may not like the history of the ban on the priesthood, but you told me that the Lord was blessing you and Jenny to deal with your son’s autism. You said you didn’t know the exact answer as to why Mike Jr. has autism, but you have no doubt the Lord is supporting  you and Jenny in your trials.

Mike: Your right Jill, I can’t deny the comfort and help our family has been given.  We’ve struggled, but when we’ve needed help the Lord has been there for us. When we’ve prayed for something specific, more often than not, something turns up.

Jack: Mike, in some ways your sons autism and the ban on the priesthood have something in common. First of all, it is troubling to me that the Lord allows Mike Jr., a little boy, full of innocence, to have such a disabling condition. What purpose can it serve? It makes some church members wonder if he is being punished for something he did in the pre-mortal existence.

Mike: I was praying about Mike Jr. condition, hoping to gain some understanding, a few days later I came across an account about a Danish convert to the church who at age ten was seriously crippled and deformed. He told about a vision he was given where he learned that in the pre-mortal world he had been given the opportunity of choosing the class of reward he would like to attain to. He knew that he had deliberately made a choice to be crippled in mortality, and endure severe physical pain, privation, and ignominy to attain his desired reward[1].

Jack: Well, that goes along with what Joseph Smith was taught about his experience in Liberty Jail.  It’s found in D&C 122:5-8:

5 If thou art called to pass through tribulation; if thou art in perils among false brethren; if thou art in perils among robbers; if thou art in perils by land or by sea;

6 If thou art accused with all manner of false accusations; if thine enemies fall upon thee; if they tear thee from the society of thy father and mother and brethren and sisters; and if with a drawn sword thine enemies tear thee from the bosom of thy wife, and of thine offspring, and thine elder son, although but six years of age, shall cling to thy garments, and shall say, My father, my father, why can’t you stay with us?  O, my father, what are the men going to do with you?  and if then he shall be thrust from thee by the sword, and thou be dragged to prison, and thine enemies prowl around thee like wolves for the blood of the lamb;

7 And if thou shouldst be cast into the pit, or into the hands of murderers, and the sentence of death passed upon thee; if thou be cast into the deep; if the billowing surge conspire against thee; if fierce winds become thine enemy; if the heavens gather blackness, and all the elements combine to hedge up the way; and above all, if the very jaws of hell shall gape open the mouth wide after thee, know thou, my son, that all these things shall give thee experience, and shall be for thy good.

8 The Son of Man hath descended below them all.  Art thou greater than he?

Jill: This conversation made me think of somethingt Elder McConkie said about the scriptures:

“I sometimes think that one of the best-kept secrets of the kingdom is that the scriptures open the door to the receipt of revelation”[2].

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[1] Niels P. L. Eskilkz, a Danish convert to the Church. At age ten he was seriously crippled and deformed. He writes of a vision he received:

What was shown him related to his existence in the spirit world, mortal experience and future rewards. He comprehended, as if by intuition, that he had witnessed a somewhat similar scene in his pre-mortal state, and been given the opportunity of choosing the class of reward he would like to attain to. He knew that he had deliberately made his choice. He realized which of the rewards he had selected, and understood that such a reward was only to be gained by mortal suffering-that, in fact, he must be cripple and endure severe physical pain, privation and ignominy.

George C. Lambert. “A Modern Stoic, “Treasures in Heaven” p. 21-22. 15th Volume

[2]Doctrines of the Restoration, ed. Mark L. McConkie, Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1989, p. 243

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