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.
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
In his book Increase in Learning, Elder Bednar teaches that principles arise from doctrines. If we take any principle of the gospel such as faith, repentance, obedience, etc and ask the question, “Why is this necessary?” the answer will always be found in doctrine.
Think about how you would answer the question, “Why is faith in Jesus Christ essential?”
Is the way you would answer based in doctrine? How would you answer that question in a way that focuses on the doctrine or doctrines that the principle is based on?
Let’s say, for example, that a few of the following doctrines come to mind when faith in Jesus Christ is pondered:
What scriptures or teachings of modern prophets help us to obtain a more complete understanding of these doctrines?
I had a mission president that once taught Read Full Post
What if there was a doctrinally-based way to make every single day of your life significant, meaningful and amazing?
Well, there is and it is so simple. I’ve only been doing this for a few days now and am still starting to get the hang of it, but I see the potential and I understand the doctrine. Have you ever started working out only to notice a few days later that your pants are fitting you better and your muscles are feeling more solid? That’s about where I’m at.
First, a little background…
I’ve been really enjoying Elder Bednar’s book Increase in Learning. I’m somewhat embarrassed to admit it but this book, which was given to me as a gift from one of the wisest people I know, didn’t really impress me much at first. The title of the book really intrigued me and my expectations were pretty high since I really admire Elder Bednar. In the beginning, it didn’t really grab me and felt really “watered-down” and intended for a novice audience. I grew impatient and skimmed on through finding a couple nuggets and then shelved it about halfway through.
Big mistake.Read Full Post
The following is simply a personal commentary on 1 Nephi 11 and how it relates to theophany.
These are my own observations and overlook many, many other important doctrines and principles contained in these verses. My object was to explore only a certain facet of what is here and the conclusions are my own. I’m publishing them here at oneClimbs because I feel that some things might be of use to others and fit the spirit of this site’s purpose: to simply share insights.
Nephi’s personal preparation
1 For it came to pass after I had desired to know the things that my father had seen, and believing that the Lord was able to make them known unto me, as I sat pondering in mine heart I was caught away in the Spirit of the Lord, yea, into an exceedingly high mountain, which I never had before seen, and upon which I never had before set my foot.
Nephi’s preparation includes the following three things:
- Desire: a wish to possess some gratification or source of happiness which is supposed to be obtainable (Webster’s 1828 Dictionary)
- Belief: an assent of the mind to the truth of a declaration, proposition or alleged fact, on the ground of evidence, distinct from personal knowledge (Webster’s 1828 Dictionary)
- Pondering: to weight in the mind…to view with deliberation; to examine; (Webster’s 1828 Dictionary)
Nephi is caught away by the Spirit because in this case, he is almost ready for Theophany.
Theophany: 1630s, from Late Latin theophania, from Greek theophaneia, from theos “god” + phainein “to show” (etymonline.com) a visible manifestation of a deity (merriam-webster.com).
Often, we just study as part of a schedule with no real desire other than to keep that schedule and feel good about checking it off a list as a task completed. Effective study should be driven by Read Full Post
The following is a really interesting excerpt from a 2010 Worldwide Leadership Training Meeting panel discussion. I really like Elder Bednar for his very clear approach to gospel doctrines and efforts to force out useless traditions from the Church while he reorients us to a higher standard.
The challenge is to take his words and figure out how to apply them in our individual situations.
“If I had the wish of my heart, I would remove from the vocabulary of the Latter-day Saints the word meeting.
“We have not been talking about a ward council meeting. We’ve been talking about a revelatory experience with the members of the ward council. And if members of councils, if members of families, as they come together, would think in terms of “I’m preparing to participate in a revelatory experience with my family” instead of going to a meeting—a revelatory experience with the members of the ward council—I think we would prepare and act much differently.
“In these latter days, given the forces of the adversary and the darkness, no one person in the family and no one person in a ward is going to be the conduit through which all of the answers come.” (Excerpt from a panel discussion, 2010 Worldwide Leadership Training Meeting, 2010, emphasis added)
What do you think?
- How can we make our “meetings” revelatory experiences?
- How can we make our Family Home Evenings revelatory experiences?
Ever find yourself thinking “I’m not quite sure I really know the definition of that word”? If not, then you are amazing and I applaud you.
I’ve found it to be valuable to quiz yourself continually as to your knowledge concerning the meanings of words. Here on oneClimbs, I’ve written a few articles trying to clarify common misconceptions about the meanings of certain words. Don’t even get me started on Latter-day Saints use of the word “peculiar“. Understanding the true meanings of words will often bring refreshing insights that are hidden behind a veil of misconception.
A few days ago, I was discussing a particular study method with a friend and one step in the process wasRead Full Post
In the what is today the first book of the New Testament we have an interesting account at the very end of Matthew. Here, it appears that Matthew is attempting to debunk an anti-Christian rumor that was going around concerning the resurrection of Christ.
Now when they were going, behold, some of the watch came into the city, and shewed unto the chief priests all the things that were done. And when they were assembled with the elders, and had taken counsel, they gave large money unto the soldiers, Saying, Say ye, His disciples came by night, and stole him away while we slept. And if this come to the governor’s ears, we will persuade him, and secure you. So they took the money, and did as they were taught: and this saying is commonly reported among the Jews until this day. (Matthew 28:11-15)
According to Matthew a common explanation for the missing body of Christ was attributed to fraud committed by his followers.
Is it really that far of a stretch to believe that among Jesus’ closest confidants and hundreds of followers that someone might have stolen his body in an attempt to somehow “prove” the resurrection? Or that the remaining apostles could have fabricated the story of the resurrection in order to keep the movement going and save face? Isn’t this the simplest explanation if you don’t accept the reality of miracles or the existence of God?
In the case of the Latter-day Saint claim that God restored his Church to the earth, a skeptic might ask Read Full Post
By Elder Dallin H. Oaks of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, May 1998
What do we say when someone asks us, “Have you been saved?” This question, so common in the conversation of some Christians, can be puzzling to members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints because it is not our usual way of speaking. We tend to speak of “saved” or “salvation” as a future event rather than something that has already been realized.
Good Christian people sometimes attach different meanings to some key gospel terms like saved or salvation. If we answer according to what our questioner probably means in asking if we have been “saved,” our answer must be “yes.” If we answer according to the various meanings we attach to the terms saved or salvation, our answer will be either “yes” or “yes, but with conditions.”
As I understand what is meant by the good Christians who speak in these terms, we are “saved” when we sincerely declare or confess that we have accepted Jesus Christ as our personal Lord and Savior. This meaning relies on words the Apostle Paul taught the Christians of his day:
“If thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.
“For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation” (Rom. 10:9–10).
To Latter-day Saints, the words saved and salvation in this teaching signify a present covenant relationship with Jesus Christ in which we are assured salvation from the consequences of sin if we are obedient. Every sincere Latter-day Saint is “saved” according to this meaning. We have been converted to the restored gospel of Jesus Christ, we have experienced Read Full Post
I’d like to thank my good friend Mike King for being the catalyst that inspired this article. The Bible verses are all from the New American Standard Version just for kicks, thanks, Andrew T.
There’s a verse in the Book of Mormon that I have seen get plenty of criticism from some who think that the verse teaches some kind of “works-based salvation” that diminishes the role of Christ’s grace.
On the other hand, however, I’ve seen Latter-day Saints misunderstand this verse as well. Read the following verse and ponder what you think it is getting at:
“For we labor diligently to write, to persuade our children, and also our brethren, to believe in Christ, and to be reconciled to God; for we know that it is by grace that we are saved, after all we can do.” (2 Nephi 25:23)
At first glance, it might seem like this verse is saying that our efforts actually make up a portion of our salvation. That us “doing things” makes up the first part of our salvation and that Jesus Christ’s atonement kicks in to cover whatever is left over. That is just one way that it can be interpreted, but there’s a glaring problem with that interpretation Read Full Post
There are at least five core elements that are used in the ordinance of the sacrament. Back on June 16th of this year I took down some ideas in my notebook concerning them so here they are. I will also be placing any number that I think is numerically significant next to the title.
- Used for sacrifices and offerings and for sacred ordinances of the gospel (LDS BD). A place where heaven and earth are bridged via covenants.
- Altar: Zabach (Hebrew) – “to slaughter an animal”.
- The life of the animal is represented by its blood. (Leviticus 17:11)
- Altars are temples in their most simple form, and the covenants made at them can vary.
- We place things on the altar to be completely consumed, we do not expect to see them again. It is expected that all ungodliness is treated this way.Read Full Post
What do Goliath, Laban and global, latter-day secret combinations often referred to as the “New World Order” all have in common?
Their stories all end the same way and the scriptures show us exactly how.
The Philistine champion, Goliath of Gath, fell to a shepherd boy named David who stood in front of him and prophesied:
“This day will the Lord deliver thee into mine hand; and I will smite thee, and take thine head from thee;” 1 Samuel 17:46
Moments later the prophecy was fulfilled when David dropped Goliath with a single blow to the head with a stone and then:
“…David ran, and stood upon the Philistine, and took his sword, and drew it out of the sheath thereof, and slew him, and cut off his head therewith.” 1 Samuel 17:51
Goliath, a nine foot “giant” whose presence caused every Israelite soldier to tremble lay there in the dirt, beheaded by his own sword.
The sons of Lehi who were charged with securing plates of brass that contained the holy scriptures which were intended to instruct countless millions over 1000 years in a new land. Laban, also a military man of sorts was a Goliath-like threat that stood between them and this sacred record. After threatening to murder Lehi’s sons twice and violently robbing them of their wealth, Read Full Post
Originally posted at TempleStudy.com
What is mysticism? That is the million dollar question.
It is incredibly difficult to define. Wikipedia defines it as the “pursuit of communion with, identity with, or conscious awareness of an ultimate reality, divinity, spiritual truth, or God through direct experience, intuition, instinct or insight.” What? By combining all possible definitions into one, they have created an incomprehensible one.
Let’s turn to some closer associates. Hugh Nibley once defined it, quoting Eduard Lehmann, as “an intuitive and ecstatic union with the deity obtained by means of contemplation and other mental exercises.” Professor William Hamblin turns to oft-repeated definitions such as “a domain of religion that deals with the search for and the attainment of a profound experiential knowledge of God or of ultimate reality,” or, “mysticism is … a type of religious experience which involves a sense of union or merging with either God or an all-pervading spiritual force in the universe,” but finds even these lacking. In Kevin Christensen’s recent Interpreter review of Margarget Barker’s book Temple Mysticism: An Introduction he indicated that his “favorite LDS approach” to the topic has become Mark E. Koltko’s essay “Mysticism and Mormonism: An LDS Perspective on Transcendence and Higher Consciousness,” found in the April 1989 issue of Sunstone. We’ll come back to this shortly. Christensen notes that while Nibley’s view tends to be the more conventional definition, Margaret Barker’s own use of the term in her book is very different still, focusing on the experience of “seeing the Lord,” i.e. a temple theophany. While different, there is clearly overlap between the ideas of “a union with deity,” and “seeing God,” as Matthew Bowen also elucidates in his recent article in Interpreter. Koltko’s essay also perhaps helps bridge the gap.
But let me rewind for a moment. Why am I interested in mysticism? It sounds eerily like one of those occult things that Read Full Post
I’m excited to announce the official publication of a little temple-related project that I’ve been working on. It all began with this idea: “What would it look like if you reconstructed the temple experience purely from scripture alone?”
As I pondered this idea, I realized how valuable something like this could be for people preparing to receive their endowment the first time. It would essentially be a primer to study both before and after an individual’s temple experience. So much of the temple experience is right there in the scriptures anyway but many people don’t seem to realize it. For some, it takes years of study and searching to make certain connections that give context to the purpose of temple blessings.
The culmination of these thoughts has led to the production of a 14-page document that I have titled: “Through the Veil: Pondering the Temple Experience Through Scripture.” I have done my best to preserve the sacredness of the temple while providing a study tool (with wide margins for making notes) that can serve as a fantastic temple prep resource.
This document, which has existed for a year as just a list of scriptures, has apparently been helpful enough to certain individuals that I think making it available here at oneClimbs could bless the lives of many more people, even those that have attended the temple for years.
I offer this document freely to anyone to use or share however they see fit (no permission necessary).
Deutsch (German) “Durch den Schleier” (Translation by Sebastian B.)
I was thinking about the whole grace/faith/works debate that seems to endlessly rage between the faiths.
Now we all technically believe in salvation by grace, or in other words, salvation is impossible without grace through the atonement of Jesus Christ. The disagreement seems mainly around how that grace is applied and what man’s role, if any, is in this process of salvation. All sides of the debate would probably agree that some kind of an acknowledgement of Christ’s atonement and grace on behalf of the individual is necessary in order to receive it, but at what point is one “saved”?
What frustrates me is how people on all sides of the debate seem to Read Full Post
Today in church we had a lesson on the doctrine of the “three degrees of glory”. A comment seemed to indicate a feeling that inheriting a particular lower degree of glory as your eternal home with no chance of progression was unjust.
The comments began around a particular verse that describes the inhabitants of the telestial kingdom as “…they who received not the gospel of Christ, neither the testimony of Jesus” (D&C 76:82). I think a misunderstanding of the word “received” is where the difficulty arises. A few assumed that received meant that the individuals never got a chance to accept Christ because they never had access to the gospel.
However, the Webster’s 1828 Dictionary shows the first definition of receive as: Read Full Post
“For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Ghost, and have tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the world to come, if they shall fall away, to renew them again unto repentance; seeing they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and puthim to an open shame.” – Hebrews 6:4-6
“And they had all things common among them; therefore there were not rich and poor, bond and free, but they were all made free, and partakers of the heavenly gift.” – 4 Nephi 1:3
“For it was by faith that Christ showed himself unto our fathers, after he had risen from the dead; and he showed not himself unto them until after they had faith in him; wherefore, it must needs be that some had faith in him, for he showed himself not unto the world. But because of the faith of men he has shown himself unto the world, and glorified the name of the Father, and prepared a way that thereby others might be partakers of the heavenly gift, that they might hope for those things which they have not seen. Wherefore, ye may also have hope, and be partakers of the gift, if ye will but have faith.” – Ether 12:7-9
- “The Savior wants us to understand his willingness to forgive” – Craig A. Cardon
- “Procreative power & priesthood power are shared by husband & wife” – M. Russell Ballard
- “I am a witness of the Resurrection of the Lord as surely as if I had been there in the evening with the two disciples in the house on Emmaus road. I know that He lives as surely as did Joseph Smith when he saw the Father and the Son in the light of a brilliant morning in a grove of trees in Palmyra.” – Henry B. Eyring
- “As home teachers, we are healers. As priesthood leaders, we are healers. As fathers, sons, brothers, and husbands, we should be committed and dedicated healers. We carry in one hand a vial of consecrated oil for blessing the sick; in the other we carry a loaf of bread to feed the hungry; and in our hearts we carry the peaceable word of God, “which healeth the wounded soul.” – Dieter F. Uchtdorf
- “accept that darkness exists—but not to dwell there” – Dieter F. Uchtdorf
- “humility is the essence of repentance” – L. Whitney Clayton
- “he hath filled me with his love, even unto the consuming of my flesh” – 2 Ne 4:21
- “why should I yield to sin, because of my flesh?” – 2 Ne. 4:27
- The priesthood enables intelligence to influence all things according to the will of God.
- True sacrifice never involves the loss of what is essential.
- Finding yourself in darkness is inevitable, it is also necessary.
The following is taken from 2 Nephi 4:16-35, with some headings that I inserted to identify four key steps of transformation and if I were as awesome as President Monson I’m sure I could make them rhyme somehow ;)
Behold, my soul delighteth in the things of the Lord; and my heart pondereth continually upon the things which I have seen and heard.
It is easy to find fault in yourself and become overwhelmed
Nevertheless, notwithstanding the great goodness of the Lord, in showing me his great and marvelous works, my heart exclaimeth: O wretched man that I am! Yea, my heart sorroweth because of my flesh; my soul grieveth because of mine iniquities.Read Full Post
My dad contacted me today about a quote that mentioned something about the atonement not being a part of the gospel but the gospel itself. I Googled the phrase and found this talk by Elder Madsen.
Now I had first heard this quote from Elder Madsen himself when he came to a zone conference while I was in the mission field and gave a sermon very similar to this one. I remember being very impacted by his words and took a ton of notes! I’m glad that there is a version of this online so here it is!
“The Gospel” by Elder John M. Madsen
It is a sacred privilege for Sister Madsen and me to join with you for a devotional on this beautiful campus, crowned with a holy temple, and to be in this magnificent hall, so recently dedicated to the Lord for His purposes. Especially, in light of His words recorded in Doctrine and Covenants 6:32, “Verily, verily, I say unto you, as I said unto my disciples, where two or three are gathered together in my name, … behold, there will I be in the midst of them–even so am I in the midst of you.”
I am humbled and honored to be invited to address you, because I know something of who you are and what lies ahead of you! I know this through the words of living prophets. President Joseph Fielding Smith said, “Our young people are … the nobility of heaven, a choice and chosen generation who have a divine destiny.”1Read Full Post
- “Rust ruins more tools than overuse.” – Anonymous
- “I am encircled about eternally in the arms of his love.” – 2 Ne. 1:15
- The priesthood is the means whereby things are organized and exalted.
- “Repentance is not a turning away, it is a turning towards.” – R. Anderson
- “I returned and saw under the sun, that the race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, neither yet bread to the wise, nor yet riches to men of understanding, nor yet favor to men of skill; but time and chance happeneth to them all.” Eccl. 9:11
- Strength can come from knowledge. It can bestow the power to act or the opportunity for the power of God to act in our behalf.
- Faith is intelligence exercising will.
- We don’t comprehend what we are. Using will alone, we drive a cosmos of trillions of atoms and billions of cells to bring amazing things into existence.
- Just as we direct the matter of our bodies by our will alone, it is also possible to direct matter outside our sphere. Great faith can affect matter outside of the sphere of one’s body. Perfect faith, like God’s, can organize the macrocosmos.
- Faith is exercised through ‘channels’ and life is about searching for and finding the ones that fill us with light and life.
- Faith and fear are both actions taken towards things believed but not yet seen; fear only cares about what avoids pain.
- Fear will forsake truth to avoid pain while faith will receive truth even through pain.
- “The will acts upon the body in producing motion.” – Noah Webster
- The atonement is not something to ‘fill in the gaps’ in our lives, our lives themselves are transformed as we approach this atonement. In the end, we are completely converted and totally redeemed by it.
- The faith of any intelligence is only as strong as its will.
- “The understanding or reason compares different objects, which operate as motives; the judgment determines which is preferable, and the will decides which to pursue.In other words, we reason with respect to the value or importance of things; we then judge which is to be preferred; and we will to take the most valuable.” – Noah Webster
- “Desire is that internal act, which by influencing the will, makes us proceed to action.” – Noah Webster