Joseph Fielding McConkie on Christ as the Son of God

Loved this discussion from Joseph Fielding McConkie’s “Valiant in the Testimony of Jesus” (page 96)

“It is not sufficient for us to testify that Jesus is the Christ; our testimony must embrace the verity that he is the Son of God. This is the key that unlocks the revelations of heaven to us, as it did for Peter. Another classic illustration of this principle comes from Nephi, in his explanation of how his father unlocked the heavens to receive the revelation that Nephi then sought to obtain. “He spake,” Nephi said, “by the power of the Holy Ghost, which power he recieved by faith on the Son of God – and the Son of God was the Messiah who should come”

“All true religion is based on the testimony that Jesus Christ, the promised Messiah, is actually and literally the Son of God. This doctrine is the key that unlocks the right to revelation and the meaning of all the revelations of heaven.” …

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D&C 1 warnings and modern ideals

I was struck by the wording of this revelation recently.

D&C 1:12 Prepare ye, prepare ye for that which is to come, for the Lord is nigh;
 13 And the anger of the Lord is kindled, and his sword is bathed in heaven, and it shall fall upon the inhabitants of the earth.
 14 And the arm of the Lord shall be revealed; and the day cometh that they who will not hear the voice of the Lord, neither the voice of his servants, neither give heed to the words of the prophets and apostles, shall be cut off from among the people;
 15 For they have strayed from mine ordinances, and have broken mine everlasting covenant;
 16 They seek not the Lord to establish his righteousness, but every man walketh in his own way, and after the image of his own god, whose image is in the likeness of the world, and whose substance is that of an idol, which waxeth old and shall perish in Babylon, even Babylon the great, which shall fall.

The statements here are simple enough. The Lord’s anger is kindled. Kindling is a reference to a fire that is just being ignited. It refers to the time at which the revelation was given.

Verse 16 is particularly interesting. Every man walks in his own way. While the Lord saw that was true in Joseph Smith’s day when the revelation given, in modern days this has become a cultural cornerstone that even many church members will endorse. It is the false teaching that “everyone has to find his own path”. It is often used to argue against church doctrines and standards with phrases like “there is no one size fits all”.

Every man walks after the image of his own god, whose image is in the likeness of he world. While many were externally claiming to seek the Lord’s will when this revelation, the Lord knew that wasn’t the reality. The reality was that in their hearts the people of the world where looking to the world for their ideas about God and following that false God in place of the real thing.

Whose substance is that of an idol. If you let the world determine what you think God is like, then you are worshiping a figment of your imagination, and not the true and living God. In that case, what you are worshiping has no more reality to it than an idol or statue does.

Which waxeth old and shall perish. Of necessity, worship of such substitutes will bring no eternal rewards. They prove to be as temporary as anything else of this earth.

The Lord could see the reality of what was happening in Joseph Smith’s days. He could look into the hearts of the people. In these days some of the things warned against here have grown from truths hidden in the darkened corners of worldly men’s hearts into a public frenzy. “Every man walks in his own way” is no longer so much a warning as a beloved standard – a cornerstone of a corrupted society.

Musing on Isaiah seeing the Lord

The account in 2 Nephi 16 (and Isaiah 6) is interesting.

1 In the year that king Uzziah died, I saw also the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up, and his train filled the temple.
2 Above it stood the seraphim; each one had six wings; with twain he covered his face, and with twain he covered his feet, and with twain he did fly.
3 And one cried unto another, and said: Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord of Hosts; the whole earth is full of his glory.
4 And the posts of the door moved at the voice of him that cried, and the house was filled with smoke.
5 Then said I: Wo is unto me! for I am undone; because I am a man of unclean lips; and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; for mine eyes have seen the King, the Lord of Hosts.
6 Then flew one of the seraphim unto me, having a live coal in his hand, which he had taken with the tongs from off the altar;
7 And he laid it upon my mouth, and said: Lo, this has touched thy lips; and thine iniquity is taken away, and thy sin purged.

Certainly we see the atonement in here. But Isaiah knew Christ far better than I do. As one of the most notable of all prophets I am sure he understood the atonement many times better than I ever will. He was baptized before having this experience. He was worthy to be a prophet. It appears that from that alone he wasn’t prepared for this. There was greater cleansing necessary beyond what was initially offered at baptism.

Just as we see in Isaiah’s vision, the cleanliness offered at baptism isn’t the full measure available through the atonement. Otherwise we wouldn’t read such things as

Alma 13: 11 Therefore they were called after this holy order, and were sanctified, and their garments were washed white through the blood of the Lamb.
 12 Now they, after being sanctified by the Holy Ghost, having their garments made white, being pure and spotless before God, could not look upon sin save it were with abhorrence; and there were many, exceedingly great many, who were made pure and entered into the rest of the Lord their God.

Where have Joseph’s friend all gone?

I love Brigham Young. I wish he could have given his response to Rough Stone Rolling. Where have Joseph’s friends all gone? I wouldn’t read such a book about one I call a friend. I want to look Joseph Smith in the eye when I meet him, and know we are friends already. I want him to know I was true to him.
Harold B Lee said in general conference:
“I have one other thought I should like to express. Brigham Young was a great defender of the Prophet Joseph Smith. There were Judases in the ranks in that day, just as there were in the Savior’s day, and just as we have today, some who are members of the Church who are undercutting us, who are betraying their trusts. We are shocked when we see the places from which some of these things come.
Brigham Young was invited by some of these men who were trying to depose the Prophet Joseph from his position as President of the Church; but they made a mistake by inviting President Brigham Young into their circle. And after he had listened to what their motives were, he said something to this effect: ‘I want to say something to you men. You cannot destroy the appointment of a prophet of God, but you can cut the thread that binds you to the prophet of God, and sink yourselves to hell.
There was a pugilist there by the name of Jacob Bump, so the story goes, who doubled up his fists and started toward President Young, who replied to this man’s threats: ‘I would like to lay hands on a man like you in defense of the Prophet Joseph Smith.’

Faith and Science

This was originally posted on facebook, June 12, 2014. I moved it here because old things are hard to find on facebook. 
Those who are learned may wonder why the Lord would allow such a wide gap between what he reveals to be true and what the sciences claim to be the true, e.g. the theory of evolution which claims that 2 of the 3 pillars of eternity are pure myth (the world created in a paradisiacal, terrestrial state without death or procreation ,which world then fell to a telestial state as a result of Adam and Eve’s choice and through that fall aging, procreation and death entered the world).
The Lord cannot create the kind of faith in members that can root up a sycamime tree and command it to be planted in the sea if the members are not willing to have faith that is above and beyond their belief in what they learned from physics, chemistry, biology or any other earthly science. It is like Joseph Smith trying to get the golden plates (though his was a different issue) which required his casting aside all competing interests. The Lord wants us to cast aside all doubt, all belief that anything can supercede or be more correct or more true than God’s revelations and the gentle whisperings of the spirit. Everything else must be recognized as completely inferior. As Elder Scott pointed out, as we follow God’s path we will in time believe the Holy Ghost above what our ears and eyes tell us. The learned man who believes in what he learned about physical death more than he believes in revealed truth will have a near impossible time overcoming that mote of doubt that would allow him to return the dead to life. Sure, he can adminster to the sick, but he has capped his faith, he has set up stakes for the almighty (to borrow a Joseph Smith phrase) and has said “here you can go and no further” to God.
In the end the sciences will all prove to support the revelations, not the other way round. But until then, I think it is very intentional that they just keep disagreeing on the key points of revealed religion. That is necessary for us. We must learn to completely subject our belief in any and all of the learning of man to the revelations of God. So he makes sure we are put in the position were we must make exactly that choice.
The sciences will only really take off when God reigns personally on the earth, and everything we “know” now will be as primitive as counting on one’s fingers. And it will be the revelations, not the ideas of men, which will be found to be perfect and unflawed when all the great truths about the universe are finally unfolded. God will not be apologizing for his prophets, but will confirm again that whether by his own voice, or by the voice of his servants, it is the same.

——

Kristopher Swinson posted the following quote from Bruce R McConkie as a comment on the original post.

“Will the Lord give us the full and revealed account of the creation as long as we believe in the theories of evolution? Will he give us more guidance in governmental affairs as long as we choose socialistic ways which lead to the overthrow of freedom? We have yet to attain that degree of obedience and personal righteousness which will give us faith like the ancients: faith to multiply miracles, move mountains, and put at defiance the armies of nations; faith to quench the violence of fire, divide seas and stop the mouths of lions; faith to break every band and to stand in the presence of God. Faith comes in degrees. Until we gain faith to heal the sick, how can we ever expect to move mountains and divide seas? . . . As long as we disagree as to the simple and easy doctrines of salvation, how can we ever have unity on the complex and endless truths yet to be revealed? . . . How many among us are now prepared to entertain angels, to see the face of the Lord, to go where God and Christ are and be like them?” (Bruce R McConkie, “This Final Glorious Gospel Dispensation” Ensign, Apr. 1980, 25)

Working mothers and the rich young man

I think we have lived so long in luxury we have redefined it all to be necessity. If we are willing to put the luxuries out of our hearts, then I firmly believe many, many women who think they need to work would find they did not. We are as the rich young man who are given a commandment that would require us to live outside the luxury that surrounds us, and then go away sorrowing because of our many things.

What constitutes a chance to hear the gospel, out of the books which shall be written

Up until yesterday I would have asserted that no one knows what constitutes a “chance” to hear the gospel. I was also less certain what the various statements to the effect that a people would be judged by the book that were written meant.

But then I was reading in Mosiah 3. An angel appeared to King Benjamin and gave him words to teach the people about redemption through Christ. It then states:

Mosiah 3:22 And even at this time, when thou shalt have taught thy people the things which the Lord thy God hath commanded thee, even then are they found no more blameless in the sight of God, only according to the words which I have spoken unto thee.

There we have a clear statement. His teachings constituted a “chance” to accept the gospel. That is what the phrase “they are no more blameless” refers to. When he delivered these words to the people, “even then are they found no more blameless in the sight of God, only according to the words which I have spoken unto thee”. Put differently, starting from that point they are no more blameless, unless they actually accept his words, and partake of the redemption of Christ through repentance and baptism.

We then get a fuller explanation of how this works, as well as an explanation of how a people are judged by the books which are written.

Mosiah 3:23 And now I have spoken the words which the Lord God hath commanded me.
 24 And thus saith the Lord: They shall stand as a bright testimony against this people, at the judgment day; whereof they shall be judged, every man according to his works, whether they be good, or whether they be evil.

These words which were taught to them will also testify against them if they fail to accept them. “They shall stand as a bright testimony against this people at the judgement day”. Interestingly, it still states that they will be judged according to their works. They would be judged on what works they chose, based on the words that were given to them.

It sounds like the teachings about being judged out of the books which shall be written is at least in part a statement that they will be judged by the inspired teachings they had among them. Such teachings will “stand as a bright testimony” against those who reject them.