Saturday, January 16, 2016

Line Upon Line, Precept Upon Precept

A regular reader of our blog wrote in recently to disagree with our article on “The Plan of Salvation-Part I,” claiming a erroneous revelation given in 1978 to President Spencer W. Kimball. The answer turned out to be far too long to answer in the comments section, so we have given it here in this post. The lengthy question can be viewed at the conclusion of “A Plan of Salvation-Part I,” Wednesday, January 6, 2016. 
    Answer: Everyone is entitled to their opinion and views—that is what free agency is about and one of the reasons it was granted to us. It is our right to choose. As for me, I understand the Pearl of Great Price and agree with and defend ALL is teachings that Moses and Abraham spoke. At the same time, God's Plan is not one that changes or causes Him any surprises as earth history unfolds. He knows in advance when things can take place and when they should, depending upon the conditions that exists among men, nations and people.
Brigham Young did not get it wrong—it is just that what was God’s will at one time can change at another time. Polygamy ran its course and was removed; the commandment to the Jews not to eat certain things ran its course; using wine for the sacrament ran its course; if you are old enough you know the temple endowment ran through its course to its present form; the United Order was given, then withdrawn; the Book of Mormon came forth when a Second Witness was needed by man—things change with the Lord as the knowledge of man and his experiences increase so that new commandments can be lived (the Word of Wisdom was first given at first not as a commandment since men were not ready for it, but it eventually became a commandment as man progressed; the new and everlasting covenant was given when man had progressed to that point in the Plan), etc. 
    The restrictions God places on man, or some men, are given according to His will and His purposes, not ours. They are changed, altered, or withdrawn as He sees fit.
When Nephi was commanded to create a second set of plates and to abridge his earlier writing in a second record, he said, “the Lord hath commanded me to make these plates for a wise purpose in him, which purpose I know not” (1 Nephi 9:5)—this is because “the Lord knoweth all things from the beginning; wherefore, he prepareth a way to accomplish all his works among the children of men; for behold, he hath all power unto the fulfilling of all his words” (1 Nephi 9:6).
    As can be seen, Earth Life is a progression from limited to extensive, from restrictions to opportunities—it is much like our own family life here on Earth. My children when little could understand things to their level, as they have grown over the years, they grew in knowledge and understanding, and today hold degrees, etc. What they know now and can do, was as far beyond their understanding when they were toddlers and little children and even teenagers, that it is like the difference between what we know and what God knows (no doubt an even greater difference).
God, through his son, has presented His Plan to us—our need is to understand it. Being God does not mean he casts all His knowledge at us in one huge broadside, nor organizes  his church with all knowledge in the beginningJoseph and Oliver learned as they progressed in the translation, asked for explanatins, and was given themthe Lord gives us information in bits and pieces as we grow capable of understanding more and more—it was, after all, how the Lord, and all of us grow in mortality: “And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and man” (Luke 2:52), which is a little word-painting by the Apostle in which the work and progress of long years is depicted. The purpose of this brief statement is clear as the Gospel is meant to teach us that, with Jesus, bodily growth and development proceeded in the same orderly fashion as it does with other men, while wisdom—deepening with the years—passed into his soul as it passes into the souls of other men, by the ordinary channels of instruction, study, and thought.
    After all, Jesus in mortality grew in knowledge and “received not of the fullness at the first, but received grace for grace; and he received not of the fullness at first, but continued from grace to grace, until he received a fullness” (D&C 93:12-13).
    In fact, this is how we all progress—the Lord does not give us all knowledge at one time, not man, not the Church, not His Plan—but he unveils more and more to us as we grow and develop and prove that we can handle what we have so far learned. As Nephi put it: “For behold, thus saith the Lord God: I will give unto the children of men line upon line, precept upon precept, here a little and there a little; and blessed are those who hearken unto my precepts, and lend an ear unto my counsel, for they shall learn wisdom; for unto him that receiveth I will give more; and from them that shall say, We have enough, from them shall be taken away even that which they have” (2 Nephi 28:30).
    We need to keep in mind that this Earth is just one of billions that God has created through his Son (Moses 2:1) throughout the Universe—“And behold, the glory of the Lord was upon Moses, so that Moses stood in the presence of God, and talked with him face to face. And the Lord God said unto Moses: For mine own purpose have I made these things. Here is wisdom and it remaineth in me. And by the word of my power, have I created them, which is mine Only Begotten Son, who is full of grace and truth. And worlds without number have I created; and I also created them for mine own purpose” (Moses 1:31-33); and also “Were it possible that man could number the particles of the earth, yea, millions of earths like this, it would not be a beginning to the number of my creations” (Moses 7:30). To think that God and his Son are not aware from sheer experience of all things that progress from an Adam to a millennium of an Earth’s development, and with The Plan how it unfolds and when this or that is to be revealed and when this or that has run its course, is sheer ignorance of the majesty of the Father and his omnipotence.
    Consider just how vast is his realm and the experience of such repeated creations of so many worlds like this one: Our own Milky-Way galaxy is so gigantic that it would take 1,000 lifetimes traveling at the speed of light to cross it one time. That's 186,282 miles per second for 70,000 years (that's 70,000 light years). Then consider that there is an estimated 49,999,999,999 more galaxies remaining.  These truths are so far beyond the human scope of thought that one is nearly speechless in trying to describe it. This led Moses to day"Now, for this cause I know that man is nothing, which thing I never had supposed" (Moses 1:10).
    Consider that the nearest star to the earth is 4.6 light years away, and traveling at the speed of light (one light-year being equal to 5,874,589,152,000 miles!) it would be a little over 27 trillion miles away. Thus, the nearest star is 27,000,000,000,000 miles away and there are only 20 stars within 70 trillion miles of the earth. Out of the 100,000,000,000 stars just within our own Milky Way Galaxy alone, there are only 20 stars within 12 light-years of our earth (within 70,000,000,000,000 miles). 
We are talking about God, the Father, through his Son, Jehovah/Jesus Christ, has organized all of this and far, far, far beyond what we can imagine—billions of planets peopled, each going through the stages of Earth Life and existence as we know and understand on this Earth. And each Earth unfolds by the same Plan—is called “Earth” (Moses 1:29), and “the first man of all men have I called Adam, which is many” (Moses 1:34). I would have loved to have known more on this subject, but the Lord told Moses that “only an account of this earth and the inhabitants thereof give I unto you” (Moses 1:35).
    Thus we learn, or should learn, that the Gospel of Jesus Christ does not change, but the implementation of it over time is altered from time to time according to the Will of God as it unfolds from His Plan. It does not change—but it grows as we grow, to enlighten us more and more as we progress through this Earth Life. How arrogant of man to think he knows more than God on any subject, or begins to evaluate what God does by his own infinitesimally tiny knowledge regarding God's many decisions and guidances to us in our lives through his prophets (Amos 3:7).But such is man, "Ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth" (2 Timothy 3:7).


  1. One weakness of your analysis is the idea that God would not allow the leaders of His church to make serious mistakes. That is not scriptural. All that arguments for that idea are simply the politics of men. D&C 136:31 warns the Latter-day Saints that they will be tried in "all things". All things includes the commandments given to them in the D&C. Today, the D&C is FULL of instructions the church leaders do not speak of or suggest need to be obeyed. That is openly troublesome of itself. D&C 107:81-84 gives instructions for holding a trial over the President of the church or one of his counselors-- and possibly removing him. But if a member today claims the right to NOT sustain the present church President based on a controversy until it is settled fairly, that member is not treated as a faithful member. The intense warning in 2 Nephi 28:21 of a pacifying spirit that leads to hell. I know of nothing that fulfills this warning more than the idolatrous doctrine that God guarantees the church President will never be allowed to lead the church astray.

  2. Let's approach this from a rationale viewpoint. If, as we say, God is in charge of this Church, and if, as we say God calls Presidents to serve and has absolute control over their life and death and can remove anyone at any time He chooses, and if as you say, one of His leaders begins to lead the Church astray, why on Earth would He just sit back and let his children be led down to Hell when He has the power to remove that wayfaring man? To me, this does not make sense. I have no doubt in my mind that God does lead this Church. In the callings I have been privileged to hold in Ward, Stake, Regional and Area responsibilities over my lifetime, I have seen the hand of the Lord in the direction and control of this Church more times and in more distinct ways than I could begin to state.
    Since God calls imperfect people to positions by other imperfect people some mistakes are bound to appear to or do happen. Do you think God does not know this? But then, who am I or you to say a mistake was made, or that this or that Church President or General Authority is making wrong decisions? I know I am not more knowledgeable than the Lord, and I do not profess to know how He thinks, who He wants to lead or at what point in a time line things went wrong. How on Earth can any man believe he would personally know such a thing?
    In addition, this idea that the Doctrine & Covenants has directions for the Church and that the Brethren do not know what is in that book is ridiculous. So is the lack of understanding people have in the fact that the Church, like all of us, has to crawl before it can walk, walk before it can run, etc. We learn, the lord learned, and the church learns line upon line and precept upon precept.
    I remember when we had ward Seventies, though the D&C explicitly said this was to be a General level calling, not a local one. It took some years before the Church was in a position to make that switch and before it did, an enormous amount of missionary work was done in preparation at the local level. Today, that work is now being done world wild in a planned singular set of General Quorum of the Seventy as originally stated.
    Yet, who is any one of us to say that it is not the way the Lord wanted the Church to move and in what direction under what system at what time? Because something is set in the D&C through revelation in its overall sense, does that mean the Church must operate that way from the beginning?
    Frankly, I think it is pure arrogance on the part of man to think he knows more than the Lord on how this Church should be run and by whom.
    I have no doubt at all that the Lord can make any instantaneous change in this Church he wants at any time—he has the power of life and death, and over who does what and when. You say he lets leaders mislead so we will have a trial of our faith. I would say the trial of our faith is more in accepting God’s hand in all things and following his program the way it unfolds despite our own personal viewpoints—which simplyh will never be smarter, more accurate or more perfect than God’s... (cont below)

  3. And lastly, having sat in on numerous Church courts over an enormous length of time, I disagree with your viewpoint of how people are treated who disagree with proposals and vote against this one or that one. Have you ever been on the recipient end of such action and seen how things really unfold? I have, and while the sacredness of events are not mine to discuss, I can tell you that your viewpoint is not in keeping with my experience. I have also seen the lives of people who make issues over such matters and how they unfold as time passes, following their actions, etc., and suggest that in many cases, those who disagree often end up losing in this battle of the trial of their faith—not because of the Church or members or leaders, but because of their own natures.
    I disagree that there is a weakness in my argument on this. I have never met a man who disagreed with what the Church was doing who I thought knew more than God, knew more than the President of the Church, or knew more than the church leaders, though I have had discussions with or listened to those who disagreed. At one time I was in a position to judge men—it is an overwhelming responsibility and one I would never want to have again. It is easy to sit back and criticize when there is no responsibility, but something else entirely when the oneness is on your shoulders to make decisions over the lives of people.
    I have also never found in my life where one or a handful of people are correct when millions disagree with him. Is it possible, probably, but is it likely, not very.
    As for the doctrine of the prophet not leading the church astray, I cannot speak for its official status; however, it makes a lot more sense from a loving Heavenly Father in the guidance and care of His children than the idea you champion that Prophets of the Church have, do, or will be allowed to lead people astray and down to Hell merely for the trial of their faith!

  4. One thing that relates to who may hold the priesthood.
    Wasn't is at one time restricted to Aaron and his descendants in the tribe of Levi?

  5. Only the Aaronic Priesthood was restricted to Aaron. Moses held the Melchizedek Priesthood as did most, if not all, of the Prophets.