Tuesday, March 31, 2009

This Generation Shall Have My Word Through You

The title of this post is in D&C 5:10. This lesson focuses on the extraordinary amount of new scripture given by and through Joseph Smith. As Elder LeGrand Richards put it, "As far as our records show, he has given us more revealed truth than any prophet who has ever lived upon the face of the earth."
I wonder, but didn't talk about in class, how much other prophets really had to reveal, that we just don't have. We also have the blessings of printing and near universal literacy. Without those two things all the information Joseph Smith revealed would have been useless to the rest of us. The lesson recommends reading in Our Heritage pg 41 about the near destruction of the Book of Commandments when it was being printed. I'm not going to go into that, but it is an interesting thing to think about.
What good is revelation that never gets further than the prophet and a few nearest him? David and I have wondered about various religious figures in history, that seemed to have good beginnings, but since their words weren't recorded for hundreds of years after they died, who knows what kind of distortions have crept in? Up too late meanderings, but fun to speculate about.
When we realize that not only did Joseph directly reveal everything in the Triple Combination, but also did the JST, that is a lot of new information. We did an interesting exercise in class. On a given topic a person read what information was in the Bible, then a second person summarized what was in the latter-day revelations. It is such a blessing to have more of the word of God, to have in detail how to baptise, what apostles are supposed to do, the difference between the Aaronic and Melchizedek Priesthoods, to name just a few. As an exercise at home, look up any random topic in the topical guide, and just read the Bible verses. Then add in the stuff from the triple.
2 Ne 3:11-12 says:
11 But a seer will I raise up out of the fruit of thy loins; and unto him will I give power to bring forth my word unto the seed of thy loins—and not to the bringing forth my word only, saith the Lord, but to the convincing them of my word, which shall have already gone forth among them.
12 Wherefore, the fruit of thy loins shall write; and the fruit of the loins of Judah write; and that which shall be written by the fruit of thy loins, and also that which shall be written by the fruit of the loins of Judah, shall grow together, unto the confounding of false doctrines and laying down of contentions, and establishing peace among the fruit of thy loins, and bringing them to the knowledge of their fathers in the latter days, and also to the knowledge of my covenants, saith the Lord.
The underlined phrases are what The Book of Mormon and the additional scriptures we have add to the Bible. I especially like "the laying down of contentions, and establishing peace." We do have some doctrinal arguments, but far fewer than most denominations, partly because we have continual revelations, but also because we have so much more of the Word of God to turn to. You can't get more clear than Alma 11:42-45 about whether we are resurrected as spirits or with bodies. And if God Himself has a body, D&C 130:22. Generations of theologians have argued over those points, using only the information in the Bible. As the knowledge junkie I am, I am grateful to Joseph Smith, for the effort and determination he had to serve God, that led him to provide the rest of us with such wonderful truths about Jesus Christ and the plan of the gospel.
The best part of the additional scriptures is found in Moroni 10:3-6
3 Behold, I would exhort you that when ye shall read these things, if it be wisdom in God that ye should read them, that ye would remember how merciful the Lord hath been unto the children of men, from the creation of Adam even down until the time that ye shall receive these things, and ponder it in your hearts.
4 And when ye shall receive these things, I would exhort you that ye would ask God, the Eternal Father, in the name of Christ, if these things are not true; and if ye shall ask with a sincere heart, with real intent, having faith in Christ, he will manifest the truth of it unto you, by the power of the Holy Ghost.
5 And by the power of the Holy Ghost ye may know the truth of all things.
6 And whatsoever thing is good is just and true; wherefore, nothing that is good denieth the Christ, but acknowledgeth that he is.
This test is applicable to EVERYTHING Joseph Smith revealed. Not just the Book of Mormon, or the last chapter of the Book of Mormon. If you have problems with the Book of Abraham and those odd Egyptian pictures, study and pray about it. If the plural marriage thing at the end of the Doctrine and Covenants bothers you, study and pray about it. We have been promised that we "may know the truth of all things." It doesn't say all at once, or right now when we demand it, but we can learn all we need to know, and receive the witnesses that it is all true. What a wonderful blessing. No other knowledge in this world comes with such a promise.


Steph K said...


Did you hear about this? If so do you know more than she does?

Steph K said...

BTW, sorry for the last comment. I was going to say that I have my laptop out of commission and thus no address book. I would have emailed that if I had the choice. Sorry.

readerMom said...

I haven't heard anything, but I am not in the news circuit, especially for older kids. The newspaper only comes out once a week, tomorrow.

jendoop said...

Good post. Thanks for helping me with my scripture study for today ;)

While making dinner I started to read the article in April's Ensign by Elder and Sister Oaks about truth and education. It seemed really good, as far as I got anyway. I love this gospel, how it embraces all truth and that we are encouraged to learn!

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