Week in Faith – October 24, 2010

Today was Stake Conference. Our daughter has a cold and had a restless night. Needless to say my wife and I also had a restless night. Finally about 3AM she got to sleep and so did we. So when 7AM rolled around, and the Priesthood session started, I was zonked out on the couch, fast asleep. Even though I missed Priesthood session we did make it to the regular session at 10AM.

We arrived just as the were doing the sustainings. We were sitting down when they sustained the Brethren™ as Prophets, Seers, and Revelators. I felt a strong impression to raise my hand when they asked for anyone opposed. Some of you reading this may take this as an indication that I am under the influence of Satan and I am listening to false promptings. But I do ask myself what would happen if I raised my hand in opposition. Would I be run out of town? Would everyone in the whole stake view me as “that guy that raised his hand?” Would no one ever talk to me again or would I suddenly receive and outpouring of Love™ from the members of our ward? But most of all would I get called aside later and be able voice my concerns? Would I have the chance to talk to the leadership about the fact that, despite sustaining these men as Prophets, Seers, and Revelators, I did not hear one prophecy, vision, or revelation during this last conference. Also would they say that the vote was not unanimous at the end? But alas in the end I neither raised my hand to sustain nor to oppose. This was mainly because my hands were full of baby stuff. But I wonder what will happen next time.

Some good messages I got in conference were that, “The most important of the Lord’s work is in the home.” or something to that effect. I just drove it home(pun intended) to me how important it is to be more self reliant in the gospel. Church isn’t the place to do those things that I need to, like the sacrament for example.

Another speaker talked on family prayer. Her comments helped remind me to be much more specific in my prayers. She talked about thanking the Lord for your spouse in couple’s prayer. I’ve been doing that but don’t ever mention any specific things.

One speaker talked about Preach My Gospel. He mentioned the PMG section on the Apostasy which states, “Without the Apostles, over time the doctrines were corrupted, and unauthorized changes were made in the Church organization and Priesthood ordinances, such as baptism and conferring the gift of the Holy Ghost.”

This made me think about all the changes that have been made in the Church today even with apostles.

– The Temple ordinances have been changed. In fact I bet that even a member who attends the temple regularly would feel awkward going though the endowment as it was originally formatted.

– What about instituting Home Teaching rather than allowing the Teachers and Priests to fulfill their duties in section 20.

– The Word of Wisdom was given not by command or constraint but has become made into a commandment. And in fact I would say it has become one of the defining attributes of the Saints. Shouldn’t the gifts of the Spirit be one of the defining attributes of the Saints?

– Changing tithing from one time consecration of all your surplus property, then ever year after that ten percent of your increase; to ten percent of any income you receive even if you can’t make end’s meet(Don’t worry the Lord will bless you for obeying the Law of Tithing as given by the Brethren™ not the Lord).

– Altering the design of the garments which was given by angels.

– Preventing the Saints from obeying an eternal irrevokable principle of the Restoration.

– Some ordinances such as Re-baptism and Adoption.

– We have lost the Council of Fifty, which was God’s government on the Earth(would you rather be a citizen of the United States of America or the Kingdom of God?)

– We have lost the organized Anointed Quorum. It was in this quorum than many great mysteries were revealed that were not known to the common membership.

– The Aaronic Priesthood has become a youth program.

– The history and principles of the restoration have been white washed and watered-down to be more appealing to the outside world.

Do we accept these changes, and many more, because they were “authorized”? Does the Lord the eternal Laws and Principles of Heaven to suit the needs or men? Or does he teach them in a way that is specific for each generation. Is God a respecter of persons who actually cares what generation we are born into? Does He exempt some generations from eternal laws just because of worldly culture they are born into? Are we really that much different from the time of the 1830’s that we need an almost completely different gospel? I don’t think so.

If changes to the gospel, ordinances, teachings, and principles of Christ are signs of Apostasy, what can we say about the Church today?

Our Stake President spoke on stoning prophets. Specificaly he spoke about how in the internet there are many people “stoning” Boyd Packer from what he said during conference. He then gave examples of prophets who had been “stoned.” he referenced Samuel that Lamanite who taught the people while standing on the wall. The people rejected him and shot at him with arrows.

Abinadi was burned. He preached against the wicked King Noah and his priests. The priests even quoted scripture to him to justify their position.

So can people speaking against Boyd Packer be equated with those examples? Who was Samuel the Lamanite? Well he was just some guy that the Lord gave a message to. He wasn’t part of the Church hierarchy.

What about Abinadi? We wasn’t part of the church Hierarchy either. Wicked King Noah and his Priests WERE the Church hierarchy. They were the Brethren of their time. They were the equivalent of the First Presidency and Twelve Apostles.

So can we really equate Boyd Packer with a random righteous man that the Lord called to preach a message? What about their messages? Samuel and Abinadi preached against wickedness in the church. They taught us to repent and come to Christ.

What did Boyd Packer teach? He taught, among other things, “If we are not alert, there are those today who not only tolerate but advocate voting to change laws that would legalize immorality, as if a vote would somehow alter the designs of God’s laws and nature.”

“If we are not alert” we might be led to thing this line of reasoning actually works. First he talks about laws and legalization, which are things of men. And then he talks about God’s laws. When people try and legalize something they are doing so only for that nation. They are not trying to change the laws of God. True you cannot vote away the Law of Gravity, but you can vote on what forms of marriage are acceptable to the State.

Which brings me to the real point. Does the State dictate God’s Laws? If every state in the USA legalized Homosexual Marriages, and a homosexual couple got married, would that mean that God must then accept that marriage? Of course not, the idea is ridiculous. So why then do we care so much about what is legalized in the Babylonian nations of the world? Shouldn’t we be more worried about obeying God’s laws rather than legislating our religious views in the nations of the world?

Packer went on to say, “To legalize that which is basically wrong or evil will not prevent the pain and penalties that will follow as surely as night follows day.” Is this really true? Does Heavenly Father really care about what the wicked do with their nations? I think that Heavenly Father would rather see that the Saints keep the commandments, than ensure that the wicked don’t legalize gay marriage.

So compare that to the messages of Samuel and Abinadi. Funny enough Brother Packer’s talk is titled, Cleansing the Inner Vessel. Abinadi didn’t go around teaching the people not to legalize bad things. Rather he taught that the leaders of the church were wicked and not following the commandments.

You simply cannot equate our modern leadership with the righteous and often random(meaning outside the church leadership) men of the scriptures.

To bring back the thought about state sponsored marriage. If homosexual marriage that is legal does not mean that God must accept that marriage, what makes us think that God must accept our legal heterosexual marriages? Does that State really play any part in the validity of a marriage in God’s eyes? The simple answer is, No.

It is here I want to refer you to this blog post: http://ldsanarchy.wordpress.com/2010/10/11/marriage-without-a-marriage-license-is-ordained-of-god/

In conclusion are we really stoning the prophets when we examine their messages and find them lacking. When comparing the messages of our “Prophets, Seers, and Revelators” which do not contain prophecies, visions, or revelations; is it stoning them to point that out?

Our Stake President concluded with saying, “we need to be careful when listening to a prophet’s message. We should consider their message carefully.” I agree 100% with that idea. We should do as Deuteronomy states:

Deuteronomy 13:1-4

1 If there arise among you a prophet, or a dreamer of dreams, and giveth thee a sign or a wonder,

2 And the sign or the wonder come to pass, whereof he spake unto thee, saying, Let us go after other gods, which thou hast not known, and let us serve them;

3 Thou shalt not hearken unto the words of that prophet, or that dreamer of dreams; for the Lord your God proveth you, to know whether ye love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul.

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7 Responses to Week in Faith – October 24, 2010

  1. John Ellis says:

    Another batch of well written arguments. I would be curious to see the reaction from the congregation if you “raised your hand in opposition” or stood up and made your objections known.

    Many years ago, I went to a Fast and Testimony Meeting™ and testified that Joseph Smith was a false prophet and that the LDS church was not the True Church™. It didn’t take very long for me to be escorted out of the building.

    I’m pretty sure that you don’t necessarily believe what I believe, but my point is that my testimony would have been welcomed if I would have simply towed the “company line”. Because I strayed drastically from what was expected, my comments were not welcome. There was no outpouring of Love™ for me!

    I would be interested to see how your Brothers™ and Sisters™ perceive you and treat you, when they hear what your beliefs are! Keep up your research. While I don’t agree with most of your beliefs, I respect you because you know why you believe, what you believe.

  2. zo-ma-rah says:

    Yes I wonder what would have happened. I almost think I just would have been ignored, except for the few people around me. I really think that members of teh church have the wrong reaction to opposing statements. We shouldn’t be so quick to suppress ideas that oppose our own. Rather we should use that opportunity for everyone to discuss these valid issues and learn from it. I don’t mean that learning where the person with questions sits and is “taught” what the manuals say. Rather we should open up share concerns and discuss beliefs. Everyone has a valid opinion. We should not be afraid of discussion. Is the Restored Gospel really that weak that it can’t stand up to a few criticisms?

    And I think you set a great example. It’s not so much that we accept what others believe but that we accept/love others, no matter what they believe. If we could do that simple thing I think many of the major disputations in the world ,especially in regard to religion, would be solved.

  3. John Ellis says:

    I think you just hit the nail on the head!

  4. Suchmaschine says:

    I don’t usually reply to posts but I will in this case.
    my God, i thought you were going to chip in with some decisive insght at the end there, not leave it
    with ‘we leave it to you to decide’.

  5. dai dai hua says:

    There is obviously a great deal to understand about this. I believe you made some good factors in Characteristics also.
    Keep working , good task!

  6. During my mission in Peru, my companion and I were zone leaders and met once a month with stake presidency in one of the correlation meetings. The stake president had a cultural chip on his shoulder and constantly ranted about not caring how the church is run in Utah, he was going to do things his way in his own stake. Our mission president and he did not see eye to eye on many things. During one those meetings, we delivered a request on behalf of our mission president and he basically said, “I don’t care what Salt Lake told your mission president they want me to do, nobody is going to tell me how to run my stake.”
    As you can imagine, as loyal missionaries, we were incensed at the stake president for his utter lack of respect demonstrated toward our mission president. We wanted payback and it wasn’t going to take long to get it. The next day was ward conference. My companion and I were sitting on the last row in the chapel. After the sustaining of the general leadership the first counselor began the sustaining of local leaders. When it came time to sustain the stake presidency, my companion I raised our hands in opposition. You should have seen the look of shock on the face of first counselor and rest of leaders on the stand. He looked like a deer in headlights. He had no idea what to do next. He paused for moment, turned and whispered to the stake president and he then continued the sustaining of local leaders.
    After the meeting, we were immediately asked to meet the stake presidency. As you can imagine, we were quite nervous and had no idea what to expect. We were surprised by the stake president’s demeanor during our little meeting. He was actually nice to us. I guest he was just as shocked we and opposed his sustaining as we were scared. He first asked us why we had opposed his sustaining. We shared with him our complaints. He then told us one can oppose if one has first hand knowledge regarding the worthiness of an individual leader, but short of that, an opposing vote due to personal dislike or disagreement over administrative or policy decisions of a stake president is not appropriate. Our point was made. We apologized and left with our tail between our legs. We later got a talking to by our mission president, but I could tell he got a kick out of it because he knew we did out of loyalty to him. Looking back, I have no regrets. That stake president was still a total jerk.

  7. urob says:

    Nice, I’ve read many of your posts in random order, but I started this week from the beginning…so I’ll probably be throwing some comments around.

    I was once in a meeting where Ballard said something that sounded like a prophecy, but that was more due to my ignorance of history. It was basically a statement that many people already knew. It was a week after 9/11 and he said that this had started out small, but would not end anytime soon. We all took it to mean the beginning of the end. Which it just might be. But now that I know about our history with the middle east and involvement for the past decades, it’s obvious that this has been going on for a while and will not end any time soon.

    Thanks for this one. We have stake conference this week.
    I’m definitely not raising my hand to sustain them as prophets, seers and revelators.

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