Book of Mormon Notes– How deep can you dig?

2018, December 31

Book of Mormon, Holy Bible, Doctrine and Covenants | “If God Is Unchangeable, Why Does the Church Change?” by grego

If God Is Unchangeable, Why Does the Church Change?
(c) 2018 by grego

God is unchangeable. We humans are not. Nor are the tools we have. Tools that are mundane, tools that are from God.

Truth and eternal laws are unchangeable in their appointed places. They don’t change, though there are different laws for different places—in other words, our reality is the same, but all reality (“all creation”) is not constant/ the same.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints’ policy certainly changes. Policy is a way of doing something, or a decision about how to act. It can be very simple, or it can be very “deep”. There was certainly no policy on polygamy before polygamy, and no giving the priesthood to the Blacks before they released themselves from overt bondage and oppression, and the church safe because of that.

Yes, the Church must remain safe, or it will, of course, fail in its purpose and mission. This holy Church never has been, and never will be, in our lives, free from outside and inside evil influences. This is not because the Church is evil, but because of evil people and evil ways.

The words of Jesus Christ: Matt. 22:21: “They say unto him, Caesar’s. Then saith he unto them, Render therefore unto Caesar the things which are Caesar’s; and unto God the things that are God’s.”
Mark 12:17: “And Jesus answering said unto them, Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s. And they marvelled at him.” Luke 20:25: “…Render therefore unto Caesar the things which be Caesar’s, and unto God the things which be God’s.” D&C 63:26: “Nevertheless, I, the Lord, render unto Caesar the things which are Caesar’s.

I don’t think we realize how much covert rendering some powerful forces require of the Church. What good is it to preach against Satan’s hosts, rile them up so they destroy the Church and the Saints; so that the true purpose and mission of the Church are quickly subdued? When President Hunter was held at bomb-point, it was a personal danger that allowed him to “stand strong against the adversary”; had the church itself been in danger, it might have been different. Matthew 5: 25 “Agree with thine adversary quickly, whiles thou art in the way with him; lest at any time the adversary deliver thee to the judge, and the judge deliver thee to the officer, and thou be cast into prison.” And in 3 Nephi 12: 25 “Agree with thine adversary quickly while thou art in the way with him, lest at any time he shall get thee, and thou shalt be cast into prison.” Why was polygamy stopped? There’s your answer.

No doubt there will be another future but not-distant point in history, when, as with polygamy in the past, Satan and his will stir up wicked emotions and wickedness and hypocrisy will rage against and ravage the Saints, and the Saints and the Church as we know it will be in danger; but it will hold; and God will save them. Until that time, however, the Church must carefully hold to its purpose the best it can, under circumstances. After the Second Coming of Jesus Christ, the Church will be very free to fulfill its purpose and mission.

Nevertheless, God, knowing all things from the beginning, will use opposing forces against the Church to further His purposes through the Church as much as can be.

As someone said, there are so many wars, you have to carefully choose which ones to fight, and how and when. This includes wars outside and inside the Church.

Our understanding of the truth certainly changes. Doctrine does. Yes, I know that many say doctrine does not change; but if we consider that ‘doctrine’ is “our understanding of truth, as revealed to us”, then of course we understand it changes, because we don’t have all truth revealed to us, nor do we understand it, especially all its context and nuances—and we never will, in this life. When leaders usually say ‘doctrine’, I think they mean ‘truth’. We’ve heard times in Sunday School where someone says something correct, but it’s not complete; someone else then says something that seems like it’s contrary, but in actuality, it’s just complementing the first comment. Even then, the two comments, however true they are, are not complete; we could go down many, many levels to get a more complete truth.

Here’s a great example of how ‘doctrine’ changes: the Spirit World.

In the Book of Mormon, Alma is the first person to talk about the spirit world, and the information he gives is sparse, and a little is personal opinion (Alma 41:9-14). In the Bible, we have a little information from Peter (1 Peter 2:12 “Having your conversation honest among the Gentiles: that, whereas they speak against you as evildoers, they may by your good works, which they shall behold, glorify God in the day of visitation.” 1 Peter 4:6 “For for this cause was the gospel preached also to them that are dead, that they might be judged according to men in the flesh, but live according to God in the spirit.”). From that point on, we have nothing official/ scriptural until Joseph F. Smith’s vision (DC 138). Unofficially, there are many more teachings from other latter-day prophets, particularly Brigham Young. There were also many personal experiences that contributed to our understanding. So, did the truth change between Nephi and now? No. Has our understanding of the truth changed/ increased? Yes. Has doctrine changed? Yes—because new revelation has increased our breadth and depth of the topic.

There have been times when things have been misunderstood—perhaps even intentionally given, knowing they would be misunderstood; waiting until we ask for clarification, to clarify.
For example:
DC 19:6 Nevertheless, it is not written that there shall be no end to this torment, but it is written endless torment.
7 Again, it is written eternal damnation; wherefore it is more express than other scriptures, that it might work upon the hearts of the children of men, altogether for my name’s glory.
8 Wherefore, I will explain unto you this mystery, for it is meet unto you to know even as mine apostles.
9 I speak unto you that are chosen in this thing, even as one, that you may enter into my rest.
10 For, behold, the mystery of godliness, how great is it! For, behold, I am endless, and the punishment which is given from my hand is endless punishment, for Endless is my name. Wherefore—
11 Eternal punishment is God’s punishment.
12 Endless punishment is God’s punishment.

Or, here:
3 Nephi 15:21 And verily I say unto you, that ye are they of whom I said: Other sheep I have which are not of this fold; them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one fold, and one shepherd.
22 And they understood me not, for they supposed it had been the Gentiles; for they understood not that the Gentiles should be converted through their preaching.
23 And they understood me not that I said they shall hear my voice; and they understood me not that the Gentiles should not at any time hear my voice—that I should not manifest myself unto them save it were by the Holy Ghost.

No doubt there are times when things were misunderstood, and the Lord allowed the mistakes, to some degree or another, to continue—until it was time to correct them.

What else influences the Church’s changes? The members of the Church. The Lord did not reveal to the apostles in Jerusalem the Nephites, nor perform so many open and wonderful miracles. Why? Here are some verses for understanding:

3 Nephi 15:16 This much did the Father command me, that I should tell unto them:
17 That other sheep I have which are not of this fold; them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one fold, and one shepherd.
18 And now, because of stiffneckedness and unbelief they understood not my word; therefore I was commanded to say no more of the Father concerning this thing unto them.
19 But, verily, I say unto you that the Father hath commanded me, and I tell it unto you, that ye were separated from among them because of their iniquity; therefore it is because of their iniquity that they know not of you.

3 Nephi 17:2 I perceive that ye are weak, that ye cannot understand all my words which I am commanded of the Father to speak unto you at this time.

3 Nephi 19:35 And it came to pass that when Jesus had made an end of praying he came again to the disciples, and said unto them: So great faith have I never seen among all the Jews; wherefore I could not show unto them so great miracles, because of their unbelief.

We see that it’s often up to the faith and righteousness of the members of the Church.

Joseph Smith also commented, “I have tried for a number of years to get the minds of the Saints prepared to receive the things of God; but we frequently see some of them, after suffering all they have for the work of God, will fly to pieces like glass as soon as anything comes that is contrary to their traditions: they cannot stand the fire at all.” When he says “anything new”, I’d say he’s talking about doctrine and policy. So, revelation of doctrine (‘new doctrine’, but not new truth) and policy for the Church also depends on the Saints and their ability to receive it.

If God is unchangeable, why does the Church change? Because until time stands still and circumstances and people remain constant, it’s best for the Church to change.

2008, June 24

The Greatest Irony in the Gospel: Satan the Sufferer of Sins

(Search “irony” on this blog for more articles about irony in the Book of Mormon, gospel, etc.)

There’s no doubt this one takes the cake–if it were true, that is. If it is or not, I don’t know; just that the thought crossed my mind, and just the possible irony of it was so great…

Before this earth, Lucifer wanted to sit on God’s throne. He knew it was wrong, but I imagine he wanted the power and the glory without having to pay with the suffering that was required in God’s (Heavenly Father’s) plan.

In Lucifer’s plan of salvation, the Savior (himself, Lucifer) would suffer no pain for sins at all, because no sins would be committed (so he said).

Jesus, however, was willing to suffer for all of others’ sins, even though he himself would be sinless. Lucifer saw he couldn’t get his way, persuaded others to follow him, rebelled, and was kicked out of heaven; he became Satan (same person, new name).

God’s plan continued as planned, and a Savior, as foreseen, was needed. And a Savior—Jesus Christ—was provided, according to plan.

This savior would receive all the inheritance of the Father, along with those who he saved.

Here’s the interesting twist.

Scriptures (see below) support a hierarchy/ link of responsibility of sin. Unless otherwise directed, if we know right from wrong and teach good, we are blessed. If we know right from wrong and teach evil, or we know right from wrong but don’t teach anything, we also have a part of responsibility for the sins of those we should have taught good to (such as children, church leadership, missionary work, etc.).

Parents are responsible for teaching children. If children weren’t taught evil, they would be good. We can see that this will happen in the Millenium; Satan will be bound.

So, who is the father of lies? Who is the father of evil? Who teaches man to sin? Satan.

So, will Satan pay the price of all the sins on this earth that he caused?

Jesus Christ, because of His love for His Father, Himself, and us, paid for the sins of the saved (and likely more) and saved us, and heaps glory, honor, and eternal riches upon His head.

Satan could have joined in, and Jesus Christ would have suffered and paid for his sins, too; and he would have gotten what he wanted! But, because of pride, hatred, and impatience, Satan pays for and will pay for all sins(?) (or a big portion of them), and heaps sin, misery, and destruction upon his head.

The one who wasn’t willing to be humble and free in the beginning for eternal riches, will pay the price for all in the end for… nothing of eternal worth?

What do you think?

Do we as parents also feel the weight of responsibility about teaching our children?

Scriptures that appear to support the viewpoint:

Main scripture:
Pearl of Great Price
Moses 7:37 But behold, their sins shall be upon the heads of their fathers; Satan shall be their father, and misery shall be their doom; and the whole heavens shall weep over them, even all the workmanship of mine hands; wherefore should not the heavens weep, seeing these shall suffer?

Sins of the children on the heads of the parents:
Doctrine and Covenants 68:25 And again, inasmuch as parents have children in Zion, or in any of her stakes which are organized, that teach them not to understand the doctrine of repentance, faith in Christ the Son of the living God, and of baptism and the gift of the Holy Ghost by the laying on of the hands, when eight years old, the sin be upon the heads of the parents.

Book of Mormon:
2 Nephi 4:5 But behold, my sons and my daughters, I cannot go down to my grave save I should leave a blessing upon you; for behold, I know that if ye are brought up in the way ye should go ye will not depart from it.
6 Wherefore, if ye are cursed, behold, I leave my blessing upon you, that the cursing may be taken from you and be answered upon the heads of your parents.

Jacob 1:19 And we did magnify our office unto the Lord, taking upon us the responsibility, answering the sins of the people upon our own heads if we did not teach them the word of God with all diligence; wherefore, by laboring with our might their blood might not come upon our garments; otherwise their blood would come upon our garments, and we would not be found spotless at the last day.

Jacob 3:10 Wherefore, ye shall remember your children, how that ye have grieved their hearts because of the example that ye have set before them; and also, remember that ye may, because of your filthiness, bring your children unto destruction, and their sins be heaped upon your heads at the last day.

Mosiah 29:30 And I command you to do these things in the fear of the Lord; and I command you to do these things, and that ye have no king; that if these people commit sins and iniquities they shall be answered upon their own heads.
31 For behold I say unto you, the sins of many people have been caused by the iniquities of their kings; therefore their iniquities are answered upon the heads of their kings.

Doctrine and Covenants 88:81 Behold, I sent you out to testify and warn the people, and it becometh every man who hath been warned to warn his neighbor.
82 Therefore, they are left without excuse, and their sins are upon their own heads.

Satan, father of lies:
Book of Mormon
2 Ne. 2:18 And because he had fallen from heaven, and had become miserable forever, he sought also the misery of all mankind. Wherefore, he said unto Eve, yea, even that old serpent, who is the devil, who is the father of all lies, wherefore he said: Partake of the forbidden fruit, and ye shall not die, but ye shall be as God, knowing good and evil.

2 Ne. 9:9 And our spirits must have become like unto him, and we become devils, angels to a devil, to be shut out from the presence of our God, and to remain with the father of lies, in misery, like unto himself; yea, to that being who beguiled our first parents, who transformeth himself nigh unto an angel of light, and stirreth up the children of men unto secret combinations of murder and all manner of secret works of darkness.

Ether 8:25 For it cometh to pass that whoso buildeth it up seeketh to overthrow the freedom of all lands, nations, and countries; and it bringeth to pass the destruction of all people, for it is built up by the devil, who is the father of all lies; even that same liar who beguiled our first parents, yea, even that same liar who hath caused man to commit murder from the beginning; who hath hardened the hearts of men that they have murdered the prophets, and stoned them, and cast them out from the beginning.

Pearl of Great Price
Moses 4:4 And he became Satan, yea, even the devil, the father of all lies, to deceive and to blind men, and to lead them captive at his will, even as many as would not hearken unto my voice.

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