Wrapping our minds around an idea is one of the joys of life. It is fulfilling to wrap our minds around an idea and then apply our new idea in some fashion and see the results.
However, at times the results can be unsettling. Ideas can seemingly wrap themselves around our minds and create misery for ourselves and others. The Lord told us there is opposition in all things, and this includes the pursuit of learning.
I believe it is important that we choose carefully those ideas we wish to embrace. Not all ideas are of equal worth, to test this, ask those who are on the receiving end of ideas hatched by leaders of such countries as North Korea, Zimbabwe, and the Darfur region of Sudan.
I’ve decided I like the ideas that brought forth the United States Constitution best. Even though they are not perfect, the last few hundreds of years have shown that the foundational ideas found in the US constitutional are unsurpassed for creating freedom and prosperity for humanity.
Foundational Ideas Of Faith
In my opinion, one the foremost foundational doctrines of the Judeo-Christian heritage, as found in latter-day scriptures, is the idea of prophets. The Lord reveals His will to the prophets, a very simple idea that is taught and illustrated in the scriptures from Genesis to The Articles of Faith.
The next foundational religious doctrine is the idea that each person, who diligently seeks, can receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. With this gift, we can receive guidance from a being who is perfect and knows all things—a perfect friend.
If we take these two foundational doctrines from the scriptures and properly apply them, we can have peace and joy in this life, and receive the greatest of all the gifts from God—eternal life.
Struggling with Foundational Ideas
If a member of the LDS church is struggling with the foundational doctrines of prophets and the Holy Ghost, then there are reasons for this. The scriptures refer to them as stiffnecked.
There is an informative scripture in the Jarom that defines “stiffnecked”.
“And there are many among us who have many revelations, for they are not all stiffnecked. And as many as are not stiffnecked and have faith, have communion with the Holy Spirit, which maketh manifest unto the children of men, according to their faith.” Jarom 1:4
Those who are stiffnecked resist the Holy Ghost. This is confirmed by Stephen:
“Ye stiffnecked and uncircumcised in heart and ears, ye do always resist the Holy Ghost: as your fathers did, so do ye.” Acts 7:51
Resisting the Holy Ghost is not new. In fact, some of the Lord’s choice prophets come from this group. I believe Alma the older and younger, maybe the apostle Paul, and certainly Amulek and Zeezrom appear to fit this definition. Alma‘s attitude towards those who suffer from stiffneckedness is inspiring to me. I hope to be like him. That is why I write this blog.
“O Lord, wilt thou grant unto us that we may have success in bringing them again unto thee in Christ
Behold, O Lord, their souls are precious, and many of them are our brethren; therefore, give unto us, O Lord, power and wisdom that we may bring these, our brethren, again unto thee.” Alma 31:34-35
Lacking Faith and Understanding
Those who lack faith and understanding, but may not resist the Holy Ghost, are those who stay with the church even though certain ideas have wrapped themselves around their minds and cause their testimonies to ebb and flow. Isaiah explained it this way:
“They also that erred in spirit shall come to understanding, and they that murmured shall learn doctrine.” 2 Nephi 27:35
Many of today’s LDS live in a day when there are an information overload and a pervasive spiritual anemia (mostly because of prosperity, see Helaman 12). In my estimation, there are comparatively few who are diligently seeking the gift of the Holy Ghost to fulfill the promise of their baptismal covenant.
Moroni warned us (the Gentiles) about denying the things of the Spirit:
“if the day cometh that the power and gifts of God shall be done away among you, it shall be because of unbelief” (Moroni 10:24)
Many of today’s church members seem to be on the road to doing just that. I hope that those who find themselves wrapped up in the problems of church history, blacks and the priesthood, women and the priesthood, and a host of other things that steal away their faith and devotion, will turn from this course, and expend their spiritual energy seeking to come unto Christ and receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost.
This gift is real! I’ve experienced it as many others have. I hope those who have not will include in their circle of friends those who have, and learn from them what it takes to receive this gift that is promised in the waters of baptism.