Thursday, August 07, 2008

Deep Doctrine - Can we just Wait and learn it "Later On"?

A point of some confusion, in the church, is just how important is it to learn uncommonly known doctrine while alive? Should we just put it off until we are resurrected and have God tell us then? Some will argue that it is confusing, and so it is best to just wait.

Some past GAs have mentioned that not everything can be learnt in this lifetime, and will require instruction afterward. But what are these things that won't be learnt in this lifetime? It seems obvious to me that the state of a resurrected body is likely to be one of these things referred to. After all, how can we understand the physical make-up of something we don't actually have? What is it like dwelling in everlasting burnings with a resurrected body? How much space is best left between solar systems, and why? How many inhabited planets should be governed by one Savior? There are so many questions and things to learn. So it certainly can't all be learnt in this lifetime.

On the one hand the idea is posed - leave learning unknown doctrine to later. Yet on the other hand we have - should we put off until tomorrow what we could do today? Or - procrastination; a tool of the Devil.

Then we have on the one hand - we could get it wrong. Yet on the other hand - "fear" a tool that Satan uses: A concept of spiritual ignorance is definately something he is pleased with.

But additionally questions arise, such as - How are we better off by learning mysteries? How does our learning affect others? How does our learning affect our relationship with Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ? Is there a responsibility put upon us to learn for some reason? And what do the Scriptures say about this?

Alma 34:32 tells us that this lifetime is when we should prepare to meet God. And while Alma emphasises the repentance point, surely the same logic applies to everything.

John 8:32 states, "And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall set you free." In our missionary discussions it quoted this, and then went on to say, "knowing the truth frees us from the consequences of following false information." In other words ignorance (and Christ was referring more to spiritual truth) leaves us in a greater position to make wrong choices (do evil). Having the truth also allows us to help others stay free of such consequences.

Then we are also informed, "Whatever principle of intelligence we attain unto in this life, it will rise with us in the resurrection. And if a person gains more KNOWLEDGE and intelligence in this life through his diligence and obedience than another, he will have so much the ADVANTAGE in the world to come." (D&C 130: 18-19).

That certainly doesn't propose waiting until afterward to learn things. In fact quite the opposite. It tells us that the more we learn in this life, that relates to spiritual things, the greater advantage we will have later.

"The glory of God is intelligence, or, in other words, light and truth." (D&C 93: 36). Therefore the more truth we obtain, that we live by (D&C 93:39), the greater intelligence we have.

Amidst a collection of revelatory gems D&C 131:6 states, "It is impossible for a man to be saved in ignorance."

But I would suppose the most conclusive to be, "If thou shalt ask, thou shalt receive revelation upon revelation, knowledge upon knowledge, that thou mayest know the mysteries and peaceable things - that which bringeth joy, that which bringeth life eternal." (D&C 42:61).

This is saying that if you will ask you will learn the mysteries that bring eternal life. This is, naturally, proposing that if you don't ask you won't know sufficiently the things that will bring eternal life. That seals it all to me.

But while this message is clear, what is the benefit for me today: The person inside?

I can't begin to explain the feeling of joy that comes as truth comes flooding in. It is just like your being is gaining all this wonderful light. Your life is that much better from that time henceforth. Nothing else can even begin to compare with it, other than looking in the eyes of a woman beautiful with the light of truth that is in her. Or standing in the presence of Heavenly Father or Jesus Christ.

But this is one more area involved in this. Desiring to know the truth, sincerely, will bring you closer to God. You will begin to find you are talking with him, and he with you personally. This relationship will develop to where you begin to see him. You will love this relationship.

So there is no downside to learning the mysteries provided you follow the things he says.

4 comments:

Alecia said...

I just discovered your blog and am anxious to further my study of it. I just wanted to comment that I've had this very question on my mind, that of what we can learn of here. I've begun reading Jesus the Christ and am deeply touched by the fact that we were taught about this life in the pre-existance. I shared these thoughts with a friend, "If we were taught, before we came to earth, how to handle earthly problems, if we were schooled in this manner, would it not make sense that this was done so that we could remember while we were here?" I think people laugh at my new found desire to "remember" who I was, to "remember" covenants made, to "remember" what I thought was so important to learn. If we think about it what would have been the point...to "remember" after the fact? That makes no sense and would even border on cruelty. Our Savior loves us, he wants us to return by our choice, perhaps, by our "rememberance". Thank you for your post.

Doug Towers said...

alecia

Thanks for the positive comment.

I have had memories and strong feelings from the pre-existence from time to time in my life.

I believe it is only our transition to having a physical body, and it being easier to see physical things that has made us too lazy to remember. With sufficient effort and incentive we can see back as much as desired.

I would also support Jesus the Christ there in that I am strongly influenced by my pre-existent opinions and teaching.

Joe said...

Hello Doug,
I am a former Mormon who is still concerned about those who continue in Mormonism. I was born and raised in the 'faith', and it was not until near middle adulthood that I finally had studied enough deep doctrines and history before I could bring myself to acknowledge that Mormonism is false.
The deep doctrines once held great fascination for me. I can still easily recall how intriguing they were and the fantastic perspective and perception enhancement they seemed to afford me.
I am not just a disgruntled former Mormon, nor one whose mind became darkened by sin. Neither was I ever excommunicated. I did request by formal letter my name removed from the church records.
My problem with Mormonism, and the LDS church, was a matter of doctrine and history, and truth. Being intrigued by the deep doctrines is all good and well - but are they true? Does the history of Mormonism really correlate to the claims of the LDS church, or any of the other Mormon groups, for that matter?
Doug, I submit to you that the honest answer to both of these questions is 'no'.
I would probably have remained entranced by the doctrines indefinitely, had it not been for a matching interest in church history. [ I love all history in general, and find it very eye opening and a very valuable component to the search for wisdom. ] The doctrines of Joseph Smith and Brigham Young have a tremendously romantic appeal, which both covers for and is in fact supplemented by the sheer audacity of the technically incredible and impossible aspects of these doctrines. Therefore it follows that these doctrines will hold the greatest appeal for those who possess a capacity to experience the powerful surge of idealistic emotions, coupled with a strong aptitude for intellectual imagination and abstract thought. These doctrines are tailored, (whether by human deliberation or otherwise I know not) to stimulate the mental faculties in such a way as to create both strong emotions and a sense of enlightenment which works upon our human neurology to release endorphins in our brian chemistry and so gives us powerful experiences which we can interpret as divine. In acknowledging this Doug, I am not denying the reality of God nor of spiritual things, both of which I strongly believe in. Rather, I realize that strong feelings, even of epihanic intensity cannot be the sole guide to truth. Afterall, isn't that how the Buddhists arrive at their 'enlightenment'? And so, our search for truth must involve a mutual and concerted effort of the mind and the heart together, wherein the operation of neither should eclipse the other.
Doug, God may be drawing you to study these doctines, (as he did me) but perhaps for far different end results than you now think. However, may I recommend you include a study of the times and events surrounding the advent and promulgation of these doctrines.
In particular, I would challenge you to consider these:
The Adam-God theory. This doctrine was that Elohim was Adam was Elohim. Elohim came down to the Garden of Eden and with his physical body fathered the physical human race. Brigham Young hatched this one, but only few of the "brethren" ever fully got on board with him, and the doctrine basically died a still birth. It was just too far out.
The church outright denies this doctrine was ever taught, but you can read for yourself discourses of Brigham Youngs and other apostles of his time on this and decide for yourself. It will help greatly if you can find a volume of the "Journal of Discourses", a church publication that is rapidly being buried by the passing of years.
The Blood Atonement doctrine. This was the secret doctrine the church still duplicitously denies but cannot disown. This doctine is simply that serious sins are not covered by the blood of Christ's sacrifice alone, but must be augmented by the blood letting death of the sinner himself, in order to obtain eternal forgiveness. For this reason the state of Utah, to this day, provides for capital punishment by firing squad (for the blood must be shed) at the option of the executee. In Brigham Young's day, blood atonement was not always optional on the part of the sinner. And certain 'brethren' had to be assigned to "tend to the case" of others who did voluntarily request it for the sake of their eternal salvation. The preferred method was slicing of the thoat, to allow the sinner to bleed to death, and thereby more amply fulfilling the requirment that the blood be shed.
Polygamy. We all know about this one. J.S. and B.Y. taught it was very good for your eternal kingdom. Now, you will be excommunicated.
The Negro and the Priesthood. B.Y. taught one drop of the blood of Cain disqualifies you. He didn't realize how absolutely infeasible this would become in the mixed race future that is now our time. So, wallah, a "revelation", that it doesn't matter anymore!! Phew, what a relief.
[ Don't get me wrong, I think its a good thing for "the negro" to be treated equal. ]

Doug Towers said...

joe

You have brought up a lot of issues for me to answer in one response. However I have explained the problem of the so-callled "Adam-God theory" in another post. You can also read it in my Questions Answered site, which has a link near the top of the page.

In regard Eloheim being the father of us all; I would ask you to read the genealogy in Luke chapter 3. Note the last verse (Jesus was the only begotten in the fallen flesh - the way the word "flesh" is used often in Scripture).

I have answered on the Negro situation on another post also. And that can be read on my answers site also.

In regard blood atonement the Scriptures plainly state that certain sins are to be revealed to the church (in the Bible) and that once a person has crucified Christ in true repentance they can't just put him up to crucify him again (ie only one go). IF a person has done all those things that the Scriptures (including the Bible) set down for these types of cases, then there is no further forgiveness by Christ's atonement available. I can't comment beyond what the Scriptures say, but the Bible declares Blood atonement for premeditated murder (and certain other actions).

The polygamy problem is quite simply resolved. However I am not permitted to explain it to you at this time. All I can say is the answer is there if you search by the Spirit.

While there are answers to all these concerns that have worried you let me add one final thing that sums it all up to me. I have stood in the presence of Heavenly Father and spoken with him face to face as a man speaketh with his friend, many times. I have stood and spoken with Jesus Christ the same. He has taken me and shown me things that support the church's stand. Both have continually supported and presented to me those doctrines that the church teaches and far more.

My belief isn't centered on whether a man may get this or that wrong. It is centered on the fact that God NEVER gets it wrong. We are instructed to get and keep the Spirit with us in our lives. And he will lead us to truth also.

I hope what I have said is of some help in your search.