This blog is not about an angelic visitation or anything of that sort. I had loaned a book to a neighbor that addressed, by way of scripture, the second comforter. The subject of the scriptures and quotes within the book point the mind in the direction of the availability made to all man to obtain a personal and physical witness of Christ. My neighbor finished reading the book and asked to come over and talk at 9 PM last night.
Just so you understand the frame of mind that I was in, I’ll share some background about my Sunday. Sunday school was amazing! I learned about the Lords idea for the use of our excess …meaning excess time, talents, money, whatever. I was so intrigued with the lesson that I chased the teacher down in the hall (those of you who know me can probably see me bobbing and weaving through the crowded hall, grabbing hold of the teacher).
The teacher stated in the lesson that he had a list of scriptures that he wanted to share, but was only able to get through four of them, before facing resistance from the crowd. I remember the scripture that stirred the resistance, it was the words of Christ in 3 Nephi 13:19. It stated that we are to …lay up in store treasures where moth and rust does not corrupt. Then the teacher suggested that perhaps we need to place our “investables” (time/ talents/ whatever) in the treasures in heaven, and not accumulate bank accounts, etc. I felt, at that moment, a surge of power within me because of the truth of what he said. Then, I felt a darkness among those in the class who’ve accumulated money and put their trust in it. I said to my wife, “Wo… the spirit of that crowd turned vicious.” It was all because of the comment of the teacher. The lesson could not progress any further. There was complete rejection. But, …I loved it! The comment, not the contention.
I got the list of scriptures from the teacher, and read them for myself. There were about 12 of them located in the Book of Mormon, Doctrine and Covenants, Pearl of Great Price, New and Old Testament. It was everywhere. The concept of how the Lord planned that we could have abundance and no poor among us was so clear. So as we got the family settled at about 7 PM, my wife and I spent two hours taking a look at all the scriptures that weren’t shared. I had her read all of the scriptures aloud because I had already read them, and we discussed each one. She too came to the same conclusion. That’s what happens when you have the mind and will of God exposed in the words of Christ and all are willing to receive it, knowing that they themselves know nothing.
Soon after we completed our study and discussion there came a knock at the door. My wife excused herself and the kids went to bed. The brother proceeded to use a political strategy in expressing his feelings. He first stated all the positive things he could concerning the book. The spirit was a heavy one. Then he continued with all the things that he found wrong with the book. But instead of talking about the subject through the scriptures and the doctrine outlined in the book, his emphasis was more based upon the author and the opinions that he had on the author.
I listened carefully, not only to what my neighbor was saying, but to what the spirit was telling me. Every argument that my neighbor used came with contradictions and holes, it didn’t make sense to my mind. It was utter confusion. But the communication was clear to me that he wasn’t there to talk about the words of Christ. My scriptures were in my left hand, ready and available to discuss the words of Christ, but that wasn’t his intention. He was there to save my soul from eternal damnation because he didn’t trust the author of the book.
Having just spent two hours in the scriptures with my wife, the scriptures right at my side, I was prepared to have an open discussion, no matter what direction the conversation went. Not once did my neighbor want anything to do with the scriptural passages within them. He only wanted to attack the author. This is typical when people question something without understanding, they refuse to look objectively at the word.
The spirit dictated to me that I need to shut my mouth and not say a word. I resisted that feeling once, and I questioned my neighbor on one of his objections. It was very clear that he didn’t know what he was talking about, and because I questioned him, his response became even more zealous. I think it was due to the fact that he just did not know how to converse upon scripture, so he used zeal to cover up his ignorance. That is another typical response. If you don’t know what you’re saying, say whatever you’re saying louder, harder, with more zeal, and that seems more convincing. Saying “I don’t know,” in my opinion, holds more value.
I retreated to silence. I nodded my head, expressing my understanding to his concerns. I know that he just needed to voice his opinion without rebuttal. So I allowed him to do so. He proceeded to tell me that the author was captured by Satan and continued to explain his prophesy about the final demise of the author, of his future actions to watch for as the author will begin to kick the church and to fight against it. He then said that he needed to get back home to his family. I was relieved because I already wanted to cast him out myself.
As he stood up I was impressed to ask him, “Hey, did you talk to the Bishop about the book?” He began to fumble and stated that he did, but not too much. I then asked, “Did you attach my name to your conversation about the book?” He said that he did. It was clear that he was campaigning against the author to me and to the Bishop. He wrote an 8 page academic response to the book, and left it on the book as he left. I did not look at the contents. I felt impressed to give it back to him.
So as he left, I asked him if the papers were intended for me. He said that they were. I told him that he could take it with him. I told him that I already knew how he felt about the book and that I didn’t need his paper to express it.
His response to me became a bit hostile. He said that he didn’t want to see me following a man who was following Satan. He said that he was warning me. I politely expressed gratitude for his concern for my spiritual welfare and shook his hand gave him a hug and let him go home.
For those who are concerned about my being apostate, I want it to be absolutely clear that I do not follow any man. I seek to know Christ and God the Father personally. I study the scriptures to identify them. I listen to people share their ideas for the purpose of getting to know Christ and God. As I listen, I am seeking alignment with the words of Christ. If the words don’t align with the words of Christ in the scriptures, I cast it aside and never pay much attention. If it aligns, I listen carefully and then study the references later, to make sure I understand them correctly. Then I decide whether or not I agree.
When I decide the doctrine to be true, I am staking my entire salvation on the matter, as I believe we all should. We all should be placed responsible for what we believe, and our salvation should depend on it. I am one who is willing to put all things on the line whatever, to know if the path I am taking is according to God’s will. I do not depend on any man for this knowledge of my personal standing before God. I will not hide behind a decision maker, hoping that they are right, because I know nothing. My eternal salvation is my responsibility and no one else’s. So I will be the author of my life, and I expect that God will guide me, if my heart is truly offered as my sacrifice. How pure is my heart? It is not. How worthy of a sacrifice is my heart? It is not. But it is all I know how to give and all that I believe I have to give that is not already his.
Look, I don’t care if you trust me or not. I am not worthy of anyones trust. What I am pointing to is trusting in God’s words. Read them and He will be the one to reveal the truth of it unto you. That’s all I am saying. I only do this blog thing to stir up conversations within myself and my family so that we can begin to hold greater conversations upon subjects of real significance. Forget about the careers, the money, the opportunities, the hobbies, etc. They have no power to obtain joy.
When we turn our hearts to God, I trust that God intends to make that heart better than gold. When that time comes that my heart is valued as more than gold, I will still offer it up to him, despite the trade-in values of the world.
Although the author of the books I have read and the talks that I have attended in the past, and will attend in the future, is excommunicated from our church, I submit that I think it was a mistake on the part of the Stake President to do so. I gather the scriptures that he shares, read them, ponder them, aside from my own scriptural studies, and I find him credible. I think that he is a cynical man personally, but I don’t care about who he is. All I care about is the doctrine that he is teaching from the words of Christ. I go home and I study the doctrine even deeper because of hearing him speak. Each time I do, I find myself closer to Christ and my God. If anyone were to ask me about the credibility of the information that this man shares, I can stand and say that I have read what he has stated and I consider all that he has said credible.
As for me, I am not credible (some may say that I am ‘in-credible,’ but that is a totally different subject- jokes). On a serious note, I do not yet know Christ. I only share on this blog what I find, hoping to generate conversations concerning Christ, for the purpose of learning. Last night my neighbor wanted nothing to do with talking of Christ, he was politicking. He was selling me false traditions. I don’t want to buy false traditions. Besides, It’s bad for your health anyway!
At some point in every persons life, we all have to make our stand and decide for ourself. Your eternal salvation or damnation rests upon it, and it ought to. If you decide right, salvation and all its rewards should be poured out. If you decide wrong, then eternal damnation is equally deserved. Then, and only then, will the study have any value. Then the words of Christ will hold value above the treasures of the earth. Until then, the scriptures will continually be set aside and considered as naught, just as Nephi declared would happen (2 Nephi 33:1-2).
As we place our eternal salvation in the hands of our leaders, we will hold them (the leaders) accountable for our rewards and our demise, and as a result …none of the credit shall be ours. That is contrary to the plan of salvation. Satan loves that kind of leadership plan. That is what he proposed. Christ is a personal and individual savior. He wants us only to obtain the mind and will of God, and then the truth will set us all free. Free to do as we will, because our will cannot be contrary to that of God’s when we share the same mind and heart. But when we do not have the mind and will of God, we always ask amiss. We always ask to consume it upon our lusts. Our eternal salvation ought to be dependent upon our study and knowledge of God. And in fact, it is. It is through our study of God that we obtain an understanding of His attributes, characteristics and perfections. Those who can understand such things can exercise proper faith and act accordingly. Those who fail to understand such things are merely groping in the dark, guessing, tossing the dice, playing their lucky lotto numbers and get what they deserve …philosophies, sometimes mingled in with scriptures.
There used to be something called the law of two gospels. The one gospel is the gospel of Jesus Christ. And the other, …well, the other gospel is everything else. If we don’t know the gospel of Jesus Christ, then, even if it looks similar to the gospel, it still isn’t. The ancient saints, as well as the early saints, as well as our modern saints have the same weakness. It is that we claim to be children unto Abraham (some birthright), or we claim to have done mighty miracles and healing in Christ’s name (authority), or we draw near unto Christ with our lips (the laws). Christ’s reply will be to us as they were to them of old, I can make of these stones children unto Abraham, depart from me for I never knew you, ye draw near unto me with your lips, but your hearts are far from me. We cannot fool anyone. Let us get it right by a serious reflection of the words of Christ. It is upon our serious reflection that the future of our salvation resides. Be not afraid, but be believing.