Tuesday, January 5, 2016

THE RESTORATION AND HOW TO RECLAIM IT - "taking the power back"

The quest for truth has to begin in the realization that there is more truth to be had, either to complement the amount of truth currently possessed or to replace untruth and false tradition. This is surely necessary, for why would anyone search for something they don't know that they've lost (or, never had in the first place)? How could I possibly acquire more truth, if I'm so confident that I have all the truth I need? This is the reason I've spent time discussing some of the false traditions that the Church espouses and teaches for doctrines. We need to see it for what it is if we are to progress on the path of truth.

The name of this blog is "Reclaiming the Restoration", and that's what I will be doing from now on. What then, do I mean with "reclaiming" and what is "the Restoration"? What does it imply and how would one go about doing it? 

"Reclaiming"

The work that God started through Joseph Smith belongs to you and me–as long as we yearn for truth (and nothing but the truth) and want to come unto Christ. According to my understanding, this was how it was during the early years of the Restoration. In one sense, what once belonged to each and every member of the Church has (since the Correlation-effort) been annexed by the institution. We, the members, are expected to uphold the institution's definition of the Gospel, instead of rooting ourselves firmly in the scriptures and the revelations from God. True religion, which according to Joseph, "was one of individual participation in revelation from God" (The Words of Joseph Smith, p. 21) has been reduced to following men, who say they receive revelation but never add to the canon nor care to disclose how, when, what and where they receive nor present it for sustaining vote during General Conference (an example is the 'direct revelation' about the renewed focus on the Sabbath day; anyone who has seen this revelation is more than welcome to present it to the world, or maybe just the Church).

We reclaim the Restoration by not letting anyone else be the keeper of our consciences, by not sending a modern-day Moses to 
talk to God, but instead to venture up the mountain side ourselves according to the workings of the Holy Ghost within us. We, as it's been said, "take the power back".

This shouldn't be a foreign concept for members of the Church, for as the Lord said, "the power is in them, wherein they are agents unto themselves." (D&C 58:28) Some things just can't be done by proxy!

"The Restoration"

The Lord, "knowing the calamity which should come upon the inhabitants of the earth, called upon [his] servant Joseph Smith, Jun., and spake unto him from heaven, and gave him commandments." (D&C 1:17)

God is love and would, if he could, save all of his children. His hand is stretched out still, but he knows that only a few are really interested in what he's offering (Matt. 7:14). Nevertheless, he cares about us all and has given us the tools that we need to navigate our way through the coming (spiritual) calamities. This is, in essence what the Restoration is all about.

From D&C 1 (v. 18-23) we can extract a list of intended outcomes of the Restoration:
  • that the words written by the prophets might be fulfilled (v. 18) 
  • that the weak things of the world shall come forth and break down the mighty and strong ones, 
  • that man should not counsel his fellow man, 
  • that man should not trust in the arm of flesh (v. 19) 
  • that every man might speak in the name of God the Lord, even the Savior of the world (v. 20) 
  • that faith also might increase in the earth  (v. 21)
  • that mine everlasting covenant might be established (v. 22) 
  • that the fulness of [his] gospel might be proclaimed by the weak and the simple unto the ends of the world, and before kings and rulers (v. 23)
This list of the fruits of the Restoration reveal the fact that it's not done yet. Against the backdrop of this list, we can evaluate how successful the Church is in preserving and perpetuating the Restoration. And we can gain a vision of what the Lord would have happen in our lives.

Each of these points deserve a blog post of its own. In this post, I will focus on faith.


That faith also might increase in the earth 



If there is something we lack, it's faith. We believe in quite many things, but faith is something totally different. As part of my awakening, I've become aware of my lack of faith. When I pray, I can sense the lack of power. An increase of faith is something I continually pray about and for.

Joseph taught that "three things are necessary, in order that any rational and intelligent being may exercise faith in God, unto life and salvation: 
  • First, the idea that he actually exists. 
  • Second, a correct idea of his character, perfections and attributes. 
  • Third, an actual knowledge that the course of life which he is pursuing, is according to his God’s will. For without an acquaintance with these three important facts, the faith of every rational being must be imperfect and unproductive, but with this understanding, it can become perfect and fruitful, abounding in righteousness unto the praise and glory of God the Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ. (Lectures on Faith, Lecture third, 3-5; emphasis in original)
Honestly, how well do you know God and Jesus? Few of us, when we make an honest assessment and look beyond the shiny veneer of (self-)righteousness, can say that we know God and Jesus well. Sure, we may have some sort of perception to what kind of being God is, but oftentimes it's based upon the testimony of others. There's nothing wrong with starting with belief in the testimonies of others (see Lecture 2, 54-56), but it has to be a start. The more we interact with God, the better we will get to know him. Our knowledge about his character, perfections and attributes, will expand and be corrected by and by. 

Jesus challenged us again and again to follow him and do the things that he did. We were told to build a foundation and a house on the rock. And we were told that he who hears Jesus' words without complying with them is foolish and won't be able to stand when calamities come rushing in. James told us to be doers of the word, and not hearers only (Jam. 1:22). The life of a disciple revolves around doing the will of the Master, which will help us get to know him (Mosiah 5:13), which is eternal life. 


I lack certainty that I live my life like he would have me live it. If I were to make New Year's resolutions, this would be one of them. In this, I believe that "Lectures on Faith" isn't only useful, but also designed to help us reach this level of confidence before the Lord. I invite you to study it, and abide by its precepts.

Removing the condemnation

Shortly after the Church was proclaimed to be living and true, it was put under condemnation (D&C 84:54-58). There are no revelations existing which tells us that this condemnation has been lifted. Since this is an uncomfortable truth, I don't expect it to be dealt with in a responsible manner by the Church. Therefore, it devolves upon you and me to take care of it by ourselves.

According to my understanding, the condemnation can't be lifted without a renewed emphasis on the Book of Mormon, and what it teaches about the character, perfections and attributes of God and what he would have us do. Joseph said that a man would get nearer to God by abiding by the precepts of the Book of Mormon than any other book. We should therefore find out for ourselves what these precepts are and then abide by them. It's a grand task, but, I believe, the Restoration can't be reclaimed by us if we don't get to it.

I invite you to, together with me, study the Book of Mormon from a new copy (it's a good idea to not let old insights block the way for new revelation) during the coming year and participate in Sunday School and share your insights (that hopefully will challenge any- and everyone present). When I study, I will ask myself what I'm taught about the character, perfections and attributes of God and I will seek to know what he would have me do with what I read and learn. Hereby, I hope to reclaim the Restoration and work towards being restored into the presence of the Lord.

3 comments:

  1. I love this post.

    I enjoy a lively Sunday School with class participation and thought provoking ideas. I also love the Book of Mormon and I am thrilled with the hope that this year I will realize many new things from this book of scripture which have escaped my attention in years past.
    I feel much the way that you do, that I know too little about the attributes of my Heavenly Father. May He bless you (and me) as we search for the gems in the marvelous Book of Mormon.

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    Replies
    1. Linda!

      Thank you for stopping by and taking the time to comment! I appreciate the positive feed back. God speed to you in your endeavor to get to know Him.

      Delete
  2. Church espouses and teaches for doctrines. We need to see it for what it is if we are to progress on the path of truth.go to site

    ReplyDelete