There are two facts that I have recently learned, about the bodies of Christ and God the Father, in the lectures on Faith- that are important to understand in order for us to properly exercise faith unto life and salvation. The body of Christ, when he came to earth, was called a tabernacle of clay. The bodies we currently have are also tabernacles of clay. The bodies we have cannot go through walls, etc. However, after the death of Christ, Christ’s body was resurrected and became a glorified body. A body that could enter into an upper room without an entrance of any sort, yet still of solid matter for the apostles to see and touch when Christ visited them in that upper room. Thomas testified of seeing and touching for himself. Likewise, the Nephites at Bountiful also had the same experience of seeing and touching this glorified body.
In the Lectures of Faith, lecture 5:2, Joseph Smith teaches of the Father being a “…personage of spirit, glory and power.” This was a point that the early saints had a difficult time understanding, because they believed that it conflicted with their understanding of God the Father. They claimed that the Father also had a clay tabernacle. This is a perfect situation in which the saints want a god that fits them, rather than them rising up to understand God. Think about it, Joseph had been in the presence of deity, did he just make a mistake? If the early saints read further into the revelations given to Joseph, they would have found:
“7. There is no such thing as immaterial matter. All spirit is matter, but it is more fine or pure, and can only be discerned by purer eyes;
8. We cannot see it; but when our bodies are purified we shall see that it is all matter.”
No, Joseph did not make a mistake. Just like Christ’s resurrected body of glory and power, the Father too can be seen with pure eyes, and handled physically, as is Christ in His resurrected body. Christ teaches the apostles, when they ask to see the Father, “…have I not been so long time with you, and yet hast thou not known me, Philip? he that hath seen me hath seen the Father…” (John 14:9).
In 1922 a committee, made up of apostles, a future prophet, and by the permission of the current Prophet, Heber J Grant, disregarded the Lectures of Faith as scriptures, because they believed that Joseph made a mistake concerning the attributes of the Father. They believed that God the Father had a tabernacle of clay, a type of body as did Christ while in the earthly ministry. The committee, by removing the Lectures on Faith from our Doctrines and Covenants, essentially correct the mistake that Joseph Smith made when Joseph added the lectures to our canon of scripture (even though Joseph had a personal visitation). The excuse was made that the lectures of faith were not written by Joseph, and were not intended to be in the scriptures. Today, we have the Joseph Smith papers published that say the exact opposite.
If we believe that a prophet can never lead us astray, even if it is by accident, or in this case ignorance, then we are stuck in a situation. Either we say that Heber J Grant and the committee of men were right, and Joseph Smith was wrong. Or… we say Joseph Smith was right, and Heber J Grant and the committee was wrong. Either way, these two arguments do not agree on the attributes, perfections, and characteristics of God. Joseph says that in order for us to exercise faith unto life and salvation, we must first believe in God, then we must have a correct understanding of the attributes, perfections and characteristics of God. One is right and the other is close, but not right. No matter what, one prophet is right and the other wrong. Does this qualify as God allowing the Prophet of the church to make such a drastic mistake, that potentially leads men astray by the incorrect understanding of the correct attributes, etc? I think not.
Like I stated in the last blog, there is a difference between a Prophet (administrative) and a Wise-One (who has the mind and will of God, and because of it, they can never lead men astray). I believe that Prophets (administrative) are like parents, and have room to make mistakes, and that does not make them any less of a Prophet (administrative). At one point many saints were mistakenly allowed to seal their ancestors to modern prophets, to claim salvation for their dead. Also, at one point the temple commonly practiced the ordinances of giving your calling and election. This practice isn’t common any longer. Prophets (administrative) make mistakes, and those mistakes lead people astray. But wise-ones are called by the voice of God, not by a sustaining vote. Wise-ones have obtained the mind and will of God. The mind and will of God will never lead men astray.
For those of you who find what I am saying offensive, I am not nit-picking at the problems of the church. What is there to benefit from doing so? Nothing! I am simply stating that we cannot place our exaltation upon someone else’s experience with Christ. We cannot claim the salvation of any prophet as our salvation. We must learn to put the living oils in our own lamp. We must be wise virgins. We cannot claim someone else’s scripture study or knowledge as our own. Nor can we claim someone else’s revelations and blessings as our own either. We must obtain knowledge, revelations, blessings, and covenants from the heavens ourselves. No man ought to stand in your way. Prophet’s are intended to assist you in the way.
We plant the promises made to the fathers in our hearts, to act as a template, for us to obtain similar covenants & promises for ourselves. The Fathers will assist in the journey. Christ promises that angels will be on your right hand and on your left. But first, we must seek to obtain His Word, who is Jesus Christ. And in order to obtain Christ, we must have faith. In order to have faith unto life and salvation, we must believe in God, and understand the correct attributes, perfections and characteristics of God. That is why we must read the words of Christ. Christ and God the Father desire to give us their mind and will. That is the gift that they offer. That is the gift that we are invited to receive. And now we’ve come full-circle, so good-night!