This past week I had the wonderful experience of teaching a first discussion to an inactive family. He is black and she is white. They joined the church in Colorado about ten years ago and moved to Tucson a little while later. About two years ago, when I first met the family (the missionaries found them), he told me that when they attended the church is Tucson that is was very different and they didn't like it at all. To my horror, I discovered that they had accidentally attended the local RLDS church, and were not told that this was not our church. Their membership records were never forwarded and while some members of other wards got to know them over the years, their local ward never found out about them until two years ago. We have faithfully visited this family for two years and finally the trust has been established where they are considering to come back to church.
During the discussion, this family really opened up and shared their concerns. Clearly, their number one concern is the focus and treatment which they may receive in the church from other members in regards to their mixed race marriage and family. They have dealt with this challenge for years, and have done so courageously, yet it is a constant concern.
When we arrived at the home this past week, I noticed their young 7 year-old son was reading the Dictionary. I found this curious and joked about it. My heart broke later when I learned that this poor little boy had been called a "Nigger" that day at school and he didn't know what that meant and to start the discussion his dad suggested that he look up the word in the Dictionary.
When we showed them a picture of the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve, they of course saw an all-white leadership. We of course taught them about the spreading of the gospel world-wide and that the church is now a multi-race, multi-nation gospel of Jesus Christ. Regardless, this family has faced challenges that I have never had to personally deal with. When they come to church they will see a chapel loaded with blond-haired, (much sun bleached) blue eyed members, with a number of Latinos sprinkled in. Will people look at them as different? Of course. Will the ward embrace them. I believe they will.
One thing I think which may be left out in this discussion is to consider where man gets the power to reason. Let us not forget the role that the light of Christ plays in all of this:
"It is in its less refined existence the physical light which reflects sun, moon, stars...in higher degree, the intellectual light. Its inspiration constitutes animal instinct, REASON IN MAN, vision in Prophets." (Parley P. Pratt, "Key to Theology" p.47)
"When it is necessary for the Holy Ghost to speak to us, he is able to do so by acting through the other spirit -- Light of Christ" (Joseph Fielding Smith DS 1:40)
"When you feel pure intelligence Holy Ghost flowing into you it may give you sudden strokes of ideas. (Joseph Smith, HC 3:381)
As one studies the scriptures, you are blessed with strokes of ideas and understanding that comes from both the Light of Christ and the Gift of the Holy Ghost. It seems like people on this thread are trying to separate reason from faith and the Holy Ghost, as it applies toward learning truth. You can't do it. Are you bold enough to think that the truth that you learn from scriptures through your study comes from your own human strengths and understanding? "O the vainness, and the frailties, and the foolishness of men!" I'm also amazed how many on this list also seem to think that the Holy Ghost only teaches truth when we are praying. (First we shut God out and study on our own, and then we let him in when we go and pray...amazing!) As one rejects the truth and rejects the words of the prophets, that light is withdrawn from that person. Then "their wisdom is foolishness and it profiteth them not. And they shall perish. But to be learned is good if they hearken unto the counsels of God." (2 Ne 9:28-29)
Yes, study, working and reasoning is very important. But at no point should one pretend to shut out God and rely only on the "arm of flesh." Faith and the Holy Ghost must be part of the entire process.
In reading Elder Richard G. Scott's Oct 1993 Conference address, I found that it had applications to this thread:
"I know that to gain knowledge of great worth requires extraordinary personal effort. This is particularly true when our desire is to obtain spiritual knowledge. President Kimball said it this way: 'The treasure of both secular and spiritual knowledge are hidden ones--but hidden from those who do not properly search and strive to find them...Spiritual knowledge is not available merely for the asking; even prayers are not enough. It takes persistence and dedication of one's life....Of all treasures of knowledge, the most vital is the knowledge of God.' (Teaching of SWK, p.389-90)...
"The need to exercise faith in Jesus Christ is absolutely essential. It is the foundation of the plan of salvation. When that exercise of faith is coupled with sincere effort based upon a willingness to hearken to His counsel, great personal growth and blessings follow...
"Profound spiritual truth cannot simply be poured from one mind and heart to another. It takes faith and diligent effort. Precious truth comes a small piece at a time through faith, with great exertion, and at times wrenching struggles. The Lord intends it to be that way so that we can mature and progress. Moroni said, 'Dispute not because ye see not, for ye receive no witness until after the trial of your faith.'(Ether 12:6)...
"Gaining spiritual knowledge is not a mechanical process. It is a sacred privilege based upon spiritual law."
> Did any of the quotes continue with how to repent of such sins of
One difficulty in repenting for sins of omission is the step of restitution. However, the repentant sinner is required to make restitution "insofar as it is possible." (MOF, Spencer W. Kimball, p. 194)
It is my opinion that this is when scriptures like D&C 62:3 come into play: "Nevertheless, ye are blessed, for the testimony which ye have borne is recorded in heaven...and your sins are forgiven you." or D&C 84:61: "For I will forgive you of your sins...in bearing testimony to all the world.."
"In addition, a sound way to neutralize the effects of sin in one's life is to bring the light of the gospel to others who do not now enjoy it. This can mean working with both inactive members of the Church and nonmembers--perhaps more usually the latter...Monthly there are testimony meetings held where each one has the opportunity to bear witness. To by-pass such opportunities is to fail to that extent to pile up credits against the accumulated errors and transgressions." (Spencer W. Kimball, p.204-6)
So I think, as we bear our testimonies and repent of our sins of omission, the Lord forgives us and we go on from there.
> What is the First Resurrection?
When is the first resurrection? The answer depends on when you lived. If you lived before Christ, you might call the first resurrection, those who rose with Christ. This is what Alma referred to as the first resurrection (see Alma 40:17) Sometimes this confuses people who read this chapter.
President Joseph Fielding Smith then explains:
"It is customary for us to speak of the resurrection of the righteous at the second coming as the first resurrection. It is the first to us....After the righteous, another resurrection may be considered part of the first...those of the terrestrial order worthy to come forth during the Millennium. (Joseph Fielding Smith, DS 2:295-7) (See D&C 88:98-100)
Elder McConkie further defines:
"Two great resurrection await the inhabitants of the earth: one is the first resurrection...Those being resurrected with celestial bodies, whose destiny is to inherit a celestial kingdom, will come forth in the morning of the first resurrection. Their graves shall be opened and they shall be caught up to meet the Lord at his Second Coming...(He quotes D&C 88:99)...This is the afternoon of the first resurrection; it takes place after our Lord has ushered in the millennium. Those coming forth at that time do so with terrestrial bodies and are thus destined to inherit a terrestrial glory in eternity. At the end of the millennium, the second resurrection begins...the unjust..." (Bruce R. McConkie, MD p.640)
So you see, the first resurrection continues until the end of the millennium.
OK...he appears to say that those who will inherit the celestial kingdom will come forth in the morning which is at Christ's second coming, and seems to imply that all of those will be resurrected by the time Christ has finished ushering in the millennium. Hmm...That would only leave people of the lower kingdoms in the Spirit World. Would we be doing proxy baptisms and other temple ordinances for these people?
I'm of the opinion right now that the morning and the afternoon are blended together, not a clear separation. I also believe, right now, that these ordinances aren't needed for those of the lower kingdoms. However, I keep an open mind. Those of the Terrestrial order will eventually have faith in Christ, repent, and I would suppose would need to show a sign of acceptance of Christ...would this be baptism? This is just my own speculation of possibilities. Those of the lowest kingdom include those who never accept Christ, they won't accept baptism.
> I have always assumed that all people who were worthy of at least a
> Celestial glory and lived before Christs birth were resurrected
> along with or shortly after Christ's resurrection.
> Is this notion correct?
On this topic, it appears that the answer is yet. Let's first look at the scriptures:
"Now, whether the souls and the bodies of those of whom has been spoken shall all be reunited at once, the wicked as well as the righteous, I do not say; let it suffice, that I say that they all come forth; or in other words, before the resurrection of those who die after the resurrection of Christ." (Alma 11:40)
Some have mistakenly understood that this means all, even the wicked who lived before Christ will be resurrected before those who lived after him.
But Mosiah 15:26 and other scriptures are very clear:
"...yea, even all those that have perished in their sins ever since the world began, that have willfully rebelled against God, that have known the commandments of God, and would not keep them; these are they that have no part in the first resurrection."
OK, what about all the righteous who lived before Christ, will they be, or have they already been resurrected before those who lived after Christ?
"And there cometh a resurrection, even a first resurrection; yea even a resurrection of those that have been, and who are, and who shall be, even until the resurrection of Christ...the resurrection of all the prophets, and all those that have believed in their words...they that have died before Christ came, in their ignorance not having salvation declared unto them...and little children also." (Mosiah 15:21-25)
Do we know specifically anyone who was resurrected with Christ? Yes.
"And from Moses to Elijah, and from Elijah to John, who were with Christ in his resurrection..." (D&C 133:55)
So were all the righteous before Christ resurrected with him?
"The righteous dead who lived from the day of Adam to the time when Christ broke the bands of death "were with Christ in his resurrection." (McConkie, MD p. 639)
Does this settle it?
"I do not believe that the resurrection then at Christ's was a general one; I believe it extended to those only who while upon the earth had proved themselves willing to do all for the kingdom of God." (Anthon H. Lund, 1904)
Well, maybe Elder Lund was just saying the wicked weren't resurrected then. Elder McConkie goes on to say:
"To those who have lived since that day, the first resurrection is yet future and will take place at the time of the Second Coming. We have no knowledge that the resurrection is going on now or that any person have been resurrected since the day in which Christ came fort excepting Peter, James, and Moroni, all of whom had special labors to perform in this day which necessitated tangible resurrected bodies." (MD p. 639)
So it appears that Elder McConkie believed that all the righteous before Christ were resurrected with him. What does his father-in-law, the prophet, have to say about this?
"It is the opinion of some that the resurrection is going on all the time now, but this is purely speculation without warrant in the scriptures. It is true that the Lord has power to call forth any person or persons from the dead, as he may desire, especially if they have a mission to perform which would require their resurrection...We are given to understand that the first resurrection yet future, which means the coming forth of the righteous, will take place at one particular time, which is when our Savior shall appear in the clouds of heaven...the first resurrection, with which we have any future concern, will commence when Christ comes." (Joseph Fielding Smith, DS 2:299-300)
Elder Talmage seemed to feel that the resurrection is still going on now:
"No spirit shall remain disembodied longer than he deserves, or than is requisite to accomplish the just and merciful purposes of God. The resurrection of the just began with Christ; it has been in process and shall continue till the Lord comes in glory, and thence onward through the Millennium." (Talmage, The Vitality of Mormonism, p.284)
Elder Erastus Snow sheds some interesting light:
"The Lord Jesus, who was the first fruits of the dead, the first fruit of them that sleep, and who holds the keys of the resurrection, will bring to pass the resurrection of the Prophet Joseph and his brethren, and will set them to work in bringing about the resurrection of their brethren as He has set them to work in all the other branches of the labor from the beginning." (JD 25:34)
This seems to indicate that the resurrection my be organized by dispensation. Did Christ organize the same way, the ancient prophets, when He was resurrected?
> Are all revelations contained in the D&C?
An interesting note: When the 1921 edition of the Doctrine & Covenants was being prepared, a committee was formed, chaired by George F. Richards to consider adding 20 more revelations.
"We read the revelations which do not appear in the present edition of the D&C, about 20 in number with the view of recommending to the First Presidency certain of them to be included in the edition we are just now preparing." (GFR journal).These revelations were not added.
I was trying to find a quote from President Kimball, but was unable to. I believe he mentioned something regarding the great number of revelations that have been received, yet aren't in our D&C. I believe he referenced to Priesthood bulletins, general handbook of instructions as examples of some of the modern-day revelations that we take for granted.
Elder Boyd K. Packer made this comment regarding the church's reaction to adding the two revelations to the scriptures that later became D&C 137 and 138:
"I was surprised as were all of the Brethren at how casually that announcement of two additions to the standard works was received by the church." (BKP, 1977)
I wonder if this casual reaction has delayed others coming forth? I've been surprised how unfamiliar the church members are with these two powerful sections. They are great! But we sure haven't used them much.
I like President David O. McKay's definition of reverence:
"Reverence is profound respect mingled with love. Reverence for God and sacred things is the chief characteristic of a great soul. Little men may succeed, but without reverence they can never be great...A prayerful heart will do much to bring reverence into our lives."
Elder Packer gave a good talk on reverence in conference:
"For the past several years we have watched patterns of reverence and irreverence in the Church. While many are to be highly commended, we are drifting. We have reason to be deeply concerned... Irreverence suits the purposes of the adversary by obstructing the delicate channels of revelation in both mind and spirit.
Out sacrament and other meetings need renewed attention to assure that they are truly worship services in which members may be spiritually nourished and have their testimonies replenished and in which investigators may feel the inspiration essential to spiritual conversion...Leaders sometimes wonder why so many active members get themselves into such predicaments in life. Could it be that they do not feel what they need to feel because our meetings are less than they might be spiritually? Irreverent conduct in our chapels is worthy of a reminder, if not reproof. Leaders should teach that reverence invites revelation.
The reverence we speak of does not equate with absolute silence. We must be tolerant of little babies, even an occasional outburst from a toddler being ushered out to keep him from disturbing the peace. Unless the father is on the stand, he should do the ushering.
Music is of enormous importance in our worship services. I believe that those who choose, conduct, present, and accompany the music may influence the spirit of reverence in our meetings more than a speaker does." (Boyd K. Packer, CR Oct 1991)
Lou Midgley wrote a very interesting article in Journal of BofM Studies Vol 2, No. 2 entitled: "The Radical Reformation of the Reorganization of the Restoration: Recent Changes in the RLDS Understanding of the Book of Mormon."
He quotes Spillman "For a variety of reasons the RLDS church began to deemphasize its most unique aspects and stress those most characteristic of 'orthodox' Christian denomination. It particularly played down its historic 'one true church' claim."
"While the Book of Mormon is still revered and quoted, the church permits open criticism of traditional accounts of its origin and its theology."
Alan Tyree, once a member of the RLDS First Presidency published an essay in the Saints Herald that proposed the hypothesis that the Book of Mormon is 19th century fiction. He claims that the RLDS should "decide for themselves what they will do with the Book of Mormon. Millions have chosen to call it 'scripture.' " Tyree insists that the RLDS "let is speak for itself. If it is useful to people, they will make that decision for themselves. But let us not make that decision for them, by making it a test of faith and fellowship that they must believe in the book."
I recently had the privilege of teaching temple preparation lessons to an RLDS family that joined the LDS church. They described their conversion as "coming home." They had a deep, abiding testimony of Joseph Smith and the Book of Mormon and the changes in the RLDS church caused them to seriously search for truth. I'm sure there are many like this family...hopefully they will find their way home soon.
Here are some quotes regarding the sacrament, after the ancient order.
In the Kirtland School of Prophets:
"The Sacrament was also administered at time when Joseph appointed, after the ancient order; that is, warm bread to break easy was provided, and broken into pieces as large as my fist, and each person had a glass of wine and sat and ate the bread and drank the wine, and Joseph said that was the way that Jesus and his disciples partook of the bread and wine and this was the order of the church anciently." (Zebedee Coltrin, Minute Book 1883, Salt Lake School of Prophets, p.53-54)
"We partook of the Sacrament according to the Ancient Pattern." (Thomas Bullock Nauvoo Journal, p.57)
> When was it first taught in the church that during the sacrament we
> renew our baptismal covenants?
The connection to baptismal covenants is fairly obvious when we read Mosiah 18:5-10. But is is an interesting question to ask who first voiced this connection. In the early days of the church, when speaking about the sacrament (the Lord's supper) the emphasis seemed to be more on "remembrance" rather than of renewing covenants. And this is certainly the point emphasized in the New Testament.
Brigham Young taught that we come before the Lord
"to witness that we remember that the Lord Jesus Christ has died for us. This proves to the Father that we remember our covenants, that we love his Gospel, that we love to keep his commandment, and to honor the name of the Lord Jesus upon the earth." (JD 6:277)Notice the emphasis on remembrance and witnessing.
Elder George A. Smith teaches in 1857:
"We review our conduct...and make a kind of settlement with ourselves...repenting of our sins and follies, and we lay the foundation in our own minds to RENEW our diligence and exertions in future." (JD 5:11)
In 1884, Francis M. Lyman makes a strong connection:
"...all Saints who have named the name of Jesus Christ and entered into covenant with God, should meet together often and partake of the sacrament and RENEW THEIR COVENANTS..." (JD 25:61)
In 1890, James E. Talmage writes, "Partaking of the sacrament...may be regarded therefore as a means of RENEWING our avowals before the Lord..." (AoF p.175)
In 1919, Elder Melvin J. Ballard wrote a lengthy article on "The Sacramental Covenant" in the "Improvement Era." He says,
"So our Father in heaven has provided that, not only once but frequently, we shall meet together to RENEW our pledge, our COVENANT, and our agreement to keep His commandment, and to take upon us His name again."We all know when we first made this covenant.
John A. Widtsoe directly makes reference to this:
"The covenants in the prayer of the blessing are those made when entrance into the Church is consummated." ("Evidences and Reconciliations, p. 319, 1943)
Joseph Fielding Smith and Bruce R. McConkie both taught this principle in recent years.