Wednesday, December 23, 2015

A VOICE OF WARNING

By recent turn of events, I feel that I have been warned. Now, it ”becometh [me] to warn [my] neighbor.” (D&C 88:81) What have I been warned about?

Two years ago, I woke up to the fact that my involvement in the Church hadn't been satisfyingly spiritual. Un-religious activities (in my case, triathlon) gave more meaning to my life than what I got from Church. In this, I was to blame, but I've also come to understand that "all has not been well in Zion", and that I, because of this, lacked true understanding of the plan of salvation and the fulness of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.


After prayers, fasting, serving in the temple, study of scriptures, reading of books, blogs and articles, contemplation, discussions with friends and family, watching videos, I've gained some understanding which have changed me and my view of my Heavenly Parents, Jesus, my relationship to them, my beliefs regarding the Church and what God intended to do through the instrumentality of Joseph Smith. It's like everything has changed, although it all looks the same.


One part of the warning I've received is that the faith held and promoted by the Church is lacking in power and in truth. It's full of false doctrines and traditions, and these will, if not handled with humility and faith in Jesus Christ, damn us! With them, we will stay gentiles and not be numbered among Gods people. Without them, we are free to rise up to our potential, and maybe even get a chance to "endure to the end" (that is, to fulfill the measure of our creation).

Light and truth
”That which is of God is light; and he that receiveth light, and continueth in God, receiveth more light; and that light groweth brighter and brighter until the perfect day.” (D&C 50:24)
”Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” (John 14:6)
Light and truth is the essence of godliness, or, in other words, ”the glory of God is intelligence, or, in other words, light and truth.” (D&C 93:36)

From the word of God we learn that the more light and truth we have, the closer we are to God, and the closer we are to God, the more joy, love and peace we will experience. One could argue, that God works through light and truth for the salvation of his children.

Light and truth is hard to acquire, and hard to keep. In order to receive truth and light, we need to keep God’s commandments (see D&C 93:28; see also John 3:21). In order to keep what we’ve received, we need to strive to get more (see 2 Ne. 28:30; Alma 12:8-10) and continue keeping God’s commandments. In D&C 93:39, we read:
”[The] wicked one cometh and taketh away light and truth, through disobedience, from the children of men, and because of the tradition of their fathers.”
We receive light through obedience. Light is a revealer. Have you ever observed your windows when the sun is shining through them? The dirt is on clear display, whereas the window seemed clean when in darkness.

In a spiritual sense, this dirt is the false traditions we’ve inherited, acquired or developed throughout our lives. False traditions are an integral part of the damn practice of unbelief (believing things which are false). False traditions and unbelief hinder us from seeing the grandeur of God and it keeps us from coming to the truth, that is, coming to Jesus himself!

False traditions

Joseph Smith said, ”To become a joint heir of the heirship of the Son, one must put away all his false traditions.” (TPJS p. 321)

Oftentimes, when the light shows that a certain window needs to be cleaned, all the windows in a house needs cleaning. It’s like playing dominoes–if one falls, the rest goes with it. This is a tough pill to swallow, especially when speaking of traditions and beliefs.

You might have enjoyed these traditions and beliefs your whole life, you’ve put your trust in them and they might have seen you through hard times. Awaking to the realization that they might be, or are, false could be devastating. You might feel that you're left with no foot to stand on, and you might resent the fact that you’ve been building your house on the sand. Or you might resent the one who pointed it out. In these situations, it’s easy to get bitter and loose faith altoghether. 

On the other hand, it’s also a rare opportunity to audit your traditions and beliefs and make sure that you are built on the rock of your Redeemer. It’s a chance to go back to the author and finisher of your faith, and maybe let Him start a new chapter in the book of your life.

The process of awakening can be confusing. Many members of the Church can attest to that. One reason for this is the false tradition that truth must and do “feel good”. Truth most certainly can bring in its wake good feelings, but that depends on if you are condemned or exonerated by it. “The truth shall [either] set [us] free” (John 8:32) or imprison us. Nephi said it this way:
”[The] guilty taketh the truth to be hard, for it cutteth them to the very center.” (1 Ne. 16:2)
We can’t discard of anything solely based on what we feel about it. For example, how did the Sadducees and Pharisees feel about Jesus? Or, when Jesus, in the synagogue of his hometown Nazareth, proclaimed that he was the one they had been waiting for (see Luke 4:16-30), what was their reaction? They “were filled with wrath, And rose up, and thrust him out of the city, and led him unto the brow of the hill whereon their city was built, that they might cast him down headlong.” (v. 28-29) Was their wrath an indication of the truth, or was it proof of their blindness, hardheartedness and stiffneckedness? If I was a gambler, I’d put my money on the latter.

If you feel that what I, or anyone else write or say, is contrary to what you’ve been taught, please study it out. See if it squares with what is already written in the Scriptures. Test it. And ask God to show you what is truth and what is not.

In the Church periodical Times & Seasons, it was written, that "If any man writes to you, or preaches to you, doctrines contrary to the Bible, the Book of Mormon, or the book of Doctrine and Covenants, set him down as an impost[o]r. […] Try them by the principles contained in the acknowledged word of God; if they preach, or teach, or practice contrary to that, disfellowship them; cut them off from among you as useless and dangerous branches[.]" (Times & Seasons, 5:490-491, April 1, 1844; emphasis in the original)

The plan

During the coming months, I will, in a series of posts, address some of the false traditions that we, as members of the Church espouse. By doing this, I want to stress that it’s not my goal to destroy your faith, but rather help you, and myself, to get rid of the unbelief and false traditions that bind us down and so easily beset us (Alma 7:15).

The following, non-exhaustive, list of traditions will be addressed (and not necessarily in the order given).
Since it’s easy to get sentimental when cans of worms are opened and easy to dismiss the content of the can just because “it doesn’t feel good”, I have already (Tada!) addressed the topic "Truth Feels Good".

After the rest of the false traditions are commented upon, I will go on to address the question that got me blogging in the first place – What was God’s purpose in calling on Joseph Smith? 

The topics that fall under this headline center on the topic of Zion. In essence, what we’ll be doing is Reclaiming the Restoration!

12 comments:

  1. Sounds like we have gone through a similar journey these past 2 years. I call it my "growing pains". But it is so vital that we are built on a sure foundation-Jesus Christ. I love this blog post. It will be 3 years this spring I asked the Lord in prayer to please expose or show me any false traditions or paradigms that needed to be shifted. He has truly answered that prayer and continues to answer that prayer. The truth surely will make one free. God is so good, so gracious and so patient with me!

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    1. Sally, a pleasure to have you here!

      Yes, it seems like many are awakening! The more truth I learn, the more I understand that I lack. God does indeed work through paradoxes.

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  2. I think it is important to choose the words for the heading in a way that it makes sense, so you dont get lost or get fooled. "Truth feels good", I think that is a misconception. There exists no proof that good feelings confirm truths but there exists many examples of people that believe many different things but they all claim they "feel" that they believe the truth, that they "know" the truth. They claim they feel good inside and that good feeling comes because what they think about in that moment is truth. Just to show an example, I have seen testimonies from muslims. They say that they have prayed and God have answered and told them that the Islam faith is the true one and that the Christian faith is wrong. At the same time Christians pray to the same God and feel and believe that God has answered their prayers and they feel good inside and that God tells them that the Christian faith is the true one. So you see that you cant use your feelings as a tool to find truth, and good feelings is no indication or evidence of that what you are thinking about in that moment is true.

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    1. We all pray, and receive answer. I'm not bound by anyone else's answer, just like answers to me don't bind you. If God communicates truth to our soul, we then interpret it, and we might draw conclusions that God never intended. This is oftentimes done in the Church–we receive a witness that the Book of Mormon is the words of God, and then we conclude that the Church has the priesthood of God! These are two totally different subjects and shouldn't be conflated. But, it's convenient to do just that and it makes us comfortable and lulls us into carnal security.

      I believe we agree on the fact that truth doesn't always feel good. So, welcome on board, brother!

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  3. I think that the way to truth is through tests that can be measured and repeated with the same result. Maybe it sounds sad, but I think it is just a way to fool yourself if you believe that good feelings, or any feelings for that matter, can give you truths or confirm what is true.

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    1. Henrik, you sound like a scientist! In some aspects, that's laudable. But when speaking about religion and spiritual truths, we move on a plane that doesn't allow for the kind of experiments you favor. Still, there are experiments that you can do (see Alma 32), but it's only you who can say if it has succeeded/yielded fruits or not.

      With regards to the usefulness of feelings, the following can be said. Feelings can be useful, but accompany light and truth and communication from heaven more than they ARE the communication. At least, that's my current take on it all.

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    2. Another excellent topic and sharing. My hubby and I have been working on shedding the false traditions as well. Even though it feels strange and uncomfortable at first, it is very liberating!
      Looking forward to more of you sharing.

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  5. Hello, do you have an email that I could email you at? Thank you.

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  6. I would like to add Christmas as a false tradition. Why on earth do we celebrate Christ's birth on a day he was not born? How would you like it if I celebrated your birthday on a day other than your real birth? We Mormons should know better, as the Lord makes it clear in the D&C that he came into the world on April 6.....not December 25.

    Keep up the good work Christian!

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