There is an ideology today that I hear quite often and it is poor in principle and flawed in doctrine. You may recognize this ideology as it appears in the following forms:
- “Live your truth”
- “Be who you really are”
- “Be your most authentic self”
What if “your truth” is that only the strong survive and that whatever you can take from the weak you should? What if you are an angry person, short-tempered, or enjoy lusting after the flesh? What if you look at yourself as you are now and realize that you are incredibly narcissistic and do not truly care about the people around you? These ideologies initially feel warm and fuzzy, but they require you to cut yourself off from the greater realities of life and truth.Read Full Post
Many are concerned with truth and how to obtain it. There are many ideas about what truth is, where it can be found, and how it can be discerned. There are deep concerns about being misled by false ideas and false prophets.
Just the other day I had a conversation with a member about gathering truth in from other religions and cultures in the spirit of what Joseph Smith and others have taught. I was looked at a little skeptically and asked, “Are we… supposed to be doing that?” More and more I find such as perspective to be out of sync with Latter-day Saint theology, though it seems par for the course with Latter-day Saint culture insofar as I have experienced it. I mean, don’t we heard non-LDS individuals quoted in General Conference quite often? (Yes, I’m talking about you C.S. Lewis)
Tribal pride caution
Like many other groups, we are proud of our own and we expect great things to come from among us becauseRead Full Post
There is not enough of the attitude of the sincere investigator among us. When we come into a new field of research that will challenge our due and honest consideration, we should be warned against coming too quickly to a conclusion, of forming a decision too hastily. We should be scientific — that is, open-minded, approaching new problems without prejudice, deferring a decision until all the facts are in.
Some say that the open-minded leave room for doubt. But I believe we should doubt some of the things we hear. Doubt has a place if it can stir in one an interest to go out and find the truth for one’s self. I should like to awaken in everyone a desire to investigate, to make an independent study of religion, and to know for themselves whether or not the teachings of the Mormon church are true.
Faith that goes beneath the surface soil
There are altogether too many people in the world who are willing to accept as true whatever is printed in a book or delivered from a pulpit. Their faith never goes below the surface soil of authority. I plead with everyone I meet that they may drive their faith down through that soil and get hold of the solid truth, that they may be able to withstand the winds and storm of indecision and of doubt, of opposition and persecution. Then, and only then, will we be able to Read Full Post
I have found this to be a very peaceful way to truth. Contention often arises when prideful individuals play intellectual ‘king of the hill’ and declare things about God, heaven and earth that they may only believe and not really know. A particular verse from the Qur’an reads:
“Satan…always commands you…to say things about God that you do not really know.” 2:169
Joseph Smith echoed something similar when he said:
“Men of the present time testify of heaven and hell, and have never seen either;” – Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, p. 160
Is bearing testimony of something that you don’t know is true good or is it bearing a false witness? Even if well-intentioned, does bearing false witness tend to bring the Spirit or does it invite contention? To what degree does bearing a ‘wishful witness’ contribute to the endurance of problematic paradigms?
“I know that he loveth his children; nevertheless, I do not know the meaning of all things.” (1 Nephi 11:17)
In this verse, Nephi is experiencing a vision and is being asked questions by an angel. One of the questions is, “Knowest thou the condescension of God?” to which Nephi answered with the one thing that he does know while acknowledging what he didn’t know. It’s ok to say, “I don’t know,” but I don’t think it is ok to pretend that you know things that you don’t; isn’t that called lying?
“…lay hold upon every good thing, and condemn it not…” – Moroni 7:19
“Prove all things; hold fast that which is good.” – 1 Thessalonians 5:21
The scriptures encourage us to seek after that which is good and there are ways explained that illustrate how we can do that.
Like many kids, I enjoyed collecting things such as baseball cards, coins, rocks, fossils, etc. Over the years my interests changed; I no longer collect any of the things that I valued so highly as a child.
What I have enjoyed collecting over the course of my adult life is truth.
The scriptural admonitions that encourage me to lay “hold” on good things drive me to dig and discover the good in everything I explore. If you think about it, truth and good are not hard to find, but they can be difficult toRead Full Post
“One of the grand fundamental principles of Mormonism is to receive truth, let it come from whence it may.” (Discourses of the Prophet Joseph Smith, p. 199)
The best way to obtain truth and wisdom
“The best way to obtain truth and wisdom is not to ask from books, but to go to God in prayer, and obtain divine teaching.” (History of the Church, 4:425)
Gather all the good and true principles
“We should gather all the good and true principles in the world and treasure them up, or we shall not come out true Mormons.”
(Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, p. 316)
We have a right to embrace all, and every item of truth without limitation
“Mormonism is truth; and every man who embraces it feels himself at liberty to embrace every truth: consequently the shackles of superstition, bigotry, ignorance, and priestcraft, fall at once from his neck; and his eyes are opened to see the truth, and truth greatly prevails over priestcraft… Mormonism is truth, in other words the doctrine of the Latter-day Saints, is truth. … The first and fundamental principle of our holy religion is, that we believe that we have a right to embrace all, and every item of truth, without limitation or without being circumscribed or prohibited by the creeds or superstitious notions of men, or by the dominations of one another, when that truth is clearly demonstrated to our minds, and we have the highest degree of evidence of the same.” (Letter from Joseph Smith to Isaac Galland, Mar. 22, 1839, Liberty Jail, Liberty, Missouri, published in Times and Seasons, Feb. 1840, pp. 53–54; spelling and grammar modernized.)
Ready to believe all true principles that exist
“I stated that the most prominent difference in sentiment between the Latter-day Saints and sectarians was, that the latter were all circumscribed by some peculiar creed, which deprived its members the privilege of believing anything not contained therein, whereas the Latter-day Saints … are ready to believe all true principles that exist, as they are made manifest from time to time.” (History of the Church, 5:215; from “History of the Church” (manuscript), book D-1, p. 1433, Church Archives.)
Limitations on knowledge
“I cannot believe in any of the creeds of the different denominations, because they all have some things in them I cannot subscribe to, though all of them have some truth. I want to come up into the presence of God, and learn all things; but the creeds set up stakes [limits], and say, ‘Hitherto shalt thou come, and no further’ [Job 38:11]; which I cannot subscribe to.” (History of the Church, 6:57; punctuation modernized; from a discourse given by Joseph Smith on Oct. 15, 1843, in Nauvoo, Illinois; reported by Willard Richards.)
“A person may profit by noticing the first intimation of the spirit of revelation; for instance, when you feel pure intelligence flowing into you, it may give you sudden strokes of ideas, so that by noticing it, you may find it fulfilled the same day or soon; [that is,] those things that were presented unto your minds by the Spirit of God, will come to pass; and thus by learning the Spirit of God and understanding it, you may grow into the principle of revelation, until you become perfect in Christ Jesus.” (B.H. Roberts, History of the Church 3:381)
Alway acknowledge virtuous qualities
“When we see virtuous qualities in men, we should always acknowledge them, let their understanding be what it may in relation to creeds and doctrine; for all men are, or ought to be free. … This doctrine I do most heartily subscribe to and practice” (Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Joseph Smith , 345–46).
Revealed in the abstract
“All things whatsoever God in his infinite wisdom has seen fit and proper to reveal to us, while we are dwelling in mortality, in regard to our mortal bodies, are revealed to us in the abstract, and independent of affinity of this mortal tabernacle, but are revealed to our spirits precisely as though we had no bodies at all.” (Joseph Fielding Smith (editor), Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, p. 355)
The oldest book
“I thank God that I have got this old book [the Bible]; but I thank him more for the gift of the Holy Ghost. I have got the oldest book in the world; but I have got the oldest book in my heart, even the gift of the Holy Ghost. I have all the four Testaments.” (Alma P. Burton, Discourses of the Prophet Joseph Smith, p. 343-344)
Condeming each other
“The [Muslim] condemns the heathen, the Jew,and the Christian, and the whole world of mankind that reject his Koran, as infidels, and consigns the whole of them to perdition. The Jew believes that the whole world that rejects his faith and are not circumcised, are Gentile dogs, and will be damned. The heathen is equally as tenacious about his principles, and the Christian consigns all to perdition who cannot bow to his creed, and submit to his ipse dixit. But while one portion of the human race is judging and condemning the other without mercy, the Great Parent of the universe looks upon the whole of the human family with a fatherly care and paternal regard; He views them as His offspring, and without any of those contracted feelings that influence the children of men, causes “His sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust.” (Times and Seasons, 15 April 1842, 758)
Related: Brigham Young on Truth