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Do We Really Believe Any of This?

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Do you all remember Stephen E. Robertson?  In 1992, he wrote the book Believing Christ and wrote an article in the Ensign on the same topic asking the question “Do we Believe in Christ without believing Christ?”  When I first heard it I rolled my eyes, “Ok.  Another person came up with a cute play on words, and now people are running with it as if it renews their spirits somehow.”  Yes, I’m a cynic... Recently, I’ve had cause to reflect on this question.

 

My pointed questions are:

Do we really believe the Lord runs this Church and not man?

Do we really believe that the Atonement can bless us in this life, not just the next?

Do we really believe continuing revelation occurs on a regular basis in the Church?

Do we really believe the Church is founded on revelation and not on avoidance of liability?

Do we really believe the power of the Priesthood is active in our blessings?

Do we really believe that we have the Hosts of Heaven at our backs?

 

I personally have had many faith promoting events in my life that would tell me YES to all these.  But many active saints in my life seem to be resistant to the notion.

 

I’ve been healed by blessings.

I’ve received ministering of angels.

I’ve heard an actual Voice speak to me.  One Ex-Mormon friend who now attends another Christian Church was visibly, physically, shaken by it and had to remark, “Well, that’s just freaky!”

 

The list goes on…

 

While many have believed my testimony, I’m concerned about so many who utterly refuse to believe.  It’s not my job to convince them, nor do I try.  Yet, it is disturbing to know how many say they “believe in” but they don’t really “believe”.  It seems that many are willing to believe in things if they can also be attributed to chance or other mundane explanations.  But if it is inexplicable (truly miraculous) they don’t know how to process it.

 

FAITH PROMOTING STORY

 

As ward mission leader years ago, I met with the stake mission president.  He told me his conversion story.  Just before he was to be baptized, he had a business assignment that allowed him to meet with Pres. McKay.  They started talking about some gospel questions for a few minutes.  You don’t pass up a chance like that!

 

In that private conversation he asked Pr. McKay, “Tell me.  Have you ever personally, physically spoken with the Lord as one man speaks with another?”

 

Pres. McKay gave a little chuckle, “Of course.”  Then pointing to the very room they were sitting in and the conversation they were having with chairs pushing the two of them close together he said, “We have had many interviews since I was called to this office.”

 

So, am I alone in experiencing the miracles that are as clear and plain as day?

I believe that as Latter-Day Saints we need to be close to the Powers of Heaven.

I believe that as Latter-Day Saints we need to be a people who believe that miracles can be familiar to us.

Am I alone in this?

Edited by Guest

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Carborendum,

 

I don't think you're alone in experiencing miracles.  But there's no way to know where anyone else's belief begins or ends (short of them telling you, and the Spirit being involved to ensure understanding).

 

Moroni's words come to mind (the whole chapter is relevant, really).

 

I think that most people consider miracles so personal that they don't discuss them - and not always of their own choice, but sometimes because the Spirit tells them not to.  Also, I think there are a lot of us who don't feel the need for the more obvious miracles. I'm still undecided as to whether the apparent lack of obvious miracles is evidence of a lack of faith, or evidence of efficient use of resources (probably both, depending on details).

 

I know someone who lists among his reasons for being inactive, the fact that modern prophets don't publicly make statements like the President McKay quotes above.  I, on the other hand, am baffled that he feels a need for them to publicly proclaim something which I was always certain of without such public declarations.

 

One thing I am certain of is that we in the church need to do our very best to be converted to the gospel and help others be converted to the gospel (not the missionaries, not the church, not their Mormon friends or neighbors, but the Gospel of Jesus Christ). I find it very distressing when my fellow members list their various social and ethical and familial reasons for coming to church and never once say they come because they have a testimony of the truthfulness of the Gospel of Jesus Christ and that the church is His church restored to the earth.

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I believe that as Latter-Day Saints we need to be a people who believe that miracles can be familiar to us.

There are miracles and MIRACLES. One of the things we must be aware of is ignoring miracles. It is tough to avoid MIRACLES, but miracles are another thing.

I'm not talking about the birth of a baby. That's truly miraculous, but it is quite ordinary in terms of frequency and cause'n'effect.

Miracles are quite frequent. We hear about them in Fast'n'Testimony Meeting all the time: a child prays about finding his favorite toy, and lo! and behold! he finds it. I suspect that many of us discount this as coincidence, but I think many or most of these are truly miracles.

I had a question about the concept of "fervent prayer". I fasted, and I went to the Temple. I got an answer there. It was not a "voice", it was not a verse I chanced upon while waiting for the session to begin. It was pure insight. It turned out to be what I already knew, but it was something wholly new, as well.

My sister was in her baby buggy a few days after she was born. We were building a garage — a small tornado came up the driveway, and blew the whole thing down on top of her. I had stacked a couple of garbage cans up next to her a few minutes before the "act of God", and the wall that would have crushed her stopped falling on top of the buggy and her. The car in the garage was smashed and took five weeks to repair — she escaped without a scratch. A miracle? It was not in answer to a prayer, it was not something anyone would have been shocked about. It was a miracle, or, perhaps, a MIRACLE.

Let's not ignore the miracles in our lives. Many are small. They are mundane in some respects. Nonetheless, they are gifts of God. Elder Bednar calls them the tender mercies of the Lord. Whatever you call them, they are wonderful and they are ours.

Lehi

Edited by LeSellers

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My pointed questions are:

Do we really believe the Lord runs this Church and not man? Yes

Do we really believe that the Atonement can bless us in this life, not just the next? Yes

Do we really believe continuing revelation occurs on a regular basis in the Church? Yes (Collectively and Individually)

Do we really believe the Church is founded on revelation and not on avoidance of liability? Yes

Do we really believe the power of the Priesthood is active in our blessings? Yes

 

Do we really believe that we have the Hosts of Heaven at our backs? Yes

 

 

So, am I alone in experiencing the miracles that are as clear and plain as day? No

Am I alone in this? No

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Guest LiterateParakeet

When the sun is shining, and everyone in our family is healthy, it's easy to say yes to all of these things.  Job in the beginning held fast to his faith.  But as the adversity deepened, he began to struggle.  People often speak of Job's faith and patience...he was certainly faithful, and but we also need to understand that his trials dropped him to his knees...brought him to the brink of failure....I am touched by his pain as shared in Job 3 (the whole chapter goes on like this, but I'll just share a couple verses):

 

 20 Wherefore is light given to him that is in misery, and life unto the bitter in soul;

 

 21 Which long for death, but it cometh not; and dig for it more than for hid treasures;

 22 Which rejoice exceedingly, and are glad, when they can find the grave?

 23 Why is light given to a man whose way is hid, and whom God hath hedged in?

Did Job not have a testimony that the Lord is in charge?  Of course, he did.  But in this moment he was hurting.  

 

Trials and tribulations that try our faith come to all of us....that is nothing to be ashamed of.  Consider Peter, in one of his difficult moments he denied knowing the Savior three times...but he went on from that to be a powerful leader of the church.

 

So yes, rejoice in the days when the sun is shining and your testimony shines as well.  But be careful not to judge to harshly those who are going through their "dark night of the soul" for those days will surely come to you as well.  We don't want to be like Job's "friends" and add to another persons suffering rather than "mourn with those who mourn". 

 

To answer your questions, my answers were the same as Anddenx for most of my life.  Then there was my dark night of the should, and I questioned, I doubted, I wrestled before the Lord, and in the end, I came back to those answers again.  Some see that as a weakness, but I know otherwise.  The scriptures show us this process is necessary. 

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Guest

LP,

 

I hear what you're saying.  And I hope I didn't sound too judgmental.  That was not what it was about.  Yes, there are some who say things like this simply because they're going through hard times.  The people I was talking about were saying these things as their baseline belief.

 

EXAMPLES:

1) The prophet doesn't really receive revelation anymore.  The Lord picks him because he's just doing a job.  The Lord only intervenes if there is something seriously wrong.  Most of the prophet's actions are because of his own abilities and wisdom.  Things have been set up now, so we don't need revelation anymore.

 

2) Multiplying the Loaves and Fishes meant the Lord was able to get people who were trying to keep things for themselves to share.  So it seemed like it was multiplied.  But the food was there all along.

 

3) Give a healing blessing but don't actually expect anything to happen.  Or at best, it only "reduces the duration of sickness."

 

If we don't believe in the power, why practice the forms?  This is why other sects roll their eyes at our adherence to ordinances and practices.  Too many do things by rote rather than by faith.  If faith without works is dead, works without faith is ineffectual at best and may lead us to a false sense of security at worst.

 

It is "works BECAUSE of faith" that can get us closer to the Lord.  It is knowing that God is still a God of Miracles that fills us with the Hope.  If we don't believe in miracles, how can we believe in the greatest Miracle of all (the Atonement) and have a Hope in Christ?

 

Miracles are had among the children when there is sufficient faith.  And the prophet DOES receive continuing revelation to guide this church.

 

ANOTHER FAITH PROMOTING STORY:

 

A prophet was once asked (the time I heard this, I believe the prophet was Benson or Hinckley) "When was the last time the Church has received revelation?"

 

Thinking for a minute: "I believe it was last Thursday."

 

 

I wasn't trying to judge anyone.  I was actually just wondering why.  Is it that they don't know better?  They have never been taught that there is more there?

 

In the coming years we may need Miracles as common as manna in the wilderness.  Will we have the faith to receive such miracles?  I believe we will have times where we need mountain moving faith during trials like Job's.  If our baseline faith is to not even believe in Miracles, then we are in the middle of a trial that tends to reduce our faith, but to survive such trials we will really need a Miracle, what can we expect to happen? (rhetorical).

Edited by Guest

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ANOTHER FAITH PROMOTING STORY:

 

A prophet was once asked (the time I heard this, I believe the prophet was Benson or Hinckley) "When was the last time the Church has received revelation?"

 

Thinking for a minute: "I believe it was last Thursday."

Is Thursday the day the Apostles assign missionaries to their fields?

Lehi

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Is Thursday the day the Apostles assign missionaries to their fields?

Lehi

Thursday is the day the first presidency and apostles meet in solemn assembly in the assembly room of the Salt Lake City temple.  The specific agenda is to make assignments and discuss various callings and changes (new stake organizations etc..) and what ever else seems important at the time.

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Thursday is the day the first presidency and apostles meet in solemn assembly in the assembly room of the Salt Lake City temple.  The specific agenda is to make assignments and discuss various callings and changes (new stake organizations etc..) and what ever else seems important at the time.

Obviously, I didn't know the day this happened. My point was that there are revelations and REVELATIONS.

Assigning missionaries probably seems pretty mundane to most people. But I have seen too many miracles that affect this "trivial" process to believe it is not a series of continuous and continual revelation.

Lehi

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I think it was Elder Pres. Eyring who gave a talk on the process of assigning missionaries.

It was that talk I alluded to.

There are revelations and REVELATIONS. This kind might be insignificant to some people, but it is overwhelming to me.

Lehi

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Before I joined the Church or even knew anything about Mormons at all, I had a conversation with my mother.  I had been reading the New Testament and, in particular, the Acts of the Apostles.  I remember asking her, "Wouldn't it be amazing if the Church today was all one like it was back then and had apostles and prophets in it?"  I was really inspired and prepared by reading that.  When I found the Restored Gospel, I understood that it was that same Church. 

 

Miracles happen in the Church, big ones and small ones.  Revelations happen, big ones and small ones.  Healings happen, big ones and small ones.  Every temple built is a revelation.  Every patriarchal blessing given is one.  Every mission call is one.  There are men who hold the keys of the kingdom.  What an amazing thing!  When I read in the New Testament, not only about Peter, James, John, and Paul, I also think of the lower-level officers like Ananias, Cleopas, Timothy, and others, some of whom were bishops and Seventies.  It thrills me to think that we have men of that very same power and office who lead us today. 

 

When you look at your bishop, you should see an "Ananias" who the Holy Spirit could call to restore someone's sight.  When you have a Seventy at stake conference, imagine that you are listening to Phillip or Timothy, who were companions to the Twelve.  Their messages are being given by the same authority and Spirit.  It's a marvelous thing!

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Guest MormonGator

 

When you look at your bishop, you should see an "Ananias" who the Holy Spirit could call to restore someone's sight.  When you have a Seventy at stake conference, imagine that you are listening to Phillip or Timothy, who were companions to the Twelve.  Their messages are being given by the same authority and Spirit.  It's a marvelous thing!

 It truly is a marvelous thing, isn't it? I totally agree. 

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