Thursday, January 31, 2008

Thomas S. Monson - Called of God

Of Christ Rev 1:14 says, "His head and his hairs were white like wool, as white as snow; and his eyes were as a flame of fire."

Also of Christ D&C 110:3 says, "His eyes were as flame of fire..."

In reading this latter I had considered this a bit of writers license, and assumed Revelation's comment to just be being typical of the book.

Having been brought up in Protestantism I considered it impossible that I would ever see a living apostle. And upon joining the church I still hadn't got to see one at the time I went on my mission; as circumstance had it.

But then we were to have Thomas S. Monson come to a missionary meeting. So here I was to finally come to see a living apostle. I thought, "now remember, Doug, he isn't going to come in dressed like Moses and carrying a staff." I said this to keep my expectations of the person realistic (not that I thought he would come thus dressed).

I was somewhat disappointed to see him come in looking rather business like in his mannerisms. However while I was sitting out there during the process of the meeting I happened to look at him. His eyes were orange, like you would see in a photograph.

I thought, "no-one is going to believe me when I tell them this." So I looked to see if there was any reflection of light coming in the windows. I really knew it wasn't that, to cause such an effect, but I looked anyway. The sun was on the opposite side of the building, the windows were fogged style of glass, and they were all in shade.

I looked back and now his eyes were as fire. I looked into the eyes and it was like going right into an enormous furnace. It was as I had imagined Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-nego standing in a fire: Lots of space. This demonstrated that the Holy Ghost was with him.

I believe God was wanting to show me that, even though he may have had organising and business to do, he still had the Spirit in him, and was a true Apostle of Christ.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Methods to Recognise Truth from Error

Having been asked to explain our beliefs on another site, I was called upon to talk of our opinion of the Bible. However as that isn't the only source of truth we have I had to extend the discussion to explain what we regard as sources of truth.

The Baptist minister had trouble with what he termed "changing doctrine" of the church. So I thought it best to explain just how, as an LDS, I determine which doctrines, of those I'm presented with, to recognise as the fullest truths. As the subject is so important I thought I'd share this information as a post on this site.

When my children were really little I told them never to touch a power socket/point/jack or power cords. As my oldest got on she was somewhat shocked to have me one day tell her to plug in a power cord. And as time went on I eventually taught her to take one apart and repair it. If, on the other hand, one of my children wasn't responsible with this freedom I would remove the right from them, and give them back the more basic law, until I felt I could give them another go. So is our Heavenly Father with us.

Two examples of this in the Bible are, first the giving of the law of Moses to Israel when previously the gospel of Jesus Christ was known (Heb 3:16 & 4:2), and second the re-establishment of the gospel of Jesus Christ at the time of John the Baptist (Lk 16:16).

While these situations may be considered by some to be "changing doctrine" nothing had really altered. It never was good to be angry with anyone, or to lust anyone etc. So Christ wasn't creating NEW concepts, but improving the information level.

Therefore as levels of knowledge, within the church generally, can rise and fall (e.g. read D&C 119 heading), the question arises as to how I determine what is the greater truth, as a sincerely searching LDS wishing to progress beyond the basic level?

There are many readable sources I can find information for consideration from. The first and primary readable source is the Standard Works (scriptures). Conference talks and books by past church leaders are good for ideas also.

But, in the end, these do pose some problems in being certain of the fullness of every statement contained therein. For example the prophets prior to Christ in the Book of Mormon and Old Testament could only speak from personal knowledge. And in spite of some inspiration their knowledge wasn't as full as ours should be: They didn't have the sermon on the mount to refer to etc. Their thinking reflected the law of Moses that they were under. So statements they made about God weren't made with as much additional knowledge in many cases.

Next, as the people they were speaking to were often even less informed, the level of information was a bit on the down side for this reason also. This same situation exists to some degree in the church today, as there are new members and those not really ready for deeper understanding, to consider. It is important to give people milk before meat (as Christ and Paul pointed out). So even those things stated by GAs today become limited, as a member stretches on in learning past those basics.

This leads next to the importance of prayer and revelation from the Holy Ghost. In addition to the Holy Ghost you can have personal, two-way, discussion with Heavenly Father or with Jesus Christ, as have had many before us. However even here some will protest that information can come from the wrong source and we may be being deceived. So how can we really know?

Quite simple. Several ways exist of knowing truth from error. These skills can be obtained by practice and looking into yourself. So even though some mistakes may initially be made you will soon get the hang of it. Just allow for the teething problems; keep yourself focused on Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ and you will be fine.

Firstly there is feeling from the messenger (if inspired - which truth generally will be). The dark side (Satan and his mates) are exactly that. And their ways are obvious - anger, hate, revenge, despair, greed, etc. On the other hand God gives freedom, has love, peace, forgiveness, patience and all those other good things.

Next, there is light in truth. If the thing is completely true it will cause light in you that your spirit will love (this light is actually visible to your spirit eyes). If it is only partially right it won't be exactly like that, but will still have some feeling of good. I then know it needs further work, but I'm on the right track. If it is completely wrong I won't feel this at all, and the Holy Ghost may inform me that I'm up the wrong track altogether.

Naturally it shouldn't oppose the highest of Scriptural messages (the sermon on the mount). This was delivered by Christ himself to an audience that had the spiritual interest to actually go out and listen. So that is the peak of his doctrine.

Then there is the fact that it fits in this place in eternity. If it can't fit in a spot in eternity then it is false. Search sincerely for that and you will find it.

It has to fit with reality. If real life seems to oppose the idea then either your perspective of real life needs examining or it is false.

Living principles have the obvious living test. That is that if you practice them fully for a sustained period and nurture them, they will make you feel good inside. Some principles require little testing, and some require extended effort, to prove. A simple test of living principles is to go to a hospital and visit a person not getting visitors. Put that person's face in your head afterward and think of how pleased they were you came. Then ask yourself if you can't feel a good feeling in your heart?

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Men Becoming Gods - is this Biblical?

Joseph Smith wasn't backward in stating that the things he taught could be demonstrated in the Bible. Many religions try to present themselves as knowing the Bible. But all I see is a mess that isn't as Biblically supported as they claim. A teaching of the church that stands seriously opposed, and even accused by some of being blasphemous, is that man can eventually become as God is. Does the Bible teach this?

Gen 1:1 "In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth."

In Hebrew (which is the language it was written in) the word translated as "God" in the above verse is "Eloheim". Words ending in "im" in Hebrew are plural. It is like when we use an "s" at the end of a word. We would say, "one cherub", "two cherubs". They said, "one cherub", "two cherubim".

When Christ called to God from the cross he called out "Eloi", which means "My God" (Mark 15:34). In the Old Testament names are used with or without an "h" and the accompanying vowel. Thus the word "Eloheim" is also written "Eloim". Christ calls for "Eloi" the "i" at the end suggesting "My".

So now you understand this Hebrew word, we can see that Gen 1:1 literally says, "In the beginning GODS created the heavens and the earth." So why did the translators use the word "God" rather than "Gods" as it really says? - Indoctrination! People who want to continue believing that the Bible teaches that one God created the earth will want to ignore this or think up excuses for the poor translation. However this would only be to their own detriment. Why just continue to believe something false? You may think you like to keep with the old belief, but wait until you experience all the truth. You won't look back.

Thoughts would come to mind of the Bible talking of one God only. I will come to explain all this further on. But briefly I will mention (least I be misunderstood) that there is only one Father God and there is only one Lord Jesus Christ. Israel had but one God and Lord - Jesus Christ (Jehovah). The gods of other nations were false. So besides him there was no real God. Yet this didn't detract from the fact that the Father God existed. His statement was to keep it simple. This will be more evident as we go on. Remember that my objective isn't to force readers to believe that which they refuse to believe, but to demonstrate that the Bible teaches that men can become as God.

We are left with the question, "who were these Gods that created the earth," as mentioned in Genesis?

In Jn 10:34 Christ, quoting part of Psalms 82:6 states, "Ye are Gods". In verses 35-36 Christ goes on to state that if the people to whom the word came are Gods, how can he be blaspheming by merely stating that he is the son of one. Plainly Christ is declaring the word "Gods" in Psalms to be a plural form, with exactly the same value, as the word "God" used in his statement, "son of God". So he has given an equal status to these Gods, who were a group of men, as he has to the Father. Some of us can therefore be stated to be Gods as God is God, according to Christ. Are these the Gods referred to in Genesis?

What else do we find in the Bible declaring that men will be equal with God?

Rev 3:21 "To him that overcometh will I grant to sit down with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my father in his throne."

This is declaring that people who overcome will sit down with Christ in his throne, which is also the throne of our Heavenly Father. How could anything be more clear? The Bible is telling us that some people will equally co-reign with God.

Is there more in the Bible stating that man will rule in heaven?

Luke 12:43-44 "Blessed is that servant, whom his lord when he cometh shall find so doing. Of a truth I say unto you, that he will make him ruler over all that he hath."

"Ruler over ALL that he hath". More talk by Christ of men having an equal rulership in heaven with God.

What I have shown has proven conclusively that man will reign in heaven, and that some men are Gods. But for the sake of sceptics I will proceed to further demonstrate Biblically that man will reign equally in heaven with God.

Rom 8:16-17 "The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God: And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together."

This is stating that those righteous will be heirs also as Christ is an heir. A "joint-heir" is where the division is equal.

Rom 3:23 "For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God."

So what is it that has made us come short of having God's glory? Sin. Christ came and paid for the sins of the truly repentant, thus bringing us back that we can gain the glory of God.

2 Thess 2:14 "Whereunto he called by our gospel, to the obtaining of the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ."

Therefore by following the gospel we can obtain the same glory as Jesus Christ.

I would ask readers, "are we really to believe this teaching isn't Biblical?"

But let us go on, for the really died in the wool sceptics who are still trying to take this new information on board.

Psalms 136:2 "O give thanks unto the God of gods: for his mercy endureth forever."

In spite of the word "gods" being translated with a small "g", the original Hebrew uses the same word here as is used in Genesis 1:1, as quoted above. So he is termed "the God of Gods". Surely this can't mean God of the unreal, so called "gods" that the other nations had. That would make him God of nothing, or the God of bits of wood and stone. This verse is saying that he is the God of other Gods. What other Gods? Those Gods mentioned creating the earth? Those men who are Gods, mentioned by Christ and Psalms? Those Gods who will sit in God's throne and reign? Those joint-heirs with Christ?

Luke 16:12 "And if ye have not been faithful in that which is another man's, who shall give you that which is your own?"

What is this that Christ is stating that we can't have of our OWN if we aren't faithful with what is God's? If we are to believe that only our Heavenly Father can invent and own, how could we ever own anything anyway? His statement implies that we can have that which is exclusively our own, not God's, if we are faithful. This implies that we would have to create it ourselves, for it not to belong to God.

Speaking of Christ Isa 53:12 says, "Therefore will I divide him a portion with the great, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong; because he hath poured out his soul unto death: and he was numbered with the transgressors; and he bare the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors."

Who are these greats and strong that Christ will divide the spoil with? Plainly the joint-heirs and Gods of creation that the Bible talks of. And who are these Gods? They are the righteous of this earth that truly accept to follow Christ in ALL things.

We have but one God. And that is our Heavenly Father. We have only one Lord and Savior - Jesus Christ. But the Bible plainly teaches that we also are Gods in the making. That is our purpose in being here, and the destiny of those who are righteous. Learning how to create an earth, under Christ's direction, was just part of our education.

One point that I should mention for a fuller understanding, is that even though we gain the calling of doing that which Heavenly Father is doing, we never actually become as he would be at any time, as an individual, because he continues to grow also.

A blasphemous doctrine? Not according to Jesus Christ, Joseph Smith, Paul, Psalms, Moses and Isaiah.