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Finrock

The Spirit of God

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Good Afternoon Just_A_Guy. I hope all is well with you this weekend! :)

An intriguing thought. What, specifically, in the LoF do you think that the Church was not ready for? What did Joseph and Sidney teach in 1835 that isn't being taught in 2013?

It's one thing to quit talking about a doctrine because the Church isn't ready for it. It's another thing to substitute it with a contradictory doctrine. Is the Holy Ghost a Personage, or isn't he? In 1835 Joseph Smith is saying (or approving Sidney Rigdon's saying) "no". By Nauvoo, he changes that answer to "yes". So where does that leave the 1835 statement?

I apologize for the length of this quote, but please indulge me:

16 Had it not been for the principle of faith the worlds would never have been framed, neither would man have been formed of the dust--it is the principle by which Jehovah works, and through which he exercises power over all temporal, as well as eternal things. Take this principle or attribute, (for it is an attribute) from the Deity and he would cease to exist.

17 Who cannot see, that if God framed the worlds by faith, that it is by faith that he exercises power over them, and that faith is the principle of power? And that if the principle of power, it must be so in man as well as in the Deity? This is the testimony of all

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the sacred writers, and the lesson which they have been endeavoring to teach to man.

18 The Savior says, Matthew 17:19,20, in explaining the reason why the disciples could not cast out the devil, that it was because of their unbelief: "For verily, I say unto you," said he, "if ye have faith as a grain of mustard-seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place! and it shall remove: and nothing shall be impossible unto you."

19 Moroni, while abridging and compiling the record of his fathers, has given us the following account of faith as the principle of power: He says, page 563, that it was the faith of Alma and Amulek which caused the walls of the prison to be wrent, as recorded on the 264th page; that it was the faith of Nephi and Lehi which caused a change to be wrought upon the hearts of the Lamanites, when they were immersed with the Holy Spirit, and with fire, as seen on the 421st page, and that it was by faith that the mountain Zerin was removed, when the brother of Jared spake in the name of the Lord. See also 565th page.

20 In addition to this we are told in Hebrews, 11:32, 33, 34, 35, that Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, David, Samuel, and the prophets, through faith subdued kingdoms, wrought righteousness, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions, quenched the violence of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, out of weakness were made strong, waxed valiant in fight, turned to flight the armies of the aliens; and that women received their dead raised to life again. &c. &c.

21 Also, Joshua, in the sight of all Israel, bade the sun and moon to stand still, and it was done. Josh. 10:12.

22 We here understand, that the sacred writers say, that all these things were done by faith--It was by faith that the worlds were framed--God spake, chaos heard, and worlds came into order, by reason of the faith there was in HIM. So with man also--he spake

[page 9]

by faith in the name of God, and the sun stood still, the moon obeyed, mountains removed, prisons fell, lions' mouths were closed, the human heart lost its enmity, fire its violence, armies their power, the sword its terror, and death its dominion; and all this by reason of the faith which was in them.

Honest introspection time: Are we, as a people, exhibiting this type of faith? Do we know and recognize what we can accomplish by our faith? Why would God exhibit such great power as to remove a mountain during ancient times yet He would not exhibit it in modern times, if it was up to God to manifest His power? If we aren't seeing these great works it is because we lack faith. We, in some degree or another, are in a state of unbelief. It is like being in a dream and finally recognizing that you are in a dream and that what you thought was reality indeed is not. We need to fully realize that this life is not who or what we are. We are in actuality spirits, clothed in bodies. We did not originate here. We are not "of the earth". This sphere that we are in, is indeed a sphere, a sphere that is temporal and temporary. Our true identity, our mind (that part that makes us, us) is our spirit. Before anything else, we are spirit. It is spirit that glorifies matter. Without spirit, there is no life. God's Spirit is exalted, and glorified. However, His Spirit could not be glorified without the body, the matter. In my view, matter acts as a sort of polish to our spirits, until we are perfectly bright.

My point, however, is that unless we recognize reality as it truly is, we cannot exercise faith unto salvation. We cannot and will not have the faith to move mountains or its equivalent. We cannot and will not be able to withstand the coming trials and tribulations. This is what all of the prophets have told us. Even in last general conference I counted at least ten or more references from various general authorities that we live in perilous times. We have been forewarned, warned, and continue to be warned to be prepared.

Now, this is all anecdotal, but this sort of emphasis on our roles as sons and daughters of God, seems to be missing. What I mean by emphasis that is missing, is that we are making excuses for the reasons why we aren't exercising God's power through faith to bring about His purposes on this earth. Now, this is not to say that miracles have ceased. On an individual level we have countless examples of people who have exercised great faith and have brought about much good because of it. But, collectively, we seem to think that faith, seeing visions, conversing with angels, speaking with God, and all those sorts of things are stuff for other people like prophets and the super righteous.

Anyways, I've kinda gotten sidetracked, but the LoF puts an emphasis on this point and many others that, in my experience, is lacking. Not that it isn't there or to be found, but we don't emphasize it. And perhaps this has been a good thing. Now, speaking speculatively, perhaps with LoF left as Scripture people would have still rejected it because it seems strange and contradictory and they would have been under greater condemnation because it was canonized scripture. With it removed, God can be more merciful and those who are looking can find it.

One last point, in all of this, my overarching point has also been that none of us are more special. That means no person in all of existence is loved more than any other person by our Heavenly Father. He is no respecter of persons. We can expect Him to treat us as He would treat any "great" prophet. He will do this when we exercise faith. We have equal, and without reservation, access to the same privileges that has been afforded to every prophet, prophetess, or apostle. So, this isn't about some elite special few. This is about the fact that we are all, indeed, elect if we hear and obey His voice.

-Finrock

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By joseph smith own words. If one rejects or even if they do not understand the character of God, doees not understand what Joseph was trying to say when in fact it says one must understand it to receive life unto salvation, by definition they do not have the knowledge unto life and salvation.

If that's your argument, OK (we could have some real fun about how a hyper-literal interpretation of that statement plays into the fact that later LDS leaders taught, and then rejected, Adam-God, but I'll save that for another day); but let's stop this dishonest "What? Me, denigrate?" schtick.

If it was not cannon and was misleading, than it truly is not doctrine. IF it is cannon and NOT misleading, than we are rejecting PURE doctrine.

Truth is truth, and inaccuracy is inaccuracy, regardless of whether mankind chooses to canonize a written document containing that truth/inaccuracy and regardless of whether someone chooses to call it "doctrine".

YES, I believe all that he HAS revealed including the LOF.

But you deny that there was any component of revelation or inspiration in the First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve's decision to de-canonize them.

Or again lack of records... But I do not believe this to be the case as the spirit tells me they are eternally true.

Huh. The Spirit has told me something different. Best of luck to each of us, I guess.

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Finrock, your post is very thought-provoking, and I thank you.

My one observation is that if LoF was removed in order to remove scripture that would have condemned the Saints, then one would think there would have been a much more invasive overhaul of ALL the scriptures, and especially the D&C. It seems to me more likely that the Church leadership was finally prepared to acknowledge what apostates like Whitmer and Law had been saying all along--that the teachings of Nauvoo Mormonism had evolved significantly beyond their Kirtland roots. Moreover, your idea of a merciful God deliberately instructing His stewards to excise stumbling blocks from the scriptures doesn't square with the dire warnings of others here to the effect that we must accept non canonical scriptures in their entirety or risk damnation.

I think (again, anecdotally) that there's still a lot of emphasis on what we should be seeking in terms of divine power. But let's be blunt: our Aaronic Priesthood isn't going to be conversing with angels if it can't figure out how to leave porn alone. Our Melchizedek Priesthood holders can forget about receiving the Second Comforter if their ambivalence about the Law of Chastity or tithing/consecration, or their utter dismissiveness of the Church's general and local authorities, deprives them of temple recommends.

What percentage of those who heard the Lectures on Faith as originally delivered in Kirtland, were still with the Church in Utah fifteen years later?

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Joseph Smith said something to the effect that man is not damned for his belief but damned for his unbelief. Lectures on Faith helps me understand that comment further. It'd be better to believe the Lectures than to not believe it.

Random example, if you do not believe chemistry is worth any value, then you will not take any time to study it. Same thing with Lectures. Then we lost the opportunity to learn principles regarding faith from Lectures.

Read the first Lecture multiple times over and then when you understand the first half of that one then it should make sense why it is not a bad thing to believe the Lectures.

First you have to believe my post.

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I guess a warning that this post ended up being a bit personal so I apologize for that but my thoughts are sincere.

My one observation is that if LoF was removed in order to remove scripture that would have condemned the Saints, then one would think there would have been a much more invasive overhaul of ALL the scriptures, and especially the D&C. It seems to me more likely that the Church leadership was finally prepared to acknowledge what apostates like Whitmer and Law had been saying all along--that the teachings of Nauvoo Mormonism had evolved significantly beyond their Kirtland roots. Moreover, your idea of a merciful God deliberately instructing His stewards to excise stumbling blocks from the scriptures doesn't square with the dire warnings of others here to the effect that we must accept non canonical scriptures in their entirety or risk damnation.

I guess I don't assume that the committee or the prophets necessarily acted knowingly in removing the LoF from canon. Or, said another way, I don't assume that God deliberately instructed His stewards to remove the LoF from canon. It is possible that this committee did indeed ignorantly remove scripture. However, that is the state of the leadership of that time. If that makes sense. Meaning, God works with what we are. He knows who we really are. There is no delusion in Him. He is not fooled or foiled in the bit. I guess I'm saying that the LoF got removed because the Church leadership at the time rejected it, either by committee or personally. God seldom interferes with our decisions. Our liberty to choose and freedom of agency are paramount. So, things happened as they happened. But, to God all things are known and so He knows how to use all things for His good and for His purposes. For whatever reason, the people of the Church were not ready for the LoF, but all things are known to the Father, and perhaps Father in mercy, like with the Israelites, gave us our ten commandments rather than the full law, knowing the people would also reject it.

Please know that I am fully aware that my position assumes that the LoF are true, but this is what I am offering...my position.

I think that we are seeing a rebirth, of sorts, of all of this information that has been lost. The internet has been the catalyst to unearth all sorts of useful and profitable information from our past. Doctrine that hasn't been emphasized as much is beginning to be emphasized again. We need these things. We need something to wake us up from our dream and realize that we are God's sons and daughters. We are divine. We have access and we are commanded to be one with God just as the Son and the Holy Ghost are one with the Father. If we have the Father's Spirit, in its fullness, just as the Son and the Holy Ghost possess it, are we not then one? Will we not then be one people, without any -ites? We are one people. We just need to believe it and act on that belief and don't let anything dissuade you or cause you to falter. God is there for us and He will comfort us when we are broken. I don't say this as some platitude. As a young child I was raped by my mother and grandmother between the ages of four and six. I have not known what it means to be loved unconditionally by my mother. For years I have suffered, ignorantly mostly, from the effects of my abuse. I don't want to get in to details but I know that the atonement of Jesus Christ is real because when I cried out to God for relief, I received it and it was only God through His Son that could succor me and make me whole. Because Christ suffered for me. I was able to cast burdens that I had been carrying for years upon His shoulders, as I found rest. He poured out His Spirit upon me. I know God lives and that He loves me and that He has a purpose for my life. As miserable and as lonely as my life has seemed at times, God has been there with me all along and He has used all of my life's experience to shape me in to who I am. I was ignorant to this most of my life. I denied truth. Even after I accepted the truth, I denied that it affected me. I had no inclination that God was using these experiences for my good. Now, in retrospect, I can see how my suffering has made me better. As I have relied on the atonement and as I have cried out to God, my weaknesses have begun to be made strong. What can I do but be grateful to Heavenly Father for giving me these experiences which have lead to many great blessings in my life.

But let's be blunt: our Aaronic Priesthood isn't going to be conversing with angels if it can't figure out how to leave porn alone. Our Melchizedek Priesthood holders can forget about receiving the Second Comforter if their ambivalence about the Law of Chastity or tithing/consecration, or their utter dismissiveness of the Church's general and local authorities, deprives them of temple recommends.

Exactly. I think having a correct understanding of what's really going on here (as in our true purpose, condition) will help wake people up to their awful situation. We need to remember that we are sons and daughters of God. We came here on earth to be tested through our bodies, not to get lost in the world. I think we are too bound to tradition (traditions of men outside the Church and traditions of men inside the Church) and too married to doing things through policy and procedure as opposed to doing things by the Spirit (and whether its God's Spirit or the Holy Ghost, it really doesn't matter because they are one).

I need to step up and practice what I preach. I need to exercise faith and cast aside all doubt. If I can fulfill these things then perhaps God's power will be manifested in my actions and words so that my brothers and sisters can be motivated to seek after righteousness as well and get their own witness and their own assurance.

Pornography and that plague can be overcome. And God's power is what is going to do it. Nothing else. No committee, no reasoning, no wisdom of man will change lives, only the power of God and if there is no one wielding God's power then God's power is not manifest. We need to possess God's power because our temple is pure.

What percentage of those who heard the Lectures on Faith as originally delivered in Kirtland, were still with the Church in Utah fifteen years later?

I don't know. Was this a rhetorical question?

-Finrock

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Beautifully written, Finrock. And I submit that the LoF, as well as the BoM, is a road map to understanding the attributes of God and Godliness and what kind of sacrifice is required to obtain such faith so that we can become as Christ, who sacrificed all. When we see Him we shall see Him as He is because we will be like Him. To know God (as the bro of Jared, Nephi, Jacob, etc) is salvation. It is to become celestial. But we cannot if we have misconceptions about who and what He is. And what they are. This, I believe, was the focus of Joseph Smith's teachings.

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Joseph Smith said something to the effect that man is not damned for his belief but damned for his unbelief. Lectures on Faith helps me understand that comment further. It'd be better to believe the Lectures than to not believe it.

Even if accepting the LoF completely, unquestioningly, logically requires me to discard some other belief that is of divine origin?

Random example, if you do not believe chemistry is worth any value, then you will not take any time to study it. . . Read the first Lecture multiple times over and then when you understand the first half of that one then it should make sense why it is not a bad thing to believe the Lectures.

This seems reminiscent of the old "if-you-don't-think-like-I-do-you-clearly-just-haven't-studied-it-enough canard. Moreover, saying one "doesn't believe the Lectures" because one takes issue with a few statements in them, is as problematic as the critics of Mormonism who charge that we "don't believe the Bible" because we, as Mormons, take issue with the way some passages therein are presented/translated.

Same thing with Lectures. Then we lost the opportunity to learn principles regarding faith from Lectures.

I'm sorry--did the Church burn all the extant copies of the Lectures, and I somehow missed the memo?

I guess I don't assume that the committee or the prophets necessarily acted knowingly in removing the LoF from canon. Or, said another way, I don't assume that God deliberately instructed His stewards to remove the LoF from canon. It is possible that this committee did indeed ignorantly remove scripture. However, that is the state of the leadership of that time. If that makes sense. Meaning, God works with what we are. He knows who we really are. There is no delusion in Him. He is not fooled or foiled in the bit. I guess I'm saying that the LoF got removed because the Church leadership at the time rejected it, either by committee or personally. God seldom interferes with our decisions. Our liberty to choose and freedom of agency are paramount.

Then what of Woodruff's assurance that if he were to try to lead the Church astray God would immediately remove him from office? If our prophets and apostles aren't even sufficiently inspired to discern and prevent an unauthorized scheme to throw several dozen pages of canonized scripture down the memory hole--then what's the point of having them in the first place?

For whatever reason, the people of the Church were not ready for the LoF, but all things are known to the Father, and perhaps Father in mercy, like with the Israelites, gave us our ten commandments rather than the full law, knowing the people would also reject it.

I guess I don't quite understand why some people are so fixated on this explanation and are unable or unwilling to concede the possibility that Joseph Smith learned more about the character of God after the Lectures were delivered and published.

We need something to wake us up from our dream and realize that we are God's sons and daughters. We are divine. We have access and we are commanded to be one with God just as the Son and the Holy Ghost are one with the Father. If we have the Father's Spirit, in its fullness, just as the Son and the Holy Ghost possess it, are we not then one?

This "rebirth" of which you speak has been, to a significant degree, spearheaded by people who desperately, desperately want us to think that Church leadership has bungled things; and so they cultivate the impression that Church leadership for generations hasn't been trying to take us to a higher plane of spirituality. Once you've let yourself be taught to start actively looking for any kind of deficiency in the Church--you'll find it.

Pornography and that plague can be overcome. And God's power is what is going to do it. Nothing else. No committee, no reasoning, no wisdom of man will change lives, only the power of God and if there is no one wielding God's power then God's power is not manifest. We need to possess God's power because our temple is pure.

Naturally. But are you implying that the Church isn't doing enough to teach addicts to harness the power of God in overcoming that scourge? If so, I would strongly encourage you to sit in on an addiction recovery program group meeting in your area. I don't say that "all is well in Zion"; but I do say that the Church theologically is not in the dire straits that some would have us believe it to be in.

[Regarding my question as to how many of the original hearers of the LoF were still with the Church in Utah 15 years later]I don't know. Was this a rhetorical question?

A little of both. From a historical standpoint--the 1835 D&C (which included the LoF) bore the names and testimonies of the Twelve Apostles as then constituted. Five of them apostatized, never to return. Four more went through short-term periods of apostasy. How could this happen, if the Lectures on Faith are the indispensable one-shot cure-all for what ails the Church?

And, another thing, for those who assert that the Church is under condemnation in part for abandoning the LoF--when the Lectures on Faith were given in 1834-1835, and when they were included in the D&C in 1835--the condemnation spoken of in D&C 84 had already been in place since September of 1832. Canonization of the LoF was apparently not enough to remove this condemnation. So why should de-canonization be such an unambiguously grave step in the wrong direction?

Again: Are the Lectures on Faith mostly right, and intensely profitable for study? Sure. Are they perfect? I submit that they are not, and no one has really addressed the specific example of an inaccuracy that I've proposed to date.

Is the Church in a state of apostasy, or even condemnation, because of an errant decision by the First Presidency and the Twelve to de-canonize them (and I recognize that this isn't quite your position, Finrock; but I think it's the implication of some other participants in this thread)? I argue that it is not. Unlike a fish, the Church does not rot from the head.

When we see Him we shall see Him as He is because we will be like Him. To know God (as the bro of Jared, Nephi, Jacob, etc) is salvation. It is to become celestial. But we cannot if we have misconceptions about who and what He is. And what they are.

OK, Skalenfehl.

Brigham Young said that the God who sired Jesus was the glorified Michael, who was an exalted being before he ever entered Eden. Young said that Joseph Smith taught him that. Taylor and Woodruff agreed with and repeated Young's teachings. AFAIK, Lorenzo Snow never repudiated the idea (his sister Eliza repeated it in some of her poetry). Joseph F. Smith accepted it as a young man, then publicly repudiated it, as has pretty much every LDS prophet since.

So, Skalenfehl--we've got one group of five LDS prophets and a second group of eleven LDS prophets. Those two groups had conflicting conceptions about the character of God. If the elimination of all misconceptions about the character of God is a prerequisite to entering His presence, then one group of prophets or the other got it staggeringly, disastrously wrong.

So, in your view--which group lost out on Celestial glory?

Edited by Just_A_Guy

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Seems to me that there is a logical circle going on.

The case is being made that without the Lectures of Faith we can't have true understanding of the nature of God. Yet the only real point of conflict between what we have and the Lectures of Faith is in with the 130th section of the Doctrine and Convents. Which certain members of this thread have testified (without going into detail) don't really conflict (aka that they give us the same understanding of the nature of God)... Basically the same group that is trying to tell us we are condemned then turn around and tell is we do have the correct understanding right there in the scriptures we currently have... Seems like a logical paradox.

Either the 130th section is a correct understanding of the nature of God or you have to show how the later revelation in section 130 inferior, lacking or misleading, compared to the Lectures on Faith

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I'm sorry if I said something that was offensive, I just had a couple ideas that came to mind as I read through various posts in the thread. I hadn't read all of the posts and but I felt like the ideas hadn't been expressed or if they had been that maybe it was something not explicitly said. I didn't really have much to contribute other than to throw in the idea and a small locgical thought process. So sorry about how I came across.

As far as my chemistry example the reason I used that one specifically was because that was me 5 years ago. I love physics and I was having to sit in a general chemistry class my first year in college and it was at a time in my life when true principles just clicked in my mind. I was beginning to grow in my testimony and I was hungry in a way that I haven't been since. When I was in this chemistry class it didn't click, though physics would click for me. So, it was my belief that chemistry was a farce. It was not true. I didn't believe it. I subsequently got a D and nothing made sense. I go on my mission and I learn to open my mind to things a lot more. I come home retake the class and get a B and I felt like things clicked, the difference was this. I believed that I needed to do well, so that got me putting forth more effort. That effort was enough for me to experiment on the word, if you will, and I got good results and then I said to myself, "you know this isn't that bad, things make sense." I then believed it and then I studied not to get a grade but to learn.

That was the point behind the Lectures comment, If I believe it then I study it. When I study I learn. When I learn and then apply it to my life, I am generally happy though sometimes there are indeed saddening trials.

Many, many other things I don't know because I choose not to study them. In this world with so much knowledge how do I choose what I want to study? It's simply what I believe is valuable to study. Some times I error, sometimes I don't.

An example from my life, I spend way too much time studying football rosters and watching player movements and waiver wires on my fantasy football team. I spend probably an hour or two a day looking at this stuff. I'm choosing to study because right now I need something to feel like I'm being successful at something when I have various struggles right now. It's simply a choice that frankly I feel like I should do, but yet again feel is wasteful. Does this make me a wicked person for not studying the Gospel, or that I am not as good as I could be? I don't think so, I'm trying like I feel the people here are, just as much if not more than me.

And I only said we lose the opportunity to learn from Lectures because people make a choice to discard them. Why? for the same readon I gave with my chemistry example. Not because it doesn't exist anymore.

Please if something doesn't make sense just ask me. I hope people realize that I am not the most eloquent person here, and I am having trials that makes things hard for me keep my thoughts straight all the time(because I type slow and once I've typed a few words sometimes I just have to think about the idea). The last comment, I really can't believe that you would actually think that there are no more existing copies of Lectures? The copy and my home has disappeared? The only logical thing that I can think of then was that I was misunderstood.

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To the issue of D&C 130 and Lectures, I find no issue harmonizing the two personally. I believe both equally. Maybe D&C just a little more but that would simply be because it is canonized. Not because it is more true. This means that I try to give more attention to the canon, but whenever I am trying to study specifically about faith, I almost always go to Lectures first because it is a lot clearer for me, but I still study the canon.

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The last comment, I really can't believe that you would actually think that there are no more existing copies of Lectures? The copy and my home has disappeared? The only logical thing that I can think of then was that I was misunderstood.

No, the point I was trying to make (and I apologize that I was not more clear) was that de-canonizing something does not deny us the opportunity to study it.

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So, in your view--which group lost out on Celestial glory?

This is a fascinating question. I have no doubt that Joseph Smith attained celestial glory, or at least as much as one can attain while in this estate. As for the rest. I don't doubt that they eventually will attain celestial glory. Even Alvin Smith, who died before the restoration, attained (or rather shall attain it) celestial glory, as Joseph saw in a vision.

50 And again we bear record—for we saw and heard, and this is the testimony of the gospel of Christ concerning them who shall come forth in the resurrection of the just—

51 They are they who received the testimony of Jesus, and believed on his name and were baptized after the manner of his burial, being buried in the water in his name, and this according to the commandment which he has given—

52 That by keeping the commandments they might be washed and cleansed from all their sins, and receive the Holy Spirit by the laying on of the hands of him who is ordained and sealed unto this power;

53 And who overcome by faith, and are sealed by the Holy Spirit of promise, which the Father sheds forth upon all those who are just and true.

54 They are they who are the church of the Firstborn.

55 They are they into whose hands the Father has given all things—

56 They are they who are priests and kings, who have received of his fulness, and of his glory;

Joseph Smith proved himself true and faithful, parted the veil, received of His glory, communed with God and Gods, was ministered to by them and angels while in this estate. When he said that he knew more than all the world, I believe him.

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Good Morning Just_A_Guy. I hope you are well! :)

Then what of Woodruff's assurance that if he were to try to lead the Church astray God would immediately remove him from office? If our prophets and apostles aren't even sufficiently inspired to discern and prevent an unauthorized scheme to throw several dozen pages of canonized scripture down the memory hole--then what's the point of having them in the first place?

I guess I don't quite understand why some people are so fixated on this explanation and are unable or unwilling to concede the possibility that Joseph Smith learned more about the character of God after the Lectures were delivered and published.

This "rebirth" of which you speak has been, to a significant degree, spearheaded by people who desperately, desperately want us to think that Church leadership has bungled things; and so they cultivate the impression that Church leadership for generations hasn't been trying to take us to a higher plane of spirituality. Once you've let yourself be taught to start actively looking for any kind of deficiency in the Church--you'll find it.

I get the impression that you aren't really talking with me any more but rather you are clumping my comments in with others. I don't know what anyone's agenda is. I'm sharing with you my experiences. I am talking about things that I have attained independent of anyone else on this earth. I am not contending with you or trying to make some broader point. I have no problems saying what I really mean. I try very hard to say what I mean and to mean what I say.

I have been a member most of my life. I have lived in many different states and a different country. I have attended many, many wards and branches and been a part of several different stakes. Take that for what it is worth. As far back as I can remember, the one thing that every place I have been a member at has in common is a struggle to do home teaching and member missionary work.

28 But that ye would humble yourselves before the Lord, and call on his holy name, and watch* and pray continually, that ye may not be tempted* above that which ye can bear, and thus be led* by the Holy Spirit, becoming humble, meek, submissive, patient, full of love and all long-suffering;

29 Having* faith on the Lord; having a hope that ye shall receive eternal life; having the love* of God always in your hearts, that ye may be lifted up at the last day and enter into his rest (Emphasis added).

Poor home teaching and poor member missionary work is not the problem. It is a symptom. The real issue is that members aren't filled with the Spirit.

12 Use boldness, but not overbearance; and also see that ye bridle* all your passions, that ye may be filled with love; see that ye refrain from idleness.

13 Do not pray* as the Zoramites do, for ye have seen that they pray to be heard of men, and to be praised for their wisdom.

14 Do not say: O God, I thank thee that we are better* than our brethren; but rather say: O Lord, forgive my unworthiness, and remember my brethren in mercy—yea, acknowledge your unworthiness before God at all times (Emphasis added).

This speaks to the pornography issue among other things. Not too long ago our stake had a special focus on the issue of pornography. We had someone from the stake visit our ward and give a special presentation in the which they provided a statistic that 60% of men in our stake have had some issue with pornography in the past or currently are. Even if this statistic is wrong because I remembered wrong or they used wrong data, it is clear that the Church leadership see pornography as a big problem. And it is.

Now, how can you expect the general priesthood membership to be filled with love for others when they can't bridle their passions? How can I or anyone expect to be filled with God's Spirit when engaging in such a destructive and desensitizing activity?

This is a fact: When we are filled with the Spirit then we will need no person or manual to tell us to do our home teaching and to do missionary work. It will come as a natural consequence of having the Spirit, because when you have God's Spirit, you have His Mind, therefore you are going to do the things that He would do.

Our job is to put Babylon behind us, completely and absolutely. We must work with our might to be filled with the Spirit. We should make any sacrifice so that we can have the Spirit. We should forsake any and all things so that we can have the Spirit.

Naturally. But are you implying that the Church isn't doing enough to teach addicts to harness the power of God in overcoming that scourge? If so, I would strongly encourage you to sit in on an addiction recovery program group meeting in your area. I don't say that "all is well in Zion"; but I do say that the Church theologically is not in the dire straits that some would have us believe it to be in.

No. I'm stating exactly what I stated. However, using your example, I'm saying the fact that we an addiction recovery program and we have such an extensive need for such things is a symptom of a spiritual epidemic. We can't see it with our eyes but the spiritual illness is real. This spiritual illness is why we have such a need for addiction recovery programs. Priesthood holders, in large quantities, are lusting more after the things of the world than they love and are seeking after the things of God. They can't have the Spirit in such a state and therefore they will not have the Mind of God.

I quote from the Bible:

16 And they sent a messenger unto Joseph, saying, Thy father did command before he died, saying,

17 So shall ye say unto Joseph, Forgive, I pray thee now, the trespass of thy brethren, and their sin; for they did unto thee evil: and now, we pray thee, forgive the trespass of the servants of the God of thy father. And Joseph wept* when they spake unto him.

18 And his brethren also went and fell down before his face; and they said, Behold, we be* thy servants.

19 And Joseph said unto them, Fear not: for am* I in the place of God?

20 But as for you, ye thought evil* against me; but* God meant* it unto good, to bring to pass, as it is* this day, to save much people alive (Emphasis added).

Where the heart of each person is I cannot know. I was trying to use my life as an example of how God meant for us to experience the experiences we have because He intends to bring to pass much good and "save much people alive". I don't know the history of how the LoF was removed. I know very little, in fact. What I know is that it was removed because this duly delegated committee found that portions of the LoF were potentially confusing. Each person involved in the decision had their individual mind and heart. I don't know their heart, but I assume that their heart is good.

Regardless of how it was removed, it was meant to be removed. But, because it was meant to be removed does not answer the question as to why it was removed. Now, we can argue that it was removed because it was superseded by D&C 130. However, this isn't a foregone conclusion. I have tried to demonstrate in multiple ways how Lecture Five and D&C are not contradictory, but rather are teaching separate yet complimentary aspects of the Godhead.

God is a Spirit. This is a fact. Yes, He has a body, but He is, at His core, a Spirit first. We are all spirits. God the Father is the Supreme Ruler of the Universe. Jesus Christ gets His glory from the Father. To which members of the Godhead do we most often address in all the ordinances we take part in whether formal or informal (using ordinance broadly here)? Father and Jesus have primacy in the Godhead, but by virtue of the fact that they all share the Spirit of God, or God's Mind, they are one. The Son is filled with God's Spirit and the Holy Ghost is filled with God's Spirit. The Holy Ghost acts as a spiritual companion from the Godhead who carries God's Spirit to you. The Holy Ghost can comfort you. But, the Holy Ghost is filled with God's Spirit. They are one and share the same Mind. The relationship that we build is with the Father through the Son. We do not build such a personal relationship with the Holy Ghost.

-Finrock

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Good Morning Just_A_Guy. I hope you are well! :)

Very, thanks; and likewise. ;)

I get the impression that you aren't really talking with me any more but rather you are clumping my comments in with others.

Well, yes and no. You've been, I think, more moderate than some others in this discussion. That said, I do think that some of your statements indicate the same kind of attitudinal issues with regard to the LDS Church leadership. Perhaps I've misunderstood, and if I have then I apologize.

Poor home teaching and poor member missionary work is not the problem. It is a symptom. The real issue is that members aren't filled with the Spirit.

Oh, I agree with this and with the remainder of your post regarding the necessity of living according to the Spirit; with the following two caveats:

1. The spirit of fault-finding against the Lord's stewards over the Church is incompatible with the Spirit of God. A person who has the former has lost the latter.

2. Living by the Spirit does not diminish the importance of the Church leadership in one's life--not by one iota.

I have tried to demonstrate in multiple ways how Lecture Five and D&C are not contradictory, but rather are teaching separate yet complimentary aspects of the Godhead.

. . . .

God is a Spirit. This is a fact. Yes, He has a body, but He is, at His core, a Spirit first. We are all spirits. God the Father is the Supreme Ruler of the Universe. Jesus Christ gets His glory from the Father. To which members of the Godhead do we most often address in all the ordinances we take part in whether formal or informal (using ordinance broadly here)? Father and Jesus have primacy in the Godhead, but by virtue of the fact that they all share the Spirit of God, or God's Mind, they are one. The Son is filled with God's Spirit and the Holy Ghost is filled with God's Spirit. The Holy Ghost acts as a spiritual companion from the Godhead who carries God's Spirit to you. The Holy Ghost can comfort you. But, the Holy Ghost is filled with God's Spirit. They are one and share the same Mind. The relationship that we build is with the Father through the Son. We do not build such a personal relationship with the Holy Ghost.

The thing is, that's not quite how the Lectures present it.

Q. How many personages are there in the Godhead?

A. Two: the Father and the Son.

. . .

Q. What is the Father?

A. He is a personage of glory and of power.

. . .

Q. What is the Son?

A. First, he is a personage of tabernacle.

. . .

Q. Do the Father and the Son possess the same mind?

A. They do.

. . .

Q. What is this mind?

A. The Holy Spirit.

. . .

Q. Do the Father, Son and Holy Spirit constitute the Godhead?

A. They do.

. . .

Q. Does the foregoing account of the Godhead lay a sure foundation for the exercise of faith in him unto life and salvation?

A. It does.

I see no distinction here between "Holy Ghost" and "Holy Spirit". "Godhead" is defined as Father (Glory/Power), Son (Tabernacle), and Holy Spirit (Mind), and is clearly designated as two personages--not three.

Now, we can go back and try to reconcile it, and be technically right. For example--I could say "Finrock's computer is white", and then you could write me back and say "No, JAG, it's actually beige". And I could reply "well, white is technically the presence of all color wavelengths, including beige; so I wasn't wrong". Semantically and scientifically, I'd be right--but you and I would both know that my initial statement was just plain inaccurate, based on my incomplete knowledge at the time of the statement. Our friendship doesn't depend on me being right all the time--so why bother to preserve an aura of omniscience with such a counter-intuitive argument?

So it is with the the section of the LoF we're discussing here. Later attempts to reconcile the section may be technically accurate--but I'd bet dollars to donuts that they have little resemblance to what Joseph was thinking and trying to convey back in 1835. We believe in continuing revelation. What's so threatening about admitting that Joseph had additional experiences with the Divine between 1835 and 1843?

Edited by Just_A_Guy

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As qutoed,

Q. Does the foregoing account of the Godhead lay a sure foundation for the exercise of faith in him unto life and salvation?

A. It does.

This definition of Godhead lays a foundation FOR faith unto life and salvation. So if we reject it and its true, how can we have the faith unto life and salvation?

I already posted on the distinction between the Holy spirit and the Holy Ghost and how they could be different. I posted scriptures as things to consider.

Also,

130:22 The Father has a body of flesh and bones as tangible as man’s; the Son also; but the Holy Ghost has not a body of flesh and bones, but is a personage of Spirit. Were it not so, the Holy Ghost could not dwell in us.

131:7 There is no such thing as immaterial matter. All spirit is matter, but it is more fine or pure, and can only be discerned by purer eyes;

8 We cannot see it; but when our bodies are purified we shall see that it is all matter.

Really nothing else to say without going in circles.

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This definition of Godhead lays a foundation FOR faith unto life and salvation. So if we reject it and its true, how can we have the faith unto life and salvation?

But, under the plain meaning of the definition, the Church has rejected it; because it is not completely true.

It has since been revealed to us that the Godhead consists of three personages, not two.

It has since been revealed to us that the Father has a "tabernacle"--a physical, fleshy body--and that He is not merely "power" and "glory" and "spirit".

I already posted on the distinction between the Holy spirit and the Holy Ghost and how they could be different. I posted scriptures as things to consider.

Also,

. . .

Really nothing else to say without going in circles.

Probably. And just to complete the circle ;)

Now, we can go back and try to reconcile it, and be technically right. For example--I could say "Finrock's computer is white", and then you could write me back and say "No, JAG, it's actually beige". And I could reply "well, white is technically the presence of all color wavelengths, including beige; so I wasn't wrong". Semantically and scientifically, I'd be right--but you and I would both know that my initial statement was just plain inaccurate, based on my incomplete knowledge at the time of the statement. Our friendship doesn't depend on me being right all the time--so why bother to preserve an aura of omniscience with such a counter-intuitive argument?

So it is with the the section of the LoF we're discussing here. Later attempts to reconcile the section may be technically accurate--but I'd bet dollars to donuts that they have little resemblance to what Joseph was thinking and trying to convey back in 1835. We believe in continuing revelation. What's so threatening about admitting that Joseph had additional experiences with the Divine between 1835 and 1843?

Edited by Just_A_Guy

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Very, thanks; and likewise. ;)

Thank you.

Well, yes and no. You've been, I think, more moderate than some others in this discussion. That said, I do think that some of your statements indicate the same kind of attitudinal issues with regard to the LDS Church leadership. Perhaps I've misunderstood, and if I have then I apologize.

Oh, I agree with this and with the remainder of your post regarding the necessity of living according to the Spirit; with the following two caveats:

1. The spirit of fault-finding against the Lord's stewards over the Church is incompatible with the Spirit of God. A person who has the former has lost the latter.

2. Living by the Spirit does not diminish the importance of the Church leadership in one's life--not by one iota.

I don't understand why you would at all feel my comments would constitute fault finding in leaders.

I received revelation that helped me to realize that the Holy Spirit and the Holy Ghost aren't necessarily the same thing. In my thinking I had put the emphasis of God's identity on His body. I guess the reason why I did that was because this is something that is different from most other religions. However, in the past I didn't fully appreciate that God's Spirit is like our spirit or we are like His Spirit. Many prophets, many apostles, ancient and modern, have equated spirit with mind. That what we call the "mind" is our spirit and it is the same with God. His Spirit is His Mind. If we want to know the mind and will of the Lord, we need to possess His Spirit.

I think that your assumption that I am trying to find fault in Church leaders has prevented you from seeing what I am really trying to say.

Look, if anything my comments imply our leaders are fallible. We are all fallibly human. This isn't scary to me, though. I'm not talking about something I'm worried about. I am an active member of my ward and I try to magnify my calling. Our ward is large in number but small in attendance. That means I've played many roles in our ward. I've never been a bishop nor have I been an elders quorum president. Now, in my various callings, perhaps my stewardship is smaller, but I am bound by oath to seek after the Spirit in fulfilling my calling and being led by revelation just as any prophet or apostle is bound to seek after the Spirit in fulfilling their callings. Besides the area of stewardship, there is no difference. Now, I know that I am a weak man. I am good at talking about all of this stuff but I am poor at doing it. However, it is as clear as day to me that God wants us to be in communion with Him in precisely the way that He has described it in Scripture and this requires striving towards a higher standard.

The thing is, that's not quite how the Lectures present it.

I see no distinction here between "Holy Ghost" and "Holy Spirit". "Godhead" is defined as Father (Glory/Power), Son (Tabernacle), and Holy Spirit (Mind), and is clearly designated as two personages--not three.

Now, we can go back and try to reconcile it, and be technically right. For example--I could say "Finrock's computer is white", and then you could write me back and say "No, JAG, it's actually beige". And I could reply "well, white is technically the presence of all color wavelengths, including beige; so I wasn't wrong". Semantically and scientifically, I'd be right--but you and I would both know that my initial statement was just plain inaccurate, based on my incomplete knowledge at the time of the statement. Our friendship doesn't depend on me being right all the time--so why bother to preserve an aura of omniscience with such a counter-intuitive argument?

So it is with the the section of the LoF we're discussing here. Later attempts to reconcile the section may be technically accurate--but I'd bet dollars to donuts that they have little resemblance to what Joseph was thinking and trying to convey back in 1835. We believe in continuing revelation. What's so threatening about admitting that Joseph had additional experiences with the Divine between 1835 and 1843?

I don't have a problem with admitting that Joseph received additional knowledge between 1835 and 1843. Where we seem to disagree is that I believe the new revelations added to, but did not take away from, the older revelation. We get a more complete picture of the Godhead using both revelations. Not a major point, but why didn't Joseph remove LoF from the canon of scripture after he received further revelation if the further revelation was contradictory to the earlier revelation?

I started out my post telling you what I had experienced. My appreciation and understanding of the distinction between the Holy Spirit and the Holy Ghost came as a result of me studying the LoF. I have read D&C 130 (or 132?) many times and never had I considered the Spirit of God as the actual person of God, His Mind. So, both revelations complement each other. The D&C scripture helped me to appreciate God's glorified exalted body. The LoF helped me to appreciate God's Spirit, who He is, His Mind. I wasn't claiming that my example could be found completely in the LoF but that this is how I mesh the two scriptures in to one. There is nothing contradictory but instead complementary.

This all started out, however, because I believe that LoF provides us with a vision of our true purpose that is not understood or understood well by the general membership. This is evidenced by the fact that we continue to struggle with doing home teaching and member missionary work. A very high percentage of priesthood holders and probably females too are involved or have been involved with pornography. Both of these are symptoms of spiritual weakness and sickness that can be overcome by getting a true vision of who you are and what your purpose here in life is.

I fall in to both of the above negative categories, by the way. I know that I am not filled with God's Spirit. I know because there have been times when I have been filled with His Spirit and I know the difference. When I have the Spirit I love home teaching. I don't ever dread it. I have no fear in sharing the gospel with people. And when I do share it, it is never strained. It just comes out naturally. I feel am more inclined to think of others. I look for ways to help and to make others happy.

This is what we want and this is what we need if we are going to truly become disciples of Jesus Christ.

46 Wherefore, my beloved brethren, if ye have not charity, ye are nothing, for charity never faileth. Wherefore, cleave unto charity, which is the greatest of all, for all things must fail—

47 But charity is the pure love of Christ, and it endureth forever; and whoso is found possessed of it at the last day, it shall be well with him.

48 Wherefore, my beloved brethren, pray unto the Father with all the energy of heart, that ye may be filled with this love, which he hath bestowed upon all who are true followers of his Son, Jesus Christ; that ye may become the sons of God; that when he shall appear we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is; that we may have this hope; that we may be purified even as he is pure. Amen.

This is what we are striving for. This is the vision. LoF beautifully reaffirms with additional clarity and emphasis where our focus should be. It teaches us how we should approach God and our study of God. It gives us a blueprint as to how we can get answers to our questions.

I don't believe God removed the LoF from canon because it contained false doctrine. I believe that the Apostles at the time were trying their best to do what was right and follow the inspiration they received. If they made a mistake, then it is as God intended. As has been mentioned, its not as if the material was not available for study and we even have some Apostles who have attested to its truthfulness. Clearly the LoF emphasizes us having the Second Comforter and communing with God face to face. This is a high standard. I think it is clear that the general membership is not living this higher standard. We have an excuse now because we can say that, well, it isn't emphasized in scripture. If LoF were left as canon "I'd bet dollars to donuts" that the members would still not be living the higher standard but now they'd have no excuse, because clearly it is emphasized in LoF.

LoF is scripture. I'm sure of it. I accept that our leaders removed it for a wise purpose (which my speculation may or may not be accurate) but I don't accept that it was removed because it actually contains false doctrine.

In the end I'm really just interested in sharing ideas and having a discussion. I'm not trying to make the point that our leaders are apostate or whatever. I'm not trying to say anything like that. I'm telling you what I have observed and experienced as a member who is active and trying to be an effective priesthood leader in my little neck of the woods. I believe our leaders are teaching us true doctrine. I am a leader in my ward. I am trying my best to teach true doctrine. But I know that I am also a weak man and so I know that I will never do or say everything perfectly. I will never make all of the right decisions in mortality. But our leaders have told us it is time to hasten the work which means getting the Spirit in to your life as you have been promised in the sacrament prayer.

-Finrock

Edited by Finrock
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Here is how I break it down (so far in my own studies) and of course it is subject to change if I should discover more information/written history and/or further light and knowledge. I will be citing the Joseph Smith Papers and possible Church History series by BH Roberts, the 1835 edition of the Doctrine & Covenants, which has been scanned and presented here.

Doctrine and Covenants, 1835

From the PREFACE page (click forward to pages 11 and 12) of the 1835 Doctrine & Covenants, we read Joseph Smith's words:

We deem it to be unnecessary to entertain you with lengthy preface to the following volume, but merely to say that it contains in short the leading items of the religion which we have professed to believe. The first part of the book will be found to contain a series of lectures as delivered before a theological class in this place. And in consequence of their embracing the important doctrines of salvation, we have arranged them into the following work...

...We do not present this little volume with any other expectation than that. We are to be called to answer to every principle advanced...

Not only the prophet of the restoration has held himself accountable to God and to the membership, but the publishing committee alongside him, namely Oliver Cowdery, Sidney Ridgon and F.G. Williams.

Now if you scroll down the web page to the eleventh paragraph, you will read about the Presidency of the Church and of the general assembly (a few were not present, however) voting by common consent as it was supposed to be done:

Doctrine and Covenants 26:2

2 And all things shall be done by common consent in the church, by much prayer and faith, for all things you shall receive by faith. Amen.

Doctrine and Covenants 28:13

13 For all things must be done in order, and by common consent in the church, by the prayer of faith.

And so they did:

...Voting on the book proceeded by quorums and groups, with the leader of each group bearing witness of the truth of the volume before his group voted to accept it. After the voting by quorums, the entire church membership present, both male and female, voted to accept the book as “the doctrine and covenants of their faith.”

The entire membership sustained it. But what should be of greater import is that Joseph Smith was the senior committee member. Joseph Smith presented the finalized Lectures On Faith as "doctrines of salvation." He attached his name to it. He vouched for it. He made himself accountable for it. Whatever is attributed to Sidney Rigdon, it was Joseph Smith who was responsible for the final edition. Any falsehoods would have been corrected by Joseph by revelation. That's how it worked. That's how we have the Book of Mormon. This is how scripture was canonized.

Then in 1921 a committee decided to remove them. This committee comprised of George F. Richards, Anthony W. Ivins, Melvin J. Ballard, James E. Talmage, John A. Widstoe, andJoseph Fielding Smith. -- The Story of the Doctrine and Covenants - Ensign Dec. 1984 - ensign

Brigham Young University's Dr. Thomas G. Alexander, Professor of History, has stated quite assertively in his controversial July–August 1980 "Sunstone" article, "The Reconstruction of Mormon Doctrine," that:

The committee proposed to delete the "Lectures on Faith" on the grounds that they were "lessons prepared for use in the School of the Elders, conducted in Kirtland, Ohio, during the winter of 1834-35; but they were never presented to nor accepted by the Church as being otherwise than theological lectures or lessons."

It is obvious that the committee in 1921 erred. I will give them the benefit of the doubt that they erred honestly and that they did not intend to maliciously remove them. But it makes no sense otherwise for them to declare that the Lectures on Faith were never presented to nor accepted by the church when we have documentations that proves otherwise and establishes the Lectures On Faith as canonized scripture.

Ironically, on Jan. 4, 1972, Bruce R. McConkie has said:

In my judgment, it is the most comprehensive, inspired utterance that now exists in the English language - that exists in one place defining, interpreting, expounding, announcing, and testifying what kind of being God is. It was written by the power of the Holy Ghost, by the spirit of inspiration. It is, in effect, eternal scripture; it is true.

There is no doubt in my mind that Lectures On Faith should have remained part of canonized scripture. Without them, our minds have been darkened. Our unbelief is greater. Had they remained canonized, every officer of the church, even all members from the greatest to the least would have at the very least been aware of their existence.

D&C 88:127 And again, the order of the house prepared for the presidency of the school of the prophets, established for their instruction in all things that are expedient for them, even for all the officers of the church, or in other words, those who are called to the ministry in the church, beginning at the high priests, even down to the deacons—

As it is, a great many members do not bother to study the scriptures, let alone seek out the best books greater knowledge. I have every confidence in Joseph Smith's testimony regarding the Lectures on Faith and that he knew exactly what he was talking about when presenting them to the membership and finally, that they do not in any way contradict the rest of the canonized scripture, especially the Doctrine & Covenants as we have them even today. These lectures are doctrine. They are scripture. They are true.

Edited by skalenfehl
some typos

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One more morsel:

The Lectures on Theology.

January, 1835.—During the month of January, I was engaged in the school of the Elders, and in preparing the lectures on theology for publication in the book of Doctrine and Covenants, which the committee appointed last September were now compiling.--History of the Church, Volume 2, p. 180

One thing that I didn't realize was that this 7 volume series is not the same as my 6 volume series of "A Comprehensive History of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints." I kept pulling my hair out trying to find references to one, while looking in the other. Little did I realize that the 7 volume HC series was originally entitled "History of Joseph Smith." Naturally, the above quote is by Joseph Smith.

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One more morsel:

One thing that I didn't realize was that this 7 volume series is not the same as my 6 volume series of "A Comprehensive History of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints." I kept pulling my hair out trying to find references to one, while looking in the other. Little did I realize that the 7 volume HC series was originally entitled "History of Joseph Smith." Naturally, the above quote is by Joseph Smith.

The History of the Church purportedly authored by Joseph Smith was actually compiled after his death. Some of it is actual quotations written by Joseph Smith or otherwise verbatim from the Prophet's lips, but much of it is taken from contemporary accounts, journals, etc., then rewritten in the first person to sound as if Joseph Smith is talking. Apparently, this was a common way of writing such histories at the time. Today, we don't write like that, and even consider it dishonest to do so. But this is now and that was then, and Joseph Smith's History was written then.

I believe the Comprehensive History you have is B. H. Roberts' work. It is a very valuable resource for early Church history.

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I don't understand why you would at all feel my comments would constitute fault finding in leaders.

I'm sincerely sorry you think I did. I meant those statements to be generalized, not specifically pointed at you. (I do question your apparent assumption that if a person ultimately fulfills God's will, but does so for entirely incorrect motives, they stand blameless before the Lord--I think Isaiah's remarks about the future Babylonian invaders, Jesus' remarks about His own betrayal, and Mormon's statements about giving good/bad gifts, testify to the contrary.)

I received revelation that helped me to realize that the Holy Spirit and the Holy Ghost aren't necessarily the same thing. In my thinking I had put the emphasis of God's identity on His body. I guess the reason why I did that was because this is something that is different from most other religions. However, in the past I didn't fully appreciate that God's Spirit is like our spirit or we are like His Spirit. Many prophets, many apostles, ancient and modern, have equated spirit with mind. That what we call the "mind" is our spirit and it is the same with God. His Spirit is His Mind. If we want to know the mind and will of the Lord, we need to possess His Spirit.

Oh, I don't disagree with this at all. I'm just not convinced that LoF is either sufficient in and of itself for, or a sine qua non to, that kind of understanding.

Look, if anything my comments imply our leaders are fallible. We are all fallibly human. This isn't scary to me, though.

Nor to me. I think where we may differ, is that I think that actions "by committee" make error less likely, whereas some (maybe including you--I'm not sure) seem to think that such actions make error more likely.

I don't have a problem with admitting that Joseph received additional knowledge between 1835 and 1843. Where we seem to disagree is that I believe the new revelations added to, but did not take away from, the older revelation. We get a more complete picture of the Godhead using both revelations.

We don't even disagree on that. I think where we may disagree is as to whether some specific statements in the LoF were actually "revelation" versus "inspired, or sometimes merely well-intentioned, interpolation".

Not a major point, but why didn't Joseph remove LoF from the canon of scripture after he received further revelation if the further revelation was contradictory to the earlier revelation?

*shrug* Why didn't he remove the Article on Marriage? He was clearly a polygamist by then.

I started out my post telling you what I had experienced. My appreciation and understanding of the distinction between the Holy Spirit and the Holy Ghost came as a result of me studying the LoF.

I understand that, and appreciate it. I hope I haven't come off as having been dismissive of the revelations you feel you've had--I respect them and agree with much of them, even though (and I'm sure you understand) I don't necessarily consider them binding upon myself.

What I have been claiming, is that the LoF are -- while useful -- imperfect, and (for the Church as a whole, not necessarily an individual) nonessential to that kind of understanding. I'm glad they resonate so deeply for you. I don't think it's guaranteed that they would for everyone. I think it would be dangerous to assume that those who, for whatever reason, don't find them as profitable, are somehow our spiritual inferiors.

This all started out, however, because I believe that LoF provides us with a vision of our true purpose that is not understood or understood well by the general membership. This is evidenced by the fact that we continue to struggle with doing home teaching and member missionary work. A very high percentage of priesthood holders and probably females too are involved or have been involved with pornography. Both of these are symptoms of spiritual weakness and sickness that can be overcome by getting a true vision of who you are and what your purpose here in life is.

Sure. I'm just pointing out that the LoF are not a fool-proof mechanism for getting to that kind of understanding; and I do think you're underestimating just how much else the Church has put out there to try to get people to the same kind of understanding.

I don't believe God removed the LoF from canon because it contained false doctrine. I believe that the Apostles at the time were trying their best to do what was right and follow the inspiration they received. If they made a mistake, then it is as God intended.

I'm getting tripped up by the double-negative here, I think. If you're saying God told the apostles "these chuckleheads can't handle this; take it out"--I can live with that.

But otherwise, here's my beef: If the apostles make a "mistake" but that "mistake" actually accomplishes the will of God, then the only way it can be a mistake is if the apostles don't think that their action really accomplishes the will of God. In which case, we're back to my remarks very early in this post. Doing the "right" thing for the "wrong" reason is something that Babylon does. It's something the son of Perdition does. It's something (as Mormon puts it) an "evil" individual does. I do not believe it is something that an Apostle of the Lord Jesus Christ typically does--and if fifteen of them, acting on that principle, unitedly revise the scriptures in a way that is contrary to the instructions they have received--I see now other conclusion to draw, other than that they have guided the Church beyond "fallibility" and into naked apostasy.

If LoF were left as canon "I'd bet dollars to donuts" that the members would still not be living the higher standard . . .

I heartily agree with this.

. . . but now they'd have no excuse, because clearly it is emphasized in LoF.

I disagree with this. I think we have no excuse as it is. I agree with you, Skalenfehl, and EoG thus far: I think that we're in a lot more trouble than we (the membership) like to think of ourselves as being in. I just believe--very strongly--that it not the fault (intentional or otherwise) of the First Presidency or Quorum of the Twelve.

I accept that our leaders removed it for a wise purpose (which my speculation may or may not be accurate) but I don't accept that it was removed because it actually contains false doctrine.

Then we're back to the two-personages-versus-three discussion, and I suppose it's best to leave off there since we've gone through all this before.

In the end I'm really just interested in sharing ideas and having a discussion. I'm not trying to make the point that our leaders are apostate or whatever. I'm not trying to say anything like that. I'm telling you what I have observed and experienced as a member who is active and trying to be an effective priesthood leader in my little neck of the woods. I believe our leaders are teaching us true doctrine. I am a leader in my ward. I am trying my best to teach true doctrine. But I know that I am also a weak man and so I know that I will never do or say everything perfectly. I will never make all of the right decisions in mortality. But our leaders have told us it is time to hasten the work which means getting the Spirit in to your life as you have been promised in the sacrament prayer.

Agreed, and appreciated. :)

Anyways, I should probably apologize to you for the threadjack. I'll respond to Skalenfehl's remarks re the Lectures on Faith in a new thread, and let you get back to discussing the Godhead here.

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