Doctrine

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For This Cause: Why Marriage Matters

“I then remarked that marriage was an institution of h[e]aven institude [instituted] in the garden of Eden, that it was necessary that it should be Solemnized by the authority of the everlasting priesthood,” (from a Joseph Smith journal entry, Nov. 24, 1835, Kirtland, Ohio)

I was talking to my stake president once about the word “cleave” and he was remarking about how it means both to divide and to join. Note the following definitions:

  1. CLEAVE, verb intransitive, To stick; to adhere; to hold to.
  2. CLEAVE, verb transitiveTo part or divide by force; to split or rive; to open or serve the cohering parts of a body, by cutting or by the application of force;

I volunteered some additional insights, many of which I posted back in 2010 here on oneClimbs. I focused in on the reality of creation through division found in scripture, nature, etc. If you look at the creation account in Genesis, we see the Read Full Post

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How to Obtain a Knowledge of God – Lectures on Faith

What testimony have men, in the first instance, that there is a God?
Human testimony, and human testimony only. (2:56)

What excited the ancient saints to seek diligently after a knowledge of the glory of God, his perfections and attributes?
The credence they gave to the testimony of their fathers. (2:56)

How do men obtain a knowledge of the glory of God, his perfections and attributes?
By devoting themselves to his service, through prayer and supplication incessantly, strengthening their faith in him, until like Enoch, the brother of Jared, and Moses, they obtain a manifestation of God to themselves. (2:55)

Is the knowledge of the existence of God a matter of mere tradition, founded upon human testimony alone, until a person receives a manifestation of God to themselves?
It is.

How do you prove it?
From the whole of the first lecture of the second section.

The questions and answers above are from the very end of the catechism in Lecture 2 of the Lectures on Faith. These particular questions and answers condense the message of scripture into a few words that take only seconds to read. There is no doubt in my mind as to the source of their inspiration. Based on personal experience, I can soberly state that I know of myself that these words are factual.

For 86 years, the Lectures were the “Doctrine” part of the Read Full Post

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Mormon perspectives on science and religion

I found this wonderful collection of quotes here. For those interested in learning more about the latest contemporary studies on the subject of Science and Mormonism, click here.

True science
True science is a discovery of the secret, immutable and eternal laws, by which the universe is governed; and when practically applied, sets in motion the mighty wheels of useful engines, with all the various machinery which genius has invented, or art contrived. It ameliorates the condition of man, by extending the means of intellectual, moral, social, and domestic happiness. [John Taylor, Times and Seasons, vol. 4, pg. 46, 15 Dec 1842].

This system has been going on for 2.5 billion years
Well, now, Brother William, when the house of Israel begin to come into the glorious mysteries of the kingdom, and find that Jesus Christ, whose goings forth, as the prophets said, have been from of old, from eternity; and that eternity, agreeably to the records found in the catacombs of Egypt, has been going on in this system, (not this world) almost two thousand five hundred and fifty five millions of years: and to know at the same time, that deists, geologists and others are trying to prove that matter must have existed hundreds of thousands of years; — it almost tempts the flesh to fly to God, or muster faith like Enoch to be translated and see and know as we are seen and known! [W. W. Phelps, Times and Seasons, vol. 5, pg. 758, 1 Jan. 1844].

God is the dispenser of all truth
The study of science is the study of something eternal. If we study astronomy, we study the works of God. If we study chemistry, geology, optics, or any other branch of science, every new truth we come to the understanding of is eternal; it is a part of the great system of universal truth. It is truth that exists throughout universal nature; and God is the dispenser of all truth. [Orson Pratt, Journal of Discourses, vol. 7, pg. 157, 12 Feb 1860].

Open for us to explore
How gladly would we understand every principle pertaining to science and art, and become thoroughly acquainted with every intricate operation of nature, and with all the chemical changes that are constantly going on around us! How delightful this would be, and what a boundless field of Read Full Post

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Gospel Knowledge vs. Gospel Know-how

Just because someone seems to know a lot about something, doesn’t mean that they can properly execute in that arena.

Someone may know a lot about baseball; they may know all the rules and regulations, they may know all the tricks and insights but they may not be able to hit the ball or throw well. Another person may be able to hit, run and throw with great proficiency but know little about various insights or philosophies involving the game.

In that same vein, it’s one thing to have knowledge and quite another to do well in applying it. I have had wonderful moments of awakening where previously complex doctrines or mysteries of the gospel have been clarified to me through the Spirit, and I love and cherish those moments.

One can obtain the most incredible command of gospel knowledge on earth and it would mean nothing if they do no have love or charity in their hearts for their fellow man.

It has always been significant to me that there are many in this world, of my faith, other faiths or in no faith at all who I have seen demonstrate perfect Christ-like love to their fellow man. No gospel knowledge at all was required.

So I have to remind myself that in all my studies of the gospel, I must not forget to put the principles I learn into action. I have to remember to not be like the man who hid his talent in the earth, but instead seek wisdom in order to better serve my fellow man in this life. People matter most of all.

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Korihor, Elsa, Cain, and Karl

What if we modernized Korihor’s philosophies and compared them to the kinds of things we hear people saying today?

For morning study a couple days ago, I started off reading about the sons of Mosiah but then felt like reading about Korihor. As I read, I had my trusty 1828 Dictionary app out to further analyze the words Joseph Smith used to translate Korihor’s ideas. Then, I looked in a modern dictionary to discern how his theories might be composed by someone presenting the same arguments today.

This exercise revealed a very familiar-sounding rhetoric. I also began to think about song lyrics from the movie Frozen (because I have 3 daughters) that reminded me of some words Cain spoke, and then all of it together reminded me of something Karl Marx wrote; all from pondering Korihor’s doctrines.

As for my modernized version of Korihor’s ideas, I claim ownership of my interpretations and any errors that I might have made. This is merely a personal exercise, so feel free to go back to the original text in Alma 30 and try this out yourself.

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Legal Repentance and Evangelical Repentance

If you look up repentance in a Webster’s 1828 Dictionary (the fifth “standard work”):

2. In theology, the pain, regret or affliction which a person feels on account of his past conduct, because it exposes him to punishment. This sorrow proceeding merely from the fear of punishment, is called legal repentance, as being excited by the terrors of legal penalties, and it may exist without an amendment of life.

3. Real penitence; sorrow or deep contrition for sin, as an offense and dishonor to God, a violation of his holy law, and the basest ingratitude towards a Being of infinite benevolence. This is called evangelical repentance, and is accompanied and followed by amendment of life.

Repentance is a change of mind, or a conversion from sin to God.

Let’s define evangelical:

1. According to the gospel; consonant to the doctrines and precepts of the gospel, published by Christ and his apostles; as evangelical righteousness, obedience or piety.

Seriously, I don’t know how any Latter-day Saint gets by without the Webster’s 1828 Dictionary. It’s rare that I ever open the scriptures and not refer to it at least once.

Here’s the online version I’ll use when on my laptop: http://webstersdictionary1828.com/

And here’s the app I use on my iPhone: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/1828/id483256257?mt=8

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A Model of Mormon Spiritual Experience

Here are a few excerpts from a document titled A Model of Mormon Spiritual Experience by Kevin Christensen. It’s pretty fantastic and has some wonderful things to ponder and many interesting observations. I highly recommend a reading of the entire thing because it’s all really great stuff, these are just a few of my favorite parts. I’m definitely interested in reading more Kevin Christensen!


Numinous Experience p. 3-4
In a classic study, The Idea of the Holy, Rudolf Otto studied the characteristics of a type of religious encounter that he named the numinous. Ninian Smart sums up numinous experience as “a mystery which is fearful, awe-inspiring, . . . and fascinating.”

“But above all, the sense of presence which confronts a person in the numinous experience is majestic: marvelous power and glory; in their rather different ways, the experiences of Arjuna, Isaiah, Job, Paul, and Mohammed are all numinous in character.” (The Idea of Holy, Rudolf Otto)


Combining Numinous and Mystic Experience p.6
Here, I believe, is an essential distinguishing characteristic of Mormonism—the blend of the numinous and the mystic. This explains the Orthodox discomfort with the Mormon idea of Read Full Post

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The Rise of Righteous Rulers: An Open Letter to Men

I’ve been working on this particular article for months, maybe close to a year. I can keep tweaking this over and over or I can just share what I’ve got thus far, so that’s what I’m doing.

Because I am a man, I’m writing this from the perspective of a man particularly to the men out there. I’m writing this to me, to the men in my family, my friends, perfect strangers and especially to the men that will dare to go near my daughters one day (sorry, that’s just the papa bear speaking). I’m writing this to hold myself accountable for the things I understand and hope that the information might help improve a relationship out there somewhere.

It is up to you to take what is useful and cast aside what isn’t.

I’ve been surrounded by females my entire life. I have three little sisters (no brothers) and am a father of four daughters (no sons) and my wife has four sisters. (and one brother, whew!) My life has been heavily influenced by females and so understanding the dynamics of men and women in life and in the gospel has always been an interesting topic to me personally.

I am repulsed at the thought or the sight of any man, including myself, oppressing my mother, wife, sisters or daughters through selfishness or “unrighteous dominion.” (D&C 121:39) More and more we see domestic violence, divorce, depression and an absence of the oneness God seems to intend. I’ve seen the criticisms of policies and doctrines of the LDS Church that some argue place men above women. It’s an understatement to say that this is a complex issue with many facets and it is not my intention Read Full Post

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Videos of 2014 Temple on Mount Zion Conference

Source: TempleStudy.com

The Interpreter Foundation has announced the availability of the videos of the presentations given at the 2014 Temple on Mount Zion Conference which took place on 25 October 2014 in Provo, Utah. Videos of each of the presentations are now available for free viewing on The Interpreter Foundation’s YouTube channel, or on MormonInterpreter.com.  They are also embedded below for your convenience. There is also a YouTube playlist available of the conference presentations. The conference proceedings will also be published in book form in the future.

Donald W. Parry’s Introduction to the 2014 Temple on Mount Zion Conference

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The Course Which They Pursue

the-course

Of the seven Lectures on Faith, Lecture Sixth is perhaps my personal favorite. It is the only lecture that has this footnote:

This lecture is so plain, and the facts set forth so self-evident, that it is deemed unnecessary to form a catechism upon it: the student is therefore instructed to commit the whole to memory. (Emphasis Added)

So what are these facts that are so plain and self-evident and why are they important? In verse 7 we find Read Full Post

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Lectures on Faith.com is now LIVE!

Well, today was like Christmas for me when I noticed that a domain that I have been wanting for quite some time had dropped!

Screenshot 2014-07-08 21.12.46

I’m now the owner of “LecturesOnFaith.com“! You can find the Lectures online, but the websites are pretty terrible. I was surprised that nobody has taken the time to make a site worthy of the Lectures. Within a few hours, I built a brand new site where anyone can read the Lectures on Faith for free! On the main page, be sure to read everything there to understand the history behind them.

They originally constituted the “Doctrine” portion of the Doctrine and Covenants and contain some of the most simple and profound teachings concerning faith and how one may exercise it in a manner to bring salvation to one’s soul.

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Awesome Quote From Joseph Smith on the Power to Become

We consider that God has created man with a mind capable of instruction, and a faculty which may be enlarged in proportion to the heed and diligence given to the light communicated from heaven to the intellect; and that the nearer man approaches perfection, the clearer are his views, and the greater his enjoyments, till he has overcome the evils of his life and lost every desire for sin; and like the ancients, arrives at that point of faith where he is wrapped in the power and glory of his Maker and is caught up to dwell with Him. (Joseph Smith, History of the Church, 2:8)


Came across this quote in Elder Bednar’s latest book Power to Become, the third in a trilogy of really great books.

There are so many wonderful concepts in this one quote. I’m not going to attempt to provide any commentary on it because I think that a good 20 minutes of pondering these words is sufficient for the Spirit to open your mind to more wonderful things.

I can tell I’m going to like Power to Become, I’m only 20 pages in and I’m quite impressed with the boldness of the doctrine Bednar is laying down. I’ll have to do a full review later, but the first 20 pages alone are more than worth the purchase of this book.

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Definitions: 4 Verses of Alma 5

One of the most powerful scripture study tools I utilize is a Webster’s 1828 Dictionary. I have a free app version on my iPhone (sorry Android users, I don’t think there is one quite yet, but you can use this site) that I use practically every time I’m in the scriptures.

I’ve been studying Alma 5 quite a bit and seeking to unlock its many treasures. I took just four verses, 12, 13, 14 and 15 and began to define keywords and I’ll share with you some of these definition excerpts for you to ponder.

12 And according to his faith there was a mighty change wrought in his heart. Behold I say unto you that this is all true.

13 And behold, he preached the word unto your fathers, and a mighty change was also wrought in their hearts, and they humbled themselves and put their trust in the true and living God. And behold, they were faithful until the end; therefore they were saved.

14 And now behold, I ask of you, my brethren of the church, have ye spiritually been born of God? Have ye received his image in your countenances? Have ye experienced this mighty change in your hearts?

15 Do ye exercise faith in the redemption of him who created you? Do you look forward with an eye of faith, and view this mortal body raised in immortality, and this corruption raised in incorruption, to stand before God to be judged according to the deeds which have been done in the mortal body?

MIGHTY – 1. Very strong; valiant; bold; 6. Vehement; rushing with violence; as a mighty wind or tempest.

VEHEMENT – 1. Violent; acting with great force; furious; 2. …very eager or urgent; Read Full Post

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“In this Church, you don’t have to believe anything that isn’t true.”

“I dunno why you always have to be judging me because I only believe in science.” – Esqueleto, Nacho Libre

I love this video, I came across it the other day and it is awesome on so many levels. It was put up on YouTube by Interpreter and if you give it a chance, you’ll hear some really great perspective from some prominent LDS scientists of the day offering some counsel that just as fresh today as it was then.

Accompanying the serious dialogue are a few dramatizations that look like they were right out of an episode of “Leave it to Beaver” which makes the whole thing that much better. I appreciate the fact that this film from around 60 years ago makes more sense than most of what I hear out there today.

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Our Earnest Prayers in Their Behalf

“Do our spouses, children, and other family members likewise feel the power of our prayers offered unto the Father for their specific needs & desires? Do those we serve hear us pray for them with faith and sincerity? If those we love & serve have not heard and felt the influence of our earnest prayers in their behalf, then the time to repent is now.” (David A. Bednar, Increase in Learning, p.126, Emphasis Added)

This can begin in the home. Before family prayer in the evening, invite each person to share a little bit about their day, what went well, what made them struggle, etc. Then, whoever offers the prayer will have real and important matters with which to take the to the Lord.

Hearing your father, mother, brother, sister, son or daughter pray sincerely and specifically for you and your well-being is a rich experience.

Imagine what an impact this could have as we apply these principles as we pray in our church meetings or during a home or visiting teaching session. When asked for volunteers to pray before and after a lesson this Sabbath day, why not raise your hand and experiment with these principles?

When we move away from robotically  “saying prayers” and towards genuinely offering prayers, we will find tremendous blessings and healing of souls.

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Understanding the Character of God and Revelation

There are but a very few beings in the world who understand rightly the character of God. The great majority of mankind do not comprehend anything, either that which is past, or that which is to come, as it respects their relationship to God. They do not know, neither do they understand the nature of that relationship; and consequently they know but little above the brute beast, or more than to eat, drink and sleep. This is all man knows about God or His existence, unless it is given by the inspiration of the Almighty… Having a knowledge of God, we begin to know how to approach Him, and how to ask so as to receive an answer. When we understand the character of God, and know how to come to Him, he begins to unfold the heavens to us, and to tell us all about it. When we are ready to come to him, he is ready to come to us. (Joseph Smith’s King Follet Sermon)

A great resource to begin understanding the character of God are the Lectures on Faith, particularly the third lecture which specifically examines six points that define the character of God. Below is an excerpt from this lecture which details these six points:

  • First, That he was God before the world was created, and the same God that he was, after it was created.
  • Secondly, That he is merciful, and gracious, slow to anger, abundant in goodness, and that he was so from everlasting, and will be to everlasting.
  • Thirdly, That he changes not, neither is there variableness with him; but that he is the same from everlasting to everlasting, being the same yesterday to-day and forever; and that his course is one eternal round, without variation.
  • Fourthly, That he is a God of truth and cannot lie.
  • Fifthly, That he is no respecter of persons; but in every nation he that fears God and works righteousness is accepted of him.
  • Sixthly, That he is love.

It’s one thing to read about these things, it is another to know them by experience. In what ways has God provided us with the paths that lead us to this knowledge concerning his character?

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A Simple but Powerful Pattern for Study That Leads to Change

study-that-leads-to-change

Here’s the simple pattern for study that leads to change:

  1. Determine content & context
  2. Discover doctrines & principles
  3. Ponder to reveal personal applications
  4. Record what you receive
  5. Change your behavior

Yep, that’s it! You probably want a little background and explanation though, huh? I mentioned this process in an article back in August but didn’t elaborate on it.

The original pattern was given to me by my good friend and former institute instructor, Mike King, who I often refer to in other articles as “Brother King”. After studying and pondering this process, Read Full Post

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“The Lady Of The Temple” Conference via the Academy of Temple Studies

lady-of-the-temple

This conference which took place on October 23, 2013, in Logan, Utah was filmed and posted here at the Academy of Temple Studies and at TempleStudy.com.

First off, let me just say that I was really blown away by this conference; the insights presented were so rich, edifying and paradigm-shifting. Posting this today is a bit symbolic to me personally because today I celebrate two birthdays; the day I was born of my mother in the flesh and the day I was baptized by water and the Spirit by ordinances administer by my father.

As important as fathers and priesthood authority are, it is equally important to understand mothers and motherhood and how each plays an essential role in our salvation.

Just so you know, I don’t post anything on oneClimbs.com unless I feel that it is of particular value. I recommend viewing all of these videos and not skipping a single one because they build upon each other.

If you are a woman, then stop what you are doing and watch this conference!

I was the only boy in my family and was blessed with three little sisters, and as a father, I have been blessed with three little daughters, so the role and divine purpose of women is something close to my heart. I think that the information presented in this conference will be part of a greater understanding of women in the plan of salvation.

The beauty and inspired nature of LDS doctrine concerning men and women in God’s plan is seen afresh and in a new light, or perhaps, a more correct light. The truth is right there in front of us, we just don’t really understand what it is we are seeing, or worse, Read Full Post

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With Sudden Violence

break-heart

The scriptures often talk about having a broken heart, but what does that mean? Does God want us to be sad? I believe that many of the problems we experience in understanding the ancient concepts contained in the scriptures is because we understand things in a modern way.

Words and their meanings change over time. Today, having a broken heart might mean something like the following:

A broken heart (or heartbreak) is a common metaphor used to describe the intense emotional pain or suffering one feels after losing a loved one, whether through death, divorce, breakup, physical separation, betrayal, or romantic rejection. (via Wikipedia, emphasis added)

Broken

In the profane world, a broken heart is an emotional response to unpleasant events surrounding other people. In the sacred world, a broken heart is a catalyst to wonderful things. Read Full Post

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…And Say Unto You, ‘Receive the Mind of God’

mind-of-god

The Lectures on Faith is a fantastic addition to the doctrinal knowledge base of the Latter-day Saints. They were part of the Doctrine and Covenants for almost 100 years and were separated from the canon on the grounds that they were not specific revelations to the Church. It’s a complicated story that I’m going to have to address at another time.

What I’m going to be presenting is from the Fifth Lecture that contains teachings about the Godhead that may at first seem foreign to our traditional views as we have come to understand them. When we are seeking to learn eternal truths through the insufficient languages of man, we can often encounter things that puzzle us.

As inconvenient as this is, I believe that it plays an important role in our quest for truth. It causes us to question, to stretch our understanding and ponder deeply upon things. So let’s look into one of these teachings and see what profound truths that we can draw from it.

LINDSAY CYNGOT | Scroll Photography

LINDSAY CYNGOT | Scroll Photography

The mind of the Father and the Son

In Lecture Five we read:

“And he being the Only Begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth, and having overcome, received a fullness of the glory of the Father – possessing the same mind with the Father; which mind is the Holy Spirit, that bears record of the Father and the Son;”

If you read this literally or within a different paradigm it will sound confusing to you. It almost sounds as if the Holy Spirit is nothing more than some kind of shared consciousness. It might seem that way, but I don’t believe that this is the right interpretation. First of all, in translating the Book of Mormon, Joseph Smith would be well aware of what Nephi said when he conversed with the Holy Spirit in a vision: Read Full Post

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